Food for thought... - Encore

Food for thought…

Recently I was asked to give my opinion on a list of ‘popular’ diets: Atkins, Dolce, Vegan, 5:2. The brief was to read up on each diet, and write a review for a website.

As a trainer, I’m constantly asked about nutrition, and over the years I’ve personally dabbled in several different realms of dieting… I entered the world of pure paleo for a while… Dr Sears’ Zone Diet- I did that one … Charles Poliquin’s meat and nut breakfast was an expensive phase too.

Did I get results? Yes.

Are there bits of the diet that I still incorporate into my current nutritional strategy?   –  Yes.

Were there some parts of the diet that would benefit everyone?  –   Yes.

Could I do them forever?   –  NO!

Would I recommend them to most of my clients?   –  NO!

These days, I’ve learned that not everybody is ready to drop into the deep end of extreme nutrition. They want some sensible rules to follow that won’t drive them insane.

My nutrition advice these days is just that- advice. I do have an easy to work with set of rules that I teach (which you can download here), but in a world where physique contests are popping up every couple of weeks, I don’t pretend to have all the answers.








If my clients are really serious about losing weight for a big occasion and their current approach by itself isn’t working, then I send them to my friend at the local bodybuilding gym for a consultation. (When I say serious, they need to be serious enough to eat cod for breakfast 7 days a week!)

Before Crossfit, before Paleo and before eating for your blood type, there were bodybuilders. And they were ripped!

What have the bodybuilders been doing right for all these years? They’ve been weighing and measuring their food and eating clean – no processed or junk food. They also have to do a ton of preparation and often eat different meals from the rest of their families. The most important point which shouldn’t be overlooked is that they make no bones about the fact that they get into shape for a show, like a fighter gets in shape for a fight- often through some extreme methods. Then they relax the rules a little bit- often quite a lot.


So back to my diet review… Even as I was reading the list of suspects that I was supposed to investigate, I knew what I would probably end up saying…

Most of these diets would work if you stuck to them. Especially at the start: Either the shock to your body, or the reduction in calories would definitely kick-start some level of weight loss.

But how long are you going to last? And what is your exit strategy?

Even the bodybuilders’ diet is too extreme to stick to forever, which is why they don’t do it all year round. What happens when you’re fed up of turkey for breakfast, or when you think you might actually rob someone for an apple?

So which diet should you stick to for the rest of your life?

The answer is actually another question:

Which diet CAN you stick to for the rest of your life?

You need one which gets you the results you want and is good for you inside and out- ie well-balanced carbs, proteins, healthy fats and loads of vegetables, and for sanity’s sake- the occasional  treat. This is your maintenance plan. Otherwise it’s a lifetime of yo-yoing.

But you also want an approach that works best for your lifestyle, job, training habits, appetite, and tastes. And the only person that knows what that is is you.

So along with a set of rules to follow that cover the first points, I came up with a ‘Survival Guide’ to help you cover the second set of points. The amount of times that when I’ve mentioned some of the points in the guide and people have said- “Yeah, I guess that makes sense really doesn’t it.” So I just put them all down on paper, and here they are:


By the way, it’s completely free, I’m not selling anything.


Thanks for reading,



Being in the fitness industry for over 12 years, I've seen it all. The fads, the hype and the stuff that really works. I've seen my own body and training have to adapt to family life as my kids have come along and turned my world upside down in the best possible way, and I've done my best to stay at the top of my game throughout.

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