Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is my wedding anniversary😍 I've enjoyed 3 STRONG years of marriage (clap for me👏🏾). Anyway, as I was celebrating this milestone, memories of ija day started to flood my system. Specifically the week going into the BIG day. I remember obsessively trying on my suit every hour for a week prior to the wedding fearing that on the day I wouldn't fit into it! Some of you may know this struggle...the struggle of having an outfit for a special occasion and not being entirely sure of how it'll fit! That was me and you know what? This fashion wave of slim fit outfits is creating problems for people. If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament I have some tactics I'm willing to share that I employed one week before the event to get that weight down real quick in order to patikiza myself into the suit.
Bweshako Umubili Strategy involves:
High protein, Low Carb, Low Fat eating protocol
High protein sources: Whey protein, lean cuts of beef, chicken (no skin), fish (boiled or grilled), goat, egg whites, Greek yoghurt. High protein intake kept my appetite suppressed and boosted my metabolism which meant reduced participation in any hunger games and increased calories expended through digestion.
Low fat sources: skim or fat-free milk, no cheese, nut butters without any extras (I'd check the label and if it listed anything other than the nut butter I avoided it), avocados. Keeping my calories low was the objective of this low fat approach.
Low carbs: For simplicity's sake it was restricted rice, restricted pasta, restricted potatoes, no nshima, no bread and no juice. Restricted meant an unreasonably small portion was permitted at two meal sittings per day for 5 days. Unreasonably small meant one potato, a rice or pasta portion that only allows for a portion size smaller than my fist worth of carbs per meal.
This low carb eating protocol aimed to deplete muscle and liver glycogen stores and the accompanying water (3g of water per g of carbohydrate). This likely accounted for 1-2 kilogram drop in body weight. It can sometimes be less, sometimes more depending on individual differences and how aggressive I was or you will be about the low carbohydrate intake. This approach is similar to the belly must go protocol. An alternative approach is banting. Though it's not what I did, you can expect results from it as well.
This meant temporary abstinence from fruits, vegetables and other fiber sources such as nuts, weetabix, muesli etc.
This reduced my gut content in the digestive tract and it can save you (men) from using your belt as a waist trainer and women from failing to breathe in your dresses. You can easily drop up to 2% of your body weight with this hack alone. If you weigh a 100kgs before doing this then you could possibly weigh 98kgs after. Every single kilogram makes a difference and can help people avoid looking like they borrowed their younger siblings clothes at whatever event they attend.
Water loading followed by reduced water & salt intake
This was done in order to lose water weight in the body. When properly executed it can result in up to 5% reduction in body weight. Water loading involves drinking a lot more water than you'd normally consume such as incorporating an additional 2-3 liters per day to an existing hydration plan for 2-3 days before gradually dropping my intake in order for me to adapt my body to flushing excess water in my system. Prior to implementation I was drinking 3.5 liters per day and after implementation I moved up to drinking 7 liters (a lot I KNOW). So, to summarize it this is what I did:
Day 1 —> 7 liters
Day 2 —> 7 liters
Day 3 —> 3.5 liters
Day 4 —> 1 liter
Day 5 (event) —> bare minimum water take. A few sips where needed to maintain sanity and basic function.
Because of the initial water load my body continued to flush water from my system allowing me to lose water weight. When paired with reduced salt intake the result of water weight was excellent. Salt/sodium encourages water retention in the body so when you eliminate/reduce it's intake you temporarily halt this process. Easy way to implement this is to temporarily reduce/avoid salt from the foods you prepare and eat a day before the event. So, limit all salty snacks such as pretzels, potato chips, nuts, canned foods etc.
Low Intensity Exercise
To lose weight you need burn more energy than you consume. With a week to go and a tight fitting outfit my options on how to approach this were limited nenzo ziba chabe it's operating na njala. I was subscribed to a gym back then and decided to put some serious wear and tear on the available treadmills. I'd set the treadmill at a 5 km/h speed with an incline that started at 5% and ended at 10-12% by the hour mark. I increased the incline every 10 or so minutes. I trained like this every morning for a week on an empty stomach.
Intermittently Fast for 16 hours prior to the event
I wasn't particular about the timing but the only time I ate was at the event/reception in the evening. I was fasting pretty much all day long. Let's assume you're going to an all white party slated for 7pm. What I'd do in that situation is intermittently fast from 4am the same day. For more on this eating protocol, click here. Otherwise on the event day itself just know that iyi day ni day ya njala😂 ni ku limba chabe.
All these elements combined can produce a temporary body weight drop average of 5%. I don't know about you but if someone told me I could go from 100kgs to 95kgs in a week?! Sign me up please! Listen, it's a temporary quick fix that won't last but at least you'll bring the fire🔥 to your designated event.
