Nutrition 101 – Understanding Nutrition

Posted by David McCabe on January 21 2013 @ 17:02

Everyday I get asked – ‘What Should I Eat?’

And my answer is always the same – ‘It depends on the person!’

You see, there is the standard system or layout called ‘The Food Pyramid’, you would have seen this diagram in any doctors office, or even off the back of a cereal book (excuse the joke :P) but this would tell you what food stuffs you can eat, how often and how much.

And attached to this, is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) to where it tells you how much your allowed, calories wise per day. For example 2,500 calories for an average male, 2,000 for an average woman. But in my opinion and most of the people in the fitness industry (please correct me if I’m wrong), do not agree with this layout and that it should be changed. For this very reason, Every single person out there is completely different to the next, and every single one of us needs different nutrients, more or less.

So this blog (1 of 3 parts), is written for these reasons:
1. To help you understand the nutrients and what they do
2. Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Chains, Supplementation and why use them
3. Diet structure and exercise strategy for specific goals

Get A Protein Shake And An Apple ‘Cause Here We Go:

Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. Apart from water, protein is the most abundant molecule in the body. Protein is found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. This also includes body organs, hair and skin. Proteins also are utilized in membranes, such as glycoproteins. When broken down into amino acids, they are used as precursors to nucleic acid and vitamins. Hormones and enzymes are also formed from amino acids in which they help regulate metabolism, support the immune system and other body functions. Finally, protein is needed to form blood cells.

Protein: Function In Exercise
Proteins are one of the key nutrients for success in terms of sports. They play a major role in the response to exercise. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are used for building new tissue, including muscle, as well as repairing damaged tissues. Proteins, however, only provide a small source of fuel for the exercising muscles, being used as fuel typically only when carbohydrates and lipid resources are low.

Are you still there????? There’s more:

Carbohydrates have six major functions within the body:
1. Providing energy and regulation of blood glucose
2. Sparing the use of proteins for energy
3. Breakdown of fatty acids and preventing ketosis
4. Biological recognition processes
5. Flavour and Sweeteners
6. Dietary fibre

Generally speaking, carbohydrates can be classified into two groups, simple sugars and complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars, also called monosaccharides, are carbohydrates which can not be converted into smaller sugars by hydrolysis. When two or more monosaccharide units are connected to one another via a glycoside linkage, complex carbohydrates are formed.

Complex carbohydrates, according to the different number of monosaccharide units, can be classed into three groups, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. A disaccharide is formed from two monosaccharides. Oligosaccharides can be formed by a small number of monosaccharides linked together. Higher oligosaccharides are called polysaccharides. It is now well known that glycoconjugates play an indispensable role in many biological processes. These biological processes in which carbohydrates are involved are typically associated not to monosaccharides, but to oligosaccharides structures of glycoconjugates. Therefore, the oligosaccharide synthesis becomes more and more important in studying the biological activities.

In Short:

Complex Carbs such as: oats, wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, soy beans, etc are better for you than Simple Carbs, such as: white bread, bagels, buns, bakes, etc.

Saturated and unsaturated fats
A fat’s constituent fatty acids may also differ in the C/H ratio. When all three fatty acids have the formula CnH(2n+1)CO2H, the resulting fat is called “saturated”. Values of n usually range from 13 to 17. Each carbon atom in the chain is saturated with hydrogen, meaning they are bonded to as many hydrogens as possible. In unsaturated fats are derived from fatty acids with the formula CnH(2n-1)CO2H. These fatty acids contain double bonds within carbon chain. This results in an “unsaturated” fatty acid. More specifically, it would be a monounsaturated fatty acid. A polyunsaturated fatty acid would be a fatty acid with more than one double bond; they have the formula , CnH(2n-3)CO2H. and CnH(2n-5)CO2H. Unsaturated fats can be converted to saturated ones by the process of hydrogenation. This technology underpinned the development of margerine.

Saturated and unsaturated fats differ in their energy content and melting point. Since an unsaturated fat contains fewer carbon-hydrogen bonds than a saturated fat with the same number of carbon atoms, unsaturated fats will yield slightly less energy during metabolism than saturated fats with the same number of carbon atoms. Saturated fats can stack themselves in a closely packed arrangement, so they can freeze easily and are typically solid at room temperature. For example, animal fats tallow and lard are high in saturated fatty acid content and are solids. Olive and linseed oils on the other hand are highly unsaturated and are oily.

Trans fats
There are two ways the double bond may be arranged: the isomer with both parts of the chain on the same side of the double bond (the cis-isomer), or the isomer with the parts of the chain on opposite sides of the double bond (the trans-isomer). Most trans-isomer fats (commonly called trans fats) are commercially produced. Trans fatty acids are rare in nature. The cis-isomer introduces a kink into the molecule that prevents the fats from stacking efficiently as in the case of fats with saturated chains. This decreases intermolecular forces between the fat molecules, making it more difficult for unsaturated cis-fats to freeze; they are typically liquid at room temperature. Trans fats may still stack like saturated fats, and are not as susceptible to metabolization as other fats. Trans fats may significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

In Short:

Saturated Fats And Trans Fats are not Cool :P. Such as: margarine, package foods, fast food,frozen baked goods (pies, meat pastries), baked goods, crisps, breakfast foods, sweets, toppings/dressings

Unsaturated Fats (In Moderation), sucah as: nuts, oil, oily fish are good for your system.

