Meal Planning and Meal Prep

You know that you have to eat several times per day, so why is that that so many people leave their meal planning to the last minute and wonder why they can never follow a healthy nutrient-rich diet?

21 Days & Top 3 Tips

Here are my top three tips that everyone, including you, can start using today. Turning your old habits into new ones takes 21 days. Remember this magic number and try these tips. Mark the 21-day point on your calendar.
1 Cook Your Meals In Advance & Keep It Simple

Preparing your meals in advance ensures that you won’t be tempted to make a detour into a fast food establishment. If you want to have a gourmet meal for dinner every day, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment since gourmet eating may take more prep time than you have.

Plan ahead by cooking your meals every other day, providing you with enough food for the next two days. If you are really busy, keep Sundays and Wednesdays as your ‘chef’ days. I normally eat breakfast at home unless I am doing morning cardio and am not returning home right away.
Breakfast Suggestions

Keep your breakfast (meal #1) simple, with foods such as oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese and whole wheat toast with almond butter (or organic peanut butter).
peanut butter

Choose the foods that will equal a carbohydrate and protein. Healthy fats will also be included with the protein choice.
Meal 1: Sample Choices

Carbs Oatmeal
Protein Egg whites
Fats Two full eggs (fat comes from the yokes)

For your next meals, which should be spaced every 2.5 to 3 hours apart, choose foods such as:

yams/sweet potatoes
whole wheat pasta & breads
avocados (with a sprinkle of lemon juice)
brown rice sushi (yes, it’s out there!)
fish (salmon, tuna, snapper, orange roughy, tilapia, swordfish, halibut) and brown rice

Also remember your fibrous vegetables, such as:

green beans
brussel sprouts

Many of my suggestions are foods that are low in the glycemic index, though there are many other healthy choices such as raisins, peas, corns, carrots, and white potatoes. See a complete list of foods below.

For my meals #2, #3, and #4, I will plan ahead the night before by cooking a large amount of chicken in the oven. Simply spray some PAM® on a baking pan, lay out your chicken and sprinkle on any spices you like. Spices will be your best friends when it comes to making your meals enjoyable.

While my chicken is in the oven, I will cook a large amount of rice or sweet potatoes, and steam some green beans and/or broccoli.
Meals 2-4: Sample Choices.

Carbs: ½ cup rice and 1 cup of green beans
Protein: 1½ chicken breasts
Fat: Flax oil

If I am preparing for a show or photoshoot, I will leave the complex carbs out and feast on a massive salad featuring grilled chicken or fish, with fibrous carbohydrates and a delicious vinaigrette made from balsamic vinegar, flax oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of Splenda®. Sometimes I will add seasoning, too.
2 Divide Your Meals Into Portion Sizes

Get yourself plastic containers that are the correct size for your mini-meals on the go. If you are not sure what a portion size looks like, remember this:
Container Size Guide

1 oz. meat: size of a matchbox
3 oz. fish: size of a checkbook
1 oz. cheese: size of four dice
1 medium potato: size of a computer mouse
2 tbsp. peanut butter: size of a ping pong ball
1 cup pasta: size of a tennis ball
1 average bagel: size of a hockey puck
3 oz. meat: size of a deck of cards or bar of soap (the recommended portion for a meal)
8 oz. meat: size of a thin paperback book
eggs, cheese, chicken

Having your meals prepared ahead and stored in a cooler with you will triple your chances of achieving your fitness goals. Look at the amateur and pro competitors. Whether they are male or female, competing in fitness and figure or bodybuilding, all of them will plan their meals in advance.

If you are not at all hungry three hours after your last meal, you may have consumed too many calories. Try making your portion sizes a little smaller.
3 Always Have A Bottle Of Water With You

Some vital H2O facts:

Blood is 83% water
Muscles are 75% water
The brain is 74% water
Bone is 22% water

It may feel like a hassle at the start but having water with you will make a major difference in your life. Water is a necessity. Your body needs water to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. Water also detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries away waste from the bod, and makes digestion possible.

Fiber alone cannot aid proper digestive function. Feeling dehydrated? You may be, and not even know it! Without water, your blood is literally thicker, and your body has to work much harder to cause it to circulate.

As a result, your brain becomes less active, it’s hard to concentrate, your body feels fatigued, and you just tire out. Aim for a gallon a day. Before you know it, you will start to crave and love your water. Add lemon for a new taste you’ll come to enjoy.
This Is About You!

