Category Archives: Food

3 Common Nutritional Mistakes To Avoid

amazing lovely food

Nutrition can be a bit of a minefield…


Do this, do that. Eat this, eat that… There is a lot of conflicting information.


Like many others, I bet you feel a little overwhelmed – Who or what should you listen to?


To help you I want to provide a solution to three of the most common questions I receive and typically the biggest problem areas for most.



1. Setting macros as a percentage


Ever heard of 40/40/20?  I’ve done that myself, it worked okay. However, when I work with clients on setting up their proper macronutrient intakes rather than percentages their results are dramatically better.


When setting up our macros as a percentage you are simply taking a percentage of your calories and consuming them as either carbs, protein or fats – this is good as you can hit your calorie goal and your tracking app can give you your targets.


However, it can have you either undereating or overeating key macronutrients – this can be quite an issue.


To help you understand, lets put it into an applied example:


Take Phil. He weighs 75kg or 165lbs. He trains 4x per week but spends the rest of the day working at a desk so is pretty sedentary. His maintenance calorie intake is 2200 calories.


If we apply the 40/40/20 rule, his intakes would be: 220g carbs, 220g protein, and 48g fat.


This seems alright, however, if we look at the optimal intake of protein to maximise muscle mass and ensure recovery, it sits at 1g per lb of bodyweight – In Phil’s case this means 165g, however, the above ratio has him eating 220g. What happens this excess protein? It doesn’t help grow any more muscle – it gets turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis, but you don’t really care about that… All you need to know is that the body isn’t using it for muscle growth or repair! Therefore, it’s essentially burning a hole in your pocket – at the end of the day, protein is expensive!


What’s a better idea?


For Phil, we would set his protein based on his bodyweight at 165g per day and his fat intake will be between 0.4-0.6g per lb based on his food preferences – the remainder of his calories come from carbohydrates.


This would give him a daily intake of: 236g carbs, 165g protein, and 66g fat.


If we look at his new macro targets, his fat intake now in the suggested range, his protein is in line with suggested amounts and is not being wasted, and he has more carbs which will help increase his daily activity levels and aid in training intensity


A win win,  no?


When starting I help people get better results by setting their macros based on this: Protein – 1g per lb of bodyweight; Fat – 0.3-0.6g per lb of bodyweight, and Carbs – Remainder of calories.


Follow the above and you are on course for a winner.



2. Slashing calories to lose weight


I bet you know somebody who has done this: They make weight loss their goal – completely slash your calories and starve yourself is obviously the way to go…




This is typically done by most recreational gym goers or those who have left competition weigh in too late.


Now, it does work. However, if you have ever tried it yourself or know somebody who has done the above, you will know that what normally happens is that you lose a bunch of weight at first,  then your progress stalls.


Now what do you do? Your calories are already so low you couldn’t possibly reduce them even further.


More cardio? You’re already doing it 4x a week – anymore and you would get married to the treadmill, and not in a good way…


What normally happens at this point? They binge or give up on their goal as it’s ‘impossible’ ending up putting on more weight than where they originally started.


Maybe I am exaggerating a little but you get the point – this approach is simply unsustainable. In short, you get progress but corner yourself in the process!


My approach with clients is a gradual process of weight loss. We aim to lose around 1% of bodyweight per week or 1.5% if they prefer to do it a little quicker.


To help prevent muscle loss during weight loss, we set their protein intake at the optimal amount – around 1g per lb and even higher in later stages of the diet. We also combine this with a period of higher volume training as it helps to retain muscle.


So, if weight loss is your goal – stop cutting your calories in half!


Instead set yourself up for long term success and keep the weight off!


  • Reduce your current caloric intake by 10% and set your macronutrients using the tips from point #1.
  • Monitor your bodyweight on a daily basis BUT look at the weekly average. Then, compare your weekly average to the next and so on.
  • If you are losing more than 1% of your bodyweight you can probably eat a little more
  • If you are losing less, you may want to eat  a little less or increase your activity levels.
  • Once you hit a plateau ie weight loss stalls for 2+ weeks, simply reduce your caloric intake by 5% and you should be good to go again! We only need minor adjustments to get ourselves back into a deficit – no need to panic and reduce your intake by hundreds of calories.
  • You may want to gradually add cardio instead of reducing your caloric intake – this is probably the preference for most once their food intake gets to a low point and most lightweight females will want to do this or they will be eating so little it’s unsustainable. If you are incorporating cardio, aim to do it as far away from your lifting as possible so it has minimal interference ie on off days or in mornings if you train in evening and vice versa. If this is too much of a time constraint, simply complete it after your training so you have most of your energy for your training!
  • Enjoy the process – if you overeat one day, don’t stress! Simply reduce your intake the following days. If you fancy a treat? Make sure it fits your calories – it doesn’t have to be more complicated!


