It’s a new year and everyone is going to be trying to get into shape. We’re making it one of our priorities here at Warrior Soul to help you get into the best shape of your life. I originally wrote this blog for our private email newsletter, but I wanted to share it with all of you. It outlines some nutrition basics that will save you a lot of time and confusion.
After my enlistment in the Marine Corps came to an end, I decided that I was going to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a competitive bodybuilder, and I threw myself into it full throttle.
I spent the next few years mindlessly shoving protein into my mouth. On a daily basis, I would eat nearly 5 pounds of meat, nearly a dozen eggs, several protein shakes, and I’d even throw a few protein bars on top of that for good measure. This was dispersed amongst 6 to 8 meals every single day that I would eat every two to three hours, and each also included some white rice and some vegetables.
I put on muscle, but here’s the thing: I felt like complete crap. I was getting severe gastro-intestinal issues and I was not able to think clearly. I would get severely tired by the end of the day, and it seemed like I only had energy to train in the gym. If I missed a meal, my mood would go way down hill and my energy would plummet.
If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, the first people to die won’t be women or children, it will be competitive bodybuilders who follow that type of diet.
So why do so many people try to copy the bodybuilder template when they’re putting their nutrition plans together? Because they’re told that it’s what they need to do!
Not only is it potentially harmful and ineffective at creating true fitness, it’s also unrealistic. I’ve known so many people who’ve just given up on fitness because they can’t follow that unrealistic six meal a day template.
So what should you do if you want to burn fat, build muscle, and perform at your highest level?
There’s three things that you need to remember:
- Count macronutrients to control your insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone in our bodies that is responsible for shuttling nutrients to muscle cells, our liver cells, and into storage as fat. It is released every time we eat carbohydrates or protein. While we need insulin to keep our bodies functioning, the problem is that most of us already produce too much. The more insulin we produce, the more fat we store. This doesn’t mean that we need to avoid carbs and protein altogether. That’s impossible. But we need to develop sensible protocols for including protein and carbs in our diets that will help us rather than hurt us. I will show you a method of doing this tomorrow.
- Maximize Nutrient Density. When we think about nutrient density, we’re basically speaking about the amount of nutrition in a given amount of food. A nutrient dense food gives you more nutrition with less calories. I’ll be sending you a list of nutrient dense meals this week that are simple to make and delicious.
- Digestibility. Even if a food is nutrient dense, it also needs to be digestible if we’re going to be able to use the nutrition it provides. If it is not digestible, it can actually steal energy from your body and cause damage to your digestive tract. I will also be sending you a guide to maximizing your digestibility this week.
And here’s a few simple meal ideas that fit this bill:
Eggs With Avocado & Vegetables – poach, steam, boil, or sautee two or three eggs. If you sautee them you can use coconut oil or grassfed butter. Serve the eggs with half an avocado and some steamed or sauteed vegetables and you have a full meal!
Fatty Coffee or Tea – originally generated by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Coffee, this recipe loads up plenty of fats for energy. Here’s my particular twist on it. Make a pot of your favorite coffee or green tea. Add two tablespoons of coconut oil or MCT oil. Add two tablespoons of grassfed butter. Add 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon. Blend for 30 seconds to one minute until frothy. A few things about this: 1) this is perfect for those of you seeking to become fat adapted, BUT do not drink this with protein or carbohydrates because the resulting insulin spike could trigger fat storage. This is to be taken by itself as breakfast. 2) This also means that you should not add sugar to this drink AT ALL. All in all, this is one of my go to breakfasts, particularly on heavy workout days because of the extreme focus and concentration it induces.
Breakfast Salad – Over a bed of spinach or kale, add 2-3 steamed or poached, pastured and organic eggs, 1-2 tablespoons olive, 1 sliced tomato, 1/2-1 sliced avocado, a dollop of organic, grass-fed yogurt or kefir (if your gut tolerates dairy) and sea salt and pepper to taste.
High Fat Smoothie – You’ll need a powerful blender for this one. Toss into the blender a handful of almonds, a handful of chia seeds, 3-5 raw brazil nuts, 1/2-1 avocado, a teaspoon cinnamon and 1-2 tablespoons cacao or carob powder with 1-2 heaping scoops grass-fed whey or vegan protein powder and 4-6oz full fat coconut milk. Blend for 1 minute to 90 seconds.
Ceasar Salad – This recipe makes 2 servings, so you can gut it in half if it’s only you. In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 egg yolks, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp Thai fish sauce, 2 cloves garlic, juice of one lemon, and Dijon mustard. You can also add a few pinches of Parmesan Cheese if your stomach tolerates dairy. Add a few pinches of sea salt and black pepper, and pour over your choice of a head of Romaine lettuce or several large handfuls mixed greens.
Crock Pot Roast – This is one you can prep a big batch of and eat throughout the week. You’ll need a crock pot or slow cooker. Take a 3 lb roast and rub it with Himalayan Pink Salt. Place in the slow cooker. Dice one large yellow onion and place into slow cooker. Add 1-2 cups of baby carrots, 1 cup of celery, and some baby potatoes if you aren’t low carb. Add 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 bay leaves, and then 1 1/2 to 2 cups of beef broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and then set the slow cooker on low for 9 hours. When the time’s up, you’ve got a fresh and tender roast ready to eat for lunch or dinner throughout the week!
Soaked Nuts – I’m talking about tree nuts 🙂 Nuts are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, but they are extremely hard to digest, which means that they completely lose their nutritional value. There is an easy fix for this. Take Brazil Nuts or Almonds and soak them in 1 cup of water for 18-24 hours. Drain them, spread them out on a pan, and then dry them off for another 10 hours. To avoid mold build up, store them in the freezer. These will provide a healthy and digestible snack for you whenever you’d like!
If you’re interested in getting 30 more recipes, check out Warrior Soul Fitness Foundations: A Foundational Guide to Burning Fat, Building Muscle, and Living Your Best Life.