Tag Archives: calories



What’s Killing Your Results?

It seems like just about every person you meet is trying to find the perfect balance between eating the foods they want, but not looking like they eat all the food they see.

With summer quickly approaching, people are scrambling to find the magic fat loss formula and strip the winter coat. Whether you are just trying to look good for a day at the beach or trying to lose the excess weight you have been carrying around for years, dieting is going to be the key.

With each trainer and each website promoting a different diet, it can be difficult to figure out which one will work best for you. To make it even more confusing, many diets seem to contradict one another. Vegan diets eliminate animal products, while many other contain lean meats as a staple protein source. Advocates of a ketogenic diet will say restricting carbohydrates will help shred body fat, while the Mediterranean diet suggests a higher carb intake will be your ticket to 6 pack city. It can get confusing pretty quickly, especially for someone with less experience.

Why do all these people advocate their diet, and claim they work wonders? Because just about any diet can work if followed correctly. Unless you have specific dietary requirements, it doesn’t matter whether you eat carbs, meat, plants, dairy, etc. What is more important, is whether you can sustain a caloric deficit and consistently follow the method you have selected.

If that was the end of the story we would all be lean with fantastic physiques, but unfortunately, there are simple mistakes you may make that will make losing weight much more difficult. This is why it is important you educate yourself as much as possible on which dieting mistakes are going to have negative implications on your results.

Too Much Restriction

Dieting and deprivation often go hand in hand. Often when people start diets they feel they must deny themselves all their favourite foods in order to see results. While you may need to limit some of your favourite foods, too much restriction on your diet can lead you resenting your new diet program.

For many of us, we are better off allowing for some small indulgences from time to time. This little bit of flexibility will make your diet routine much easier to stick to. By allowing small “cheat meals” in your program, it may help to prevent a large binge caused by a build-up of cravings. A binge is not only detrimental to your results, but to your mental health as well.

Too Focused on the Scales

The scales seem like a very objective measure of dieting success, so it’s understandable why so many people get caught up on the numbers they produce. Unfortunately,  the body doesn’t lose weight in a linear fashion, as we would like to expect. I have seen many clients feel awesome about the changes they have seen in their body, just to step onto the scales for them to read a higher weight.

This is especially true for beginners as they can increase lean muscle mass as they lose fat, resulting in a leaner look, but heavier on the scales. It’s important to use multiple measures to track your results. At Brisfit we try to always use at least 4, the scales, tape measure, progress photos, and fitness challenges.

Expecting Linear Results

As mentioned in the paragraph above, we often expect to see constant, steady progress as result from our hard work and dieting. Many of us that have completed a fat loss challenge or something similar will know that isn’t always the case. Some weeks you can lose a few solid kilograms, while others you will fail to lose any weight at all. These not so great weeks are often met with stress and anxiety. No one wants to feel like they’re going backwards.

It turns out the human body is a very complicated system, and you might be actually losing body fat even though the scales are telling you you’ve lost no weight. Water intake, glycogen depletion, sodium intake, hormonal balance and many more variables can all cause dramatic swings in your bodyweight. The worst thing to do is overreact to these swings by immediately changing your diet. This can cause stress and unwanted adaptations over time. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize and keep persistent for a little while longer. I would recommend you give it a few weeks minimum, and during this time continue to take and record your weigh-in results. If no consistent changes are being seen after this period make adjustments as needed.

Failure to Plan

Just like anything else in life, you need to have a game plan in place to be successful. People often fail to plan out their meals for the week ahead, which can make sticking to next weeks diet plan a big challenge. You might find yourself away for a work trip, busy running around after the kids or you might be flat out at the office and have so much going on, you are forced to get your hands onto something quick and convenient. These cases are classic examples of why its so important to plan ahead in order to keep to your plan.

Planning your diet can come in a few forms, one of the most popular being meal prep, which is food that fits your diet requirements that you have made in advance. This is a fantastic way to know exactly what is in your food, and how it was cooked, as well as keeping costs low. Growing in popularity is the prepared-for-you meals. Companies such as 5.4, Workout Meals, Youfoodz, Muscle Meals and many are growing in popularity as busy Australians seek a cost-effective and easy way to keep their diet on track. This options can be great for someone who is very time poor or perhaps dislikes cooking but does not want to eat out every day. A popular method for those living on the run is finding a restaurant that has a diet-friendly option for you. Either way, a little bit of planning helps you stay on track and keep your diet going strong.

