Monday, April 3 marks six days before my first Figure competition and the first day of lean out plan.   I am still taking in six small  meals a day.  Some of the biggest differences are that when I’m hungry I am not allowed to drink protein powder, if I need a caffeine fix I can only sip black coffee, and I have to drink a lot of water.    The purpose of leaning out is to flush the body and to deplete it of excess water making the body appear lean and the muscles more cut.

Below is the meal plan that Emily crafted for me.   There is a science behind the meal plan and I am not recommending this or suggesting this for anyone as a weight loss plan.  This meal plan is restrictive eating and if not done with proper supervision of an expert, in my case Emily, and without the proper supplements, it can be harmful to one’s body .

Upon waking up, drink 160z of water and take regular vitamins.  I take a multivitamin, milk thistle, and a thermogenic (fat loss).

Meal One:  2/3 cup oats and 1 Tablsespoon flax seed oil with 4oz chicken and glutamine.

Meal Two:  60z tilapia and 1o thin cucumber slices

Snack:  4 grapefruit wedges

Meal Three:  3oz tuna rinsed with 1/2 cup diced avocado and 2/3 cup brown and glutamine.   The reason for rinsing the tuna is to eliminate or reduce the amount of salt in the tuna through the canning process.

Meal Four:  4oz flank steak with 10 asparagus spears

Meal Five:  4oz tilapia with 1 cup chopped kale and 10 almonds with balsamic vinegar

Meal Six:  3oz tuna with 1/2 cup diced avocado and 1/4 cup roasted red pepper

Water intake is also critical to the show week meal plan.   The strategy is to maximize water intake early in the week and minimize water as it gets closer to the show depleting water, bloat, and leaning out the physique.

Monday & Tuesday:  Drink 1.5 gallons or 192 ounces of water.  As a point of reference for how much additional water this is, on a regular day I consume 120 oz of water.  It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but I literally had two 30 ounce water bottles filled ready for consumption.

For the next four weeks, I will begin leaning out in preparation for my first show, April 8.   During this phase, I will continue to eat high protein and low carbs.    When I’m hungry, protein drinks (protein powder and water) will be my best friend.

Below is the meal plan that Emily crafted for me.   As with every meal plan that she has crafted for me, she determines what to eat and when based on how my body responds.   This meal plan is not a weight loss plan, and I do not recommend anyone to utilize this for weight management or weight loss as it is not intended for that but for leaning out and defining muscles.   Additionally, due to the restrictive eating of this meal plan there are supplements that I will be taking (see supplements section).

My feedback to Emily such as how I’m feeling, energy level, irritability, and how my clothes fit  is essential to any adjustments she may make to the plan.

 

Meal Plan:

Wake up:  Drink 16oz of water and take vitamins (multivitamin, Milk Thistle, and Thermogenic)

Meal 1:  3 egg whites, 3 oz chicken, ½ cup tomatoes, 1/3 cup avocado as omelet and take Glutamin

Meal 2:  4oz chicken and 1 cup of vegetables of my choice

Meal 3:  4oz tilapia or cod, ¾ cup brown rice, and ¼ grapefruit and take Glutamine

Meal 4:  5oz flank steak

Meal 5: 3oz tuna, 10 banana peppers, and one plain rice cake

Eat 10 almonds with 2 strawberries prior to training.

 

One week into this meal plan, my feedback to Emily was that I was drinking about 3 protein drinks almost daily and that my energy level was low.   She tweaked the meal plan as noted below increasing the amount of protein I was taking in.

Wake up:  Drink 16oz of water and take vitamins (multivitamin, Milk Thistle, and Thermogenic)

 

Meal 1:  4 egg whites, 3 oz chicken, ½ cup tomatoes, ½ cup avocado as omelet and take Glutamine

Meal 2:  4oz chicken and 1 cup of vegetables of my choice

Meal 3:  6oz tilapia or cod, ¾ cup brown rice, and ¼ grapefruit and take Glutamine

Meal 4:  5oz flank steak

Meal 5: 3oz tuna, 10 banana peppers, and one plain rice cake

Eat 10 almonds with 3 strawberries prior to training.

Protein drink anytime I’m hungry.

What I found on this meal plan is that I am less hungry and need less protein drinks.  My energy level is also higher.

How to Stay on Plan While on an All-Inclusive Vacation

When one thinks of all inclusive resorts, one may think of unlimited drinks by the pool and all you can eat food.

John and I were going on an all inclusive vacation to the Riu Palace Pacifico in Nuevo Vallarta that we had bid on and won back in October at the Highland Park Sister Cities gourmet gala.

At the time of winning this trip,  my new lifestyle (way of eating and doing more purposeful consistent exercise) was not even on the radar.  However, at the time of the trip I am 2 months into my Fit to the Next Level journey.  I am slowly starting to see progress in terms of body composition and how I feel overall.

