Nutrition; Fat Loss & Health Tips


Eat IN not out.  People who eat out tend to eat less healthy food and weigh more than people who eat at home.  To save money and kilograms, stop eating out (this goes for take-aways as well) and see how much you save on your budget and your waistline.  Don’t use the excuse of no time; just plan your meals ahead of time.  You will be more inclined to eat in moderation if you have thought out healthy meals in advance.

Try new foods.  Healthy doesn’t mean boring when it comes to food.  Treat yourself to new cookbooks and experiment with recipes that will make healthy eating a pleasure.  Try cooking something new and exciting every week.  Involve your family and friends in your healthy eating, start a club, a different person can contribute a new recipe every week.

Drink more water.  You can easily reduce your daily calorie intake by replacing sugary carbonated drinks, alcohol, fruit juices and even coffee with water.  Thirst can also be confused with hunger, so by drinking more water you may avoid consuming extra calories, plus it will help you break down food more easily.  The best beverage to accompany any meal is water.  Even pure fruit juice is loaded with sugar, calorie dense but with limited nutritional value.

Say good-bye to ALL refined; processed & sugary foods.  Products like white bread, pastas, cookies and cakes cause most people to over secrete the hormone insulin, your fat storing hormone.  In short, excess insulin = excess fat.  All processed and refined foods will add loads of calories but no significant nutrition, so even though you’ve had “food”, you haven’t FED your body.  Be careful of beverages as well, as a can of cool drink typically contains between 12 & 16 teaspoons of sugar.  Drinking just 1 can of cool drink can add over 300 calories to your daily intake without supplying any nutrients!  That is the equivalent of a light meal!

 Change up your fitness routine.  Regular exercise is vital to stay healthy and fit and to stop weight gain.  Change your routine regularly to challenge your body, which will help you shed those unwanted kilograms.

Get enough sleep!  Adequate sleep is vital to good health.  By skipping sleep, you’re not just making yourself more tired, you’re also increasing your risk of weight gain.  When you are tired, you are more likely to reach for quick sources of energy (think sugar and other refined carbs) and to make unhealthy eating decisions.

Build muscle.  One reason metabolism slows as you age is decreased muscle mass due to inactivity.  Fight back by being active.  The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn both during exercising and throughout the day.

Write it down.  Studies have shown that people who write down what they eat and when they eat are more likely to have success at losing unwanted fat.  It is also an easy way to track what foods you are eating.  Many of us don’t realize what we eat during the day so writing it down is one way to monitor what we are munching on.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations.  Many of us try to lose weight too quickly, we want to undo in weeks that which took years to happen. Trying to drop an unrealistic amount of weight in a short time is a recipe for disaster.  Take your time and recognize that losing weight is about making significant changes in how you think about food and exercise.

Learn to control stress.  There is a direct link between stress and belly fat. Heightened cortisol levels in blood resulting from stress seem to react with the body’s insulin to create visceral abdominal fat and, in a double whammy, to also drive us toward sugary foods.

Think lifestyle change, not short-term diet.  Permanent weight loss is not something that a “quick-fix” diet can achieve.  Instead, think about weight loss as a permanent lifestyle change, a commitment to your health and wellness for life.  Permanent healthy changes in your lifestyle and food choices are what will work in the long run.

Put a stop to emotional eating.  We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger.  If we did, no one would be overweight.  All too often, we turn to food for comfort and stress relief.  When this happens, we frequently pack on kilograms.  Don’t underestimate the importance of putting a stop to emotional eating.  Learning to recognize the emotional triggers that lead you to overeat and respond with healthier choices can make all the difference in your weight loss efforts.

Take charge of your food environment.  Your weight loss efforts will succeed or fail based largely on your food environment.  Set yourself up for success by taking charge of your food environment; when you eat, how much you eat and what foods are available.  Don’t keep “bad stuff” in your cupboards and fridge… It is just too tempting to indulge.

Turn off the television.  Watching less TV gives you more time to be active and less time to be enticed by junk food.  Take the TV out of your bedroom, and make sure it’s off during meals.

Eat fat.  Healthy fats such as olives, salmon, coconut oil, butter, cream, avocados and nuts help you feel satisfied.

Skip the starters & the desert.  When at a restaurant, ask them to remove the bread, etc. from your table, also don’t order a starter or a desert.  Rather have a good cappuccino with cream after your meal.   If it’s not on your table, you won’t be tempted.

Take a brisk walk before lunch and / or supper.  Not only will you get some exercise, you’ll be less likely to choose something unhealthy after a little movement.

Never eat any snack food out of the box, carton, or bag it came in.  You’re less likely to overeat if you separate snacks into appropriate fist-sized servings, this way you will eat the right serving size as we tend to empty the box or bag irrespective of the size of the box or bag.

Track your success.  People who regularly weigh themselves and keep track of their progress are more likely to lose weight.

Eat seasonally.  When you eat calorie-friendly vegetables that are in season, they tend to taste better and you’re more likely to enjoy them.

Get your dose of fishy oils.  The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon may dial up your body’s ability to burn fat, especially if you add some exercise.

