This week, Michael is joined by Hanah Mills, Accredited Dietitian at Ideal Nutrition, to discuss the vital role of nutrition in getting your body right. 

As the title of this episode suggests, nutrition is the missing link in getting more out of your body. It plays a critical role in general wellbeing on both a physical and psychological level. 

While many of us don’t think about nutrition beyond losing weight, getting the balance right can not only help you shed unwanted kilos – it can significantly boost your fitness levels and performance. Even paying just a little more attention to what your body needs at your current stage of life can have a huge impact on helping you to live life to the fullest.

CLICK HERE to read the full transcript from episode 15 of The Confident Body Show

CLICK HERE to find out more about Accredited Practicing Dietitian Hanah Mills from Ideal Nutrition


Topics discussed in this episode:

  • What does ‘good nutrition’ mean?
  • What are the biggest mistakes when people try to lose weight?
  • What are the most important aspects of nutrition for people who are in their 20’s and 30’s compared to 50+?
  • Are carbs as “evil” as we’ve heard over the last few years? 
  • What is marconutrient balance, and is it important?

Key takeaways:

  • ‘Good’ nutrition is different for everyone. It is dependent on a number of factors, such as your personal metabolism, activity level, the presence of any particular chronic disease (such as diabetes or Crohn’s disease) and what you want to achieve in your life. Looking at your blood test results (general blood screening every 6 months) can identify any deficiencies or particular needs for your body. (1:00)
  • All fad diets “cut out” a particular food group in order to create a kilojoule deficit in order to work. The problem is that firstly it is unsustainable and secondly, you are often cutting out an important nutrient group that your body needs. To lose weight in the long term, a “reasonable” kilojoule deficit (2000kj or 500 Calories) a week is sustainable without compromising muscle mass. (12:00)
  • For over 50’s, it’s vital to take into account the management of important health markers, such as high cholesterol to manage high blood pressure; calcium intake and vitamin D for bone health; and so much more. (17:00)
  • In your 20’s and 30’s there is an important relationship between food and mental health. Problems with eating and body image are appearing earlier and earlier now, so it’s important to become comfortable with normal eating and good health. (19:30)
  • Carbs are not necessarily evil. The micronutrient balance is one aspect of a healthy diet, not the only aspect. In regards to losing weight, the overall energy deficit is important, the composition of that deficit comes second. Carbs are extremely important in providing fibre, which manages normal cholesterol and keeps the bowel healthy. (25:00)

For practical articles to help you build a confident body, go to mdhealth.com.au/articles.

Do you have any questions?

  • Call us on (03) 9857 0644 or (07) 3505 1494 (Paddington)
  • Email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au
  • Check out our other blog posts here

Our clinical staff would be happy to have chat if you have any questions.


Click on the Dash icon below to see the entire show transcript

Episode 16: Full Transcript

Voiceover (00:02):

Welcome to the Confident Body, where experienced health professionals discuss how to get the most out of your body for the lifestyle you choose. We believe everyone can exercise and get the most out of life, regardless of your injuries or health issues. Now here’s your host, senior physiotherapist, Michael Dermansky.

Michael Dermansky (00:24):

Hi everyone, and welcome to the show that helps you become more confident in your body so you can keep doing the things you love. I’m Michael Dermansky, senior physiotherapist at MD Health, and today I’ve got a special guest in the show, Hanah Mills from Ideal Nutrition. She’s a accredited dietician. Hanah, welcome to the show.

Hanah Mills (00:40):

Thank you, Michael. Thanks for having me.

Michael Dermansky (00:43):

Great. It’s great to have you aboard. Anything particular you want to tell listeners about yourself and about what you do?

Hanah Mills (00:49):

Yeah, sure. So yeah, I’m Hanah Mills. I’ve been with Ideal Nutrition for about a year now, and we’re more of a sports-based dietetics company, but we do deal with general pop as well. And yeah, that’s more or less it.

