A-Side Meal Prepping pt. 3

Alright, guys, we’re moving right along. This is the halfway post — HALFWAY! Are you caught up? If not, read A-Side Meal Prepping pt. 1 about finding an eating philosophy, then go read A-Side Meal Prepping pt. 2 about determining how many calories you should be eating and calculating your macros.

Now that we know how we want to eat and how much we need to be eating, the next step is finding good shit to eat and making a meal plan out of it. That’s what I’m calling this post.

Finding Good Shit to Eat and Making a Meal Plan Out of It

So you know you want to start meal prepping and you’re eager to dig into good recipes and learning about reheating it and storing it and losing that pesky weight that’s been dogging you forever. But before we research anything or even spend a single dime on groceries, we need to ask ourselves a few questions.

What do you know how to cook and what kind of shit do you have in your kitchen?
It’s kind of amazing how many people I help during the week that have little, or sometimes no, experience cooking any kind of food outside of microwave dinners and frozen pizzas. If this sounds like you, then you already know where you’re starting – the absolute most basic of the basic of the basic. And that’s good! I recently heard some of our Food Network talent (I think it was Geoffrey Zakarian) say that a sign of a good chef is when they’re above getting fancy with strange ingredients and methods, preferring to rely on the natural flavors in their main ingredients and the common spices used to make them. Is it fun to experiment? Absolutely yes, but there’s no reason to dive into advanced shit until you’ve gotten comfortable doing basic shit.

A couple of years ago I entered a contest at work where the prize was a cookbook by accomplished chef and Food Network superstar Anne Burrell. I’m a fan of Anne’s and her food so when I won the contest and the cookbook, I was super excited to dig in. When I got the book, however, I quickly learned that most, if not all, of her recipes included ingredients or equipment that not only did I not have, but in some cases had no idea how to even acquire it. I shelved that book and I’ve never made any of the food. Will I eventually? Maybe, but right now, it ain’t happening.

And that’s okay. Same goes for you, new guys.

For my advanced freaks out there, now’s the time to determine what you have in your kitchen. Do you have a rice cooker? A slow cooker? Pressure cooker? Cast iron skillet? Are you comfortable using a grill? Know your oven inside and out? Awesome! Knowing what tools you have will greatly help you out as you make your meal plan.

We’ll cover useful tools to have in your kitchen in the next few weeks, but for now, let’s focus on what you have and what you know and run with it. Are you good? Good. Let’s get on with it.

What meals are you prepping for?
The next thing we’ll need to determine is what meals you’re hoping to prep for. Breakfasts? Lunches? Dinners? How many times are you planning to eat? This may seem obvious and silly, but it’s way important, for real.

I once heard a friend say “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail” and she’s totally right. For this step, you’ll really need to consider what your lifestyle is and what your day looks like. What are your weak points? What times of day are you the most rushed? When do you feel like you’re most pressured to eat poorly? I’ll illustrate with my personal situation.

Breakfast is huge for me. If I don’t eat within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning, I get sick. With that in mind, I keep some protein bars at home that I chow down on before hitting the gym in the morning and hold off on having a proper breakfast until I get to work. Breakfast temptation at work is a real motherfucker because we have the Food Network Kitchen and their amazing bacon, sausage and biscuits (but not their gravy — they suck at southern sausage gravy and it’s the easiest thing to make, I swear to the gods). However, I’m able to avert the temptation most days by keeping oatmeal at my desk. I love oatmeal and don’t mind eating it most days. I buy the big boxes of it at Costco and they last me a very long time — like a couple of months. As a result, my breakfasts are safe, I get a few filling calories in the morning and a shot of fiber to help my coffee give me a good old-fashioned cleanse.</p.

TMI?

The takeaway here is that I don’t meal prep my breakfast because I feel like I’m sufficiently covered. This may be different for you. Making breakfast sandwiches or boiling eggs ahead of time so they’re ready and packaged up in the fridge for you in the morning may be beneficial as long as it’s something you’ll look forward to eating and it can regularly prevent you from making poor breakfast decisions.

