Healthy eating is the mainstay of any weight loss programme. Celebrity personal trainer Sarah Lindsay, reveals the hacks she gives all her clients and lives by herself
If you are in need of some no-nonsense diet and nutrition advice, then Sarah Lindsay aka Roar Fitness Girl on Instagram is here to help.
Sarah is passionate about everything health and fitness, and as a three-time Olympian and personal trainer, really does practice what she preaches (plus she looks absolutely amazing).
As one of London’s most recognised celebrity personal trainers, with clients including Pixie Lott, Melanie Sykes, Sheridan Smith, Christine Bleakley, Callum Best, Professor Green and Lauren Pope, Sarah hs the ability to inspire every one of her clients to become passionate about their own health and fitness goals.
Not only that, Sarah is also the owner of ROAR Fitness, two gym sites in the city (City of London and Kensington) that creates body transformations like no other, plus Sarah is launching her third site, which will have a class concept in Spring.
So what nutrition advice does she give her clients? And what does she follow herself? Here’s what she told Healthista…
A typical day of food for Sarah:
Breakfast: High in protein and fats, such as egg muffins (see below recipe).
Lunch: Tupperware meal prep, such as chicken and vegetables with rice or sweet potato.
Dinner: Something quick and light that takes less than ten minutes, such as stir fry vegetables including pak choi and spinach, with pan-fried seabass.
I have my fats earlier in the day, breakfast and mid-morning. Then carbs and sugar come in at lunch or post-workout.
Egg muffins recipe:
- 6 slices Parma or Serrano ham
- 4 British Lion eggs beaten
- 2 spring onions thinly sliced
- 50g cheese grated
1. Lightly grease a 6-cup muffin or Yorkshire pudding tin.
2. Lie in the ham, shape to make a cup.
3. In a jug, beat the eggs along with a pinch of seasoning then stir through the cheese and spring onions.
4. Then carefully pour the mixture into the ham lined cups.
5. Place into pre heated oven set at 200c/ gas mark 6 for 12-14 minutes or until eggs have set.
6. Remove from the tray and cool on a rack.
Tip #1 Don’t follow someone else’s diet plan
No matter who you are, how active you are, what job you have or what your goals are, everybody’s diet needs will be individual.
For example, if you are on your feet all day compared to someone who sits at a desk all day, and you decide to copy their diet habits, you won’t be eating enough calories to sustain your energy levels.
It may work for them as they aren’t using as much energy as you being sat at a desk, so compared to them you are unlikely to stick with that way of eating and you’ll be hungry most of the time.
Eat nutritious food simply to be the healthiest possible version of yourself
At Roar Fitness London we look at everyone’s diets individually. What people do for work, how active they are, what allergies they have and so on.
It’s important that you get some professional insight so that you can find a plan that works for you, that way you’re more likely to stick to it long term and achieve the goals you want.
Optimal health should be the underlying aim for any nutrition and diet plan, not eating for weight loss or eating for a flat stomach, or even eating to look like a certain person.
Eat nutritious food simply to be the healthiest possible version of yourself, then soon your body will be as healthy as it can be too.
If you’re not eating healthy, wholesome food you aren’t going to achieve what you want to achieve. Whether you’re trying to recover, gain muscle or lose body fat, it won’t happen if you’re eating unhealthy food or following a restrictive diet.
Tip #2 Sugar in moderation and after a workout (and that includes fruit)
I don’t want to demonise sugar, but generally I tend to avoid it as there is nothing about it that benefits people nutritionally.
Oh and fruit still counts as sugar, it’s the more nutritious option but still very high in sugar. So, you need to have this in moderation too as fructose is one of the hardest sugars for your body to metabolise.
If you do want fruit or sugar, the time to eat it is after a workout, as this is the time when your body needs high glycaemic produce such as fruit and carbohydrates, to replenish the fuel stores you used in your workout.
Another top sugar tip – as well as having something sweet after a workout, another great time to have sugar is after dinner. This is because the proteins and fats from dinner can blunt the insulin response you have to the sugars, meaning it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much.