Make your wardrobe match your goals.  As you lose weight donate the clothes that have become too big for you as an incentive to stay on track.

Avocados can be your secret weight loss partners.  They’re high in fiber and healthy fats, so eat up!


Article by Sharon Jessop, Outdoor Fitness Training Expert & Owner of Boot Camp Academy SA

Love Your Heart

We all know that exercising and eating healthy is good for our heart health right?  But sometimes life just gets in the way, and we make excuses, I am too tired, it is too late now, I’ll do it tomorrow, I have no time…  Sound familiar?  Although it is far too easy to use any excuse to opt out of exercising, here are a few scary facts and some practical tips to get you going.

Over the past 4 decades, numerous scientific reports have looked at the relationship between physical activity, physical fitness, and cardiovascular health.  Expert panels, convened by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Heart Association (AHA), along with the 1996 US Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, reinforced scientific evidence linking regular physical activity to improved cardiovascular health.  These studies have concluded that more active or fit individuals tend to develop less coronary heart disease (CHD) than their sedentary counterparts.  And if CHD develops in active or fit individuals, it occurs at a later age and tends to be less severe.

As many as 250 000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity, and the numbers are probably as high if not higher for South Africans.  In addition, studies that followed large groups of individuals for many years have documented the protective effects of physical activity for a number of non-cardiovascular chronic diseases (lifestyle diseases), such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.  In contrast, we see a higher rate of cardiovascular events and a higher death rate in those individuals with low levels of physical fitness.

And it is never too late, even midlife increases in physical activity, whether through change in occupation or recreational / sporting activities, are associated with a decrease in mortality.  Despite this evidence, however, the vast majority of people still remain effectively sedentary; less than one-third of South Africans meet the minimal recommendations for physical activity as recommended by experts.


Here’s how to embed heart health into your daily lifestyle:

  1. Firstly ask yourself, “Is my life not worth investing 30 minutes to an hour a day in my physical activity?”
  1. Start slow, pace yourself, maintain, sustain. This applies to nutrition, fitness and all other lifestyle changes.
  1. Set a goal of 10 minutes a day of physical activity. Slowly work up to 150 minutes a week; i.e. 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Consistency is the key people – rather do a little bit 5 days per week as opposed to lots of physical activity once per month.  Our bodies respond to consistency!
  1. Remember, exercise does not only mean hitting the gym – it can also be parking your car further away from the entrance to your workplace or the supermarket; climbing stairs rather than taking the elevator; or moving every 30 minutes from a sitting position.
  1. Plan and batch-cook meals for the week. Freezing cooked meals ensures you have healthy nutrition choices and frees up time for movement and exercise.
  1. Address your stress. Take inventory of what causes you stress, examine what changes can be made, tweak your stress management and coping techniques, and ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone.
  1. Combine movement with other activities you enjoy. For example, move the treadmill in front of your television. Listen to music on your daily walk.  If playing a sport trumps aerobics classes, do that instead.  Find an activity that you will fall in love with and stick with it.
  1. Reach out to friends or neighbours and exercise together. It is fun and helps support accountability.
  1. Diarise your daily exercise in your calendar. Once this time is blocked off and in writing, nothing should change it.
  1. Sleep more, not less. Seven to nine hours is recommended for adults. No excuses.

Now you need to take these tips and APPLY it to your life – make sure exercise is fun, get the whole family involved and NEVER make excuses!

Here’s to your heart health!!!

Article by Sharon Jessop; Outdoor Fitness Training Expert & Owner of Boot Camp Academy SA

Fit Families Have More Fun Together!

Family-RunningSummer is on its way and we all want to shape up; get fit; look good and feel great!  What better way to achieve this than training with your family?

Let’s have a look at the benefits are you can expect from boot camp fitness training.  Firstly, boot camp training is for everyone.  Persons of all ages and all fitness levels can join in the fun.  This is one of the main reasons why boot camp training is so popular and ideal for families to enjoy together.  It builds strength and endurance, and gives you a metabolic boost of note; this is great news if you need to shed some unwanted winter “fluff”, especially around the waistline.  Boot camp training is mainly done using your own body weight, thus minimum equipment is required which makes it both cost effective and safe for all ages and abilities.  Due to the wide range of exercises used for boot camp training one is seldom bored as you might be with more traditional types of training.  Not one single day needs to be the same; we always aim for interesting and boredom busting workouts.

There are no treadmills or bicycles going nowhere and no complicated equipment that will confuse you.  You will use
your body the way nature intended it to be used; this means reduced risk of 3304injuries.  As some of the exercises involve working in pairs or groups, it creates a sense of camaraderie which is great for some family bonding time.  All members of your family will gain self-confidence as they master the exercises, self-discipline is instilled as the family will train together even when you might not feel like training; concentration levels will improve; immune systems will get stronger; you will be more healthy as a family physically, emotionally and intellectually; and your family bond will get stronger as you continue training together as a family.

Always remember that families who play together stay together!

Why not make use of our special family packages today!  Click here to inquire about pricing.

Article by Sharon Jessop; Outdoor Fitness Training Expert & Owner of Boot Camp Academy SA