I started meal prepping by working on lunch only. This was a good way for me to get my feet wet because I only had to make one giant batch (read: 10 servings — 5 for me, 5 for Erin) of a single meal and reap the benefits during the week as I kept my weight off, never had to guess what I was eating and saved hella money in the process.

As Erin got deeper into her weightloss journey, I decided to go ahead and start meal prepping dinner, too. This was a double-edged sword for me.

I didn’t want to meal prep dinner because I love cooking too much. I don’t like someone (even if it’s me) telling me what I’m having for dinner tonight. I like being able to find a new recipe in the afternoon, stopping by Publix on my way home and making it that night. I learned how to make so many awesome meals this way and I didn’t want to change it.

That’s the shit side of the sword.

Flip the sword over and we’ll find that meal prepping dinner should have been a no-brainer. Erin has been working her butt off running 2-3 days a week and she’s been lifting weights on a program I design for her every week. She’s been doing it for months now and has gotten amazing results. With that said, it’s not impossible but it’s way way way difficult to go run with her or go to the gym with her in the evening and then come home and make dinner from scratch. When you get home at 8pm and you want to be in bed by 10, the idea of starting a healthy dinner from scratch and then clean up is overwhelming.

There’s a second positive side to that sword — nutritionally Erin really needed dinner meal prep. As much as I like to kid myself, when I’d make new recipes at night, even if they were “healthy,” they were likely sabotaging both of us. In the past, I’ve promised to help Erin get healthier and I dropped the ball because not having dinner plans would usually turn into pizza delivery, Chinese takeout or a faux-healthy homemade meal that would crash our caloric intake for the day. My main motivating factor in deciding to meal prep for dinner was her diet and not only has it helped us both in the nutrition department, but it’s also saved us, again, hella money.

Bottom line: currently I meal prep lunch and dinner for us both for Monday through Friday. That’s 10 individual servings for dinner, 10 individual servings for lunch, totalling 20 servings of food.

Don’t run away yet. That sounds like a lot of cooking but it’s not. I promise.

Often there are nights when we have to be places — meetings, pre-arranged dates with friends, appointments or other randomness. With this in mind, I go ahead and cut 2 dinner servings from the meal plan assuming we’ll make a good choice on that wildcard night. We’re now at 18 servings of food.

I also quickly found out that I was being an anti-social dickhead at work and was no longer going to lunch with my friends like I used to. That bothered me and it should bother you, too. Your friends are going to understand that you’re getting your nutrition in order and will respect your decision to cut back, but if you’re any kind of friend, you’ll cut them some slack and go out once a week. You can make good decisions at restaurants and even if you don’t, one bad lunch isn’t going to hurt you. So I cut 1 lunch per week for us. We’re now at 16 servings of food.

Told you it wasn’t a lot of cooking.

So what are we making?
I guess now we get to determine what it is exactly that we’re going to cook. The internet is a huge place, you guys, and there is an endless amount of recipes out there. I can’t tell you how to organize and reference but I can definitely pass you links to the places I frequent for meal prep ideas. You’ll find those below but a few quick things first:

  • Find stuff you know how to cook or want to learn how to cook.
  • Never force yourself to eat shit you don’t like or don’t want to eat.
  • Don’t flip out if the recipe calls for something that doesn’t fit your eating philosophy.
  • If a recipe looks good but has questionable ingredients (say, added sugar or something) research a bit online to find what can be used as a substitute. Believe me, speaking as a Paleo believer, someone has tried and damn-near perfected every sloppy nasty junk food recipe and converted it to fit your diet so give it a go!

Places I Get My Recipes

Fit Men Cook
Fit Men Cook is a rad little website that includes recipes intended for meal prepping. Everything is mapped out to make multiple servings and he always includes the macros per serving. He often includes helpful meal prep tips and sometimes does fun challenges where he goes to specific chain groceries with a certain amount of money and preps a week’s worth of food with it.

