Sleeping was not easy last night. A lot of tossing and turning. I got back from the gym around 10PM (on Valentine’s Day, mind you) after an hour-long commute.
The gym where I train is in Midtown East and I live on the Upper West Side. After my workout, I throw on my sweats and hop on the bus with my bags full of clothes and empty Tupperware. It’s an easy (but long) commute with my book or my iPod and offers some nice decompression time and a chance for me to digest my post workout protein shake before my final meal for the day.
Last night was legs, but I was not feeling so hot and was kind of fearing my performance.
I received a Tetnus shot earlier in the day and had a pretty bad headache (which I never get) and I was feeling nauseous. I had only been able to eat 3 of my normal 5 meals before heading to the gym because work was insane and I was at the doctor all morning for my physical.
I anticipated a so-so workout, but was able to kick out an awesome one – what a great surprise! My trainer actually said that he was happy with how my body was changing – exciting!! – and I can see it, too.
We talked about getting me set up to go into pre-contest mode, but we want to see how much size I can get in the next couple of months first.
I feel like I’m getting somewhere and feel good about this partnership. Not because he’s telling me I’m doing well, but because I can see that this is working.
When I arrived home it was time for some food, so I prepped a scramble of 1 egg with 5 egg whites, arugula, cherry tomatoes and a little tiny bit of mozzarella cheese. On the side I had two Wasa Light Rye crackers with a little humus and some Beverly International UMP Protein pudding for desert.
After cleaning up the dishes from dinner and washing my Tupperware and shaker bottles from the day, I started to pack my meals for Wednesday only to realize that I had no brown rice or sweet potatoes prepared. Knowing that I had no choice, I decided to cook all the brown rice left in my apartment (I was not in the mood for sweet potato preparation, nor did I have sweet potato patience).
I jumped in the shower while my rice did its thing and by 11:30 my meals were complete and my rice, gone.
By 11:45 I was in bed with the lights out but my brain would not turn off. My eyes were wandering all over the insides of my eyelids and I just wouldn’t sleep.
I tossed and turned, I woke up around 2AM, I fell back asleep and then awoke at 6AM on the dot (my alarm was set for 7:45) and I was as awake as I would normally be at noon.
Why, when we have the luxury of sleeping in do our bodies not want to comply?
So I’m up. I took some Advil (still had the headache) and ate my protein pancake. I’ll get an early start today and hopefully hit the sack early. Today is my rest day and I’m hoping my body will take the rest.
How do you wind down after a PM workout?
On a Sunday evening when you might be reading the paper, cooking dinner or petting the dog, I am hard at work in the kitchen building my body.
It’s not a lie that almost 80% of your physique is made in the kitchen. Changing your eating habits gets you almost all the way there.
Last week I started eating more to propel my muscle growth and I’m already surprised at the changes I’m seeing. Yet after tracking my diet and looking at my macronutrient composition (percentage of carbs, protein and fat), I realized that I’m still consuming way too much protein.
I was eating about .8g of carbs for every 1g of protein.
My trainer told me that I absolutely had to increase this ratio to at least 1.5:1 to see results. So last week I welcomed Mr. Sweet Potato and his friend, Brown Rice, into my weekly meal plan.
I need to be precise about eating because there’s a lot of margin for error, so on Saturday morning I sat down with my coffee and an Excel spreadsheet and took inventory of all the foods that I eat on a regular basis from boiled chicken to cottage cheese.
I noted how many calories, grams of protein, carbs and fat were in each each serving by weight and created a food library. Then for the next hour I put together a diet that would get me to my target needs for each day.
After some more discussion with my trainer we landed on the following for me (143lbs, 5’10”):
Believe it or not, this was a tricky task, but I did it! I created a meal plan for days that I workout in the morning and one for days that I workout in the evening and then I set to work to make it happen.
After all, you can dream about making changes all you want, but at some point, you need to make the moves.
Below is a quick rundown of my food prep for the week that happens every Sunday starting at about 4PM. In our apartment, we like to call it “Chicken Time” because for the next 3 hours, that’s exactly what it is.
STEP 1: Buy the chicken and the fish!
– I start with about 14 pounds of chicken and 1-2 bags of frozen tilapia.
– Fish is a nice add-in for variety and it’s an easier protein to digest, so my body is happier when it’s in the mix.
STEP 2: Wash the protein…and the sweet potatoes
– I clean all my proteins and pop the chicken in a pot of water on the stove and throw the tilapia in the oven with my sweet potatoes.
STEP 4: Wait and pack
– While the chicken boils and the tilapia and sweet potatoes bake, I prep my portable meals and snacks for the next 2 days.
– Since I eat breakfast and my last meal of the day at home, I take 3 mid-day containers to work each day.
– I use my digital food scale and divvy out the proper measurements of frozen and fresh veggies and my fat (nuts or avocado).
STEP 5: Pack the protein and the potatoes
– Once the tilapia and chicken are done I start to dish out my protein for the week into each of the containers.
– When the entire meal prep is complete, I will also have about 4oz sweet potato and 4 – 4.5oz protein in each dish along with about 100g of veggies.
STEP 6: Store
– I typically have plenty of protein left over, so I store two of the three containers shown below in the freezer and keep 1 in the fridge. This way I’ve always got something clean to eat on hand.
So that’s it! You cook, you pack, you go live your life – and you eat!
How do you get ready for your week ahead?