So I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, abs are made in the kitchen right?
Well forget the abs for a minute, ok maybe a few seconds…
Any body composition or health related goal for that matter, is heavily dependent on how savvy you are in the kitchen and how well you can construct meals that fit within your calorie, macronutrient, fiber and micronutrient requirements. Building muscle and strength occurs in the gym, but how you look boils down to how much you eat, period.
I couldn’t tell you the scientific proportions required, they throw around 80/20, but if you care for my less ‘scientific’ opinion, I know through experience, that it is a damn lot!
The vast majority of fat loss comes down to what you put in your mouth and is where the real ‘magic’ happens. Let’s face it, the other 10- 20% of what we do in the gym, is just for Instagram selfies, hashtags and to impress the bro’s.
So if you’re getting serious about attacking your body composition goals head on, then it should come as no surprise that your nutrition must be a top priority and devising a plan is key to your success.
Something I believe to be of the utmost importance is the ability to cook and prepare your own meals at home. The more you can cook at home, the more control you have of the variables that dictate your fat loss. THe more control you have, the more likely to achieve your goals. An inability to control your calorie and macronutrient intake will usually result in spinning your wheels, much like how I used to back in the day with my 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer, and it was silver FYI.
So we’ve established the importance of nutrition, hooray.
But the problem is you don’t have time to cook, right?
I could easily be a hard arse and call BS on your lame excuse…
“We’ve all got 24 hours in the day, blah blah blah”…
But I’ll take you on your word on this one and give you the benefit of the doubt.
You are busier than the average human.
You have kids.
Your job is hectic.
Your social life busier than ever…
So let’s work with these constraints and find a solution that will suit you and your manic lifestyle.
The 9-5er Solution
If you work a typical work shift, run around after your kids, have a ‘bit’ of a social life, and are indeed that busy that you have no time to cook, here are some questions I need to ask;
- What are you doing with your time each night?
- How many TV shows are you keeping up with on Netflix?
- What time do you wake up in the morning if you start at 9am?
- How ‘cool’ are you on weekends, are you never home?
Recognise, that these are your windows of opportunity.
Yes I know you’ve had a tough day, you’re tired, CBFed and dragging yourself to the kitchen to prepare meals isn’t as appealing as watching the latest drama on the Bachelor…
However, the harsh reality is that developing your dream physique requires…you guessed it, sacrifice.
STPE 1: Plan ahead and schedule into your calendar your meal preparation.
Treat it with as much importance as you would a meeting with your boss. At the end of the day, nutrition is the ‘boss’ of your results.
STEP 2: Shop semi-regularly.
Make your way to the supermarket over the weekend or every second weekend and fill your pantry and fridge with items that you can easily cook and prepare.
Even using online delivery from your preferred supermarket can be a huge time saver!
STPE 3: Cook in bulk.
But cooking your lunch for the week or at the very least 3-5 days worth can ensure you stay on track with your targets and don’t find yourself excessively hungry or clutching for whatever is available to ease your midday hunger pangs…
Prepare large quantities of protein, vegetables, starches and whack them into food containers #teamnodaysoff.
The VIP Solution
If you’re a very important person and pride yourself on that ‘cool’ status on your social life badge of honour, #CSO (chief social officer), or are indeed a VIP of the corporate world, then I get it, you probably don’t have the free time like the your average Joe Blow…
So here is how I recommend you tackle your food preparation ;
- When you do get a chance to cook, make it count.
- Cook big batches of food that you can pack for the week
- Keep your meals simple. No master ‘cheffery’ like a lemon zest, stuffed chicken slow cooked for 48 hours with an entree, main and dessert.
- Select meals that can cook together in one or two pans, eg. stirfry, pasta, roasts;
- Keep it simple, stupid (KISS) – big batches of protein, vegetables and carb sources of preference.
If the aforementioned are simply unachievable as you don’t have time to scratch yourself, then of course opting for pre-prepared meals that take out the hard work for you to allow you to continue to control your portions, calories and macros is a viable option, and I’m down with my clients doing that.
No hate here…
None of these companies pay me and I’m not your average fitspo chick, so I’m not giving any of them a shoutout, but they are a great tool if you’re a time poor SOB. Again, if you regularly travel for work and find yourself out of the home environment regularly, then this is by far a better choice than chowing down burgers and donuts on the fly…
However, I always recommend knowing how to make it work, even in the worst of ‘cooking’ circumstance… This is where you can opt for the cheap, quick and nasty meal ideas with a few simple foods that:
a) Won’t blow your budget;
b) Won’t take up too much of your time; and
c) Require zero cooking skills or utensils…
Here is my go to list for the time poor macro tracker:
- Quick cups of rice & tuna;
- Steamed vegetable bags with pre cooked, cold meats;
- Fruit and protein bars.
- Zip locked bags of nuts and cut up raw vegetables.
There is a truckload of ways you can go about the CQN (cheap, quick and nasty) approach, but you get my drift, tokyo style.
So there you have it…
The health and fitness game is not all sunshine and rainbows, but if your goals matter, then you really do need to make some small sacrifices from time to time to meet your nutrition needs.
In the age of convenience, it is all too easy to opt for what is in our short term interests (tastes and endorphins), however, if you want to make some serious fat loss progress, do you really think you can do so opting for what is ‘available’?
Before I leave you all with this revolutionary idea that learning to cook helps you control more variables within your diet, I want you to remember your first leg session… It hurt, was unbearably frustrating and you never wanted to do it again. A few months into your training and I bet my bottom dollar you now thoroughly enjoy the challenge of training your lower body and feel far more confident in your ability to get the booty arse to grass under a barbell.
Unless of course, you are that guy you looks like an upside down pyramid.
Like your first leg session, the first time you meal prep is a down right mess, you have no idea what you’re doing and you’re a complete NOOB in the kitchen…
However, the more you cook and the more practice you have, the better you get, the less uncomfortable it becomes and the more you begin to enjoy the process.
And that brings me to my final point (thanks for listening)…
The recommendations above are how you can make the most of your time in the kitchen within the constraints of your ‘busy’ life without having to turn into Curtis Stone or George Calombaris…
If you don’t feel like these are viable solutions or are putting them in the ‘too hard’ basket, that is completely fine and you must accept that your current lifestyle does NOT align with your current goals…
This is cool, but it may be time for you to reassess, reevaluate and adjust your expectations based on what you are willing to do, and what is actually achievable in your current state of play…
Coach Frank, over and out…