What to eat before & after your workout From A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

Did you know that what you eat before and after your workouts can affect your recovery time, workout efficiency, and even your muscle growth?


It’s true.


I even recommend keeping track of how certain foods make your body feel pre- and post-workout.


To help you get started, here’s my simple pre- and post-workout meal formula!




→ 30-60 minutes before your workout, eat a small snack with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.



●      1 slice sprouted grain bread (carb) with a little sliced turkey (protein)

●      ½ cup brown rice (carbs) with a bit of grilled chicken (protein)

●      1 medium apple (carbs) with a tablespoon of almond butter (protein & fat)




→ 30-45 minutes after your workout, go for a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein.



●      Greek yogurt (protein) with a handful of berries (carbs)

●      A smoothie made with your favorite unsweetened low-fat milk, with 1 cup of berries (carbs) and a scoop of whey protein (protein)

●      4 oz of salmon (protein) with ½ cup of sweet potatoes (carbs)


Those portion sizes are “guestimates.”


The right portion size for you depends on your gender, size, and how long and intense your workout is — a heavy weight-training session will require more fuel than a less-intense workout.


As a general rule, think “tiny meal” before your workout and “moderate meal” afterward!

Do this when you get home from shopping From A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

Want to stop wasting food and start making the most out of your grocery hauls?


If you find that your fruits, veggies, and herbs tend to go bad before you can use them…


I have 3 “post-grocery-shopping” tips you’re going to love.




1. Freeze your greens: If you’re a smoothie drinker -– or your greens tend to go bad before you can use them up — freeze them! Here’s how:

●      Wash and completely dry your greens, and remove any tough stems.

●      Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours.

●      Transfer to freezer bags and remove as much air as possible before closing.

●      Pop them in the freezer until it’s time for your smoothie.

●      NOTE: It’s normal for the greens to crumble after freezing — but as a bonus, they will blend more easily!


2. Store herbs in olive oil:

●      Wash them, chop them up, put them in an ice cube tray, and cover them with oil.

●      Place the tray in the freezer and after it’s frozen through, pop out the “cubes” and put in a freezer bag — make sure you label it with what’s inside.

●      Next time you need a flavor boost while you’re cooking, just drop in a cube!


3. Batch cook grains: As soon as you get home, cook up a pot of quinoa, farro, or other healthy carb. Store in the fridge for easy, quick additions to meals during the week.

TIP: If you don’t have a rice cooker, think about getting one. They are a grain-cooking game changer.


And here’s a bonus tip you can’t skip!


🥬 If you normally wash and dry your produce as soon as you get home, you can STOP doing this ASAP.


Instead, wash your veggies and fruits just before you use them!


This helps your produce stay fresh longer — plus, waiting to wash it till just before you use it can wash off any bacteria that it picked up while being stored.


Pretty cool, right?


If you didn’t know these tips already, don’t worry. Most people don’t!

Top 5 Metabolism-Boosting Superfoods From A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

I get asked a ton of questions about food… what to eat, when to eat, etc., etc.


Usually my answer is that you really can’t go wrong with whole “real” foods — the kinds of foods that don’t come from a manufacturer and that don’t have a long list of ingredients.


But some foods can give you an extra “edge” when it comes to specific goals…


Like this list of foods that can help you boost your metabolism!


How many of these do you eat (or drink) regularly?


5 Metabolism-Boosting Superfoods

  1. Lean Meat (turkey, bison, chicken) Not only does protein-rich meat help you build and maintain your muscle, but it can boost your metabolic rate by 15–30% because it takes your body more work to digest it.
  2. Fish and seafood Yes, fish and seafood are packed with protein that gives them all the benefits of lean meat — but they also contain key nutrients that support your thyroid! Your thyroid plays a huge role in your metabolism.
  3. Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.) A great plant-based source of protein, legumes also contain resistant starch, a special type of prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. These bacteria create short-chain fatty acids that can help your body use stored fat for energy.
  4. Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pepitas, chia seeds, etc.) Even though they’re small, nuts and seeds are loaded with metabolism-boosting goodness: protein, healthy fats, fiber, essential nutrients, and antioxidants. Just remember, a serving = the size of your thumb.
  5. Coffee and Tea The caffeine in both of these beverages temporarily raises your metabolic rate and it may also help your body burn fat. Plus, tea contains catechins, a compound that teams up with caffeine to further boost your metabolism. Extra credit: both oolong and matcha green tea may contain special fat-burning compounds and may also help you burn extra calories during your workouts.

Remember: it’s not about aiming for a “perfect” diet, but about making healthy choices that support your goals AND your lifestyle!

Overlooked productivity hack

Let’s talk about the most overlooked — and underappreciated! — productivity hack out there…


Taking regular breaks during the day!


The problem with taking breaks is that it can feel like you’re slacking…


But you’re not. Any here’s why:


●      Being “always on” can lead to burnout and make you less effective.

