If, like me, you spent your December drowning in a sea of Jaegermeister and poor choices, then you probably intended to kickstart your January with a much needed injection of health and fitness.
But to get lean and toned, we’re constantly reminded by fitness experts that you need to ‘eat clean’. This usually means no sugar, refined carbs, alcohol and let’s face it, fun, joy or pleasure. Because just how realistic is such a strict lifestyle for a sociable twenty-something? Are abs and firm thighs really only achievable by waving goodbye FOR GOOD to boozy nights out, dinners with the girls and 3am carb feasts?
Like many, I tend to fall into the 5/2 healthy living cycle. Monday to Friday hitting the gym and then Saturday and Sunday morning waking up hungover, spooning a Zinger Tower meal. But there must be a better way to strike that balance. Can you make small cheats to your diet that WON’T erase all the sweat, tears and camel toes you suffered in the gym that week?
I asked Nutritional Advisor and Multipower Sports Nutrition Ambassador Anthony Nyman. When it comes to getting lean, can you still have a life?
Can you drink alcohol? Because let’s face it, some places and people just can’t be endured sober.
'It’s true that most alcoholic drinks are packed with empty calories, meaning it’ll serve your body no good purpose. As well as muscle building testosterone being lowered, the fat storing hormone cortisol level is raised. So reducing your alcohol intake is recommended. But it’s not all bad news. Vodka and tequila are very low in calories. Partner that with slimline tonic or even cranberry juice for a bit of anti-oxidants. Everything in moderation!'
You’ve gone for a night out and the 3am munchies hit. You need something to soak up that booze and you're in serious danger of falling through the doors of Chicken Cottage again. Do you really have to go hungry?
'We’ve all been there. Even personal trainers! At that moment, the lure of KFC is far greater than the desire for a flat stomach. If not eating is simply not an option then head home and make yourself scrambled eggs on toast with sugar-free ketchup. This should satisfy the craving for something salty without doing too much damage.'
It’s early morning and if you don’t get your caffeine hit from a cup of coffee, you may chin someone on the Northern Line. Can you still enjoy a cuppa?
'If you’re a terrible person without coffee, don’t despair! I include black coffee in a lot of my client’s programmes. Drinking it black half an hour before a workout can increase stimulation and aid a better performance. Avoid adding sugar and artificial sweeteners. Try cinnamon instead. And avoid all caffeine close to bed as it can affect your sleep which will affect your physique.'
You’ve left your packed lunch at home and one of the girls at work has asked if you want to grab a bite to eat. You don’t want to end up getting a salad that actually conceals more calories than a Big Mac. So what are your best options for eating on the go?
'In an ideal world, you’d have time to prep all meals. But that’s just not realistic and not very sociable. If you’re caught out for lunch, Pret do some amazing salads. If you’re only go to is a supermarket, look for wholegrains like cous cous and quinoa, rather than white bread. Salad wise, the dressings can be packed full of sugar so maybe best to avoid. For snacks, I love beef jerky, raw nuts and seeds and vegetables with peanut butter and humous.'
You're meant to be going for dinner with your mates. You're nervous about eating something off your meal prep plan but don’t want to spend another night in with just you and your collection of air-tight Tupperware. What can you order off the menu?
'It doesn’t matter how great your abs are if you’re just sitting at home alone watching Netflix. Go to the restaurant but make better choices. Pick a meat or fish dish and ask them to swap white rice or potatoes for more vegetables. Also try and avoid sauces. Go for spices with your meat or fish instead. If you’re in a curry house, think Tandoori rather than Tikka Masala.'
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.