Health

"The first weight loss program I've managed to stick too," UFIT's Clean & Lean Challenge

Jacqui Young from Expat Living discover Clean & Lean benefits and how the rapport and community kept her strong and going for the whole four weeks. 

For years now I had struggled with the usual on and off latest diet fads, starvation periods and bouts of extreme exercise, all in an effort to lose the weight that I had seemed to collect over the last few years. 

I had heard through the grapevine about UFIT’s Clean and Lean program and thought of giving it a try. I toyed with the choice of program dates for 2017 thinking I can't do this one and can't do that one, and in the end, I thought no time is ever a good time and before I knew it, I was jumping straight in and enrolling to start the following day. If I didn't do it then I thought, I never will. Apprehensive, I embarked on my journey with my initial weigh in at UFIT's brand new gym just off Orchard Road before having my last latte in the nearby Starbucks and then joining my 270 comrades for my first Saturday morning seminar. The place was packed and there was an amazing atmosphere with everyone being supercharged for the upcoming challenge. 

The UFIT Clean and Lean program is about resetting your body and teaching you to have a cleaner, healthier and sustainable lifestyle and maintaining it after the program ends. For four weeks, you embark on a journey of a mainly green diet which eliminates processed foods and sugars. It’s incredibly easy to follow as it just involves cutting out the highly-processed sugars and eating healthier. There are no set recipes as such, but you do have the ideas from the cookbook that is supplied in a link at the start of the program. Some foods will be slowly reintroduced during the four week period normally after the weekly seminar which explains different topics along with the reasoning behind what’s being added. There is also access to a Clean and Lean Facebook community page site for all participants to share tips, ideas, recipes, or just to have a general vent if needed. There are also four bootcamp sessions are also given as part of the package which can be booked via a handy app for which all participants are given access. With over 80 classes a week, it’s easy to find a time and day that suits. There is an amazing support network of nutritionists and fitness experts, some of whom are also doing the program too for support. 

It is an actual challenge, and the winning male and female who lose the most body fat win an exclusive health and wellness package from UFIT and their partners. For me, it was more about resetting my eating habits and losing a few kgs. 

The four weeks passed quickly, and I was actually sad it was ending as it was so amazing having the support of so many people who were also participating. I was amazed at the results of my weigh in last week. 5kgs down on my weight, just over 5% body fat lost, and a good 5cms went from both my hips and waist. I was a very happy bunny! This four weeks has given me some great insight into changes that I made in my diet that I will have no problems sticking to. I’m not saying I won't ever eat a carb again or never drink a glass of wine (or five), but I’m definitely more in tune with balancing things out now. I’m even thinking of joining the next one in March now.

$159 + GST includes......

  • 4 x nutrition seminars 
  • A weigh in at the start, and weigh out at the end of the 4 weeks
  • 4 x bootcamp sessions to use at your leisure which can be booked via a handy app
  • Access to the 'Clean and Lean' cookbook with tasty recipes
  • Access to the Facebook site to support, share tips, stories and recipes

Program will run throughout 2017, and the dates can be found here. http://www.ufit.com.sg/clean-and-lean/  The next program will start on 11th March – 8th April.


THE 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.

Staying motivated on Clean & Lean with runner up Patrick Bowe

Hear it first hand from Patrick who was our Clean & Lean Challenge runner up in January about how he found his experience over the four weeks.

1.    What made you sign up for Clean & Lean?

My wife was doing the challenge and asked if I’d like to join.  I’m not usually one to join things, but I had the post Christmas feeling and the boot camps, especially BOXFIT, looked like a lot of fun

2.    How was your first week?

The food was ok, I’ve wanted to try no / low sugar for a while, I really buy into it.  I do sports though and care about getting better, so it wasn’t nice to see my stamina and effort drop off as my body didn’t have as much energy to burn.  I found out later that my body just needed to adjust, but at the time it was a worry.

3.    Did you sign up with a friend or by yourself?

I singed up with my wife and a friend.  On Sunday when you fancy a gin and tonic and a bit of mischief it was good to have people around who were fun and committed to the same thing.

4.    How have you felt each week?

Week 2 was great.  The energy was starting to come back and you can see the improvements in your figure.  After that week I knew that even if I struggled to stay clean and lean, as I did in New York in week 3 that I’d always come back to it.

5.    Did it get easier?

Yes.  Get through the first week and you get a positive feedback loop that keeps you motivated.

