British Military Fitness Logo
Phone Number: +27(0) 72 853 5806

British Military Fitness SA on Facebook British Military Fitness SA on Twitter

British Military Fitness diet and nutrition tips

Top Tips for improving your diet from Simon Richman, Chief Instructor at British Military Fitness South Africa

For both exercise and diet, don’t try and go crazy drastic at the last minute. Rather take a calm, measured approach 2 or 3 months before and get better, long lasting results. People often sense that summer is around the corner and try and go on a radical Spartan diet and training regime with 3 weeks to go and don’t get the required results.


Many people think that simply by starving yourself, you will lose weight. The problem with this is that you can starve yourself for a couple of days, but will turn into a grumpy, haggard creature who gets massive cravings for sugar and fatty foods. This defeats the whole purpose! That route is not sustainable, rather go for a healthier option which is more sustainable and more effective.

Many people are also overly concerned with how much they weigh, as opposed to how good they actually look. . Muscle weighs more, and looks better than fat, so focus on toning up and size will drop.
Some foods are ideal for us and promote an increase in energy. Whereas other foods promote an increase in fat storage. These foods can also end up creating further cravings and promoting over eating, as well as increasing lethargy and listlessness.

Things to include in your diet:

Overall try and go for foods that are whole or less processed. The process stage normally adds unnecessary sugar, salt, colourants, flavourants and preservatives. Society, and in particular the fitness industry, loves to focus on panaceas, silver bullet cures or “superfoods” , but the key is balance and not overdoing one particular element. Remember that we are all different, so experiment and workout  what works for you.

Fresh green vegetables: As a rough guide, your plate should have a fist-sized portion of fresh vegetable or steamed vegetables. Vegetables are an excellent form of nutrition which provide vitamins and minerals as well as fibre. Steamed vegetables are delicious and super healthy. A top tip is to have sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes as they are less starchy

Protein is excellent for muscle growth and sustained energy. The more muscle that you have, the more fat you will burn. Lean beef has various amino acids that help your mitochondria burn fat for energy. Meat is excellent in small quantities as it satisfies hunger long-term and provides excellent nutrition. Remember to rather grill your meat as opposed to frying or deep-frying. Enjoy the beautiful natural flavours of the meat by not covering it in  rich, creamy sauces.

Fish should be a regular part of your diet, especially oily fish like salmon and mackerel as they provide omega 3 oils rich which are great for joints, strong ligaments and tendons.

Olive oil is far better to cook with than other cooking oils, so make it a vital part of your kitchen.

Salads can be the most healthy and delicious meals at any time of the day. Here is a great idea to help you create different salads that are nutritious and mouth-wateringly tasty. Each salad should contain 5 basic elements: 1) Protein e.g.  chicken, tuna, mackerel, boiled eggs or grilled beef strips 2) Green e.g.  lettuce, rocket, spinach or cabbage 3) Fibre: e.g. broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, canned chickpeas(drained), cooked lentils or cooked green peas 4) Texture: e.g.  Avocado, feta cheese, chopped nuts(e.g. almonds, walnuts or pecans) or cooked pearl barley 5) The X-factor(a burst of extra flavour to bring it all together): a small addition of olives, capers, sliced fruit(e.g.  pear, peach, apple, strawberries etc), chopped chilli, chopped mixed herbs (basil, mint, coriander or chives).

Water is the perfect drink to have throughout the day.

Black tea, black coffee or green tea will also give you a perk up when you need it. No artificial creamers, sugar or milk though. A good tip is to only have tea or coffee before mid-day, otherwise the caffeine can affect your sleep patterns.  Coffee and tea are stimulants that increase feelings of alertness, but they also act as diuretics, increasing fluid loss through the urine. So don’t drink litres if you are thirsty!

Snack on nuts like almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts as opposed to sweets.

Try and stick to this basic outline, but we do need that bit of variation and we do have our weaknesses so let yourself have one cheat day per week when you can have that pizza or chocolate ice cream.

A few glasses of wine (especially red with its heart health flavanoids) can also be a well-deserved treat throughout the week.


The things to avoid are processed foods as these are usually packed with the bad combination of high sugar, high salt,  saturated fats and importantly preservatives. Preservatives can be harmful to your digestive flora.

Sugar is one of the main things to avoid as it increases your body’s insulin levels and promotes fat storage. It creates a small energy spike that then crashes back down. Sugar also suppresses the body’s natural ability to produce leptin which effects satiety (the feeling of having eaten enough). Sugar, therefore, puts you on a sugar crave cycle,  which converts into the fat that we are trying to avoid!

So, do not add sugar to any of your food (tea and coffee included!) Definitely avoid the non nutritive sweeteners that many companies add to food(eg aspartame and  phenylalanine).

Fizzy drinks are laden with sugar, along with all the other flavourants and colourants so avoid them. Fruit juice is not the answer either as there is also sugar in there. Just because it says, “no added sugar” doesn’t mean that it is good for you. Many juice companies get rid of excess water in order to achieve higher sugar concentration and that super sweet taste. Hey, they haven’t added in any extra, but have left you with liquid sugar napalm!

Think about how nature packages sugar. It’s always combined with loads of fibre, which limits the effects of sugar and is good for your digestive system. Have fresh fruit if you fancy something sweet.

Processed wheat in bread and pastas is very hard for the body to digest and simply clogs the system. It’s the gluten that your body struggles with and which often leads to that bloated feeling. Off the shelf breads that last for ages are often filled with loads of preservatives, sugar and salt as well as processed flour. Rather go for freshly baked bread made with stone ground floor.Try cut out white bread entirely and rather have rye bread or wholemeal bread.

Excess dairy products are also hard for your body to digest, so cut down on the milk and switch to harder cheeses (E.g. Swiss, Emmenthal or Gruyere) or soft cheese (e.g.  cottage cheese or feta).

Cheap chocolates and sweets are laden with sugar, so switch to the better quality, darker chocolate. Avoid the sweets entirely!

Be aware that many breakfast cereals are laden with sugar and salt and many also contain wheat which, as we now know, is hard to digest. Wheat free muesli with no added salt and sugar or oats cooked with water make ideal alternatives. Add chopped apricots, blueberries or banana for a great start to the day.

Don’t be fooled by products claiming to be “fat free” as they usually contain excess sugar and salt instead!

We know that is hard to do in one go, so phase these tips into your regular diet. Combine the healthy eating with some good BMF classes!  Once you combine the healthy eating routine with the healthy exercise routine, you will look and feel better.

Try a free class!

Want to try BMF ... Your first class is free. Follow the link to sign up in your area right now to try your first class free.

Sign Up

Contact BMF SA

Phone : +27(0)72 853 5806

Click here to email us

Find us on Facebook