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The Gym Guy Blog Part 1

Published: 14th October 2013 22:04

The Gym Guy Blog, Leigh Odell, Rugby

The Gym Guy Blog: Part 1

Diet & Nutrition Basics

Weekly Advice:

Today, we are going to start with some diet and nutrition basics.

I often get asked ‘what should I eat??' If you Google this, you will be presented with an overwhelming amount of information, which is often conflicting, or full of buzz words (low carb, paleo etc. ring any bells!?).

Whilst it may well be worth us having a chat around some of these specific diet plans, let's start with a solid foundation. The below is tried and tested, and gives you a great starting point. Implement these basics, and let's take it from there!

Please note, as I've stated above, the examples I give are based on MY experience. They may not be correct for everyone, but I am not here to speak for the masses!!!!

Diet Plan and Advice:

Breakfast - Get your metabolism started for the day! DO NOT SKIP!

A complex carb and a mix of protein will start your body's metabolism going. Because you have slept your body may be in a catabolic state, meaning it is starved of nutrients and is essentially eating itself. This is especially true if you train at night/evening time.

These options will get you started for the day:

  • Porridge with semi skimmed milk (can add honey, protein powder, fruit etc. if you like! If you want to save calories try skimmed milk or almond milk)
  • Eggs (scrambled, boiled, poached) on wholemeal toast or bagel
  • Wholemeal toast/bagel and peanut butter
  • Protein shake (add fruit, oats, yoghurt etc. if you like)
  • Cereal (look for low sugar muesli or oats)
  • Low fat Greek yoghurt

Lunch or Dinner:

Dependant on what time you train, lunch may be your biggest meal of the day. Aim to eat the biggest meal of the day after your workout. If you train morning/mid-morning, then make lunch the main meal. You need the extra calories to repair and replenish - there is no point waiting until evening for these.

If you train in the evening, make dinner your main meal. Either way, you need a mix of lean meat for protein, a decent carbohydrate to help process the protein, refuel your muscles and help you recover, and veg for vitamins and minerals. Mix and match these to make the portions/meals:

Use your imagination! The resource section will provide a great resource for recipes, alternatively just try Google! You could eat chicken breast every day of the week, but make it taste completely different if you used your head!


  • Turkey or chicken breast . These are great for quickly making a sandwich, pita bread of just adding to rice , noodles or pasta for a quick meal.
  • Homemade meat balls or Burgers. You can eat these in a stir fry, with pasta, with potatoes, in a bun, anything. Tesco or asda do extra lean steak mince that will let you create these, and the turkey mince is even healthier. Again, Google for recipes. They take five minutes to make and ten minutes to cook and you can make them in bulk and freeze/refrigerate 
  • Steak. Preferably sirloin as it is the leanest cut readily available in Tesco
  • Pork makes a nice change, and you can choose from decent sausages, pork steaks etc. Pork is generally the fattiest of the meats, but is still packed full of protein
  • Lean Lamb Chops. Again, tesco's do these.
  • Fish such as Salmon, Tuna etc. are readily available, and are full of good fats and protein
  • Although not a meat, eggs are an excellent alternative for protein. Create your own omelettes! You can chuck literally anything in an omelette just give it a bash
  • Again, not a meat, but low fat cheese is worth a mention too.


Complex carbs are processed by the body easily and give you sustainable energy and allow you to repair. Simple carbs, such as the sugar you put in your tea, provide a quick hit but are quickly stored as fat if you don't burn them up. Simple carbs are great if you need a great pick me up, but they won't help you feel full, and you will quickly need to replenish.

The complex carbs below will generally shape your meal. For example, if you choose rice, you will probably also need some kind of stir fry sauce. If you choose pasta, and are adding a meat, you might need a pasta sauce. Avoid the ones full of sugary carbs. All supermarkets do a low sugar range, but the fresh pasta sauces tend to be the best. Stir fry sauces such as black bean are generally good too. Again, just Google for recipes for sauces as it is very easy to make your own!

  • Egg or wholemeal Noodles. Boil them up, they take 10 minutes!
  • Brown/Wholemeal Rice. White rice is heavily processed, so I tend to avoid it. Processed foods mean they have been tampered with, and therefore much of the goodness removed
  • Potatoes (mash, boil, bake) again you can season these and add veg etc. if you need. Sweet potatoes and new potatoes are the most nutrient dense and easiest to prepare and cook! Try new potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.
  • Pasta. Go for wholemeal/brown pasta if you can. If not go for the fresh egg pasta. Again, white pasta is heavily processed and I tend to avoid!
  • Wholemeal bread/pita's/bagels. Seeded one's are even better! Chuck some meat and veg in for a quick snack full of protein and carbs.

Fruit and Vegetables:

Add a portion to each meal. There isn't such thing as a bad vegetable, so go crazy. Supermarkets do packs of steamed veg that take four minutes to cook in the microwave. The frozen veg such as broccoli, cauliflower etc. is great value for money and takes minutes to boil up. There is no excuse!!!!