Michael Dermansky (01:02):

Fantastic. Well, the topic for today’s podcast is, Is Nutrition the Missing Link to Getting Your Body Right? And so I want to start with the first question. What does good nutrition mean to you as a dietitian?

Hanah Mills (01:15):

Yeah, I think it’s quite a broad question. The reason I say that, it’s similar to the question, what’s a healthy diet? And I think it really depends on the individual. So for example, with a vegan athlete or a vegan, a healthy diet for them is not eating animal products. Or another example is maybe for an athlete who’s trying to bulk, a healthy diet or good nutrition for them is more around consuming energy dense foods and hitting protein targets and things like that. Whereas down on the contrary, if we’re looking at someone who’s trying to manage a chronic disease, then good nutrition for them is then about utilizing nutrition to prevent any issues occurring with their chronic disease and ideally overcoming it.


So it’s a hard question to [inaudible 00:02:03], but I would really, and I like to summarize it as saying, it really just depends on your goal. And I think that’s important to highlight because it also highlights the fact that we can’t compare to other individuals. Everyone is always on their own journey and good nutrition is different for everyone. So once again, highlighting people you see on Instagram all the time, it’s like, what’s good nutrition for them is going to look really different for you. So it’s important to never compare, but honestly just do what’s best to suit your goals and work your way towards that. In the research, though, what we have seen is good nutrition for optimizing health outcomes. The general consensus tends to show or lean towards the Mediterranean style diet. I don’t know if you’ve heard that one before, Michael?

Michael Dermansky (03:00):

Yeah, I have. Absolutely, yeah.

Hanah Mills (03:00):

So we’ve seen that the Mediterranean style diet can actually help improve health outcomes, mental health, prevent chronic disease and inflammation inside of the body. And so that’s based more on majority whole foods coming from a large portion of plant-based products. And then also opting for more of your lean-based proteins, so your lean meats and avoiding a lot of those red meats, aiming for more of those fatty fish serves, so getting two to three of those fatty fish serves per week, having a variety of nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, as well as having a decent dash of olive oil with as well.

Michael Dermansky (03:41):

See, that’s a big part of the Mediterranean diet, the olive oil as well. But yeah, that particular diet, they’ve got a lot of fruit and vegetables in it as part of it too, with a sprinkling of protein and other grain of whole grains as well.

Hanah Mills (03:54):

Yeah, 100%. And maybe a dash of red wine as well. Just trying to have some antioxidant benefits. But yeah, we’ve definitely seen, and that’s what the Australian Dietary Guidelines are based on as well, is more of those plant-based foods, those fruits and veggies, the whole grains, so getting a variety of your carbohydrate sources coming from whole grains and then the beans and legumes and up and seats and your lean protein sources for more of your protein benefits.

Michael Dermansky (04:25):

And this is, again, a very broad question as well, but from an en energy perspective for what’s considered a healthy diet for good health, how do you understand that in terms from an energy perspective? And I know it very much depends on what your goals are, if you’re looking to bulk up to be an athlete, but if you’re a mid 40s office worker, what is a good energy perspective look like?

Hanah Mills (04:54):

So energy is measured in kilojoules and calories, so that’s how we best do it. But energy is obviously what our body is made of, it helps fuel us throughout the day. And basically our energy requirements are more or less based on our height, weight, age, gender, lifestyle factors, exercise, and then also chronic diseases can have an effect and hormones can also have an effect on your energy requirements as well. So once again, very individual, but to answer your question there, those factors there make up your maintenance energy requirements. So what you require to maintain your weight throughout the day and maintain optimal function and energy throughout the day as well.


So when we eat above our energy requirements, that’s when our body will store the excess energy as either fat or muscle, for [inaudible 00:05:55] to be able to use later. It often thinks that we’re going into hibernation, so it stores it. And depending on if you’re an athlete and you’re engaging in resistance training and optimizing your protein intake, that energy can definitely be stored as muscle. But if you aren’t doing as much resistance training and not meeting those protein targets, it’ll tend to be stored as fat. And once again, if we’re looking to lose that fat or lean down, then we’re looking at more of that energy deficit. So consuming a little less energy than your body requires on a day so that we use that energy as fuel, or our body’s stored energy as fuel, instead of the food that we consume throughout the day as fuel.

