I wanted to create a motivational video with God and Fitness as the focus, not just fitness.
Eating Made Easy for Athletic Performance
People continue to ask me what to eat, how to eat it, when to eat it, etc… The how should be obvious. Put it in your pie hole and start chewing. The rest we will discuss. I placed together a very simple yet useful guide to eating effective foods for your body to perform at top levels. This is not a supplement guide; in fact, I purposely left any information on vitamins and supplements out. This is a guide for the base of an athlete’s diet that I have found works best. It’s raw, simple and easy. It’s also very basic, as in, I do not list every food choice and every variation on here. Consider this a baseline to athletic performance eating. This guide take cost into consideration and is relatively low cost for a simple performance diet. Hey, easy is good right?
Honestly, I see so many athletes complicate eating that it’s not even funny. I call it like it is… busy work. People are worried about stuff that doesn’t even matter such as: How many calories am I getting? Did I eat 6 or 7 ounces of that meat? Should I eat almonds or peanut butter? I want to lose fat, so I need to cut it from my diet right? Yes, there is a lot of misinformation out there from our great lobbyist who seek profit and government who are years behind. So let’s not worry about all that and get to the real basics of what really works.
- Eat as Clean as possible. For starters, we see the body digest organic foods the easiest. In a raw or organic state, the body’s acids and digestion system process and deliver more of your food to your body. In processed or manufactured foods, the body has a harder time digesting and pulling the nutrients out of it. It is also safe to say that natural foods digest quicker.
- Every food has a Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat. Each time you eat something, that food contains certain levels of a protein, a carbohydrate (carb) and a fat. A donut from Crispy Creams may only have trace amount of protein, loads of carbs (in the form of sugars) and a small portion of fats. A chicken breast on the other hand may have loads of protein, some fat and only trace amount of carbs. Oatmeal could have lots of protein, lots of carbs and little fat. In short, each food you eat contains some amount of all three of the primary macro-nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats). We label foods by the highest macro-nutrient they have.
- Protein: This macro-nutrient provides the amino acids (building blocks of muscle). Top choices are Chicken, Steak, Fish, Eggs, and Milk.
- Carbohydrate: This macro-nutrient provides the massive amount of energy your system needs to run on. It’s broken into complex carbs (nutrient rich and are slower to digest) and simple carbs (made of simple sugars with less nutrients and are quicker to digest).
- Top Simple Carb Choices are: Banana (great because of potassium-keeps from cramps), Orange, Apple and Kiwi.
- Top Complex Carb Choices: Sweet Potatos (Yams), Rice and Oatmeal.
- There is also a third carb choice known to me as green carbs. These are the carbs you want for every meal. They don’t add a lot of sugar to your system but are great to add fiber and help digest your proteins. Top Green Carbs Choices: Broccoli, Carrots, Peas, Squash, Cucumbers, and Green Beans.
- Fats: This macro-nutrient provides the essential fats needed to lubricate and assist the muscle structures (and your brain) run properly. It’s also a great food to keep you feeling full longer. Top choices are: Peanut Butter, Almonds, and Avocado.
- Fuel before a Workout (Pre-Workout). Determine the activity level of your workout and prepare for it. If I am going to lift heavy and then hit a MET (Maximum Effort Training), I need to be ready for it. I will usually grab a Simple Carb (1 banana) coupled with a Complex Carb/Protein (8-12 oz of milk or protein shake w/milk) 15-45 minutes before the workout. This will jump start the flow of energy during my workout. If I am going for a light workout (recovery or a quick 10-15 minute easy workout) then I will go with ½ a banana and ½ the pre-workout shake.
- Fuel after a Workout (Post-Workout). Some call it the “Window of Gains.” It’s the 30-60 minute period of time after your workout you have to consume food to restore your body and start the muscle recovery for the next workout. I may have a bit of milk or protein shakes again (especially if I can’t get to a real meal quickly). If I can, I will eat a post-workout meal. This meal will contain lots of protein, a really high amount of complex carbs, and lots of protein. This should be your biggest meal of the day. The two main complex carbs I use are sweet potatoes (yams) and rice.
- Normal meals should have a Protein, Fat and Green Carb Source. This is very simple. The trick is how much of each. Discounting your pre and post workout meals, each meal should be, depending on your size and goal, 4-8 ounces of protein (meat), 1-2 cups of green carbs, and a few spoons full of peanut butter. It’s that simple. Seriously, it’s that simple.
- Don’t stress about it. If you eat right 85% of the time, eat pretty good 10% of the time, and you eat ok 4% of the time, then you can splurge on the 1%. Have some pizza with your family, enjoy birthday cake and popcorn at the movies with your kids. We train hard to live life to the fullest. Eating for performance 85-95% of the time will yield you the results you want. Don’t be so stuck on being perfect. It will only stress you out, causing more of a loss than a gain. So, when it comes to not eating perfect all the time, in your best New York accent say, “Forget about it!”
Remember, this is all relative to your needs based on feeling. If you feel good, your making progress and are having fun, keep doing it. If you don’t feel good, or your progress drops, you need to change it up. The program I have laid out here is my program, but can be tweaked to fit you. That’s what good coaches do. They find or create a program that works and tweak small parts to fit the athlete. Eat less before a workout and more after, or the opposite. Play with your meals to get the right size that leaves you full for a while, but not too full. A good coach with knowledge and years of experience will be able to guide you to this a lot faster, but you can do it yourself. The best results I have seen are when athletes choose a good coach, learns from them a while and then learns to do it them-selves. The program again, is my program. It fits me, a 205-215 lbs male who is seeking mostly strength gains. Fat loss and muscle hypertrophy (growth) are nice as well and usually accompany strength gains.