As a general rule, I stick to green vegies as they tend to be lower in sugar, but I wouldn't worry too much. My personal favourites include green beans, broccoli, sprouts and broad beans!!!!

If you are making a sandwich/pasta/stir fry dish, the following are ‘super foods' for various reasons:

  • Spinach, full of iron and potassium
  • Garlic, helps fight illness and strengthen immune system

I often snack on fruit, and I generally have an apple in the morning, and orange during the day and a banana either pre or post workout. They are full of NATURAL sugar that your body needs, and full of vitamins. Mix and match, but be careful about eating these too late at night as your body will store the excess sugar as fat if you don't burn it off!!!!


If you train regularly, you will need to keep your body's metabolism burning. A small snack every couple of hours will help. Pick something from above and have a small portion (i.e. a piece of fruit, or some yoghurt, or a small piece of chicken).

Other snacks worth mentioning:

  • Cottage cheese. Add protein powder, honey, fruit, nuts etc. Trust me, its tasty and full of protein and decent carbohydrates
  • Nuts. Full of good fats, protein and carbs. Don't go for things with added sugar or salt. Tesco do a good fresh nut selection. Almonds, brazils etc. are great options.
  • Home-made protein bars. I've got a killer recipe for these, and they are WAY healthier than anything you will buy in any shop. Google is full of recipes you can utilise also!
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds.
  • TOTAL Greek yoghurt

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition:

If you need energy for your workout, a banana or some Peanut butter on wholemeal toast an hour before your workout will give you what you need. This is what I use!

Post workout - in my opinion, it's important to get your meal down you within an hour of completing your workout as your body is craving the nutrients. If you take a protein shake, take it straight after you work out. I also take a casein shake before bed (it's a slow burning protein that prevents my body becoming deprived through the night).

For the veggies amongst us:

If you are not a fan of meat, the following provide a decent protein source:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Fish (some veggies do eat fish!)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Yoghurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cheese
  • Protein Powders
  • Quinoa
  • Milk/Dairy products
  • Quorn/other meat supplements or soy based products

Again, get creative with recipes and keep them interesting! Couple the protein source with a healthy carb source (listed above) and some fresh veg!!!


The Gym Guy promotes everything in moderation and all that, but minimise your intake of:

  • Alcohol. Sorry all, but your body treats this as a poison. It will concentrate on removing every last trace of it before it even begins to start focus on building muscle and getting fit again. It's also full of calories, and stuff like alcohol pops is full of additives and sugar. If you must, stick to a decent bottled beer that isn't full of additives, or go for a vodka/gin and diet coke or soda water
  • Chocolate, sweets etc. Again, full of sugar.
  • ‘Low in fat' food. I believe that these are aimed at women who are scared of fat. Un Saturated Fat is GOOD; it is one of your main sources of fuel. Low in fat food removes the good fat and fills them with sugar and other additives, which in turn will be stored as fat within your body when you fail to burn it off.
  • Processed food such as ready meals, for example food that comes pre made (pizza's etc.) are often full additives and poor calories that will do nothing for your body. Think, ‘did man make this?' or is it natural? If something has had a lot of human input to create, chances are it's full of additives.

As the weeks pass, we can begin to get into more detail on all of the above. But, this is enough for now! Now go and do a Sunday ‘Big Shop' and stock up!

Weekly Resource Update:

The first ‘go to' resource I am going to provide is a set of forums I use religiously.


These forums cover a variety of topics, ranging from workout plans, nutrition advice, recipes etc. all provided by real life human beings who practice what they preach! Got a question health/diet/fitness related? Start here!

Task for the week:

‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail'

Cheesy? Yes. But the best ones often are, and the gym guy loves a cliché. So, with this in mind I ask you to do a couple of things for me:

1)      Set a long term goal. What's your main aim here? It doesn't have to be weight specific, sport related or anything too drastic. Instead, state something out loud that you would like to achieve within 3 months. This is realistic time frame and by being vocal you are committing to it! Examples can range from ‘being able to have a kick around with my kid without feeling out of breath' to ‘running the half marathon in under X.' REMEMBER, these are YOUR goals, no one else's!

2)      Supplement your long term goal with a couple of short term objectives. These should be easily measurable, and ticked off weekly. For example, you may say to yourself ‘this week I MUST get out for that run I keep putting off,' or ‘I will reduce the number of chocolate bars I eat per week by X.' In achieving these weekly, you will maintain that feel good feeling that will ultimately mean you hit your long term goal!!!

That's all for now, as I fear I have provided an overwhelming amount of information for one post! As always, I am open to questions, and welcome suggestions for future blog posts! Give me a nudge via any of the following, and don't be a stranger!

Twitter: O_DAWG_UK

Email: leighodell@live.co.uk

Facebook: Leigh Odell







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