Diet

Oh sugar! How cauliflower became our third best friend with UFIT's Clean & Lean Challenge

Our amazing dynamic duo Mike Thornton and Trine Kaehler took on the Clean & Lean Challenge in January as a couple to give each other the motivation to stick to the program and avoid any temptations. Hear more about their journey of the four weeks right here. 

 Why UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge?

For both of us, coming off the back of a strong festive season, neither was happy with how we looked in the mirror and we knew it was time to make a change. Mike had undertaken the first C&L challenge back in 2013 and achieved good results so we thought it would be a fun challenge to do by starting off 2017 in the right way and also allowing us to spend more time together in an otherwise busy working schedule. Both of us had our goals in mind however achieving them would take serious commitment!

Week 1: Oh Sugar!

After the first seminar (which are excellent and very informative) and with the same excitement as a kid on their last day of school, we rushed to place a food order containing all the ingredients on the approved menu. Lunch was already planned out, as we are both working full time, Trine would get a salad from the closest Salad Stop every day and myself lunch from The Daily Cut. The tough part was making a food plan for the week (breakfast and dinner) and think out of our old routine. Eggs and cauliflower became our best friend – cauliflower bread, cauliflower fried rice, steamed cauliflower, roasted cauliflower (you name it). We both experienced dips in the first week due to the sugar withdrawal from our diets, Trine’s was immediate while mine (Mike’s) took some time to work in before crashing hard after a 5 a-side football game. Nevertheless, we powered through with the support of the C&L Facebook group. In week 1 we found out how much sugar we had actually been eating before and that there is a massive amount of meals you can make with limited ingredients

Week 2: Carrot-Gate

With the hardest part, over, we looked forward to the reintroduction of new items to the food menu for Week 2. Without giving away too much information, the reintroduction of carrots to the diet made life much easier…it really is the little things! We noticed that Trine was definitely experiencing a pop in energy in the mornings while myself…. well let’s just say on the 5th alarm I at least acknowledged it. We had both been pushing hard in the first half of the C&L, Trine with her Yoga and PT classes (thanks Wendy!) and myself with lunch time workouts and football. By the end of Week 2 we started to see the first signs of changes to our bodies which was exciting and gave us the motivation to keep going.

Week 3: It’s a complex situation, don’t lose your nut!

After pushing so hard in the first 14 days of the challenge it was inevitable that we would reach a burn out / plateau period at some point in the challenge and for both of us, this was week 3. We found ourselves sticking mainly to the Week 1 and 2 diet plan mainly due to our attempts at adding Week 3 foods into our diet plan had made portion control difficult, something Trine is much better at controlling than myself. Nevertheless, on the workout front we continued to do what we could when we could, a highlight of our days being our evening walks around Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay which kept the clock ticking over while allowing us to clear our minds, evaluate on the day and to discuss what to cook for the next day…. Planning is the key to make C&L a success!

Week 4: Cross the finish line and say cheese!

The final week saw both of us making a big push for the finish line with the intensity of our daily workouts ramped up as the date of our weight out came closer. The introduction of cheese in week four had severely thrown a spanner in the works however apart from a homemade pizza utilising cauliflower crust (this challenge is impossible without cauliflower!!) we did our best to stay away from our favourite snack.

The Weigh Out

Saturday, 11th February, 8:30AM – D-DAY. With the standard “good luck” comments out of the way in our own time we stepped onto the scales…

Trines results:
Weight: 2.6kg
Body Fat: 5.9%

Mikes results:
Weight: 7.4kg
Body Fat: 4.7%

 

Should you do C&L?

That is a question you are probably asking yourself right now, in short, it depends very much on what you are looking to get out of a four-week diet plan. In our opinion the best way to approach it is to view the C&L as the kick start you need to change your lifestyle habits and not simply as an isolated course, this helps you to keep on the straight and narrow when times are tough. Yes, you will experience headaches, tiredness, nausea and dizziness (am I still selling it to you?) from time to time but once you battle through these short-term difficulties the change to your diet and lifestyle will provide huge upside potential. It doesn’t matter if you are 28 or 58 years old, 50kg or 130kg, each person is on this challenge for their own reasons and the coming together of complete strangers into a supportive community network where you make new friends and change for the positive is worth the admission cost alone.

