Support

Support

If you have any questions, chances are you’re not the first to have that question!

With that in mind, here’s how the support process works:

  1. Read through the FAQs below FIRST
  2. Make sure you have studied any relevant Foundation content
  3. If your question was not answered complete a Quick Support Form and we will get back to you within 1-2 days

If you email us about a question that has already been answered in our FAQs then we will simply reply with a link back to this page — you have been warned!

Our regular email addresses have a LOT of emails arriving daily, so anything that doesn’t go through the Quick Support Form system will NOT be replied to — you will simply be asked to fill out the quick support form.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve been ill, injured or incapacitated for a reason out of your control, this is obviously out of your control and therefore you can repeat the week. We recommend going back to the start of the week where you left off if you missed half the week or more.

The rice pasta should be fine, I’d avoid the cornflour one though for now (if possible) – although this is fine after the first two weeks as long as it doesn’t cause you any bloating/tiredness 🙂

Your first photo and your most recent photo will be most useful and helpful for us as it’s hard to see a difference between just one week.

It is pretty much trial and error but what I would suggest is that you always input the foods into My Fitness Pal and try to make the numbers work BEFORE you cook the meal. So enter how much of each thing you are roughly going to eat and then tweak the numbers until it works 🙂

The more you do it, the easier it will get until you hardly even have to think about it 🙂

If you’ve had a bad week due to illness:

If you’ve been ill, injured or incapacitated for a reason out of your control, this is obviously out of your control and therefore you can repeat the week. We recommend going back to the start of the week where you left off if you missed half the week or more.

If you’ve had a bad week otherwise:

We recommend moving on to the next week, as repeating weeks almost always ends up with you feeling demotivated and like you’re making no progress (people who repeat weeks a lot almost always fail to make it to the end). Our one big tip though is to do a Positive Focus on the bad week – reflecting on the week, working out why it didn’t work and applying it to the future so it doesn’t happen again.

If you miss a whole week of the plan due to injury, illness or being away on holiday, there are two approaches you can take:

  1. If you carried on tracking your diet and training as best as you can whilst you were away or ill then we recommend moving onto the next week anyway as this helps you to keep moving forward and feeling like you’re progressing.
  2. If you took a break from the plan completely then we recommend starting from the week you missed (aka resuming where you left off).

No. Positive Focus it can be about anything at all. We recommend doing it on the most significant thing that’s happened in your life in the past 24-48 hours although if you’re struggling to think of topics you can think of something significant further back in your life and draw lessons from that.

The only part of Positive Focus that’s about fitness/diet is the APPLY bit where you apply the lesson you learned to fitness to help you grow as a person and see better results in the mirror.

Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Avoid all movements that cause you shoulder pain (most of these are overhead movements which put your shoulder in a similar position to downward dog in yoga)
  2. Do Cable face pulls every workout before anything else to make sure the rotator cuff muscles that support your shoulders are super strong.
  3. Perform band pull aparts at home daily, again to make sure your rotator cuff muscles are strong.

The big one is avoiding the movement which causes you pain in the first place, which I would recommend you do too 🙂

We would also recommend you get your shoulder checked out, either by your GP or even better by a sports injury physio who can actually work out what the problem is and how you can correct it (as there’s usually something causing the pain in the first place and it might not even be related to the gym at all).

One thing we find really wrecks shoulders is typing with bad posture – it’s crazy how something like that can transfer over into the gym!

Our main advice would be don’t risk any further injury and get it checked out by an expert. The last thing you want to do is cause yourself a long term injury which puts you out of action for a few months!

It’s fine to train when your muscles are still slightly tired and sore, eventually your body will get used to it and the soreness will decrease a lot! Sometimes you do need to take a day off though, so just listen to your body – as long as you get all your workouts in each week it should be fine.

You can move the days around however you like. Just make sure to complete all the workouts each week if you want to see maximum benefit!

