I usually have a set number of calories and macros that has maintained consistent for a while now. On gym days where I will be doing lifting for an hour or more I follow this ratio of nutrients. On rest days I usually focus on always reaching my protein, if not going a little over, and lower my carbs quite a bit. I don’t eliminate them completely…but I know since I am not putting in more energy, my body does not need more carbs. However, I also know that my muscles still need fuel and are recovering even on my rest days. Usually I’ll have some toast, fruit, rice, oatmeal, or a small bowl of cereal on my low carb days.
That is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to show how much/what I consume on a day that I’ve worked out, to show that fuel is needed for muscles to grow. Starving yourself will usually cause you to binge later on other foods or meals that you wouldn’t have if you would have listened to your body when it was hungry.
I usually work out before I go to work, so I wake up pretty early. I like this because I’m usually too tired or have a harder time getting the energy to work out after I come home.*
Meal 1 – Strawberries & Cream Oats with Crunchy Peanut Butter
I like to consume a decent amount of carbs pre-workout for energy and to sustain throughout my workout. For this meal, I simply took a Quaker Oat Strawberries & Cream packet, stirred in a dash of cinnamon, and topped with half a serving of crunchy peanut butter.
Meal 2 – Protein Shake & Cereal
Immediately after my workout I consume a protein shake. My muscles are looking for a quick source of energy after having been torn and stretched during my workout, so I add a 1/2-full serving of a low fat, sugary cereal. These carbs are easily digested and should go right to recovery. Here I have General Mills Girl Scout Samoa cereal, and my protein shake is Peanut Butter Chocolate from BPI Sports.
Meal 3 – Chicken, Egg, and Pepper Wrap with Roasted Potatoes
About an hour or so after my protein shake and cereal I consume an actual meal with higher carbs, 25+ grams of protein, and at most 10 grams of fat. Fat slows down muscle recovery, the protein is necessary to build muscles, and the carbs are needed to add to the “gains” your muscles are trying to accomplish after a workout. I diced up some potatoes and tossed them in a little olive oil, garlic powder, onion flakes, pepper, and thyme. I baked them at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Then I sauteed green onions, lettuce, and a couple hamburger pickle slices until heated through. I set these aside while I heated up some slow cooked chicken I had made earlier in the week and poured two servings of liquid egg white in to a pan. I added some low-fat shredded colby jack cheese, heated up a whole-wheat tortilla wrap, and devoured.
Meal 4 – Green Apple and Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt
About an hour 1/2 to two hours later I was hungry again. I sliced up some small green apples and mixed greek yogurt, molasses, powdered peanut butter (like PB2), and a 1/4 of a serving of crunchy peanut butter and cinnamon together to make a high-protein peanut butter dip.
Meal 5 – Salmon with Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Caprese
The store had salmon on sale for a great price, so I picked up two 6 oz filets for only $6.00! Imagine going out to eat and getting a single 4-6 oz portion of salmon for over $15…the savings is incredible. I was also craving caprese, so I made my own non-traditional version. Usually I will marinade cherry tomatoes in my own combination of spices and vinegars/oils for over 20 hours, but instead I took a few slices from just a regular tomato off the vine and marinated it for only a couple hours. I baked the salmon wrapped in aluminum foil with salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and onion flakes at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. While that cooked, I sliced some brussel sprouts in half and cooked them in a pan until complete. I then stirred in a couple cups of spinach and cooked them just until they wilted. When the salmon finished, I opened the packet up and broiled it at 500 degrees for 5 or so minutes. I plated everything up and added slices of fresh mozzarella between the tomatoes and drizzled the sauce on top of everything. Yum!
Meal 6 – Chocolate Frosted Flakes, Wheat Bran, & Golden Raisins
Sometimes I will eat this midday when I need an energy boost, or I save it for after dinner so I can satisfy my sweet tooth without going overboard. Carbs before bed? Eating after 7pm? CEREAL? Yes, yes, and yes. Because I follow this macro diet, I always have to hit my daily totals…no matter the time. I actually try to have the majority of my carbs surrounding my workout- a good amount before, snack after, and my post workout meal should have the largest amount of carbs I’ll eat for the rest of the day in one sitting. Should. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. But I wake up every morning maintaining the same weight!
I hope that this put in to perspective that not everything has to be strict, low carb, or not fun to eat while you try to either workout for fun, health reasons, or diet reasons. I am always far from starving myself…I eat plenty!
*if you are looking for a more detailed description/recipe of any of the meals I had today, feel free to comment and let me know!