Is It Bad To Skip Breakfast

Hey guys! Marcus from Fitness Room here!

It’s typical to hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is often claimed to aid in losing weight and is associated with overall healthier people. The truth is that it actually makes no difference. Eating breakfast is entirely up to you, and here’s why.

If you look at what’s important with your diet, your total calorie intake for the day is the most important thing. When you get those calories during the day is not a high priority, unless you’re nailing everything else first.

If you’re someone who likes to have breakfast, then keep doing it! If having breakfast is difficult due to work or you just don’t have much of an appetite in the morning, skipping breakfast is completely fine.

Just make sure that either way, you’re keeping snacking to a minimum. If you eat breakfast, do your best not to snack late at night. If you skip breakfast, do your best not to snack throughout the day or up until your first main meal.

As for the associations with breakfast and healthier people, the studies don’t show that eating breakfast causes people to become healthier. It’s just that people who eat breakfast tend to be people who have healthier lifestyle habits anyway.

Personally when I was losing weight, I didn’t start my eating until around 2PM and stopped at 8PM. I never had much of an appetite in the morning and felt physically/mentally fine not having food until later. 

Now that I’m trying to build more muscle over the next 12 months, I’ve begun starting my eating around mid morning. This is because I need more calories to fuel and recover from harder sessions in the gym, and obviously it doesn’t feel really comfortable cramming a day’s worth of food into 6 hours!

To sum up, do whatever suits your schedule and makes you feel best. As long as you’re putting in the effort in the gym and nailing your daily calories, you’ll do well. Thanks guys!

Supplements

Hey guys! Marcus from Fitness Room here!

There are tons of supplements out there. Pre-Workouts, Post-Workouts, Vitamins and Minerals, Creatine, Fat Burners and even more. Within all of these categories there are different types and brands claiming different things! So which ones are worth the money and which ones aren’t? We’ll stick to the most common ones today in order to help you make the best decisions about the supplements you use. 

Before we begin, remember that while there are definitely some beneficial supplements out there, they are meant to supplement a healthy diet. Getting vitamins, minerals and macronutrients from whole foods is generally the best option. As with anything nutrition related, consult your doctor before making any extreme dietary changes.

The Good

These are the ones that the majority of people can use safely and are effective. We’ll briefly go over why they’re useful, but the most important thing is that all of these do work as intended.

Protein Powders (Isolate)

Everyone who trains should probably be supplementing some extra protein to aid with recovery and building lean muscle. Most people simply don’t get enough from food to hit that 1g per pound of bodyweight target.

Vitamin D

This is extremely important for healthy bones and lowering the risk of disease. It also serves to help absorb calcium.

Omega 3 (Fish Oil)

Powerful anti-inflammatory that is great for your joints and for fighting heart disease.

Zinc and Magnesium

Zinc is something that people tend to become deficient in. Similar to protein, if you’re exercising, you may need to supplement zinc. Low zinc leads to lower testosterone levels, meaning recovering will take longer and building muscle will be even harder.

Creatine

This is one that definitely works, but is not necessary. For those of you wanting to get stronger as a primary goal, creatine will definitely help achieve that, in which case it is worth buying.

The Bad

These are a couple of common ones that are useless and maybe even harmful. There are a few others that could also be listed here, but they are not often heard about. As a rule, if it isn’t in the category above, it probably isn’t necessary.

Multivitamins

Just like an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner isn’t a great choice, the same applies here. One size doesn’t fit all. We all have different requirements and a multivitamin only has preset amounts of the different vitamins and minerals it contains. Certain vitamins and minerals may even inhibit the absorption of others too!

Calcium

This is something that you should really only get through food. Usually your body can regulate excess calcium if it comes from whole food sources, but not if it comes from a supplement. Excess calcium from supplements places stress on your kidneys and cardiovascular system. It may also contribute to kidney stone formation. 

Vitamin C

You can get all that you need from citrus fruits. At the very least, Vitamin C supplementation hasn’t been shown to fight off disease. At worst, it may actually work against your immune system.

The Misunderstood

These last ones are very popular, but might be unnecessary. They definitely can work and can be used effectively, but they may not be worth the price.

