While some got in the best shape of their lives and were winning fitness competitions in 2020, others were just trying to do their best and keep their head above water.
In 2020, I was the latter.
I went from cooking clean, high protein recipes, to wandering down the frozen section in Target looking for the easiest pre-made meal. I wanted something that I could just heat in the oven and call it a day.
Like, let’s just survive and keep this as simple as possible.
I didn’t care if it was gluten free, organic, protein, or healthy in the slightest bit.
But it was food on the table. We were doing our best.
I think many people were just trying to do their best.
Some still are.
And doing their best is a Stouffers family sized pot pie or take-out.
I’m sharing not for sympathy, but to encourage, motivate, and inspire you that anyone can have those days, seasons, or years.
But there comes a point where you are ready to increase your dial, get out of your funk, and take the next step.
HEALTHY MEALS MADE SIMPLE
I was so excited to discover my next step. No more freezer meals. I needed something easy, a little healthier, and no stress.
Like, no stress at all. Do you hear me?
Do what’s best for you, your family, and your overall well-being.
Read this post on adjusting your dial for your training and nutrition in Mental Health Approach to Your Workouts (and Nutrition).
I started with Every Plate and it saved my butt. Not a Jesus kind of saving, but still. The amount of pressure and stress this took off my mind allowed more space to heal and regain my focus.
But then I was ready for better.
Still not wanting to hunt for recipes and shop for ingredients, but ready for the next step up, whatever that looked like.
Like getting back to my high protein, cage free eggs, grass fed beef, fresh vegetables, organic, no preservatives, no gluten, and no sugar kind of ways, but someone else planning the meals for me.
So I quickly fell in love with Hungryroot, because they do all of that for me, and for less.
They have all of that and delicious! Never boring and so many more options to choose from. With Every Plate, although we still use it and love it, you get the same recipes and not as much variety.
I was completely wowed and amazed when my first box arrived with Hungryroot, and feels like Christmas every week! I couldn’t believe everything I got for the price.
Here’s my first box that totally rocked my world, check out the video on instagram below:
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STICK WITH HEALTHY MEALS
So I decided to stick with Hungryroot.
I feel so much better because I am not snacking on the gluten that my body doesn’t tolerate well. I can choose how many and what kind of meals I want, it’s diet friendly, snacks, fresh vegetables, salads, smoothies, cage free egg bites, grass fed beef, and so much more. It really feels like Christmas every week.
One of my favorite snacks, is cookie dough. It’s cookie dough made out of chickpeas… and it’s crazy delicious without any hint of guilt. I eat it raw and if I’m patient enough to wait for the oven to pre-heat… I”ll make a batch of gooey cookies with it.
Another benefit? Is that the recipes take a fraction of the time to make vs Every Plate. I don’t even chop. It comes ready to go. Here’s a super short video below of how I made Organic Thai Peanut Chicken Stir-fry with a fraction of the time. You can serve over rice or rice noodles if you like.
Like, thank you Jesus, this is what I needed!
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The breakfast smoothies help for those mornings I am running late, or for a quick snack for energy between my appointments.
FEEL BETTER WITH BETTER NUTRITION
I’m sticking with Hungryroot. They go above and beyond.
I’m impressed with the variety of recipes and how delicious they are.
I love that everything is guilt free.
SAVE TIME AND MONEY ON MEALS AND SNACKS
And surprinsgly, I actually spend LESS money on groceries with Hungryroot. If I would go to the grocery store, I would easily buy more than what I need or should.
I mean, I still go to the store for fresh eggs and milk, but I actually save a lot of time and money going this route.
No mental stress at all trying to figure out what to cook for my family.
Someone once said, “Nobody told me growing up meant that you worry about what to cook for dinner every night until you die.”
Well, in that case, I found the fountain of youth because I never need to think or worry about that again!
HAVE YOUR HEALTHY MEALS AND GROCERIES DELIVERED TO YOU… FOR LESS!
If you related to any of this. Let me know in the comments below!
You can start off your own delivery at a discount with this affiliate link for Hungryroot.
Save time, money, and fill your fridge for less!
Fitness might look a little different this year. At least it does to me. While I have always been focused on weight training and minimal cardio in just three days a week to get optimal results, I’ve had my perspective shift.
Not a complete shift, though.
Lifting weights is still the way to go for ultimate results, but for the sake of metabolic health and increasing immunity, I am now cherishing cardio more than I ever have. I’m lifting at the gym, and having fun doing cardio with my Bowflex C6 Bike at home.
With lifting three-ish days a week and increasing a little HIIT afterwards, you can have it all. At least, that’s what I’m doing.
I’m getting the results, increasing my metabolic health, increasing my immunity, and also taking my mental health more seriously than ever before. Also leading Immunity and Wellness events, so be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already so you can join.