6.    Congratulations, you made it to the end of the four weeks how do you feel now?

Clothes fit me better, I’m faster and I’m stronger.  What more could I want?

7.    What was the biggest surprise after the four weeks?

The biggest surprise was how much you can eat on clean and lean.  I know it was mentioned in week 1, but it wasn’t until one of the trainers at a boot camp said that if he’s hungry he just goes out and buys a whole rotisserie chicken to eat that I realised that this wasn’t about being hungry.

In the first week I’d come home starving and my wife had prepared a fantastic meal, but it had fish in which isn’t my favourite. I got very juvenile about that and had a ‘hangry’ tantrum.  After the advice from the trainer, if I was going to be working late, I’d buy dinner out around 18.00 from somewhere like The Daily Cut and then come home and have a second, healthy, dinner.

It was great! Marital harmony and I was always full :-)

8.    What kept you motivated?

The results :-)

9.    Would you recommend to a friend?

Oh yes and I’d do it again with them!


UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGES 2017

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.

UFIT Clean & Lean Week One – Food Diary by Kelly Latimer

Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to experience the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge? Kelly Latimer joined us for her first taste of the programme last year and documented her first week of whilst busy travelling. If Kelly can fit it into her schedule then you definitely can.

Hear more from Kelly about the first week and the changes she started to experience.

Spent this week in Thailand on shoot for a new show. I’ll be spending 3 weeks of this challenge out of Singapore and away from physical support and meal prepping abilities. Been watching everyone’s posts in the Facebook group, feeling a little sad that I can’t cook. Production shoots leave little room for choosing food during the day, but I made sure before I left that I brought along almonds, oats and whatever easy snacks that didn’t look like they contained too much sugar. Fruits have been the main reach-for items, because that’s what the local crew provides. Evenings have been easier. Veg heavy meals with good fresh protein, lots of fresh fish. I’ve managed to limit processed food consumption to a minimum and I do feel plenty better for that. Although right now all I want is a pizza! Heading home this weekend and really looking forward to eating well in the coming week.

Day One

First day of the challenge and I’m in Malaysia on shoot. I’d be lying if I said I’ve eaten clean all day today. Curry for lunch at a restaurant. Dove into the veggie curry, but I’d needed to supplement with some rice. Long shoot days become longer with no carbs. I hope this is all in the mind.

Day Two

Home. Scrambled eggs for breakfast to start the day right. Wanted to make egg muffins, but was so tired I couldn’t make it out of the house to go grocery shopping. I’ll have to work on that. Much of the day spent recuperating from my week of shoot. Dinner for Mother’s Day was decent. Chinese food is actually pretty good for eating clean. Roast meats, plenty of vegetables and good soup.

Day Three

Back on the road. Thailand-bound. Does anyone realises how hard it is to find good clean food at the airport?! Skipped on the aeroplane food because it was 80% carbs. There was a little salad that came with it. Devoured that. Avoiding too many raw food dishes, so no papaya salad for me at dinner. Meats and veg all good so far.

Day Four

Breakfast will be sent to your room at 5am, they said. Half a slice of toast, a fried egg and 4 slices of some overly processed ham. I skipped on that. Had oats that I brought instead. First day of shoot. Looking at a 15 hour day. Couldn’t survive without some rice today. Options are limited. Apples and bananas for snacks.

Day Five

Another long day ahead. More gross breakfasts. They’re trying their best, but the concept of “carb free” and “clean” where I am is a foreign concept. Dinners are OK when I can order what I want, but the lunches have been terrible. Noodles today. Yummy. But definitely not C&L approved. Need food though. Feeling very sluggish.

Day Six

Two short days, but even earlier call times. I don’t drink coffee any more, so I’m really finding it hard. I’m just so tired. Filming under shelter today, so it’s not as hot. Water is my best friend - when we’re shooting in a place with a good toilet. Managed to hit the gym proper today. Other days were just short workouts in the room. Felt so strong, but then afterwards… SO HUNGRY!

Day Seven

Last day of shoot. Going home tomorrow. SO EXCITED! I’m aching from yesterday. Definitely need more protein, but I’ve gone off beef. Pork and fish seem ok. I want a pizza. Like. I really want a pizza. Been looking at options for a cauliflower pizza base that I can potentially cook next week. The carb craving is real. Haven’t needed sugar as much as I’d think I would. I’m sure that’ll change and I have been eating fruit. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Host & Vocal Talent Fitness Enthusiast, friend of UFIT.