Another great time to have sugar is after dinner, because the proteins and fats from dinner can ‘blunten’ the insulin response
I know I said I avoid sugar, but I do eat chocolate almost everyday. It’s good quality organic dark chocolate though, and I wont have a lot of it. Also, if someone sends me lovely cake, then of course I am going to eat it.
As much as I love cake, I am the queen of alternative baking, which means I like to make things that don’t contain any unhealthy ingredients but still taste delicious.
I’ll put the time and effort into making a carrot cake or a chocolate avocado cake or something like that. It’s still high in calories and high in fat, but to me it tastes like real food. There are much better alternatives to sugar available.
Tip #3 Fats are essential, but eat them earlier on in the day (breakfast) and avoid them after a workout
Fats are absolutely essential. If anyone tells you that you shouldn’t be eating them, please do not listen.
Dietary fats are essential as they provide your body with energy and they support cell growth. Fats also help protect your organs and keep your body warm through insulation.
But what I do say to my clients is that there is a time and place for fats. That is why I tend to have my fats earlier in the day such as for breakfast, because they’re difficult to metabolise overnight.
Also my advice is to avoid eating fats right after a workout. This is because fats will stunt the absorption of protein, and we certainly don’t want to deprive our muscles of protein.
So focus on getting your fats in at breakfast, eggs and avocado for the win.
Tip #4 Eat the majority of your carbs post-workout
Carbs are useful, and they shouldn’t be avoided like most diets out there suggest. But like sugar and fats, you have to consider the timing.
As I said above, post-workout is when your body needs carbs (and sugar) the most and you’re much more likely to aid recovery and replenish your glycogen levels if you eat carbs after a workout.
Honestly, I seriously take advantage of eating carbs after I workout. Post-workout is my carb heaven, it’s literally my favourite time of day when I eat high sugar cereal for example. Plus carbs taste so much better when you’ve worked hard for them and you can feel that your muscles want them.
Post-workout is my carb heaven when I eat high sugar cereal for example
Do be aware though that eating too many carbs without doing the exercise is likely to mean they will be stored as fat rather than aiding muscle recovery.
So if you workout, eat your carbs and don’t feel guilty about it – your muscles literally need carbs after you train so get them down you!
Tip #5 Have protein with every meal (even snacks)
The majority of my meals are based around protein, protein and more protein. I aim to eat protein at each of my four daily meals and snacks.
This isn’t only for the muscle gains but also because protein keeps you fuller for longer and is generally easier to digest than fats and carbohydrates.
Dinner especially, is a time when I would choose to have a high protein meals such as white fish, sea bass or white meat such as chicken or turkey with vegetables. That sort of meal is easier to digest overnight.
My lunch time meal prep Tupperware will again contain protein with vegetables – chicken, tuna, turkey mince, green beans, broccoli, peas, sweetcorn.
Then with a snack such as fruit, I’ll have some peanut butter with it to make sure whatever I am eating still contains protein.
Protein keeps you full and will prevent you from feeling hungry, so if you are someone who is often hungry, you may want to start focusing on eating more protein.
Tip #6 Cook from scratch – processed foods are nutritionally pointless
I do understand that it can be difficult to find the time to prepare and cook all of your own food all of the time. Plus, people have social lives which means eating out is going to happen. I myself eat out at least two to three times a week.
But apart from the evenings out, I cook all my own food from scratch, that way I know that what I am eating is healthy and nutritious.
When cooking I don’t use any processed foods. Food and my health is extremely important to me, which is why I take the time and make the effort to ensure my food is delicious and healthy all of the time, with no quick fix ingredients that won’t be beneficial to my health.
As well as finding the time, I also understand that it can be expensive to buy top notch healthy ingredients. But where you can, aim to have as much organic food as you can, especially when it comes to meat.
I know the difference in price can often be huge, but I feel it’s important to aim for quality foods so you can ensure you aren’t consuming any unwanted hormones or pesticides.
Treats can be made from scratch too. Don’t always rely on shop-bought treats like biscuits, cookies and cakes – learn to make your own. I like things that taste like real food. All of the treats I consume are home-made (except the chocolate).
