Archive for the ‘Articles – Nutrition’ Category


I saw the above picture over at Coach Rut’s blog and it made me smile 🙂

The number of people who think that exercise will solve all their problems is astounding.  Sadly, they are mistaken.

Exercise is just one piece of the puzzle – if you treat your body like shit the rest of the time then your health will not get any better!

Eat properly, stop polluting your body, get enough sleep and de-stress – these are just some of the things that make up a healthy lifestyle.

You need to be doing the right stuff outside the gym to maximise your gains and this is why we offer a holistic service to keep you on track.  If you don’t already train with us and you think you need some help, drop us a line.  If you do already train at CFW and you think there are some areas you need to focus on, then ask for some support.

Plymouth Daylight Hours

Plymouth Daylight Hours

 Sleep is your friend.

And it’s a friend I’m willing to bet you don’t see enough of.

Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival is one of the most influential books in my nutritional and lifestyle philosophy.  The gist is that we are designed to live in sync with nature and her seasonal shifts. 

Seasonal Sync

Think about it.  In nature the season would dictate what food was available (see the Seasonal Food Calendar blog entry).  The season would also dictate how much daylight there was, how much sleep we got and hence our activity levels. 

Summer would mean lots of light for finding a mate (so that the child would be born in spring and hence miss the winter hardship) and lots of carbs for putting on fat ready for winter.  Winter would spell a lack of carbs and less daylight.  Less daylight and colder temperatures would mean less carbs, more sleep and leaning out ready for spring/summer again.

Where We’re Going Wrong

What happens today is that Carbs are available all year round in devasatingly refined forms, light bulbs mean that WE control daylight and our sleep patterns completely out of kilter with the season.

This is not good. 

As far as our bodies are concerned it’s permanent summer!!  Long days of light mean we crave Carbs – is it any wonder?! Our bodies are trying to fatten us up for winter!

If you look at the chart above, the blue line is the changing number of hours of daylight throughout the year.

There’s a pretty dramatic shift from 8 hours mid-Winter to 16+ hours mid-Summer.

The Solution (More Than Just Sky+)

The upshot of this is that from mid-September to mid-April, you should be getting ATLEAST 9-10 hours sleep per night and eating a low-carb diet.  As summer rolls around, stay up late and increase carbs.

9-10 hours sounds like a lot, but in reality it’s going to be at 10pm and getting up at 7am – not that unreasonable. 

If you’re worried about missing stuff on TV, get SKY+.  If you’re just channel surfing, then go to bed – or read a book (late night reading will make you sleepy, trust me)

Oh yeah, and that should be in a PITCH BLACK room with any blinking, flashing clocks or lights covered.  This will ensure your body releases the right hormones to optimise recovery and health.

Sooner or later, we’ll discuss a little more how to optimise sleep itself, but for now, go black out your windows and get some shut-eye.

🙂 ChrisCFW


Eating Paleo is a great place to start, but getting further into things you might want to start looking into what foods you should be eating at what time of year.

Seasonal eating is a great thing to try and get you head around and is something that our Paleolithic ancestors would have to have done without a choice.

There are several key benefits to seasonal eating, the main ones being:

  • Variety – its easy to fall into the same patterns of eating and get bored.  This forces you to learn to cook new things.
  • Natural rotation diet – eating the same thing day-in, day-out can lead to food intolerances.  Eating seasonally ensures you mix things up to avoid this.
  • Macronutrient ratios naturally syncronised – we’re designed to put on fat for winter and lean out for spring/summer.  Seasonal eating means that your insulin levels and body composition is always within safe limits as the dense carbs that cause insulin issues are only available for a few short months.
  • Fresher foods – if its in-season, your local farmers can supply it so you can get super-fresh produce (check out your local farmer’s market).

Here’s a great calendar of seasonal foods for you to use as a reference point.  This was originally from 

Take a look at the patterns of when fruits are around, when green leafy veg are dominant and when root vegetables come into play – fascinating stuff.

Now, I’m not saying that you can only eat the stuff on the list below, because there are obviously some omissions.  As a guide however to the kinds of stuff you should be basing your diet on, its a good start.

It’s also  a good guide to what you can expect to find at your local farmers market each season.



