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Nutrition with Jason

As part of Spring into Health, we've tracked down some Broadgate experts to get advice and tips on maintaining a healthy body and mind. First up is Jason Jackson, Master Trainer at Broadgate's Virgin Active Health Club and qualified performance nutritionist. 

When we first met Jason, he told us that there is a lot of conflicting and sometimes inaccurate nutritional information out there. However, with the right nutrition strategy and a training plan, you can achieve a healthy body and great fitness performance in a matter of months or even weeks. Here are Jason’s five simple steps to achieving a nutritionally balanced diet:

1 - EAT EVERY TWO TO FOUR HOURS, DO NOT SKIP MEALS

To keep your metabolism burning and avoid unhelpful drops in your blood sugar, you need to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. This will help keep your energy levels at an optimum level and will ensure you have quality workouts and feel great.

2 – EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL (STARTING WITH BREAKFAST)

Protein is not only good for your muscles; it also helps to maintain your blood sugar, as well as ensuring the meal is satisfying. Aim for protein from lean meats and fish, as well as eggs and dairy (cottage cheese, Greek/goat yogurt).

3 - EAT VEGETABLES AND/OR FRUIT WITH EVERY MEAL OR SNACK

Aim for a variety of types and colours to ensure a broad mix of nutrients from these important foods. Fruit and vegetables are essential for the vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants that keep our body working optimally and support our overall wellbeing. Good examples are tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, bok choy and berries. Try to eat more vegetables than fruit in any given day, and focus on nutrient dense and low carbohydrate fruits such as berries.

4 - EAT GOOD FATS

Avoid processed trans fats (typically found in fried foods, crisps and chips) and focus on healthy fat sources such as oily fish (which is also a source of protein), nuts and seeds, olive oil and avocados instead. Try to eat some of these healthy fat-containing foods at least twice a day (but not right before or after a workout to avoid digestive problems). Divide your fat intake evenly between saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and increase your Omega 3 intake.

5 - ONLY EAT STARCHY CARBOHYDRATES AFTER EXERCISE

I'm stopping short of advocating a no-carbohydrate diet however, dependant on your personal goals and lifestyle; carbohydrates could be reduced to as low as 25% of your total calorie intake. That's about half of most "general" recommendations out there. And the majority of those carbohydrates should come from dark green leafy vegetables. However in the two-hour window post-exercise, energy-rich carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and oats are highly beneficial to recovery.

If you would like further information about nutrition or training for body composition, email Jason at jason.jackson@virginactive.co.uk.

Jason is the Master Personal Trainer at Broadgate's Virgin Active Health Club. He is an internationally accredited strength and conditioning coach and post-graduate performance nutritionist who specialises in body transformation.