We Don’t Do 30-Day Challenges (and a Sample Macronutrient Meal Plan)
Written by Coach Slater
At Derby City, we don’t do 30 Day Challenges. We don’t because they’re usually selling something like Shredz Army or some other gimmick, they don’t create a lasting change to your lifestyle or nutrition habits, and because they just suck in general. Unfortunately, we see that females are most susceptible to these challenges, so this article is aimed at our female members… to give you a sample look at what “Macronutrient-based Nutrition” looks like.
I’m going to write out a macronutrient guideline and sample meals based on a female who’s approximately 5’7” and 155lbs, late-20s, is moderately active (works out at moderate intensity 3-5 days/week), is looking to lose weight, and wants to improve her body composition (lose fat). I have nooooo way to justify saying this statement, but I feel like the female I just described is probably somewhere in the middle of every female at Derby City. The info that follows would obviously be adjusted based on your height, weight, lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, activity level (important!), etc… but, I hope this info gives you a ballpark to start a conversation. We want you to make lasting changes to your nutrition; not do a 30 Day Challenge and then fall back off the wagon on Day 31.
Based on the female I’ve described, I’d start her out at the following on training days. This is probably more carbs than she’s used to on training days, and quite possibly more food in general. As she adjusts, and as we get the Rest Day nutrition in control, we may find that further raising the carbs further improves her performance in the gym:
On her rest days, I’d tell her to cut out 50-100g of carbs from her day and keep protein & fat roughly similar to a training day for now. We may find that we’d like to further decrease the carbs and possibly bump the fat a little more on rest days, but we may have to wait to see how the plan unfolds. The goal is to be at a caloric deficit on rest days. So, to start, her macronutrients could look something like:
Because our programming tends to be “weightlifting based”, you’ll need more protein than if you were one of these spin-cycle bunnies or 5lb dumbbell aerobic class wives. (I say that lovingly.) And, because you’re looking to lose weight, I’m writing the protein a little “high” at 1g per bodyweight. If this number is a lot higher than what you’re eating currently, then I recommend slowly ramping up to that number by adding 20g of protein a week so your digestive system has time to adjust.
Your body type and current level of body fat can make a difference in how much or how little fat you should consume daily. I assumed that the mystery female in question has an athletic build or athletic history, so she only requires about 25% of fat in her diet. If you are a little heavier individual, I’d recommend bumping this up to 30% (or possibly even 35%) and decreasing the remaining carbs.
Carbs are determined after figuring out your protein and fat, by multiplying something called your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) by your activity level to determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and then subtracting your Protein and Fat kcals. HUH?!?! Look, that last part is a little complex, so I just recommend you get an estimate of your own Training Day macros by visiting this Macro Calculator.
Sample Meal Plan for Training Day
Egg sandwich with 2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites scrambled on 2 slices of wheat toast
16oz of black coffee with 1 tsp of coconut oil
1 grilled chicken breast with 1 cup of Brussel sprouts and 1 medium-sized baked sweet potato
1 Best Ever Bar
1 scoop of Stronger, Faster, Healthier Pure chocolate protein powder in 16oz of water
6 ounces of salmon on 1 cup of brown rice with 2 ounces of salsa and 3 tablespoons of guacamole
2 cups of Rice Chex cereal with 1 cup of organic 2% milk
In total, this day of food intake equates to:
Notice how I didn’t write “Diet Coke” or anything other than water and coffee in there? Good. Now, on a non-training day, simply cut out the late-night cereal and Post-WOD shake, then add in a little more protein in the form of chicken or salmon with a little bigger helping of guacamole or some healthy fat, then you’re all set.
Sample Meal Plan for Rest Day
2 paleo sweet potato egg cups
16oz of black coffee with 1 tbsp organic vanilla coffee creamer
1 scoop of Stronger, Faster, Healthier Pure chocolate protein powder in 8oz of water
12 ounces of shredded pork with 1 cup of brown rice and 1 cup of broccoli
1 bowl of tomato-cucumber salad
1.5 breast of paleo sesame chicken with 1 cup of roasted squash and 4 ounces of roasted asparagus
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp natural strawberry jam
2 slices of whole wheat bread
In total, this day of food intake equates to:
I highly recommend you pick a day to cook meals for the rest of the week, so you always have food and aren’t forced to make last-minute decisions when you’re hungry.
Don’t stress out over the exact macros. Instead, try to be “in the ballpark” when you first start out. Stress is actually counterproductive to your physique goals, so don’t freak out if you miss a macro here or there.
With our high-intensity training program, you may find that you benefit from going a little higher carb and a little lower fat on training days. As a result, you may find that you’ll lean out further, to better show off those highly defined muscles, while coincidentally feeling like you have more energy in the gym. That’s a win-win.
Changing your lifestyle takes time. Everyone’s natural metabolism is different, so it may take a month or so of tweaking your ratios to find what’s optimal for you.
The point of this article is to help you make healthy nutrition a lifestyle and take away the stress of a restrictive diet. Your nutrition can be strict, but it shouldn’t be restrictive. Give your body the fuel it needs and it’ll respond accordingly.