Michael Dermansky (06:43):

Right. Okay. So that higher energy protein requirement as well. If you’re looking to build up muscle bulk as well, then it’s required, but if you’re having a higher energy protein intake and you’re not actually using it’s not going to have the effect you want. Is that what I’m hearing?

Hanah Mills (07:02):

Yeah, so more or less, if you’re… Can you repeat that? Sorry.

Michael Dermansky (07:03):

Sorry. So from what I hear, what you’re saying, is that if people are going on a higher protein amount, they’re trying to consume, but they’re not doing the resistance work to be able to utilize that extra protein, it’s not going to be as effective as well. And as your body’s going to see, “Well, I’ve just got excess energy,” rather than, “I’ve got more protein to use to build up muscle.”

Hanah Mills (07:24):

100%. The way I like to describe it, I don’t know if we’re going to use this as a video recording, but imagine if your fingers were intertwined with themselves and then they were to pull apart slightly and tear slightly, then that allows for the energy and the protein to then come in and repair it. So if you’re not getting that stimulus from your resistance training to tear that muscle, then there’s nowhere for that energy and protein to go. So the resistance training is an important stimulus to then tear the muscle and allow that energy impression to go somewhere and build it up. Otherwise, it’s just going to be used as a fat storage.

Michael Dermansky (08:03):

Great. Excellent. That’s really good information as well, because as you said, you hear on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you read, that high protein, low carb, high carb, low… All these different aspects of it all, and you said it’s really about the individual needs, so that might be right for that person, but it may not be right for everybody.

Hanah Mills (08:24):

100%. Exactly. And it depends on their goal. If their goal is to build muscle, then that’s what you need to do. I might just also highlight, if you are a newbie, so you know what we tend to refer to as new to the gym, who’s new to resistance training, then they can actually build muscle or they can have the ability to build muscle at maintenance calories or even in a calorie deficit. There’s times that extra energy on board isn’t always necessary, but for people who’ve been at the gym for three, four, or five years plus, that extra energy on board is important.

Michael Dermansky (09:03):

Right. Okay. So again, depends on what the stage they’re at as well.

Hanah Mills (09:06):


Michael Dermansky (09:08):

I guess the other question I have from a nutrition perspective as well is that we talk about energy only, and often you’re talking about high fat, high protein, high carb, whatever it is you’re talking about, and the nutrition perspective, the nutrient perspective, it seems to not even be part of the conversation. Where does that fit into it from your perspective?

Hanah Mills (09:29):

That’s a great question. We’ve got this pyramid where it’s a pyramid of prioritization, is what we like to call, and it’s based on evidence-based research. And so at the bottom of the pyramid is those calories, so getting those calories in or getting that total energy in at the end of the day. This pyramid highlights the most important factors for when you’re looking to change body composition or improve performance outcomes. Like I said, at the bottom of that pyramid is the calorie, so the total energy, that’s the most important factor.


Then [inaudible 00:10:03] there, it’s the macronutrients, there are protein, carbohydrates and fats. They’re the ones that actually supply the energy, so macro large molecules, they supply our body with energy, so they make up those total calories at the end of the day. Then from there, the third most important factor is those micronutrients that you’re referring to there, Michael. So the vitamins and minerals, which are still super important for our bodies’ functions throughout the day, and they come from a variety of our whole foods as well. But when we’re looking at specifically changing body composition or improving performance outcomes, they tend to be the third most important factor. And then from there, we’re looking into meal timing and nutrient timing, and then supplements as well, so they’re the least important factor.