Pre-Workouts Powders

These can definitely make a difference to your energy levels, but they can also be expensive. If you’re eating well and sleeping well, then having a pre-workout supplement is not very necessary. If you’re feeling run down, it might be a good option, but it also may not be much better than simply having a coffee!


Fat Burners

There are fat burners that work, but the ones that ‘really’ work aren’t something you can buy in a supplement shop. The ones commonly sold can assist with weight loss if you’re doing everything else correctly, (calorie deficit, eating healthy and sleeping enough), but once again, they aren’t necessary to see great results.

Thanks guys! If you have any questions about something not on the list, let us know!

The Importance of Glute Training

Hey guys! Marcus from Fitness Room here! Glutes have very important functions, besides being nice to look at. When they aren’t working properly, your strength, power, mobility and posture all suffer. Weak glutes can also contribute to joint pain, most commonly in the back and knees. Most of us don’t have active jobs, so our glutes switch off over time. We’re going to discuss how to get them firing again so they work properly when training and how that affects other functional movements.

What The Glutes Do

Glutes are responsible for movement of the thigh and hip. If you find that knees collapse inwards, you can’t hinge correctly, or your feet and ankles move around a lot when performing movements like squats, deadlifts or lunges, your glutes may be relatively weak or inactive.

Your glutes also support your core. Weak glutes can create instability in the lower back, which is not ideal for daily life, let alone exercise. You want to make sure that your glutes, abs and back are all working to support each other. If one becomes strained due to others turning off, aches and pains will start cropping up.

How to Activate Your Glutes

Doing a few glute exercises prior to exercise, or simply after sitting for long periods of time, will drastically improve your glute activation. This will ensure they engage when needed, and not place any stress on the abs or spine. 

Clams: 20 reps each side

Banded Side Steps: 12 steps each way

Donkey Kicks: 15 reps each side

Glute Bridge: 20 reps

Make sure you especially do these before training your lower body and you’ll probably find that those squats, lunges and deadlifts feel much stronger and much more stable. 

Thanks guys! If you have any questions about the listed exercises or anything else here, let us know, we’re happy to help. Have a great weekend!

What To Expect As You Get Stronger

Hey guys! Marcus from Fitness Room here!

As you begin progressing in your training, you’ll obviously begin to get stronger and lift more weight. We’re going to break down how strength increases for different muscle groups, and what increases you can expect to see in your fundamental movements.

Depending on the size of the muscle and what its main function is, its capacity for strength gain will be different. If you think about the quads, muscles that make up the front of your legs, these are big, powerful muscles. Compare that to something like your delts, shoulder muscles, which have a dynamic range of movement and are much smaller. 

It seems obvious that you can obviously move more weight with your legs, but sometimes people express dissatisfaction with the progress of these smaller movements. So we have to think about it in a different way.

The percentage increase from 50kg to 100kg for a deadlift and 5kg to 10kg for a lateral fly is the exact same. That’s a 100% increase in strength. So if your lateral fly goes from 5kg to 6kg, this is a really significant amount of progress, let alone 5kg to 10kg! No matter how small the progress seems, it’s better than nothing changing at all. Remember that exercise is a long-term game.

If you managed to increase the weight you lifted on your deadlift by just 1kg every week, you’d be up just over 50kg by the year’s end, which is an excellent amount of progress!

We sometimes get asked if the amount of weight someone is lifting for a particular movement is ‘good’. As a general rule, your bench press will be weaker than your squat, which will be weaker than your deadlift. The only numbers you worth discussing are the ones relative to your bodyweight. For most people, getting these main lifts as close to your bodyweight as possible is a pretty great achievement. So if you weigh 60kg, try and aim for a 60kg squat or deadlift. It will take some time, but you can definitely do it!

Thanks guys! Let’s have a great week!

Exercise and Mental Health

Hey guys! Marcus from Fitness Room here! 

We all know how training changes us physically, and that’s probably the main reason we start exercising. However, the first change due to training actually happens in your brain, not your body! Today we’ll break down some of the positive changes that occur in your mental health and how they happen.

