Something people have asked us about often is how we keep on top of meal preparation. It is very easy to claim you couldn’t do this fitness thing because you don’t have time to prepare all that food, and admittedly it does take up a lot of time even when you plan it like a military operation. But we live busy lives, and we promise, it can be done. It is certain though, that the ability to plan and prepare all your meals in advance and always ensure you have the right food ready at the right time, can be a critical factor in whether you succeed or fail to
achieve your goals.
Firstly, bear in mind that everyone is different – what works for us may not work for you. The best approach, as with anything really, is to try different methods until you find what suits you and your lifestyle.
To lead you towards that, it would be a good idea to consider a few factors though. Dietary plans can be very different. Some may be simple guidelines on what sorts of things you should eat at particular times of the day – this gives you plenty of freedom to try and fit the best choices around your schedule etc. At the other end of the scale, the plan may detail every last morsel that you should consume for every single day – this is what Mr & Mrs C are used to, and it does mean you have to make life work around the plan rather than the other way around.
Should your plan be the same every day, it will clearly be a little more boring. However, it will also be a lot simpler to prepare. Plans that provide different meals for, say, each day of
the week, are much more varied and interesting to eat, but a real pain to prepare for.
If you’re writing your own plan, obviously the first concern is to make the right choices for your nutrition. But do also make sure you consider what works for your schedule too – there’s no way you can keep up with 5 meals that need to be freshly cooked just before eating, if you’re going to be out of the house for 12 hour days with no access to a kitchen! Even if you’re following a plan that has been provided to you be someone else, you will need to consider what fits in with your lifestyle. Sometimes you just know you’re going to be in the middle of nowhere with a tub full of chicken, rice and broccoli and no microwave, so you’ll make sure it’s cooked and ready to go and when the time comes you just it goes down cold! While Instagram would have you believe this fitness thing is all gourmet meals that look like they’re straight out of Masterchef, the reality is that you can do that sometimes, but other times life gets in the way and you have to plan and compromise to get that nutrition right.
Essentially, you need to find out how you work best personally. Some people enjoy spending a long time each day cooking their meals fresh, and they have the time to do it – if that’s you, brilliant, enjoy every moment! If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do that, your best route would probably be to optimise your prep to save as much time as possible.
Once you have a plan you can work to, we have found the best way is to cook in batches as much as possible – this is where tupperware comes in! And a big fridge, preferably. Most things will stay fresh for 3-4 days, so that tends to dictate the frequency of your cooking days. This way, for most meals you already have most/all ingredients to hand and heated up in a couple of minutes. If you’re doing the fitness thing as a couple you can help each other out, and provided you don’t get in each others’ way in the kitchen you might even be able to call it quality time! If you do run out of one particular ingredient, try to swap it our for something nutritionally similar, but don’t give up on the whole meal and go off plan!
As a final note, how to deal with going out for a meal or staying away from home is enough of a subject to fill a post all by itself, so we’ll keep that brief! When we’re able to we’ll
take prepped meals with us – we both have iso bags (https://isolatorfitness.com/), which we have found we couldn’t live without now! Mr C has the 6 meal one, becuase he stays away overnight with work (try to choose accommodation with a microwave!) and Mrs C has the 4 meal one becuase she works 12 hour shifts so needs a few meals with her. If you’re going out, try and do your research – see the menus, and try to choose the best place you can. If you’re approaching your peak for a competition or photoshoot you obviously can’t compromise on your diet, but if you can make it work without affecting your long term goals it is important to remember you can bend the rules now and then.
Hopefully this helps to explain a little about how we approach meal preps etc., but if you do things differently please comment below and share your experiences!
Mr & Mrs C