Anybody who follows me knows I have a love for pizza and donuts. I’m also pretty fond of Mexican food and burgers as well if you want to know. I am a firm believer in ‘lifestyle’ eating that is sustainable. This is how I stay in fairly good condition, not competition shape, year around. But there are times when ‘dieting’ is necessary and food intake has to be more controlled and tighter such as when I’m working to cut down a few pounds of body fat in preparation for fitness competitions. I want to share my tips on how I still enjoy my favorites in moderation even during contest season.
- Planning and Timing: Your ‘free’ meals should be scheduled and planned rather than spur of the moment. I have mine on a workout day rather than my off day.
- Workout: Do schedule a workout the day of your special treat. It can be at the gym or home. Just keep it intense. Maybe include a few extra rounds of HIIT.
- Strict Eating Before: Since my ‘free’ meals are scheduled I can purposely eat very strict with lower fat and carbs earlier in the day. For example my breakfast might be just a whey protein shake and eggs. Lunch might consist of 8oz of a lean protein and vegetables.
- Pre-load Before the Meal: During my ‘off-season’ I have been known to eat 6-7 slices of pizza. During my dieting cycles especially when close to a competition it’s counterproductive to scarf down that much. Around 15-30 mins before eating something amazing I drink a good amount of water (12-16oz) and have a simple medium salad. Being a picky eater my salads are general spinach, carrots, and berries. My goal is to not be absolutely starving going into a higher fat meal. Instead of eating 6 slices of pizza I would then be completely satisfied with 3 slices.
- Homemade is Better: There are a number of great meals you can make at home and not even fall under the ‘free or cheat’ meal category. I will only order pizza or Mexican once a week while dieting, but I can still make a few of my other favorites at home using lower-fat ingredients. I will frequently grill burgers and steaks, or make my homemade chimichangas or whole wheat pancakes and waffles.
- Eat Mindfully: Try to eat slower and without distractions. Take time to enjoy each bite instead of just shoveling it in. Instead of eating absentmindedly while watching tv or scrolling on your phone have a conversation with your loved ones. You’ll enjoy your meals more and it will help slow you down from eating too much without thinking about it.
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