Starting too Aggressively

Probably one of the most common mistakes people make when starting a new diet program is starting too aggressively. It is common knowledge that a calorie deficit leads to fat loss, however, many take this information and apply the “more is better” approach. They will start their diet in a huge caloric deficit in order to lose weight very quickly. While this sounds great on paper, it doesn’t run as smoothly in practice.

A huge caloric deficit can lead to some unwanted side effects, such as constant hunger, irritability, fatigue and brain fog which can make your day to day life much harder to endure. This often leads people to quit their diets pretty soon after starting.

Perhaps what’s even worse, it can actually damage your metabolism quickly and lead to stalls in your weight loss. A recent study on the participants of The Biggest Loser showed a massive decline of their metabolic rate during the strict dieting period, and even more scary, a far lower metabolic rate than what is to be expected after the program had finished.

This can actually set you up to not only regain the weight but at an accelerated rate once you quit the diet. Another recent study provided evidence that yo-yo dieting actually made losing the weight harder each time you attempted it, while also regaining the body fat at a much more rapid rate.

So although it sounds appealing on paper, dieting too hard, too fast it can lead to long-term weight gain after the brief initial success.


We all know that losing body fat and toning up means restricting your caloric intake and increasing your activity level. This often means you might feel hungry as you’re not able to eat as much and as often as you previously have. By increasing your activity level you will boost the number of calories your body is burning each day, potentially allowing you to fit in an extra meal or even that treat to keep you from an emotional meltdown.

The strategy you choose to employ with your diet can make or break your success. If you are someone that can burn out very quickly or get over something quite fast, an overly aggressive or restrictive diet will lead to poor adherence and outcomes. Similarly, being too reactive to your results or failing to plan ahead can unravel all of your hard earned progress. It is important to avoid the common mistakes that have been mentioned in this article.

Dieting can be unpleasant at times, but by dieting smarter you can make your life and dieting experience much easier, ensuring results in the short term as well as long-term success.


Coach Parker.

How much protein do you REALLY need?

It’s the age-old question: How much protein does your body REALLY need to build that desired lean muscle?

The standard advice you’ve probably heard around your local gym, or from your personal trainer has always been about 1.5 grams of protein/kg of body weight (BW). But does this bro-science have any merit?

Within the fitness community, at your local boot-camp, gym, sports club or your favourite youtube channel, you will hear people advocating for above 3 grams of protein per kg of BW, and you’ll come across people who claim they continue to build strength and lean muscle on 1 gram/kg or less.

In this article, I break down relevant research and science to settle this debate once and for all.

If you need a refresher on total calorie consumption read this: CALORIES: What are they and why do we need them??

The Recommended Daily Intake

For adults between the ages of 19-30 years old, The Australian Health & Medical Research Council recommends 0.68g/kg for males and 0.60g/kg for females. For many of you, this number will seem exceptionally low, and it is.

Here is an example using 65kg women with a daily goal of 1700 calories to show how it is.

65kg X 0.60 of protein = 39g per day. If she consumes 1700 calories per day, only 9.18% of her daily calories come from protein. Leaving 90% to come from carbohydrates and fats. 

In a separate article by the Australia Health & Medical Research Council, they recommend intakes at or above 15% protein appear to be required for ensuring that the estimated average requirement for micronutrients are met.

Research by The Sports Nutrition Society recommends 0.8 grams/kg BW for 95% of the population. They have obtained this figure through the nitrogen balance technique. Although this method is the most common, most researched and at the time of writing this article, the best method of measurement, there are some problems associated with this technique in both athletic and non-athletic populations. Some experts suggest that nitrogen losses through gas, excessive sweating, and high rates of ventilation during training can make measuring nitrogen measurement almost impossible, leading to false results. If this is the case, then the recommended protein intake for maintenance of muscle tissue may be underestimated.

It is also important to recognise that these minimum protein requirements are not equivalent to optimal protein levels. They are purely a minimum amount to avoid muscle tissue catabolism.