Let’s actually show you how to apply this. First, a sample of my daily work schedule and how I eat:
2:30 AM – Wake-up
2:45 AM – Out the Door
2:45-3:15 AM – 1 Banana + 10 oz (whole Milk + 24 grams Protein + 5g Creatine) – leave about 2 oz
3:30-4:25 AM – Training Session
4:35 AM – Finish the 2 oz in the shaker (Milk/Protein/Creatine)
5:00-6:00 AM – Try to eat Breakfast ASAP (5 whole Eggs + 1 Cup of Broccoli/Peas/Carrots + ½ large Sweet Potato)
9:30 AM – 6 oz Chicken + 1 Cup of Broccoli/Peas/Carrots + 2 oz White Rice + 3-5 Scoops of Peanut Butter
12:30 AM – 6 oz Chicken + 1 Cup of Broccoli/Peas/Carrots + 2 oz White Rice + 3-5 Scoops of Peanut Butter
3:00 PM – Whole Milk + 24 grams Protein (sometime cereal if I really need extra energy)
5:30 PM – 6 oz Meat + 1 Cup of Broccoli/Peas/Carrots + 2 oz White Rice + 3-5 Scoops of Peanut Butter
8:00 PM – if I am still up, milk with Peanut Butter or sometimes cheat and eats kids cereal/milk
** I will have scoops of Peanut Butter/drinks of milk at random times through the day as they are both great sources of all three macro-nutrients.
How to Make Meals Easy
Follow these simple steps to make meals easily. Each item here can be mixed in variations, and here’s how to make them:
- Turn oven to 385 degrees
- Put foil on baking pan with PAM
- Chicken on top of pan and put a good amount of lemon pepper on both sides
- Place in ready over for 30 minutes
- Put in large Tupperware for use. I usually do two batches for 4-5 days.
- Turn grill on 325 degrees
- Place beef on with salt (sea salt) and pepper on both sides
- Cook until it is done how you prefer. I like medium rare plus it stays tender longer.
- Place in Tupperware for use.
- Sweet Potato
- Take 1 sweet potato, wash by hand
- Wrap in paper towel and soak towel
- Place in microwave for 4-6 minutes (depending on size of potato)
- Cut off ends, cut strait down the middle (long ways) and put in Tupperware.
- Place 2 ¼ cups of water in with 1 cup of rice in a pan
- Add a bit of salt and 1 oz butter
- Bring to boil, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes
- Uncover and mix as needed until it’s the right consistency
- Place in Tupperware for use.
- Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes
- A foil on oven sheet
- Place potatoes on foil
- Spray Pam on top and add salt/pepper/garlic (optional)
- Cook for 30-45 Min at 400 degree
- Remove and put in Tupperware
- Spaghetti Squash
- Take one yellow Spaghetti Squash and cut in ½ long ways
- Use spoon to remove seeds
- Place on oven safe pan and bake for 30 min at 400*
- Remove from oven, flip over both pieces
- Use a fork to scrape out squash in Tupperware
- Add salt and pepper for flavor
- Eggs w/Green Carbs (breakfast)
- Place pan on stove top, spray PAM and turn on heat
- Crack 5 (differs on individual need) eggs, place in pan
- Add 1 ounce of Milk
- Add ¼ Cup Frozen Broccoli
- Add ¼ Cup Frozen Peas
- Add ¼ Cup Frozen Carrots
- Option A: Add 1 cup of Rice you previously made and stir
- Cook until done and place in small Tupperware for next day use.
- Option B: Add ½ Sweet Potato
- Option C: Add 2 Cups of Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes
- White Rice (Jasmine)
- Fill 3 Cups of Rice with 4 ½ Cups of water
- Place both in large pot with heat on high
- Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter
- Add a little salt (depends on what you like)
- When it comes to a boil, mix and cover for 15 minutes on low heat
- Remove cover and eat or store for later
Quick Meal for Work
- Take out normal Tupperware
- Add ¼ Cup Frozen Broccoli
- Add ¼ Cup Frozen Peas
- Add ¼ Cup Frozen Carrots
- Add Sea Salt and Pepper
- Place 4-6 oz of Chicken on top and close lid
- When Ready to eat, microwave in high at 1:45, enjoy.
Post Workout Meal:
- Your eggs should be ready with everything made. Pop in microwave for 1:45 to 2:00 and enjoy.
- I eat an orange with my morning meal (which happens to be post workout usually).
- Milk is considered a Protein (because it has more protein than fat or carbs). But, it does have a considerably awesome amount of carbs and fats. It is a perfect pre/post workout shake alone. Protein should only be added in when the athlete notices they need more protein in the day. If you are a beginner or are seeing gains/fat loss, don’t add protein. Just drink the milk as is. Also, milk should be whole organic milk. Fat Free and 2% are a lot less healthy and void of the good stuff than whole milk. Every step taken to reduce something from it organic state also removes the vitamins and minerals that make it such a super food. The closer to the original state, the better.
- Eggs are considered by many experts at the perfect protein. In fact, they use eggs protein as a base for the other proteins. The yoke in eggs are great of you. Don’t let misinformed people guide you to believe the yoke it bad. It is full of stuff your body needs to perform better.
- Food tolerance is an issue. There are test you can take to see if your allergic to any foods and what to stay away from. For example, If you are allergenic to eggs, probably best we fit something else in your diet for that. Also, if you simply don’t like sweet potatoes, there are other foods you can replace them with.
And that’s it. A simple and easy guide to meal prep and eating for performance. Again, these are the simple baseline meals. As my wife and I cook, we discover new ways to cook chicken (I’ll post a Greek Chicken Recipe that’s killer soon), and different foods to play with so we are not on the same foods all the time. It’s all about having fun and knowing your eating to perform at the same time.