Here’s why Project Me isn’t just another faddy weight loss plan, and why you should download it, stat…
We know how important health and fitness are to you, because you lot click on it. A lot. Nutrition, exercise and wellbeing are often the most hot, hit-on topics on our site, and our wonderful group of ‘top of their game’ experts and columnists bring you the latest findings, research and opinion from the front line of the health field on a daily basis.
We wanted to go a step further this year to consolidate everything we know and believe about tasty, healthy food, fun fitness and failsafe motivation. You needn’t be a gym bunny or health store card holder to get on board with Project Me; this is 24 weeks of simple yet challenging exercise , appetising and satisfying food and constant inspiration from our experts, team members and most importantly, you guys.
Getting into a bikini certainly isn’t the only priority; we want to demystify health, debunk complicated exercise regimes and prove that you needn’t blow the budget during your weekly shop to feel and look awesome. Our main priority is getting you hot, happy and healthy from the inside out. We'll let the experts who devised our nutritional ethos and training programme - Zoe Stirling , Joslyn Thompson-Rule and Nina Parker - take it from here...
Zoe Stirling, nutritional therapist
What is your nutrition philosophy and how have you brought this into Project Me?
I believe in eating real, clean, unprocessed and natural food that nourishes the body. I also never calorie count as the foods that you should be eating in abundance are those that have greater nutritional integrity and therefore as a result they tend to be the foods that are naturally lower in calories anyway! These are the principles upon which Project Me is based. There are no artificial or ‘quick fix’ fast foods that may be low in calories but have zero nutritional value, just freshly prepared meals and straightforward recipes to make the process educational, enjoyable and easy to stick to.
Can anyone follow the nutrition plan?
Absolutely! It’s not restrictive or complicated and is designed to suit even the busiest modern woman.
You have worked with chef Nina Parker on this - what is your favourite recipe on the plan and why?
I LOVE the buckwheat pancakes! They’re totally divine and much quicker to make than you think.
Is the nutrition element timely or costly? Do I need to be a good cook?
Not at all to any of the above. The beauty of this programme is that is has been put together with all of that in mind. Recipes are simple and we’ve considered budget so ingredients can be used over multiple meals to avoid any wastage.
How does the nutrition plan complement the fitness programme?
Meals are all incredibly balanced; they’re based on all macronutrients to support the exercise element of the programme. In addition we’ve suggested specific foods that can help to enhance the effects of the programme both for fat burning and for exercise recovery.
Will I get hungry during Project Me?!
You shouldn’t do! All the recipes are incredibly nourishing and therefore should keep you fuller for longer. If you do get hungry then there are always our healthy snack ideas...
Do I need to give anything up on the plan? How strict are we talking?
The more strictly you follow the programme the better the results, of course. Although we’d love to be able to tell you that you can go out and enjoy a burger as often as you’d like, we’d be lying. If you want to get in shape then consistency really is key, however, we haven’t removed certain foods that people find hard to find alternatives for, so it’s very realistic.
Describe Project Me in five words…
Hot, happy, healthy, easy and DELICIOUS!
Joslyn Thompson Rule, personal trainer, Nike master trainer and editor-in-chief of Fit Girl About Town
First things first, how sweaty am I going to get?
Erm...pretty sweaty, particularly during the cardio sessions. You don't get change in just 24 weeks by not sweating…
I don’t exercise that often - will I get into the swing of it? Does the guide cater for all levels?
The guide is clearly planned out each week; do your best to schedule in the sessions so that you get them done. The programme builds progressively over the weeks at a manageable pace. There are beginner and intermediate/advanced levels in the guide with tips for progressing a movement if you're feeling particularly fly!
Do I need to exercise every day? I don’t have that much time on my hands…
No, the programme is a five-days-a-week programme and it shouldn't take you longer than 30 minutes for most workouts.
I don’t have any equipment or a gym membership. Can I still do the fitness programme?