MENTAL HEALTH APPROACH TO YOUR WORKOUTS
Be kind to yourself. While before there may be more tension for counting calories and macros, and letting weight loss be your goal for fitness, look at it differently.
Approach with the perspective of taking care of your mental health, overall well-being, and relationships.
ADJUST YOUR DIAL FOR NUTRITION, TRAINING, AND OVERALL WELL-BEING
Hey, we aren’t always doing our best. It’s ok to not be ok. However, it’s not ok to feel sorry for ourselves. I learned that one when I crushed both of my ankles and had to learn to walk again. No matter what; do NOT feel sorry for yourself.
Look at your dial. Maybe you can’t be at a 10, and that’s ok. What do YOU need for YOU and YOUR mental health right now? It’s better you adjust your dial back to where you need it versus jumping off the wagon and feeling awful about yourself.
You have this dial to feel more empowered. Take some pressure off yourself.
Thank you to Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition who gave permission to use the dials for coaching and publishing purposes.
Sometimes trying to do all the things can be overwhelming. Instead of mastering everything, master your dials. Get to know them well, and to adjust them for what is best for you. Mastering the dials can be a great beginning to mastering self.
WORKOUT WITH ME
With these principles. you can adjust the intensity of your training and nutrition. If there are times you can turn up the heat, then do it! But take care of your mental health in the process. Master your dials. Be kind to yourself.
To work out with me, you will need full access to a gym. I’ll show you step by step how to use the equipment, how to get results, all while enjoying your life at the same time. Get your first week for $1 by clicking here.
WHAT’S YOUR DIAL ON?
Let me know in the comments, where you feel you need to be with your dials! You have the power to adjust them. Where are yours?
It’s frustrating to know what the right thing to do with all the nutrition information in the world at our fingertips. Agenda’s and belief systems fight to gain your trust, whether it’s for politics or for your health. Those with the largest following, biggest stage, and loudest megaphone will be there to pull you one way to the next.
I’m not any of those. Honestly, the loud ones annoy me the most! They are quick to want to be understood, but don’t seek to understand what people truly want and need.
I’m in a professional certified nutrition group lead by one of the world’s most influential physicians in health and fitness. Even the professionals in there argue to prove their points that are all over the spectrum, so I understand the chaos and confusion!
BEGINNING OF NUTRITION
The truth is, nutrition is just in the beginning. You’ll have registered dietitians and physicians sharing their evidence, but it is still developing and still evolving. Eggs were bad for you. Now they are good. Fat is bad for you. Now it’s good. It’s good to be balanced. But not that balanced. You need meat, but not that much meat. Meat is bad, it kills the planet. Keto was the only way she lost over 100 pounds and kept it off. Keto is so bad for you!
See? It’s confusing and conflicting.
You will find evidence and research to support anything you want to do, but what matters is what is working for you, and working with a doctor who has a deeper understanding of your health.
It’s just the beginning. Things are changing and expect new research.
1. NUTRITION: INCREASE PROTEIN FOR FAT LOSS
If there is one thing that is consistent across the board, whether you decide to be vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or carnivore, is having high protein. The only time higher protein is not necessary for fat loss, is with the keto diet. However, keto can be lower protein, mostly fat, and hardly any carbs at all. It depends on what fits your lifestyle, your health, and with guidance of your doctor.
Research shows sedentary people need .3 grams of protein per pound of body weight while athletes can use .8 up to 1 or more per pound of bodyweight. Have you ever logged into myfitnesspal.com to see how much food that is?
Try having 3-4 meals centered around a protein. After that, you add in your vegetables, only a thumb size of fat, and a cupped handful of carbs. If hungry, add more protein or vegetables. Still hungry, add another thumb size of fat.
A great testimony of this is Chad. He came to me asking about losing weight but couldn’t get into the gym just yet. This one simple habit change of centering meals around protein was enough to lose 8 pounds in just one week. He didn’t even work out yet.
PROTEIN EXAMPLES: Lean meat, fish, ground chicken/turkey/beef, eggs, protein shakes, nitrate free deli meat, grass fed beef, greek yogurt
2. NUTRITION: ADD YOUR VEGETABLES
After choosing your protein, whether it’s meat, plant based protein, or protein shake, fill up on a rainbow of vegetables. If you are like me and don’t have time for that, then have vegetables already prepared in the fridge to grab, or use frozen vegetables. The fiber is great plus helps you feel full.
Roast, steam, sauté, grill, raw, or microwave.
3. NUTRITION: CHOOSE YOUR CARB
Where most people get caught up is the carbs. They are not bad for you, but you still need to be mindful of them. Most of us grew up having a plate full of spaghetti, lasagna, breads, pastas, sandwiches, pastries, etc. They are all delicious and yummy, but it needs to be a smaller portion. Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition recommends women have one cupped handful of carbs with each meal, and men can double it.
You’ll have 3-4 meals of your protein, vegetable, carb, and fat, you can tweak according to your goals.