Positive Changes

Some of the most correlated benefits of exercise and mental health are:

  • Improved brain function.
  • Improved sleep patterns.
  • Improved sense of personal control. 
  • Reduced stress and anxiety.
  • Exercise acts as a natural antidepressant.

The first thing to clarify is that while exercise does have therapuetic benefits, it should not be treated as a complete fix. If you or someone you know is struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, it’s important that you seek help from mental health professionals. 

How it Works

There are lots of proposed methods for how exercise influences mental health. The most common effect is the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. All of these have positive effects on your well-being, especially in the short term right after you exercise.

As you progress more, exercise also increases blood circulation to areas of the brain which are responsible for controlling emotion, memory, mood and motivation.

How Much Exercise Do We Need?

The good thing is that release of positive hormones/neurotransmitters happens as soon as you exercise! In order to receive all the long term benefits, you’ll need to be training hard enough to see improvement in your metabolism and cardiovascular health. Everything is connected so once you start seeing physical change, your mental health will also most likely be improving.

Thanks guys! Have a great weekend!

What To Look For On Food Labels

Hey guys! It’s Marcus and Stefan from Fitness Room!

Whether you’re tracking your macros or just trying to eat a little cleaner, you’ll need to take a glance at the food labels. Today’s email is going to break down what you should be looking at in order to make the healthiest choices for your diet.

Serving Size and Calories

First off, at the very top of the label you need to look at the serving size and/or calories.

If you aren’t tracking macros on Myfitnesspal, then you’ll need to be looking at the serving sizes and the % of recommended daily intake to get a rough idea of what you should be eating. For those counting calories, just scan the barcode in the Myfitnesspal app. As you probably know, it’ll automatically add all of the relevant information to your daily intake.

Maximise Protein and Fibre

You want to be choosing foods that ideally have more than 10% of their calories coming from protein. Eating the required amount of protein to recover from training can be challenging. Try to aim for 1g per pound or 2.2g per kilo of bodyweight. Having about 40g of protein in each meal will make a big difference in building lean muscle and feeling healthier. For fibre, you want to aim for about 25g – 30g per day. That should be 10g each meal, which is pretty easy to get in!

Minimise Sugar and Sodium

Junk foods usually blow way past the recommended values for sugar and sodium whereas whole foods barely reach them. This means sticking to the daily % value should keep you in a nice medium as long as you’re eating healthy foods. Remember that salt and sugar are important in our diets. However they should be used to add flavour. They should not instrinsically be in our foods in high amounts.

Try to keep sodium to less than 10% of the daily value for any given meal. Try not to exceed 50g of sugar per day for most people. If you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet and eat lots of fruit, you’ll be over this limit. As long as you brush your teeth regularly you should be fine. 

Fats – Mono, Poly, Saturated and Trans

Healthy fats are required in your diet in order to feel your best. You’ll find that good sources of fats, such as nuts or avocado, have higher values of poly and monounsaturated fats. You should aim to limit saturated fat and maximise poly and monounsaturated fats. Try to avoid trans fats as best you can. These are found mainly in deep fried foods but are also present in small amounts in meat and milk.

Thanks guys! 

What is the Keto Diet?

Hey guys! It’s Marcus from Fitness Room here!

The Ketogenic Diet is probably one of the most well-known diets that we hear about. We’re going to break down what it is, how to go keto and whether or not it could work for you.

How it works

When you eat less than 50g of carbs per day, your body will start producing ketone bodies. They are formed in the liver from a breakdown of fat when there isn’t enough glucose, (from carbohydrates), in your system. You must be certain you’re eating less than 50g of carbs per day for this diet to work.

The amount of weight lost is similar to other diets that simply restrict calories, so there is no 100% confirmation that the weight lost on a keto diet is due to ketone production. It may just be that doing this diet is inherently making people restrict carbs that come from processed and junk food sources which are high in calories. This then aids in weight loss.

Since you’ll be eating such a tiny amount of carbs, those 50g will have to come from healthy, high fibre foods, like vegetables. If your carbs are from bad sources then the diet will not be effective and you’ll probably feel pretty terrible as well.