Michael Dermansky (10:52):

Right. Very good. But as you said, even when you’re dealing with chronic disease as well, the micronutrient requirements can be very, very different to someone in the general population. So that also affects what people’s needs are, it’s not just what’s the right thing for everybody, it’s for that person.

Hanah Mills (11:12):

Yeah. Exactly. And some people naturally just have deficiencies and different micronutrients as well. So I do often recommend to all of my clients to get blood tests at least once or twice a year to check up on those micronutrients to make sure they’re all optimal. And you can always go to your GP and just ask for a referral to get a general blood test, and that will cover all the basics, and Medicare will cover the cost of that just to make sure that everything’s optimal.

Michael Dermansky (11:42):

Great. I actually didn’t know that, too. That’s really good information. So I guess the next question from here is, when someone is looking to lose weight, what are the biggest mistakes that you see people make? You took a big stop before you said it, too.

Hanah Mills (11:55):

Yeah, I know. I saw this question when you sent it to me and I was like, “Hmm, where do I start?” I think social media obviously has a big influence on this. Right?

Michael Dermansky (12:08):

Yes, it does.

Hanah Mills (12:11):

[inaudible 00:12:11] something a lot of even YouTube challenges will tend to do, is they’ll just cut out everything. They’ll just cut out either massive food groups or they’ll cut out half the food that they’re eating or cut out certain types of macronutrients. And this tends to be what we refer to as more of those fad diets, where they’re temporary diet that don’t necessarily contribute to optimal health outcomes, and they’re more or less just a facilitator to put you in that calorie deficit. And I think [inaudible 00:12:46] something that I really wanted to highlight on here, is that at the end of the day, whatever diet you do, whatever nutrients you cut out, you still need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose that weight.


So I would say the biggest mistake that people tend to make is actually doing something that’s not sustainable for them. And the reason I see that as a mistake, is we’ve actually seen in the research that 95, so this is a good stat, Michael, 95% of people who lose weight, so whatever amount of weight they lose, will regain it after five years. So 95% of people, so that’s a large chunk. And whether that be due to it’s not a sustainable diet for them, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle, whatever it is, it’s clearly something that’s a temporary solution.


So what I feel like needs to be put out there more is just more of that education. And I think dieticians are doing a great job on social media nowadays to put that information out there. But at the end of the day, all you need to do is be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. And then on top of that, I tend to highlight the importance of maintaining the optimal protein and fiber intake to help keep you satiated throughout the day, especially when you are in a calorie deficit. And also, that protein’s going to help maintain your, so that we are pulling energy from just fat and not our muscle because we know how important muscle is for facilitating exercise, longevity, bone health, metabolism, so many factors there.

Michael Dermansky (14:28):

See, that’s a really big one there. When people go into calorie deficit by doing a fad diet and they don’t realize they’re breaking down the muscle mass as well, it has such a big effect. They’re not just losing weight, they’re losing body fat. Oh, sorry, not losing body fat, they’re losing muscle mass on top of that, too. And then when they start to put on weight, they wonder why it’s so much harder afterwards because you’ve actually become a smaller person, even though you might be the same weight, but you’re not, you’re actually got less lean muscle mass, less muscle mass, less bone mass and so forth, and you’re trying to lose weight at a lower metabolic rate. It’s so much harder.

Hanah Mills (15:04):

Yep, 100%. And then on top of that, people work so hard to gain muscle, it’s really difficult to gain muscle. Yeah, we’ve seen it time and time again, it’s quite difficult. So if you are working so hard to gain that muscle, you want to be able to maintain that. And there are certain things that we can do from a dietary perspective that can really help with that, whether it be through… So we’ve seen that roughly anything greater than a 500 calorie deficit, you’re actually at risk of losing muscle. So that’s one point that can help. The second thing is your protein requirements. So to look at maintaining that muscle, you’re aiming for that 1.6 to 2.2 grams per kilo body weight of protein per day. If you’re in more of an extreme calorie deficit, or you are what we refer to as a hard gainer, so someone who struggles to maintain that muscle or build muscle, then you’re looking more at that 2.2 to 3.1 grams per kilo of body weight or protein per day.