Adipose Tissue
In animals, adipose, or fatty tissue is the body’s means of storing metabolic energy over extended periods of time. Depending on current physiological conditions, adipocytes store fat derived from the diet and liver metabolism or degrade stored fat to supply fatty acids and glycerol to the circulation. These metabolic activities are regulated by several hormones (i.e., insulin, glucagon and epinephrine). The location of the tissue determines its metabolic profile: “visceral fat” is located within the abdominal wall (i.e., beneath the wall of abdominal muscle) whereas “subcutaneous fat” is located beneath the skin (and includes fat that is located in the abdominal area beneath the skin but above the abdominal muscle wall). Visceral fat was recently discovered to be a significant producer of signaling chemicals (i.e., hormones), among which are several which are involved in inflammatory tissue responses. One of these is resistin which has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes. This latter result is currently controversial, and there have been reputable studies supporting all sides on the issue

Now Guys, that was a lot to take it but they are the basics of nutrition. Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats, broken down into their simple chains and forms.

But this is my opinion on the whole ‘What Should I Eat?’ thing.

When I’m writing up a diet or programme for a client I do their diet to a ratio of their weight but it’s not the basic ratio your taught in college or the ones you hear in gyms. It comes from experience in working with a mass amount of people for over 9 years and running the diets course on myself, to determine what would work for each client. Grated that everyone is different and may have dietary illnesses or allergies but it works across the board.

Our metabolism is the same depending on conditions at birth. It is human nature that changes your metabolism not your body. We Lose 30% of our muscle as we age, and from the age of 30 you lose on average a 1/2 pound of muscle per year. NO JOKE.

So, How come people start doing diets and train harder and never get any results. The main reason for that is that people are misinformed about how to go about weight loss and muscle gain. The common mistake is high intensity aerobic training combined with a low fat complete starvation diet. And what happens, you lose weight, grated, but the fact is that itís 85% muscle youíve lost. So when you lose faith in you will power. You stop and eat the way you want so you gain what you lost and then some. Itís a viscous circle.

What if I told you, you must reprogram your way of thinking about food?

As humans, we naturally have hormones that regulate how we work. For example, if we have ‘Got To Go’, we have a hormone to let the body know how and what to do.

We can make nutrition, hormones and body functions work for us, not against us.
Here’s what you should do:

1. Try eat all your carbs up to lunch time. So you have about 2-3 meals there to get some good carbs into you.

2. Try and stay off the carbs for the rest of the day. We naturally do not need that many carbs to run. They just make the body feel full and the body loves the hormone secretion.

3. Try have a protein source with every main sit

4. Try and have a high glycogen source food after training. My favourite is Steak, Large Salad and A Large Sweet Potato. The sweet potato is high glycogen, to help repair the cells and give you the energy needed to roll on

5. Snacks are great but watch what they are. Fruit is great before 12. It’s hard after that for the body to digest it after lunch with the fructose. Nuts, shakes, smoothies, fruit, black coffee (Not Loads), etc. are all great in keeping your metabolism revved up.

6.Salads and Veg have very little calorific value. So a large portion, 3 Cups, of either without toppings or dressings only total between 40-60 Calolries. So eat away.


I hope you could get your heads around that blog……. sure it’s long but there is a lot of information on nutrition that people need to understand before considering the best you, your training and your body.

Next time i will run through Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Chains, Supplementation and why how they can help.

Please comment if you have any queries about any of the Transform Fitness Blogs.

So until next time

‘You Are Only Confined By The Walls You Build Yourself……… Break The Walls Down!’


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5 Reasons Why You Will Not Stick To Your New Years Resolutions

Posted by David McCabe on January 06 2013 @ 18:01

Hi Guys,

And welcome to the first, of many, blogs of 2013 from the guys at Transform Fitness.

In my 5 years, working professionally in the fitness industry, you see wave after wave of new comers into your local gym. All eager to start tearing into their new years resolutions with their brand new training gear, runners, sippers, motivational playlists blaring in their ears to the beat of Bruno Mars……

As great as this maybe, regardless of the person, what if I told you that just under 80% of people going to a gym at the start of the year, will stop going to the gym after the first 4 months!

This blog will highlight, in my opinion, the 5 main pit-falls with new years gym or fitness resolutions and to new comers. Here We Go!:

I. ‘I Know What I’m Doing!?’ – No Plan of Action or Guidance

I will tell you right now! If I had a Euro for every ‘How Do I….?’ question, I would not be sitting here writing this blog, I would be lounging in the Bahamas.