●      Researchers who analyzed 80+ studies found that taking regular breaks can keep you feeling energized AND increase your productivity.


The key is to make sure you follow a few guidelines.


What you do during your breaks — and how long they last — most definitely matters.


Here are just a few ways to get the most out of your productivity-boosting breaks:


●      Going outside for a walk is better than stretching at your desk

●      Being active during your break can give you a quick shot of energy

●      In the morning, think about short, frequent breaks — even if it’s just to grab a healthy snack or look outside

●      Later on, longer breaks can be more effective

●      If you work at home, hanging out with your pet can give you a boost of feel-good energy

●      Spending time on social media isn’t the best idea: it can actually leave you emotionally exhausted AND reduce your creativity

It’s true, some of this can be easier said than done.


If you’re on autopilot (which so many of us are!), it can be hard to check in and notice how you’re using your energy or if you need a break…


And before you know it?


You’re too tired to work out…


Meal prep gets put on the backburner…


And all of a sudden, you’re starting over again.

How to let negativity bounce off you From A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

I don’t know who needs to hear this but…


Everyone — and I mean everyone! — struggles with their motivation and mindset sometimes.


But that doesn’t mean you give up.


Instead, you have to get tactical.


So, today I want to share a couple of simple tools you can use to keep yourself on track when you’re not feeling it.


They’re affirmations and intentions — and they might be different than you think!


Sometimes they get lumped in the “woo-woo” category but they’re actually backed by studies.


☑️ Affirmations boost brain activity, help you stick with healthy habits, improve self-control, and even help you feel happier and more fulfilled.


☑️ Intentions can help motivate you to follow through on your specific goals.


Together, they help you build momentum.


But what’s the difference? Here’s one way to think of them:


☔️ Affirmations are like an umbrella, protecting you from negativity and distractions by keeping them from you. ☂️ Intentions are all about the things you do UNDER the umbrella to make your goals a reality!


Affirmations vs. Intentions


Affirmations are:

●      focused on changing beliefs and attitudes

●      aspirational, helping you change or create a positive thought pattern

●      usually have a longer-term focus


Here are a few examples of healthy affirmations:

●      I am strong, healthy, and full of energy

●      My body is resilient, capable, and strong

●      I respect my body with nourishing food and regular exercise


Intentions are:

●      focused on guiding your actions or behaviors

●      practical, focusing on how you want to live, act, or what you want to achieve

●      usually focused on your day or a specific task


Here are some examples of intentions:


●      I’m going to give it 100% during my workout today

●      My food choices today will support my health and fitness goals

●      Today I will listen to my body and rest when needed


When was the last time you set an intention for the day? It’s not too late to create one today! 😉

Committed to Your Success,

Imran Ilahi

when do you start your day from A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

I have a little mindset experiment for you today that just might blow your mind.


What if instead of thinking of your day starting when you WAKE UP in the morning…


You flipped it so that your day begins when you go to bed at night?


Say what?


Hang with me for a sec… because even though this might sound weird, it’s worth trying.


That’s because sleep is SO IMPORTANT it deserves to be a priority (e.g., one of the first things you do) vs. an afterthought (the last thing you do).


Starting your day with a solid 7-8 hours of quality sleep lays the foundation for not only a great day, but for deep health & wellness.


Sleep is basically nutrition for your brain.


If you don’t get enough of it, it can mess with your stress hormones, your hunger hormones, and even the hormones that help your body turn food into energy.


And there’s more…


Being sleep-deprived can interfere with your decision-making skills because it dulls your brain’s frontal lobe. This affects your ability to be focused, sharp, and make great decisions.


And that’s not even getting into alllll the other things that happen when you’re sleeping (like removing waste from your brain, cell repair, and more).


When you prioritize your sleep, you are prioritizing feeling GREAT.

These are the kinds of “little things” (that are actually BIG things!) that we work on in

Committed to Your Success,

Imran Ilahi

wake up call From A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

I’ve got a BIG wake-up call for you today — about SLEEP!


Did you know that if you don’t get enough sleep, your risk for heart disease and heart attack goes up…


… no matter your age, your weight, how much you exercise, or whether you smoke?!!!




Plus, not getting enough sleep is linked with:

●      Cognitive decline & dementia

●      Depression

●      Obesity


I know I talk about sleep a lot, but the fact is…


One of the BEST things you can do for yourself — mind, body, and spirit! — is set yourself for a good night of sleep every night.


You’ll recover from your workouts better… have a lot more energy the next day… you’ll make better decisions… you’ll be more focused… and you’ll be able to perform at your very best.


