We’ve all heard that the secret to weight loss is 80% food and 20% exercise and as much as we hate to admit it, we’ve probably experienced the truth in this fact first-hand – “just one more slice and I’ll burn it off tomorrow” sound familiar
So it’s no surprise that Virgin Active, one of the leading global gyms, has teamed up with the world’s largest private nutrition coaching and certification company, Precision Nutrition (PN), to be the first Australian health club to offer their clients the whole package, so to speak.
Where do you think most people go wrong when it comes to nutrition?
They try to make things too complicated and restrictive like making a set of “rules” that most people couldn’t sanely follow (e.g. “no carbs, ever!” or “don’t eat anything with X, ever!”).
They assume that good nutrition is expensive, boring, depressing and incompatible with “real life” (e.g. job, kids, routines, travel, etc.)
They try to do everything on their own without coaching or support and trying to do too much at once, rather than making simple, small, realistic changes
How does the partnership with Virgin Active work?
When you sign up at Virgin Active, you will be given the PN manual as well as access to two seminars, which will break down the book for you and allow you to have your questions answered. From here, you can choose to implement the PN method on your own or continue with one-on-one nutrition coaching with your personal trainer – up to five Virgin Active PT’s per club will become certified as a level one nutrition coach.
What sorts of things does the Precision Nutrition booklet cover?
Along with foundational dietary habits (what to eat, how much, etc.), the booklet is a companion that teaches you how to prepare for changing your nutrition (which many nutrition programs don’t address), how to create routines for lasting, long-term change and how to set realistic expectations and stay on track.
It also includes a bunch of recipes and teaches you to individualise your eating plan to suit your needs.
What is unique about Precision Nutrition compared to other nutritional guides?
Precision Nutrition is a set of principles that can be customised. It’s not a “diet plan” per se but a way of thinking about food and eating that is habit-based, simple, sequential (step by step), and systematic. It’s a process you can follow, build over time, and adjust based on the data you collect about yourself as well as your own needs and goals.
How would you describe your personal food philosophy?
Joyful, simple, sane, real-world. I love food – I love trying new things and discovering new tastes and cuisines. I’m a nutritional agnostic – I don’t believe in “food cults” or strict rules based on belief rather than science. I like to make decisions based on evidence, and there is no more honest evidence than what your own body tells you. I also strongly believe that one should occasionally crush an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet with one’s best mates after a good hard training session.
Society’s views on nutrition (what we should eat and shouldn’t eat) have changed drastically over time. What do you foresee in the future for our nutritional outlook?
Definitely more personalised nutrition is on the horizon. I think it’ll become very clear very soon that the one-size-fits-all diet concept is unworkable, just given human variation and diversity. I also hope that we learn more about the role of compassion and care in helping people make changes and provide mentorship that offers affirming alternatives that work within people’s real lives… that’s what works and why we have decided to team up with Virgin Active!
What are three foods you couldn’t live without and why?
I’ll cheat and give you 4: Avocado, berries, spinach and ribs! Berries contain anthocyanins, plant pigments that are powerful antioxidants so I try to have some every day and spinach is one of the most basic and versatile greens, loaded with nutrition. Its mild taste means you can pop it into a protein shake and not notice (except for the colour!). This helps many of my clients who are struggling with getting more veggies – they can put spinach into a fruit smoothie and get those vegetable servings easily.
And ribs are when it’s time for serious soul food, especially in the depths of winter, nothing beats a big, plate of BBQ ribs. I’ve discovered lamb ribs in Australia – we don’t have them in Canada. What a country!!
In your eyes what is the ideal breakfast meal?
I love big breakfasts. I actually love dinner food for breakfast, so I’ll often forage leftovers from the previous night’s meal but my ideal breakfast is either a Japanese or Scandinavian one: fish, veggies, maybe some berries or a bit of sweet potato
We hear you live in Toronto. What is your favourite healthy hotspot in Toronto, Canada?
So many, but one of my favourites (even though I’m obviously omnivorous) is Live Organic Food Bar, a raw vegan place. They make everything absolutely fresh and delicious.
First thing I did when I woke up this morning:
Coffee. I’m not one of those “gotta have coffee or I’ll kill someone” – I’m actually a morning person who loves mornings – but I love the coffee ritual. It’s a way for my husband and I to share a few moments and bond before the daytime routine starts.
Most people probably don’t know this about me, but:
My first degree was in fine arts – visual arts and film. I originally wanted to be an artist.
The one wellness trend you’d never see me try:
Any weird cleanse or detox like living on tea or something.
The last time I used my oven:
Constantly. Sunday night is roast night in our house. And if it’s too hot to cook, we’re outdoors using our Big Green Egg.
I never make a smoothie without adding:
If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of:
Chocolate truffles and fudge from this tiny little shack on the Aran Islands in Ireland – a guy who makes his gran’s traditional recipe. I’ve never had anything like it. And my husband’s chocolate chip cookies.
I never leave home without:
Lip balm. I’m one of those lip balm addicts. My lips can never be un-moisturised.
If I were a fruit or vegetable I’d be:
Dragon fruit. It’s not like other fruits. It’s doing its own thing – not to be a rebel, but because it just likes doing that thing. And when you look inside, it’s not what you expected. You’re all like, “what? How can all these shenanigans be contained inside a single fruit?” But there it is.