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I’m writing this in January, so we’re currently being bombarded with
crash diets from every direction. These range from the impossible to
the downright dangerous. Though they may work in the short term, the
research suggests that in the medium to long term you’ll be right back
to where you started or worse...so be sensible.
There’s no way around this one unfortunately, if you want to lose fat
then your energy in (food and drink) should be less than your energy
out (think energy required to keep you alive and all the activity you
do on top of that). This doesn’t mean counting calories each day, but
it’s certainly no harm to get an idea of how much (or how little) you
eat each day. Online calorie trackers and apps make this pretty easy.
If you can pull off this step then most people probably won’t need to
go much further. Processed foods are usually where you’ll find most
people go astray. In the majority of cases they tend to be loaded with
sugar and/or trans-fats and consequently easily devoured calories!
It’s entirely possible to take in 1000cals or more in less than 10mins
eating. Make these a rare treat and you’ll see results in terms of
body composition and energy throughout the day.
Following on from the previous point, once you’ve limited your
processed foods, you should be left with wholefoods, you know, foods
you never see advertised on television. Meats, fish, vegetables,
fruits, some dairy and nuts and oils. There are endless possibilities
when it comes to recipes for all this, so get creative and make it
For various reasons, past the remit of this article, protein is an
essential nutrient. It’s not just the building blocks for growth and
repair, but it’s the most satiating macro-nutrient. This simply means
that this will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Think about eating
5 chicken breasts compared with 5 chocolate brownies...got it? A
simple strategy is to eat your proteins and vegetables before anything
else in your meals.
As with exercise, the key to obtaining your goals is consistency and
for that you must enjoy what you’re doing or in this case eating.
Obviously if fat loss is your goal some willpower is certainly
required...but you’ll never stick with a plan that includes foods you
simply don’t like. Pick some whole foods you enjoy eating and
experiment with combinations and different cooking methods.
Again key to success is to make your nutrition plan as simple as
possible. The nutrition world is full of myths, we all know the ‘never
eat carbs after 6pm’ rule right? Well the big trend now is ‘carb
back-loading’ which is basically the direct opposite, what can you
learn from this? It basically doesn’t matter, what matters most is
your overall consumption than when.
Carbs have been given a bad rap in the media over the last few years,
it seems we need to point fingers at something. It used to be fat but
that’s all changed now. The best way to think about Carbohydrates is
to eat according to your activity levels that day. More activity =
more carbs. Lying on the couch or sitting at a desk for the day...then
you’re carbohydrate (and calorie) needs decrease.
Fats have previously been demonised in nutrition due to it’s supposed
link to heart disease, however we now know it’s not quite that simple.
We know that certain fats are essential for health, and should be
included in everyone’s diet. The quantity however, is hotly debated
all over the internet. For the sake of simplicity to cover your bases
try to include some nuts/seeds, some olive oil and avocado’s on a
Everyone has different goals and objectives so this will be different
for everyone, if you need to add weight/muscle then you’ll have to eat
a lot more than you would if you were trying to lose it. Be under no
illusion though that the best exercise for fat loss is table
Within the guidelines above, make your plan failsafe and pre-prepare
as much food as you can ahead of time. Tupperware containers and batch
cooking are your friends. This means you always have an option to
steer you from that microwave meal for lunch!
If you slip up don’t worry too much about it. A common mistake is
having something like a biscuit, thinking you’ve blown everything and
then eating the whole rest of the packet. What was a tiny blip has now
turned into more of an issue, so take it easy on yourself.