Podcast – Eating for Your Health

BANT is the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine. They have a campaign ‘Food for Your Health’ which aims to improve the nutrition of everyone in the UK.

In this week’s podcast, top nutritional therapist Lorna Rhodes, tells me about the campaign, and gives many healthy eating and lifestyle tips.

Listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Originally broadcast on Good Morning Marlow on MarlowFM, and my thanks to them for allowing it to be rebroadcast here as this podcast.

On the radio tomorrow morning…

Join me on MarlowFM for the Health and Fitness edition of Good Morning Marlow tomorrow morning.
As well as great music from the past five decades, the guest list includes nutritional therapist Lorna Rhodes talking to me about the latest anti-obesity campaign from the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine – plus Personal Trainer Jill Huskisson looking at the many benefits of home workouts, and why they are such a good idea at the moment.
That’s on MarlowFM from 10:00 until 12:00 tomorrow (Tuesday) morning – listen live on the MarlowFM app or on www.MarlowFM.co.uk – or tell your smartspeaker to ‘Play MarlowFM’, or locally in Bucks and Berks on 97.5FM.

Gyms returning? Shoulder time!

With the gyms being closed during lockdown, many people will have been doing some exercise at home.  Although I suspect training for shoulders may be down on the list and some will not have trained that area since lockdown started.

As a bit of inspiration, and a suggestion to head for the shoulder press machine in less than a month when the gyms open (if we are all good until then), here is a compilation of the three of my favourite shoulder press machines, all filmed when I was visiting California.

The very first of these three is Arnold’s favourite machine – he is on it every morning about 7am!

See the video here.

Keto Supplements UK – review

Many of you will have heard of the keto diet.  The ketogenic principles involve food that is moderate in protein, high in fat, low in carbohydrate and very low in sugars, which are of course the fastest-absorbing type of carbohydrates.  A usual keto diet ratio for the macronutrients is calories from protein 30%, fat 60% and 10% for carbohydrates.

On a typical diet of 2000 calories, this means 150g of protein per day, 50g of carbs and 130g of fat.

The nice folk over at Keto Supplements UK recently sent me a selection of their snacks for me to try.  Here are my thoughts.

They supplied biltong from three different suppliers, plus some low carb bars and a couple of supplements.  Let me talk about them in order.

The biltong first.  As you may know, biltong is air-dried sliced meat that is a great source of protein.

Usually beef and sometimes with flavouring adding during the drying, I’ve always seen biltong as my number one healthy snack.  It’s South African in origin, which is where the word comes from.

The biltong supplied comes from three different manufacturers.  Ember, with no flavouring added to their British and Irish sourced beef, The Biltong Factory with a Sweet Chilli flavouring added, and finally St Marcus, who point out that their beef is grass-fed, and provided three flavours – unflavoured (Original), Peri Peri and Chilli Chutney.

As you would expect, the macros on all three are similar, showing a massive percentage for protein.  A bag of St Marcus Original or Peri Peri is 60 calories, with a protein/fat/carb split of 83%/11%/6%.  For the Ember brand, the total is 65 calories, and the relevant split works out to be 84%/15%/1%.  I suspect the difference comes from a small amount of brown sugar and honey listed in the ingredients of the St Markus, which are missing on the Ember, although of course even with this added all those low-carbohydrate numbers are well within the keto guidelines.

Interestingly, the numbers are rather different for the St Markus Chilli Chutney flavour – it’s still 60 calories per bag, with the split as protein 76%, fat 11% and carbs 13%.  Just a little high on the carbs for the purest form of keto diet, but still great numbers on the protein front.  I assume the extra sugars come from the chutney which forms 8% of the ingredients of this flavour alone.

Finally on biltong, and the Biltong Factory brand, the overall calories number per bag is 107, with the split is protein 67%, fat 21% and 12% – again there are sugars listed in the ingredients.  A key reason why the calories are more per bag here is due to the pack size – it’s a 40g bag here rather than 28g or 30g with the St Marcus and Ember.