The average gym new comer, comes into a gym, with no honest clue on how to do what they imagine themselves they want and they quit feeling they can’t do it or feel like they are being watched when doing exercise(s). And this mainly isn’t their fault, due to the lack of physical educational material growing up, it’s all you can expect. But walking into a gym with no plan, program, structured routine or focus, it is doomed to fail.

To start my solution: Everyone in a gym is in there to do the exact same thing you are. So forget that everyone is watching you. As if they are, you maybe doing something that they want to do themselves.

You need to go into your gym with a plan. I write programs out every day for each and every client. Everyone of my programs are different as everyone is different, due to their goals, determination, experience, fitness level, etc. I plan my clients programs……… So, why would you be any different?

Get a note book and pen, do a bit of research on what you want to do. Ask a qualified gym instructor or Personal Trainer (PT)(because that’s what we are there for and we don’t bite), and put your exercises and cardio plan together and stick to it. You can measure your change and see if your program is working. If it’s not, no big deal, change a few things and ask more questions. As you will never know if you don’t ask or do!

II. ‘No Pain, No……… All I Feel Is Pain!’ – The D.O.M.S. Affect

This Stops more people than you think. D.O.M.S. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), is pain or stiffness felt in the muscles after being overworked or after doing strenuous activity and is due to a build up of lactic acid. The soreness/stiffness can be felt for 24-72 hours after exercise. Sorry…… But it’s true. After such exercise, your muscles will adapt rapidly to prevent muscle damage and will build a resistance to the exercise(s) done, overtime. But this should not turn you off achieving your goals, it’s just nature. And who knows…… you may grow to love it!

The only advice I would give here without getting too technical would be to grin and bare. It will pass. Stretch after training if you suffer quite badly with it. Also get into the gym after a day of rest and pump your blood around your system again. Your body will move the build up of acid away from your muscles as it adds oxygen and liquid to the cells.

III. ‘Yeaaaaaahhhhhhhh……… No! I Can’t Do That!’ – The Right Mental Attitude

This would be the number one reason why any person will not succeed in their fitness ambitions, goals, resolutions or even to get up and walk to your local shopping centre. Not having the right mental attitude to do what you want to do. To achieve anything in this life, it would be necessary to have a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). As if you do not have the right mental attitude for your goals, hobbies, interests, etc. you will see them not being fulfilled and they will be discarded as you will not have the drive to support or finish the job at hand.

Go out with the ‘I Think I Can, I Think I Can’ attitude to start. This will start the positive steam train of thought. Notice and get into what you are doing for yourself. Set small goals to start to build your confidence as they will build into one big goal. And that my friend, will lead to ‘Yeah!, Try And Stop Me!’. all these things will add up to your own personal achievement milestone.

IV. ‘Dude, I’m Going To Look Like A Fitness Model In 2 Weeks!’ – Setting Realistic Goals

If you are a new comer to a gym or unfit and haven’t trained in awhile and you have the impression you are going to look like Ryan Reynolds or Megan Fox in a very short space of time well then i’ve to tell you, as much as i would like that to be true, it ain’t going to happen in two weeks. It takes time, dedication, perseverance, proper training and nutritional planning to develop your body to where you want it to be. And most of all, an understanding of how you will get from A to B.

What do you want to look like? What do you want to achieve? What are your goals?

Ask yourself these questions and write them down. Whether it’s ‘I want a 6-pack!’, ‘I want to bench 100 kg!’, or ‘I want to look and feel great in a shirt/dress!’. Whatever it maybe, move towards these goals with baby steps and do not burn out or get dishearted. Plan and set realistic goals for yourself that you can maintain. For example, lose 2lbs per week, go an extra 500 Metres on the treadmill, do 30 press ups without stopping. And remember ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day!’.

V. ‘My Diet Is Good… I Eat Chocolate Everyday For Energy!’ – Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

Every gym instructor and personal trainer have heard those words, and that’s not good. We can eat what we want, but nothing will change nor will you improve. Your nutrition is 76% of everything you do in your day. It’s what keeps you ticking. And if you are looking to change your lifestyle or your body you really need to look at that.

Eat Clean. You don’t have to eat dry, plain food like everyone thinks a healthy eating plan is. Eat healthy and flavourful food without adding unnecessary sugars, sodium, fat, flavourings, or artifical junk to your system. It doesn’t have to be dull and boring. Spice it up and try new things. You won’t believe what it’s like.


So, There it is. In my opinion, the 5 reasons why i think the publics new years resolutions will not be achieved. All preventable from the solutions given and all will be achieved if you put all the solutions to good use and remember, you will have set backs but you need to get right back in and go again.

With a tailor made nutritonal and training program, you can achieve anything. With Transform Fitness we pride ourselves on our programs and the results our clients have achieved from them, making us one of the best in the country for personal training with a 100% success rate in 2012. Something that we are truly proud of and hope to bring a more advanced product to you guys in 2013.

Guys, thank you for dropping by and having a read of the first blog of the year.

So until the next blog.

Train Hard, Eat Clean And Be Lean!

Director of Transform Fitness
David McCabe

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