Meal prepping, done right, can save you tons of time, frustration, and last minute 'drive-through' regrets!
Just think, if you had all of your meals for a full week packed and ready to go, wouldn't that be worth a few hours on a Sunday getting everything ready? Think of how much frustration you'd save as well as late nights doing dishes! You'd only have to dishes once per week! As long as you had enough food storage containers to last the week of course...
This week's meal prep comes from the Shakeology.com website and is filled with lots of good tips and tricks. Check out and then comment below with your favorite meal prep tips!
Here's a 21 Day Fix sample meal plan for the 1500-1799 Calorie Level.
I didn't include the containers so you'll have to fend for yourself in that area (but if you know the food lists you can figure it out pretty easily). This template is simply to show you how to put all of the containers together to make a complete meal and meal plan.
If you'd like a downloadable version, here's the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan Download that should get you started.
It's Day 3 of the my fat shredder meal plan. As far as workouts go I've been simply incorporating Month 2 of the P90X3 Workouts (I've done month 1 recently so needed to switch things up a little). I started out Monday weighing 143.4 lbs and today I was down to 142 lbs.
As far as feeling full, I've been doing really well for the most part---tonight I got really hungry after also teaching an Insanity class (along with my P90X3 workout this morning, which was just Yoga) so I indulged in a Pure Protein bar to hold me over. It did put me over in calories a bit (161) but still stayed within my macros for the most part (see below).
I've also had to find a new protein powder. My go to powder for the Fat Shredder used to be the Six Star Whey Isolate. Although it wasn't the greatest tasting powder, it definitely help fit the tracking the easiest as it had the least amount of other carbs and fats (maybe 1 or 2 grams of Carbs). But alas, I went into our local Rite-Aid and GNC and Twinlab had an awesome deal (4 lbs for $33!) and I couldn't resist a good deal!
Okay, so day 1 of my Fat Shredder Meal Plan! My goal is to get back down to 135 for now (I'm currently at 140 lbs, maybe a little over) so I'm lowering my calorie level down to 1500 calories (see my post here for more info), and focusing my macros on 50/30/20 for my Protein/Carb/Fat macros. What does that mean?
Basically, I set my calorie goal in a fitness app like MyFitnessPal (search for in the iTunes Store or Google Play store or on the desktop), set my goals at 50% Protein, 30% Carbs, and 20% Fat, and voila! Track away!
Here's a sample of what I did today. I'll be the doing the same thing for tomorrow (and am in fact about to go and plug in tomorrow's meal plan).
Today marks my second round of Body Beast and this time I'm going all out--workouts, meals, nutrition, etc. I've spent the past month doing quite a bit of the Build Workouts thrown in my routine here and there and with my schedule during marching season I'm sticking with more of the Bulk workouts (at least for the next month or so, through October) because those are all around 30-35 minute workouts.
For those that are getting started doing Beast, I wanted to share with you my sample meal plan:
I came a little short on my calories today but I kept as close as I could to the ratios of 50/25/25 (C/P/F), and this even included eating out tonight.
I am starting up a Challenge group next month for those that want to take on Body Beast and Bulk up this fall and winter, so if you are with me, enter your email below and I'll email you and get you all of the details.
As you may have seen from a recent video I did on the book Keto Clarity, my wife and I have started experimenting with the Ketogenic Diet. Without going into too much detail, basically what the premise behind the ketogenic diet is to start incorporating more fats into your diet and limiting carbs and eating only moderate amounts of protein to start training your body to burn fats and start produce ketones, which also has a number of other positive effects on the body. Ketones are a great fuel source not only for the brain and the body but as as the author claims, the preferred fuel source when compared to burning glucose.
Now, there is A LOT of science behind all of this and honestly, pretty confusing so it's best if you just read the book or check out some cool podcasts like this one to get a clearer understanding of what ketosis is actually all about and you can make an informed decision for yourself.
Here's a sample of what I was able to eat on a daily basis (and this is after a week or two of tweaking this, getting used to the meal plan and the "feel" of it):
Even though I wasn't technically testing for "ketones" (which you can do either through urine test strips or a somewhat expensive Ketonix Breath Tester that you can test over and over through the day, I still did my best to eat a ketosis-type diet. If I had stuck with the meal plan for a few more weeks I'm sure it'd be possible to actually get into a state of Ketosis. However, I did one urine test and it didn't show any signs of ketones so with full disclosure in my review here, I'll state that I was not able to actually get into a state of ketosis.
benefits of eating this way
First of all, if you look at my meal plan it's awesome! Lol! I was able to eat bacon, veggies fried in butter, dark chocolate, almond butter... I wasn't really a "fat fan" until I started this but it turns out that I definitely see the appeal here! And yes, I'll admit, veggies absolutely taste better cooked in butter!
Secondly, after experimenting with a lot of other meal plans, this was definitely a nice change of pace once I got used to it. I felt like I was eating less---there wasn't a constant obsession with eating every 2-3 hours. There's even a 21 day challenge in the Keto Clarity book where you are eating only 1 meal per day that third week! What?! According to the author, this not only helps you get into a state of ketosis and stay there, but your body is fueling itself by burning ketones and you probably won't even notice or be hungry. Sounded good in theory but I'll share with you later why I couldn't stick it out...