I’ve been having one bag per day as my mid-afternoon snack, and I like them all.  The original can be a bit dry for some people, and the chilli ones may be felt to be a little on the sweet side.  However, I liked varying across all the flavours and brands to get a slightly different taste each day.

Now, the bars.  They are branded ‘Battle Bites’, and I sampled two flavours – the Glazed Sprinkled Donut, and the Mississippi Mud Pie.   The calories in each are around 220, which is comprised 40% protein, 27% carbs and 33% fat.  Notable is that there is a very low sugar content – entirely in line with Keto principles – of 2.5 or 3g (which works out to only 5% of the calories).

These kind of numbers put the products in a very competitive and growing market sector, with some big names there already, such as Carb Killa, PhD and Fulfil.   The first difference – and a big plus in my opinion – is that the Battle Bites come as two separate portions.  This makes it very easy to have half now, and half later.  I often feel like a high-protein snack of around 100 calories, and this fits that bill easily.  From a taste and texture point of view, they are a softer feel and taste more like a cake than the others I’ve mentioned; there’s no chocolate (or more accurately, chocolate-flavour) coating as you find with some of the others.  The Mud Pie is a dark throughout and has cocoa powder as a key ingredient, while the Donut one (which really should be spelled Doughnut but I guess I’m old) is lighter in both colour and texture.   These products are good additions, adding further choice to this market sector.

Finally, the two supplements.  I have just started taking the Immune System Boost supplement and there is a month’s supply in the container.  It contains many of the minerals and vitamins I would expect to see, including Vitamin D and Zinc.  If I get through the next month without catching a cold, flu or worse, then I’ll be happy.

Finally, the fat burner, called UltraBurn.  Again, it has what I would expect to see – relatively big portions of Caffeine, Green Tea and Chromium with a couple of the B group vitamins in large amounts.  The caffeine content is 225g per serving which is more than most so-called energy drinks, and with added minerals too.  I’m planning a video workout series in the Summer this year, so I think I’ll save these until then – if I look lean on those videos, then I’ll put some of that down to this.

I hope that’s of interest, and thanks again to Keto Supplements UK for sending them to me.  If you’re interested, they can be found on https://keto-supplements.co.uk

Petition for gyms to re-open in Tier 4

As you may know, gyms are not allowed to open in Tier 4 areas of England.

I believe they should be allowed to open for the benefits they bring to physical and mental health of members.  Gyms should open, I believe, with everyone enforcing physical distancing (no-one gets closer than 2m to anyone else).  This will mean no classes and no personal training, which is a shame, but I believe it is important to keep the physical distancing in place.  And of course with proper equipment cleanliness and sanitising gel protocols (which were in place at every gym I visited last time they were open).

If you agree with my view, please sign the on-line petition.  It is already over 6,000 signatures, it needs 10,000 to be reviewed by the Government.

Either click here or if you prefer search for ‘Tier 4 gym petition’.

Many thanks.

Personal Training – open again!


I’m very pleased to announce that I am now offering Personal Training again in all my locations.  Whether your objective is to lose fat, gain muscle or a bit of both, I am here to help.

I only take clients aged over 50.  Many of my previous clients have said they tried younger Personal Trainers but didn’t get on well with them – sometimes they felt that a PT in their own age group would be better at setting realistic and achievable goals, devising a relevant training approach, and understanding the constraints that years and experience bring.  All areas that I focus on, being well in the better half-century of life myself.

I believe that taking up fitness, even later in life than most, will help you add years to your life, and life to your years.  That’s a key philosophy I use for myself and my clients.

I have a range of one-to-one options including ‘I train you’ training and a ‘Train with the trainer’, shared exercise approach.  I offer training in three locations, Beaconsfield, Oxford Circus and Islington, and I’m pleased to say all three offer a COVID-aware environment with cleanliness and social distancing as top priorities.

See the options available on my dedicated site: www.bitly.com/ChrisPT 



I am often asked about supplements, so let me explain my thoughts on the subject and my reasoning.