For me, I simply don’t respond well to carbs at all, so I only have two portions of carbs per day. I’ll have one about an hour before I workout, and another about 45 to 60 minutes after I workout. If I want to put on more muscle, I’ll even DRINK carbs while I’m lifting weights.
Don’t think of your carb as the center of your meal, but think of it more like a side dish. You still get carbs, it’s just not your focus, protein and vegetables are.
P.S. I also count fruit as a carb.
CARB EXAMPLES: whole grains and pastas, rice, sprouted bread, fruit, old fashioned oatmeal
4. NUTRITION: CHOOSE YOUR FAT
God created animals with fat. Fat actually helps us digest protein better. They are supposed to go together! So when you have your meal centered around your protein, have a thumb size of fat to help the digestion.
You have a thumb to measure your fat with each meal, a built in measuring tool! Now, if I eat a fattier meat like a roast, then I might not have as much fat as I would with a leaner meat or a protein shake.
By the way, what is so addicting about pistachios? Every time I want to just grab a small handful of them, I end up bringing out the entire container. Just one more. One more. Ok, this one is really the last one. Aw what the heck, I’ll take a few more…
FAT EXAMPLES: Good fats are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, nut butters, nuts, ghee, MCT oil, fish oil, and grass-fed butter.
5. INFLAMMATION FROM FOODS
FOOD ALLERGIES: Research shows one in three people have some sort of food allergy or intolerance, which can increase inflammation in your body. Things seem to work slow, your mind can be foggy, low energy, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and sometimes even causing joint pain.
I got blood tested to find out why I’ve been so tired and lethargic, and found out I’m intolerant to my protein sources and can’t touch gluten. Within 24 hours I felt amazing simply by not eating the foods I didn’t realize were inflaming my body. It was like taking the wrench out of the gears.
But it’s good to go through testing to discover what you may be sensitive or intolerant to. I do blood tests with my doctor regularly, and interesting enough, the Eat Right for Your Blood Type Diet was strangely accurate to my blood work. I can’t say that all the blood types are accurate for everyone because I only looked at mine, but I was shocked to see both results were the same.
CANDIDA EPIDEMIC: In a nutshell, sugar is in everything and another reason I try to eat Whole30-ish. Sugar feeds yeast in your body that is believed to be a root cause of many health issues according to Ann Boroch, CNC, who wrote the Candida Cure.
Sugar also feeds free radicals that promote premature aging according to Dr. Perricone in The Wrinkle Cure. It’s hard to feel your best when you are full of inflammation.
Eliminate what inflames you, and instead fuel your mind and body.
NUTRITION BASICS CONCLUSION
Nutrition is still new and evolving, and that’s exciting! But what we do know now is having higher protein is the first step. As Dr. John Berardi shared, to have a protein the size of your palm, vegetables the size of two fists, a cupped handful of carbs, and one thumb size of a fat for each meal (guys can double), for 2-3 meals. That simple change of centering your meals around protein can be a game changer, whether you are vegan or carnivore.
Keep that up and you’ll eventually hit a plateau, but that’s a good thing. Plateau’s are meant to be hit and that’s when you get to the next level. And then the next level after that.
Even the most elite athletes hit plateaus and need adjustments and tweaking, so don’t be discouraged. Each day is an opportunity to be 1% better than you were yesterday, and to give yourself grace when you weren’t.
See more nutrition posts here.
THE NEXT LEVEL OF NUTRITION
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Everyone wants results and they want them fast. The quick fix many people feed into, are relying on diet fads and supplements, without looking at the whole picture.
Let’s look at the whole picture before wasting your money and causing yourself more frustration, to get the results you want using nutrition supplements.
WHAT NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS DO
When pertaining to how to lose body fat, gaining overall transformation you can see and feel, gaining muscle, improving your physique, recovering better and faster, increasing energy, and performing your best; nutrition supplements enhance what you are already doing.
They are only one aspect of the whole picture.
Yes, they can help you with your goals and part of your health and fitness, but don’t just take all sorts of supplements without actually changing lifestyle and expect results.
When used correctly, they can help you:
- lose body fat
- get shredded
- increase energy
- increase cognitive function
- increase performance
- increase recovery
- gain muscle
- transform entire body
- gain strength
- see and feel changes
- increase confidence
- increase joint health
- increase overall wellness
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS WITH HEALTHY DIET AND EXERCISE
When you include nutrition supplements with a healthy diet and exercise regime, you’ll get the results you were wanting. Whether you want to pack on some muscle mass or lose body fat, lifestyle changes need to come with it. If not, it’s just a waste.
When I was an inexperienced teenager, I was so determined I would never allow myself to get fat, that I took fat burners and either deprived myself of food or did some ridiculous fad diet. I wasn’t even working out other than going for a jog every once in a while, or whatever sports I was playing at the time.
Extremely unhealthy, right?
