Food occupies an enormous part of our psyche. We measure time by it, we celebrate occasions with it, we are often at war with it. So how do we learn to manage the problem food has become for so many of us?

We don’t advocate a ‘paleo lifestyle’ at Roark. It’s impractical, expensive and quite honestly those who practice it seem to suddenly feel the need to impress their eating habits onto everyone around them. We also don’t believe it to be entirely healthy, because health extends to more than your body, it extends to social occasions, training and relationships.

Our theory with diet is ‘do what you want.’ That’s the advice we give to everyone who asks us. The formulae for losing weight hasn’t changed and never will. Neither has the formulae for putting on size. Everyone knows that if they cut out sugar, fruit, starch and alcohol they will lose weight. Conversely, if you add these into your diet along with increased amounts of protein, you will gain size. There’s no way this can come as a surprise to anyone reading this.

So, do what you want. If you love food and a diet becomes something which puts you in a bad mood, leaves you feeling flat during training and spoils social occasions, you’re doing it wrong. Having said that, you cannot then complain if you are carrying a few extra kilograms – at the end of the day, this was your choice.

Diet is almost the single determining factor when it comes to weight loss and weight gain. People talk about about getting bulky from lifting weight, while we can assure you there is enough scientific evidence to show that the only way to gain weight and add muscle mass is through diet (increased carbohydrates and protein) in conjunction with a very specific rep count and percentage of weight loading, also known as a hypertrophy programme.

So, let us break it down for you like this, and you can make the choice yourself:

To lose weight in a quick but healthy way:

For 28 days allow yourself an 8 hour eating window, and therefore 16 hours without food per day. If you have your first bite at 11am, your last must be at 19:00 pm. In this fasting window you can only drink water and black coffee. You are only allowed to eat eggs, meat, avo, salad and vegetables. This process is called intermittent fasting.

To lose weight steadily:

Practice the above for three days per week over an extended period of time. Eat the same diet, but at regular times for the remaining four days.

To gain mass:

Eat. A lot. Eat in excess of 4000 calories a day. Eat sandwiches before meals, and increase your protein intake.

To maintain a normal, healthy lifestyle:

Eat protein (meat), fats (avo) and good carbohydrates (potatoes). Stop eating cereal, yogurt and fruit in the morning – replace these with eggs. Stop eating sweets and sugar every day. Allow yourself three cheats per week. Exercise regularly and with intensity. If you want a drink, have one, just not every night – no matter what someone told you about a glass of red wine being good for you.

To stay exactly as you are now:

Change nothing, and don’t complain.

Don’t punish yourself for eating a cupcake if you want one, just enjoy it, because that’s the decision you made. Its yours and no one else’s. Be an adult and take responsibility for the way you eat. If you don’t put it in your shopping basket, its highly unlikely that it will end up in your cupboard.

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