Increasing your protein

There has been debate among athletes and nutritionists regarding dietary protein needs for centuries. Although contrary to traditional belief, recent scientific information collected on physically active individuals tends to indicate that regular exercise increases daily protein requirements. This may mean that actual requirements are below what is needed to optimize athletic performance. and so the debate continues.

Numerous interacting factors including energy intake, carbohydrate availability, exercise intensity, duration and type, dietary protein quality, training history, gender, age, timing of nutrient intake and the like make this topic extremely complex. At the present time, substantial data indicate that the current recommended protein intake should be adjusted upward for those who are physically active, especially in populations whose needs are elevated for other reasons, e.g., growing individuals, dieters, vegetarians, individuals with muscle disease-induced weakness and the elderly.

Endurance Athletes, Body Builders & Resistance Trainers

A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology  examined the effects of training on nitrogen balance and body composition during periods of habitual and altered protein intakes. They conclude that resistance trainers and bodybuilders during habitual training require a daily protein intake greater than that for sedentary individuals in the maintenance of lean body mass and that endurance athletes require daily protein intakes greater than either bodybuilders, resistance trainers or sedentary individuals to meet the needs of protein catabolism during exercise.

Optimal Timing of Protein Ingestion Relative to Exercise

In 2001 a perspectives paper entitled “Grandad, it ain’t what you eat, it depends when you eat it – that’s how muscles grow! was submitted. The paper was a brief review of a earlier study that investigated the effect of immediate and 2 hour delayed feedings of protein on muscular hypertrophy and strength over a 12 week period of resistance training in elderly males. An oral supplement of 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fat was administered. Results indicated that muscle fibers in the quadriceps increased in the immediate protein condition, where as no significant increases were found in the 2 hour delay condition. Both dynamic and isokinetic strength increased, by 46 and 15%, respectively in the immediate condition, whereas the delayed condition only improved in dynamic strength, by 36%.

These results indicate that immediate intake of protein after exercise is an important factor regulating muscle growth. Possible explanations include the observation that protein synthesis is stimulated in response to resistance training, and these effects are inversely related to time, as seen in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1.

Strength And Performance

A study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise investigated the effect of a high protein diet (2 grams/kg BW) and a relatively lower protein diet (1.24 grams/kg BW) on bench press 1- Rep Max (RM) and squat 1-RM performance during a 12 week resistance training program in experienced resistance trained participants. While there was minimal difference for bench press, the high protein group improved their 1-RM squat to a greater extent than the low protein group.

In a similar study divided 51 male and female participants into two groups. Group one received a 40 gram whey protein supplement twice daily, while group two received a carbohydrate placebo during a six month resistance training program. Participants in the supplemented group averaged twice the protein intake (2.2 g/kg body weight) as the placebo group (1.1 g/kg body weight). The protein supplemented group experienced significantly greater strength gains than the placebo group in bench press and hip sled tasks, as seen in figure 2.


Figure 2.                                                                                                                                    Percentage increase in Squat and Bench Press in High Protein (HP) and Low Protein (LP) conditions during six months of resistance training. Data from Vukovich et al.


What does this all mean

To summarise I will combine all the given information from a range of articles, and from my personal experience.

For an average Jane, who does not participate in any sort of serious exercise activities, the recommended amount of 0.8grams/kg BW by The Sports Nutrition Society is sufficient in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping muscle catabolism to a minimum. With this amount of protein, growing lean muscle mass and increasing strength will be extremely difficult. For those participating in steady, medium intensity cardio programs 0.8grams per kilogram is a sufficient dose for those activities.

For someone who regularly engages in resistance training with the goals of increasing lean muscle mass and increasing strength, the recommended amounts are between 1.5 – 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. It turns out science backs up the bro-science from your local gym bodybuilder. This amount will not only ensure you maintain your hard earned muscle but that your strength is consistently increasing and you are able to continue to grow new lean muscle.

Is there a maximum consumption limit

For those that wonder if there is a limit to the amount of protein you can consume per day, the answer, at this point is no. According to the Australian Health & Medical Research Council, there is limited data available on maximum protein intakes, it is impossible to set an upper limit in terms of grams per day. They are unable to establish a maximum limit at which adverse health consequences occur.

My personal recommendations

I personally aim for around 30-40% of my daily calories to come from protein sources. Consuming as much protein throughout the day through lean sources, such as fish, lean mince and turkey. I also supplement with Whey Protein powder post workout and throughout the day to boost my daily levels if I have not consumed sufficient amounts throughout the day through food sources.

