Q: Brian, how do you stay in shape year round? Can you tell me what your daily eating schedule is "really" like? Don’t you ever cheat or eat out?
A: John, I don’t stay in "perfect" shape all year round and I do cheat (mostly planned, occasionally unplanned). I sometimes even eat ice cream, pizza, pastries, cake, PB & J sandwiches, etc. I really do eat these things, but before you go raiding your pantry, let me clarify some things.
See John, once you set a clear goal, you eat and train in a specific way to reach that goal. Goal achievement is a journey. If your goal is to add 10lbs of muscle and maybe lose 20lbs of fat, there is no room for cheating during that journey. But, you won’t necessarily have to live like that for the rest of your life. Telling someone to never taste pizza or ice cream again is unrealistic—and pretty much stinks! But, during their journey, I do want my clients to forget the taste of those things. However, once they reach their goal and reach their "maintenance’ phase", I will allow those foods, in moderation, back into their diet.
You wanted to know about me and what I really do so here goes. Many years ago I set a goal to weigh 210lbs at about 6% bodyfat year round. At the time I weighed about 185-190. So, yes, it was quite a journey and it took me years to achieve. I hardly ever cheated during my mid twenties. If I cheated at all during those years it was never more than once a week. But now I’ve achieved that goal and maintaining it is not nearly as difficult as achieving it. (Of course, if I decide to compete again, I’ll need to get back on a new "journey"!)
Before I go into exactly how I eat, I want to first give you some background info on why I am able to cheat a little and live a more normal lifestyle. The key point is, "the more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to "feed" that muscle". Studies show that for every pound of muscle gained, your body burns an additional 30-50 calories per day. So, let’s do the math. Let’s compare how many more calories I need to maintain my body at 210 at 6% than when I weighed 190 at 6%. By adding twenty lbs of muscle over the past 10-15 years, my body now requires approximately 1000 additional calories to maintain that muscle mass. (20 lbs of muscle x 50 calories per pound of muscle added = 1000 additional calories.) So you see John, I get to eat more now than I did then. Now don’t get me wrong! That doesn’t mean I can always eat bad—if I did I’d start adding fat and I don’t want that. But it does mean that since my body is burning more calories that I can get away with eating a few more "cheats" at 210 than when I was 190.
Now, with that said, every once in a while if I abuse the allowance of those extra calories by eating bad too often, my bodyfat levels do start to increase. When that does happen, and I notice I’m looking a little "softer" and my weight increases by 4-5 lbs, then I start a "mini journey" to get back to the 6-7% bodyfat level that I feel comfortable living at. And, that mini journey is as simple as sticking to my clean eating plan for a couple of weeks, and I’m right back where I need to be. I do NOT consider this a "yo-yo" type plan. I call this a "maintenance" plan.
Now, how do I work all this into my lifestyle? Let me give you a typical Saturday. All four of my daughters play soccer. We also like to go to the Saturday evening Church Service. So, needless to say, our Saturdays are pretty hectic. Here is my typical day and meal plan on such a day:
8am: Two scoops of vanilla Ultimate Muscle Protein mixed with 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal. I mix the oats and UMP dry first, add water, mix again, and then microwave for 2 minutes. I add cinnamon for taste (and its positive effects on blood sugar---Beverly has added it to their Creatine!). I eat this breakfast in a few minutes and off to our first soccer game.
11am: Soccer game #1 is over and I am in the car mixing my shaker cup with two scoops of UMP and water (I always keep a jug of UMP and bottled water in the car).
1:30: Soccer game #2 is over, and the entire family goes to lunch. I love eating out. Do NOT look at eating out as an obstacle to your diet. Instead, look at it as an opportunity for someone else to prepare your food! You just need to know what to order. Today, we go to Wendy’s. So, I order a large chili, a baked potato (I pour the chili on the potato), and a grilled chicken salad. I’d say that’s pretty nutritious for fast food!
4:00: Our final soccer game is over and I go back to the car for my next UMP shake which I drink on my way home to get ready for church. We need to be there by 5:15.
7:00: Church is over, and we usually head out to one of a few different restaurants. Let’s say tonight it will be FRIDAY’s. If so, I’ll order a steak, a sweet potato (based on my carbohydrate needs that week, I’ll eat either half or the whole potato), and a side salad of mixed greens with an olive oil/vinegar dressing. What a perfect meal! I am getting great protein in the beef, one of the best complex carbs with the sweet potato, fiber with the mixed greens, and a healthy fat from the olive oil.
10:00: We’ve put the kids to bed. I’ll eat either a dozen egg whites with one whole egg and some omelet veggies, or 2 cups of fat free cottage cheese and some carrots, or another UMP shake.
12:00: I am a night owl on the weekends. It’s not the best habit, as when Monday comes around, it makes it harder to get back into going to bed early. But if I’m still up, I will take this opportunity to get in another meal. This meal is usually very similar to my last meal. Unless I am carb loading, I usually will go with a protein source and some veggies.
See John, it really is not that hard. Just prepare a little ahead of time by mapping out your next day. The kids are no excuse to eat badly.
Here are the supplements I currently use and how I use them:
These are the supplements that "I really" take day in and day out. Obviously, I’d add Muscularity, Density, and Lean Out if I were to do a show. Man that seems like a lot, but where some people spend their money on their cars, I like to spend it on my body!
So John, to sum up the answers to your questions:
A. Be strict during your "journey".
B. Once you feel you’ve reached your goals, learn how to "maintain". Adding muscle makes the "maintaining" easier since your body can handle more calories.
C. Schedule out your days ahead of time and be prepared. Don’t skip any of your meals—eat every few hours, and let UMP be your "staple"
D. Don’t use your kids as an excuse to eat badly.
E. Figure out your supplement plan (email me if you need more help here; firstname.lastname@example.org) and stick to your supplement plan.
Hopefully, this helps John! Good luck with your Journey!
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