A good, balanced and measured diet is as crucial for optimizing your bodybuilding results as is any amount of time in the gym. Still, while you plan your gym schedule to the infinite detail, for different types of exercise, different muscle groups and according to stated fitness goals, you come home each night hungry and not having a clue about what you’re going to eat.
Meal prep for bodybuilding changes all that. Now you can plan to have a set portion of the right foods ready when it’s time to eat.
How to Get the Most From Meal Prep
No matter how good are the recipes you find, without following a few guidelines you won’t get the maximum benefit from your meal planning and prep.
- Prepare Your Meals in Bulk
It’s never easy to do your own meal preparation (of course, you could arrange for one of our healthy meal plan deliveries!). So the more you do when you actually get down to it, the better – and it’s a great way to save time If you only prepare a few meals, you’ll be faced with doing the chore all over again faster than you think. And that means you’ll also face the temptation of taking the easy way out – fast food or restaurant food.
If you can, prepare and least a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Weekly meal prep is also a good rhythm to get into. You can set aside a day that you’ll know far in advance is your meal prep day and you can set-up your schedule around it.
- Portion Your Meals
Eating the right-sized portions is important to your diet and exercise program. Even eating too much healthy, nutritious foods isn’t a good thing. Here’s a handy guide we found to help you quickly judge portion sizes:
- 1 oz. meat: size of a matchbox
- 3 oz. fish: size of a checkbook
- 1 oz. cheese: size of four dice
- 1 medium potato: size of a computer mouse
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter: size of a ping pong ball
- 1 cup pasta: size of a tennis ball
- 1 average bagel: size of a hockey puck
- 3 oz. meat or chicken breasts: size of a deck of cards or bar of soap (the recommended portion for a meal)
- 8 oz. meat: size of a thin paperback book
Use small plastic containers to store each meal. You can take them with you to the gym so you can stoke your hunger right away instead of having to wait until you get home.
- Drink Lots of Water
Why do you make sure you eat a high protein diet? Because you know protein is an important building block of muscle. But your muscles are 75% water. Your brain is 74% water and your blood is 83% water. Even hard bone is 22% water. Water also helps you tame your hunger, absorb vitamins and minerals, reduce inflammation and keep your joints lubricated.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how to lower your cholesterol through your diet.