If you are going to supplement with protein powders, I highly recommend using an Australian brand that sources their ingredients from local producers and uses Australian or New Zealand grass-fed dairy. For a good quality WPI, the protein per 100g should be upward of 85, meaning many of the fats, carbs & sugars have been filtered out. You can also buy many Australian WPI’s that are both lactose and gluten free for people with allergies. Remember to always check the ingredients list and nutritional table (not just protein, but everything you eat) and aim for a protein powder with less than 5 ingredients. You don’t want to be buying a protein with 15 ingredients, including added salts, thickeners, creamer from sunflower oils and corn syrups.

If you have any questions about your daily protein intake and/or supplement program you can email me anytime.

– brisfitbootcamps@gmail.com.au

Coach Parker

Greater longevity & More Energy

Do you want to increase your daily energy? Do you also want to maximise the amount of fats, carbs & proteins that get converted into energy for your body to operate at its optimal level?

Exercise may just be the answer, but not how you would have guessed.

Newly published research is providing us with a deeper understanding of how training improves muscle health and exercise capacity, which has been described as the best predictor of mortality in the general population.

Whether your muscle is healthy, or not so healthy determines whether your entire body is healthy or not. A new study published in journal Nature Communications describes how exercise helps the body to keep the cells in the muscle healthy and strong.

Exercise improves muscle health by renewing the cellular powerhouse, the Mitochondria. The Mitochondria is the part of cells that turn sugars, fats and proteins that we eat, into forms of chemical energy that the body can use to carry on living.


Every living thing is made of cells: tiny compartments contained by a membrane. Cells are the smallest things that can reproduce themselves. When we look inside cells, we see that they have sub-compartments that are smaller still, known as “Organelles” which perform different functions that are essential for the cell to live.


Mitochondria are organelles found in the cells of every complex organism.  They produce about 90% of the chemical energy that cells need to survive. No energy; no life! So it’s easy to see why when mitochondria go wrong, serious diseases are the result, and why it is important we understand how mitochondria work.

So, how does exercise affect the mitochondria in the muscles?

The answer is through mitophagy, which is the process of damaged or defective mitochondria being selectively removed, which usually occurs after periods of stress.

A recent study on mice showed that for 3 to 12 hours after exercises the mitochondria showed signs of stress, and after 6 hours they could observe signs of mitophagy.

Exercise removes damaged mitochondria in the muscles. If you do this repeatedly you keep removing the damaged ones. You will end up with better quality muscle, with healthier mitochondria for energy production and increased longevity.


Coach Parker

CALORIES: What are they and why do we need them??



What are they and why do we need them??

Over the next few articles, we are going to run through how calories work in your body and macro-nutrients and how to make sure you are getting enough in.

Now for starters, what are calories??

Calories are a unit of energy used by the body to keep it running.
Calories are not evil little things that make us fat. They are 100% essential to life and if we don’t consume them we are in big trouble.

What is important to focus on is how many calories we are getting in over the course of a day and also in each meal.
For weight loss we want the overall number of calories burned to be higher than the number of calories taken in, this way we have a deficiency and our body will use stored calories for energy, thus we lose weight. Vice versa if you would like to put on weight, you want your burned calories to be lower than the number of calories taken in.

So first starting point I would advise everyone to do is start looking at the food you are taking in, how many calories are you having in a day?? is it less than you are eating??

We usually aim for having around 500 calorie deficiency each day and this will lead to losing .5kg of fat per week because 1kg of fat is on average around 6000-7000 calories in total
I.e. if you are burning 1700 calories a day and you eat 1200 then you will be losing 500 per day, which would be 3500 at the end of a week and equal approximately half a kg.

Now this doesn’t mean you can just eat 1200 in 1 meal and you are sweet, we also need to separate our meals apart,

If for example your body needs 400 calories at breakfast time but you give it 500, then you will store that extra 100 calories. so making sure we have around 4 meals a day of an even calorie amount each

So, what should you take away from this post??

  • Calories are not evil and are important for your body
  • you need a calorie deficiency to lose weight
  • you want to aim for about 500 calories less than you are burning per day
  • you should have spaced out meals through the day not just getting your calories in 1 meal.
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