My Daily Diet

Be sure to check out the update to this article here!

Learning what and when to eat can be the most confusing thing to learn for athletes.  Whether cutting fat or building muscle, eating properly is more important than the exercise you do, in my opinion.  Many people fail in their fat loss or muscle gain goals because of improper diet.  I’m not a dietitian, but I’ll share some things I’ve learned over the years.

Many people will eat good, clean food, but at the completely wrong time.  A trainer once told me to think of your metabolism like a furnace.  You want a steady burning flame throughout the day.  You don’t want to dump loads of fuel onto the fire all at once, and then starve the fire to a mere flicker later.  Many “dieters” do this.  They don’t eat in an effort to cut calories with the hopes of losing weight.  This practice eventually slows your metabolism to a crawl, and puts your body into survival mode.  In an effort to protect itself, the body will store more than the usual amount of that food in body fat, when you do eat again.

So, to crank up the metabolism and burn calories, you want a steady, burning flame.  Eating several small meals a day will steadily feed the body’s engine.  Do some research on your own and Google “eating clean”.  There are many excellent resources available.

If you are trying to cut body fat, it’s a good idea to monitor your carb intake and consume minimal carbs after lunch time.  When I speak of carbs here, I’m talking about breads, grains, rice, etc.  I know some vegetables are carbs, but you can eat as many vegetables as you want.  If you are trying to gain muscle, you need carbs in your diet, but be careful to avoid huge carb loads at night.  And don’t forget healthy fats.  On salads, use olive oil, not a fat based dressing.  Almonds are also a great snack during the day, with good protein and healthy fat.

meatwich

Take your meatwich to the crag!

You should always be consuming a healthy dose of protein with each meal.  Protein is crucial to muscle recovery and burning off fat.  Make sure to consume lean proteins.  Pepperoni pizza and greasy hamburgers are not lean proteins!  I recommend around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.  There are many studies that claim this is too much.  However, there are many studies that say this is the proper amount for athletes who weight train on a regular basis.

Below is an example of what I eat and when.  I get up at 5:00 AM (it’s painful) and go to bed at 10:00 PM.  I work out at 6:30 PM.  My diet right now focuses on eating clean and getting enough carbs and protein to build muscle.

Meal 1 (5:30 AM):

Cereal, milk (low fat)

Protein shake (24 g protein)

Snack (8:00 AM)

Banana

Meal 2 (9:30 AM)

Sandwich with a good sized portion of meat, 1 slice of cheese, on wheat bread

Meal 3 (12:00 PM)

Chicken breast and vegetable (leftovers), OR big salad with can of tuna or chicken

Snack (2:00 PM)

Apple

Meal 4 (4:00 PM)

Small portion of pasta, rice, or some carb.  Small portion of vegetables.

Meal 5 (5:30 PM)

2 Scoops of Cytogainer (27 g protein, 38 g carbs)

Workout (6:30 PM)

Meal 6 (8:00 PM)

Lean meat (chicken, fish, steak), vegetables, carbs (small portion of rice, pasta, or potatoes)

As you can see I try to get some protein and carbs at each meal.  I eat slightly more before my workout and get a good amount of food after the workout.  I am by no means force feeding myself.  I am hungry for every meal.  Some days I’m hungrier than others, so I just listen to my body and eat more if I’m feeling drained.

It takes a lot of planning and some dedication to eat these foods throughout the day at work.  I spend a good bit of time every night preparing meals for the next day.  Once you get into the groove of it, it becomes second nature.  All of this planning isn’t easy, but no one said this would be easy right?  Let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comments section below!

  • Anonymous

    So your saying I’ll never lose weight if I keep slamming fried foods and booze?…

    In all seriousness though, lots of small meals are key, my issue is more of a management issue with being able to organize it and keep the variety high enough to please my significant other.

    • Gif

      Management can be an issue, but it takes time to make something into a habit. Like anything, you must become dedicated and make it a way of life, or it won’t stick. Seeing results also helps. When you start to lose fat and gain muscle, you will become even more psyched to keep it up!

      As for the variety, use your imagination and keep trying new things. Healthy food shouldn’t be boring or taste bad. It’s something that takes time to learn. Of course there is a time requirement and daily life always wants to get in the way, but healthy food is just as fast to prepare as unhealthy food. Keep at it and thanks for the comment!

  • You are inspiring me to start my diet! I have to lose like 10 pounds!

    • Gif

      Fernando, clean up that diet and do some daily exercise. That 10 pounds will be gone before you know it! Thanks for checking out the blog!

  • Great post! Do you have some rest days in between your workout days? I was wondering if you maintain the same diet every day no matter if you workout or not.

    • Gif

      That’s a great question, Juan! I absolutely have rest days. I just listen to my body, and when I’m sore and tired, I’ll take a day off. Rest is critical to building muscle. Check out the “Daily Workout” page at the top of the site and you will see I’m not working out every day.

      On the diet, when I have a rest day, I will not have the Cytogainer (Meal 5). Without a workout, those calories are not needed. All the other meals remain the same, if it’s a rest day or not. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • You are a great guy man, keeping self on a strict diet is A impossible task, and you do it daily, hats off!

    • Gif

      It’s not impossible! Anyone can do it! Thanks for commenting

  • Wow, that certainly does look like it requires a lot of planning!

    My eating schedule pretty much looks like this: “2 or 3 in the afternoon: Get a pizza from Little Caesar’s or a sandwich from Subway. 9 at night: Eat ice cream until I run out.”

    I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty jealous! Keep up the great work (both with your diet and your blog).

    • Gif

      It is a bit of planning but you get used to it. You just have to get into that rhythm. As always, thanks for commenting, Tristan!

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  • Hassan

    OK im gona give this a try.

    • Gif

      Hassan, please look at the updated version of this I recently wrote:  http://rockclimberlife.com/experiments-paleo-diet  I have made some minor changes.  Thanks for the comment!

  • Little A

    hi – what about us vegetarians? lean protein is generally cited as lean meat or fish, neither of which i eat. any suggestions?

    • Gif

      Thanks for the comment, A.  Being a vegetarian, you will have to work hard to get a sufficient amount of protein.  Be sure to check out whey protein supplements as well as any other vegetable proteins you can find.  I think supplements will be the key.

      • Katie

        Beans, nuts and nut butters, lentils, eggs (if you eat them) etc. I eat beans and nuts everyday to keep my protein up. Cottage cheese and greek yogurt are also great.

        • Gif

          Good tips for the vegetarians, Katie. Thanks!

  • Clieber

    I’m a recovering anorexic, and a climber / hiker of course, and this plan look perfect. I get enough calories and get to keep my metabolism up. It’s healthy and sounds good to. Thank you, I’ll follow this and switch up the choices every day.

    • Gif

      Thanks for sharing.  Be sure to check out the update to this diet.  The link is at the top of the article.  I further reduced the carbs and moved some things around to time it all better.  Best of luck with your recovery!

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