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Everyone knows crushing weights won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have the right diet to match. Even if you think you’re eating all the right things, taking all the right supplements and getting all the right nutrients at the right time, there might be some adjustments you can make to reach your goals faster. That’s where we come in.
This week, Eric Falstrault, founder of BODHI Fit in Montreal, Canada, takes a look at a meal plan from Muscle & Fitness reader Stephen Box. Want help with your diet? Submit it to Diet911@muscleandfitness.com and one of our nutrition experts will take a look.
“My goal is to lose this last 10-15 lbs. of fat. So far, I have gone from 245 lbs. down to 185 lbs. but find some weeks I may lose a couple of pounds and others none. I eat pretty much like this six days a week and the seventh day my lunch is a cheat meal to eat whatever I want. I also drink a gallon of water throughout the day and take both a multi-vitamin and fish oil.”
Losing 60 pounds is not an easy feat and keeping it off is as hard as shedding it. How fast did you lose those 60 pounds? Losing weight for the sake of just losing weight might not be the best road towards a healthier body. Most quick fix diets may have you lose weight, but if the weight loss is mostly lean muscle mass, your metabolism takes most of the beating and you are in for a big roller coaster ride.
A good metabolism runs with lean muscle mass and little visceral and subcutaneous fat, thus the more lean mass you have the more calories you burn in a day. Best case scenario—you lost a little bit of lean mass, which is most often intra- and extra-cellular water, and the rest of your weight loss was mostly fat. However, if you are having a hard time losing the last couple of pounds, it may be a sign that your metabolism needs some help. You actually want to lose fat, not muscle, so get your body fat tested. Setting goals is critical, especially at the end of your quest. Maybe those last 10-15 pounds should be 5 pounds of fat instead.
9:00 AM (when I get up)
First thing I do when someone is stuck on a plateau is look at everything they have been doing—every single factor from the diet, exercise and also external factors such as stress, environmental and physical conditions. Have you been doing this plan for a while? If the answer is yes, change it up. First meal of the day should be solid protein. I would try to eat protein for breakfast such as steak, eggs or both.
The first thing you put in your mouth in the morning sets your neurotransmitters for the day. Let’s say you eat a piece of toast or donut, your body releases tryptophan, which helps you make the calming neurotransmitter serotonin and slows down nerve traffic to the brain—not what you want in the morning. The best trick I use is the Poliquin Meat and nuts breakfast. Charles Poliquin himself introduced me to this lifestyle many years ago and it is the best way to start your day and to get results. It raises acetylcholine, which activates muscles and the central nervous system.
Cut down on carbohydrates as much as possible for about two weeks to force your body into utilizing fat as energy. This might kick start your metabolism again. The only source of carbs you should have for those two weeks should be greens. Eliminate all fruits, except for your post-workout shake. If you can’t take out your pre-breakfast shake, take your protein at the same time as your breakfast to jack up your protein intake.
Oatmeal is a staple in any bodybuilder or health-concerned individual, but those with digestive problems or unexplained weight fluctuations, gluten intolerance is something to look into. Food Intolerances can sneak up in many ways and can be very mild and often overlooked. Oatmeal may be one of them. Pure oatmeal does not contain gluten, but the problem lies in its transportation, where it is cross-contaminated by barley, rye and/or wheat. So keep your shake, add some nuts. With your meat or eggs and I’m sure you’ll feel and see a difference soon enough.
3:00 PM (30-60 min prior to my workout)
Within 30 min
To maximize your results, I would put a priority on your post-workout shake and recuperation. The faster the muscle replenishes, the faster the soreness goes away and harder you can hit the gym after. Add 20 grams of glutamine and 3 to 5 grams of glycine to the mix. Glutamine is a gut health builder and accelerates lean muscle gains. It rebuilds your gut flora, increasing nutrient absorption and building a strong immune system. Since cortisol is very high after those big workouts and very catabolic, glycine will help bring it down. Start with 3 grams and work your way up to 5-10 grams. Like I mentioned earlier, I would limit it to one piece of fruit for your post workout shake.
Between 7:00-9:00 PM
11:00 PM (1-2 hrs before bed)
Although your diet is well planned, you have to take out the late night snack. Those who eat prior to bed have a harder time losing the last few pounds. Regeneration and repair happens while you sleep and your liver needs the rest from the non-stop insulin production and blood filtration that happens during the day. Increase your fat intake for your dinner to slow down digestion and keep your blood sugar level so you won’t be starving before bed.
One last thing I might suggest is to go to bed between 10 or 11 PM. Research has shown that sleep is one of the major habits to prioritize when you try to lose weight. The rule of thumb is to be sleeping by 10 PM and to get up around 7 AM. Our physiological clocks were designed to work, move and sleep according to these times, so monitor yourself accordingly. For example, having a hard time falling asleep (high evening cortisol) or getting up in the morning (low morning cortisol) is always a sign that something is wrong with your cortisol curve, which is the mirror of your body’s ability to handle and manage stress.
On a final note, you did an awesome job in losing the weight and I wish you all the best for the last few pounds. I hope I helped you solve some of your concerns and that it will help you achieve your desired goal.
Eric Falstrault is a Montreal-based strength coach, Naturopath, Sport Therapist and founder of BODHI Fit. He is certified level 5 PICP (Poliquin International Certification Program) a high level certification program that has proven its grounds on every aspect of the iron game and his specialization is hockey strength and conditioning. Eric has worked with athletes of all levels, from youth sports to professionals in the NHL, NFL and MLS.