A huge thank you from both of us to Wendy, Noa and the rest of the UFIT Clean and Lean brigade, these guys put in a HUGE amount of work over the four week period to provide support, assistance and in general “feel good vibes” to everyone on the journey in addition to their already busy lives and it simply would not have been the same without them.

Now, if you are still reading this; get online, get signed up and best of luck in your own C&L challenge – we look forward to reading the next persons story.

Mike & Trine


UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGE

The 2017 Clean & Lean sessions are happening on March 11 – April 8 (4 weeks), May 20 – June 17 (4 weeks), September 2 – 30 (4 weeks), November 4 – 25 (4 weeks).

UFIT is Singapore’s largest independent fitness community that offers a 360 approach to health and fitness island wide. For more information, visit our website.

 

Safe to say I'm converted to be Clean and Lean for 90% of the time thanks to the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

About me: Trampoline Performance Coach and retired Army Captain. Former National Level trampoline competitor in the UK and Billy all sports, 31 years young.

WHY: 2016 saw a lot of injury and the last part leading to Christmas I had a broken wrist resulted in limited exercise and a noticeable amount of weight gain (to me) and definition Loss. I use sugar to get through the day as I coach solidly for up to 6 hours at a time. My skin is bad and I have diet related gastro problems which I know is down to a poor eating habits. I blooming love a pudding, this girl can eat chocolate cake quicker than Bruce Bogtrotter. 

Worries: My job is extremely active, I bounce at least 2 hours a day, not including fitness classes and my own exercise. I am nervous of 'diets' due to eating disorders as a teen and in my early 20's and worry that a massive change will lead to obsession and a return of previous issues. 

Week 1: Firstly, how the HECK am I 25% body fat, that crept up on me... I work Saturdays and have to miss the seminars so the initial email on Friday helped to prepare for day 1. I started on the Friday evening and the food was not too bad. However my first issue, I do not like Avocado, cucumber or celery... so that limited my initial options for lunch. I must admit the Facebook group is great for ideas and different options for recipes. I got through Sunday fairly well and felt (albeit tired) alright. Monday was the first stupid idea... Bootcamp... I was dizzy, struggled in strength and the old army mentality of 'just get on with it' came through. My body is a machine, oh wait no it's not it doesn't want to work for me at all. Headache for the rest of the day and although smashed a staple lunch of spinach wrap, with chicken and bacon I was still hungry. I just couldn't find the energy so avoided prep that night ate my Shepard’s pie from the freezer and thought I'd go for a 'Daily Cut' for lunch... FAIL I am a bit of a nightmare with lettuce that isn't crisp and after the journey to work I managed to heave for about 5 mins trying to eat broccoli, before giving up and just eating the chicken. All I managed Tuesday was eggs and salmon for breakfast, chicken breast for lunch and ham as a snack. I did eat a pre-made Shepard’s pie for dinner at 10pm and then prepped like a mad person for the rest of the week... I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED and actually after Wednesday morning trampoline fitness and a busy schedule for the rest of the week with hands on coaching I survived.  Only as a result of preparation!  the 7P's spring to mind.... Went to the cinema with a pack of whole kitchen seeds and a water bottle, I tend to belt feed a large sweet popcorn bag before the movie starts so for me this is a Result!! Drinking water is not a problem, I tend to drink lots anyhow but a skinny cappuccino with a sweetener has been missed that's for sure.