Damn Delicious
The name says it all here. Don’t spaz out after seeing so many pasta dishes. The photos are nearly pornographic as far as food goes and there’s lots of gratuitous cheese shots but for real — the food is great and usually isn’t a diet-crasher. She’s recently been including macros, which is a big plus, but be warned that her site has gotten quite ad-heavy. I hope that means she’s making a buck or two off her hard work, though, because she deserves it.

Budget Bytes
It would be false if I said that Budget Bytes taught me how to cook but it’s not far from the truth. Beth has amazing recipes that are simple and do not require a lot of thinking. There’s a lot of pasta here, too, but don’t let that scare you. Pasta can be your friend. If you’re just getting started cooking, this is a great resource for simple recipes.

Slow Cooker Gourmet
This is a fun website for all things slow cooker. You’ll find out soon that the slow cooker is a beast when it comes to meal prep and you’re going to want to use it as often as possible. This is a great resource for finding good stuff to throw into your new best friend but be warned that not all of these are macro-friendly no matter what your macros are.

Stupid Easy Paleo
This is a fun website for Paleo freaks or those interested in giving it a shot. She doesn’t have the recipe index most of the other websites have but what she does have it quality…and a podcast. A damn good one.

Nom Nom Paleo
When it comes to Paleo, this girl knows her shit. Her website is well-organized and she has some quality cookbooks on the market. Tons of meal prep-ready recipes hanging out in here and you can learn a lot about the lifestyle from her, too. It’s no wonder she’s a beast in the community.

Gimme Some Oven
Veggie city, y’all! And beautiful photos. And treats! Great treats! Lawd. Gimme Some Oven has easy-to-follow recipes that are tasty and manageable macro-wise.

Paleo Grubs
This is a great website if you want to get quality content in email. Their recipes are already top-notch but they send out emails with links to various Paleo recipes around the web that are just as high quality. I’ve tracked down a lot of good eats through this little hub.

The Domestic Man
NOT for the beginner. Let me get that out of the way immediately. This website is wonderful, though, and the author takes you around the world with some of his international dishes. One of my favorite recipes of all time comes from this website but be aware that a lot of recipes are time-consuming and require you to track down oddball ingredients and make friends with your local butcher. Those aren’t bad things.

PaleOMG
Finally, this is one of the Paleo sites I’ve followed the longest. The content is a bit scattered because not only does she cover Paleo recipes but she also talks about Crossfit, fashion, Crossfit fashion and just general wellness. She also has a super cute dog so if nothing else it’s worth following her on Instagram.

Other good resources include…

Amazing Ribs
Primarily Meathead but there are other authors on this site that give quality information on how to properly grill and smoke everything you can imagine. From pork, beef, chicken and fish to sauces and even cocktails. It can be grilled and they’ll show you how to do it.

Food52
This site is beautiful. It’s kind of like an e-version of your grandmother because the food is always amazing and not only do they show you how to make it but they show you how to make it the right way. The full-fat and sometimes high calorie way. The no-shortcuts way. Paired with Budget Bytes, this is a good site to follow if you really want to learn.

The Protein Chef
I like following this guy because he focuses primarily on sweets. Sweets that are modified to be macro-friendly and protein-heavy. He often spends time trying to sell his special baking whey protein but I’ve never tried it and likely won’t. I’ve found whatever whey I have at home works well for anything I’ve tried of his. Maybe I’m missing out but what I’ve made so far has been quality. Great resource here if, like me, you enjoy cookies more than occasionally.

