Nuts and Seeds:Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
High-Fat Dairy:Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yogurt.
Fats and Oils:Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil.
If you need to lose weight, be careful with the cheese and nuts because they’re easy to overeat on. Don’t eat more than one piece of fruit per day.
If you’re healthy, active and don’t need to lose weight then you can afford to eat a bit more carbs.
Tubers:Potatoes, sweet potatoes and some others.
Non-gluten grains:Rice, oats, quinoa and many others.
Legumes:Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc. (If you can tolerate them).
You can have these in moderation if you want:
Dark Chocolate:Choose organic brands with 70% cocoa or higher.
Wine:Choose dry wines with no added sugar or carbs.
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and may provide health benefits if you eat it in moderation. However, be aware that both dark chocolate and alcohol will hinder your progress if you eat/drink too much.
Throw away your alarm clock and toss out your bland morning shake. These 8 protein-rich breakfast recipes are so good they’ll be enough to get you up and going!
When you’re trying to fit more protein into your diet, eating just whole foods can be a jaw-tiring, stomach-filling challenge. In search of more high-protein items to increase their daily protein intake, many people make the right choice of supplementing with quality protein powder. Where they often go wrong, however, is in their approach.
I see too many people fall into the cycle of chugging bland protein shakes in between equally bland meals of chicken and broccoli. Eventually, they end up hating the thought of having to slam down another shake to hit their macros. If you’ve fallen into this trap—or feel yourself teetering near the edge—the athletes of MET-Rx and I are here to help you switch things up and find the best alternative uses for your favorite protein powder!
If you’ve been slamming a shake for breakfast, consider this article your protein salvation. Jump out of bed in the morning and give one of these absolutely delicious protein-packed recipes a shot.
BANANA PROTEIN MUFFINS
Who doesn’t love baked goods in the morning? (No one I know.) This mouth-watering recipe is a favorite from four-time Olympia Figure champ Nicole Wilkins’ kitchen. No need to hit the bakery—or blow your fitness goals—when you can make this tasty breakfast option in your own oven.
Just when you thought your protein-oatmeal barometer had reached the peak of awesomeness, and that a protein-rich breakfast couldn’t get any better, I’m here to prove you wrong. This chocolate-loaded dish is one of Nicole’s overnight-oat favorites. Add this amazing oatmeal recipe to your breakfast arsenal and pull it out when you’re craving a little something sweet!
UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK (OR LOW FAT MILK OF CHOICE): 1/2 CUP
NONFAT, PLAIN GREEK YOGURT (OR MASHED BANANA OR PUMPKIN): 1/4 CUP
UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER: 1 TBSP (OR MORE, TO TASTE)
Any protein breakfast recipe roundup would be seriously lacking without powered-up pancakes. Celebrity chef Gavan Murphy, otherwise known as “The Healthy Irishman,” has whipped up some of the finest-tasting pancake muffins in all of the land. Check them out for yourself!
Who said that in order to stay in shape you had to lay off the sweets? Not in this case! Here’s a cookie recipe from Chef Murphy that uses protein powder and healthy fats to make dessert meet your macros.
Model, actor, and Body Fortress athlete Mike O’Hearn doesn’t have much time to spend in the kitchen baking. But when he decides to make himself a tasty breakfast treat to kick-start the morning, he whips up these bad boys. Try them for yourself, and let your inner superhero loose!
When you’re in a time crunch and need to get out the door as soon as possible, having a quick breakfast already prepared will help you resist the urge to walk out the door on an empty stomach. I keep a bowl of this delicious pudding in the refrigerator at all times for just such occasions!
You want to lose weight, gain muscle, and change your body—but without worrying about whether you’re eating the right foods. After all, countless diets pronounce that they provide the ultimate solution to your goals. Only problem is, they all differ in the types of foods they suggest, the timing of meals, and how much you can eat.
But all diets are dependent on one common factor: macronutrient composition. That is, the protein, carbohydrate, and fat content in the foods you eat. Macronutrients are the single most important factor that determines a diet’s success or failure. Every diet has its own macronutrient manipulation. On one end of the continuum are the low-carb diets, such as Atkins and Protein Power (and some variations of the Paleo Diet). More towards the middle are diets like The Zone and South Beach. On the other end of the continuum are high-carb/low-fat diets such as Pritikin and Ornish.
So who’s right? Recent evidence in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that the diet you can stick to best is the right one – regardless of the exact breakdown of macronutrients. But this still leaves questions about how to determine your needs to simplify eating. Consider this your final answer, and the guide you need to finally determine the most effective plan for you.
Hitting your goal for the day is the most important aspect of eating protein, whether it’s for fat loss, building muscle, or just maintaining your weight.