Week 2: Yay for tomatoes! Oh wait I don't eat tomatoes either. The first meal was roasted veg (mainly green) with Carrots and peppers, they tasted extremely sweet after the sugar purge. I feel like I'm savouring the flavours. After the lessons learnt from week 1, I am prepared and even Managed a jog on Sunday evening. I am still feeling a little Low on energy at times and have succumbed to become one of those people who buys protein. I made protein balls with cacao for a hit while at work between bouncing. Only taken 31 years and needs must. Clothes feel looser, skin is becoming clearer and stomach has settled. My Tuesday from last week was a whole lot different this week. Prepped a decent 'big' lunch and snacks, finished work at 8 and went straight to Hockey training. A year out and you could tell, but I managed to run around like a lunatic for 1.5 hours. Finished the week very stiff and continued with being busy at work. Sleep has been an issue with cramp and just not settling, so invested in Magnesium supplements which has been brilliant. I went to a BBQ and ate so much meat. Took green pepper and carrot sticks with me and soda, watching everyone having a few drinks was slightly annoying but stuck with it. I have managed to 'accidentally' fast for 3 days this week after the seminar on Wednesday as I do not start work until late so actually it's not too bad to wait for lunch. Other than sleep being a pain towards the tail end of the week a much better week for energy... I didn't feel the need to eat quite a lot of the time.

Week 3: OVER HALFWAY!!! Survived 50% and looking forward to adding some sweet potato and beetroot to the diet. Went for a slow and steady 4.6 Mile jog as Since Hockey training my legs have been very sore. Actually had a protein shake and feel ok for it. Preparing hard on the Sunday for the week as it's set to be a busy one. Consciously upping the exercise this week as with the added carbs I hope I can take it. Monday bootcamp I had much more energy and no dizziness. Managed to push myself harder and wasn't 'at the back', body is aching but fueling well. I may have found a faux pas CASHEW BUTTER seriously the restraint not to devour the whole pot is tremendous. But I have made my protein balls using this for a second batch and actually since the revelation I haven't dived a in with a teaspoon since the first few days of having it. 

You can't always plan ahead, being reactive is important and A busy week at work has resulted in only managing my own exercise (other than bouncing) 2 times. But had 2 trampoline fitness classes to deliver and also sporting a slight strain from Too many lunges from Bootcamp and Hockey at the start of the week so some rest is probably needed... stuck to the plan and even resisted my boss's Husband placing a glass of red wine in front of me (he must have thought I needed it) I refused, it smelt so good but restraint (for once) stood strong. Awesome compliments from the parents of the kids I coach saying how great I look and how incredible my skin is, a brilliant boost to enforce the effort going into sticking to the plan. 

Week 4: WOW how is it the last week already.?!? Start as you mean to go on, 9 hours solid coaching on Saturday and an impromptu trip to my boss's meant a late run. But I am slowly increasing speed and the first run since the start that I haven't wanted to collapse. Obstacle Bootcamp Sunday morning and again feeling good, weirdly satisfying burning your legs and working your arms up on ropes, how I miss that part of the Army... I prepared food for the week in a form of curry for lunches when I'm too busy and also making sure I don't forget that green should be the staple. I'm finding myself less hungry but feeling like I 'should' eat for the sake of not overdoing the diet and not fueling myself properly. Finding the balance I Guess will be important this week... I have lots of exercise planned and want to really work hard to find my fitness while maintaining a Clean and Lean diet. Also CHEESE... my hand brake. Just need to remember to alternate days as otherwise overindulgence is inevitable. The True protein from UFIT Amoy Street (chocolate flavour) has not only stopped my need for the sweet tooth but dare I say it aided in the recovery process and also general aches and pains after exercise. From a non-believer in protein powder, I am converted and it will definitely form part of my recovery and exercise routine. With only 3 days before my weigh out, I have managed a good amount of exercise and also learnt lots about what I do and don't need with regards to food, I am a little sporadic in my food choices after exercise as most of the time I do not eat dinner until after work at 10pm opting quite a lot of the time for snacks rather than a meal, which means a big lunch but I'm ok with that as an option to go forward... Another brilliant Wednesday seminar to help with the final push and feeling positive about the changes to make afterwards. Also picked up some shorts to wear to work and have had to roll them up as they are falling down. Jumping on a trampoline today may add some hidden entertainment, never a dull moment. Typical the day before I weight out I'm having a wobble, feel like scrounging around the kitchen to look for something sweet... hoping today flies by without too much stress... so you can't control hormones and the last bit one day out from weigh in has resulted in my body playing up. But I am sticking to it, support from friends and UFIT's own Lizzie Wright has been helpful as sometimes you just need a kick up the butt. Even managed a 5k run in quickest time since before my wrist break in October so something must be going ok. 

