Chef Jason Whitehead on beating the lockdown bulge

With our fridges only a few steps away from our new home offices, many of us have found ourselves constantly peckish and tempted by the fridge. To add to our new hobby of “snacking” we didn’t have the opportunity to hit the gym thanks to lockdown. Perhaps, the personal evidence of this pandemic rests on the extra kgs you see on the scale or the pants that are feeling a tad tighter. Well, rest assured that you are not alone.

We got to chat to Chef Jason Whitehead about his post-lockdown BODYTEC experience – his presumptions, training and results.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Cape Town-based chef, cookbook author and hospitality consultant. I have been working within the food and events industry for almost 20 years now, and I cannot imagine ever doing anything else.

Why did you start BODYTEC?

I think like many people, during the lockdown I visited the kitchen a lot more frequently than normal and therefore ended up comfort eating a lot of the time. I was always intrigued by BODYTEC EMS training when I first saw the concept a couple of doors down from where I use to own my bistro back in 2013. When lockdown regulations started to ease, I knew I had to do something to get back into shape. Feeling somewhat self-conscious of my weight gain, the thought of having one-on-one personal training appealed to me, so I got in touch with BODYTEC Newlands to start my journey of getting back into shape.

How do you compare your initial idea of BODYTEC (before you tried it) to the actual training?

To be honest, I was a little nervous. Actually, very nervous. But once I did two or three sessions, and could feel the difference it was making in such a short space of time, I got more ambitious and actually wanted to train more often.

What were the results of the training?

I used to train a lot a few years ago, and I was getting very similar results in my weekly 20-minute EMS sessions with BODYTEC as I use to get when I went to the gym for 1-hour sessions multiple times a week. After only 4 sessions I could already feel my muscles starting to take shape, which I found really impressive. Although I didn’t lose as much weight as I’d hoped with doing only EMS training, I’m pretty confident that, had I done the suggested cardio in between my sessions, that I would have shed the weight I gained much more quickly. The EMS training definitely gave me the strength to get any other training back on track faster, had I chosen to do that.

Based on your busy lifestyle, how does BODYTEC play a role?

Well, it saves me a few hours a week if I compare it to my regular gym workouts, which is a lot when you are already juggling around with your daily diary. Only needing to do one 20-minute session a week is just so much easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Do you have any tips on eating healthy on the go? Do you follow an eating plan, diet, etc?

I really think that everyone responds differently when it comes to diets and eating plans. For me personally, I don’t eat breakfast, but rather start my day with a strong cup of coffee with almond milk, then drink a variety of different teas (I LOVE MY TEAS) up until lunchtime. I then generally have something small but nutritionally balanced, usually, something like scrambled eggs with avo and tomatoes, followed by an apple (or some sort of fruit). I then carry on with my teas until dinner, which is usually a little more substantial. I’m not too hard on myself with what I eat, but you can be sure that there will be curry on the menu at least 3 times a week, but always with something green, such as broccoli, spinach, courgettes, etc. And of course a glass or two of red wine.

Tell us more about your current or future projects?

Currently, I have a couple of consulting jobs on the go, as well as a couple of private events. I have also recently joined Organic Zone (@organic_zone_ct on Insta, and @organic.zone on FB) on a long term consulting project, focussing on tweaking and building their private label ready-made meal offerings, something I am super excited about. I am also working closely with a production company on something new and exciting, but that’s all I can say about that for the moment. You will have to follow my Social Media to find out more about that – @chefjasonwhitehead on Instagram and Facebook.

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