Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nutrition Planning by Rain Girl

I've gotten a few requests over the last month for help with nutrition planning (Stephanie even offered to pay me! LOL).  Of course I welcome these requests because, as my family will eagerly point out, I love telling people what to do! (Can you just feel the love?)

Anyway, my type of planning may not be everyone's cup of tea. I am busy, lazy, and have a touch of Rain Man in me (or Rain Girl as Hot Stuff affectionately calls me). What does this mean? I have a lot to do (work and triathlon training), I don't like to put a lot of effort into meals, and I don't have a problem doing the same thing day in and day out.

For example, during the week, I get up and have breakfast at 4:30am, 7:30am is Snack-1, 10:00am is Snack-2, noon is lunch, and 2:30pm is afternoon snack... dinner is flexible and depends on what time practice is scheduled. Does this sound crazy? It doesn't to me, but other people might think I'm nuts!  LOL

If you are still on...I've included lots of pictures so you get an idea of the kind of things I eat.

Step 1 - Determine Your Caloric Needs

Before starting any kind of nutrition plan, it is important to determine how much you should be eating. A lot of people make the mistake of not taking in enough calories. This can be especially detrimental if you are doing triathlon training. Your body needs calories in order to perform. If you aren't taking in enough calories, your workouts and performance will suffer. So, to start off, lose the idea of a 1,200 calorie a day diet.

When HS and I first did P90X, we followed the nutrition guideline to determine how many calories we needed. Several years later, P90X2 was released and it included a similar although somewhat revised calculation method. The main difference is that the P90X2 plan allows you to add or subtract some calories to either add or lose weight. I would recommend not doing this the first few weeks until you see how the standard caloric intake is working for you.

My caloric needs using this method is approximately 2,500 calories a day. It may be hard to see in the photo, but this method adds 650 calories a day to cover the energy used doing the P90X2 workouts. This would be similar to an hour of running or biking (a little less for swimming).

Can you imagine trying to do an hour or running or biking on only 1,200 calories a day?

If you are too lazy to try and use this method, there is a calculator on I entered in my info and it returned a caloric need of 2,400 calories. This is close to the P90X2 calculation. Calorie Calculator

Step 2 - Plan, Plan, Plan

Once you know how much you need to be eating, you need to plan out your meals. This is especially important if you are working or busy all day. Fortunately, I work in an office. I have access to a refrigerator and I have my mini blender for my shakes. If you are out and about most of the day, you will need to plan foods that do not need to be refrigerated (or pack an ice chest).

I am a very lazy person. During the work week, I am quite happy packing the same thing day after day (HS doesn't think this is lazy, he thinks its a "Rain Man" thing).

Everything was ready the night before...just grab and go

Almonds are one of my favorite afternoon snacks. In this photo, I bought the big bag of almonds from Costs and packaged 1oz. bags for myself and 2oz. bags for HS.  This makes getting out the door in the morning easy... just grab what I need and go!

I've marked the bags with the weights
Another thing that I like to make is juice (more on juicing below). Unfortunately, fresh juices should be consumed within 48 hours, so I really can't make a whole week's worth ahead of time. This picture was back when HS, Loo and I were all juicing which is why there are so many bottles (Note: Snapple bottles work great and are reusable).

Juice - another lazy option

Shakeology at work in my mini-blender

Simple salad made the night before

Taking our shakes on the go

I take a little more freedom with breakfast and dinner, but we do have our favorites.  For example: breakfast is usually greek yogurt with blueberries, oatmeal, eggs & beans, or turkey chorizo and eggs.

One of my favs - very easy to make
Dinner follows a simple format... a protein (chicken, fish, lean beef), salad, and brown/wild rice or veggie. Sometimes I will get fancy and follow a recipe! The turkey chili below was from the "Body Beast" nutrition plan. Yummy!

Chili made for a beast

Step 3 - Adjust and Adapt

After you start a new nutrition plan, you need to give it some time to see how it's working for you. Give it few weeks then review what you've been doing.

Over the last few years of working on my nutrition, I have discovered the following things about my diet:
  • Having bread and pasta in my diet, regardless of the amount of calories, causes me to get bloated. It also makes me crave more carbs.
  • Drinking wine causes me to throw my diet out the window. Oops! I try and limit my wine to the weekends :-)
  • Juicing makes water weight disappear.
  • Too much exercise and not enough calories sends me into a peanut butter eating frenzy. 
  • Cheat days are a necessity otherwise I would never stick to my plan.
Keep It Real

If you are serious about getting healthy and losing weight, it's time to drop the diet soda and any other kind of diet, fat-free, sugar-free crap. Loo once posted something about chemicals in food... pardon the language...