The Eating Guide
Are you a calorie counter who wants an even more focused plan? Once you figure out how many calories you want to eat per day, use this plan from Alan Aragon (alanargon.com) to balance your macronutrients and drop fat fast.
Key 1 gram of protein = 4 calories 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
Protein Eat one gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight. So if you want to weigh 200 pounds, you’d eat 200 grams of protein per day for a total of 800 calories.
Fat Remember, the amount of fat you want will depend on many specific factors. As a rough goal on a fat loss plan, eat .5 grams of fat for your goal body weight. Using the 200 pound model, you would consume 100 grams of fat per day, or 900 total calories. If you find that this is too much and you gain weight (reminder: fat does NOT make you fat), aim for .3 to .4 grams of fat per pound of goal body weight. Listen to your body and you will see changes.
Carbohydrates Carbs are dependent on how much protein and fat you consume in your diet. That is, you’ll eat carbs to fill in the remainder of calories needed in your diet. Using the formula above, let’s say you wanted to eat 2500 calories per day. Add your protein (800 calories ) and your fat (900 calories) and then subtract it from the total number of calories you want to eat (2500-1700 = 800 calories). Divide the remainder number of calories (800) by 4, and you’ll have a target number of carbohydrates you should eat (200 grams).
Therefore, on this sample diet you’d eat: 200 grams of protein (800 calories or 30% of your diet) 100 grams of fat (900 calories or 40% of your diet) 200 grams of carbs (800 calories or 30% of your diet)
WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT Protein is the major structural and functional component of all cells in your body. Proteins literally play a necessary role in many of the biological processes that allow you to live and function. Not to mention, about 25 percent of your muscle mass is made up of protein—and the rest is made up of water and glycogen (your body’s stored form of carbohydrates). So it’s no wonder why so many diets place a heavy emphasis on protein. But the reason you need to eat so much is simple: Unlike other nutrients, your body can not assemble protein by combining other nutrients, so enough must be consumed in your daily meals in order to achieve your desired health and appearance.
BIGGEST MYTH Despite what you might have heard, your body can process a lot more protein than you think in each meal. Like a big steak dinner? Don’t worry, you can handle it. The most common claim is that your body can only handle 20 to 30 grams per meal and that the rest will go to waste. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The idea that your body can only handle limited amounts of protein was one of the initial reasons why people began eating meals every 2 to 3 hours. It was a tactic designed to prevent wasting food, while also raising your metabolism. However, science has proved that your body can take as much time as it needs to digest and absorb protein and utilizes all of the nutrients appropriately. With the exception of a massive protein binge—where you consume more protein in one meal than your body can handle in an entire day—you can feed yourself larger doses as part of a healthy approach to your diet.
ADDING PROTEIN TO YOUR DIET While most people think that protein is most important before and after your workout, this isn’t true. Hitting your goal for the day is the most important aspect of eating protein, whether it’s for fat loss, building muscle, or just maintaining your weight. Setting your protein goals is a fairly simple process. Research shows that a range of .5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is ideal if you are active. If you want to be even more specific, a good general guideline is to eat about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (LBM). However, most people don’t know or can’t reliably measure their LBM. As an alternative, consume 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight.
That means if you’re a fluffy 200 pounds and want to be a lean, toned 180 pounds, simply eat 180 grams of protein per day. Learning what food intake amounts to 180 grams of protein – or any macronutrient – is a matter of tracking your intake.
Food journaling software like LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate can help you record how much protein you’re really eating.
THE BOTTOM LINE The pitfalls of under-doing protein far outweigh those of overdoing it. Meeting protein requirements is particularly important when you’re trying to lose weight because protein is the most muscle-sparing and metabolic macronutrient, and it also keeps you full. If you struggle to achieve your protein target through whole foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and milk products, you can easily supplement your diet with protein powder (whey, casein, or egg). There’s no need to nitpick over the precise distribution and timing of protein throughout the day, just concentrate on the total for the day, and consume protein at doses and times that suit your schedule and personal preference.
WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT Fat is a major fuel source for your body and has multiple functions, such as helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, regulating inflammation, and hormone production. Like protein, fat is considered to be nutritionally essential because certain fatty acids (linoleic acid & alpha-linolenic acid) cannot be sufficiently produced by your body for survival, and thus you must fulfill your needs by eating fatty foods. That’s right. Read that sentence again: You must eat fat. Although essential fatty acid deficiency is uncommon among adults in developed countries, the consumption omega-3 fatty acids is often too low for the purpose of optimizing health and preventing disease.
BIGGEST MYTH Let’s settle the score once and for all: Fat does not make you fat.