My Favorite Meal Prep Recipes

Making the Meal Plan
So you’ve picked through the above links and you’ve bookmarked several recipes you think may be good. Now’s the fun part. Let me start out by saying that at first I did not like the idea of eating the same thing every single day for lunch and the same thing every night for dinner. YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Just know that if you want variety, that’s even more effort than you’re already putting into this. I’d recommend going with just one thing at a time and slowly building yourself up to multiple meals a day. Once you get to that point and you feel confident in your skills, your planning and your free time, then you can throw in a fourth or fifth meal that you can put in throughout the week so you don’t get sick of stuff.

Honestly, you shouldn’t get sick of it if it’s good food and you’re going to be making good food, right?

With any luck the recipe you pick out will also have the calories and macros attached to it. I know a lot of fitness-minded websites are including that a lot more lately so use it! It won’t be entirely accurate because they likely won’t be using the exact same recipes you’re using, but it will be close enough to ballpark it. Keep that general calorie count in mind.

***PRO TIP*** If a recipe seems to be relatively light but their calorie count is super high, take some time to consider why it may be and what you can do to fix it. I recently put together a honey ginger chicken recipe that was super light but was showing 665 calories. I couldn’t understand where they were coming from but then I noticed the recipe called for 2 cups of uncooked white rice for four servings. Rice tends to triple when cooked, so that’s 6 cups of cooked rice broken down into four servings, thus 1.5 cups of rice per serving! Cooked white rice is about 200 calories per cup, so 300 of the 665 calories was from the rice alone. I typically cook 6 cups of white rice and split it into 10 servings — That’s a little more than half a cup, or 120 calories per serving, bringing the honey ginger chicken recipe down from 665 to 485. A bit more manageable, no? **/PRO TIP**

Once you have your meals picked out and a ballpark caloric count in mind, you can now start considering the rest of your day. Most of these recipes won’t go above 500 calories and if you’ve been following along since part one you’ll know that 1,500 calories likely won’t cut it for you and you’ll need snacks. That’s where I like to get recipes from people like the Protein Chef involved because snacks are great when they’re sweet.

You could also eat, you know, fruit.

Or nuts (not deez nutz but LOL if you thought that). Mandy, I can hear you laughing all the way over here.

This is when you get to determine what else you can do with your deficit. What I’m trying to say is…Junk. Never, under any circumstances, refer to it as cheating. It’s not cheating if you’re doing nothing wrong. If you’ve set your calories at a deficit and you still haven’t met your caloric goal for the day, by all means, have a treat. My personal favorites at present are oatmeal Little Debbie cakes and caramel apple pie gelato from Talenti.

This shit will change your life, y’all, for real.

If your recipes don’t include a calorie count and you’re not sure how well it will fare based on ingredients alone, don’t stress. We’ll calculate all that soon enough. It’s early on in the process and you’re allowed to fuck up. You’re only going to learn if you dive in and get your feet wet.

And fuck up.

Like…A lot.

Next week we’re going to take our meal plan for the week and break it down into a few lists for efficient grocery shopping. It may be overkill and it may be “duh” for some of y’all, but it’s going to help someone out there. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead and get going on your meal prep for this week, though!

For real. Get going.

This is part 3 of a 6 part series on meal prepping. A lot of clients and potential clients ask me about meal prepping and I want to give as thorough of an explanation as I can. Over the next few weeks, I will be covering how to eat, how many calories you need to eat, calculating your macro requirements, finding good recipes to use, making your grocery list and shopping it, smart ways to prep a week’s worth of food and other shit I know to be true. I will illustrate as much as I can with my real-life meal planning/prepping processes so hopefully it will make more sense. Along the way you get to enjoy my wit and my foul mouth.

I also want to go ahead and state that while I am a certified personal trainer, I am NOT a certified nutritionist. I can give you tips on eating better and point you to FDA guidelines, but unless I’m married to you I can NOT make custom meal plans for you. Not even if you pay me or send nudes but thanks for the offer.

A-Side Meal Prepping pt. 2

Now that you’ve covered eating philosophies and found one you think works for you — you did that, right? If not, go here to read part one — it’s time to move on to something that’s going to be tough for some of you.