With cardio, it’s easy to overdo it. Cardio is simply a tool to reduce your overall calorie intake and your nutrition targets will take care of this for you for the majority of the plan (without burning your hard-earned muscle like cardio can).

A lot of programs throw everything at the problem (low kcal diet, tons of cardio, too many workouts), which means if you hit a plateau you have nothing left to keep progressing. This is why a lot of people bounce back and put the weight back on again after following a typical diet plan.

You can learn more about why cardio isn’t needed until later on in the plan (or in some cases not at all) here: The Key to Fat Loss: Don’t Play All Your Cards at Once

Get in touch via the Quick Support Form so that we can confirm you are on the best workout plan for you!

Do your training as usual but to account for this you should add in even more calories – roughly how many you have burned with your training. It’s okay to have the occasional treat to make it easier to make up your calories on these days so don’t worry about sticking to healthy foods 100% of the time (but still avoid sugar if you can as it will make cravings worse!).

Weight training is a form of exercise with tons of benefits. It’s the most effective way to tone up, build sexy curves and get lean, which all comes down to building muscle and burning fat.

Most people add cardio into their “fitness plan” because they think it’s the best way to get in shape, but by doing that they can often ruin their results!

You see, cardio is a bit of a one-tricky pony. It has just one major function: It burns calories. Weight training also burns calories, but it also builds muscle and increases your metabolism.

A great way to think about this is like renting a house vs. investing in a mortgage:

Let’s say you pay £500 rent every month. By the end of the year you’ve spent £6,000 yet you’re still in exactly the same situation, and you’ll have to pay another £6,000 next year to remain there.

This is just like cardio. By doing cardio you burn calories, but come next year, you’ll have to do the same amount (or more) if you want don’t want to put on any weight.

Cardio might have helped burn some fat, but it’s just as easy to put it all back on again, and that’s not all…

Cardio also burns muscle as very little muscle is needed for cardio. The problem here is that muscle is what makes you feel firm and toned. So if you burn your muscles, all you end up with is skin, fat and bone – you’ll feel like a sack of bones filled with porridge. Not sexy!

So here’s the deal. If you just want to be great at cardio but don’t care about how you look, then doing cardio makes sense. We have great respect for long distance athletes and could never do what they do.

But here’s the thing most people don’t realise. If your goal is to feel lean, toned and to put curves in the right place, cardio is not going to do that for you.

So if cardio isn’t the answer, then what is? Let’s return to that house analogy:

Imagine you buy your own place. You spend £500 a month on mortgage payments and by the end of the year you own £6,000 more of the house. Eventually you will own that house outright and rent payments will be a thing of the past.

This is the equivalent of weight training – it’s a permanent solution.

Lifting weights increases your metabolism so over time you’ll be able to eat more and not put on an ounce of fat. On top of this, weight training will burn fat and it will build muscle (don’t freak out). That means toning up and putting sexy curves in all the right places.

So now you know why weight training features so heavily in this programme!

First of all, unless you’ve done a lot of weight training before, your grip strength is likely to be quite low. However, bear in mind it will absolutely increase in strength over the course of the plan.

To help you can try a couple of things:

On barbell deadlifts or barbell Romanian deadlifts you can use an alternating grip. This will stop the bar spinning out of your hands and mean you can lift more. You can alternate the directions of your hands to make sure you work out your upper body evenly. However, if you can manage a double-overhand grip then this is a little better as it will still work out your upper body more evenly.

The other approach is to use weight lifting straps, which you wrap around the bar. These take some of the load off your forearms so you can still lift more weight even when your grip fails. To help build grip strength long-term, we recommend only using straps once your grip has failed during your workouts.

DOMS is usually a pretty good indicator of whether you have challenged yourself with a particular workout. Usually it will happen when your body is not used to the exercises or type of training you have been doing. For example, if you are used to training legs then it’s unlikely you will get really bad DOMS from training legs. But if you are not used to training back that could explain your back DOMS.