Firstly, a supplement of any kind should only be considered if you have a good, clean, healthy and nutritionally-rich diet.  You can’t (or shouldn’t) use supplements to counteract too much pizza, chocs and alcohol.  But if your diet is good anyway, isn’t nature so designed that it provides all the nutrients naturally?

I don’t take supplements as I think I get what I need from my diet – but I have taken creatine and BCAAs in the past, mainly in the run up to competitions.  These are times when I want to be ahead of what nature provides (but doing so as naturally as possible).

Did they make any difference to me? Honestly? I have no idea. I looked good on stage, but was that the supplements or was that the extra effort I was putting in on the nutrition and gym in the last eight weeks prior to the event? No way of knowing.

In any case, I wouldn’t take anything stronger than creatine or BCAAs.  Remember we do this thing to get healthier, not less so.  I have never tried banned substances – and never will; they have proven detrimental effects on the health of a 20-year old, imagine what they could do to a naturally more fragile body getting on to three times that age.

I do use protein shakes – which I don’t consider a supplement as they have calories and are basic nutrition for me (at breakfast and post-workout).  And the calories get counted from the shakes of course.

I also take high-caffeine zero-calorie drinks (sugar-free Monster and similar) 30-45 minutes before a workout as the science says caffeine helps sharpen the brain, stimulates effort and delays fatigue.  I find that to be the case with me, and I do get a better workout having taken my Monster than without.  But not late at night of course, I also need a good sleep!

New Podcast

I was happy to be invited to be a guest on a new episode of The Dan Wynes Podcast.   As you may know, Dan is a good friend and workout buddy of mine – and therefore he knows exactly what questions to ask me to get the best answers!

On the podcast, you can hear my thoughts on my own fitness transformation, plus what I am doing to help others in the over-50 age group get into shape.  And I tell Dan exactly what I mean when I say that for everyone that the answer to a healthy and fit second half of your first century really is ELEMENTARY.

Search for The Dan Wynes Podcast wherever you get your podcasts from – or jump straight to the episode by clicking on bit.ly/ChrisOnDansPodcast


Video Q&A on fitness for the over-50s

I’m often asked questions which exercises are best – or the opposite – for those over 50, and how to approach taking up exercise if totally new to it.  Is it too late to start?  How can I get the maximum benefit from the minimum effort?  What’s more important – exercise or food?

I’ve answered questions such as these in this new video interview with Robin Lansman.  As well as being an osteopath, Robin is setting up COGUK – a network of health professionals and healthcare organisations coming together for the health of the nation.

So, if you’re over 50 – and want to add years to your life, and life to those years – click  here for the Q&A video.

And if you want to find out more about COGUK, click here.

Lockdown Special

We are living in a strange world right now.  All our routines are disrupted, and we may find ourselves with more time on our hands than before.  And that is assuming we are not suffering from the virus or any other illness at present – if you are, the time will most likely be hanging pretty heavily on you.

At this time, it is so easy to lose enthusiasm for fitness activities, especially after the novelty of being at home pretty much continually has worn off.  This is a dangerous time for your fitness.  You probably can’t do all the exercise you used to do – or would now like to do – and this inactivity can be accompanied by the feeling of boredom and slight depression that leads to mindless eating, often in front of the tv or while online.  In terms of calories, you are probably burning fewer through less activity, but storing more through that unplanned eating.  That’s a recipe for fitness levels to take a nosedive.

The first step in addressing it is to understand the issue – and accept that (a) you may well be subject to that condition and that (b) you can do something about it – and that it’s worth doing.  If you get that far, the rest becomes easier.

The key to it is planning.  I have a routine that has fitness activities scheduled, along with pre-planned eating; it helps me to maintain my fitness levels, and I’m keen to share it with you.

On the exercise and movement side, I now do a 5k walk/run every morning before breakfast, which is the ideal time for such activity.  It’s 35 minutes of good bodyfat-burning cardio exercise.  Luckily, the weather has been lovely, I don’t see many people, I keep my social distance from those I do, and I usually shout a cheery greeting or a friendly wave – it might cheer them up and costs nothing.