The weigh out: After the last day of feeling pretty bad (although staying true) I didn't have much hopes and could not believe it when I jumped on the scales and the first number was 56!! 56KG is below my pre-army 'fit' weight and I was truly shocked. I know I've felt good at times and many have complimented the way I'm looking which has been nice, but to actually see the hard work in facts and figures gives you that measurable outcome to the process.

Safe to say I’m converted to be Clean and Lean for 90% of the time, no one likes a goody too shoes after all. 

Reflection:  So in 4 weeks I have lost 4.5KG, 4.5% body fat and also 5cm from my waist, my skin has massively improved and I have slowly managed to control my hunger and need for sugar. I have found myself in a place where I am really happy with how I feel and look. The energy is starting to come back because of careful planning in food preparation and I am feeling confident about keeping with it and trying to build back into the Athlete I once was. I fully recommend the clean and lean process to those who do not just want to lose weight but for those who want an education about how to take control of your diet and not be a slave to the evolution of poor eating and poor diet choices. It's all about moderation and for me my process will continue with the odd cheat day here and there. Thank you UFIT and especially Wendy and Noa for the support and guidance over the last 4 weeks, also the community Facebook group has been awesome. Safe to say I'm converted to be Clean and Lean for 90% of the time, no one likes a goody too shoes after all. 


UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGE

The 2017 Clean & Lean sessions are happening on March 11 – April 8 (4 weeks), May 20 – June 17 (4 weeks), September 2 – 30 (4 weeks), November 4 – 25 (4 weeks).

UFIT is Singapore’s largest independent fitness community that offers a 360 approach to health and fitness island wide. For more information, visit our website.

 

No sugar for a month... are you kidding? Game on! 

UFIT Marketing Manager, Lizzie, takes on Clean & Lean to fight her addiction of what some days consisted to be of four Twix's a day (well that was the latest obsession).

No sugar. No booze. No fruit. For four weeks. But can you really commit to achieving your goals? I hear it every day from friends and family, 

"But I've got that birthday event"
"I've got this wedding I can't do it."
"I have friends in town" 

Sound familiar? 

Too many excuses flood the end goal, and you have to decide how much you want that to get that Beyoncé ‘butt’, or those toned arms and rock hard abs. Or even having that "feel good feeling" about eating real food. Well, in my case enough was enough. I'm pretty head strong so I was up for the challenge as the sugar issue started to get way out of hand. I already fell off the bandwagon twice over with the last Clean & Leans; The sugar highs were just too damn good. After a full on year with a new job, home, and shake up I made the decision 2017 is my year to rein in my sugar addiction. 

So here goes. Third time lucky to make that commitment. Was I serious; Of course I was! As Marketing Manager I think it's integral to understand each and every part of UFIT. After two previously failed attempts due to my insane sugar addiction, a bet with the boss got me signed up for the challenge; $200, let's see if it's worth it! To get the ball rolling I enrolled my partner in crime to make the journey with me and smash our body goals (it makes it easier to say yes when there's two of you). For those of you unfamiliar with the Clean & Lean Challenge UFIT run in Singapore, it's a four week nutrition cleansing program whereby we see a large amount of people join for a number of reasons including weight loss, getting lean, reducing their cravings to sugar and processed foods. It's a journey for learning how to appreciate the real foods that are right in front of you.

Week One - Cauliflower is my new best friend

Dealing with no sugar was a test in itself for week one. No fruit in the mornings, just green veg, meats, and my soon to be best friend... cauliflower. The key to getting through this first week let alone the whole four weeks was having my buddy do it with me. We were able to help remove temptations from each other, have chilled nights in, and when we did go out we were a team, ordering together our Clean & Lean approved dishes. 

