Nutrition Before Everything
Regardless what your fitness goals may be, we can all agree nutrition plays an essential role. Whether you’re a high school track star, professional bodybuilder, casual gym-goer or someone looking to drop weight to feel better, none of your goals are achievable without keeping particular nutrition goals in mind. You may train like a beast every single day, but if you don’t prime yourself with the appropriate nutrients you immediately diminish your outcome as well as reduce your chances at the ever elusive “gains.”
If it’s just that simple, why don’t active individuals eat properly? Because it takes daily willpower, dedication, and effort to fill your body with what it needs. In our ever increasing schedules, the time it takes to buy, prepare, cook and pre-package into containers, all while remembering to put it into your bag in the morning, is daunting even for the most organized soul! If only there were a simpler option.
A Personal Journey
During dental school when I started to take my training more seriously, I realized how important it is to eliminate certain barriers from the equation in order to achieve my goals. Being the Type-A, “must do it all myself” person that I am, at first I thought it was lazy and beyond my means to hire an outside source to cook my meals. As I discovered how busy my schedule became yet how simultaneously driven I was to achieve more in the gym, I knew I had to alter this mindset. Sometimes I was exhausted and wouldn’t prepare my meals, or I would wake up late and have to rush out the door, no meal in hand. What did all this equate to? Picking up a quick meal out, which is a common problem most Americans suffer from. It’s easy, it’s exciting. “What am I going to eat for lunch today?!” This mentality immediately sets you off track, and it wasn’t working for me anymore.
I started to educate myself regarding the various meal preparation programs that exist today (and they’re popping up everywhere!) I finally realized it’s okay to let someone else do the work for me. This doesn’t make me any less of a driven individual. All it means is I’m making the necessary accommodations to diminish my load and maximize my growth, despite a busy schedule. All it means is I’m tired of making excuses for myself, blaming a “lack of hours in the day.” All it means is I’m able to devote more time to other, more important areas of my life.
By having my meals cooked and bagged ahead of time, my world was rocked and I no longer had nutrition to blame for a lack of progress. I immediately observed major improvements as I was providing my body with the consistent tools it needed to adapt..at a fraction of the time. I simply felt better, too. And here at For Today’s Man, we’re all about finding ways to feel better.
My dental school classmates started to hop on board too (guys who lift, girls who don’t, etc.) once they realized it was actually cheaper than eating out everyday, AND it helped them on their individual pathways. If you’re reading this, hopefully you’re next.
How it Works
1) Establish your goals. Determine how much and what type of food you need. We’ll get into macros and tracking in a different article, but generally it’s important to pre-plan before you blindly order (also helps prevent over ordering!)
2) Find a meal prep service in your area (Instagram is a great resource for local companies. National companies e.g. Icon Meals are available if you live in a rural area. Note: I’ve noticed the national companies tend to have higher shipping rates, so it’s best to find a local company if possible). Quick shoutout to PFS Meals in the Bay Area and Clean Eats Seattle in my new town for keeping me on track – check them out.
3) Establish a good rapport with the company. These people have your back.
4) Place orders on time each week. Choose from one of the following options:
*Pre-packaged: The company designs a meal with a set amount of protein, carbs and veggies. This option works great for some, but offers less flexibility if you’re on a strict meal plan with particular macronutrient requirements.
*By the pound: Allows you to customize the amounts of protein, carb and vegetable. You then weigh out your food and create your meals in the proportions you desire.
5) Receive your meals and blissfully eat! Realize how available your schedule becomes for other passions and goal-seeking!
“All it means is I’m able to devote more time to other, more important areas of my life.”
1) Ask for your individual foods to be separated in half and placed into separate bags. This way you can freeze half of each item for the second half of the week!
2) Often, athletes are sponsored by these companies and you can find promotional codes to apply toward your order. See the company’s Instagram, do a little digging, and you’ll see what I mean.
3) Ordering by the lb. is typically cheaper
4) This approach will cut down on the amount of dishes you have at home, too
Do I have to be a bodybuilder to have my meals prepared for me ahead of time?
No. You just have to be someone who cares about your health and wellbeing, and someone who doesn’t want to make excuses anymore for your poor eating habits
Doesn’t it get bland?
On purpose, the meals generally limit the amount of salt and extra flavoring. But they still taste great! I really look forward to my meals and I top them off with no-calorie hot sauces to give them that extra kick. I still get really excited to eat.
Isn’t it crazy expensive?
Depending on the company, it can actually be really affordable when you realize A) time is money and B) how much you spend eating out..
Do I have to buy everything from the service?
No. I mainly buy my proteins, carbs and veggies in bulk from the company, by the pound. You can also get pre-packaged meals if that’s your thing; I find the pre-packaged meals are too small for my needs and less economical, but they may work great for you! I still go to Amazon and the grocery store for my add-ons such as avocados, nutrition bars, milk, eggs, fun snack items, etc. You could also consider breaking up your diet to be 75% outsourced, 25% eating out/other indulgences. Having 75% clean and planned however makes a world of difference!
Umm, what if I enjoy cooking?
Keep on cooking bro! This shouldn’t serve to destroy your hobbies and passions. Rather, it can be a supplement for you. If you enjoy preparing meals or have “Meal Prep Sundays” with your girlfriend, that’s amazing. A meal prep service can be considered as an add-on option then, to help subsidize the amount you have to cook.
What are you waiting for? Take accountability for your diet! You’ll immediately see that the single most difficult “barrier” is now nothing more than an afterthought. Your days flow more seamlessly, and you can re-allocate your time on the things that truly matter: loved ones, training, side passions, and whatever else makes you feel alive.