Enough said!
Check out this recent article about diet soda...

"a Purdue University study has found that diet sodas may be linked to a number of health problems from obesity to diabetes to heart disease, just like their more sugary counterparts"
You may want to start off your nutrition plan by first eliminating the bad stuff and then adjusting your calories after you've gotten used to the changes.

About Juicing

HS and I first decided to give juicing a try after watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" on Netflix. We had the Jack La Lane juicer from Costco, but upgraded to the Green Star Elite after we got serious. The Green Star is not cheap, but in terms of extraction, there is no comparison, especially if you a juicing leafy greens (spinach, wheat grass, etc.).

I have done a full week juice cleanse as well as a couple of weekend cleanses. The full week cleanse is not for the faint of heart. However, it is an effective way to kick of a new nutrition plan. Not only will you lose weight (I lost 8 lbs. in 7 days), but you will feel rejuvenated and you will find that your junk food cravings disappear.

The first few days of a 7 cleanse are tough, but if you can get through those, the rest of the week is not bad. Don't attempt this if you have any kind of special event planned during the week. Not only will you be miserable watching everyone enjoying whatever celebratory food they are eating, but you will also piss them off because you are just so freakin' healthy! LOL

Juicing also requires planning and prep work

Fridge full of juice as well as some chia fresca
My favorite recipe

A Little Extra Ooomph!

After following a nutrition or workout plan for a while, I find that I need to shake things up a bit. Due to the time demands of triathlon training, I haven't done any P90X workouts for quite a while (except for the occasional Yoga-X or Stretch-X workout). Most of the P90X workouts are at least an hour and then add another 15 minutes for Ab Ripper-X.

As you can imagine, following a P90X workout with an hour long run, swim or bike would be quite time consuming... plus I would be worn out! Doing P90X before work is not an option either. I start work at 6am and get up around 4:15am. No one would be able to stand me if I tried getting up any earlier ;-) HS wouldn't want to put up with me after an hour less sleep (I'm bad enough) and James would probably kick me out of the pool! LOL

I think I have finally found a solution....after Barb's Race, I'm going to start Shaun T's new workout called T25. I have always been a fan of INSANITY, but just like P90X, I just didn't have the time for a 45-55 minute workout. T25 is only 25 minutes a pop. This is completely do-able even if I did try it before work (less time playing Candy Crush in the morning LOL).

Another reason I want to incorporate a structured workout into my triathlon training is because I need some additional strength and core training and I'm not the type that can just do those types of workouts on my own. I need someone moving me along and telling me what to do.

One thing I like about Shaun T's workouts is that they use your body weight for strength training, not weights. Of course, HS is not a big fan of this because as he says "I don't want tri arms". I on the other hand want long lean arms, but I also want strength. This workout will be perfect for a little extra strength without the bulk (HS can stick to his Body Beast routines).

Can't wait to try this

Once I get the program (it's on back order because it has proven to be so popular) am going to read through everything and determine how I am going to work it into my schedule. I'm also looking forward to checking out the nutrition plan.

Here is a list of the workouts that are can see why I think this will help my triathlon training :-)

ALPHA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:

  • Cardio 25 minutes of calorie-burning, sweat-drenching cardio.
  • Speed 1.0 Ignite your quickness. Burn the fat. Fast-paced for fast results.
  • Total Body Circuit Focus on strength and resistance—without lifting a single weight.
  • Ab Intervals Cardio and ab intervals that shred the fat from your midsection.
  • Lower Focus Focus on your lower-body muscles—the key to burning fat and kicking up your metabolism.

BETA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:

  • Core Cardio Get your sweat on! This progressive cardio-core workout is about you getting shredded fast.
  • Speed 2.0 Rev it up with Shaun's calorie-scorching, core-focused speed drills.
  • Rip't Circuit Cardio … upper body … legs … abs ... repeat! This is how you get ripped in 25 minutes.
  • Dynamic Core You'll go from vertical to horizontal and back again in this dynamic, crazy core routine.
  • Upper Focus Shaun will help you develop the upper body of your dreams. All you have to do is FOCUS. 

Don't tell your friends
Let me know if you are interested in doing this program with me...I can get it for you at my cost ;-) Shhhhh!!