Michael Dermansky (16:08):

It just sounds like it’s really good to… If you are serious about losing weight and you want to do it in a healthy perspective, it’s really worth talking to a dietician, even to get a good perspective of what’s right for you, as opposed to, “Oh, well, I saw this on Instagram, that it might be the best way to do it.”

Hanah Mills (16:22):

Yeah. So many individual requirements. That way we can facilitate or accommodate for chronic diseases or lifestyle factors and things like that as well.

Michael Dermansky (16:35):

And obviously a very much a similar perspective from an exercise point of view, we know the specific is better always, where, “[inaudible 00:16:44] a great exercise on Instagram. That’s great, but that’s not the right one for you. You’re better off going here and this is how you can get the best outcome for what you’re trying to achieve.”

Hanah Mills (16:54):

Yeah. Exactly. Everyone is so different at the end of the day.

Michael Dermansky (16:58):

So from a slightly different perspective as well, what’s the most important aspects of nutrition you see people over 50? What’s one of the big things you look for there?

Hanah Mills (17:11):

So once again, I’d probably come back to the blood test, so making sure that all their nutrient requirements are ticked off. Through a blood test, you can also see any chronic diseases that may be popping up. So for example, high cholesterol, type two diabetes risk and things like that. So by getting that blood test each year, then we can be on top of that. And once again, then it’ll be looking at managing those chronic diseases or managing those nutrient deficiencies.


So if I were to get [inaudible 00:17:46], I would say the high cholesterol and then that contributing to potentially higher blood pressure as well, is something I would look out for. Type two diabetes risk is something I would look out for. And then when we’re looking at more of those nutrient deficiencies, vitamin D is a really common one, even in Australia, and we’ve seen that 33% on average of Australians are a deficient and vitamin D and around 66% aren’t optimal. Vitamin D has so many roles in maintaining or improving bone strength, digestion, immune function, many things like that. So that’s another one.


Also, mood as well. So that’s one I look out for. Then having a look at more things like iron and B12, folate, things like that. So keeping up those other nutrients as well as also important. And then finally, probably having a look at the calcium as well. So you can’t really look at calcium through a blood test because what your body will do is… So it will always make sure there’s optimal calcium within your bloodstream, so it’ll pull from your bones to then put more calcium into your bloodstream so you can never really know how much calcium is actually improving your bone mineral density outside of looking at a DEXA scan or something like that, where you can actually directly see your bone mineral density. So that’s when I would just say, try and keep up with your dairy serves or your calcium serves each day.

Michael Dermansky (19:31):

Okay. Fantastic. And I guess it’s very similar, the next question as well, but a little bit different emphasis. So that’s people over 50 as well, but what about in your 20s and 30s? Where do you think about nutrition beyond just losing weight or having the right figure? And we have a similar issue in terms of exercise as well, where people just want to do stuff to tone up or get great abs. When we see women often in their 20s and 30s, they’re usually just not strong enough. It’s one of the biggest things we see is young women are not strong enough, and it’s worth them working on that, too. But what about from a nutrition perspective? What do you see?

Hanah Mills (20:05):

So I have two different answers here. So the bone… Sorry, bone strength. Muscle strength and things like that. Super important. Obviously maintaining those high amounts of protein and energy throughout the day. But what I was actually going to highlight more is the relationship with food and mental health outcomes. So two of the main things that I actually see in practice are more of the relationship with food and mental health. So these are two of the things that I’m really seeing popping up in practice these days.


And so we’ve seen that, whether it be from dieting or peer pressure from a young age or whatever it is, social media influence, I’ve seen a lot of people in their 20s and 30s, both males and females suffering with their relationship with food and tending to go towards those yo-yo dieting lifestyles where they’re restricting and overeating or feeling guilty for having foods that are naughty, which I don’t refer to any food as naughty. What’s naught? You know what I mean? What’s healthy?


