Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.


During my time at university, as a regular gym goer I knew that I would feel the effects of removing exercise from my life temporarily. My study was to assess my stress levels and over all mental health day by day without exercise in my life.

Most of my fellow students decided to aim to treat illnesses such as diabetes, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. I chose to go down a different path and look more at the effects of exercise on mental health.

The study I carried out for my Exercise on Prescription (ECA) module was the removal of resistance exercise from my weekly routine. As a young and enthusiastic bodybuilder in the making, my training was always aimed towards hypertrophy. Cardio was also a big part of my training as I played rugby league for the university team. My study was to remove both of these elements of my life and monitor the effects it had on my mental health.


I removed the resistance training from my regime for the first week and then both resistance and rugby from my regime for the second week. The third week was to incorporate them both back in as normal and assess whether I noticed a significant elevation in overall well-being.

I monitored my mood, well-being and aggression levels twice daily for the three weeks.



Week 1: No resistance training but rugby training and game

Week 2: No resistance training, no rugby training and no game

Week 3: Resumed resistance training, resumed rugby training and game


The results I found was that when I removed resistance training from my routine, my self-esteem took a significant dose dive. Absence of the satisfaction of leaving everything in the gym and knowing that you had nothing left to give made me feel like I was slacking and wasn’t working to my full potential. This suggests that exercise positively affects your mental health as you get feeling of self-satisfaction but on the other hand this can also cause hypervigilance/body dysmorphia and suggests that exercise can be addictive and stopping suddenly can have negative effects on your own opinion of yourself. Even though no one would have ever noticed that I had stopped training for a week, you get inside your own head and can become your own worst enemy. Adequate rest and down time is the key to staying level headed and ultimately, not becoming self-obsessed.


When I removed both resistance and rugby from my routine my overall mental health was impacted significantly. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t break down or struggle to get through my day to day tasks but there was definitely a noticeable change in my mood and the most obvious change was a rise in aggression.

When I say a rise in aggression, this doesn’t mean I was losing it over trivial things and flying off the handle at any moment. Most people would not have even noticed there was a change in my mood but internally, I was aware that there was an increase in aggression and temper.


Another thing to note was my sleep pattern was disrupted as I was waking up during the night several times. I did not struggle to fall asleep but I did find it hard to remain asleep during the night. This negatively impacted my mood the following day and worsened as the week went on.

Irritability was extremely high towards the end of week two.


The only way to describe my newly implemented sedentary lifestyle was ‘climbing the walls’. Towards the end of day 5, week 2, my overall mood had definitely changed. I was starting to become more introvert instead of my usual extrovert self. In was choosing to do things on my own and stay inside or study on my own instead if the group work I would usually take part in.


When you are so used to being so active and outgoing to being majorly sedentary you don’t know what to do with yourself. You almost feel lost and isolated.

Again, this heavily suggests that contact team sports and resistance training massively reduces stress levels and anxiety. It can also alter how outgoing and sociable you may be.


My findings were the result of a self-assessment and my results are strictly limited to my own personal circumstance as I have no existing mental health issues.


The results from my brief self-study suggest that exercise whether it’s a contact sport/cardio or resistance does positively affect an individual’s mental health and well-being. It helps regulate mood, sleep and definitely controls heightened aggression levels. The feeling of self-satisfaction and self-worth that you get after completing an intense workout or performing as part of a team gives you is definitely something someone that suffers from a mental health illness should look at as I truly believe that the endorphins released by exercise can change your outlook on life for the better!


There’s always someone that is willing listen. Don’t suffer in silence!


Ryan Maude BSc


Should I use the scales to track my progress?


Using the scales to track progress is good if you only goal is to lose weight. If you aren’t interested in your body composition and all you are interested in is simply reducing both fat and muscle mass, then by all the means the scales are the way to go.


If you are looking to reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass, also known as a re-composition then using the scales can often hinder progress or lead to unnecessary stress.

Its common knowledge that muscle is denser than fat so increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass will still cause a slight weight gain. Chasing a target weight can cause eating disorders and body dysmorphia.


If you have no reason to be under a certain weight then focusing on the scales makes no sense, it is a good indicator that you achieving weight loss but does not account for any muscle you may add in the process.

The best and most accurate way to measure fat loss is a displacement chamber in which you are lowered into a pool. 99% of people don’t have access to this kind of facility which means skin fold callipers are the next best option.


The next best way is a bioelectrical impedance machine. This sends a current through you and measures what is water, fat and muscle. These are often very accurate but readings can be falsified if the individual is dehydrated.