Note: You're going to feel uncomfortable and likely very moody so it's wise to tell the people around you what you're getting up to before you start burning bridges unnecessarily na ka mood kako. It's all temporary and what I'm highlighting should only be considered for a maximum period of a week. Lastly, please, before you end up as a corpse understand that I'm simply sharing what I personally did or would do. Proceed at your own risk when attempting such last minute maneuvering.
In other news, for those in need of marital fitness consultation ubwafya tapali epo ndi. Shibukombe ni nebo. 3 year veteran 👉🏾🗣️ ichupo chisuma.
My last blog post on food & drink labels attracted the following series of questions - "Nick, what's your take on banting? On keto dieting?". As per my custom, I declined to provide an immediate answer because I felt that a blog post may serve a larger audience with similar unanswered questions. So, here we are. Banting has grown in popularity in recent years due to its inherent ability to strip away dramatic amounts of weight off individuals. William Banting is the pioneer of keto dieting and his initial success with it is the reason why so many others have adopted it. I won’t give you a history lesson but you can at least appreciate the origins and understand why it’s referred to as Banting. Keto is short for ketogenic which a way to describe a diet that produces a high level of ketone bodies in the blood. Keto dieting na Banting ni same.
Keto dieting/Banting - What is it?
It's a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate way of eating.
How can you do it?
Start by eliminating carbohydrates or limiting their intake to 50g or less per day. To give you some perspective, 50g of carbs is roughly 2 medium sized bananas 🍌 🍌 PER DAY. Chapwa for carbohydrate intake for the day. The rest of your food should come from mostly fats and moderate protein. Keto diets outline what you can and can’t eat, follow what it says and you’re golden. I’ll break it down into specific foods to eat and specific foods to avoid as per the diet guidelines. After which, the how part gets addressed and you can implement it.
What you can eat & drink:
Lastly, buy organic and grass fed where possible for your food items.
What you can’t eat & drink:
What can you expect from a keto diet?
In the beginning uza vutika as the adaptation process is miserable and carbohydrate withdrawal can be brutal. If you can endure this process then this is what it comes with:
Who should start a keto diet?
Anyone without a medical condition that has aggressive weight loss targets and is capable of sustaining themselves on a keto diet.
I personally view Banting as an effective tool to combat obesity but not necessarily a diet that inspires optimal health due to the fact that keto is a very restrictive way of eating. The plus side is you’ll drop weight quickly and limit your intake of processed foods and junk.
***These nutrition blogs seem to be connecting with my readers. If you've gotten this far in this blog and have some nutrition questions you want answered feel free reach out privately or publicly in the comments and I'll happily share what I know about the subject with you & others via a blog post. Alternatively, one-on-one works just fine for me. However you want to do it😁
I took my wife out on a sun-downer date at a popular venue in Lusaka like I usually do (ichupo chisuma)😎. She promptly ordered room temperature water and was thrilled to receive branded ‘alkaline water’. Her excitement surprised me and when I inquired about it she said “Ah babe, it’s healthy!” She wasn’t willing to say much more than that and I realized something 🤔💡most people are attracted to labels they don’t fully understand 👉🏾Alkaline water! Sugar free! 100% natural! Gluten free! Organic! Do you understand what you’re paying for when you insist on these things in the shops and restaurants you frequent? My default assumption is no, and because I choose to believe that you don’t know I’ll break it down for you.
First things first, alkaline water. The hype behind these products comes from claims that its high alkaline content acts as a neutralizer to the acids formulated in your body. Typical drinking water has a pH of 7 (neutral), while alkaline water has a pH of 8-9. I won't explain pH but feel free to peruse your children's chemistry books in your own time. For now just know that pH is a scale from 1 to 14 that measures the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid - anything with a pH below 7 is an acid, and anything with a pH above 7 is an alkali . This is where Alkaline water advocates look to hype up the product, and because the stomach is a naturally acidic environment they claim Alkaline water can be used to counteract this and protect you from things such as tooth decay, adverse bone health as well as delaying the aging process among other things.
Verdict: More hype than anything; ni vi manzi chabe. Just drink the same water your grandparents have been drinking. They lived long and aged just fine on ordinary water.
Two things to note here: First, as long as a product contains less than a gram of sugar per serving then they can claim it is sugar free on the label. Second, sugar free is the absence of your typical white spoon sugar but it is often replaced with artificial sweeteners (check the ingredients label for things such as sucralose, maltodextrin, aspartame, saccharin if you want to know whether you're being played) to help maintain the sweet taste we've all come to love.
Verdict: Does it taste sweet? There’s sugar in it😔or some form of an artificial sweetener to help give it a sweet taste. This isn't a healthy alternative so don't fall for marketing tricks. Clean up your nutrition in general before you mislead yourself into believing that sugar free biscuits for breakfast is okay.