So that’s something that I see pop up quite often and I think that’s something that I could spend an hour talking about your relationship with food, but that’s something that I would recommend looking into more, is maintaining that healthy relationship with food. So then you’re reducing your guilt around eating and then you feel the need to adequately fuel, and then you’re looking more at the sustainability, both improving body composition and health outcomes long-term as well.


The second point that I’ve highlighted there was the mental health side of things. This is once again another topic that I could talk about for hours, but I don’t know if you’ve heard of the gut-brain axis before, Michael? Yeah. So you’ve got this basically connection between your gut and your brain, and it works in a cyclic effect, where foods, if you’re having more like those processed foods and things like that, that can negatively affect gut health, and then that can then put more inflammation and stress into your body, which then can negatively affect mental health.


And then what we see is people who struggle a little bit more mentally, either from depression or anxiety or whatever it is, tend to reach for more of those processed foods as a dopamine hit, [inaudible 00:22:40] improve their mood in that moment. But then that has a cyclic effect of then negatively affecting gut health and then also potentially negatively affecting body composition and things like that, which also has a cyclic effect for many people’s confidence and therefore mental health as well. So yeah, once again, it’s all a cycle and not a domino effect. And we don’t know what came first, the chicken on the egg, but the mental health side of things and the relationship with food are two areas that I see pop up quite often.

Michael Dermansky (23:21):

Well, that’s very interesting what you say, but I mean in terms of, well, when people go for the high fat, high sugar foods, that it’s a dopamine hit. And so go for it ’cause you feel better in that moment, but you don’t afterwards, too. And then [inaudible 00:23:39], but it hasn’t got a good long-term effect.

Hanah Mills (23:43):

I think this is a very generalized answer, but I think a lot of people tend to struggle with their weight and things like that also because they are opting for more of those energy dense foods because maybe they are struggling a little bit more mentally. You can choose to keep this part in or not. I don’t know, this is a very niche area, but in my opinion, what I’ve seen is that people who are struggling a little bit more mentally, they will offer those foods and it’s like, okay, the foods are a mask, they’re short-term gratification things. Okay, what’s actually going on deeper? Why are we opting for those foods all the time? Is it a mental health issue? Is it an access to food issue? Is it just looking inward a little bit more and being, “Why are we opting for that?”

Michael Dermansky (24:34):

Fantastic. That’s really important stuff. It’s really good because then the behavioral issues, what you have access to, what you set up for yourself as well. So it’s not just what you eat, it’s these habits that you set up makes a big difference too, as well as the choices that you make and the emotional effect of what you do. And it’s probably obvious, but you look at the… I wasn’t aware of, oh, there’s a dopamine associated with this, too. So that does affect behavior.

Hanah Mills (25:07):

Yeah, for sure.

Michael Dermansky (25:08):

So a last couple of questions as well, and so again, carbs have been the evil word in the last few years. Where do you see the importance of this micronutrient balance? Or do we need a balance?

Hanah Mills (25:23):

Yeah, so carbs have been the devil for a long time. And don’t get me wrong, there can be some benefits to putting body into ketosis from a longevity perspective. But more or less, once again, like I said at the start, opting for more of that Mediterranean style diet, opting for more of that whole food diet is the best health outcome long-term in what we’ve seen in the research thus far.


And carbohydrates, I like to emphasize, is a big part of that for a couple of reasons. So one of the main reasons is the fiber perspective. So fiber is actually a type of carbohydrate. It’s a non-digestible type of carbohydrate, so we don’t really absorb it by the gut, but that process actually feeds the bacteria inside of the gut. So as the fiber hits the large intestine, the bacteria ferment the types of fiber, which helps feed the gut. So fiber is a really important component and if we’re opting for eliminating carbohydrates from our diet, then naturally we’re depriving ourselves from a lot of those benefits that fiber can give our body.