And lastly, most days, I did seem more full on this plan compared to others that I've tried and really, that felt awesome! I am typically hungry by about 9;30 am and eating this way I didn't feel hungry until just before lunch time (at noon).
There was one drawback...
The one drawback I noticed was that my workouts really suffered as well as any desire to keep going in my workout once I started. And on a typically diet with around 30-40% carbs, I wouldn't bonk like i seemed to experience for the few weeks that I was following this "ketosis-type" meal plan.
In the book, the author does state that it takes a few weeks to adapt to burning ketones for fuel, for many people who are already regularly working out and in a routine who are trying to get more out of their workouts with a different nutrition plan, this may be a rough road.
The other drawback is basically eating that much fat is just a mental block at first. Now, I'm not sure if it's just a mental thing because we've always heard that you need to limit the amount of fats you eat (around 20-30%) but it is a little hard, at least for me, to wrap my brain and habits around eating that much bacon, sour cream, heavy cream, etc.
In fact, I was reading a Men's Fitness magazine and they recommended that diets like this and said , "You need a moderate amount of carbs to support the fueling and recovery demands of high-intensity, anaerobic-based training... Extreme low-carb diets, especially those that substitute bacon, cheese, and other fatty foods in place of carbs, don't work long term and (surprise) don't support optimal health." (Men's Fitness, Uncover Your Six-Pack, July/August 2014).
And again here on one of my favorite fitness info websites (you can see it in full context here), "Sure, there are certainly neurological and metabolic benefits to high fat intake – and a very high fat ketosis diet can be a cool biohack – but excessive carbohydrate restriction can cause some serious issues. For example, carbohydrates are necessary for proper thyroid activity (specifically conversion of T3 to T4), and also because high concentration of free fatty acids can actually inhibit proper thyroid binding to it’s cell receptor, a very high fat diet that excessively restricts carbohydrates lowers metabolism and causes weight gain by inhibiting thyroid activity." (BenGreenfieldFitness.com)
Although this meal plan might be a good transition diet from not doing anything to doing some light workouts, in the long run I think there are some risks that just aren't worth it if you plan on doing this long term.
And if you are doing anything like the workouts that we love and promote here at Akersfitness.com, chances are you are going to need the proper fuel to get the most out of them.
So, experiment with some different macro nutrient ratios or even check out of the easiest ways to get your nutrition on track. Email me if you have any questions or just would like to chat more about your fitness and nutrition and find out what your next step might be.
Yours in Fitness,
Many of you have asked "Okay, I understand the portions and everything is supposed to fit into these little containers... I get 3 reds, 3 Greens, 2 Yellow... etc. but most importantly...
HOW DO I MAKE THESE TASTE GOOD?
How do you combine all of these to make an actual meal?
I wanted to share with you both my wife's meal and mine so you can get a few glimpses at how this could work for you!
Allison's Sample Day: 1500-1799 cals per day
Meal 1:Shakeology (1 R), 1/2 banana (1 P)
Meal 2: Apple (1 P), protein powder and water in shaker cup (1 R)
Meal 3: Kale (2 G), Olive Oil (1 tsp), Farro (like a rice/quinoa-1Y), Feta Cheese (1 B)
Meal 4: 1/2 Pita (1Y), peanut butter (3 tsp), 1/2 banana (1 P)
Meal 5: Green Pepper (1 G), Ground turkey (1 R), Farro (1Y), Tomatoes (1/2 G), Carrots (1/2 G)
Meal 6: Cottage cheese (1R) Sunflower Seeds (1 Orange)
So Allison has just completed her first week at the time of this blog post and has gotten this figured out. In fact, I even use her's as a basis for mine ;)
My Sample Meal Plan: 1800-2099 cals. per day
Meal 1: Shakeology (1R), 1/2 Banana (1P), 2 tsp PB
Meal 2: 1 full pita (2 Y), eggs (1 R), Kale and tomatoes (1G), hot sauce (made this into a pita sandwich)
Meal 3: Kale (1 G), Feta (1 B), Farro (1 Y), Salmon (1R), 1 tsp Olive Oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Mixed this up in a big salad (I'm not a salad person but this was good).
Meal 4: 1/2 Pita (1Y), 1 tsp pb, 1 tsp jelly, 1/2 banana (1 P)
Meal 5: Pepper (1 G), Turkey (1 R), Tomatoes and Veggies (2 G) We stuffed the Peppers with the Ground turkey, Tomatoes, cooked in the oven and had veggies on the side. Allison was also putting in some Farro (you can also use brown rice in there---it's really good).
Meal 6: Cottage Cheese (1 R), Sunflower Seeds (1 Orange)
You can use these meal plans as a base (if not for anything, just see how and when we use what colors and that gives you a pretty good combination).
We also like taking our favorite recipe books and switching out comparable ingredients for those found in the 21 Day Fix food lists and swapping them out to make healthier versions of those recipes (that's always fun!)
Also, just do a Google Search "21 Day Fix Recipes" and you will find TONS of recipes (if you are Pinterest, there are numerous boards on different ideas from Mac n' Cheese to Cauliflower Crust Pizza).
And if you think you are ready to take on our next 21 Day Fix Challenge, check out more info on the link below and enter your info to get your questions answered directly from me.