Cons of Keto

The biggest one is that eating less than 50g of carbs is not an easy thing to do. People who were successful on the diet generally report they stop craving carbs, but getting to that point and staying consistent may be a challenge. Ketosis is a binary thing, either you are or you aren’t keto, so you can’t slowly ease into it. Going cold turkey on most carbs, with the exception of veggies, and also dealing with the small amount of carbs overall may trip people up. 

The second problem may arise with extended periods of time on the keto diet, (5+ years). There is not much empirical evidence on the long term effects of eating a tiny amount of carbs. We know that carbs are not ‘essential’, but they can definitely affect how we feel in terms of both mood and energy when training.

Our Recommendation

Keto definitely works for some people, although the exact reason why it works is still in the air, the important thing is that it generally makes people eat a healthier diet. For those who feel they need a stricter diet in order to stay accountable, keto may be a good choice, but it definitely isn’t necessary. 

I also wouldn’t recommend it to those who need to maintain athletic performance. Some people report more energy after swapping to keto, but that is purely based on the person and will vary. As a general rule, if you’re playing sport, you should be eating carbs. Similarly if your performance in the gym decreases after switching to keto, it may not be the right diet for you.

It’s a difficult diet to stick to for most people and its long-term sustainability is questionable. Both Stefan and I are not huge fans of the diet and wouldn’t be quick to recommend it. However, if you do it correctly and you feel fine eating low carb then it will work for weight loss.

If you have any questions, make sure to let us know and we’d be happy to get back to you! Thanks guys!

Alcohol and Training

Hey guys! It’s Stefan and Marcus from Fitness Room!

In today’s email, we’re going to be discussing the effects of alcohol on your training. To preface it all, neither of us drink regularly or casually. Stefan’s last drink was around 18 months ago and mine was around 10 months ago. The purpose of this email is to inform you guys on alcohol as it relates to training, and also on the reason why we don’t drink often.

To follow on a point from yesterday’s email, alcohol contains empty calories (not nutritious) and are a liquid source of calories. Because alcohol contains calories, it adds up towards your total daily requirement. If you go over your normal intake, this will contribute to weight gain, particularly fat, as the calories are coming from something with no nutritional value. Remember that liquid calories will be readily absorbed and stored as fat if you exceed your caloric limit!

While none of that is great, the real reason we don’t drink is because of how it affects your training when it comes to recovery. The degree to which your recovery is affected is dependent on the amount you drink, however even a small amount will have some adverse effects. The first way it affects recovery is through dehydration. We all know that alcohol acts as a diuretic and being dehydrated will slow down your recovery. This is because it makes it harder for your body to get nutrients to your muscles. Alcohol also affects the pathways responsible for protein synthesis, limiting the amount of lean muscle mass you can put on from your training, even if you did a really tough session.

Both of these mean your recovery will slow down, and so you’ll have to put in way more time and effort in the gym to reach your goals.

Binge drinking takes all of these points to the extreme. You’ll be taking in a ton of empty calories all at once, which will definitely contribute to storing bodyfat. Binging also effectively ruins your training. Not only will it interrupt protein synthesis, it can actually break down your muscle fibres and place lots of strain on your internal organs, which are also trying their best to function while dehydrated. 

We understand that it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to just quit drinking completely, but there are ways to cut back so your results aren’t affected too much. The obvious thing to do is to limit the amount of drinking you do. Keep the amount small and try to keep it on days where you aren’t training. While removing alcohol completely is the best choice, you can counteract some of the negative effects by eating foods rich in protein and doing a workout the day after you drink. Remember though, you’ll be returning to baseline, not progressing forward. If you’re looking to get more results, try and quit drinking for a few weeks or months, you can celebrate your goals with a (small) drink once you reach them!

Thanks guys! 

5 Reasons Your Weight Isn’t Changing

5 Reasons Your Weight Isn’t Changing 

Hey guys! It’s Marcus from Fitness Room!

During a weight loss process there can be some discouraging times. Sometimes you’re putting in all the right effort into your diet and training but you haven’t been seeing any results. Here are a few things that can have a major impact on your body and overall health, so make sure you’re on top of all of them!

Not Eating Enough Protein

Protein intake can affect your body in lots of ways. First off, we all need protein and most of us need more than we think, especially if we’re training a few times each week. Meals that are high in protein will make you feel fuller for longer, which is extremely important for fighting off snacking. 

