Meal plans are typically expected in the health and fitness industry and unfortunately, most of the time do not work.
“But coach, I don’t have time to figure out what to eat can’t you just tell me what time and what specifically?”
The reality is meal plans are typically short term and life isn’t linear. Things can change at the drop of a hat at work, kids get sick, you don’t feel like eating the same thing everyday, etc. As a matter of fact, rigid eating can create disordered eating and cause mental, metabolic, and hormonal consequences.
Think of this approach almost like a game. What change can I make to each setting a little bit better? We aren’t seeking “perfect” we are seeking “a little bit better.”
The most successful secret is to have a food prep ritual. Now, I didn’t say get out there and plan for the whole week, but stock your household with items that are conducive to your goals and focus on changing one meal at a time. This can mean adding veggies or replacing snacks with more nutrient dense options. This helps makes decisions much easier so you don’t have to make a choice when in a bind. We typically know what a busy week may look like and planning ahead even just a little bit goes a long way.
- Get 3-4 different protein sources on hand every shopping trip.
- Create a menu for the week prior to shopping at the grocery store.
- Pre chop veggies and portion out meals ahead of time to have ready in case
- Don’t leave your house without your meal bag especially on the busiest of days
Now let’s have our come to Jesus. Where are you on your meal prep game? Are you a level 1 (beginner) level 2, or level three? Where do you want to be ? Is this level realistic given your goals and current situation? There’s no “right way” to meal prepping. It’s what works for you. Lastly, think long term and be patient. This needs to be sustainable over the long term and small steps add up. Remember, all goals require a trade off, so understand what you are prioritizing and sacrificing.
In honor of Father’s Day below are tips to improve testosterone naturally.
1) Incorporate Strength Training. Increase testosterone and growth hormone by focusing on large, compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, kettlebell swing 3-5x week for 30-60 minutes can make a significant impact.
2) Focus on healthy fats. Avocado, nuts, coconut oil, animal based proteins are excellent sources. Taking in healthy fats can help convert more cholesterol into testosterone and in turn improve cholesterol levels.
3) Eliminate sugar, processed/refined foods. Excess sugar intake will increase stored body fat and increases the levels of stress hormones, which inhibits optimal testosterone production.
4) Dump the alcohol. Alcohol increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen and stores belly fat.
5) PURPOSELY manage stress. Although we may feel like we are “handling” stress, it’s about how our body perceives and responds is what’s important. When our body is under stress, cortisol (stress hormone) becomes our first responder. Stress can wreck havoc on your metabolism impacting your blood sugar regulation and ultimately our sex hormones. Effective strategies include massage, meditation, yoga, fostering good company, etc.
It is easy to get frustrated while others are making great progress in less time, but it is critical to keep in mind all the factors that come into play when pursuing your health and fitness goals. Trust me if the process to getting lean was linear, we’d all be walking around 10% body fat.
These factors include:
A) Compliance-Be HONEST with yourself. How compliant have you been with your nutritional choices? How much adherence have you had into your program?
B) Your Metabolism-Nobody can else have your exact fingerprint right? Keep in mind your hormones, health history, lifestyle (stress/sleep), genetics, etc have a direct impact.
Although you cannot control you the rate of progress, you CAN control your adherence and your commitment to yourself.
Consider your program and it’s specificity to you. Just because it works for “the coach” and “the neighbor” doesn’t mean it’s designed for you. When you take on ANY programming be sure it is outcome based behavior you are able to sustain over the long term. Cause I’m quite sure eating chicken, brown rice, and broccoli 5x day for the rest of your life isn’t sustainable. The more aggressive the approach, the harder it is to sustain.
Keep in mind to start with outcome based habits. Begin with habits that are essentially going to help you achieve your goal.
Is it your lack of consistent sleep? Just like we set an alarm to get up in the morning, set an alarm to start preparing your body to go to sleep. Often times we have every intention to sleep earlier to ensure we are getting more rest and then end up in bed “wired and tired.” Write down your compliance and once you have achieved an 80% compliance score, you are now ready to add another habit.
Keep your action item simple. Start with a 5 minute action item. Ask yourself what is one thing that you could change right now to get you closer to your goal.
Comparison is the thief of joy -Theodore Roosevelt