After you learned in the first two parts of the Lean & Strong Series (Part 1, Part 2) the necessary basics for diet planning for optimal muscle gains, it’s time to apply them. In this blog post I show you how I apply science to my personal diet.
Protein content of my meals
All of my meals have about the same protein content, which is 33 g protein per meal. The meals that are further away from my workout have about 30 g protein and my post-workout meal has slightly more protein, about 40 g. Protein content of my meals is calculated based on the leucine threshold for optimal muscle gain. My daily protein intake is between 125-150 g protein.
My current goal is weight loss. My lifestyle is pretty sedentary, as I work from home and spend most of my day in front of my laptop. For this reason, my calorie intake is fairly low. My calorie target is set to 1650 kcal per day. This is for training days, as train almost every day. On days I don’t train (because I travel or don’t manage it to get to the gym for whatever reason) I aim for 100-200 kcal less.
I aim to get 40% of calories that I consume from fat, which is about 73 g fat per day. To get a balanced fatty acid profile, I aim for 22 g saturated fatty acids (30%), 26 g monounsaturated fatty acids (35%) and 26 g polyunsaturated fatty acids (35%). As I mentioned in my previous post, omega-3 fatty acids, which are one type of polyunsaturated fatty acids, are particularly important and should ideally comprise one quarter to one half of daily polyunsaturated acid intake. For this reason, I get 7-13 g omega-3 fatty acids every day.
The remaining calories that are required to reach my energy target come from carbs. On most days, my carb intake is between 120-130 g per day. My diet is low in carbs (Yes, vegan low carb diet is possible ;) ), because I feel better following a low carb diet and carbohydrates are not very important for strength athletes. For me, it makes more sense to use my calorie budget for nutrients that are more important for my performance and body composition goals (such as protein and fat).
I this video I show you what exactly I eat in a day.
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Here is an example of what I eat in a day (of course, it can vary :) ):
Protein pancakes with berries, one cup of tea and coffee with unsweetened almond milk, flavoured with vanilla or white chocolate FlavDrops.
Macros: 319 kcal, 28 g carbs, 30 g protein, 7 g fat
I created many protein pancakes recipes, as I absolutely love pancakes. One of my favourite recipes are this pancakes, I also included into my Diet Plan, Training Plan & Recipes Package.
If you can't eat gluten, I also have several gluten-free protein pancake creations. In this video, I show you how to prepare one of them.
Although, I love breakfast, breakfast is a reasonably small meal for me, because it is further away from my workout. It makes sense to consume most calories around the workout.
I usually have a big mug of hot almond milk. I use unsweetened almond milk, which only has 13 kcal per 100 ml. I sweeten and flavour it with FlavDrops. I choose to drink hot almond milk instead of eating food as my morning snack, because I made the experience that drinking hot liquid (sometimes I spoon it) is more satisfying to me than eating a small amount of food. A possible explanation may be that my brain registers it as a meal, because it takes a prolonged period of time (as I need to drink it slowly, because it is hot).
Macros: 39 kcal, 0 g carbs, 1 g protein, 3 g fat
I usually have about 350 g veggies, mostly stir-fried zucchini and mushroom with herbs and spices, protein bread and coconut oil for lunch. Coconut oil is my way to get saturated fatty acids in. Each serving of my protein bread contains chia seeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. I get about 2.5 g omega-3 fatty acids per serving protein bread. You may have heard that thermal processing, like baking, destroys omega-3 fatty acids; however, when I analysed the data from a recently published research paper, I concluded that the losses are not significant for real life settings.
Macros: 385 kcal, 32 g carbs, 34 g protein, 13 g fat
If you want to know how I prepare my chia-protein-bread, watch this video.
Dinner is my largest meal, because I have it straight after my workout. I usually have a gigantic salad (~ 200 g leafy greens + other veggies) topped with fat sources like olives or avocado (both are good sources of monounsaturated fatty acids). If I top my salad with other fat sources, such as nuts and seeds, that are low in monounsaturated fatty acids, I use olive oil for dressing to get monounsaturated fatty acids, otherwise I use hemp oil, to increase my omega-3 fatty acid intake.
Additionally, I have protein pancakes. Because I love pancakes, I eat them twice a day (on a weight loss diet…hahaha...I love my diet!).
Macros: 565 kcal, 51 g carbs, 40 g protein, 20 g fat
Most evenings, I have one or two cups of hot almond milk and before I go to bed, protein powder with chia seeds. Research suggests that protein before sleep is beneficial for muscle growth. My favourite protein powder (taste-wise) is white hemp protein powder, particularly when sweetened with maple FlavDrops.
Macros: 341 kcal, 12 g carbs, 36 g protein, 16 g fat
I often use protein powder for cooking, because I don’t like protein shakes. I prefer eating food to drinking it. Eating calories instead of drinking them is more satiating and satisfying. In this video I tell you all my secrets about cooking with protein powder.
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