 The Bunny Rabbit


Last but not least – the bunny rabbit.


Ever seen the people in the gym – one week they are lifting heavy singles, the next week they are performing every machine to failure, the next – who knows what they will do!

Perhaps you’ve talked to the guy who is cutting some fat for 2 weeks. You speak to them the next week and they are trying to bulk because they don’t like cutting


What’s the theme here?


They aren’t picking a goal and sticking to it – there is no consistency.  Instead they are simply spinning their wheels – they aren’t going to see any clear progress.


The guy jumping between exercises and rep ranges week to week never does enough volume to grow muscle or spend enough time training with heavy weights to get stronger.


The jumpy dieter simply always looks the same – they never get leaner and never get bigger.


To get stronger, add muscle or lose weight you need to spend dedicated time making this your sole aim. You need consistency!


Spend at least 6 weeks minimum trying to achieve one of these goals before hopping onto the next – I suggest spending even longer and getting the most bang for you buck out of the above goals.


A sample set up could be; 8-12 weeks spent training with higher volume – you would perform higher reps and sets, typically in a ‘hypertrophy’ fashion.  Then spend the next 8-12 weeks with higher intensities and lower volumes – you would spend time training with ~75%-90% and getting strong as possible


After this point you can either test your strength in a 1 rep max test and gauge your progress or simply switch back to higher volumes and aim to gain more size.


To take this a step further and improve your results you can marry two phases together.


For example, during periods of higher volume we are better making adjustments to our body composition. This is due to volume being the biggest overall predictor of muscle growth and retention. Therefore, if you are aiming to bulk you will be giving the body the opportunity to grow. If you are aiming to cut you are giving the body a stimulus to keep your hard earned muscle.


During strength training or lower volume training the volumes aren’t high enough to push the boundaries of muscle gain or retention. Sure, you could do it but it would be alot harder and more taxing. Within this phase simply aim to maintain your current bodyweight and body composition and get stronger. This will allow you to use heavier weights in your next higher volume block – this means you can get progressively bigger over time!


A sample set up could be: 8-12 weeks of higher volume training while adding weight, 8 weeks of strength training and maintaining your new weight , and then 8-12 weeks of higher volume training while cutting


Congratulations! You should not only be stronger but also bigger and as lean or leaner than you started.


You have made actual progress!




I hope you have found this article interesting and can take something away. Hopefully I have help you realise the fact that fitness, health and nutrition really don’t have to be as complicated as made out to be.


You can achieve your goals by monitoring your food intake by taking simple but smart steps and being consistent and sticking to the plan.


There really isn’t need to make it more complicated than it needs to be.


“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”



Thank you for taking the time to read – if you have any comments please feel free to add them.


If you have any questions, feel free to contact myself on the links below


About the author


Dave Carleton is the head coach at Carleton Performance and Nutrition – an online coaching service for those interested in competing in powerlifting, stepping on stage or simply improving their body composition. He creates regular articles and tips through his blog and facebook page which are linked below. He also has a free facebook group with members interested in strength training, nutrition and sports performance. Within the group, helpful tips, training feedback and nutritional support is provided – if this sounds like it would be beneficial to you, request to join on the link below.

Carleton Performance and Nutrition Facebook Page

Carleton Performance and Nutrition Main Website

Eat, Track, Lift Facebook Page

The most useful tip for weight loss


Right now you will receive the greatest tool I can give you to lose weight. It is free and you already have it.


You ready? Here we go…




That’s it.


As soon as I am chatting to someone about weight loss and they say ‘but I only had…’ I switch my ears off and day dream about Scarlett Johanssen.


In 99% of instances they are lying to themselves. They don’t want to accept that they let themselves get overweight, so they subconsciously blame it on factors they can’t control, such as a low metabolism.


I was overweight until 14 even though I was very active, played over 8 hours of tennis a week and was part of our school’s tennis, hockey basketball, and badminton team, and went for bicycles rides with my dad almost every week.


However, I ate too much and used the sport as an excuse for it. Also, I had a name for being that guy who ate a lot too, which kept me wanting to eat a lot.


It was not till I was 14 when I was completely honest with myself and admitted that I had let myself become overweight. I was the one putting the food in my belly, it wasn’t getting force fed down me.


So what did I do? I ate less food and dedicated some time to do pushups, squats, pullups and skateboarding more. That’s it. I lost about a stone and a half over 2 months and was officially not fat anymore.




It is all about being open and true to yourself. Embrace and accept that you have been eating too much. Don’t try and hide away from it or hate yourself for it. Just embrace and accept it and cooperate with your body to overcome it.


If you need a plan to help just grab my book (pinned post) – but to be honest you don’t even need it… Just eat less and exercise more.