The first day was a Saturday, everyone in our friendship group ordered five large pizzas and a tray of Krispy Kreme's (are you serious guys?). We jumped the first hurdle with our green spinach chicken pancakes and avocado... YUM! I was still hungry though but wouldn’t admit it! The point of Clean & Lean is whilst you cut out the bad you replace it with the good and lots of it. You get hungry and you eat, surely isn’t this the case? For me the struggles started when it came to exercising. My body was telling me no, my head was telling me train, keep your training up. I gave in and listened to my body! The next step was the food. To get through I knew it was all about the planning and that's when FitThree came into the equation. All approved of course. I was set for my five dinners a week and just had to prepare the yummy lunches courtesy of @Soff.it delicious recipes. This was the week we realised that we had endless recipes we could make with cauliflower and zucchini focaccini. The rest was history and week one started to get easier with occasional sugar cravings but no chocolate in sight. 

Week Two - Red pepper never tasted so amazingly good!

With a week of just greens, cauliflower, protein, protein and protein it was time for an addition to the menu. I don't think I've ever realised how tasty and sweet a red pepper was going into week Two; They’re super sweet and full of flavour. We continued our FitThree's, prepped our lunches and snacks on the Sunday. Thank goodness for the introduction of coloured vegetables. Did you know one red pepper can contain a teaspoon of sugar. All natural sugars of course, but the journey is learning about the good sugars, the good fats and oils to put into your body. 

Connecting with real food and tasting the real flavours was something else. Doing it alongside 270 other people was another. The power of people and seeing their results after two weeks was so inspiring. With everything going well I still wasn't able to train after feeling quite weak, but that was about to change when Fran and I signed up to trek up Mount Kinabalu with no sugar and carbs - OMG!

Week Three - Trekking up South East Asia's highest mountain; Mount Kinabalu!

It goes without saying this was seriously tough. Without two weeks of training, no sugar and carbs we had a number of people saying we were crazy, and were not confident we could do it. Probably a little mad, but if we're doing one challenge, why on earth not do two? Trekking is one of my all-time favourite things to do and I wasn’t about to bail on this amazing trip.

To cut a long two days short (full blog coming soon), Fran and I did a great deal of preparation before the trip. We had these amazing cacao coconut protein balls, with nuts introduced which helped fuel us the most and then some super tasty True Protein dark chocolate flavour shakes (life saver). The first hour of the trek kicked in hard; Out of breathe, the midday sun and hours of uphill climbing… but still smiling. The only way was up (pretty vertical). The packed lunch was not the best as we could only eat chicken, a slice of cucumber and an egg. We were expecting to starve the whole trip, but thank goodness for eggs, meat and vegetables which saved us from noodles and rice. 

After a night of no sleeping, acclimatising and hearing a couple of people vomiting it was time to get up and ‘nail’ this climb. For fuel we drank our protein shakes, ate a couple of handfuls of nuts and had our eggs. We made it! 4095m secured! With no carbs and sugar our recovery was something else. When walking for three days afterwards, with a lack of the right nutrients in our bodies, was agony. 

Week Four - On the home straight

Sustaining Clean & Lean for four weeks was tough, but manageable. As soon as I set my mind to the challenge the rest was history. Week four was a breeze. I prepared my protein balls, my lunches, ordered my dinners in advance and I was ready to go. I’m a few weeks on and still keeping up with Clean & Lean week four with one cheat day a week, therefore sustaining a realistic lifestyle and falling under the 80% healthy - 20% eat whatever tasty treats I want… I’m only human after all!

If I could give you anything to walk away with these five key tips, the first would be to get your ‘butt’ into gear and stick to your goals:

1. Determine how badly you want it… 

Are you serious about change and getting the end result? At the end of the day it's your choice. Take control of your life,  make your mindset strong and surround yourself with people that just ‘get’ you. Social events, and holidays etc will come and go so you've just got to make it work! 

2. Get yourself a partner in crime

They have your back, you can enjoy social occasions together and take a stance with your friends that just don't get it. Achieving similar goals with someone else is empowering as you share the ups and downs, and it makes you forget about the four weeks’ timeline. It just naturally continues to become your way of life. 

