Abby is back with part 2 of her series on sharing the exact formula she used to get in bikini competition shape. Today she speaks on nutrition, which is the toughest battle for most and also plays the biggest role in fat loss!
“What should I eat?” is one of the most popular questions both Dustin and I hear. And I completely understand how confusing and frustrating it can be to figure out what is best. There are so many articles out there with different opinions, and it is hard to know what is right…and more importantly, what is right for you!
In the post last week, there were a lot of questions asking about eating. Some people wanted to know what I eat regularly and others wanted to know what I ate during my “diet” for the competition. To be honest, the two plans are pretty much the same! (Phew, that makes things a little easier!) Another thing to keep in mind, the eating info I’m about to share coincides exactly with what Dustin is telling all of us! The only difference is I do it (most of the time)! 😉
As fitness people, the one thing we don’t want to do to our body is starve it! Actually, no one should starve their body! Not giving your body the nutrients it needs is going to cause your body to start shutting down, and this will cause it to stop burning fat! I don’t know many people who want that to happen!!! People who work out, like all of us, need to pay particular attention to what we eat because we want to fuel our bodies for our workouts and for our active lifestyles. Many of us are trying to lose weight, as well, so keeping that metabolism going is key! The best way to do that is to eat small meals every 2-3 hours! Keep in mind, “small” is the key word in that sentence. We can’t be eating 500-600 calorie meals each time! Instead, each meal should be 200-300 calories.
Alright, alright, we’ve all heard that before! So, what exactly should be included in those meals?! The most important thing to remember is to have protein with each meal of the day. How much protein should you be eating? It’s a pretty common belief to eat one gram of protein for each pound you weigh. So, if you weigh 145lbs, eat 145 grams of protein during the day. Now divide that total amount of protein by the 5/6 meals per day. That’s about 24-29 grams of protein each meal! Eating this much protein will help you keep full in between meals.
Of course, we can’t be eating protein alone! Each meal should also have a fruit or vegetable with it. These help the protein get absorbed into the muscles. And the great thing about vegetables, you can eat a LOT of them (especially the green veggies) without adding a lot of calories to your diet! I usually have my fruits before and after my workouts. My body burns those sugars and carbs right away then!
It’s also important to get starchy carbs into your diet! The staples for me are: brown rice, Ezekiel bread, oatmeal (not the individual bagged kind) and sweet potatoes. I try to eat these earlier in the day, usually not much after 4 pm. Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you do have them for dinner sometimes. Just try not to carb-load late at night! Once again, you want to be eating this with protein.
Finally, fats…and we’re not talking about the pizza-kind of fats…we’re talking the healthy fats! Eat about 45 grams of fats a day. I find it better to eat them throughout the day, in smaller portions, rather than all at once. (For whatever reason, I found my energy lacking if I ate all my fats in one meal and had none the rest of the day.)
Regarding my diet for the competition, the only big difference was I ate only 1 serving of fruit a day. And of course, there were NO cheat meals! 🙂 I would not recommend either of these. For one, you need more than one serving of fruit a day. And second, without cheat meals every now and then, a person could go crazy! Especially if you have a sweet tooth like mine! (Just ask Dustin, I was miserable to be around some days when I was dieting and couldn’t eat some sweets!!!!) The third difference between my regular eating and my diet eating is that I only ate fats at night during the diet. Again, I wouldn’t recommend this because I lacked so much energy without fats during the day!
I often get asked how I get so much protein in my diet each day. The protein I eat most is chicken, chicken, and more chicken! During my competition, I ate so much chicken, I thought I would start growing feathers and clucking. I’ve cut back a bit now, but I still make a bunch of chicken at the beginning of the week and then have my portions all divided up so I can grab and go! Another favorite of mine is ground turkey. I brown a couple of pounds at once, adding some spices, divide it up and then have that as my topping for my no-shell taco salad! Just throw some salsa on top for more spice and flavor. Lean steak and ground beef are good, too, just in moderation! Nuts are good, but be careful of the portions because of the fats!
I also get asked about water consumption a lot. Personally, if I don’t get enough water, then I get massive headaches. It’s amazing how my body has become so dependent on it! I usually drink most of my water earlier in the day and then it slows as the day progresses. (I hate getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!) I carry my Nalgene around everywhere with me! I know that one bottle is 32oz, so I can keep track of exactly how much I have drank. I usually try to drink at least 3 Nalgenes of water at work. Then I know I don’t have to worry about much more the rest of the day. I don’t drink much else during the day, either; green tea is pretty much the only other liquid. The more I drink, the less hungry I am, too! If I’m feeling myself getting hungry and it’s not quite time to eat again, I’ll take a huge drink glass of water and will feel full! Drinking enough water takes practice and some effort, but anyone can do it.
Sample Meal Plan:
Meal 1: ½ cup oatmeal
2 eggs w/ spinach & tomatoes
Meal 2: Apple
Handful of almonds
Meal 3: Turkey sandwich
(2 pieces Ezekiel bread, turkey, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes)
Small side salad
Meal 4: Protein drink (pre-workout)
Meal 5: Protein drink (post-workout)
Meal 6: Chicken
Sample Competition-Diet Meal Plan:
Meal 1: ½ cup oatmeal
5 egg whites w/ spinach & other veggies
Meal 2: Protein drink
Meal 3: Chicken
Meal 4: Chicken
Meal 5: Salmon
Meal 6: Cottage cheese (only if still hungry)
A few things to remember:
1.) I am not a nutritionist or dietician. The information above is simply what has worked for me and what I’ve seen work for others.
2.) The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to listen to your body. It is so incredibly important that you get to know your body and be able to eat and do what’s best for you! No one else can tell what you’re feeling inside. Once you get to know your body better, you’ll be able to see how it reacts to different foods. Listen to it!
3.) Buy a digital scale to measure the weight of your food…it seriously helps! You’d be surprised how much you are actually eating by not weighing things. After a while, you can start to “eye” things and won’t need the scale as much.
Dustin says I can’t give this away totally yet, but I am starring in my own core workout DVDs. We will be releasing this program within the next month with only a limited number of copies being made available, so be on the lookout for that!