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Meal Planning For Weightlifting
by Chet Sandeksi
First off, when I say weightlifting I am not referring to competition level lifting but those interested in a good physique and healthy lifestyle. I fit into the second category and after years of lifting I have continually noticed the hardest part about getting in shape, cutting fat, or adding muscle is the diet. Lifting technique, form, and scheduling is really not that hard and is far less important than dieting. It is so easy to out-eat your workout. Now, that we understand the problem we need to fix it. If you have been told over and over again that you don't need to focus on protein loading if you have a rounded diet it can become incredibly annoying. While true, it can be difficult to always have a rounded diet (carbs, veges, fruits, dairy, meats). The best solution I have found and been using for a while now involves cooking several small meals and sealing them in Tupperware. You end up with tasty, healthy meals on the spot. Here is how you go about it:
1. Understand the plan first. You will be eating three small meals throughout the day and beginning and ending your day with a protein shake for a total of five meal during the day. This amounts to 35 meals per week or (subtracting the protein shakes), 21 prepared meals.
2. Head to the store and pick up 21 Tupperware containers (probably 1-2 lb containers) and choose the size you would be comfortable eating three times a day and feel full (but never stuffed). To be honest you will probably not be able to make the week without cheating so you can plan on 19 Tupperware containers which means you miss two meals to eat one large meal of whatever you want once a week.
3. Sit down and write out some possible meals. Meals that I have made for each Tupperware container have included: *Fried stew steak (small chunks of steak that sell for cheap) marinated for a few hours in lemon and spices. Fried rice with vegetables and potatoes. Mix all the items together to create a cheap stir-fry. Eat an apple or banana with two of the meals. *Chicken stew with large chunks of grilled chicken (home-cooked) on rice. Pour the stew on top of chicken and rice to make a Hawaiian haystack type of meal. Stew should have vegetables in it. Grab a pear. *Tuna mixed with large macaroni noodle pasta with sliced chestnuts and diced celery for texture. If you are home some frozen grapes (they last forever and are a personal favorite) or if away from home bring an orange or blueberries.
4. Head to the store and buy ingredients you need.. Make sure to bring three different possible meals for the week with you. The reason why is that certain items may be on sale and you can save quite a bit of money; this is especially true of meat. Look around for the sales and decide which meal you will cook this week.
5. Cook your meals. I prefer to cook out all 21 meals once a week on the weekend. By the time the week is up I am ready for something else. If you want more diversity in your meals then cook smaller amounts more often.
6. When you cook the food make sure to place it in the Tupperware upside down. For example if you wanted the chicken, Hawaiian haystack put the soup on bottom then chunks of chicken and vegetables followed by rice on top. This way you can flip the container onto a plate and throw it in the microwave. The portions sizes are really up to you. I make sure to have a good amount of vegetables and meal in the meals and not too much rice.
7. Put your food into the freezer and a few in the fridge so you have meals ready to go when you are hungry and then others frozen so they don't go bad. Each morning shift the next day's meals from the freezer into the fridge so they can thaw.
8. When the day starts drink a protein shake before leaving the house and make sure to grab two meals from the fridge before you head off to work. Around 11 am you will eat your first meal (I eat mine while at my desk) and then another at around 2 pm. When you get off work eat your last meal around 5-6 pm. Wait and hour or so and hit the gym while you still have a lot of energy but not when your stomach is full. After returning from your work out wait half hour and then finish off the night with another glass of protein shake. Side note: A lot of protein shakes and supplements are garbage in a container. It is extremely easy to start your own shake company and many mixes are relatively the same with varying price points. Some of them actually have more heavy metals than you should be consuming as well as other questionable ingredients. Do your research before you purchase and don't just buy the cheap sugary mess from Wal-Mart.
9. Enjoy your meals and your make the most of your workout. While this style of meal planning may not be for everyone I really enjoyed it. There are great benefits like only having to cook once a week and always having a good meal on hand if you are hungry (avoids binge eating crap). You can also save money this way by avoiding eating out and most importantly make the most of your workout by giving your body the nutrients and energy it needs to create muscle and eliminate fat. I realize the meal plan is more of an outline but this allows you to make adjustments if you like and find out meals you enjoy. Experiment to find out what you like and make sure to be consistent in your eating habits. A great part of exercise and meal planning is that a lot of health insurance companies will lower your premiums if you report consistent exercise and take health tests each year. So not only are you able to stay in shape but you get affordable health insurance as well.
About the Author:
Altius Coventry Health Care is proud to be your partner in good health care benefits. In addition to health plans for businesses of all sizes, we also offer family and affordable health insurance as well as coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.
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