As athletes, we understand the importance of working out. We know that living a sedentary life can lead to health issues, not to mention mobility issues, so we carve out the time for a few weekly sweat sessions.
Whether you're exercising for overall health or to gain the body of your dreams, there is one thing we tend to forget; You cannot out exercise a poor diet.
Unfortunately, once you've put in 8 hours at the office, commuted home, and smashed a workout you're exhausted. Rather than pulling those lean chicken breasts out of the freezer and cooking, you go for the easy option; delivery. Although this may not be an everyday occurrence, work and poor eating can have some seriously negative effects on your gains.
To avoid making poor decisions for the sake of exhausted simplicity, let's talk meal prep.
What is Meal Prep?
I'm sure you've seen a post (or twenty!) of athletes or even friends prepping their meals for the week. Instagram is amass with meal prep photos, but what is the real appeal?
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, meal prep basically refers to pre-planning and pre-cooking your meals in advance. Essentially you cook in bulk and eat leftovers all week long. Not only does this save you a bunch of time in the kitchen, but it reduces your chances of resorting to unhealthy food choices throughout the week.
So how do you do it? Follow the two P's.
Plan and Prepare
Before you start channeling your inner Nigella Lawson , you're going to want to have the right tools - tupperware. Lots and lots of tupperware. We highly suggest glass or BPA-free plastics as they won't leach any chemicals into your foods or melt in the microwave when you reheat them. It's great to have an assortment of sizes, but it's not essential.
Once you've got the storage aspect covered, it's time to plan your meals. Even the most seasoned meal prepper can become overwhelmed with cooking a week's worth of meals. The secret is in creating a meal plan, coordinating grocery list and choosing recipes that you like and will not spoil immediately.
Write down what you will be eating each day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and your snacks. Determine what portion size is best for your body. Now, a general rule of thumb is a palm size for protein, fist for carbs and two open palms of veggies, but that doesn't always work for everyone. Listen to your body (or better yet, a dietitian if you're struggling) and find the portion sizes right for you.
Now that you've got your meals, tupperware and portion sizes organized, it's time to get prepping.
Prepping doesn't mean you have to cook all of your meals beforehand. You can prepare foods like turkey burgers or marinate a lean chicken breast, store it and then cook fresh on the day of your choice. The idea is simply to save you time in the long run and reduce your chances of cheating on your clean diet.
Meal prep can be overwhelming at first, but over time you will find a routine that works for you and your body.
Now, we want to hear from you - have you tried meal prep before? If so, we'd love for you to share your experience (and fave recipes!) in the comment section below.
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