Cauliflower - The queen of all vegetables

Cauliflower is a vegetable from the family of Cruciferae, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, turnip, radish, kale, garden cress, mustard and even wasabi. For many years, it was over-shadowed by the super healthy broccoli, however, now it is the cauliflower’s time to shine!

Cauliflower is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. It can be eaten raw, cooked, in salads, as a fermented vegetable, substituted for mashed potato or rice, as a topping for your scrambled eggs, and in lots of other ways. 

Due to its tremendous positive effects on our health and thanks to the variety of ways we can consume it, I think that cauliflower is a real super vegetable. 

UFIT-cauliflower.jpeg

Here are some of the health benefits of cauliflower:

Rich with vitamins and minerals - The intense modern life we are living is causing our diet to lack sufficient vitamins and minerals, which are critical for the optimal functioning of our body. Eating cauliflower on a daily basis can prevent this and can nurture our body with Magnesium, Potassium, Fibres, Niacin (B3), Folic acid (B9) Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin K and others.

Rich in Anti-oxidants and Phyto-nutrients - Eating cauliflower is like wining the lottery! It is so rich with anti-oxidants that protect our cells from the damage caused by free radicals, and can delay aging processes as a result of air pollutants, food pollutants, ionised radiation, chronic stress and others. Oxidative stress causes damage to our tissues and internal organs. Among the anti-oxidants in the cauliflower we can find vitamin C, Carotenoids, Quercetin, Rutin, Camperol and others.

Fights Inflammation - The inflammatory response in our body is a defence mechanism that combats injury or disease. The affected cells release chemicals that aid in removing the cause of harm.  It is a part of the healing process. However, too often the inflammation processes in our body are increased in an unhealthy way, and are the cause of nearly all chronic diseases that we are faced with today, including heart diseases and cancer.  Cauliflower is rich in or with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds such as Indole 3 carbinol, Vitamin C, Carotenoids and others, which lower oxidative stress and the presence of free-radicals in our body.

Fights cancer - The Sulforaphane in the cauliflower is a sulphur compound, which helps   eliminate cancerous cells.  Other compounds in the cauliflower such as Indole 3 carbinol and         Isothiocyanate were also found effective in stalling  early phases of cancer development to   help slow down tumour growth. Studies demonstrate that cauliflower is especially useful   in preventing breast cancer in addition to colon, liver, lung, and stomach cancers. The combination of Cauliflower with Turmeric (Curcumin) is very effective in eliminating cancer cells.

Keeps our heart healthy - the Sulforaphane in the cauliflower improves blood pressure, kidney function, and artery health.

Keeps our brain healthy - Cauliflower is a great source for Choline, which is a very important         neurotransmitter in the brain. High consumption of Choline throughout pregnancy improves cognitive abilities, prevents memory deterioration due to age, and protects from over sensitivity to toxins at childhood and mature age.

Improves digestion process - The Glucosinolates in the cauliflower help protect the internal wall of the stomach. Sulforaphane prevents the growth of Helicobacter Pylori bacteria, as well as preventing its ability to cling to the stomach walls. H.Pylori is the main cause of ulcer and stomach cancer. On top of that cauliflower is rich in fibre, which improves bowel movement and maintains healthy intestines.

Enhancing detoxification processes - The antioxidants, the Sulphur, the Glucosinolates and          other components in the cauliflower all work in synergy to activate the detoxification enzymes in our body.

If cauliflower is not one of your favourite vegetables, you can still enjoy most of the virtues mentioned above by eating other vegetables from the Cruciferae family. The more we eat the better. For example, Kale has 10,000IU of vitamin A  per 1 cup and is very rich with vitamin K, which is important to prevent cancer and inflammation.Take note that people suffering from hypothyroidism should limit the intake of vegetables from the Cruciferae family. The goitrogens components in them prevent the absorption of Iodine. Lack of iodine slows down the functionality of the thyroid gland. Cooking vegetables from the Cruciferae family decreases the goitrogens effect on the gland, therefore these vegetables can be eaten this way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Noa has been practicing as a Clinical Nutritionist for the last ten years. Her specialties include weight loss, Celiac disease, digestive system problems and metabolic diseases.

Noa focuses on providing the right moral support for all her clients, combined with a customised nutritional program. Through this, Noa assists her clients to change their lives for the best – improving their health, energy levels, sleep, and overall wellbeing. 

Read more

For more information for UFITs Nutrition programs get in touch with us here. Join our next Clean & Lean Challenges that we run 5 times a year providing you with the opportunity to change your healthy habits into a lifestyle.