But it’s where I started and we all start somewhere.
I was ranked one of the fastest hurdlers in the state of Ohio and had no idea what I was doing. If only I had the knowledge I have now, to apply to when I was in high school and college, to see the kind of performance and health that would have come out of that. I could have better and faster technique. I could have eaten to be stronger and faster, instead of running on an empty tank.
But I didn’t, and grew from it. I didn’t get to see my full potential as a sprinter and a hurdler. But my pain and regret can help you simply understand the basics and how to enhance it with supplements and seeing the whole picture, too.
PERFORM AND RECOVER BETTER WITH NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS
Don’t run on an empty tank or chase fad diets. Don’t count on supplements alone to get you to where you want to be but they should be one aspect of you getting to your goals.
You can perform better, think clearly, recover better, feel stronger, train better, lose body fat, gain muscle, get healthier joints, and the lean physique you want.
It’s not just aesthetic purposes either. Yes, everyone wants to feel good and look good. But beyond that, it takes overall wellness, strength, and confidence as part of that.
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS WITH LIFESTYLE CHANGE
If you are like me and don’t want to live in the gym and obsess over it, you can get the maximum results in only three hours a week when focusing on the larger muscle groups.
EXERCISE: With only three hours a week, you get stronger, leaner, and more confident, without missing out on the more important things in life. I’ve used this method from coming back from an emergency c-section to being named in the top 20 physiques on bodybuilding.com.
So yes, you will get the best results from lifting weights. Not saying that you absolutely have to lift weights because there are many things you can do, but that’s where you will get the best results.
DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY IT: If you enjoy running, then run. If you enjoy Zumba, then move those hips. If you enjoy spin class, then do it! If you want to avoid the gym, here are ways to do home workouts instead. But just to let you know, lifting weights is where the magic is. Nothing can replace the feeling of loading and unloading plates and free weights.
FOOD AND FUEL: Combine lifting and doing activities you enjoy with improving nutrition, and nutrition supplements specific for your goal, then you will have one heck of a before and after picture.
Here’s mine when I wasn’t even counting macros or calories, but using my hand to portion out food below.
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS FOR YOUR PERSONAL GOALS
Which supplements to use will depend on your goal. I personally and professionally trust Granite Supplements. I religiously drink their Essential Aminos while I am training, use their Joint Care for healthier joints, and use more depending on my goals. (Discount code is below.)
Lately I’ve been adding their Vasoblast to the mix of favorite supplements and drink it 30 minutes before training. I love the feeling of a good pump and that’s exactly what it does. It’s a stimulant free pre-workout that opens up your vascular system to fuel your muscles. A key to transformation is fueling your body and muscle, not starving it. The Vasoblast opens up blood vessels to feed your muscles.
If you want to lose fat, then eat less calories than what you burn. If you want to stay the same, then eat the same. If you want to gain muscle or weight, then eat more than what you burn. Simple starting point.
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS FOR FAT LOSS
Calorie deficit, weight training, and weight management supplements are ideal. The easiest way to calculate a calorie deficit to lose body fat is opening a free account with myfitnesspal.com. I describe that more here.
- Essential Aminos while training large muscle groups
- 1-2 protein shakes per day as a snack with a thumb size of a fat with each shake (nut butter, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil, fish oil)
- ThermoBurn Fat Burner.
- FUEL your body. Each meal focused around protein.
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS FOR MUSCLE GAIN
Eat more than what your burn, plus drinking carbs while you train. Remember how I said the VasoBlast opens up the blood vessels to feed and fuel the muscles while you are training? When those vessels are open, it’s prime time to FUEL your muscles with carbs.
- Intra-Carb plus Recovery while training large muscle groups
- Protein Shakes with thumb size of fat as snacks
- Pre-Workout so you can train harder and have explosive energy.
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS FOR PERFORMANCE
- Intra-Carb plus Recovery while training large muscle groups
- Protein Shakes with thumb size of fat as snacks
- Pre-Workout so you can train harder and have explosive energy.
- Joint Care Supplement to make sure you are taking care of those joints!
NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS FOR OVERALL WELLNESS
I personally get regular blood work done with my Functional Medicine Doctor to look at deeper levels. I am a big believer in not only nutrition supplements for performance and recovery, but also for overall wellness. Therefore, I use a high quality fish oil, probiotics, multi-vitamin, and anything else my doctor recommends. I also use Muscle Synthesis because from severe pregnancies, I struggle to eat the amount of protein recommended to have a lean physique, which was also recommended and made by my doctor. I want to function optimally, and that’s why I work with physicians that understand this.
Know your food sensitivities which you can talk to your doctor, try elimination diets, or do what I did and just get blood work and work with a Functional Medicine Doctor. I miss the delicious whey and casein protein powders dearly, but due to food allergies and sensitivities, I can only have pea protein. I also can’t have any soy, hemp, or beans to get the protein. Right now I’m using Onnit Pea Protein. It’s thicker than the more delicious whey and casein proteins, but hey, sometimes you have to improvise.