Is Huel the best fitness food?


When it comes to fitness and becoming a dench beast we are looking for foods with high protein, low GI carbs, healthy fats etc.


The foods which come to mind are lean chicken breast, rice, avocado and other similar healthy foods.


However, although these foods are healthy I would not class them as the best all round fitness foods, as most of them suck in terms of price, preparation and cleaning time. This is why chicken breast is not on my list of the best foods to bulk on a budget – it is just so expensive.


So what could be the best fitness food out there? Well, recently I came across an interesting one:




I was scrolling through my IG when I saw this post by a company called Huel. The post boasted that in one shake you can get a perfect mix of carbs, protein and fats at a 40/30/30 ratio (pretty impressive).


Of course this caught my eye and I went on to visit the site and see what they’re about: essentially, it is a protein shake which is an actual meal replacement, and not your ‘mass gainer shake’ which is just protein + sugar – it is made out of fancy healthy fitness food such as powdered oats, flaxseed, sunflower, and coconut… Honestly, it did not sound too appetising, however, the idea that I could get such a good macro and micronutrient profile in one shake was too tempting – I ordered the sample vanilla packet straight away.




The sample 100g packet came the next day. It contained 410 calories, boasted an impressive 30.7g of protein and a preparation time of less than a minute – it basically sounded like an upgraded protein shake, which would be perfect for all you university students who want to get eat healthier but can’t be bothered to cook and clean and do all the boring shit which comes along with trying to be healthy…


So was Huel the perfect fitness food that I expected it to be? Let’s analyse it…




It is exactly like a protein shake: throw some water in, add your powder, shake, boom, DONE. Took about 2 minutes. When you’re done just slap it in the dishwasher or hand wash it in a minute. Not really much else to say…


Fitness Food Speed: 10/10




Surprisingly good: it had a grittier texture than a protein shake and an oaty-vanilla taste. It was interesting, but I actually kinda liked it. I reckon after a few more shakes I will start to like it more – similar to when I first bought a protein shake.


However, I will have to score it a bit lower as I do have to compare it to the likes of succulent chicken breast or burgers, which for me the taste tops any shake any day.


Fitness Food Taste: 7/10




To put it simply, it felt like I was drinking a meal – in a good way. It took me quite a while to finish it as it was extremely filling; I was full for quite a while afterwards – I had that fullness that you get after eating a bowl of oats, which for 500 calories is excellent if you are trying to shred down and get that summer six-pack.


Fitness Food Fullness: 9/10




A standard purchase of 28 500-calorie meals will set you back £45, this averages out to £1.61 per meal.


For me this will come in at a fairly slap-bang in the middle in terms of price ranges: compared to home prepared meals it is on the pricier side, however, compared to a £3 meal deal Huel is so much better in terms of price and what you get out of it: with £3 of Huel you can rack up a solid 70g of protein, whilst with a £3 meal deal you will be lucky to get 40g…


It all comes down to your personal budget, and how much the convenience of not having to cook or clean is worth to you. I value my time quite a bit, so it is definitely quite good value for money.


Fitness Food Price: 7/10




Total Fitness Food Score: 33/40 = 8/10


Huel impressed me. Fast, efficient, and gets the job done.


Of course it is no burger or chicken, but then again who can be bothered to constantly walk to the shop, buy some fairly expensive chicken and rice, go home, cut up the chicken, let it cook for 20 mins, then boil and cook rice oh my god it is just the worst…


If you want a quick and easy way to get the nutrients you need quickly then I would definitely recommend Huel: bring it to your lecture, use it as a post workout, use it for forearm curls, heck, even use it as a shake-weight (#versatility).


So yeah, if you’re interested go ahead and get the sample back here, or if you feel like a hardcore alpha just go ahead and buy 28 servings right now.













My Results Using Kinobody’s Fat Loss Approach

losing weight Kinobody

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Note: This post is NOT sponsored by Kinobody in any way; this is just my opinion and experiences.


Greg O’Gallagher (A.K.A Kinobody) is slowly dominating the YouTube fitness industry with a rapidly growing subscriber base (currently at 217,000).


His approach to fitness is controversial; unlike all the others who promote high volume and strict diets, Greg has a seemingly ‘too good to be true’ approach – he promotes fewer sets, heavier weight, and a diet where you can still eat chips and burgers and everything else which would typical be on the ‘banned’ list when it comes to weight loss.


Some people hate him, others love him. Some say his programs will not work, whilst his testimonials beg to differ.


I like to try things out for myself, so I used his general approach to weight loss to see if it worked.


The Kinobody Fat Loss Approach


Here is a breakdown of Greg’s general approach to fat loss:


  • Ensure you maintain a calorie deficit, primarily using calorie counting.