3. Get planning and prepping

Don't skip the corners, or you’ll suffer. Get ahead of yourself with your breakfast, lunches and dinners and how it fits best into your schedules. Mine was a Sunday session spending a couple of hours getting everything made for the week. 

4. Make it sustainable and be realistic

We can't be perfect 100% of the time so give back to yourself and give yourself a guilt-free treat, you deserve it! 

5. Get your ‘butt’ into gear.

Pick up your training again. Strength training to be exact. Yes - it's known for weight-loss, toning up those muscles, preventing illness and realising those happy endorphins. There’s nothing better than breaking a sweat and earning your body!

I’m pretty happy with my results, but now the real journey starts with carb loading and increasing my strength training to build on muscle tone. Overall I lost 1.66% body fat, 1.6kg and lost 4cm around my waist. I am so guilty of sharing the far right picture after my firs tCrossFit session and getting my muscles working. The lighting was better - guilty. But I now want to show you the slight difference lighting and posing can make to a set of photos. We all have our good and bad days! Now time to train and build my muscle tone back with phase 2 - bring on the strength training.

You’ll find there's always a tomorrow, there's always another Monday or next month. So the question is what are you going to finally achieve this year? Take the first step and if at first you don't succeed just try and try again. 

Fitter, Leaner, Stronger!


The 2017 Clean & Lean sessions are happening on March 11 – April 8 (4 weeks), May 20 – June 17 (4 weeks), September 2 – 30 (4 weeks), November 4 – 25 (4 weeks).

UFIT is Singapore’s largest independent fitness community that offers a 360 approach to health and fitness island wide. For more information, visit our website.

Sesame Crackers | UFIT Kitchen - Recipes

UFIT Sesame Crackers



Are you looking for a new healthy snack to try or something to pair your avocado, pesto or olive tapenade🏼 with? Enjoy this fabulous, quick & easy recipe to get your snack on!

Ingredients: 

1 x Egg
1 x tsp of Olive Oil
3 x tbsp of Sesame Seeds
3 x tbsp of Black Sesame Seeds
1 x tbsp of Physillium Husk
1 x tbsp of Flaxseed Meal
1 x tbsp of Whey Protein Salt 

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients with a fork, making an even paste.
2. Put the mix in a non sticky bread pan.
3. On a preheated oven to 200 cook for 10-12 minutes.
4. Let the pan cool down. Remove the mix and cut into thin slices.

Toast: you can either do it on the frying pan or in the oven. This recipe will make you around 20 small pieces. Follow UFIT Nutrition for more amazing recipes coming your way which have been approved by our nutritionists.

Credit goes to the amazingly talented Sofi - follow her daily recipes @soff.it on Instagram

Client Testimonial: Steve Smith.

” I first joined UFIT to follow the Salveo Body Transformation programme in October 2014. I spent 6 intensive weeks following a tailored strength and nutrition plan, which saw me lose 5.6kg in weight and 7.7% of body fat. I continued following the nutrition advice over the next couple of months and ended up losing even more – my weight stabilised around 74kg and 14% body fat.

With my weight under control I was able to get into some more serious running training. In my final 10km race prior to starting at UFIT, I clocked 50 minutes, so I was looking for some significant improvements in the 2015 season. I continued my weekly strength training sessions with UFIT coach John Black – who also looks after the RUNFIT group – and steadily saw my times improve during the year. John’s focus on free weights and resistance work was perfect – and the sessions never became routine or predictable.

My goal race for the year was the 10km race at the Standard Chartered Marathon in December 2015. In order to maximise my chances of a good placing, I asked UFIT Nutritionist Wendy to design a tailored nutrition plan for my 12 week build-up. Wendy provided amazing guidance and support in this area. With minimal changes to my eating habits, I was able to train harder, longer and more efficiently, which saw major improvements in my recovery period as well as my pace.

I finished the race in a time of 37:35, which put me in 14th position overall, 11th in the men’s category and 4th in my age group. None of this would have happened without John, Wendy and the UFIT team – I can’t recommend them highly enough.”