100% this, 100% that 🍊 🍎 🍍 🥤
100% fruit juice? Partially true. They probably did use real fruit, the problem is it's not just fruit in there. There's other things (mostly sugar and artificial sweeteners) that are added to enhance the taste and keep you buying the product because 'hey! It tastes good and it's healthy!'. It's likely not. My advice? Buy a blender and make your own 100% fruit juice. Ever noticed that the one you buy in the shop and the one you make yourself tastes different? Ever wonder why?
Verdict: If you buy it then it's because you just want juice, not because you want to be healthy because at the end of the day if you didn't squeeze those oranges yourself then the words 'pure', or '100% fruit' shouldn't entice you.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. For some people gluten causes digestive issues such bloating and in extreme cases damage to the intestinal lining (celiac disease). The gluten free products seek to address these issues.
Common products that contain gluten are beer, bread, pasta, baked goods, and cereals 🍺🍞 🥯 🧁 🥣
Verdict: Unless you've been medically diagnosed with celiac disease or experience serious discomfort after eating gluten containing foods, ukazidya chabe. You've been raised on bread so you can't now start claiming it's creating problems outside of your belly expanding. Some (or most) of you consume beer🍻, have you looked at the ingredients? Don't act boujee mu ma shop na ma restaurant when you know that your African stomach can handle anything.
Organic 🍗 🥚 🍖 🐟
Organic means the food or animal has been grown without the use of artificial chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified organisms. This unadulterated form of food leads to higher nutritional value.
Common organic foods come in forms of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat.
Verdict: Worth the purchase for your fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, poultry and fish. You'll reduce your exposure to artificial chemicals and antibiotics and improve your health through improved nutritional value from the foods you eat.
NB: If it hasn't been certified as organic don't bother with the product.
I hope this all helps you make better decisions. Don't enter shops and restaurants mungulu mungulu paying over the top for products that do more for your psychology than actual health.
“I don’t have time.” That’s the truth many of us choose to hold on to when it comes to going to the gym, attending spin or aerobics classes and playing madalas soccer. While others will start dishing out life philosophies🗣️ of how you make time for the things you want, I on the other hand understand that jumping up and down won’t recharge your ZESCO meter when it starts beeping. I get it. Exercise shouldn’t take up a significant portion of your day unless of course that's how you make your coins💰. For those that don’t have the time I want to share a few quick ways to improve physical conditioning and general health through high intensity interval training (HIIT).
HIIT - What is it?
High intensity interval training is exactly as the name suggests; it involves alternating between intense activity (maximum effort) and resting periods for a set period of time or until exhaustion.
How can you implement it?
Select any activity of your choice and perform a 1:2 ratio of activity to rest for at least 10 minutes total and at most 20 minutes total. For example, exercise intensely for 20 seconds and rest for 40 seconds. Repeat 10 times for a total of 10 minutes. Chapwa.
Recommended HIIT exercises:
Quick and easy to do with minimal equipment. Jump rope hard for anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute and rest for double the amount of skipping time. Repeat for as long as you can tolerate for a period not exceeding 20 minutes.
Boxing 😤 🥊
Chanel your inner savage and remove your chifukushi on a punching bag for anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute and rest for double the activity time. So, 20 seconds Mike Tyson, 40 seconds umuntu ku tusha. Repeat 10 times and you're done!
Explosive body weight exercises (star jumps, high knees, jump squats, burpees, push-ups)
Select individual exercises or mix it up in a circuit - whatever you feel like doing. You just have to do something for anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute and rest for double the activity time. So, get busy for 20 seconds, rest for 40 seconds. Repeat 10 times. No equipment is required and you can do these from virtually anywhere.
Road Cycling/Stationary Cycling 🚴🏾♂️🚴🏾♀️
If you own a stationary bicycle or a road bike get on it and ride hard for anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute and rest for double the amount of time. Repeat for as long as you can tolerate for a period not exceeding 20 minutes.
Road Running/Treadmill Running/Sprints 🏃🏿♂️🏃🏾♀️
Run hard for 20-60 seconds and rest for 40-120 seconds. Repeat for as long as you can tolerate for a period not exceeding 20 minutes.
Download the 7 App and follow the instructions. It’s free and effective. 7 minutes of guided interval training and you’re done. Stick to a maximum of 3 circuits.
Core principle: Stick to a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes. Go hard for 20 seconds to 1 minute and rest for double number of active time. Fitter individuals can opt to match the activity to rest periods in a 1:1 ratio for a more challenging HIIT session. Remember to warm up for at least 5 minutes prior to engaging in HIIT training to prime your body for the intense workout and help avoid injury.
Tip: Download the Seconds Interval Timer HIIT app from the App Store. It’s free and will help you keep track of the active and non active phases of your interval sessions.
The benefits of interval training are vast and the suffering you’ll have to endure will be short lived. Give it a shot if you don’t have more time to commit to exercise but wish to maintain some level of physical conditioning. Doing something no matter how small is always better than doing nothing.
Push yourself —> Rest —> Repeat