Once you get beyond that myth, there are many other misconceptions that could steer your eating habits in the wrong direction. Most notably, many people still believe that saturated fat is a dangerous substance that causes heart disease and should be avoided. This myth has survived for at least the last 3 decades, and has refused to die despite numerous studies that have shown that saturated fat is actually good for your body. In a recent invitation-only scientific consensus meeting, the Department of Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen determined that saturated fat does not need to be avoided. What’s more, a recent review failed to find a link between saturated fat and coronary heart disease. More importantly, it’s not just that saturated fat isn’t bad; the scientists found that eating saturated fat benefits your health.
That doesn’t mean that all fats are safe. The Dutch analysis found that excessive trans-fats (from hydrogenated vegetable oils in shortening, commercial baked goods, and refined snack foods) still pose a significant threat to your health.
ADD FAT TO YOUR DIET The best way to prevent heart disease is to simplify your diet. Eat more whole and minimally refined foods, including an increased proportion of vegetables, fruits, and nuts—and know how to balance your omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 0.5-1.8 g/day of combined EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids with potent heart-protective properties. This intake can be achieved by either consuming two to six one-gram capsules of fish oil, or by having roughly three to six ounces of fatty fish per day. Vegetarians should realized that achieving the same EPA and DHA levels with flaxseed oil is a much less efficient process, requiring roughly double the dose.
THE BOTTOM LINE Unfortunately, there isn’t a gold standard for the amount of fat you need in your diet. Instead, it should be determined on an individual basis. The most recent report by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that you eat at least 20 to 35 percent of your total calories from fat. But realize that eating slightly more than this won’t cause added fat storage as long as your total calories match your goal for weight gain, loss or maintenance. If you still want a target, divide your weight in half and eat that many grams of fat. So if you’re 180 pounds, you would aim to consume 90 grams of fat per day.
WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU NEED IT Carbohydrates have many functions, but their main role is to provide energy to the cells in your body. Carbohydrates are unique because they are not considered essential. That’s because your body can synthesize its needs from non-carbohydrate sources though processes called gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis. As a result, the other foods you eat (proteins and fats) can be converted into energy, meaning that your general survival does not depending on eating carbohydrates. As mentioned before, this can’t be said about amino acids (protein) or essential fatty acids (fat)—both of which you need to obtain from foods.
Still, while carbohydrates technically are not essential, you do need them when living an active lifestyle. Not to mention, fruits and vegetables are two of the most important sources of carbohydrates, and both provide nutrient-rich calories that protect against disease.
BIGGEST MYTH Carbs do not make you fat. (Picking up on a theme?)
Ever since the low-carb craze began in the early 1990s, carbohydrates have been demonized as the cause of the growing obesity rates. And while a low-carb diet does have many health benefits and can lead to lasting weight loss, there is no “metabolic advantage” to going low carb. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared a low-carb diet with one that was higher in carbohydrates. The result: There was no difference in weight loss or changes in the ratio of muscle-to-fat. What’s more, when researchers compared a low-carb diet with a low-fat diet (and higher in carbs), they discovered that neither was better at boosting metabolism.
You can analyze studies and research all day, but the bottom line is simple: You can eat carbs and still lose weight. The diet you choose will be largely dependent on many personal preferences and eating styles, and whether it’s low carb or higher in carbs, both strategies can be equally effective at creating change.
ADD CARBS TO YOUR DIET Generally speaking, if you’re active you need anywhere between one to three grams of carbohydrate per pound of lean body mass. The carbohydrate requirement tends to range more widely than the other macronutrients because it’s largely dictated by how many calories you’re trying to eat per day, and your total amount of activity. In other words, determining the right amount of carbs is really the fourth step in your diet plan. First, figure out how many calories you need, then set goals for proteins and fats. Once you establish those guidelines, then your remaining calories for your weight goal should be filled in with carbs.
THE BOTTOM LINE Carbohydrates, just like fat and protein allotments, should be comprised mostly of whole and minimally processed foods. For most people, carbohydrates are a form of dessert. And if you’re eating healthy, about 10 to 20 percent of your total calories can basically come from any foods you want. Your choices among carb-dominant foods (fruit, milk, starchy vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, grains, legumes) should be based on your personal preference and tolerance, while maintaining as much variety as reasonably possible. As a rule of thumb, eating two to three fruits and two to three vegetables per day will usually fill up the majority of your carbohydrate allotment, while providing beneficial nutrients that will help your overall health. Easy enough, right?
You’ve just finished an intense training session. Do you know what—and when—you need to eat in order to maximize your results? Than focus, learn and listen!
Yes, things have changed a bit over the past decade. As the population grows fatter, more research has shown that eating as soon as possible pays off HUGE dividends. (I know you NJ people know about dividends).
