Frequently asked questions
Weight & Measurements
I've been a bit stressed & my progress seems to have stalled, is this normal?
I'm going to use an example from a previous client who asked me this question
"Tim, the last couple of weeks I have felt like I should have made good progress. My exercise and energy levels have been increased but then the progress has not been as good as it was at the start.
Looking back I had a really important presentation on Tuesday and I don't think I appreciated how worried I was about it. I don't think I have been sleeping well at all probably for the last couple of weeks. Would that have an impact?”
I was glad this client took the time and did a bit of self reflection to identify what may have been affecting their progress this week, stress and poor sleep can definitely be candidates.
Stress from work, exercise, lack of sleep and even dieting itself causes increases in the hormone cortisol which leads to your body retaining extra water.
This water sits just underneath your skin and can mask changes in your body measurements or even cause you to look a bit bloated or ‘fluffy’. Water obviously weighs something too so retaining it gets shows up on the scales as increased weight.
I had a pizza/takeaway/burger/other last night. I’ve weighed myself this morning and have blown my progress
Pizza contains carbs and typically lots of salt. Increasing carbohydrates or salt in your diet temporarily draws in extra water and this sits just underneath your skin which can give you a puffy look (See ‘my progress seems to have stalled’)
That water obviously weighs something too so that's why the scales jump around day to day as well. It's not fat, just temporary water and glycogen storage.
The carbs in the pizza you ate are currently being stored in your muscles making them fuller.
This is sometimes what bodybuilders may refer to as the 'pump'.
The scales going up is due to changes of water & energy storage (not fat) and possibly some undigested food.
The scales change every day, we only pay attention to the trend after a full fortnight for this reason and it is why we also take body measurements.
Since I started eating more and moved up to maintenance calories my weight has gone up!
This is to be expected and nothing to worry about.
When we move up to 'maintenance calories your weight on the scales will often go up.
If you've been training hard and eating in a calorie deficit for a while this weight is due to your body replenishing it’s glycogen stores.
Remember that this filling of your glycogen stores is beneficial and adds weight but not fat.
What is Glycogen
To explain glycogen; your body converts all of the carbohydrates you eat into glucose and this is in turn converted into glycogen to be stored in your muscles for future use.
This is a good thing as the muscles can access it instantly to fuel explosive movement.
Think of it like the fuel tank in a formula one car.
At the start of the race it is full and the car weighs more, lap times are slower.
Towards the end of the race the fuel tank is almost empty and the car weighs less.
Yes that helps the car to be faster towards the end of the race but if you do that for too long you literally 'run out of gas' and have nowhere to go....
“I don’t think you have calculated my calories correctly”
Any equation used to estimate your calories is well tested and pretty accurate.
It is however open to some variability and that's why we need to accurately record your calorie intake and adjust against the feedback we get from the scales.
2 weeks is the
MINIMUM time we have to wait before making any an adjustment due changes in water retention or glycogen storage.
Worst case scenario:I've completely messed up and you gain 2kg of fat in 2 weeks (which you won't because some of that will be muscle and some of that will just be water and glycogen)
In the unlikely event that happens then we adjust calories down and lose the fat again in the same 2 weeks (if it really is a problem).
OPTIMAL performance needs you to be at (or slightly above) your maintenance calories.
Trust me, I've been there, reacting to the scales as they go up and then heading back on a diet to lose what is actually 'fake weight'.
I wrote a blog about it
Reacting to daily changes is a sure fire way to just keep spinning your wheels and get nowhere!
How do I keep Calorie Tracking Simple
I’ve made a video guide here
Can I eat Bread?
Absolutely, unless you have a diagnosed intolerance bread is perfectly good for you.
The thing is it’s relatively dense in calories and easy to overeat.
If you’re tracking calories then just check the labels on the various types you eat or get a realistic ‘ball park’ number.
If you are tracking hand portions then it’s safe to say a medium thick slice of bread is 1 cupped handful of carbohydrate.
If you're feeling too full
If you've suddenly increased the volume of whole foods in your diet and cut back on the junk food then you will probably feel quite full. This is probably because you aren't used to eating such a big volume of food.
Whole foods are filling and this makes it beneficial for those on a weight loss phase as it means eating fewer calories is easier because you don’t get as hungry.
We may need to think differently if you are genuinely struggling with being too full to eat your daily calorie requirements when you are highly active (cyclists and long distance runners) or trying to gain muscle.
Please be open to my suggestions at this stage and don’t be the one who complains they can't increase performance whilst simultaneously refusing to eat anything other than chicken and broccoli every day!
If you're feeling too hungry
The advice and guidance that I give in this program is designed to keep you feeling full most of the time.
If you are feeling hungry then first assess the following:
Are you bored?
How well did you sleep?
Have you have lots of real food this week with plenty of green vegetables to slow-down digestion?
Have you suddenly changed your training program?
Are you under eating on daily calories so you can have a wild binge at the weekend?
There is currently no clear scientific evidence that sweeteners are harmful to your health so if you find them helpful then there is no reason to eliminate them from your diet.
Sweeteners provide no calories because our body cannot digested them.
Diet or Zero Calorie Drinks
Diet drinks (Coke Zero, pepsi max etc.) are not harmful and can be a good option for weight loss because they are zero calorie.
Just be mindful that they often contain caffeine and that messes with your sleep if you drink them too late in the day.
Can I still drink alcohol on your program?
Yes, alcohol has calories though and little nutritional value.
It's a balancing act and only you can decide what the rewards and downsides are…
How strict does my diet need to be?
As strict as it needs to be to make the progress you desire.
As a rule of thumb, 80% adherence is usually good enough in most cases. This may increase to 90% depending on your goals and preferences.
Program & App
I can't hear the sound on the in app video's
Make sure your phone or tablet is not on silent mode (slide the switch on your iPhone).
Check you have a strong internet connectionTurn up the volume 😉
Is there a refund policy
I have no problem in issuing a refund if you are not satisfied with the program.
All I ask is that you have completed in 80% of the tasks set and have replied to all of my email questions before contacting me and asking for your money back.
Is there a cancellation policy?
I ask that you honour the first 3 moths of the program as this is the minimum time required to see reasonable results.
After this point you are free to cancel with 2 weeks notice.
Please contact me directly for further details.
How do I track my food intake?
This will depend on your goal, it can be as simple as taking photo's in the app to start with.
When we turn our attention to calories we will use the MyFitnessPal app and instructions will be provided.
I'll also give you my own guidance on calorie tracking and I always aim to leave you in a position where you do not rely on the app to track calories.
I can't connect MyFitnessPal to the App
This is usually because you need to access your MyFitnessPal acocunt via a web browser to make the connection.
Revisit the guidance given in your account and read the instructions carefully.
Guidelines for Email Support
All support on this program is via email, however it's simply not possible for me to answer mail at all times.
The first thing you need to do is to add my email address firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe
So that you know what to expect in terms of email support I have laid out some simple rules below:
My advice is to write down each question somewhere as it comes up, that way you wont forget and can use your list when you put together your weekly email to me.
You can send me one email per week
The email must be all bullet points
Each bullet point needs to be a question or comment
Each bullet point is a maximum of 3 sentences
There can be an unlimited amount of bullet points
You can send me the email at any point of the week I will only respond to it on Sunday
“How do I contact you to ask a question?”
You can email me using the guidelines for email support in this FAQ.