“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
The quote above has many applications. Studying for a test, practicing for a sport, preparing for a speech or presentation, and maybe most importantly, nutrition. Preparing meals for the week is quite possibly the most important step to reach your goals in the gym, sleeping better at night, improving your energy levels and productivity at work, and achieving the aesthetic body you wish to have. You see, most of us can’t just “wing it”. Some unicorns out there can eat whatever they want and see no changes in their body composition (we all know one of these). What you may not see however is their lack in productivity, insomnia, and elevated stress levels. Most of us need to prep our food to ensure success. Here are few tips for your meal prep!
Tip #1: Make your food in bulk. Do not try to meal prep all of your meals for the day on the day of. Personally, I prep all my food for the week on Sunday and eat the same thing every day. I understand most of you aren’t as robotic with food choices and that is okay! One strategy I found very helpful is to simply cook extra servings at dinner, and save them for lunch the next day (in proper serving sizes). This does require you to cook every day, unlike cooking all your food on Sunday. For those of you who do not like cooking (like me) try spending a few hours on Sunday making all your food. I promise it will relieve some stress and keep you on track!
Tip #2: Keep it simple. Pick a protein. Pick a carb. Pick a fat. Pick a veggie. If you’re trying to make food for a whole week, do not try to make complex recipes. Save those for the weekend!
Tip #3: Eat your body weight in grams of protein. If you weigh 170 pounds, eat 170g of protein. The only time this has to change is if you are significantly overfat, in which case you can go based off your Lean Body Mass. If you want help calculating that feel free to ask me!
Tip #4: Protein and Carbs surround your work, fat stay far away. Protein and carbohydrates will digest quickly in a post workout window of about 2 hours. Replenishing muscle gylcogen stores with carbohydrates, and repairing muscle tissue with amino acids from protein are essential to recovering from your training session. Eating fat near your workout will slow down that digestion process. Eat fats more than 2 hours on either end of your workout. Fats are crucial for proper hormonal function, cognitive function, satiety and much much more.
Tip #5 Track your food. MyfitnessPal is a great app for this. Track your food HONESTLY at least for a bit to see what you are actually eating. Do not simply guess as to how many servings you are having of each food, though. See tip 6!
Tip #6 Weigh and measure. Everyone should weigh a measure their food. This doesn’t have to be permanent if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, but if you never weigh out a serving and peanut butter, chicken, oil, etc. you will never develop an eye for how much a serving actually is. You’d be surprised how much your judgement could be off. Heres a telling example: if you are eating 42g of Peanut butter each time you have it instead of 32g (1 serving) and you thought you were eating a serving each time, you had 10g of PB extra every time you ate it. Thats 90 calories. Multiple that by a daily dose and that’s 32,850 calories EXTRA in a year because you never weighed out your nut butter. Studies have shown that 1 lb of fat can equate anywhere from 3500-5000 calories. You may be an extra 10 lbs heavier in a year just from this example alone.
- Coach Andrew