As some of you may know, I had been in prep mode for my first NPC Bikini Bodybuilding competition in August. The awesome news is, I finished 2nd place in all three of my categories! (Yes she did that!) Because I had to get leaner for competition, I received a lot of questions regarding my diet. Did my diet change much after I started competition prep? Was I starving? How much did I have to deprive myself of comfort food? Did I include supplements in my diet? So I’m going to give you all the deets regarding my meal prep.
What I have learned during this process is, whether preparing for a competition or trying to lose weight, food contributes to 80% of your success or failure. Before starting my prep, my diet wasn’t really bad. I stayed away from a lot of sweets, I only ate fish, chicken and turkey. And I enjoyed green veggies and drank my fair share of water. However, I teamed up with my nutritionist @thefitnest to give me further guidance.
Here are a few things I had to start doing:
1. Eat more… I wasn’t eating enough throughout the day. No Bueno! It’s said that eating smaller meals throughout the day keeps metabolism active all day long. Studies published by The British Journal of Nutrition found it was the number of calories consumed that mattered most, not the frequency of meals. Regardless, I started eating 5-6 meals a day, Consuming between 1300-1600 calories a day. So go ahead and invest in a scale, you will need to weigh your food to make sure you are eating the proper portions. I had to!
2. Stop being afraid of food… I do have "cheat” meals here and there, but it is all about what you eat.
Protein: Aim for at least three servings of lean protein (such as fish, white meat chicken and turkey, pork loin chops, and lean beef sirloin) per day. Protein helps to keep you feeling full longer, which is a big benefit when you’re trying to lose weight. I consumed protein at every meal which allowed me to lower my carb intake on some days.
Good Fats: These include monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, found in oils, nuts, avocados, certain fish—and yes, even chocolate! Eat 3-4 servings daily. Studies show that these fats—besides being good for your heart—can help you feel fuller longer after meals.
FACTS: 10 Gummy bears or 1 Twix bar is equivalent to 1 serving of fat. I swap out fats all the time!
CARBS: Yes, CARBS! Eat at least 20 grams of fiber per day from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber helps keep you feeling full longer—a big benefit when you’re trying to lose weight. So I eat, brown rice, white rice, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, oat meal, thin bagels, every leafy green veggie you could think of, and fruit. It’s all about portions.
FACTS: Chocolate Rice Cakes with peanut butter make a great snack...YUM!
3. Drink more water… Water intake helps promote weight loss in two ways. First, drinking more water—at least 4 cups per day—was linked to a 5-pound weight loss over the course of a year. The amount of water increases the amount of energy or calories your body burns. Second, substituting water for sugary drink resulted in even more weight loss. I went from drinking 32oz, of water per day to 128 oz. Now my body craves water. So lay off the pop and Starbuck’s caramel macchiato.
4. Natural supplements are ok… I don’t take many supplements, but those that I do take help my immune system, improve regularity and muscle mass.
Probiotics: Are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. Probiotics are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.
Vitamins: I take 1000mg of vitamin C plus Vitamins D & E and I just may throw in a multivitamin as well.
Protein Shakes: Dymatize ISO100 Whey Protein Isolate is my go to powder. I drink them daily…sometimes I count them as a meal. You can even make protein ice cream, just add almond butter and freeze!
Muscle Recovery: I take glutamine 3x day and BCAA during and after my work outs. Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles. L-Glutamine supplementation can minimize breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism. BCAA supplementation is useful for gaining mass and helpful in maintaining muscle mass while on a calorie-deficit diet. Mix it in your water and go!
At the end of the day, it’s about what you eat and how much you eat. As Americans we tend to go overboard with our portions. The idea behind this whole eating thing is that you identify your goals and then find the best meal plan to help you reach those goals safely! Send me any questions or suggestions you may have!
Enjoy the Journey