Protein is obviously the most important for recovery, and that’s because it helps grow our muscles bigger and stronger. More muscle on your body means you’ll be burning more fat while at rest, and you also get to eat more (nutritious!) food, which is a big plus. Make sure protein comes first when you’re designing your diet!

Drinking Your Calories

Liquid calories affect your progress in two ways. They are easily digested when consumed and they are often hidden and easy to forget about. It’s easy to ignore the calories in the sugar or milk we add to coffees/juices/smoothies, but they add up and will throw off your diet. Oils are also calorically dense and we often forget to track them when we make our meals. Anytime you cook a meal with oil, there’s probably an extra 100 – 200 calories in that meal. Liquid calories add up quickly, so make sure you’re mindful of them. 

Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is a big one for general mental and physical health. With regards to losing weight, a lack of sleep will increase stress hormones that make your body store fat. If you don’t manage to get enough sleep, you’re significantly slowing down your progress, especially if you lost sleep and trained earlier that day. Do your best to get 50 – 70 hours of sleep per week. It will make training feel way better and you’ll also look and feel healthier. 

Artificial Sweeteners

While artificial sweeteners don’t carry the calories of sugar, it still has the same negative impact on your brain. To our brains, food is a reward and it activates the pleasure sensors. Artificial sweeteners don’t completely activate food reward pathways in the same way as sugar, which actually sounds favourable. However, partial activation actually contributes to increased appetite and sweetness cravings, because of that lack of complete satisfaction. This is thought to increase food seeking behaviour. So while it doesn’t directly affect your weight, it may contribute to a binge that will ruin a week’s hard work!

Building Muscle

Changing your body composition takes time, especially if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. This is why we take photos, measurements and record your weight on the scale. Remember that the scale is just a number and just another way to measure progress. If your weight doesn’t move but your limbs are getting a bit bigger and (ideally) your waist is staying at a relatively constant number, you’re putting on muscle and losing fat! This is not an easy thing to do so you should definitely be proud of yourself!

Thanks guys! If you have any questions about anything then let us know, we’re always happy to help!

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Hey guys! It’s Marcus from Fitness Room here!

Most of us have heard of Intermittent Fasting as a tool to help lose weight, so we’re going to break down exactly what it is and hopefully make it easier for you to decide whether or not it will work for you!

First off, as with most things relating to nutrition, you have to take everything with a grain of salt and experiment with the advice yourself. If Intermittent Fasting works great for you, then that’s another thing you can use to get results. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s also completely fine! 

How It Works

Intermittent Fasting is thought to work by using bodyfat as energy, instead of drawing energy from the food you eat. It may also be helpful in managing blood sugar levels. This is because you wont be eating sporadically throughout the course of the day, so it may help with avoiding spikes and crashes in your energy levels.

How To Do It

You just carve out a window of time during the day where you eat all of your calories and fast outside of this window. The most common way to do it is fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8, but some people have smaller eating windows. Remember that the most effective method is the one you can actually stick to, so customise the timing based on your schedule and lifestyle. For example, if you prefer to eat early then make your window earlier in the day.

Getting through the time around your eating window can be challenging, so make sure you’re always drinking water to help satiate any hunger.

Cons of Intermittent Fasting

Depending on how you set up your eating window, it may impact social events or family time. Most people don’t want to be the one going out with friends or family but refusing to eat or drink because their eating window is in the morning.

For physiological issues, make sure to consult your doctor before taking on any drastic changes with your diet. Intermittent Fasting is probably not going to be suitable for anyone struggling with their blood sugar or digestion. 

Eating this way isn’t for everybody, if you can’t see it working out for you then don’t force it just because it may improve your results!

I used Intermittent Fasting when I was losing weight. I personally started eating at 2PM and finished my last meal by 8PM. That’s what worked for my schedule and I felt like it definitely helped keep my energy levels high when it mattered, (during training). I did a few workouts fasted and they felt ok, but I usually did my sessions around 4PM or 5PM. Placing the session in the middle of my window helped maintain my training quality, even though I was eating less food overall.


Thanks guys! If you guys have any questions then feel free to let us know. We’d be happy to help!