Meal planning : A simple guide to success

Planning meals in advance can be tough at times but is a real indicator to success.  Whatever your health and fitness goals are sufficient planning will go a long way to determining how well you do.

Going shopping for food, planning meals and going out to eat should be enjoyable but also in line with your goals.  Use this guide to ensure you stay on track, particularly if trying to boost energy levels or lose weight.

Consider the following at every meal time, especially main meals:

1.       Food choice

This is really where the battle is won and lost.  Ingredients should be as natural as possible coming from vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.

Use lean protein as the main part of any meal.  Avoid fast releasing foods like cereals, breads and processed foods as much as possible, as well as all other high fat and high sugar foods. They cause a massive rise in blood sugar levels, inhibiting weight loss and wrecking energy levels.

2.       Portion size

No matter where you are eating, portion size is absolutely essential.  Even a highly processed meal can be damage limited if you reduce portion size.  Ideally use a small plate or bowl to control portion size.

Along the same lines, eat your food slowly chewing it well and stop eating before you feel full.  This tends to increase energy levels and reduce calories very effectively.

3.       Always include lean proteins

This includes lean meats like chicken and turkey, fish, dairy, nuts, peas and beans.  These foods are lower in fat and higher in protein which ensures a slower release of energy.

4.       Stay keep starters and extras to a minimum

A perfectly balanced meal can be ruined by adding bread from the bread basket, alcohol and dessert.  If you have to, have  something more natural as an extra.

5.       Eating out

Eating out can mean starters, side plates, desserts and alcohol.  Foods are often fried or cooked in creamy sauces or high in fat.  Look out for these and choose wisely.  Lean protein and vegetables is the best way as always and remember to keep portion size right down.

You have to be determined in order to achieve true results.  How you eat has a huge impact on life and means the difference between success and failure!


About us:  We work from BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth.  Visit the website for more information and see how we can help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Optimal recovery from exercise

Following any type of  training, top of the list for the following 36-48 hours is recovery.  Here we will look at what happens during the recovery cycle and offer some simple ways to speed up recovery.

Recovery really is the crucial phase after all the hard work and sweat in order to accomplish two main things.  These are the body adapting the the training (becoming fitter/stronger) and allowing the body to be repaired before the next workout.  This will be specific to the type of training we have done as well as the all important intensity.

It goes without saying they quicker we can recover, the more often we can workout, the fitter we become!

Now, the fun bit – ways to improve recovery from exercise.

Eating beforehand

Yes, this sound silly, but the nutrients available to the body before and even during exercise are important.  Starting training on an empty tank leaves more refuelling for later.  Levels of essential nutrients such as protein in the body will help start the recovery process earlier.


The key to recovery is good rest, particular sleep.  Top athletes are know to sleep up to 12 hours a day in order to improve recovery.  A decent 8 hours will always be better than 6.  A daytime short nap is a great pastime!

Post exercise nutrition

This is a whole new article in itself.  What we eat in the 20 minutes following training drops straight in, and the rest of the day is key as well.  Protein and carbohydrates are of particular interest in the following 2 hours.

Active recovery

A light form of exercise such as walking will increase bloodflow and nutrients to the damaged areas, improving recovery more than just lying on the sofa!  No excuses there.

Simon Lesser works as a Personal Trainer at BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth.  For more info visit us at

Boost your immune system this winter

November time, the temperature is dropping and it’s time to boost immunity against all those winter bugs.  Check out the simple tips below, an approach to strengthen the body as a whole.

Smoking and Alcohol

Even in small amounts, smoking and drinking will hit the immune system.  We already know this!

Reducing sugar

White blood cells which help us to fight bacteria, have their ability compromised when engulfed in sugar. Artificial sweeteners are even worse.

Take the toxins out of your diet

Limiting the amount of pesticides, preservatives and additives will help.  The damage of many of these substances has not yet been fully proven but we do know they affect our immune systems.

