Meal Plans

2017 Rock Hard Challenge: Nutrition

One of the biggest challenges in becoming rock hard is sticking to a meal plan.

muscular man drinking protein shake
No matter how much iron you squat, curl, or press, if your diet isn’t on par with your training plan, your gains can become losses. If you don’t eat enough or hydrate properly, you’re likely to experience fatigue and problems building muscle. To gain muscle, aim to consume up to 18 calories per pound of body weight per day. If fat storage increases or stays stagnant, cut it to 14 calories per day. 

Your macros will be higher during the first four weeks, as you’re looking to build muscle, compared with the last four, when the mission is to reach peak condition. Use the following numbers as a working template, but anticipate the need to make adjustments to coincide with your progress. 

  • Add Muscle: 0.4g of fat per lb, 1–1.5g of protein per lb, 2g of carbs per lb
  • Shed Fat: 0.4g of fat per lb, 1–1.5g of protein per lb, 1g of carbs per lb

Nutrients: Macros vs. Micros

Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are macronutrients—substances needed by the body in relatively large amounts. Micronutrients are needed only in trace amounts and include vitamins (B6, C, D, K, E, folic acid), minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium), and trace minerals (zinc, fluoride, manganese). 

To further your results, incorporate a supplementation plan alongside proper nutrition. Get the scoop on Hi-Tech supps here.

Meet the Macros

PROTEIN 

Why: Make each meal protein-centric to deliver amino acids that spur muscle growth. 

Best Sources: Skinless chicken breasts, fish, shellfish, lean ground beef, flank, sirloin, or round beef (trimmed of fat), bison, pork tenderloin, turkey breasts, whole eggs. 

Tip: A palm-size serving of most meat has about 25g of protein. 

CARBOHYDRATES 

Why: Carbs create energy. Reserve simple carbs (foods high in sugar) for the first meal of the day and post-workout, as the insulin spike will shuttle nutrients into muscles, setting the table for anabolism and recovery, respectively. During other meals, scarf down slow-digesting carbs to keep insulin levels steady. 

Best Sources: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, whole fruit, berries, oats, whole grains, ancient grains (like quinoa, farro, and spelt). 

Tip: A fist-size serving of rice or potatoes has about 40g of carbs. 

FAT 

Why: Healthy fats aid testosterone production, help keep joints healthy, support fat loss, and improve protein synthesis. 

Best Sources: Avocados, nuts, seeds, cooking oils (avocado, olive, coconut). 

Tip: A tbsp of oil has about 15g of fat. 

healthy food

Get to Know Your Micros

VITAMIN A: Supports bones, teeth, soft tissue, skin health. Found in egg yolks, beef, fish, and dark-colored fruit (berries, plums, grapes). 

VITAMIN C: An antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals. Found in dark leafy greens, chili peppers, strawberries, and broccoli. 

VITAMIN D: The “sunshine” vitamin is fat-soluble but tough to get from food (canned tuna, swordfish) alone. 

CALCIUM: Moves blood through the body; builds strong bones, including teeth. Best sources are dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) and leafy greens (kale, broccoli, cabbage). 

MAGNESIUM: Helps lower risk of diabetes; regulates muscle and nerve functions, blood-sugar levels, and blood pressure. Best sources are legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens. 

IRON: It’s best to fully absorb iron when consuming lean meats, poultry, and seafood. Iron helps create hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body. 

POTASSIUM: Required to balance the body’s chemical levels. Potassium deficiency has been linked to hypertension and heart disease. Best sources are fruits and veggies (bananas, potatoes, squash, leafy greens, citrus) and even dried fruit. 

ZINC: Found in oysters, red meat, poultry, shellfish, whole grains, and legumes, zinc wards off bacteria and viruses. 

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