One of the great things about spring is that you can once again begin finding great produce at your local farmer’s market and grocery stores. Wheather you are trying to bulk up or get lean, we are going to be using that to our advantage in this nutrition guide. There will be plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables on the menu. The other invaluable product you start to find this time of year is fresh spices. I cannot recommend picking up a variety of these (rosemary, basil, dill, thyme, etc.) enough. Even the most avid bodybuilding meathead can get sick of plain grilled chicken breast. Fresh spices can completely change the flavor palette of our favorite muscle foods without adding unwanted macronutrients.
How It’s Structured
The meal plan is going to be broken up into two days: a “Training Day” menu and an “Off Day” menu. Since the spring cleaning training program calls for you to train 4 days per week, you’ll eat from the “Training Day” menu on those days and the “Off Day” menu on the others. You’ll always be shooting to have 5 meals per day plus post-workout nutrition on training days.
On both days you’ll plan to get in at least 4-6 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. These include all green, leafy veggies such as kale, varieties of lettuce, spinach, collard greens, etc. as well as cucumbers, cauliflower, sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and all the other veggies you hid in your napkin when you were a kid. I realize that it can get pricey, but I urge you to choose organic vegetables when possible. Yes, it does make a difference.
You’ll also be aiming to have protein with each meal on both days in order to insure that you are maximizing muscle protein synthesis. Acceptable sources include beef, skinless poultry, lean cuts of pork, fish, shellfish (great this time of year!), game meats (bison, elk, ostrich, etc.), dairy such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (if well tolerated), and eggs. Just as organic veggies are preferred, high quality protein such as grass-fed, free range and Omega-3 are also recommended. And while macronutrient counting can have it’s practical limitations, you should be shooting for approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight (meaning if your goal is to be 225 pounds, you should shoot for 225 grams of protein per day).
Starchy Vegetables & Complex Carbohydrates
Starchy vegetables and other complex carbohydrates will also be part of your plan and be prioritized on training days. Carbs are critical for muscle glycogen replenishment and maximizing training performance, so if you are a carbo-phobe it’s time to start changing your tune. Preferred sources are oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes/yams, barley, millet, farro, quinoa, beets and summer squash.