& vegetables
& meat


cauliflower, celeriac, forced rhubarb (forced to do what?), leeks,
parsnips, turnip, shallots, squash
lobster, scallops


cauliflower, celeriac, chard, chicory, forced rhubarb, kohlrabi, leeks,
parsnips, spinach, swede, turnip
halibut, guinea fowl, lobster


cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, mint, mooli, parsley, broccoli, radishes,
rhubarb, sorrel
(fresh ones!), lobster


cabbage, cauliflower, morel mushrooms, wild garlic, radishes, rhubarb,
carrots, kale, watercress, spinach, rosemary flowers
lamb, cockles


cabbage, cauliflower, gooseberries, parsley, mint, broad beans, rhubarb,
new carrots, samphire, asparagus
bass, lemon sole, sardines, duck, sea trout


cherries, elderflowers, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, asparagus,
redcurrants, peas, rhubarb, gooseberries, tayberries, tomatoes, courgettes,
broad beans
lamb, crab, salmon, grey mullet


gooseberries, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, loganberries,
sage, cauliflower, aubergine, fennel, asparagus, cabbage, celery,
cherries, lettuce, mangetout, nectarines, new potatoes, oyster mushrooms,
peas, peaches, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, tomatoes, French beans
pilchards, clams, pike, pigeon


gooseberries, lettuce, loganberries, raspberries, strawberries, cauliflower,
aubergines, nectarines, peaches, peppers, courgettes, rhubarb, sweetcorn,
greengages, basil, peas, pears, apples, French beans, tomatoes
hare, skate, john dory (that’s a fish)


aubergines, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber,
damsons, elderberries, figs, French beans, grapes, kale, lettuce,
melons mushrooms, nectarines, onions, peppers, parsnips, peas, peaches,
pears, potatoes, pumpkin, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, sweetcorn,
venison, oysters, sea bass, grouse, mussels, partridge, wood pigeon,
brown trout


aubergines, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, courgettes, grapes,
lettuce, marrow, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, 
fowl, partridge, mussels, grouse, oysters


pumpkin, swede, cauliflower, potatoes, parsnips, pears, leeks, quinces,
chestnuts, cranberries, beetroot


cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, pumpkin, beetroot, turnips,
parsnips, sprouts, pears, swede
duck, goose, sea bass, turkey

Here’s a great summary of our beliefs about nutrition and carbs and dietary fat.

Gary Taubes has done groundbreaking work in this field and knows his stuff – you would do well to pick up a copy of “Good Calories, Bad Calories”.

One of our athletes has recently become a Taubes convert and has dropped dense carbs in favour of more protein and good fats – the results in his performance and sense wellbeing have been great to see.

Anyways – here’s the video, its a little long, but real interesting…

Paleolithic paintings from Lascaux cave in southern France

Check out this post from Dr Eades Blog on a paper about the metabolic results of following the Paleo Diet.

Paleo Rules!  Good Stuff.


So you spend an hour of most of your days at the gym.

You sweat, groan and summon herculean efforts on a regular basis in the pursuit of getting strong, fit and healthy.

What about the other 23 hours?

The Other 23 Hours?

Whether you like it or not, your success in the gym is dependant on what you do outside of it.  It’s annoying but true.

I can’t remember where I saw it now, but someone whose opinion I respect said that in order to be successful, you need to be a 24hour athlete.

That means taking care of the following:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Sleep
  3. Hydration
  4. Stress
  5. Supplementation


Hard training demands that you pay attention to your nutrition. You need adequate protein, fat and enough carbs to support your efforts without screwing up your insulin.

Whatever you do, try to go Paleo as much as possible.  Eat meat, veg, nuts, seeds, little starch, no sugar.

If you’re trying to drop weight, go low carb – less than 100g per day.

If you’re trying to get stronger and put on some muscle, you need to get in at least 1gram of protein per 1pound of lean bodymass.  Try to keep your carbs around the 150g per day mark and eat your good fats.

Consider keeping track of everything at


Get your 8 hours. 9+ is optimal.

Cat nap when you can.

Make sure your room is pitch black – no flashing lights on your bedside table!


Aim for 3 litres of water per day when you’re training, but be happy if you get 2 litres in.


Don’t do it.  Enough sleep makes the world seem a better place, but just trying to be positive and getting some perspective helps.

Try to get in some quality “you” time each day – even if that’s just reading a book for 20mins before bed.


Take Fish Oil – do a search of this blog for doseage recommendations.

Take digestive enzymes with all meals.

Take Probiotics.

Try ZMA before bed to help with sleep and solve any Zinc and Magnesium deficiency issues.

Wrapping Up

That covers pretty much everything.  Pay attention to your body and if it’s telling you to back off, just do it or you’ll only end up setting yourself up for overtraining.

Be a 24 hour athlete and that hour in the gym suddenly becomes worth a whole lot more.


Posted: January 29, 2009 in Articles - Nutrition

If you’re interested in losing or gaining weight, then carbs play a key role.

The problem is that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there as to how many carbs you should be eating.

Here’s a link to a great post from Mark’s Daily Apple:

This is a great site and contains a wealth of well thought-out posts.  One to bookmark…