GET A DISCOUNT ON NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS
Save some money by getting a stack and using my discount code BaileyD10 with Granite Supplements. I do get a small commission for sharing the same products I use and believe in, but at no cost to you.
This is not to replace any medical advice, but to always consult your physician or health care professional.
Carb cycling can be a great way of shedding some body fat and tightening your up your physique. Whether it’s for a challenge, a bodybuilding competition, vacation, or an event, it’s a great tool to get the results you want.
Now to be honest, I personally didn’t use carb cycling for figure competitions because I’ve always gotten myself pretty lean like that stage shot below. Many competitors do it a few weeks prior to a show to get leaner and add fullness to their muscles and shape, but instead I experimented with carb cycling when I came back from an extremely difficult pregnancy.
I have always dreamed of being that strong and disciplined mom when I got pregnant someday, although I was quickly humbled to learn discipline had absolutely nothing to do with my story. That’s for another day, but today is about carb cycling!
When I was finally released to work out again after having the baby. I started from scratch, like push ups from my knees and bodyweight squats until I can finally use a bar again. Again, humbling, but we all start somewhere. I started slowly four months after my emergency c-section, and still looked pregnant as you can see in my transformation photo.
HOW TO CARB CYCLE TO LOSE FAT
For carb cycling to work, you’ll need to be in calorie deficit already, and then on certain days reintroduce carbs. Something to love about this method, is that obviously being in calorie deficit makes you hungry, but the light at the end of the tunnel, is that you have more carbs to reload and feel amazing. You have those carbs to look forward to.
Another benefit, is that when you are on the hunt for fat loss and need to be in a calorie deficet to get there, carb cycling can help you from yo-yo dieting.
Save those reload or high carb days specifically for your training days for energy and to refuel after your workouts. For example, I try to group all my heavy training days in the beginning of the week, so therefore those are the same days I’ll have high carbs. And then at the end of the week, I’ll go low or medium carbs when it’s either an off day or an active rest day. By the time Monday comes around for training legs, my body is soooooo ready for those carbs again! Really revs up the metabolism!
HOW TO BE BALANCED WHILE CARB CYCLING AND STILL GETTING RESULTS
There are a few different ways to carb cycle, down to counting each macronutrient, but if you have known me for a while, I’m obsessed to find measurable ways without having to track calories and macros. Let’s get our faces out of our phones every once in a while and pay attention to living all while making progress at the same time, right?
If prepping for a show or a professional athlete, you will need to track them then, but when not prepping, I’ve found it’s crucial to give your mind and body a break.
I use the gold standard by Precision Nutrition, that you can find at the in this post 8 Ways Food and Nutrition can Transform Your Body.
It’s how you can use your hand to measure your meals plus awesome tips to make meal planning easy without counting calories. You can tweak according to your own body and specific goals. It’s a great way to find a healthy balance to lose fat while in calorie deficit.
START CARB CYCLING 2-3 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR EVENT
A few weeks prior to your event or if you are doing our 90 day challenge, you can take your fat loss to the next level with carb cycling.
Once you’ve gotten a good grip on your own customizable meal plan from portioning your meals with your hand in 8 Ways Food and Nutrition can Transform Your Body, you can start playing around with carb cycling like I did.
In combination of lifting weights three days a week, and carb cycling the last 2 -3 weeks, I was able to make the transformation below. And the transformation doesn’t end there.
You can keep building, experimenting, transforming and having fun with it.
NORMAL CALORIE DEFICIT BEFORE STARTING CARB CYCLE FOR BEST RESULTS
I found the meal plan that worked best for me was tweaked from the infographic to have a lean protein the size of my palm, a fat the size of my thumb, veggies to fill me, and then would have only 2 or 3 servings of carbs each day. The carbs were the size of a cupped handful.
I ate two or three meals like that, and then two snacks were protein shakes with at least 20g of protein, and coupled with either a thumb-size of fat or about 1/4 cup berries.
I was very specific about my carb timing, as I’ve learned from coach and bodybuilding legend, John Meadows IFBB Pro. The most important meals of the day are your pre-workout meal 1-3 hours before training, a Granite Supplement while training (Essential Amino’s to get leaner or Intra-Carb if you want more muscle) and then the post-workout meal 45 – 60 minutes after training. You can also get a whole supplement stack for your specific goal, and use promo code BaileyD10 for a discount.
I am religious to timing my meals around my workouts because it contributes to the best progress, energy, strength, and recovery.
WHEN READY TO START CARB CYCLING
There are many ways to play with carb cycling, and like I said, I focus on ways to make progress without having to count every macro or calorie. The method I did was pretty simple.
I’m all about making things less complicated than what they need to be so you can still make progress while enjoying what matters most in life.
