This is what my typical weekly Diet Plan looks like. Not that I consider this to be the “undisputed benchmark” other guys should follow, but rather this is what I’ve done to give a structured framework to my diet.
Until one year ago, I had no idea whatsoever of the Macros I was eating, I was playing it by ear, and I was hindering my muscle growth like that. Then, when I started bulking from scratch yet another time, I decided to pay attention not only to the workout routine, but to nutrition as well, and the benefits of this new strategy have been very much evident.
This is my current Diet Plan, which I created following the “Ripped Body” .com guidelines (Links):
For the ingredients which are to be cooked, some of the above portions refer to the raw weight, and some to the cooked weight, based on this split:
—-● Rice / Pasta
—-● Meat / Fish
Breakfast is the easiest meal to get wrong: for most of my life, I started the day with high-sugar high-fat breakfast foods, and I think quite a few other guys are in a similar situation. Roughly five years ago, a close friend of mine suggested switching to porridge, and that tip was like a blessing to me.
Let’s compare these five products, which I’ve eaten for breakfast at different points of my life, all the time accompanied by pretty much the same quantity of milk.
When you look at the McVities biscuits, The Original and the Milk Chocolate types contain respectively 27% and 42% (!) of combined Saturates Fat and Sugars. That’s a hell of a lot for both biscuit types, and I spent an entire year eating them for breakfast!!
I then started to mix Cornflakes and Coco Pops in my bowl of milk: getting better already, especially with the first type of cereals, but very high level of Sugars still.
Then I switched to preparing porridge in the microwave, and never looked back. Starting from the bottom of that table, porridge oats have non-existent Salt levels, more Protein than the other products, much more Fibre, and incredibly low level of Sugars. More Fat than the cereals though, but we are not talking about “bad” Saturates Fat here. The key difference between cereals and porridge is in their glycemic index, with porridge having lower (hence better) values . Without going too much into details, “foods with low glycemic index tend to release glucose slowly and steadily, while foods with high glycemic index release glucose rapidly”. You are not getting hungry again as quickly after eating foods with lower glycemic index, while on the other hand, if you need to quickly recover after an intense physical exercise, you are better served by foods with higher glycemic index.
I recommend you buy raw porridge oats and prepare your porridge from scratch in the microwave/small pot, rather than opting for “ready” or “instant” products.
Lunch / Dinner
I prepare rice and pasta with tomato sauce which I boil myself, hence it’s not pre-cooked.
For the dark chocolate, I eat a delicious variety having 6% of Sugars (instead of looking at the cocoa %, I look at the Sugars % on the back, it makes more sense). [update 2020: my new dark chocolate is a 100% cacao with 0g of sugar; strangely enough, it’s delicious and not bitter at all, but actually this stops being strange once you consider how much it costs]
For the other ingredients, this is what I rotate:
—-● Chicken breasts
And by the way, potatoes are not vegetables.
It’s important to get the right level of omega-3 fatty acid during the week, and top foods on that aspects are mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines and anchovies. I opted for salmon since it’s easier to prepare.
If I eat at home, I just follow the Diet Plan. If I eat out, I have the rice/pasta before leaving (otherwise I would starve while waiting for the food to arrive), and then I order something similar to what I would have had at home. Fact is, I meet up with my friends most of the time after dinner, and with the girls every time after dinner (afternoon dates work as well, it’s just dinner/lunch dates which I don’t do).
I cook all meat/fish in the oven, without using any oil, and then I dress the cooked meat/fish and the veg with generous quantity of extra virgin olive oil, which provides healthy monounsaturated fat, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
To be completely honest with you, I don’t eat enough fruit, and I should make a conscious effort to buy more of it. Still, veg is more important than fruit, and I eat plenty of that.
Before fixing my Diet Plan, when I was still playing it by ear on nutrition, I was taking Whey protein and BCAAs. The BCAAs before training fasted in the morning, the Whey protein I don’t even know why. Fact is, I had no accurate idea of the Proteins I was eating through solid food back then, and for some reason I was assuming I had a protein gap I needed to fill through supplements, but all that reasoning was just pure guesswork.
When I decided to create a proper Diet Plan, I decided that all the Macros should have come from solid food, and hence I got rid of the Whey protein. I don’t do intermittent fasting anymore, hence I got rid of the BCAAs as well.
Macros and Split of Calories
Here are the Macros associated to the Diet Plan shown above, showing the daily average for the week, the average for Training days, for Rest days, and the split of Calories coming from each Macro (weekly average):
Here is how the Calories are split during the day, for Training days and Rest days:
I’m not claiming that this Diet Plan is ideal, but it surely works for me!