Yes. All of the workouts can be done at home, although it is recommended that you buy some dumbbells for the resistance training. There are a number of options for the cardio sessions, so if you don't have access to a gym or pool you can run outside.
I struggle to get motivated - what nuggets of wisdom do you have to encourage me to exercise?
You are not alone, even Olympic athletes struggle with motivation sometimes. The key is to remind yourself daily why you are committed to the plan - knowing your ‘why’ is a big factor in staying motivated. Perhaps write it down in several places so that you will see it throughout the day, or choose an image that reminds you of your ‘why’ and stick it to your fridge, computer or somewhere you’re likely to look at it.
What’s your favourite move in the Project Me fitness plan and why?
Probably the single arm snatch, as it is such a powerful movement and the benefits transfer into so many other exercises. It's a 'big bang for your buck’ exercise.
Will the exercises bulk me up? I don’t want to look like The Hulk on the beach…
We don't have enough testosterone to bulk up, ask any skinny guy at the gym how easy it is to bulk up! Muscle is denser than body fat and so takes up less space. As you increase your muscle mass through strength training, your ability to burn fat will increase, resulting in your size being smaller overall.
Describe Project Me in five words...
Patience and consistency gets results!
Nina Parker, chef and culinary writer
What appealed to you about getting involved with Project Me from a foodie point of view?
It was a great chance to get to do some super healthy recipes. I love making healthy food interesting and try to make it exciting. I think often it can all be so boring and plain so I thought it would be a fun project to work on. I also love Get The Gloss as a brand so it was lovely to be asked.
As a chef, how you combine optimum nutrition and maximum taste?
Often the kind of dishes that I create tend to be nutritious anyway because they have a lot of fresh vegetables, fish and herbs in them, so in a way a lot of my cooking incidentally is good for you. To get maximum taste and flavour I use spices, fresh herbs and a few cooking tricks to bring everything to life.
How did you come up with your ideas for the (incredible) Project Me Recipes?
A lot of these dishes are the kind of food I cook at home or when I have a few friends over. I am trained in cooking French and Italian food and have spent a lot of time in the south of France, so my food has a very Mediterranean feel, and as we know that kind of diets has a lot of benefits health wise. I essentially just thought of things that I enjoy and have included a few recipes that have been popular at my popup restaurant nights.
What's your favourite recipe and why?
I like a lot of them but I really love the Asian noodles because they were inspired by a wonderful restaurant that I went to in Berlin with my best mate Casty. We had a great time visiting the city and I have never forgotten the amazing Vietnamese restaurant, Monsieur Vuong, which served dishes bursting with lime, ginger, freshly grated vegetables all mixed with hot noodles. It was delicious and this recipe reminds me of this memory.
How did you ensure that the recipes were suitable for someone embarking on an exercise regime?
I created and wrote the recipes and then I worked with nutritionist Zoe Stirling, who helped make sure that they were well balanced and suitable for the exercise regime.
As a chef you have great training - what tips do you have for busy women in terms of kitchen skills and keeping costs down but meals balanced?
I tend to buy a lot of fruit and vegetables from my local market which I would say helps a lot in terms of budgeting. I love to create lots of interesting dressings; they’re a quick way of making food taste better and once you have a few good ones mastered then you can bring them out at anytime. I like to invest in a good olive oil and have a whole lot of spices at the ready as they’re brilliant for flavouring meals quickly. Once you’ve invested in spices that makes creating delicious food that isn’t costly to prepare much easier.
I'm eating out during the 24 week plan - what are the best kind of restaurants and cuisines to stick to?
This can be tricky as I find a lot of places are unreliable in what they tell you is in food. I think Daylesford is somewhere that you can rely on. If you are eating out probably stick to the lighter, salad options on menus and if you're unsure then I always ask what is in dishes. Do remember though that eating out is a treat so you have to also enjoy it and choose what you want!
Lastly, describe Project Me in 5 words...
I guess it's a mixture of summer, fun, taste, determination and focus.