Then on top of that, all of our whole grains, our beans, legumes, nuts and seeds aren’t as high carbohydrate. Fruits all have a variety of different types of micronutrients. And so if we’re eliminating them from our diet, so when I talk about micronutrients referring to the vitamins and minerals again, if we’re eliminating them from our diet, then we’re going to need to look at supplementing. And so why would we supplement when we can just get it from our whole foods?


On top of that, people love carbohydrates. And so coming back to the sustainability side of things from a dietary perspective, if we’re taking out food groups that we feel good on, that give us an immediate sense of immediate energy, they can help fuel exercise, they make us happy, they help with that dopamine response, then it’s not very sustainable for us to be able to eliminate it from our diet. And so once again, if we’re looking at more of those long-term health outcomes, whether it’s body composition outcomes, performance outcomes, why would we do something that’s not very sustainable for us?

Michael Dermansky (27:55):

Right. I see. Very good. That’s a much deeper answer than just carbs being bad or the energy balance, the effective insulin as well. You’re talking about the effect of fiber so that there’s effect of fiber on the health of the gut, but also the effect of cholesterol as well. Because soluble fiber’s important for managing cholesterol. You don’t get that if you’re just cutting carbohydrates out of your food.

Hanah Mills (28:19):

So I’m not saying necessarily that we need carbohydrates to survive. We can survive off of a low carb or a keto diet because ketones will help feed our energy to the brain and body and things like that, certain types of proteins will help break down and provide glucose to the body as well. So we don’t need them to survive, but there are many benefits that we get from them, and as long as we’re opting from one of our whole food types of carbohydrates, then there aren’t many negatives. You know what I mean?

Michael Dermansky (28:56):

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. But it also sounds like if you are going to be doing a keto diet or going to go really low carb as well, you really should be talking to someone that knows where they’re talking about too, because you don’t know what your body’s missing if you are not being very careful about your choices then.

Hanah Mills (29:11):

Yeah, exactly, you’re depriving yourself from a lot of nutrients. And as once again, yeah, exactly, if you’re not checking in and making sure you’re [inaudible 00:29:19] other way, then already you’re negatively affecting your health outcomes long-term.

Michael Dermansky (29:26):

And I’ll just ask one more question as well, ’cause I’ve got quite a few things we can ask as well, but we can leave a few of them for another time as well. But exercise, and because I only wrote about the word fueling recently as well, understanding where that fits in. Where does exercise and eating at the same time, what’s the difference between exercising an empty stomach? Is it worthwhile? When does eating and exercise fit into each other as well?

Hanah Mills (29:55):

This is my forte, Michael. I’m obviously as more of a sports dietitian, where I do a lot of sports, see a lot of… Oh my gosh, I can’t talk. Obviously, see a lot of athletes, so fueling exercise is very important. Training fasted versus training fed is a common question that comes up. But once again, we’ve seen in the research time and time again that training fasted will always outdo… Training fed, sorry, will always outdo training fasted. And that’s simply because when we trained fasted and we don’t have any food before our training, then we’re relying on glycogen stores in both our muscles and our liver to break down into glucose for our muscles to then be able to pick up and use this energy for our training session. This is a very slow and inefficient process. It’s there for more of those endurance, that LISS training, is it low intensity steady-state training?

Michael Dermansky (30:57):


Hanah Mills (30:58):

Is that what it’s called? So that’s where it can be beneficial, but even then we’ve seen you’re actually better off topping up those carbohydrate stores. So what we do when we train fed is we usually consume, so what I usually recommend is 20 to 30 grams of easily digested carbs, so they’re more of your sugary type carbohydrates, so lollies or fruit, honey on white bread, jam on crumpets. Those types of foods will break down really easily inside the gut and feed that sugar into the bloodstream really quickly, allowing our body to reap the benefits.


