The important thing to notice is that my diet isn't a diet, it's more of a MINDSET. I need fuel to perform, fuel to coach, and fuel to properly help the connection between my brain to my mouth. Trust me on that one, my brain-mouth connection needs work. Anyways, think positively around the fuel you digest, the quality of it, and the quantity usually takes care of itself.
A few more of my rules before the schedule:
- I choose high nutrient foods (vegetables, fruits) versus high calorie foods (granola bars, muffins, donuts, etc)
- My pre-workout meal is eaten roughly 60-90 minutes before
- My post-workout meal is eaten roughly 30 minutes after
- I pay attention to how food makes me FEEL. Sounds odd almost, but food shouldn't make you sleepy, bloated etc. Instead look for food to energize your body and brighten your mood.
Wakeup/Breakfast: big glass of water. Get things moving! Prepare breakfast, take high quality fish oil and a probiotic.
Within that first hour, no matter if you wake at 6am like me or if you wake at 10a, breakfast MUST be consumed. One of my key principles is to try to eat egg whites with 1-2 whole eggs (men need roughly 30-40 grams of protein or 6 egg whites + 2 whole eggs, women 3 egg whites with 1 whole egg for 20-25 grams) when I can, otherwise I substitute cottage cheese if I'm running late. If I'm having eggs, I will try to saute spinach the night before and have that (without garlic, just olive oil, salt and pepper) with my eggs. So filling!!
Meal 2: After that first meal, I will wait roughly 3-4 hours before my next meal. It all depends on my schedule, so I look at it the night before, mentally plan what I'm eating, and make it happen. My next meal contents depends on my sessions and workouts. Pre-workout meal has: piece of fibrous fruit (apple or pear) and high protein snack (cottage cheese or 0% fage or chobani yogurt). If not my pre-workout meal, I usually end up eating grilled chicken and lentil soup. Fiber, legumes (complex carbs with protein) and grilled chicken. What can be better?
Meal 3: If it's after my workout, I typically have some beans or lentils if I didn't before, with a small portion of grilled chicken or fish. If not, then I snack!
Snack options: One of my favorite snacks, which has filling, healthy fat, low carbs/sugar, and high protein, is
- Option 1: Zero Impact Meal Replacement Bar. My favorite flavors, in order, are Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Pumpkin Supreme. To most, the bars are dry, but with a tall glass of water nearby, I find the bars buy me at least 2.5, sometimes 3 hours before I need to eat again. Ryan Reynolds is said to always have one in his pocket while filming. I tell people I have one in my golf bag for my during-the-round snack, but I'm not famous. Just yet anyways.
- Option 2: Larabars are also an ideal in-between, and because of the higher, healthier fat content from nuts, and the fiber from the fruit, they can buy you anywhere between 1-2 hours before you need to eat again.
- Option 3: Whey Protein shake, but here's the kicker: ONLY IN A FOOD EMERGENCY, should you drink the RTD, or ready-to-drink Muscle Milk, EAS shakes, etc. They have MANY more ingredients that you (and I for the matter) don't know of and the preservatives in these drinks are high. Now, fast forward to the dry version, protein powder, and here's where the magic happens for most people. My recommended brands: Dymatize and Jay Robb protein. Pick your flavor depending on your preference (vanilla versus chocolate is usually your best bet). Now, if you have allergies to whey, try rice protein, which tends to be hypoallergenic.
- Option 4: handful (full hand!) of nuts, plus an organic apple, or 1 large spoonful of organic peanut or almond butter, and you can buy at least 60 minutes before your next meal if you find yourself hungry.
Ironically, this is usually where most people know what to do. I think because it's been drilled and installed so many times, most people know the pattern: eat lean meats, fish or chicken at dinner, with healthy vegetables and limited starch (carbs/potatoes/etc), and potentially some legumes (beans, peas, lentils). The benefit to the legume section, which a lot of people are opposed to, is FIBER. Because most people have dinner down, I'm not going to say much about dinner except a few things:
- I won't drink (alcohol, wine, beer, water, etc) anything with dinner. I'm 'training' my digestive system to do the work, not trying to flush un-digested bits of food down my gullet as fast as possible. By doing this, I slow down and take my time.
- I won't eat any closer to my bedtime than 2 hours. I have had many instances in the past when eating too close to bedtime disturbs my sleep. Not worth it, despite how good Del Frisco's is. If I AM eating late, I will try to avoid fatty foods (steak, fish, guacamole, etc) because it takes much longer to digest, and avoid excess salt, because that also wakes me up.
- Fiber at dinner helps me avoid dessert: I love beans, kidney, black, pinto or even refried if I'm feeling especially naughty. And if the brand is right, I get them low-sodium. This helps me think about what I'm going to read or study after dinner instead of what ice cream I'm going to have. No more 16 Handles, Pinkberry or Sedutto!! Side note: not that I ever have them, but seriously, they put me to sleep.
Workout days: 3 meals plus 2-3 'snacks"
Non-workout days: 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks
Also, I drink green tea instead of coffee, unsweetened and iced if possible, but hot is fine too. Loaded with antioxidants and a tiny bit of caffeine.
Look at each time you eat as a meal; food is fuel, and you need to fill up your tank.
Fill 'er up!