4 Tips for Simplifying and Managing a Healthy Diet
Getting in shape, whether its for a bodybuilding contest, figure show, or just to look good for summer is no easy feat.
Spending 4-6 days a week in the gym, sometimes for upwards of 2 hours a day (including cardio sessions) is just the start. A lot of people however manage to commit to the training side of things without too much difficulty. They’re able to fit cardio in before work, and hit weights on an evening, whilst still maintaining a social life, work life and time for family.
The hard, and most stressful part, is managing your diet. With so many of lifes distractions cropping up, often its easy to go for convenience.
Home late because of traffic? A drive through or take away takes away the hassle of having to cook. Out on a weekend? A stop off at the nearest fast food joint is an easy lunch. However this causes havoc on your diet, and on your goals. Sure you can fit these into your maros, but chances are you won’t.
If you’re putting the time in at the gym, then you might as well do the same with your diet and food choices. Planning your diet and preparing your food doesn’t have to be overly complicated. With these 4 tips, hopefully you’re able to manage a stress free, healthy diet.
Plan Your Meals
It’s no good getting out of bed with just enough time to make it to work without being late. What are you going to do for food all day? Even if the works canteen provides ‘healthy’ options, good luck tracking the macro’s.
By planning in advance, you’ll ensure that;
You don’t need a specific meal plan in the sense that breakfast you’re only allowed to eat oats and egg whites. Meal 2 is chicken and rice. Meal 3 is fish and veggies.
Just plan a head. You can eat different and varied foods each day, just make sure you plan and prepare them in advance.
Prepare Food In Bulk
It might be daunting idea to be cooking 5 (or more), large sized meals each day. With some smart thinking, and common sense, you can shave prep time down considerably.
You can either prepare your food on the morning, for the entire day, or the night before. I prefer to do it the night before. I know its done, and If I sleep in everything is good to.
In combination with your meal plan, as already discussed, take a look at where you’ll be the following day. Most people will be at work for 8 hours of the day. Whether this is 9-5, 7-3 or 2-10, your schedule will be roughly the same day in day out.
I personally have 4 meals while im at work. Breakfast, and 3 other meals.
I’ll take 4 food boxes. I weigh out enough rice for 3 meals. I’ll take my meat, usually a combination of chicken, fish and turkey, and put it all in the oven together.
When its cooked, i put my lunch box on the scale, and portion out the meat. I’ll eyeball the separation of rice between the boxes. Any left over meat goes in the fridge for the evening or the next day.
For breakfast, i’ll prepare this the night before to. I’ll decide what cereal I want, corn flakes, oats, cream of rice, and weight it out. I keep eggs at work and microwave them when i get there.
You can do the same on weekends to if you know you’re heading out for the day. Wake up, eat breakfast, and then prepare the rest of your food for the day.
Supplements such as protein shakes, carbohydrate powders and meal replacements are the most convenient things in a bodybuilders life. Even if we plan our food, prepare it the night before, a meeting running late, traffic jam, or unexpected life event can throw a spanner in our schedule.
Some things you just cant plan for. Perhaps you don’t have time to sit down and eat the meal you’ve prepared. Perhaps you’re caught in a traffic jam on the way home, and its time to eat. Having a protein shake on deck will ensure that you’re not going without vital nutrients. There are a ton of different types of protein available. You can view my thoughts here, on what i’d recommend and why.
You don’t need to over complicate your supplement usage. If you’re need 30 grams of protein, and 50 grams of carbs from a meal, simply through the right amount of protein powder and a carb powder in a shaker. Mix it with water and neck it.
You don’t need to get too concerned with the different types of protein blends, and ratios of protein in there. A basic whey protein, and a basic carb source such as instant oats or maltodextrin will do. You don’t have to pay over the odds either. My protein discount’s their selection all the time, as do many other UK bulk suppliers. Find a brand that offers a flavour you like, and stick with it.
Give Yourself a Range
MyFitness Pal, your coach, or your own research will likely lead you to a very specific set of macros. 200 grams protein, 350 grams carbs, 50 grams of fat for example. Its important to stick to this, but give yourself a range.
What if you only have 190 grams of protein? What if you’ve ate 360 grams of carbs? Are all gains lost? No.
Stressing over hitting your maros exactly 100% will do you more damage than being off a little bit. A 5% range on your macro’s will relieve you of a whole lot of stress.
That means if you need to hit 200 grams of protein, have in your mind 190-210. Some days you’ll hit the 190. Some days you’ll hit 205. As long as your consistently hitting close to your macro’s, you’ll make good gains.
Just don’t lie to yourself and after having a half a jar of peanut butter think your still within your fat macro’s.
Stress Free Dieting
Fitness isn’t complicated. It’s not easy, but it isn’t complicated. Stop stressing, think logically, and get on with it. By sticking with these tips, you’ll hopefully find that your diet is a lot easier to manage, and you’ll be more inclined to stick to it.