And so that’s a really fast and efficient process. And so then we’ve seen that it can improve both endurance performance, but also explosive powerful performance, so things for things like jumping, CrossFit style stuff, and then also contraction for more of that resistance training. So it has benefits in all areas. And what I usually recommend is having it 30 minutes to an hour before your training session, to allow that glucose breakdown and then spike inside of your bloodstream for your body to then be able to use. There are other supplements that I like to play with as well. I don’t know if you want to talk about them, but yeah, that’s more looking at caffeine and things like that from an acute effect.

Michael Dermansky (32:26):

Well you might as well. What’s the upside of the caffeine then? What other supplements, as you just talked about?

Hanah Mills (32:33):

Yeah, so I might just touch on caffeine. There are so many supplements that can [inaudible 00:32:39] improve performance. Actually no, let’s touch on caffeine and creatine.

Michael Dermansky (32:42):

Go for it.

Hanah Mills (32:42):

So caffeine basically helps increase adrenaline, so it blocks receptors inside of the body, which help increase adrenaline production inside of the body, and that can improve endurance outcomes. So continuing that muscle traction for a long period of time, as well as explosiveness, so that powerful movements that we need both in our resistance training and more of that agility style training as well.


So we’ve seen in the research that three to six milligrams per kilo of body weight can directly improve performance, but anything below that three milligrams per kilo body of weight can just improve perceived performance and perceived effort. So it is quite a high amount, but if you’re looking more at athletes, this is the amount that I do recommend playing with. And then creatine that I mentioned just before, so having three to five grams of creatine per day can also help with the contraction and production of ATP. So ATP is our body’s form of energy. And so essentially creatine team saturates the muscles and allows more phosphates to be produced and used as ATP. And so we’ve seen that that can have benefits for all types of training and I recommended it to all of my athletes. But it also, and this might be of interest to you too, Michael, is for your clients, is it can also help with cognitive outcomes as well, and especially the prevention of Alzheimer’s.

Michael Dermansky (34:30):

Okay. This is brand-new news to me, I haven’t heard of this at all, so that’s great to hear this kind of things.

Hanah Mills (34:36):


Michael Dermansky (34:37):

Fantastic. But with this stuff, if you’re not used to it too, I would recommend really talking to someone who knows what they’re talking about before you start taking supplements without any direction or understanding what they’re for.

Hanah Mills (34:48):

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, we definitely don’t want to be overdosing on any caffeine or even quarantine.

Michael Dermansky (34:53):

Even creatine, yes, absolutely. So just before we finish up as well, Hanah, anything else you want to tell the listeners before we finish up today?

Hanah Mills (35:02):

No, I think the main things that I constantly talk about, even on my social media, is just the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. You should never need to over-restrict or overeat. You should never feel guilty about eating any type of food. Food is fuel at the end of the day, and obviously the more you can aim for whole foods the better. But it’s definitely still important, especially coming into this time of year, to enjoy delicious foods with loved ones because it’s a very social… It’s what we celebrate, especially in the Westernized countries. So enjoy food, try to mindfully eat, but other than that, yeah, keep fueled.

Michael Dermansky (35:47):

And I guess the other big thing I got from this today’s conversation as well is that the importance of specificity, that the fad diet, the particular diet is not necessarily right for you. And it’s definitely worth talking to someone that knows what they’re talking about in order to find out what the right approach for you is and your fuel and micronutrient and micro and macronutrient needs, that are going to get you the results that you want, not just the best diet that you read about last week.

Hanah Mills (36:13):

Yes, absolutely. Make it specific to you.

Michael Dermansky (36:18):

Fantastic. Well, thank you very much for your time, Hanah. It’s been great information today and next time we’re going to talk about a really important topic, women and strength training and why it’s important. Well, thank you very much and we’ll talk to you next time. Thanks a lot.

Hanah Mills (36:30):

No worries. Thanks, Michael.

Voiceover (36:34):

Thank you for listening to The Confident Body. For practical articles to help you build a confident body, go to mdhealth.com.au/articles.



Call Now Button