First, a quick run-down of the science behind eating for recovery, then a word about fluids, and finally, we get into the timing of your post workout eating, the types of foods that work the best, and some of the guiding principles to keep in mind. Let’s go!
WHAT’S THE POINT OF EATING AFTER EXERCISE?
It’s all about two things: recovery and storage. You need to recover the losses you undertook during the exercise, and your body is simply better at storing that recovery fuel right after your workout. Sure, you can eat later—but the benefits won’t be as good.
Your muscles need carbohydrate and fluid to replace glycogen and water losses during the exercise. The muscles store more glycogen immediately after exercise than they do later.” The quicker your muscles recover, the sooner they will be ready to “perform’ for your again.
You want to stick to carbs and protein. Why, exactly? Becuase protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.
While you might find some advice that suggests carbs will serve you fine on their own, most studies find that athletes who refueled with carbohydrate and protein had 100 percent greater muscle glycogen stores than those who only ate carbohydrate. Insulin was also highest in those who consumed a carbohydrate and protein drink.” The magic ratio seems to be 4:1—for every four grams of carbs, you should have one gram of protein.
IMPORTANT POINT. Eating post-workout is most important for those who workout nearly every day—and hopefully that’s you. To make gains, whether it be strength, lean muscle, speed, flexibility, etc, you need your muscle to recover ASAP.
But if you only exercise 2 -3 times per week, you don’t need to worry as much about post-exercise foods because your body will have enough time between workouts to recover. You should probably focus on healthier proteins and veggies, so you don’t put on extra fat.
THE RE-HYDRATION ESSENTIALS.
Let’s keep it simple. Re-Hydration is always your #1 priority, especially if you’ve gone for a run and haven’t had access to any water during it.
For you OCD-ers, Science says weigh yourself pre- and post-workout, and use the difference to replace fluid losses. For example, drink 16 fl oz of water for every 1 lb lost. .
WHEN TO EAT.
Do we need to eat right away? You might say no, not exactly—you probably want to get some fluids into you, towel off, get changed, take a quick shower—whatever your normal post-workout routine is.
However, those first 15 minutes are crucial! The enzymes that help the body resynthesize muscle glycogen are really most active in that first 15 minutes. The longer we wait to eat something, the longer it takes to recover.
If you can’t get to some proper food within those first 15 minutes, make sure you get something in your stomach within an hour, maximum, post-workout. You won’t get much increased storage at all if you wait longer than that.
WHAT TO EAT—WITH REAL SUGGESTIONS.
Ah, and now the crucial question, where we move away from talk of abstract carbohydrates and protein, and into actual suggestions for the kind of things you should scarf down post-workout.
The simple solution may be a post workout drink. 3:1 combo of carbohydrate and protein is perfect and shakes are easier to digest than real foods and make it easier to get the right ratio. If you can’t make one at home, most of the 24 hour convenience stores carry them.
Columbia University comes at us with some real food suggestions: “eat a few slices of turkey on a wheat bagel, or have a large glass of protein fortified milk. The most important nutritional strategy post workout, though, is fluid replacement. Drink water, juice, or carbohydrate rich sports drinks to replace what you sweat out.” All good advice, although be careful of sports drinks that function more as sugar-delivery systems than workout tools.
Make sure you don’t use your post-workout eating as a chance to load up on too much sugar, or things you might not eat if you hadn’t worked out. And avoid fats for the same reason you avoided them before you exercised: they’re too hard for your stomach to digest after all that work.
Also, avoid falling into the trap of becoming reliant on sports food supplements, believing this to be the only and/or best way to meet your recovery goals. This often results in our athletes “doubling up” with their recovery, consuming a sports food supplement that meets certain recovery goals, e.g. liquid meal supplement, then following this up soon afterwards with a meal that would help them meet the same recovery goal, e.g. bowl of cereal with fresh fruit.
Unless constrained by poor availability or lack of time, we are best advised to favor real food/fluid options that allow ussto meet recovery and other dietary goals simultaneously. This is especially important for athletes on a low energy budget. Top advice.
THE FINAL BITS OF ADVICE.
Eating after exercise takes some time to get used to. Remember that if you’re working out just 2-3 times a week, it’s not as critically important to concentrate on your post-workout recovery. But if you’re working out nearly every day—it’s essential. If you are trying to gain muscle-it’s more than essential.
And don’t think of your post-workout food as a proper meal: the portion sizes should never get that big. Keep it small -a fist-sized quantity. Low-fat chocolate milk works very well. The goal is not a post-exercise meal. It’s really a post-exercise appetizer to help the body recover as quickly as it can.” That’s a strange-but-perfect way to think about it: a post-exercise appetizer.
Keep these general principles in mind, eat clean and healthy above all, and you’ll be recovering from K2’s workouts in no time. Well, maybe not in no time…