Bitesize Blogs

Creating a community in Ballsbridge with the EXOFIT fitness studio

3 Personal Trainer tips for building a Balanced Food plate

Anthony Murphy - Head Trainer at EXOFIT


1. Add Colour to your plate

Here at EXOFIT, we truly believe in the analogy that building a balanced meal is as easy as filling a glass of water. Our cup would reflect the overall calories of the meal or the portion size - our ice would reflect the protein and colour based foods of the meal - our water would reflect the carbohydrates and fats in our meal. Once we improve our knowledge in the area of nutrition and 'performance nutrition' then that's half the battle completed, the second half is to use a concept we can visualise and understand to apply to our daily eating habits to improve our overall health. We know that colour is essential to our meals, vegetables, fruits and salads are key to maintain a high level of vitamins (Vit C, B12, etc) and minerals (Potassium, Magnesium, etc) on a daily basis. These types of foods will pack much needed nutrients and fibre that most of the general population would lack due to the over consuming of highly processed palatable foods. It's key to keep our immune system and gut healthy and to also keep our bodies nourished with making a conscious effort of adding and prioritising colour to our plates/meals = ice before water in the glass/ colour before energy based foods on the plate.

2. Add Protein to your plate

As a part of our services for personal training and corporate fitness classes, we aim to offer solid nutritional advice to all our clients that will hopefully be simple to follow and in return stick with them. This advice can often change depending on the context of the client - but one message that we notice to be repeating a lot as personal trainers is to maintain a decent level of protein in our diets. We try not to push the boundaries on the volume of protein needed on a daily basis with a general target of 1.2g of protein per kilo of lean body mass for the general recreational training clients to upwards of 1.6g - 2.0g for our intense recreational training clients or fat-loss clients. Protein in the eyes of the EXOFIT team would be treated the exact same as colour foods mentioned above. Protein is essential for maintaining lean muscle tissue when we age and during a calorie deficit and for building new muscle tissue as we exercise and seek an efficient way to recover from muscle soreness. Protein also holds a massive advantage for adhering to a calories deficit due to the fairly high satiating feeling we get after consuming it (we feel fuller for longer), and can reduce the risk of losing upwards of 30% lean muscle tissue when looking to lose body-fat. It's key to keep and build our muscle tissue as we exercise, keep active and age with making a conscious effort of adding and prioritising protein foods to our plates/meals = ice before water in the glass/ protein before energy based foods on the plate.

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3. Add Variety to our plate

A key message behind this analogy is that we often overlook the importance of our ice based foods = protein and colour. When it comes to building our plate we often jump the energy based foods first = carbohydrates and fats. The dangers of this approach can lead to two separate and potential outcomes.
1. We don't nourish our bodies enough with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids that is in our protein and colour based foods.
2. We run the risk of over consuming calories and losing portion control when we try to "squeeze" our priority based foods in after our energy based foods.
The message here is not to demonise any types of foods, all foods have a purpose and a place in our diets but the order is which we place them needs to be addressed, considered and worked on to OPTIMISE our food approach and nutritional intake. When you fill a glass of water we start with our cup, then ice and then water - when we build a plate of food we start with our portion, then our protein and colour and then our carbohydrates and fats.


Anthony Murphy - Head Trainer at EXOFIT