  • Intermittent fasting: Essentially postpone when you first eat to later on in the day, normally in the early afternoon.


This approach appealed to me: although I love fitness, I do not like the idea of spending hours in the gym. Intermittent fasting also makes a lot of sense to me as the idea that I could be losing weight whilst still having large and satisfying meals would make losing fat so much easier.


What did I do?


At the time I liked the idea of benching, squatting, and deadlifting every day… yeah you read that right –  I went through a rebellious fitness phase where I just decided to go against the norm and do what I thought was logically right (I got great results btw).


As I was essentially doing a full body workout each day I kept the volume low and did heavy weights, which coincided with Greg’s approach nicely. I would essentially work up to a heavy set of bench (between 3-7 reps), and then to a 1-3 rep max on squats and deadlifts. After I would hit one or two accessories, such as a set or two of pull-ups, bicep curls, and close grip bench press.


Now Greg works out a lot less frequently than this (2-3 times a week instead of my 4-6) so I did not follow his approach 100%. However, when it comes to losing weight lifting is not the main aspect – the food is.


In terms of food, I determined the amount of calories I needed to lose weight. After figuring this out, it was now just a matter of what food to eat and when. I tracked the foods I ate using MyFitnessPal.


My strategy was simple: wait as long in the day as possible before eating anything calorific. This meant I could still consume calorie-free liquids – Greg highly advocates black coffee and sparkling water as they are good for suppressing appetite. I also chewed gum quite a bit as I found that it helps keep my mouth occupied and helps me last longer (*cough*).


At the start my first meal would be around 11am as I struggled to hold on until the afternoon, however within a few weeks it was getting pushed back more and more to about 12.30-1pm. I found that if I just keep myself busy time absolutely flies and before you know it it’s lunchtime.


I tried to keep the first meal relatively small at around 600 calories – this is because I cannot stand being hungry at dinner and love the feeling of being extremely full – I was a borderline obese kid… I LOVE food. I tried to maximize protein intake in this meal as foods which are high in protein are pretty filling, and it will help me get my daily protein requirements in.


My workouts were at around 5pm. I would workout for about 45-60 minutes and have dinner straight after. Most of the time I would have a little snack such as a biscuit or a piece or toast just before the workout to give me a little boost of energy.


After my workouts I was hungry as hell so I went absolutely ham at dinner. As I ate fairly few calories at lunch I had enough space to eat delicious calorific carbs such as pasta, pizza and rice. Of course my main priority was protein; I consumed as much as I could in that sitting.


The meal would normally clock in at about 1200 calories, resulting in my total calorie intake for the day being around 1900 cals; this was around a 600 calorie deficit – a fairly aggressive fat loss approach.


Despite the low calories, I felt good. This is likely due to the amazing satiety I had in the evenings resulting in me never having to go to bed hungry, and mentally being okay with dieting as I did not feel like I was sacrificing anything for it.


After the adjustment period I started to prefer not eating breakfast as I was performing better; I felt lighter, had more energy, and my mind was clearer. This was a big turning point for me as I realised that our bodies are capable of a lot more than we give credit for. Resisting my bellies urge to eat was a lot easier when I realised that I felt a lot better not eating breakfast, and soon my belly started to get the message and just shut itself up.


Okay. That’s out of the way. Now to the…




On January 19th 2015 I started using Greg’s methods – I weighed 73kg. This is a picture I took on the day:




A month later, on February 22nd 2015, I weighed 69.3kg, and looked like this (picture took on day):




This is is a 3.7kg drop in the space of a month. You know what, let’s be conservative and say that around 1kg of that was water weight – so a 2.7kg drop in true weight over 34 days, the equivalent of 0.55kg (1.2lbs) a week.




Admittedly the lighting in the second picture is absolutely majestic, but you can definitely see the difference; especially the popping of the abs and chest.


It is fair to say that the Kinobody fat loss approach definitely worked. I was already fairly lean and was still able to shed a few extra kg’s whilst still eating pizza and the foods I love, meaning that if you are not sub 12% bodyfat then you should be able to see similar results.


After seeing just how well intermittent fasting worked for me I now do it all the time, for bulking and for cutting; I just feel better and more energised, and can control my diet easier.


For me the best part is the ability to not let dieting take control over your life; on a typical diet you are restricted to lean protein, salad, and low GI carbs as otherwise you will likely go over your calorie limit. However, not eating breakfast essentially gives you a whole other meal which you can fit in later in the day, which is perfect when you and your mates want to go out for a big ass dinner and have a couple of drinks.


If you are trying to lose weight I would definitely suggest you give it a go – check out Greg’s channel for more detail on his methods.


Interested in learning my specific methods to getting a 100kg bench, 140kg squat, and 180kg deadlift? Click Here.