If you have no set weight target and just want to tone up and slim down, then we always recommend going by the mirror. What you weigh doesn’t always correspond with how you feel.

You may look leaner and more muscular but you are more than likely going to be heavier so don’t let the scales trick you into thinking you’re gaining fat!


Here’s three simple yet effective suggestions for supplements to help maximise fat loss without any side effects or breaking the bank!

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

This free form fatty acid is naturally found in dairy products such as milk and cheese. During a period of extended dieting, most tend to avoid dairy products due to their high fat contents and the ability to bloat most individuals.
CLA is a highly beneficial supplement during a diet, its presence in the body will free up fat deposits in the body to then be allowed to be used as fuel.
Thus, increasing the total amount of fat burned. When combined with proper nutrition and an active lifestyle, CLA can provide very sustainable results.
Dosage for fat loss is roughly between 5-7g per day, we recommend breaking this up into 3 equal doses throughout the day.


L-carnitine is a non-essential amino-acid-like compound, meaning it’s produced in the body naturally. Its main function is to help the body to produce energy and plays an important role in muscle movement as well as the normal functioning of the brain and heart.
L-carnitine helps your body to produce energy by utilizing the body’s fat stores allowing you to work-out for longer and ultimately aiding in fat loss. Taking L-carnitine on a daily basis has been proven to increase the blood and muscular concentrations of this amino acid-like compound, enhancing fat metabolism.

Green Tea Extract

This product is often included most fat loss supplements but is massively under-dosed to have any real benefit. Green tea extract is a simple yet effective product and shows no signs of any side effects.
You can drink cups of green tea to achieve the same result but you would have drink roughly 6 cups a day to consume the amount of catechins required to aid in fat loss.
Green Tea is also an effective appetite suppressant and will aid in the offset of cravings for sugary foods.


Ryan Maude BSc


Frequency of meals – 5 meals a day Vs 3 meals a day


Another age old debate that is a nutritionist’s nightmare!

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this article, I’ll start by stating that everybody is different and what works for some, may not work for others.

This is not just about food and how often you consume meals but with every aspect of life. From learning techniques to supplementation, not every strategy or method of dieting will work for everyone. You have to find the one that works for you!


So here we go, for fat loss, 5 small meals a day or 3 medium meals a day?

I’ll do this the easy way; I’ll present the facts for both sides first and then provide an explanation for what I think is best for fat loss.


5 Meals day

  • Smaller meals means hunger is on and off all day (you don’t really ever feel full)
  • Metabolism is steady and raised only slightly with each meal
  • Metabolism is elevated for longer throughout the day
  • Calories per meal are lower and diet has to be stricter
  • Food going in has to be very clean due to shorter durations between meals

3 Meals a day

  • Duration between meals are longer so metabolism spikes are higher
  • Larger meals gives feeling of satisfaction (less hunger throughout the day)
  • Longer duration between meals causes a semi-fasted state which means calories burned between meals is higher.
  • Calories from fat have greater time to be burned between meals.
  • Macros need to be manipulated and altered properly throughout the day in order to maximise fat loss.


So, there you go. That’s the 5 vs 3 facts summed up. Time for a professional opinion and bare in mind this for fat loss, not building muscle. If this was muscle building or bulking, I would preach 5 meals a day (probably more) all day long!

Both sides have both points for and against but I would have to lean towards 3 meals a day for fat loss. Solely down of the spikes in metabolism and the lower chance of snacking due to satisfaction.

A semi-fasted state will allow for greater fat loss and also increase insulin sensitivity.


The way I have always dieted is 3 medium sized meals, one carb heavy (breakfast), one a combination of both fats and carbs (lunch) and then finally one mainly all fats (evening meal).

If performing fasted cardio upon rising, this method will prove extremely beneficial as the first 20 minutes of cardio is burning the glucose in your blood from previous meals. This time is greatly reduced and the body will be forced to use fat stores as fuel, simply down to there are very little carbs in your system.


Ryan Maude BSc – Nutritionist


The Myth Behind Targeting Fat Loss!

So here it is!

One of the most common misconceptions about fat loss explained!


In simple terms, fat is not a living tissue like bones and muscle. Fat is a fuel that is stored to keep us warm and to be used when our primary source of fuel (carbohydrates) are depleted.


We cannot choose where we store fat and we cannot choose where we lose it from. So, yes unfortunately we have to just stay strong and stick to our calorie deficit, stay active and hope that it comes off of where we want it to. Sorry ladies, your boobs are usually one the places that will reduce first.


Everybody is different! Some people hold fat in different places. Men tend to hold it around their lower back and hamstrings, whereas women tend to hold it around their hips and bum.

