There are 5 basic habits that we teach at Preston Strength for nutrition. If you can master these 5 habits, you will be well on your way to the body of your dreams without ever counting calories or weighing food. These habits should guide your eating choices and help you make the right decisions no matter the situation you are in.
You may already be following some of these habits. That is great! If you are, then continue to do so and read on a bit more about each of them. We will be providing you with a meal plan at the end of the book you can use for great results.
You also may not be following any of the habits, and that is OK as well. We all have a starting point, and knowing that point is crucial to our success. If you are not following any of the habits, start with the first one and master it for the first week. Each week, continue to add in one habit until you have mastered all of them! If it takes longer than one week to consistently apply a habit to your life, no worries! Simply try again next week.
We want to focus on successes in this program. Don’t worry about your mistakes; instead, focus on what you did well each week, and build on those successes so that you can continue to grow and learn about your nutrition.
Here are the 5 Habits:
1. Eat frequently. This doesn’t mean that you need to eat 6 meals a day. That can be overwhelming. We recommend eating every 3-4 hours, but don’t sweat the details. At first, just try to get in consistent meals and one snack each day.
This way of eating will help you keep your metabolism running high and maintain your lean mass. You are also less likely to binge if you eat consistently every 3-4 hours.
A great schedule for this is eating when you wake up at 6 or 6:30am, then again at 11am, then a snack at 2 or 3pm and dinner at 6 or 7pm. This is a simple and easy to follow schedule. You can also eat first thing at 6am, snack at 10am, lunch at 2pm, and dinner at 6 pm. The meals can be moved around to fit your schedule.
You shouldn’t be so concerned about eating at the exact right time that you can’t focus on anything else. The important thing is that you are prepared with your foods and understand when you need to eat.
2. Eat a complete protein at every meal /snack. Protein is the staple in our nutrition plan. It helps support your lean mass and will keep you full. Try to get in at least 20-30g of protein at each meal. If you look on a food label, it will tell you exactly the amount per serving of protein. We will cover what is included on a list of complete proteins later.
You have you remember that 20-30g of protein isn’t the weight of the food you are eating; it is the protein in the food. If you look at the food label, you will be able to see the grams of protein in a given food. You can also use the palm of your hand as a guide for protein servings (a portion the size of your palm will provide approximately 20-30 grams of protein).
One of the biggest objections that we get for this habit is that it is hard to eat protein on the run. That simply isn’t true if you know what you are looking for! There are protein supplements, tons of options in convenience stores, and simple snacks that you can pack to help you stick to your habits.
3. Eat vegetables at every meal. Try to get in two servings of veggies at each meal and snack. This can be one of the tougher habits to master, but you can make it easy on yourself by keeping easy veggie snacks around such as carrots, celery, and other quick to eat veggie sources.
One serving of veggies is about ½-1 cup. So you need to be eating 1-2 cups of veggies each meal. This can easily be accomplished with salads!
Veggies not only help to give you nutrients that you need to get the most out of your training program, but they help give you fiber, keep you full, and provide you with many illness-preventing nutritional components. You won’t have a problem with hunger if you make sure to get your veggies in at each meal.
4. Only eat carbohydrate-rich foods after your workouts! Especially if your goal is fat loss, we want to restrict your carbohydrate consumption to within 1-2 hours post workout. This is great news because you don’t have to deprive yourself of carbs, but you have to earn them first in a workout!
The reason that we remove carbs from our meals (other than veggies) outside of workout times is that they increase fat storage because of the effect that they have on our insulin levels. When our insulin levels increase, fat storage increases. This is something we want to avoid.
However, after a workout, our bodies are primed to utilize those carbs for energy and to repair our muscles. This is a great thing! After a workout, we want to replace the glycogen (or broken down carbs) that we used during the training sessions and use them to repair our muscles and make sure we are recovering well. If we recover well, we can come back and train hard again the next time and get better results.
I would try to avoid breads and gluten-based carbs after your workout and stick to things like potatoes, rice, and other non-wheat based carbs as much as possible. The reason is most of us don’t handle gluten or wheat very well, and it can cause some inflammation, which can cause bloating and fat storage (along with other health problems).
5. Eat healthy fats daily. Fats are not the bad guy! You should work to eat a good balance of fats (saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated—just no trans fats!). Fats help regulate hormones in your body and keep you full. It is important that you don’t limit your fat intake to help with weight loss. You should try to get 1/3 of your fat intake each day from each of the types listed above. If you have a carbohydrate-based meal after training, try to limit your fats in this meal if possible.
If you follow these basics most of the time, you can let loose and splurge here and there without regressing in your fitness plan.
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