All you need to do is make sure the weight you are using challenges you and that you can do the given number of reps without it being too easy but without struggling. Give the foundation video another watch as it will explain better than I can through an email 🙂

  • Tuna sweetcorn jacket potato
  • Chicken jacket potato
  • Sushi with salmon and prawns
  • Nandos chicken butterfly with spicy rice and macho peas
  • Chilangos/Chipotle/Mission Burrito rice box with chicken, cheese, salad and avocado (without sour cream)

Technically, whey protein is a dairy product so if you have problems with dairy then it won’t be ideal to be taking whey protein in the first two weeks. What I would do is try to find out how you feel without taking whey protein by cutting it out for a few days. Then try adding it back in and see how you react. Some people have issues with whey which can cause bloating and tiredness etc. but others are totally fine with it 🙂

It’s up to you at the end of the day but just remember that after the first couple of weeks, whey protein is completely fine!

Soy products are never ideal but better than using dairy milk during the diet makeover phase. The best alternative is probably unsweetened almond milk which you can buy in most big supermarkets 🙂

I would avoid honey for now as if you let yourself have anything sweet, you will continue to crave “sweet things” whether that’s honey, diet coke or cakes and chocolate – the body cannot tell the difference when it comes to cravings!

The supplements we recommend are ZMA, Fish Oils/Omega 3 and a Protein Powder (more info on why they are beneficial in The Manual) – we believe these will give you a small advantage if you choose to invest and use them correctly.

However, we believe supplements are the final couple of percent, and consistency paired to a structured training & diet plan, and enough rest and recovery is what really count. Only once you’ve got all those things nailed do you really need to worry about supplements.

You can use stevia to sweeten drinks if you like and you can have the occasional diet coke, but the problem with sweeteners is that if you crave “sweet things”, your body cannot tell the difference between sweeteners or real sugar.

So if you get used to having diet coke, your body is still going to crave “sweet things” regardless of whether these are made from real sugar or sweeteners. If you really want to eliminate the sugar cravings, it is best to start away from sweeteners as well as sugars for the first couple of weeks 🙂

Yes, it’s absolutely fine to have carbs late at night, it won’t do you any harm at all! When you track what you eat meal timing and carb timing is much MUCH less important (virtually insignificant).

If you can, try to choose complex carbs rather than simple sugars or processed carbs like bread or pasta, but don’t stress too much about meal timing – just hit your targets and you’ll see the results you want in the mirror.

We recommend still trying to track the foods you eat in My Fitness Pal, just estimate it as best you can but don’t stress too much if it’s not 100% accurate. Try to choose the best food that you can – we know it’s not always possible but just do your best.

If you really can’t manage tracking whilst away, we recommend returning to the portion control recommendations given during the diet makeover phase, which means aiming for the following in every meal:

Protein: 1 palm-sized portion

Veg: 2 fist-sized portions of colourful veg (potatoes/sweet potatoes/squash are carbs, not veg)

Carbs: 1 cupped handful

Fats: 1/2 palm-sized portion (roughly 1 tablespoon)

Yes absolutely! After the diet makeover phase it’s important to try and track everything you eat. Calories count, even from a healthy green smoothie!

The simplest way to increase carbs is actually just to increase your carb portions with your meals – eat more rice/potatoes/sweet potatoes/oats with each meal than you have been. This may seem a little difficult at first, but you’ll get used to it and it has the added benefit of keeping you full for longer so you won’t be tempted to snack.

Another way to do it is to eat more carby snacks. These include bananas, rice cakes (with sliced banana on top if you like), apples, salted popcorn (watch out for any with added sugar) or even a bowl of porridge with unsweetened almond milk (you can add berries, cinnamon, flavoured protein powder and even zero-calorie maple syrup to jazz it up).

You can also try adding banana to your green smoothie as this will easily bump up your carbs by 20+ grams a day.