Like, real tough. But stick with me for a few thousand words and we’ll make it to the end together. I got you. For real.

This post is about:

How Many Calories You Should be Eating…Also, Determining Your Macros, What They Are, Which Ones You Should Care About and When You Should Start Caring About Them.

There’s going to be a lot to take in here, y’all, so bear with me. We’re going to take it easy at first, and by the end, we’re going to turn things into a full-on geekfest.

Right along with the word diet, the word Calorie is one that puts a death kiss on our lips. Every day I hear people use the term in a way that makes it sound interchangeable with cancer or genocide. We avoid certain foods “because of the calories,” or praise other foods because of their lack of them. Our dietary lives revolve around the Calorie in a constant state of fear.

But they’re necessary. They’re not to be feared. Calories are our bros.

What, exactly, is a Calorie? Simply put: a Calorie is a unit of energy. At the chemistry level, a calorie (lowercase c or little calorie) is the amount of energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C. When we use the same term to refer to our food, we’re actually talking about a kilocalorie (or simply, Calorie with uppercase C; also known as Large Calorie or Food Calorie). The kilocalorie is exactly what it sounds like — 1,000 small calories. This is how we measure our food and this is what determines our journies.

If we’re wanting to lose weight, gain mass or simply stay put, we need to know what our caloric requirements are. There are hundreds of apps out there that take some basic information on you — usually your gender, age, weight and height — to determine what your calorie requirement for the day is. If you’re just getting started, these will suffice.

We’re going to get super geeky with numbers and formulas and conditions, etc. but if you’re a newbie to the weight loss and wellness game, a one-size-fits-all app will do you just fine.

However, it won’t take long before it’s no longer accurate. You see, one-size-fits-all doesn’t work for long. Initially you’ll get some results because your body will be shocked and responding to a change in caloric intake, but before long you’ll want something a little more customized for you and your needs.

**Please note that any “scientific” study saying a healthy diet is x number of calories is misleading and incorrect. It’s easy to generalize but ultimately these studies indicate an average calorie requirement for equally average people. You are not average; you were likely never consulted in said studies.**

So let’s learn how to find out exactly how many calories we actually need.

If you want to determine how many calories you need to shoot for during the day, you’ll need the following figures handy: your gender, your age in years, your height in inches and your weight in pounds.

These units of measurement will help us determine what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is. Your BMR is the number of calories your body requires to simply exist. The only action this covers is not dying. To determine your BMR, you can use tools online like this one.

Or you can put it together yourself with the below formulas.

If you’re a man:
BMR = 66 + (6.2 x [weight]) + (12.7 x [height]) – (6.76 x [age])

If you’re a woman:
BMR = 655.1 + (4 x [weight]) + (4.7 x [height]) – (4.7 x [age])

Side note: If you’re extremely obese, this number will be a bit more accurate if you use your Lean Body Mass (LBM). You can determine your LBM with the following formula:

LBM = [weight] – ([weight] x [body fat %])

Just for example’s sake, let’s say we have a 32 year old male, 6’1” tall, 215lbs. His formula would look like this:

BMR = 66 + (6.2 x 215) + (12.7 x 73) – (6.76 x 32)
BMR = 66 + 1,333 + 927.1 – 216.32
BMR = 1,399 + 710.78
BMR = 2,109.78, or 2,110 calories.

So now that we have figured out our BMR, the next thing we need to do is determine our activity level. Our activity levels will determine how many calories we’re allotted to exist with our physical activity added. It’s very important here to BE HONEST when you’re doing this. If you’re just starting out and you’re working out 2-3 times per week, it will be tempting to say you’re VERY ACTIVE especially if this lifestyle is new to you, but if you do this, your results will be incorrect and you will not achieve your ultimate goals. Here’s a pretty good way to determine your level:

    1. Sedentary = You do nothing or very little physical activity. Desk jockeys and TV show bingers likely fall into this category.
    2. Light Active = You do some stuff. You may be in the gym 1-3 days per week but aren’t a serious workaholic.
    3. Moderate = You frequent the gym and can be found there 3-5 days per week.
    4. Active = You’re a gym rat and you’re there putting in work 6-7 days per week.
    5. Very Active = Usually for people with active jobs like professional athletes or construction workers. Probably not you.