Once I’ve established a healthy calorie deficit from the infographic with my 3 meals and 2 shakes, I referred to that as my ‘medium carb day.’ All while keeping the protein the same.
High Carb Days or Carb ‘Reload’ Days
I used my training days which were usually Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, for my high carb days, which meant I literally doubled the amount of carbs I typically ate. Very specifically 1-3 hours prior to training and 45 – 60 minutes after training, then another meal with double carbs, and then my two protein shakes.
Medium Carb Days (Normal Carbs)
Thursday and Friday were medium carb days, which was my basic day, just normal carbs. I even played around with taking out the medium carb days and only doing high carb and low carb days just to experiment.
Low Carb Days
Saturday and Sunday were low carb days, where I didn’t have anything starchy, but just vegetables and maybe one small serving of fruit. Even then, I usually kept the fruit out just for those two days. By the time Monday rolled around to train legs, my body was READY to eat up those carbs, and not store it as fat.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE RESULTS EVEN MORE WITH NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS
And if you combine your dialed in nutrition and carb cycling with great supplements and training, you are totally setting yourself up for success. Hooray for making everything less complicated and loving your nutrition and life at the same time!
You can burn body fat, get energy and mental clarity, and be able to recover with Granite Supplements. That’s exactly what their Fat Burning Stack is, in combination with their recovery supplements.
I strongly believe in their ethics and science, so I became an ambassador and can get you a discount when you use my code BaileyD10.
While lifting weights, I drink their Recovery and Essential Amino’s whether I’m about to get on stage for a competition, or relaxed about my training and intensity. If I want more muscle, then I add Intra-Carb while lifting.
Use code BaileyD10 for your Fat Burning Stack and supplements at Granite Supplements.
May your Fitness Journey Continue!
It’s been such a fun journey, to say the least. From being a competitor obsessed with every single macro or to being the sickest pregnant lady ever. To establishing a life where I can learn to love my body through every single season whether it’s contest shape or my post-partum body or somewhere in between, it really is possible to make it all less complicated.
I want to connect with family, friends, and life around me, not my attention so caught up in counting macros and calories that the important things come second. I want a healthy relationship with food, myself, and others, not addicted to myfitnesspal tracking it all. And to have all of that, while making progress in my own strength, health, and fitness.
I know it’s possible because I do it and so can you!
HAVE A LIST OF YOUR EASY AND FAVORITE HEALTHY RECIPES TO MAKE
I don’t know about you, but when I see those delicious and healthy meals in magazines, I quickly realize expecting to eat like this every day is pretty unrealistic. I mean, unless you have a chef, are a chef, or have food delivered to you, it’s much easier to make realistic transformation and goals by cooking delicious yet EASY recipes. You may have time on the weekend to make something a little more fancy and time-consuming, but it’s great to have a list on your fridge of easy recipes you can cook, especially when in a pinch, or just don’t feel like cooking. Make a collection of your favorite and most simple recipes to make, that way you always have something ready. Make it easier on yourself.
MAKE MEAL PREP EASY WITH BATCH COOKING
One key to success is being prepared. If you don’t have any food in your fridge, it just makes it way too easy to jump off the wagon and burn it up by gobbling all the snacks in the pantry or making a quick run for fast food.
To make this easier on yourself to transform your body, pick one or two days a week where you can batch cook. Batch cooking is preparing healthy food that you can keep in the fridge and split into meals for you and your family for a few days in advance or even for a whole week.
If your spouse or family doesn’t like the idea of eating healthy, just cook it anyways because they’ll realize that healthy can still taste delicious. Maybe it’s not pizza, pasta, and cheesecake every night, but they get to follow your example of putting wholesome food in their bodies. (By the way, we make delicious pizza, pasta, and cheesecake all the time but healthier versions!)
Always have your choice of protein, carb, and vegetable ready in the fridge. We are meat eaters in my family, so we always have one or two choices of meat to choose from like:
- paleo stuffed peppers
- gluten-free beer roast beef
- Korean beef
- paleo tacos
- keto bacon blue cheeseburgers
- lettuce wraps
- zucchini boats
- pork chops
- zoodles with meat sauce
- grilled steak
- chicken chili
- paleo chili
That’s just to name a few. That list is literally written down on a dry erase board on my fridge because they are the easiest to make, which is awesome when I just don’t feel like coming up with something, plus they taste delicious. I don’t know about you, but I am ALL about saving time and money so I can enjoy life.
We keep some raw and cooked vegetable dishes in the fridge, but sometimes we just toss frozen broccoli in containers with a little Himalayan Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and heat it up later at work. It just makes life a little easier.
In our house, we have a morning ritual with food prep. While some people love prepping containers of meals for a few days or even an entire week, I’m not quite that proactive. Instead, I spend no more than 10 minutes every morning portioning out 3 or 4 meals every day, along with 1 or 2 protein shakes, and carry it all in my cooler. It really is that simple. It just takes a little practice. However, if you have all the food ready in your fridge, it’s easier to grab and go!
