I got a little writer’s A.D.D. with this post but after reading this epic post by Dr. John Berardi on his interpretation of the government’s U.S.D.A. “My Plate” I felt a little inspired to get this post together for all of you. Now, I don’t ask much of you but in this case you HAVE to read that article if you in any way struggle with your diet. As in when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat at what time. John is a nutritional ninja and one of the most trusted individuals in this field when it comes to sports nutrition and just nutrition in general actually so when he speaks, I listen. And so should you.
Now, in Part 1, I played out a typical scenario where a bad diet snowballed from one bad decision to another. Kind of like the premise for The Jersey Shore but without the douchebagginess. Today I am going to share what a typical day of eating is like for myself.
You may be surprised to find out that I do not eat “super clean” all day nor do I feel like most people should. Diet is something that is very personal and should remain that way as we all have different preferences. Personally, I prefer to eat uncanny amounts of eggs, animal flesh, pizza, smoothies, and berries.
Since I still believe that a solid breakfast is the best way to start off each day that is where I will begin. Unlike our friend in Part 1, whom we will call Freddy Fourfingers, I make it a point to get to bed early enough so I can get close to 8hrs of sleep. It doesn’t always happen but the closer the better.
I like to have enough time to prepare breakfast so I wake up 50 minutes before I have to leave for work. 5:00 is when the magic happens. Sort of. I keep my options limited so I don’t have to do much thinking, less is more right?
- 4 egg omlette (whole eggs) with chopped veggies (onions, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, more eggs)
- tall glass of water
- 4 caps of fish oil
- optional carbs: banana, oatmeal, fruit, cereal
- super smoothie: milk, fruit, protein powder, vegetable, fat source*
- 4 caps of fish oil
*I will talk more about my smoothie addiction a little later
Option A is the usual fare but some morenings I would rather just throw a bunch of things in a blender and liquify them. Option B is also good if I hit the snooze a few times and am in a rush since the smoothie travels much better than eggs.
In my experience, these next few meals are where most people tend to fail big time. Pre, during, and post workout nutrition is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME TO TAKE IN THE PROPER NUTRITION IF YOU ARE EVEN HALF SERIOUS ABOUT REACHING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS OR STRENGTH GOALS. If you are not supplying your body with what it needs to get through a tough training session and then recover from a tough training session I am going to go as far as to say you are WASTING YOUR TIME. Picture Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. You are doomed to suffer the same outcome for, well, infinity. But, I got you babe.
Meal #2 (Pre-Workout) is typically my pre-workout meal since most days I train between 9:00 and 10:00. I don’t go crazy since I hit the weights pretty hard, usually a banana and scoop of whey protein powder will suffice but if I don’t have that on hand something simple like a light turkey sandwich is the way to go.
Trainer Tip: If you are serious about losing fat then take an extra protein shake during your workout with some simple carbs. From the research I have read, I recommend a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein during your workout. Here is my peri-workout supplementation:
- 16oz. Gatorade (I use powder)
- 1/2 scoop whey (not w/ Gatorade, it tastes like butt. I tried it for a while)
- BCAA’s (optional – these are best during times of serious training and/or calorie depletion due to dieting)
Again, this WILL get you optimal results but like anything else you must first create that habit. I have the benefit of keeping all my stuff at the gym where I work. For others who don’t have that option you have to make the effort to bring a shaker cup, protein powder, and Gatorade in your gym bag.
Next on the agenda is your post-workout supplementation/meal. If you are one of those people that has trouble staying out of the cookie jar (metaphor for carbaholics) you can and should use this time to your advantage. This is the time you can take in a few extra carbs and not feel guilty about it. Obviously the best option would be any sort of lean protein with some lower complex carbs (breads, rice, fruit).
Personally, I am on the weight/muscle gain end of the stick so my post workout meals look like this (yeah I said meals, this is the BEST time to eat!)
- PW meal #1: 2 scoops protein powder, 1 scoop gatorade powder, one bagel (15-30min post workout)
- PW meal #2: about a glass or so of chocolate milk (30 min later)
- PW meal #3: Chipotle burrito or beef stew made up of sweet potato, beef and veggies (30-60 min later)
- PW meal #4: 4 whole eggs (optional, 60 min later)
Now something to notice is that most of my daily caloric intake is coming post workout and well, the fact that I am not a complete fatass with outrageous cholesterol levels baffles most nutritionists who don’t have a background in sports nutrition. With the exception of meal 4, everything I consume within one hour is all protein and simple carbs. After 2 hours I will start adding whole food along with some complex carbs (veggies) and after 3 hours when digestion begins to slow I will add in some healthy fats (eggs or peanut butter work well here).
As for those of you who are on the weight/fat loss side of things, these guidelines are similar but a little different. Here are some options:
Post workout meal # 1
- Option #1: 1 scoop protein powder + (bagel or gatorade)
- Option #2: tall glass of chocolate milk
- Option #3: chicken, rice, and veggies
Post workout meal # 2 (60 min later)
- Option #1: chicken, rice, and veggies
- Option #2: 400-500 calorie sandwich (healthy stuff inside)
That should cover your post workout nutrition and depending on the time of your workout, you may have several meals left in the day. This is where you have to be on point with your diet. Low carbs, mostly vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Now there are some trainers and nutritionists who will tell you that it’s ok to “cheat” every once in a while and “balance” is key. I am not one of those jackwagons. I have met very few people who can just have one cookie and call it a day. If it is there, it will be eaten. So just don’t do it.
That said, here are some healthy “other time” meals that you can have throughout the day:
“Snacks” (you can add veggies to all these, your welcome)
- nuts (the more variety the better, just make sure to keep the calories under 400)
- high protein yogurt or yogurt w/ protein powder in it (people seem to like Chobani, I’m cool wit dat)
- glass of milk or almond milk (add protein)
- Super Smoothie*
Lunches or Dinners
- meat and veggies
- eggs and veggies
- peanut butter and veggies
- Super Smoothie*
And for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the Super Smoothie! For most people who struggle to get in the proper nutrition, these cover most of your nutritional bases since you can pretty much add in whatever you want. Get excited, because these are the bees knees when it comes to deliciousness. Would it have been better if I typed in all caps?
*Super Smoothie Ingredient Options*
- Protein Source: Milk, whey powder, hemp protein, pretty much whatever floats your boat here
- Liquid Source: Almond milk or coconut milk rocks with regular milk in second
- Healthy Fats: Chia Seeds, flax seeds/oil, coconut milk, peanut butter, olive oil, etc.
- Veggie Source: I use either plain spinach or a Super Greens Supplement
- Fruit Source: Frozen or fresh berries, a banana, pretty much whatever you want
Bonus Smoothie Recipe (since you read this far): Piña Colada Smoothie
- Frozen Banana
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1/2tsp coconut extract OR 2tsp coconut milk
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup pineapple
I just realized that I am getting a little long winded with this one so I am going to cap it here but please comment below with questions regarding your own diet, this post, or any other nutritional question you might have.