Now that you’ve seen the possible choices, you decide which one best fits your lifestyle and you will multiply your BMR by a certain number based on that result. See the following table:

Activity Level Multiply BMR By
Sedentary 1.2
Light Active 1.375
Moderate 1.55
Active 1.725
Very Active 1.9

Our example person above is a total gym rat and identifies as Active, therefore their calorie requirements = 2,110 x 1.725 for a total of 3,640 calories. That’s a lot of calories, y’all!

So are we done? Not even close.

Now we have to determine what our goals are. Are we wanting to lose weight? Gain weight? Maintain our current weight? Our answer here will determine how we modify our calorie requirements for the final time. Generally speaking, a caloric deficit of 500 calories/day will make a person lose 1lb/week and is a good, safe method of losing quality weight. On the other hand, a caloric surplus of 300 calories/day is a good way to gain weight throughout the week.

Our example guy wants to lose weight by 1lb/ week, therefore 3,640 – 500 = 3,140 calories per day for weight loss.

Have you been playing along? Do you have your caloric requirement figure? Good! Hang on to it and don’t let it go anywhere. You’re going to need it later.

If you’re just getting started with weight loss or wellness in general, this is where I’d recommend you stop reading. It’s about to get weird with a lot more definitions and formulas than a normal human being should worry about. The information I’ve given you here is a great place for you to start and you will see results with it.

If you want to get deeper, though, follow me into the world of macros.


Macros

You’re still reading. You’ve done this to yourself…

Macronutrients (or simply macros) are nutrients that our body needs in large amounts because they are our primary sources of energy. The body’s primary sources of energy are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Let’s talk about each of these individually.

Proteins

Proteins are amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. Their primary job is to build and repair muscle tissues. Once they’re in your bloodstream, proteins can do one of three things: 1) They will be used to build and repair muscle tissue through a process called Protein Synthesis. 2) They are used for immediate energy. 3) They’re stored as potential energy (or fat).

Proteins are commonly found in dairy and meat products but are also found in limited amounts in grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and some vegetables. 1 gram of protein is equal to 4 kilocalories. This is important later on so remember it.

Fats (Lipids)

Fats do not make you fat. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. Fats are actually super important for your body. Fats are the most concentrated source of energy in our bodies and carries fat-soluble vitamins throughout our system. Among other things, fats are important as they’re involved in insulating the body, making us feel fuller longer and surrounding our precious organs for protection.

Due to how concentrated they are, 1 gram of fat yields 9 kilocalories of pure energy. This figure is also important, so also remember it, too.

Carbs

As I’ve said many times before, carbohydrates are not the enemy. In fact, carbs are your primary source of energy. Carbs are broken down into sugars, starches and fibers. Sugars, or simple carbohydrates, are easily broken down by the body — starches, or complex carbohydrates, require quite a bit more work to process — fiber is never absorbed, is great for intestinal health and has been shown to lower the risk of certain heart disease and even cancer.

Again, carbs are your primary source of energy but after a certain amount of physical activity they start to diminish and your body switches to using the aforementioned fats as energy. Carbs are not as robust as fats and come in, like protein, at 4 calories for every gram. This is the last number you’ll need to remember.

You now know what macros are and a little about each one — so what does that mean to you?

There are many different schools of thought regarding what percentage of our diets should belong to each of the macros. Popular splits include 40/40/20 or 50/30/20 (protein, carbs, fat). While this may be a good starting point for someone just getting started with macro tracking, there’s a better way to determine your intake and I’m going to show you how.