The myth is that training these areas will help burn fat around this area but that’s not the case.

You will achieve muscular development of these areas but fat loss cannot be locally targeted unless external factors come into play i.e. topical creams, liposuction.

Wouldn’t you rather work for it and earn your physique the proper way than have someone stick a huge needle in you and suck it out, leaving you with mass amounts of loose skin.


I’m not saying completely stop the exercise you do to target a certain muscle group as these exercises still play an important role in burning calories, firming the skin and increasing or decreasing muscle mass (depending on your diet/goals etc).


So remember, stick to your diet and remain in calorie deficit and it will come off eventually. You can do as many sit ups as you like but if you’re not in a calorie deficit, you simply won’t be able to see them. The age old saying ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’ is not just a saying.

It’s probably the realest thing about dieting!


We’ve launched the new diet plans (see link in bio) and we are receiving a lot of questions about the inclusion of BCAA’s.

So, what are BCAA’s and what do they do?

BCAA’s, also known as branched chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein is an umbrella term. Protein is the collection of all 20 amino acids.

There are 20 amino acids in total but 9 are known as ‘essential amino acids’ (EAA’s). These 9 EAA’s are essential because the body cannot produce them itself and must be consumed through food or supplementation.

BCAA’s are mainly used during/intra workout. BCAA’s will help aid in keeping the body anabolic. This is essential during training as when the body is placed under extreme stress it will release cortisol. Cortisol is catabolic and will attack muscle mass.

Supplementing with BCAA’s will not only help you recover faster and increase muscle mass but they also help dilate blood vessels resulting in a number of benefits such as better oxygen uptake, stronger pumps and even reduced fatigue!

So, in short. BCAA’s help prevent muscle wastage in a calorie deficit, help build and repair muscle mass and even aid in those skin splitting pumps!



Are you unsure whether to choose fresh or frozen?

Well, here’s a little info on why you should choose frozen.

Fresh food has chance to ripen naturally. When ripe it is as nutrient packed as it can be BUT after just 48 hours reduction in moisture and nutrient values begin to occur.

Fresh food can be kept at its peak nutritional value for only a short period of time, even when kept refrigerated.

Food spoilage can effect nutrient value, taste and texture after just 18 hours when not kept in ideal storage conditions.

Frozen food is harvested at peak ripeness and then flash frozen to retain those vital vitamins and minerals.

Freezing food suspends microbial and fungal activity within the products.

Frozen food provides convenience due to the potential three months freezer life.

Choosing frozen over fresh reduces waste and expense.

All statements above have been sourced from:


Freezing food simply presses the pause button on nature. Nothing more, nothing less.

So lets take a fresh look at frozen food

  • Frozen food means less waste. Our food lasts up to 3 months in the freezer – thus saving you on bin liners.
  • Our food isn’t frozen just by simply placing cooked food into the freezer. All of our cooked meals are entered into a blast chiller which pulls it to room temperature in seconds. This means all of those vital micronutrients are locked in. Unlike ‘fresh’ food which diminishes over time. Fresh food is not fresh when its 3 days old.
  • Due to the extended shelf life of frozen food you will only require one delivery per week (no waiting around for two drops)
  • Frozen food can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
  • We have invested time and money into creating meals that cook at the same level ensuring that all of the ingredients in our meals taste great. No more sacrificing quality.
  • Our food tastes best when cooked from frozen. Literally remove the sleeve and pop straight into the microwave.
  • There are no additives or preservatives in any of our meals.


To shake or not to shake? There has been a lot of speculation about protein shakes in the news lately and whether they are good for you or not. Our nutritionist Ryan Maude has put together some facts about protein to help you come to your own decision. Protein is an umbrella term for 20 amino acids. There are 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce itself and must be supplemented through food. Protein is responsible for the repair and growth of cells within the body. Too little protein and the body will repair at a significantly lower rate. Too much protein can also cause bloating, upset stomach and in some serious cases, even kidney failure. Protein shakes can be be extremely effective when used in the right situations. Upon waking is one, the body has been fasting for several hours and will require fast absorbed macro nutrients. The other is directly after exercise to avoid muscle atrophy and keep the body anabolic. They are effective in these situations as liquids are absorbed faster than solid food. One protein shake after you have exercised is more than enough. The rest of your daily macros should be found through food. Protein shakes should not be used as meal replacements. They are a SUPPLEMENT, which means they should be used on top of a balanced diet. So, the top and bottom of it is that protein shakes will never be as effective as a balanced/measured meal so get out your knife and fork and fill up on food.

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