Use Weekly Meal Prep to Eat a Proper Diet
As a personal trainer for the past 5 years I have seen many dedicated gym goers, follow exercise programs flawlessly and yet fail to make significant progress toward their fitness goals. These individuals lacked a proper diet plan. What is a proper diet? A proper diet fuels your body and stimulates real physiological changes to be seen. The proper diet of an individual wanting to tone or lose body fat will look much different than someone training for a strength competition. It is vital that your diet matches your overall fitness goals.
Your proper diet depends on your most important fitness goal. For this article we will use weight loss or fat loss as our example goal. A proper diet to burn fat and lose weight follows these guidelines. First, eat the appropriate macronutrient ratios of, protein to carbohydrate (sugar) to fat at each meal and throughout the entire day. That is, your overall caloric intake should be; 50% carbohydrate to 30% proteins to 20% good fats. Second stay hydrated. Our cells require water to function and a 2% loss in hydration leads to decreased cell performance. We are trying to use your muscles to burn fat like crazy, let’s make those cells work to their peak potential. To hydrate your muscle cells, plan to drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Now, how do you eat a proper diet while living in real life? Weekly meal prep is our solution. Take some time to plan out your weekly menu with each meal following the proper diet macronutrient breakdown. I recommend planning one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner preparing enough of each to last the entire week. Next, prepare each meal; breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at one time. You can make each meal as elaborate or simple as you choose, so long as each follows the proper carbohydrate to protein to fat ratios. With this plan, you will eat the same meals for the week. If you love a recipe, GREAT, add it into the meal prep favorites list. If a recipe isn’t awesome, you only have five days of it and then you don’t need to make that meal again. Each week you can create a new menu by trying new recipes and/or pulling meals from your favorites list.
At first, meal prep may seem like a lot of work and an overwhelming task. I have found the time spent on a single day truly saves time, effort, and even money over the course of the week. My fiancé and I may spend anywhere from an hour to four hours doing meal prep on a given weekend. When we have more time we chose more involved dishes. When in a rush we find items that need very little prep. The nice thing about meal prep and following a proper diet is having healthy food ready to go for each meal of the week. Your goal at the end of meal preparation is to have all your main meals prepared to the point of just needing to reheat or add a single item to make the meals complete. To enjoy a variety we enjoy making the weekend meals more special and typically prepare these meals on a meal by meal basis depending on our mood.
I hope this helps you eat a proper diet, and for all your hard work in the gym to begin paying off.
Here is the recipe for our favorite breakfast cereal.