While this trip to Nuevo Vallarta was one that we looked forward to for months, I’ll admit that I am concerned about how to stay on plan while being on vacation and especially at an all-inclusive resort.  While I definitely don’t want to lose the momentum and derail any successes that I am seeing  by indulging or overindulging, I don’t want to ruin our vacation by being preoccupied with staying on plan.  After all, this is a vacation that we looked forward to for months.

I am so lucky that I have John’s support. He is as committed to my success as I am.  I am confident that he will be continue to be supportive while we are on vacation (and I was right).

Not knowing what to expect in terms of food choices available at the resort, and having learned the importance of planning ahead, I packed and took with me a bag of oatmeal with a ½ cup scoop, almonds, and protein powder.  By taking oatmeal, almonds and protein powder I knew that I’d be able to stay on course. I also brought with me my 30oz water bottle so that I could achieve my daily water requirement (120 oz) minimum.

When I got to the resort, I was pleasantly surprised at the food options available. For breakfast there were fresh fruits, fresh baked breads and pastries, pancakes, pre-made egg dishes, varieties of sausage, ,yogurts, and even mimosas and Bloody Mary or Mimosas if you so choose. Lunch featured a salad bar with fresh veggies, pre-made salads, pasta bar, meat dishes, grilled fish, a carving station of some sort of meat, and a Mexican food station. For dinner one could go to the buffet at any time or opt to dine at one of the four featured restaurants  Japanese, Mexican, a steakhouse, and a gourmet fusion experience.

Every morning, we began our day  at the gym.  I brought a couple work outs with me that my trainer had put me through so that I could try to work at the same intensity level that I have been.  Being on vacation, time constraints are not a concern so the cardio portion of my workout was longer than it would be at home. After the gym, we would go up to breakfast.

On the first morning of breakfast, I went to the omelet station and had the cook prepare a veggie omelet with 2 eggs and one egg white. I noticed that she put oil in the pan. I was not a fan of the oil so I Googled how to say in Spanish without oil. So, the next day I was able to tell the cook no oil. I also enjoyed a piece of multi grain bread on most mornings, but toward the end of the trip, I wanted to be more calorie conscious so I shifted my carbs from bread to the oatmeal that I brought and mixed it with hot water. My lunches were always the same a big salad with protein either fish or beef. If I was hungry for a snack in the afternoon I’d often have a plate of veggies- jicama, cucumber, or whatever veggies were available. Dinners were always protein and based. The restaurants offered appetizer, entrée and dessert which I only took advantage on cheat meal days or said differently rarely.

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While I didn’t stay as true to plan as I would at home, I did not deprive myself. I had a daiquiri when we first got to the resort to celebrate our vacation, and a Pina Colada about ¾ way through the trip. I usually had a glass of wine with each meal. One night I had a scoop of ice cream because I had a big sweet tooth.

Before going to bed, I always tracked my food in My Fitness Pal to the best of my ability- meaning that I would sometimes have to guesstimate as to how foods were prepared. I really think that by staying accountable to what I ate by tracking my foods, it helped me to stay on track as much as I could.

When I got home and weighed myself, I only gained .4 pounds and that was with pizza on the way home from the airport(Pequod’s).

The below meal plan is based on the customized workouts that have been crafted for me.

I went to Costco and stocked up on lean protein, veggies, almonds, and yogurt. I also went and bought a 30 oz water bottle because mentally for me it is easier to drink 4-30 oz bottles of water as opposed to 6- 20 oz bottles of water.

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My fitness coach, Megan, advised that the meals are suggestions.   I can substitute a lean meat with a different lean meat I just need to make sure it’s the same amount of calories/ macros give or take ( turkey, chicken, lean beef, egg whites etc) same thing goes for veggies and carbs. I can  have pretty much any veggie.   Megan’s go to choices are broccoli, any sort of lettuce greens, green beans, asparagus, bell peppers, cucumber, and squash. There is no such thing as too many veggies.  So if I am still hungry I should eat more veggies.

As far as the carbs, sources should be (sweet potato or regular potato, oatmeal, whole wheat bread ( at least 3 grams of fiber per slice, brown rice or brown pasta) —- make sure all serving sizes are correct per calorie amount ( ex- 1 medium sweet potato 110cal= 1 slice multi grain bread 100cal) all exchanges should be roughly the same +/- 10 cal

MEASURE EVERYTHING! This is especially important when you are learning the correct portion sizes. I have a scale and measuring cups.  Megan shared that where people go wrong is with the serving sizes.

On this meal plan, I am  allowed one cheat meal a week ( i.e. going out, to a party etc). Plan your day around the cheat meal, however the meal should still be tracked so I should leave extra calories for that meal so that I don’t go over my macros by a ton that day, no more than 300 cal over.

As for drinking, it shoudl be kept to to my cheat meal only or not at all- it’s ok to enjoy a glass or 2 of wine, but measure it and track it.