I have to say, I feel a bit weird writing this, as I’m dedicating a whole blog to just talking about myself and food. Okay, who am I kidding, I love talking about myself and food! A few people have been in contact after Keris wrote a similar blog and asked me to divulge what a typical day of eating and training looks like, so I figured it was about time I shared the love. I’ll also explain why I make these choices, many of which are based on information I have gathered over a number of years. I hope you can gain some value from it and use it to reflect upon your own nutrition.
Firstly, it’s important to highlight that over the last decade I’ve tried numerous different “diets” and adapted my nutrition accordingly to ensure it brings out the very best in me. I have tried it all, including; the “eat whatever I want” diet, paleo, low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat and flexible dieting. Each provided a great learning curve for me. However, I’m at a point now where I can be more intuitive with my nutrition. I know what nutrition my body loves, what it needs to thrive in the gym and maintain a healthy composition and what allows me to feel positive and energised most of the time.
The Best Diet For Me
So, you might be wondering which one did I stick with? Well, the truth is, I’m not on any diet. I’m just digging my lifestyle at the moment, although if I had to call it a diet it would be Fitter Food of course! This basically means eating predominantly single ingredient, unprocessed food, cooked from scratch, with the odd treat here and there. Pretty much an 80/20 rule. To be honest I also find this is the most effective approach with clients as it helps keeps them satisfied and on track, which increases their chances of hitting and sustaining their goals. Too often I see people following restrictive diets, in terms of calories and taste, which are no fun at all. Our website and our books (yep book 2 is almost here!) are packed with epic recipes.
Do I Track Macros?
Hell no. I tried tracking my macros and got bored very quickly. It’s just not for me. I’ve been monitoring my nutrition for a while now and I don’t think it’s rocket science. I’ve gained a rough idea of how much protein, fat and carbs are in the foods I generally eat and what my needs are. I’m not a huge fan of calculations and complexity with clients either, it can work well for some people, but for me, trusting my instincts and observing feedback from my body works best.
If you do track macros just be careful it doesn’t become an added stress. We’ve put together a range of awesome cheat sheets for our Fitter 365 members, which detail the carb, protein and fat content of most everyday foods. This way, a simple glance will give you a good idea of how much you’re eating, which means you can focus on prepping awesome meals, spending more time with your family and having a life.
I am not low carb or low fat; I simply adapt my macros to my needs. I eat more carbs and overall calories on training days and less on rest days. In fact, increasing my carbs has been one of the best things I’ve done recently as I think I got quite caught up in the high fat, low carb game. I am getting stronger, recovering faster and getting leaner with a few more potatoes in my life. Yep, even without trying to, I’m improving my body composition, which is awesome (as long as I keep getting stronger of course).
Cut To The Chase Matt
I’m waffling so I’ll get to the point! Here’s a typical day of food for me, based upon a typical training day.
6am: Double espresso
6.15am pre workout: Sustain 2.0 pre workout amino acids by Genetic Supplements
7.30am Homemade post workout shake made of:
- 100% whey protein by Pulsin (amino acids)
- 1 tbsp cacao powder (antioxidants and anti inflammatory)
- ½ tsp cinnamon (antioxidants and anti inflammatory)
- 1 banana (replenish both muscle and liver glycogen as a great balance of glucose and fructose)
- 2 dates (fructose and taste to replenish liver glycogen)
- Creatine monohydrate (to top up my stores) I use the one by Genetic Supplements
8.30am Breakfast: Bubble and squeak with poached eggs and spinach. Eggs are always a good choice as is spinach and we’re forever steaming potatoes and veg so there is always plenty available.
11.30am Early lunch: Usually homemade burgers with sweet potato jacket and mixed salad. I love burgers as they’re so easy to make, the possibilities are endless and you can batch cook so it’s a great way to get organised.
2pm Snack: Apple or pear slices topped with almond or cashew butter.
4pm Snack: Another 2 burgers with avocado and mixed salad.
6.30pm Dinner: Jerk salmon, white rice and steamed vegetables.
After dinner snack: Decaf coffee and couple of squares of dark chocolate.
So this is a typical day, but I follow the simple rule of “eating when I’m hungry”, so it can often change. On a non-training day I tend not to have carbs with breakfast and a smaller amount with lunch, but I always have carbs with evening dinner as it aids my morning workouts and promotes a good nights sleep too, which is always a winner.
I value my performance in the gym so I’m pleased I have found the right balance that works for me, but as great as it is to get your nutrition nailed, it’s so important to address sleep quality and stress control as they can have a big impact on hormone function, overall energy and performance, as well as your nutritional choices.
I aim to switch off from work around 8pm and watch some mindless TV or read. I try to be in bed by 10pm at the latest and also have 2-3 Epsom salts bath a week to help me relax.
Do I Have Cheat Meals?
No I don’t, but I do treat myself. I don’t like the term ‘cheat’ meal. Who am I cheating exactly? It’s just some ice cream damn it! If I fancy a treat I will usually have some ice cream, wine, popcorn or occasionally a pain au chocolat, if Keris isn’t looking. I usually have my treats on training days when I’m more insulin sensitive as they tend to be more carb heavy. The important thing is that I don’t over think it. If I wish to have some ice cream and haven’t trained….BOSH, I will still have some ice cream.
So there it is, nothing crazy, just good food most of the time, more of it on training days and a little less on rest days. I prioritise sleep as much as possible and manage stress as much as I can. I don’t feel guilty after a treat, neither do I go overboard with them. My training’s going well, which always puts a smile on my face. I could probably do with eating more fish and a few more vegetarian meals (from a sustainability perspective too). I’m working on it but Rome wasn’t built in a day and nobody’s perfect.
What About Training?
I’ll keep this brief as I’ve gone on long enough. I’m mixing my training up at the moment using a combination of full body weight training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and circuits. The bread and butter of my workouts are the big lifts such as squat variations, pressing, deadlifts and row variations, however, my work rate is high right now as I’m keeping rest periods low and using a circuit format, so I get plenty done in a short space of time. I’m also kicking off most workouts with a form of HIIT. I keep it short enough to not affect my lifting but intense enough to get the amazing benefits including a ramped up metabolism to demolish body fat.
Here is an example workout.
HIIT: Skipping with high knees. 20 secs of max effort and speed with 40 secs rest, do 10 sets.
Triple set everything, rest 30 secs between triple sets and complete 4-5 sets:
A1) Bench press 10 reps
A2) DB split squat 10 reps on each leg
A3) Supinated grip barbell rows 10 reps
B1) DB shoulder press 8 reps
B2) Barbell back squat 8 reps
B3) Close grip pull ups 8 reps
C1) Close grip press ups 10 reps
C2) Lat pull downs 10 reps
C3) Leg lowers 10 reps
This seems like a lot, but if you stick to the rest periods and adapt the weights so that you can just complete the reps and sets, you will get the job done quickly and it won’t be long before those weights start creeping up and you will feel awesome.
If you are interested in joining our Fitter 365 membership site, which is packed with helpful nutrition and training information including: cheat sheets, meal plans, educational webinars and training plans, as well as access to a fun and supportive group of like minded people, then check it out. I’ll even give you a guided tour.
It’s only £1 for the first month and you can cancel at anytime, not that you would want to. It’s basically a one stop shop for all you need to live a happy, healthy and awesome life!