For almost the past three months I have been working with Emily Field, a registered dietitian, and we have been focused on body composition, while at the same time fueling for performance.
From the beginning, Emily has prescribed daily macros (protein, fat, carbs). I was under-eating relative to my level of physical activity and so we started off just at 125 grams of protein, 60 grams of fat and 175 grams of carbs (1,750 calories).
Those numbers have been strategically increased every two weeks or so as my adapts to the larger caloric intake and metabolism has kicked into high gear. Now, my prescribed daily macros on active days is 200 grams of protein, 140 grams of fat and 250 grams of carbs (3,060 calories).
So what does 3,000 calories look like? Most would assume that is a easy number to hit courtesy of a few Big Macs and some Oreos. But the method behind the madness is that I am getting to the 3,000 calories by adhering to the specific ratio of protein, fat and carbs that Emily has assigned.
I’ll walk you through what I ate yesterday to provide illustration of how I hit my macros. Admittedly it is a bit short on greens and that can be improved. (I’ll note that Emily does not “count” non-starch vegetables to the daily macros, which means I could eat baby spinach to my heart’s content, but that just adds to the pile of food I am already consuming.) I welcome any comments and advice on recipes, alternative ideas or other useful tips.
|Cheddar Cheese (1/4 cup)||7||9||1||113|
|Rice (1/2 dry cup)||6||0||70||304|
|Olive oil (2 tbsp)||0||28||0||252|
|Chicken sausage (2)||12||6||0||102|
|Chocolate milk (1 cup)||8||8||29||220|
Outside of the chocolate milk, all these other items get mixed into a big breakfast bowl of goodness. I have a Lekue Microwave Rice & Grain Cooker that cooks the rice in 12 minutes. I then mix in the olive oil, cheddar cheese, two fried eggs and cut up chicken sausages. This post-workout bowl is my go-to. I stated adding the olive oil last week to up my fat intake and the protein just rotates between chicken sausages and bacon.
|Grilled Chicken Burger||41||14||37||438|
A trip through the sky-way in downtown Minneapolis takes me to MyBurger, a recent staple once I discovered this grilled chicken burger. It is not award-winning but it offers a large, well cooked piece of chicken. The coleslaw as a side is a nice alternative to ordering fries. I should note that I don’t put any mayo, ketchup or mustard on my burger. While this sounds boring, it is tasty enough thanks to the cheese, lettuce and tomato. Ideally I would pack my lunch but when I fall short on my meal prep this definitely hits the spot.
While I have a shaker in the picture to provide a sense of scale for this whopping scoop, I actually bring my ProGainer in a mason jar – better known as my “hipster shaker” (joke courtesy of a fellow Jeremy) – to work. It is the larget “cup” with a lid that I have that will fit both the whey and the water and leave room to shake. My coworker thinks it is hysterical. It is definitely not subtle but it has greatly helped me hit my prescribed protein and carbs. Previously, I was only having 3 big meals per day so this has also helped spread the love and feel more satiated.
|Salame (2 oz)||16||16||0||208|
|Chicken breast (5.6 oz)||32.1||2.1||0||148|
|Mozarella (1/4 cup)||7||6||2||90|
|Brocolli slaw (1 cup)||2||0||5||28|
|Olive oil (1 tbsp)||0||14||0||126|
Dinner is a typically a smorgasboard of various items in my refrigerator and involves grazing for an hour or two as I try to hit my macros. Again, the 3,000 calories is based on a specific ratio of protein to fat to carbs. I am tracking macros first and foremost. I am able to calculate my calories but I never have them in mind when I select what to eat. Rather, I am focused on whether each thing I eat gets me to my daily goal of protein, fats and carbs.
I prefer my plate be filled with clean simple ingredients instead of overly processed foods, but some days there are exceptions. I can’t live like a monk and simply exist on white rice and chicken. Some days I have a glass of red wine or a beer or a few cookies. However, I look at what I am eating the majority of the time and whether those are good choices.
The final tally is pretty dead on to my goal. Not all days are perfect, but consistency is key and the results are revealing themselves each week when I look in the mirror.