CHOOSE QUALITY FOOD FOR A QUALITY BODY
Our bodies are made to digest and absorb the nutrients we eat. That means, you are what your body has absorbed, so quality does matter. You want wholesome and micro-nutrient rich foods to keep you fueled and healthy going down to the cellular level. There is a thing called inflammatory foods, and they do exactly that: inflame you. There are some foods that contribute to an inflammatory response in the body, to where the body and mind cannot function it’s best, heal, or recover very quickly.
Endless studies show how sugar contributes to such inflammation, and it feeds yeast in the body that creates this Candida epidemic that has been found to be the root of many diseases and disorders. One statistic shows that one in every three people has some sort of food intolerance. The more you put something in your body that isn’t tolerable, it continues to build an inflamed environment within you.
Thriving health and vitality are almost impossible in inflamed environments, so being able to identify those stressors in your body to eliminate them can help create a better environment where your metabolism can work in your favor, vs the opposite.
You are not what you eat, but you are what you absorb! This goes for diet, as well as mentally, relationally, and spiritually as well. So FUEL YOURSELF THE GOOD STUFF!
CHOOSE YOUR DIET FOR YOU AND YOUR LIFE…NOT THEIRS
Whether you line up with vegan, keto, paleo, high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, carnivore….. the best thing you can do is choose what you believe is healthy for you and your life. There are many healthy people groups around the world that eat very differently. It doesn’t mean one group is right and the other is wrong between vegan or paleo. Can’t we all just get along and respect each other?
I am part of a professional nutritionist group, and even the freaking professionals are at each others throats and blue in the face trying to prove their way is the best and only way. Quite embarrassing. That’s a sign of immaturity, no matter the alphabet soup behind their name.
Something in common with all the different diets is that it asks you to be more mindful of your food. Mindful is always a good thing. Mindful in eating, training, relationships, and even your breathing opens the door to success on many levels. What matters is you doing what you believe is healthy and making steps in that direction. Choose what is best for you, your needs, your health, and your family.
Not to mention, nutrition has barely broken the iceberg. There is so much more for us to yet discover and expect what the latest fads and ‘science’ to show will change and evolve. So be easier on yourself and do what you (and your doctor) believe is the best.
COUNTING MACROS CAN HELP BUT NOT NECESSARY
Macros are macronutrients, such as your protein, carbs, and fats. By using myfitnesspal.com, you can track everything you put into your body to have a better visual of what you are actually eating throughout the day. The majority of people don’t eat what they believed and perceived what they were eating until after they calculated it all and saw for themselves. If you would like to start tracking:
- Start a free account on myfitnesspal.com
- Enter your current height, weight, sex, and goals
- Enter if you want to lose weight, maintain, or bulk because you’ll have different calories you’ll need to aim for.
- After that, the first thing I do is make sure my protein is at least 1 gram per pound of lean body weight, or keep it about 40% of all my macros.
- From there, I decide if I prefer to have more carbs or more fats, I never have equal fats and carbs.
- A macronutrient breakdown example could be 40% protein, 38% carbs, and 22% fat
If you don’t like the idea of eating that much meat, you can still calculate vegan or vegetarian sources of protein and lots of protein shakes. And if you just don’t want to eat that much protein in general, you don’t have to if you aren’t an athlete. The daily minimum recommended by the National Institutes of Health is 0.36 grams per pound for a sedentary person, and athletes are usually 1 gram per pound. So the amount of protein depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle.
Working with Olympians and Professional Athletes, the only way they can be in elite condition is either with high protein macro’s that I’ve explained above, or they follow the keto diet which is much lower protein, but they thrive on eating a super high-fat diet, and hardly any carbs. There are so many different routes to go, and no one way is the only way. I’ve worked with coaches in the past that believed their way was the best and only way, and immediately respect is lost for them. There are many ways, and it’s a journey of finding what works best for you. It can be confusing, but what I’ve found to be the most balanced, easiest to plan for, while still making progress on my own goals, is to use the method below.
HOW TO PORTION CONTROL WITHOUT COUNTING CALORIES
I got started into bodybuilding competitions and had very strict diets following very strict meal plans. While meal plans and strict plans are great for competitors and professional athletes, it’s not something realistic or sustainable for the rest of the world. I eventually tried flexible dieting where you can eat anything you want as long as it fits into your macros for the day. I hated that more than anything else. Some absolutely love it and swear by it, but I just hated it.
It was time-consuming and annoying to sit there and calculate every ounce to eat that day. I’m a wife, a mother, a business owner, and an author. I don’t know about you, but we all need LESS reasons to have our heads buried in our phones distracted from the greater things in life. (Don’t wait til your marriage fades away or your kids grow up before you learn this!)