Eat lots of healthful foods

Foods particularly good for boosting immune function are fruits and veggies for their high nutrient content as well as their positive Ph effect.  Foods high in protein and essential fats are helpful in building immune system, helping to fight those invaders.

Don’t worry, be happy

Finally, looking after our stress level is important.  Find the activities that calm you the most and stick with them.  This may be as simple as a walk down the beach or going out for a nice meal.

The acid alkaline balance

Remember the ‘litmus paper’ from Chemistry lessons in school.  A test of how acidic or alkaline chemicals were.  The human body is much the same with believe it or not some people being more acidic than others.

Problems with being too acidic

Most of our concern needs to be with being too acidic.  This may lead to a number of problems such as weight gain, premature aging, joint pain and low energy.  At the high end of the scale high acidity in the body has been linked to cardiovascular problems and osteoporosis.

What causes us to be acidic?

Surprise surprise bad nutrition is top of the list for causing acidity.  Foods such as meat, eggs, dairy and wheat are acid forming foods as are most processed foods (all the stuff we enjoy).

Alkaline foods

The good news.  If your diet is high in fruit and vegetables, these are essentially the main alkaline forming foods.  There are a few exceptions but clearly this is another reason to be eating well!

Practical ways to improve you acid alkaline balance.

  • Drink hot lemon, particularly first thing in the morning
  • Eat foods in their most unprocessed form
  • Graze on fruit,  instead of high sugar snacks
  • Everything in moderation.  Gallons of coffee and wine everyday spell trouble!
  • Try almonds or dried fruit as these are particularly alkaline

Secrets to slow release, fat burning nutrition

We all know that the speed our food releases is essential.  Food that release energy slowly are great for fat burning, weight loss,  improving energy levels and keeping hunger at bay.  These are the foods we should be eating most of the time, excluding during and after exercise.

Foods that tend to be particularly good are foods high in protein (chicken, fish, eggs and beans) and foods high in fibre (vegetables, fruits, beans again!, peas, oats).  The combinations and list of do’s and don’ts is endless, and will be covered at another time.  Here we will look at other options to slow the release of our foods.

Chewing thoroughly

It makes total sense but is hardly ever followed.  We are supposed to chew food 20-30 times before swallowing, generally our meals are hoovered.  The more we chew, the slower the energy is released and the less stress on the digestive system.

Including some fat

Fat is known as a bad word, but in fats are even slower release than proteins.  We are not talking about fast food fats or saturated fats here, but foods such as avocado, oily fish, nuts, seeds and their oils.  Sprinkle seeds on your porridge in the morning, add olive oil to salads etc to slow the release.

Keeping portion sizes down

A large portion is like a rush of energy for the body and releases quickly.  We should keep to small portions anyway especially for fat loss, but this is another less obvious way of slowing things down.

Beware the extras

A hearty meal of fresh fish and vegetables washed down with 2 glasses of wine or even fruit juice will counteract the effects.  High protein slow release meals followed by a high calorie dessert will do the same.  Drinking caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee will also have an effect on blood sugar levels.

Great Breakfast Ideas

The best start to any day, a healthy nutritious breakfast.  Hard to believe some people fill their bowls with sugary processed cereal or even skip it all together.   Try some of the following for more energy to your day..

Fresh fruit smoothie – loaded with antioxidants, high in fibre and as much variety as you like.  Try bananas, melon, any berries, peaches etc for best results.  Even add some oats, seeds or yoghurt for extra protein.

Eggs – Loaded with nutritents, eggs done any way but fried are a great start to the day.  Loaded with protein for a slow release.

Porridge – Much slower releasing than breakfast cereals and easy to add cinammon, berries, honey or seeds.

Natural Muesli – Beware of pre bought sugar content, better still make your own. Can be stacked with nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

Fresh fruit and natural yoghurt – An easy, nutritious option with lots of longevity


Finally – Beware the sugar.  Easy options are bread based options or pre packed cereals that tend to be high in sugar, low in fibre and leave you feeling pretty flat well before lunchtime.