What do I eat?...Is honestly one of the most frequently asked questions even when it come to every day nutrition. A lot of people do not know what "eating clean" is. Eating clean is simply a set of guidelines that you use to set up your diet. These guidelines are..
1. eating 5-7 small meals a day
2. never eat carbs alone
3. include protein
4. include complex carbs
5. include veggies
6. fewer ingredients the better
Now to break these guideline down for contest prep...
1) Eating 5-7 small meals a day will keep your metabolism high all day long. While not preparing for a contest I tend to eat 5 meals a day. During contest prep however, I am going to aim for 6 meals a day.
2) Never eat carbs alone..carbs should always be paired with some sort of protein
3) Include protein...every meal should consist of a portion of protein
4) Include complex carbs...complex carbs should be eaten in your earlier meals of the day. They should be tapered off in the last two meals of the day.
5) Include VEGGIES!!!! EAT UP!!! veggies are your secret weapon! These should be eaten throughout the day and into your evening meals as well.
6) Fewer ingredients the better...read the labels..the more ingredients that are on a label typically states that these foods are refined and highly processed..and therefore NOT GOOD FOR YOU!
Back to what you CAN EAT!!!
Protein Complex Carbs Fibrous Carbs Healthy Fats
-Chicken -Oatmeal -Spinach -Olive Oil
-Tuna -Sweet Potato -Broccoli -Peanut Butter
-Protein powder -Brown Rice -Green Beans -Almond Butter
-Lean Fish -Wheat Bread -Asparagus -Almonds
-Egg Whites -Cucumbers
-Lean Beef -Onions
-Lean Ground Turkey -Peppers
-when it comes to fibrous carbs, almost every veggie is game. The only ones to typically stay away from are peas, carrots, and corn. These veggies have higher sugar content then others. And wheat bread should only be eaten for the first 6 weeks of contest prep. I try to eat it very seldom just because you are not going to be able to have it later on.
Now that we know what to eat, we have to figure out when to eat!
It is very important to eat every 3-4 hours, this keeps your metabolism boosted throughout the day.
Not only is timing between meals important but it is also very important to time calorie intake and macronutrient intake. Calories should be tapered throughout the day, this means that your first meal should be the highest in calories and your last meal should be the lowest. In terms of macronutrient timing, complex carbs should be eaten in the first few meals of the day and should be tapered off in your last two meals of the day. The reasoning behind this is because these carbs are your energy throughout the day and by dinner time you do not need the amount of energy as you did for breakfast. At breakfast you are taking in fuel to get you through the day, while as for dinner you are pretty much just eating to keep that metabolism up. Healthy fats should be eaten through the day, typically I eat them every other meal because that is what works best for me. Fibrous Carbs should be eaten in as many meals as possible and protein should be in every single meal!!!
Dairy is very controversial, at 12 weeks I am cutting it out of my diet completely. Many dairy products are full of fats and make you retain water. If you cannot live without your dairy, eat fat free varieties and they need to be cut out by 6 weeks. By this time you should have noticeable fat loss and when cutting the dairy out it will amplify it a little more and aid in thinning the skin out a little bit. Even though thinning of the skin is more important in a figure or bodybuilding competition.
NO MORE REFINED SUGARS!! NO EMPTY CALORIES!! NO SWEETS!!
Hmmm whats next....WORKOUT AND SUPPLEMENTATION!!