Working out is half the battle. Make this summer your leanest yet by adding celebrity cook Joe Wicks’ go-to ingredients to your shopping list. Consider them your tools for total reconstruction.
CRUSH YOUR CRAVINGS
Nuts are a great way to introduce healthy fats into your diet, and Wicks makes almonds his staple. Comparatively low in kilojoules – a 10-nut serving has roughly 240 kilojoules with 2g of carbs – their fibres stabilise blood sugar and reduce hunger, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A winning strategy for your abs aspirations.
OIL THE ENGINE
No #LeanIn15 video is complete without Wicks chucking a spoon of coconut oil into the pan. And he’s onto something: 60 per cent of the oil’s fats are MCTs, which quickly convert to energy. They’re a bit like carbs in that sense, but won’t impact blood sugar. A study by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition found that subjects who used MCT oils, instead of olive oil, lost more body fat, too.
STAY FIT FOR PURPOSE
Minimise missed workouts by following Wicks’ lead and adding star anise to your curries. It’s a source of shikimic acid, which a study in the Journal of Medical Virology found contributes to improved immune function. It’ll support protein absorption, too, activating digestive enzymes that help your body process the muscle-fuelling macronutrient.
PICK LEANER GREENS
He says ‘midget trees’, we say broccoli, but let’s not call the whole thing off. Wicks’ favourite veg is rich in sulforaphane, which the US Diabetes Association found creates ‘brown fat’ – the kilojoule-burning kind. It’s also a source of blood sugar-balancing chromium, keeping your energy up. Trust us, you’ll need it for Wicks’ HIIT sessions.
BLITZ EXCESS WEIGHT
Wicks adds antioxidant-packed blueberries to his smoothies and oats. And it’s a habit we’d happily endorse: not only are they rich in polyphenols that inhibit the formation of fat cells, they’re also a source of catechins to fight that fat which has, well, already formed. Finally, the berries’ skins contain ursolic acid, which the University of Iowa found halts muscle breakdown. You’ll only lose weight where you want to.
TREAT YOUR HEART
Wicks has a sweet tooth like the rest of us. When cravings hit, he breaks off a few squares of dark chocolate, which is packed with natural flavonoids. In a study by the University of California San Francisco, a daily dose of dark chocolate was shown to improve blood vessel function, delivering more oxygen to your muscles during your workouts for better performance and quicker recovery.