Meal prep how’s and do’s
By Jay Johnson
When working to achieve your fitness goals, the thought process of training with weights 6 days a week, making health conscious meal choices, and a decent cardio plan are all a given to succeed. That along with supplements about sums it up with time invested...right? Unfortunately no, just as important as a your distribution of time is for achieving your fitness goals, sorting time for meal preparation is equally if not more critical to achieving sought after goals.
The below bullets are critical and having the correct type of habits for your meal preparation to achieve your goals. It is important to remember that either attempting to gain strength and weight, cut weight, or maintain and balance that meal preparation is always needed to be a priority
- Have a specific meal preparation day: Take the time to carve out one particular day exclusively for preparing meals for your entire week. For most this may be Sunday, however that may not be applicable based on your personal schedule. This relieves a ton of stress on trying to prepare meals throughout the week, and overall in my personal experiences have noticed that it has caused me to save a ton of money by having all meals prepared and not having to purchase meals on the go. Most importantly, it allows you to stay the course with your tracking and preparation due to the hard part of preparing the meals already being completed.
- Have a process to cook in bulk, and a cost-effective way: Though it may not be the tastiest way, using a George Foreman grill was probably one of the best choices that I’ve ever made when I decided to start competing. You can cook food fast quick, In bulk, and effectively and most importantly it’s consumable! The same applies for a grill that you may use outside doing a cookout to actually be used during contest prep due to its size. If preparing a normal meal for your family is a current one evening, include some meal preparation at the same time since all of your materials and everything is already out for preparing the meal for your family that night. This can help simplify your meal prep process for the one day a week if you include some of it with a normal meal prep for your family.
- Buy a food scale: While looking through a meal tracker application you will notice that everything is measured in someway. Either would be in grams or ounces either way it needs to be tracked and the ideal way is a digital food scale to do it accurately. This is quite possibly one of the five most important tools that you can have during your preparation or fitness journey. Utilize a scale that can convert to grams and ounces to ensure accurate tracking, and keep you on track.
- Purchase Tupperware containers to separate meals: Taking the time and separating meals based on your macros is critical to preparation also. Purchase several Tupperware containers and keep them in the refrigerator after preparing your meals to do this in a way that they are already put aside based on what you need to intake for the day. If you have a busy work schedule like myself on top of prep, It takes a large load off of your shoulders to already have the meals separated to where you can grab the Tupperware, put it in a bag, and go to work without having to blink an eye.
- Have easy to access snack foods that meet your macro demand: "I’ve never thought that I would be so reliant on beef jerky!" - This was the actual phrase that I’ve told myself during a very deep contest preparation moment. Ensuring that you have a go to snack that is actually a part of your preparation and macro breakdown is critical to stay the course. Almonds, and beef jerky both have tremendous nutritional value and aside from the sodium, quality is match worthy to contest prep foods. There are several other foods that may meet this criteria with your particular diet in mind. Ensure that you take the time to determine what these foods are and have them in arms reach at all times included into your macros.
- Using a meal tracker app, predetermine your macro breakdown for an entire day based on your meal preparation: Put simply, if you are preparing your meals on a Sunday, use your meal tracker application to write out the actual meals for Monday and create your meals in the Tupperware based on the macro breakdown that you need to meet your diet need. When you do this, you will be more prepared and noticed that the hard part is done can you simply just need to consume your meals in their entirety each day as they are separated.
As with anything, knowledge is power. Following these guidelines along with knowing specifically what plan is fitting you best to achieve your fitness goals with no doubt get you where you need to be. Ensure that the effort and thoughts that go into your training with weights and cardio is equally distributed with your meal preparation and sorting. Remember, this entire process seamlessly runs together and is a lifestyle change as opposed to a temporary fix!