And getting enough sleep can help:

●      Boost your immune system and mood,

●      Improve brain function,

●      Lower your risk of chronic diseases


Here are a few great ways to boost your sleep:


●      Get fresh air and sunshine during the day

●      Work out or squeeze in some activity early in the day

●      Make sure you go to bed early enough so you can get 7+ hours of sleep

●      Don’t drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks after lunch

●      Limit (or avoid!) alcohol

●      Don’t eat heavy foods before bed

●      Create a nighttime wind-down routine to let your body know when it’s time to go to sleep

●      Dim your screens at night or use a blue light filter

●      Use app-blocking tools to avoid late-night scrolling on your phone


And maybe most importantly, really listen to your body.


When you have a GREAT night of sleep, notice what helped you make it happen… and do more of that! 😴

Your heart will love these 10 food tips From A St Johns Wood Personal Trainer

Don’t you love a list?


I do… especially if it cuts through the hype and makes my life EASY.


That’s why I borrowed this list from the American Heart Association for you.


It outlines 10 simple ways to streamline what you eat to help keep your heart (and entire body!) healthy, fit, and strong.


And the best part?


These tips will also help move you closer to your health/fitness goals.


You’ll also see they aren’t focused on deprivation OR perfection — instead, it’s all about eating delicious, healthy, and nutrient-packed food!


10 Ways to Show Your Heart Some Love (with FOOD!)


  1. Balance calories with physical activity — don’t eat more food than you can burn off
  2. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables — choose lots of colorful produce
  3. When you eat grains, make sure they are whole (not processed) — read those labels!
  4. Include healthy protein sources at every meal
  5. Use liquid non-tropical plant oils like avocado and olive oil
  6. Eat minimally processed foods — focus on “real” whole foods as much as you can
  7. Avoid added sugars — they’re just empty calories that drain your energy and your health, plus they’re linked with weight gain
  8. Cut back on salt — according to the FDA, 90% of us (!!!) eat too much sodium… aim for less than 2,300 mg a day (about 1 teaspoon)
  9. Limit alcohol (or avoid it!)
  10. Put this list on repeat for all your meals and snacks


Committed to your success,

The Elephant in the Room

What’s standing between you and your weight loss goals?


It can be like the elephant in the room…


We know it’s there, but we ignore it, hoping it’ll go away on its own.


But these hurdles drain your energy… resources… and confidence.

And worst yet, they reinforce the old stories we tell ourselves about our ability to change.




A client told me that during the pandemic, she got into the habit of having a glass of wine before dinner — every single night. (Let’s call her Sara.)


It became given for her. Once she got home from work, out came the wine bottle.


Because Sara was trying to lose weight, that wine habit became her elephant in the room.


BUT… this isn’t even about the wine.


It’s about ANYTHING that helps you “numb out” from the day… a bowl of ice cream, a couple of hours playing video games, a nighttime TV habit, or doom scrolling on your phone.


At some point those habits were serving you in some way — maybe they provided a temporary comfort, a distraction, or helped you escape stress.


👉 But the fact is that now, they’re an obstacle between you and your goals.


Do YOU have any “numbing out” habits that aren’t serving you any longer?


But if you start by targeting those unhelpful habits one by one, before you know it you’ll gain a huge amount of momentum — and be that much closer to crushing your goals.


AND… bonus! Just acknowledging those “elephants” helps take away their power.

Nothing to eat in the house

Picture this: You finally get home after a long day and your stomach is growling.


So you tell yourself, “Time for a healthy, home-cooked meal!”


But then you raid your fridge, cabinets,  and…


Not a healthy option in sight.


If this sounds familiar, you are NOT alone.


And it doesn’t just happen with home-cooked meals. Without careful attention, other healthy habits can quickly fall off your radar, too.


Like when your schedule gets a little out of control and you let a few workouts slide…


Or you end up staying up too late one night and spend the rest of the week trying to catch up on your sleep.


We unintentionally create so many unnecessary obstacles that block us from reaching our goals!


👉 Good news: I’ve got a simple formula that will help you stop that from happening…


So you can take control of your environment — and get those results you’re working toward.


All you have to do is come up with a “one-two action plan” that:


→ Makes it easy to stick to your goals.

→ Makes it tough to stray off course.


Here are a couple of examples…


If your goal is to have healthy food available at home:

●      Make it easy: Come up with a meal plan and system for your grocery shopping (or maybe even opt for healthy meal delivery or a grocery pick-up!)

●      Make it tough to mess up: Don’t keep junk food at home


If your goal is to work out regularly:

●      Make it easy: Keep your gym gear in your car

●      Make it tough to skip: Join a fitness studio on your commute home, or hire a coach who will keep you accountable

If your goal is to sleep 7-8 hours a night:

●      Make it easy: Set a regular sleep schedule and stick with it

●      Make it tough to skip: Create a relaxing nighttime routine to prep for bed, and set a reminder on your phone at the allotted time every night


See the pattern? It’s about setting up your space to encourage good habits and discourage the not-so-good.


So, here’s a challenge/invitation for you…


This week, identify one thing you can adjust to help you stay on track — and another that’ll stop you from slipping.


Then, take action!


Simple changes, big results. (Love that!)