Meal Planning: The Number System
Over the last couple of months, I've been deciding what my new fitness goals are going to be for this year. Since completing the half marathon in November, I have mainly been sticking to cardio and light weightlifting. Although running a half marathon was extremely fulfilling, I definitely don't feel like my next goal is to continue to train for another one- I won't say that I will never run another half marathon though because, well, never say never.
In the past 4 weeks I have really gotten into Bouldering at the climbing gym here in Nashville. Also, after hiking in Phoenix last week, I have decided that I would like to train for trail running. My goal will be to get up to 7 miles per run - I am starting at a tough 3 miles right now. Combined with those two activities, I will also be incorporating weightlifting 3 days per week. My new weekly workout schedule is as follows:
Mon. - Upper body (weightlifting)
Tues. - Legs (weightlifting)
Wed. - Rest
Thurs. - Run / Climb
Fri. - Run / Climb
Sat. - Full body (weightlifting)
Sun. - Rest
After I planned this out at the beginning of last week I felt really good about it and I even crushed all of my works out for the week, but, I forgot to figure out the most important thing - what I'm eating. Although I ate "clean" all week long to compliment my workouts, I wasn't eating nearly enough calories on workout days and I was eating too many calories on rest days. Whoops! I realized yesterday that I needed to make this change asap or else I won't see results and ultimately I will fatigue my body within a couple of weeks.
This morning I was sitting at my desk calculating food and calorie ratios. At first I got a little overwhelmed because it had been a few (long) years since I had actually intentionally tried to eat the proper portions, whether I was over or under eating. I knew I needed to eat 1,500 cals. on the days I workout and 1,200 on the days I don't (based on my body type.) I made a list of all of the things I wanted to eat and headed to the grocery store. When I got home with bags full of delicious healthy foods (I'd like to note that I only spent $49.00 for 7 days worth of food) I found myself overwhelmed again trying to figure out how in the world I was going to keep track of what's in the fridge, what day is what, how many cals. everything contained, etc. After I put all of my groceries away I had an idea - make a number system. I wrote out each meal on a note card with how many calories the meal totaled and put a number on it. I figured out the I have 1 breakfast item, 3 different snack choices, 1 lunch item and 2 dinner choices. Then I started arranging them on my desk. I figured out that if each meal had a number, it would be so easy to plan my meal schedule for the week by being able to pick and choose which "number" I wanted to eat. That way it would be extemely easy to switch it up everyday without getting confused, having to count calories tediously, or the problem with just forgetting what's in my fridge. Once I had all of my cards arranged how I wanted them I transferred it over to my white board (with my terrible handwriting) and set it up in my kitchen. Then I spent the next two hours meal prepping and now...I'm done! I don't have to think twice about what I am going to eat this week and I can sleep easy knowing that it's exaclty what my body is going to be needing so my workouts are going to seriously count! I am going to push myself to do this weekly from here on out. I will check back in after a few weeks and write about the pro's and con's (if there are any cons with this birlliant idea!! lol)
I just realized I spelt P R O T I E N wrong on my list! hahah What happened to "i before e except after c"!?!
Cheers to healthy minds and healthy bodies!