Fitness and nutrition Q&A
A few weeks ago I was prompted to do a fitness Q&A after receiving some tweet mentions from Mike. I didn’t get too many questions but I still enjoyed answering them (in great detail haha). They were good questions. 👍 I would also like to point out that I’m not a professional and do suggest seeking professional advice before trying anything new or making significant changes to your workout routine or diet.
Mike asked a few questions, which I’ll go through one after another below!
Do you take any supplements etc. before or after you gym?
Yes I do!
I take preworkout before I go to the gym, which gives you energy the same way coffee does (as it has caffeine), but with an added kick to help you push through your routine! I take Anabolix Freak3d, and am currently going through a tub of the new Rainbow Burst flavour. I just finished a tub of Blackberry, which my friend recommended as the best flavour. I only take half a serving because it’s really potent. I used to take Cellucor preworkout which I also recommend, but it’s still very strong. It’s important to assess your tolerance to the stuff and start with a low dosage first.
I typically exercise first thing in the morning, and your body is not as warmed up at this time of day compared to when you have been awake for a while, so sometimes preworkout is necessary. If I work out in the evenings sometimes I go without, or I might have a small cup of coffee.
I have a protein shake after my workout. I use B Raw protein powder (salted caramel is my favourite flavour). It’s vegan and gluten free, and I really enjoy the taste and the feeling of fullness I get from it. I’m lactose intolerant, but I’ve tried whey powder and it’s OK, but I don’t love it. I started taking creatine this year, and I put a serving into my protein shake. Creatine is naturally occurring in the body and assists with muscle gains (I’m bulking at the moment) as well as strength gains.
I like to eat protein bars as snacks, and my go-to bars are the Aussie Bodies Whip’d range. I have recently tried Smart Protein Bar and it’s alright – nutritional value over taste with this one.
Eating healthy is just as important as exercising. Did you or do you calorie count?
I don’t count calories, I fucking hate it. 😂 At first I tried it for a week, using myfitnesspal, aka the app that everyone uses, and thought it was cool and an easy way to track calories. I stopped, deleted the app, and re-installed it, only for this process to repeat.
Here’s the thing. Counting calories is so annoying, but I personally found it harmful to my mental health. I’d also do something like eat a bowl of ramen and realise it was over my recommended daily calorie intake, and then give up because that was upsetting. I could not just eat a bowl of ramen and nothing else for a day (because calories in, calories out, if you want to lose fat you have to eat less than what you burn, etc.). As someone who used to have an eating disorder, this was not good for my mindset, and in my opinion, is an unhealthy, unsatisfying way to live. Although I will frequently cut foods from my diet or alter my diet when I have a short term goal, I largely believe in having a flexible diet and enjoying yourself and allowing yourself to eat the foods you want, but while making sure you eat nutritious food as well. At most I will look at nutritional information to get some idea of what a product contains, just so I have some idea.
I don’t count macros, either, but if I don’t think I’ve had enough carbohydrates, protein or fats (again, depending on my goal), then I will find a way to fit that into my daily intake.
What’s a day like of food for you from breakfast to dinner typically?
This is a typical weekday.
Post-workout/breakfast (8:00am, sometimes earlier)
- B raw protein shake + creatine
- Bowl of oats or wheat pillows + strawberries and/or blueberries
Second breakfast (about 9:30am)
This is typically served at work since we get breakfast, but the food options can sometimes vary. Most of the time there are eggs. 🥚🍳
- 2–3 eggs, either hard-boiled, fried, poached or scrambled
- spinach or asparagus or some serving of vegetable
- 0–2 rashers of bacon, depending on how I’m feeling (I try to limit my bacon consumption)
- 2 slices of cheese (if available)
- Beforeyouspeak coffee (it’s the only coffee I drink!)
I get lunch at work as well so it’s a bit hard to write this one out. The menu changes all the time, but there will typically be a meat dish, sides, and condiments.
- a serving of meat – beef or chicken or fish or lamb
- a serving of vegetables – oftentimes a green salad containing something like spinach, cabbage, or lettuce; or something like green beans, broccoli, broccolini or asparagus
- a small serving of rice if available, unless it’s poke bowl day, then I’d probably load it up a bit
I love leafy green vegetables and I try to add them to my dishes at any opportunity I have.
- protein bar, avocado, or fruit
- a lot of the time, salmon 😆 otherwise barramundi, chicken thighs/breast, or scotch fillet steak
- steamed vegetables (like broccoli, carrot, peas, corn) or asparagus or broccoli or broccolini (mmmm my favourite)
- white rice or a handful of potato gems
About once a week I’ll have a naked burger – steak in a lettuce cup with rocket, tomatoes, tomato salsa.
What sort of routine did you start with? Did you immediately get into weights?
This question was asked by my friend Thea.
When I first started going to the gym I was doing a lot of cardio. I didn’t immediately get into weights. I had a few personal training sessions and the trainer encouraged me to start lifting weights to get more toned, but she didn’t really drill it into my head that if I wanted muscle tone, I would have to lift weights. I was too afraid of getting bulky and big. I started by doing lunges and various leg exercises with some weight, but I was doing about 20 minutes of cardio per session.
I did not really know what I was doing at the gym. I tried out all the different machines for all the muscle groups, and I did things with dumbbells like bicep curls and tricep extensions. I know now, I was not activating the correct muscles, and not focussing on a mind-to-muscle connection!
I have learned a lot since then from asking personal trainers at my gym and being around some of my colleagues at work who are into weightlifting. This helped me learn more about what I was doing wrong and made me want to be stronger and focus on lifting weights. If I could go back and change things, I would be less terrified about getting a personal trainer and I would have used a trainer when I was starting out to prevent injury and to get some help as a beginner.
For a couple of years I believe I overtrained – I was at the gym for up to two hours a day and never took a rest day. I usually started with a cardio warmup and ended with cardio, all the time. I didn’t work on progressively overloading my lifts, so I had consistent weight and muscle mass and did not gain a lot of strength. About 18 months ago I started ramping it up and changing my training style, including training legs (I never did it before because I was afraid of having even bigger legs, but now I embrace them), doing more supersets, and doing less cardio.
You can read a post about my fitness journey that I wrote a couple of years ago. It details how I previously experienced disordered eating and low self-esteem, and how I got into bodybuilding. If you have any other questions about my workouts or nutrition let me know in the comments!