“Achieve success in any area of life by identifying the optimum strategies and repeating them until they become habits.” – Charles J. Givens
The 10 Habits
- Eat every 2-4 hours. Everyone’s meal sizes should be different and this should be based on sex, body size, body fat, physical activity levels, calorie needs for the day, and more. Rather than thinking in terms of “snacks” versus “meals,” think in terms of eating opportunities. In other words, every time you eat you have the opportunity to make your body better or worse. Each meal should conform to the 9 additional habits below.
- Eat complete, lean protein with each meal. See The Protein Chart. Women should get 20-30 grams of protein per meal – the equivalent of about 1 palm-sized portion of protein. Men should get 40-60 grams of protein per meal – the equivalent of about 2 palm-sized portions. By following this advice above, you’ll not only ensure an adequate intake of protein, you’ll also maximally stimulate your metabolism, improve your muscle mass and recovery, and reduce your body fat.
- Eat vegetables with each meal or ½-1 serving of fruit. Make an effort to eat 2-3 servings (a serving of veggies is about ½ a cup) with every meal. Follow this habit and you’ll be getting 10-15 servings of cancer-fighting, free-radical destroying, acid-neutralizing, and micronutrient-rich (aka vitamin and mineral-rich) power per day.
- If fat loss is your goal, eat veggies and fruits with any meal; “other carbs” only after exercise. See The Carbohydrate Chart.
- Eat healthy fats daily. See The Fat Chart.
- Don’t drink beverages with more than 0 calories (drink water, green tea and coffee in moderation only). Consume 2-4 liters of water daily.
- Eat whole foods instead of processed foods and supplements whenever possible. Sure, it’s easier to grab an energy bar, a granola bar, or a protein shake than to prepare a whole food meal. However, it’s best to get as many whole food meals as possible. Eat high quality protein bars (i.e. ElevateMe) only when you’re crunched for time.
- Plan ahead and prepare food in advance. The hardest part about eating is consistency. Sometimes good nutrition is less about food quality and more about making sure the food is available when it’s time to eat. Keep food on hand!
- Eat as wide a variety of whole foods as possible. If the food comes in a package or a box, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
- Plan to break the rules 10% of the time. If you’re eating 5 meals per day for 7 days of the week, that’s 35 meals each week. Since 10% of 35 is about 3.5, you get to eat 3 or 4 “imperfect” meals per week. Use these 10% meals as a source of pleasure, not stress. Schedule your 10% meals and enjoy them. It takes 30 days for habits to become a lifestyle, so you get a gold star one you’ve been able to follow the 10 Habits at 90% adherence for 4 weeks.
Remember: All good nutrition programs do three things simultaneously:
- Improve your body composition (decrease body fat, increase lean mass)
- Improve your health (physical, mental, emotional)
- Improve your performance (physical, mental)
Source: The Precision Nutrition System by Dr. John Berardi
The Staple Foods Charts
The Protein Chart
|Food Type||Lean, complete protein sources|
|When to Eat||With each meal/snack|
|Examples||Lean meats: organic beef, buffalo, chicken, turkey, venison, etc. Fish: wild salmon, sole, tuna, cod, halibut, etc.||Eggs: egg whites, free range whole eggs. Low-fat dairy: organic cottage cheese (dry curd or 1%), 0% Organic plain yogurt, part skim cheese (preferably goat or sheep feta)||Vegetarian choices: tofu, tempeh, hemp seeds, chia seeds. Protein Supplements: whey protein isolate, hemp protein isolate, Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA). These zero calorie tablets can be taken before long runs or intense workouts. Experience increased energy, muscle endurance, and recovery.|
The Fat Chart
|Food Type||Saturated fat||Monounsaturated fat||Polyunsaturated fat|
|When to Eat||Just be sure to get about 1/3 of total fat intake from these fats||Just be sure to get about 1/3 of total fat intake from these fats||Just be sure to get about 1/3 of total fat intake from these fats, focusing on the omega-3 fats|
|Examples||Animal fats (fat in eggs, dairy, meats, butter, cheeses, etc.), coconut oil (1 tsp – 1 Tbsp. / day)||Olive oil (extra-virgin for salad dressings), raw nuts/seeds and nut/seed butters, avocado||Flax seed/oil, hemp seed/oil, fish oil, raw nuts/seeds and nut/seed butters (walnuts contain omega 3-fats), chia seeds|
*I highly recommend that everyone include fish oil in their nutrition plan. Fish oil supplements improve body composition (that is, they help you lose fat and look leaner) and protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. 6-12 grams (1/2-1 Tbsp. of oil) per day is generally enough.
The Carbohydrate Chart for Fat Loss
|Food Type||Exercise recovery drink||Simple sugars||Starchy foods||Fruits and vegetables|
|When to Eat||During exercise only*||Rarely (ok as a treat after a really intense workout lasting >90-minutes)||Sometimes (within 1-2 hours) after exercise||With each meal|
|Examples||sugary, protein-rich recovery drinks (Protein Blast, Amino Blast, etc.) *If you tolerate carbs well, you can include such a drink during exercise. If you don’t you should probably stick with water or 5-Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) with water.||sugary sports drinks, breakfast cereals, soda, fruit juice, table sugar, ice cream, muffins, bagels, granola bars and other carb-rich snacks||bread (preferably sprouted grain or spelt), pasta (preferably wild rice or flax), quinoa and rice (preferably whole grain, wild, unprocessed), potatoes (preferably sweet potatoes or yams), oats (preferably large flake or steel cut), cereal grains (kamut flakes, millet flakes, Fiber 1, Chia Goodness, etc.)||spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, 1-small apple½-grapefruit, 1-cup berries, 1-small banana (in your pre or post workout shake)|