Try to hit your macros as accurately as you can, within 5% is absolutely fine. The one macro we’d recommend you do make sure you definitely hit or overshoot a little (but not undershoot so much) is protein, as a high protein diet is essential to burn fat and stay lean.

A lot of people struggle with their carbs so don’t worry! There are a few things you can do to help with this:

  • Switch to lower sugar fruits such as berries rather than citrus fruits or bananas
  • Reduce the size of your portions for your main meals like porridge and rice, try having half as much for each
  • Add in additional fats and protein to make up your calories. For example have a pot of Greek yogurt with your porridge and add in some dark chocolate and nuts
  • Change your carb sources to lower calorie varieties e.g. butternut squash instead of sweet potato (roughly half the calories), or courgetti (courgette spaghetti/noodles made using a spiralizer instead of pasta/rice – roughly 1/10th the calories!)

Our favourite for taste is the Lucy Bee brand but to be honest any organic extra virgin coconut oil will be fine (the extra virgin bit is important as it means it hasn’t been damaged by heating during processing).

This all comes down to metabolism. When you go “on a diet” and you eat less calories than your body uses each day (the technical term for this is called a “caloric deficit”), your metabolism naturally slows down over time. This is a natural process to protect you from dying and is totally unavoidable. It’s kind of like when you drive more carefully when your car is low on fuel to prevent running out and breaking down.

A big mistake many diets make is they drastically reduce calories from day one. This means your metabolism also drastically slows down after just a couple of weeks (you may have experienced this when you see results at the start of a plan but then you hit a brick wall and nothing you do works any more). The problem with this is that once your metabolism has slowed down so much, the only way you can lose more weight is to eat even less or do even more cardio (and the minute you stop doing all the cardio you’ll pile the weight back on). This is very difficult to stick to long term.

The alternative is to slowly but surely decrease your calories (and macros) week-on-week, so every time your metabolism naturally slows down a little more, you reduce your targets a little more to compensate and keep you losing fat. This initially gets slightly slower results, but is MUCH more sustainable – you can lose fat for 3-6 months using this method (whereas the usual crash diet method gives you a couple of months tops).

The protein amount that we used is based off the latest scientific research which suggests you need between 1-1.4 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass to get lean without losing your hard-earned muscle (‘cos muscle makes you “toned” and adds curves in the right places). Many other plans or calculators use “old school” approaches where the value of protein was vastly overrated 10-15 years ago, and unfortunately old myths take a long time to die in fitness!

One thing to note here is the protein quantity it’s based on lean body mass which means the weight of your body minus the weight of your body fat (which we estimate when doing your nutrition targets). Most articles and calculators dumb this down and miss out the lean body mass part to make it easier for people to understand. However, doing this means you’ll be eating more protein than you need to, and protein sources are expensive, so we stick to the more accurate lean body mass calculation.

If you go over your protein target a little it’s not really a problem as protein is slightly differently to carbs and fats. If you’re going 20g over your protein target it should not lead to any fat gain, so if you find you keep going over by this much or less then I wouldn’t worry about it – the key is simply to make sure you’re getting enough protein daily.

The idea that you need to eat a ton of protein when you’re eating to lose weight is one of those fitness myths that just won’t die!

When coming up with targets we start with protein and give you the amount that your body needs to build and maintain muscle. We base this off your lean body mass (so your body weight excluding fat) where most programmes simply use total body mass which is less accurate. Your target may be less than others recommend but since we do everything based around precise macros, there’s no need for us to overestimate (although we do bump it up slightly just to be safe).

There’s nothing “magical” about protein and as long as the body gets enough then you will see results in the mirror 🙂 That being said, if you do go over, it’s not going to ruin your results and some people prefer a higher protein diet than others.

There’s nothing “evil” about fats and carbs and they are perfectly good sources of energy. The number one factor in you seeing results is the amount of calories you are taking in so focus on doing that at least 5/7 days per week and then make sure you’re getting enough protein 🙂