Fruits, vegetables and fat loss

Fruits, vegetables and fat loss

As I’m in Amsterdam this week, I’m recycling an old post from my newsletter. Make sure you are signed up if you haven’t already, as my subscribers all received a special gift this week!

Now that I’m training at a commercial gym again, I’ve overheard some real gems from the clientele. As to be expected, the personal trainers are also dropping broscience left and right. I should really just put my headphones in and ignore them, but their inane comments provide such great blog fodder.

This is an actual conversation I overheard recently:

PT: You haven’t dropped as much fat as we would have liked this week, so you must have cheated somehow.
Client: I swear I didn’t. I followed the plan exactly as you said.
PT: You hit your protein, fat and carb intake every day?
Client: Yes!
PT: And you didn’t eat any fruit, as we discussed?
Client: No, of course not. But I did eat some vegetables that were different to what you specified, like carrots and peppers.
PT: Ding, ding, ding. You can’t be eating any vegetables that aren’t green, or you can’t expect to drop fat.

I nearly dropped a dumbbell on my head. How are people still spouting this nonsense in 2016?! I think it’s important to mention that the client was just an average middle-aged man, who is about as far away from competing in bodybuilding as I am. He looked so ashamed and dejected for having “failed” his trainer. I really just wanted to give the guy a hug and tell him that he simply needs to focus on exercising regularly and eating healthily most of the time, and stop worrying about falling off his plan by eating a carrot.

There is absolutely no need to restrict vegetablesĀ unless you are literally days out from stepping on stage in your underwear, and even then I don’t think you have to. Fruit is a highly contentious subject but I believe that having one or two serves a day is perfectly fine.

Maybe not this kind of fruit...

Maybe not this kind of fruit…

Yes, fruit contains sugar, but it is natural and contains many other nutrients that a bar of chocolate doesn’t have. So long as you are not pounding down 5+ serves of fruit a day, eating fruit is highly unlikely to be the reason why you might be overweight. If you are really worried about the carbohydrate/calorie content of fruit, try limiting it to pre- and/or post-workout only, when your body is primed for glucose absorption.

It takes a fair amount of fruit to push you into a calorie surplus, and usually I’d look at the other types of foods someone is consuming first before I start cutting back on their fruit intake. It’s practically impossible to eat an amount of vegetables that would result in a calorie surplus, as the sheer amount of fibre in 1000, 2000 or 3000+ calories’ worth of vegetables would leave you feeling pretty full and pretty much destroy your digestive system in the process. I can promise you that no one gets fat from eating too much broccoli.

The only time I restrict my clients’ fruit intake is if that is the only type of carbohydrate they are consuming in large quantities, and I want to teach their bodies to process starchier forms such as oats, potatoes and rice. Just as you shouldn’t be scared of eating fruit, you also shouldn’t be scared of eating less natural forms of carbs. I recommend one to two serves of fruit per day plus at least two “regular” serves of carbs for optimal metabolic health.

Please, don’t be afraid of eating fruit, and don’t let gym bros tell you that something as natural and low calorie as a vegetable is bad for you.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve heard a PT or fellow gym-goer give someone?

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