30 Day Challenge – Part 2 –Nutrition
I’ve documented the exercise plan for my challenge. I’m happy with the mix of resistance training and cardio. Exercise is critical to my success in this challenge however nutrition will play an equally important role. My old gym had a sign on the wall saying ‘You can’t out-exercise a bad diet’ and I think that sums up the relationship perfectly.
My plan is to go lean for the 30 days. That means being incredibly strict with my diet – eating clean to get lean. The reality is that this diet will require a lot of preparation. If I’m at home I can prepare meals on the spot but it’s when I’m out and about that I’ll need to prepare something in advance and bring it with me. It probably means I’ll be avoiding restaurants for the month. Irish restaurants are beginning to provide healthier options but I think there’s still a long way to go in that regard.
Here are the 4 building blocks for my nutrition plan:
I will focus on lean, high-quality proteins. For example egg whites, poultry, lean red meat and low fat cottage cheese. I don’t have anything against egg yolks (and recent studies have shown that the cholesterol concerns of eating too many yolks may have been exaggerated) but egg whites are quite simply pure protein and there’s not a hint of fat or cholesterol in sight. I like the O’Egg liquid egg whites. You can pick them up in most supermarkets; I know my local SuperValu has them.
I plan on restricting my carbohydrate intake to a moderate level. If I want to get lean and shed some fat then this is key. I’ll be targeting good, clean, fibre rich carbohydrates such as oats, sweet potatoes, wholegrain rice and wholegrain bread. It's hard to beat a bowl of sexy porridge oats for breakfast and this is what I plan on eating as my first meal of the day on weekdays. The wholegrain oats are low in sugar, high in fibre and provide sustained, slow release energy right up until lunch time.
3) Green Vegetables
Green vegetables are low in calories, healthy and deliver many benefits. They are high in dietary fibre, low in fat and rich in vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and magnesium. They are also stocked with disease fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants for better health. A big plus for me as part of my lean diet is that they're bulky and should fill me up for just a few grams of carbohydrates per cup of vegetables. FYI I always steam my vegetables.
I plan on drinking lots of water during the challenge, roughly three to four litres per day. Water provides hydration without unnecessary calories. Water accounts for 55 to 65 percent of our body weight so it will play a big role in my lean nutrition plan.
Also in preparation for this challenge I purchased myself a NutriBullet Pro; 900 watts, 25000 RPM’s and 1.2 horsepower of superfood extraction power at the touch of a button! I plan on concocting one super juice a day bursting with fruits, berries, green veg (kale or spinach) and maybe even a few nuts. I’ll be sure to keep the high sugar fruits to a minimum and I’ll only be using un-salted mixed nuts for a dose of healthy or ‘good’ fats.
Finally, I’m not going to touch a sup during the challenge. It’s a zero tolerance approach to alcohol for the 30 days. My challenge is running for the month of July so I’m calling it a #DryJuly. Feel free to join in!
So there they are; the building blocks for my nutrition plan. My grocery shop will need to take all of the above into account, being sure to avoid any processed foods. I’m going to avoid any and all sugar filled drinks or snacks. Portion control is important too so I’ll monitor that for each meal. I'll be steaming and grilling the majority of my cooked meals.
It can be a real mental battle to stick to a nutrition plan but I’m confident I can adhere to this one. In fact we all have the potential to adhere to a plan like this and the exercise plan I documented last week. We just have to challenge ourselves to achieve that potential.
You can do it!
Yours in health,