I know I’ll sound like a real dork, but because I like quality food and I like food that tastes real, I wouldn’t eat things like cake or doughnuts because to me, those foods don’t really taste of anything. They also don’t have any nutritional benefits – it just doesn’t taste of food to me.
When you learn to make quality food, you appreciate it so much more, and like I said, you know exactly what’s in it and you get to make it exactly how you like.
I like real flavours and I quite like the theatre of making your own food. So give it a go, set some time aside on the weekend and focus on making your own food with the best quality ingredients that will ensure you are eating healthy and nutritious food to fuel your body.
Tip #7 Herbs and spices are my secret weapon
I have everything you could possibly imagine when it comes to flavours – I literally have a whole wall dedicated to herbs and spices.
I try and use plenty of fresh herbs because it can change the flavour and depth of a meal completely and I find it so much fun experimenting with different flavours.
For example, if you use lemon and rosemary one day with chicken for example, and you want to make it more interesting or just fancy a change, throw some thyme in there. Then another day try adding some garlic – the possibilities of flavour are endless.
Bare in mind, that the strongest flavour will dominate the meal (especially when it comes to garlic ad ginger), so if you use the same herb or spice often, everything ends up tasting the same.
I recommend that people keep their flavours separate and rotate them so everything doesn’t end up tasting exactly the same all of the time.
Tip #8 Plan your week ahead in calories
I know it sounds petty, but sometimes we have to plan ahead when it comes to calories, especially if you are trying to reach a certain goal or lose weight.
Let’s say you have an evening out planned on Saturday that is going to involve pizza and cocktails (x10). You can guarantee the day and evening will be pretty calorie dense. By all means, go out and have your pizza and cocktails, but try and look at cutting down on calories during the rest of the week.
For example if you normally eat 1,600 calories a day, try and cut that down to 1,400 calories a day for five days. That way you will have ‘saved’ 1000 calories to go towards that pizza and those cocktails.
You have to look ahead and plan, plan, plan. If I’m going out I will always either do some extra training or cut down my calories during the week.
I don’t like the feeling of going out and feeling guilty about what I am eating or drinking, because it’s scary to know that going out can affect my weekly calories going up by 5000.
If I go on holiday I’ll lose four or five kilograms before I go away, because I’m going to eat everything I see
I do a similar thing before going on holiday too. If I go on holiday I’ll lose four or five kilograms before I go away, because I’m going to eat everything I see.
I don’t want to come back a stone heavier and know that I got to undo this damage. I’d rather go away, feeling good, lost a bit, knowing that I’ve got room to put it back on again.
I plan for it, it’s always better to be on the front foot and to know that you’ve earned it that way you can enjoy yourself and not think about the extra calories.
What I will say though is don’t turn ‘going out calories’ into ‘oh, I need to go to the gym because I ate something bad yesterday’, with that attitude you are turning going out and having fun into a punishment – which it totally isn’t.
You should enjoy training and enjoy eating equally. If you know what you’re doing and you’ve planned it, although it sounds little military, in the end you feel much better for it.
You can’t not enjoy an experience because you’re worried about your weight, just be clever with your calories.
Tip #9 Accept that losing weight means you might sometimes be hungry – and that’s OK
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to feel a little bit hungry at some points. There’s nothing wrong with that, you don’t have to be scared of feeling hungry.
In the past, I always tried to overeat in the anticipation of being hungry. But the truth is, if you are cutting back on calories and doing more exercise than you used to, you are guaranteed to be more hungry.
Sometimes you need to push through and break the cycle of feeling hungry and then automatically eating.
There is no real way around that unfortunately, other than accepting that you’re hungry and drinking some water or making a tea. Then if you are still ‘starving’ have something to eat.
Sarah Lindsay is a three-time Olympian and personal trainer like no other. A European gold medalist, 2x world silver medalist and 10x British speed skating champion, Sarah is an inspiration to anyone looking to reach their full potential.
She is one of London’s most recognised celebrity personal trainers, who’s clients include Caroline Flack, Pixie Lott, Melanie Sykes and Sheridan Smith to name a few.
Passionate about health and fitness, Sarah truly practices what she preaches and has a unique ability to inspire, empowering her clients to take control of their lives.
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