What I found that worked better than anything else, was following the golden standards of Precision Nutrition’s portion guide by simply using your hand to measure portions. Cover Model Jamie Eason uses the same Precision Nutrition approach from Oxygen Magazine Challenges.
HOW TO PORTION CONTROL WITHOUT COUNTING CALORIES
Portion Control for Men: Choose a leaner protein the size of your palm, and double it. Have two fist-sized portions of vegetables, two small cupped hands of a carb, and two thumb sizes of fats. Eating 3 -4 meals like this is about 2,300 to 3,000 calories, so there is a lot of wiggle room to make adjustments to see how your body is best responding.
Portion Control for Women: Use one palm-size for a protein, one fist size for vegetables, one small cupped hand for carbs, and one thumb-size for fats. Eating 3 -4 meals like this would be between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day. It’s a great way to start, and you can tweak changes if you are needing more or less food to get to your goals. Your hand is always with you which makes for a perfect tool to measure your meals.. without obsessing about every morsel.
I’ve used this same approach to dial in my body fat even lower by carb cycling. We’ll talk more about that in the future, but the point is, is that unless you are about to step on a stage, mastering this will help you with all the muscle gains or fat loss you want to make! This method has been the easiest for me when maintaining in the offseason without counting calories.
I accomplished this before and after in only three months by using 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and using my hand to measure my carbs, fats, and vegetables. I’m living proof and many others are, too.
The earth and soil aren’t what it used to be, so the fruits and vegetables don’t contain a fraction of the vitamins and minerals they once did. To keep our bodies not only functioning, but thriving, happy, and well, we add in supplements to what we can’t eat enough of naturally.
One study showed a man ate almost $700 worth of fruits and vegetables every month to save himself from heart surgery. One of the leading heart doctors in the world didn’t believe his patient could save himself from such a surgery, but alas, he did. That doctor was so amazed, that he studied in great depth how exactly his patient did this and began his own supplement line to pretty much cram that $700 worth of fruits and vegetables into a supplement to be more affordable, and seeing people’s lives changed left and right.
Spending that much money or gosh… thinking about how much time it would take to eat that much fruit and vegetables make me tired ha! My most favorite supplements that are foundations for me are a great fish oil, probiotics, and multi-vitamins.
Studies have shown that the health of your gut is directly related to your brain health…. so take good care of your gut!
I am also a big believer in Granite Supplements for my Athletic Performance and Recovery. They have joint care, pre-workouts, fat burners, and many other options in their store. More specifically, their Recovery Stack is my favorite because it contains Recovery Blend, my favorite Essential Amnio’s that I drink every time I lift weights, and their Joint Care. Use my code BaileyD10 for a discount and get it here.
SMALL DIET CHANGES
If all of this is too overwhelming, please stop and take a deep breath and remind yourself that you really can do this. Most of us were raised on poor diets, making it challenging to learn new and healthy habits, but it is not impossible to teach old dogs new tricks. While some learn better by jumping in 100% for a lifestyle change, some prefer to stick their toe in. If you need to stick your toe in to transform your body, it is still a START! Don’t get discouraged. It’s ok to take small steps. Take those small steps and practice and practice it every day, and then you can add that second step. Before you know it, you can turn around and see the steps you’ve taken, but you have to take that first step…. or toe.
Transform Your Meals in Stages
- Starting at stage 1, for example, would be running to McDonald’s for lunch every day. You’ll probably get a value meal and eat it quickly to rush back to work. This is our starting point, and it’s ok.
- Let’s transform it to stage 2…. to where you opt to maybe go to a real burger place where you are pretty sure they use at least real meat. If they use grass-fed burgers, then you hit the jackpot! Instead of fries, maybe get a side salad with it, and maybe just a few potato chips. Order a diet instead of regular soda. Maybe you even eat it sitting down, and not in your car. This is all good… it’s all still progress!
- You are eventually ready for stage 3, where you prep your own burgers at home and bring them with you. You may even buy a whole grain bun from the market, and all your own fixin’s so you can sit and relax.
- By the time you are at stage 4, you are a pro. You are eating your grass-fed burger you made at home, with a salad you prepped at home too. Instead of soda, you brought a jug of water because you are trying to drink a gallon a day. And then since you don’t have to rush back to work, you can sit outside and relax or go for a walk.
You can be at stage one, but ask yourself what you need to do to get to stage 2? (See the nutrition infographic below.)
Or maybe somewhere in between? Where are you today, and where do you want to be? It takes small habits and small changes. It gives you an opportunity to be mindful in your own health creating transformation not only in your body but in your habits and health as well. By putting these into practice, you will learn a more balanced approach to transforming your body without fad diets and gimmicks. By following the portion control guidelines by measuring food with your hand, using supplements, and having the easiest recipes on hand, you will see the transformation in your body plus make this whole healthy lifestyle thing so much easier!