We’ll start out by determining how much protein we should be getting in our diets. Ideally, you should be getting 1 gram of protein per pound of your current bodyweight. In our example person above, their body weight was 215 lbs, therefore he should look to get 215 grams of protein per day (215 pounds multiplied by 1 gram).

Now, remember above where we said each gram of protein equals 4 kilocalories? We can now assume our example person should get 860 calories from protein per day (215 grams multiplied by 4 kilocalories).

Next, we’ll determine fat in a similar fashion. Generally speaking, a person should get 0.4 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight, so our example person at 215 lbs should be getting 86 grams of fat (215 pounds multiplied by 0.4 grams).

Above we said each gram of fat is equal to 9 kilocalories, so our example person should get 774 calories from fat per day (86 grams multiplied by 9 kilocalories).

Finally, carbs. These are figured a little differently. Remember above when we decided our example person should be getting 3,140 calories per day for weight loss? Now that we have our calories from protein and fat determined, we figure out our carbs by working backward.

Therefore, our carbs would be equal to our total calories for the day minus protein calories and fat calories:

Carbs = 3,140 (daily total) – 860 (protein) – 774 (fat)
Carbs = 1,506 calories/day

If we continue to work backward, we remember 1 gram of carbs = 4 kilocalories, so we divide our carb number of 1,506 by 4 and we get 377 grams.

Our final table now looks like this:

Macro Daily Calories From Macro Grams of Macro Required
Protein 860 Calories 215 grams
Fats 774 Calories 86 grams
Carbs 1,506 Calories 377 grams
Total Calories = 3,140

This is a 27/48/25 split. See how one-size-fits-all doesn’t work in this case?

THESE ARE MERELY GUIDELINES, Y’ALL

For real. Unless you’re doing a hard cut or a hard gain, don’t stress about hitting these numbers exactly. Nobody wants to be THAT GUY that does everything precisely. Like I said in my previous post, that ain’t no kind of life. If you’re above or below a little, so be it, but this is a good place to start; a good target to shoot for.

In an oddly shaped nutshell, that’s macros.

What I Want You To Take Away From This:

      • Calories are not of the devil. Embrace them, just use your brain.
      • Nobody expects you to keep up with all of this on paper. If you have an app, use it, but also use these figures to determine how accurate your app is and adjust accordingly.
      • If you read something that conflicts with my information online, it’s not incorrect. But neither is mine.
      • If you’re just getting started tracking, fuck the macros. Spend some time focusing more on your caloric intake and over time you can start concerning yourself with macros.
      • Your macros are not set in stone. Yeah, you spent a lot of time figuring them out and yes if you follow them you are guaranteed to see results but you are a person with a life.
      • If you go over or under in anything, make a note to address it and move on. Don’t lose sleep because you were short on your protein for the day.

This concludes part two. This was a long post, y’all, and I hope you’re still with me. Stick around because next week we’re going to talk about finding good shit to eat and making a meal plan out of it in a post I’ve tentatively titled Finding Good Shit to Eat and Making a Meal Plan Out of It.

Until next time…

This is part 2 of a 6 part series on meal prepping. A lot of clients and potential clients ask me about meal prepping and I want to give as thorough of an explanation as I can. Over the next few weeks, I will be covering how to eat, how many calories you need to eat, calculating your macro requirements, finding good recipes to use, making your grocery list and shopping it, smart ways to prep a week’s worth of food and other shit I know to be true. I will illustrate as much as I can with my real-life meal planning/prepping processes so hopefully it will make more sense. Along the way you get to enjoy my wit and my foul mouth.

I also want to go ahead and state that while I am a certified personal trainer, I am NOT a certified nutritionist. I can give you tips on eating better and point you to FDA guidelines, but unless I’m married to you I can NOT make custom meal plans for you. Not even if you pay me or send nudes but thanks for the offer.