I reserve the time 6pm to 7pm to do some resistance exercise in the house or garden, using a few dumbbells and resistance bands that I have, plus a lot of stretching and mobility work.  I’ll be documenting that workout separately.  This is a fixed time in my diary – I’ve no other appointments to go to – and by giving it that level of priority ensures it gets done.

I usually walk to the shops in the afternoon – we have a few local shops and a supermarket all within 20 minutes’ walk.  And rather than do a weekly big shop, which needs the car, I do a daily small shop which means I get an extra couple of km walked, and some exercise in terms of carrying the shopping back.  Everyone else at the supermarket especially is doing a big, car-based shop – which isn’t doing much to contribute to their fitness.  Of course, doing five or six daily shops per week takes more time overall than a weekly shop – but, if there’s one thing I have a lot of at the moment, it’s time.  Downside: I sometimes have to queue for entry to the supermarket – but I can use that time to do stuff on my phone, which I would probably have been doing at home anyway.  Upsides: it gets me legitimately out of the house, it’s an extra 10km walked per week, plus a bit of upper body work in carrying the shopping home – walking carrier bag curls as a new exercise, anyone?

Those three bits of daily exercise cover my activity – its not the same as gym, its not the same as parkrun, but it is good exercise and is helping me to keep my calories burned level up, as well as being a little developmental of muscle.  Think, could you adopt a similar activity regime?

That’s the first half – activity levels.  The second half – calories taken in – is also based on planning.  I have a few rules, you won’t be surprised to hear:

Firstly, I don’t have anything with any calories in it before completing my morning 5k.  That effectively extends the overnight fast until I break fast back at home.  That longer period helps burn more bodyfat; my fat is the fuel for the run/walk, as I have no recently-eaten food for the body to use instead.  Recently consumed calories are the first choice, of course, to fuel any activity – with stored calories – bodyfat – as a backup resource.  And I want to use only that backup.

For the rest of the day, I eat according to my plan.  What plan?  It’s the one I devise while out on that morning 5k.  I know I’m going to have a healthy breakfast when I get home, (about 500 calories) and then I plan to eat every three to four hours or so with about 500 calories in every meal.  So, if my post-5k breakfast is at 09:30, then I will likely eat again at 12:30, 4pm and 7:30pm, with maybe an extra protein shake after the 5pm home workout.  There’s a lot of checking of labels involved, and I use MyFitnessPal to keep a track of it all.  Does it take time?  Yes.  And what do I have a lot of at the moment?

Often, my wife and I will have a video conference with friends or family in the evening, which constitutes our social life.  I’ll often have a pint of something tasty from an interesting local brewery with that, or maybe a glass or two of wine.  Which is fine, and as we usually know in advance this is going to happen, I can tailor my food choices for the day to make sure I don’t blow my numbers at that stage.

Three final self-imposed rules: I try to preserve a 12-hour break without calories every night.  So, if I’m socially drinking up to 10pm, then breakfast tomorrow is not until 10am.  This 12-hour period helps with bodyfat reduction – it’s that lack of recently-consumed calories again.

And secondly, I keep the water intake up.  I plan to drink a pint of water in every three-hour period between 9am and 9pm.  It helps in fighting any hunger pangs by creating a ‘feeling full’ sensation, as well as giving the many other benefits of being well-hydrated.

Finally, I won’t turn on the tv until the evening.  Watching tv is a key enemy in the activity-up, mindless eating-down strategy, so it’s a help to delay the start of viewing as long as possible.

My strategies on this rules-based, planned exercise and eating regime have helped me lose a few pounds of bodyfat while maintaining muscle mass since the lockdown began – shown by a reduction in overall weight with a decrease in bodyfat percentage.  All of the planning might seem a bit laborious, but it helps keep my occupied and, well, if I don’t have the time to do it now, I certainly won’t when real work and travel starts again.

I hope that you will adopt similar strategies in your own life, and get results that are like mine.  You really can exit this lockdown fitter than when it started!