Friday Fitness Finds 5/26

When you come to my boxing fitness classes there are a few things you can be sure of: you’re going to get a great workout, you’re going to have a hard time using your arms the next day and you will definitely see me at some point wearing the focus mitts. I have some classes where not everyone gets to have a go with me; I have other classes where everyone gets to see me multiple times.

Doing mitts with a trainer is stressful anyway, even if you’re good at it. If you’re new, however, it’s even worse. The urge to push yourself past your comfortable limits is everpresent and sometimes you just miss.

I was running focus mitts on a new member on Tuesday night who was struggling to get through the rounds. I thought that giving him focus mitts with a one or two-punch combo would be a good way to give him a great workout that wouldn’t badly wind him. So I approached him, told him what I wanted — just a jab — and I flashed him my left mitt, silently saying “hit me here.” So he did. I continued to call it out — Jab! Jab! Jab! Jab! — and he was doing great…

…until I changed it and said, “Alright, now, give me jab, jab, cross!” He threw the jab, I caught it. He threw the second jab, I caught it. He threw the cross and I caught it…On the jaw. I threw up my right hand to catch his cross but a combination of his nerves and me being ill-prepared resulted in me taking a 300+ pound man’s fist to the face. He tried punching the mitt I had just brought down; I laughed.

Part of the job, I guess.

Anyway, I have a pretty good list to share this week. Stay on your guard and check them out.

A-Side Meal Prepping pt. 1 by me
A bit of shameless self promotion here. I started my 6-part series on meal prepping last week with a long post about the importance of identifying an eating philosophy to follow instead of a diet and the stigma that comes along with the D word. I’ve received a lot of great feedback about the post and I hope you can take the time to read it before this Sunday’s post about calories and macros.

Your Summer Grilling Secret: Using Wood Planks for Delicious Grilled Eats from The Art of Manliness
I’m a firm believer that you should be cooking with fire every chance you get. Charcoal, gas or smoke, meat and vegetables deserve to hit the grill and it’s up to you to help them fulfill their destiny. The Art of Manliness does a great job here priming folks for using wooden planks for grilling salmon, burgers, veges and other goodies.

10 Quick and Speedy Skillet Dinners by DamnDelicious
DamnDelicious is back again with an awesome recipe collection. A lot of these recipes are carb-heavy so if you’re training hard and they fit your macros, these would be great meal prep recipes. I’ve got my eye on the shrimp & broccoli stir-fry and hope to make the Shrimp and Gnocchi with Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce the next time I want something comforting.

Meditation for People with Absolutely No Patience by Abi Carver via Roman Fitness Systems
If you’ve been following along at all lately you’ll know that mindfulness is something I’ve been paying more attention to (or trying to, at least). Abi does a pretty good job here of explaining the importance of meditation for everyone and how to fit it into your “super busy” schedule.

Fats vs. Carbs — What do the Elites Know that We Don’t? by David Grech via Low Carb Down Under
The fact that this comes from a site called Low Carb Down Under is enough to tell me this may be more than just a biased story but David provides several links to elite runners that fuel primarily on fats as opposed to carbs while providing the studies behind their decision to do so. Everything I’ve seen seems to make sense but that’s not saying I’m going to try to do it any time soon. I’m certainly not an elite runner and don’t really want to be, but this information is certainly interesting if you geek out over such things.

Music to Lift Heavy To

I’ve got a double-shot to share this week as I’ve heard two absolute bangers.

Song one is from Los Angeles-based thrashers Warbinger. This track entitled Silhouettes is from their most-recent Napalm Records effort Woe to the Vanquished. The review I saw this in says it’s a Thrashterpiece and they’re right.

Song two is from an extreme metal band that just celebrated their 20th year — the New Orleans-based Goatwhore. This track, Chaos Arcane is from their upcoming Metal Blade release Vengeful Ascension due for release June 23.


Go pick up something heavy and try to not get knocked out in the process.