Are you worried that people are going to joke about your bringing your own food to work, or that you can’t have lunch with the rest of the gang? Remember your reasons for why you planning your meals ahead.

If your friends and work associates joke and have an issue about how you are eating they certainly have some issues of their own. Remember this: I will be with you every step of the way.

So mark down on your calendar that for the next 21 days you are going to plan your meals ahead. In three weeks, by creating healthy meals in advance you will have noticed not only that your clothes are fitting better but you are also saving time and money.
Recommended Food Sources

The following are sources of proteins, carbohydrates, fibrous vegetables, and fats.

The richest sources of protein are animal foods such as chicken, meat, fish, cheese and eggs. However, plant proteins are believed to be healthier because of their lower fat content.

Other sources of protein include:

Whole grains
Peanut butter

For vegetarians, vegans and/or those who do not eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products, it is important to eat a variety of these other foods in order to get enough protein.

Protein supplements are a fast and efficient way to gain all your high-protein diet needs, however when you have access to real foods choose them for their nutritional value.
Simple Carbohydrates

White and brown sugar
Fruit sugar
Corn syrup
White flour
White bread
Candy & alcohol

These foods are usually high in calories and offer very little nutritional value.

Good fats include the ‘good’ vegetable oils, such as olive, canola, soy oil, flax, & Udo’s oil. Always use oil in place of all-animal fats and solid fats (such as shortening). Nuts, olives, seeds, and avocado are good sources of monounsaturated fat.


Here is a great Article written by John Gorman.

Let me preface this by saying, this is where some of you are going to get pissed at what I have to say and stop following some of the content I put out. This is who I am tho, 110% real and I say the things a lot of other people just wont say. If this offends you, realize something- it’s probably hitting home with you then. Most people that get pissed cant take an honest look at themselves in the mirror.

We have all heard the stories from competitors out there about how their coach “ruined them” and it’s been going on for years now. I’ll be honest, it’s a coaches worst nightmare to be called out somewhere on social media with someone claiming things like “my coach had me doing an insane amount of cardio, like 2-3 hours a day, to the point I just couldnt function” or “my coach had me eating under 1000 cals a day to get ready for my show, I cant believe he/she would do that to me!” or my favorite “my coach dieted me so hard that I blew up and gained fat rapidly after my show!”…..Ok, wait, I have an even better one. “My coach made me take DRUGS!!!!!” You may see where I am going with this, but first lets talk about coaches ruining people.

It’s def a very real thing out there, there are a shitload of coaches who have no idea what the fuck they are doing. All they know is low cals, high cardio, starve starve stave, cookie cutter diets for everyone. So, dont think for a minute coaches arent to blame for some of the plans they do with their clients and really playing hell on their hormones, metab, and overall health.

Let’s break down each of those things an athlete will say about their coach, and lets find out who is at fault here.

“My coach had me eating under 1000 cals a day to get ready for my show, I cant believe he/she would do that to me!” – The athlete hired the coach, the athlete ultimately decides if they are going to go that low in calories. If they athlete decides to go along with it, then it’s the athlete who is making the final decision.

“My coach dieted me so hard that I blew up and gained fat rapidly after my show!” – The athlete’s diet coach isnt putting that fucking cookie in their mouth. STOP IT.

“My coach made me take DRUGS!!!!!” This one really pisses me off. If the athlete is not fucking smart enough to decide if they are going to put a drug in their body or not, or if they are going to blame the coach, then they are a part of one of the things that’s wrong with the industry, hell even our nation- lack of taking personal responsibility for our OWN actions. The athlete’s coach is not in their house giving them drugs, forcing it on them at gun point.

Yes I know coaches need to be held accountable and that’s a whole other post/topic in and of itself. One thing I know is always true, coaches get way more credit (good or bad) than they deserve. When a client wins, they get too much credit. When they are out of shape, they get too much credit. When someone gains 30 lbs in a month after their show, it’s the coaches dieting approach that is to blame. While the coach is def tied to the outcome, the athlete is ALWAYS the one making the final decision and needs to take more responsibility instead of pushing it off onto others.

Anyone out there considering hiring a coach, do yourself a favor, research your potential coach before you make the actual commitment to work with them. KNOW what their business and what their approaches look like. If you dont do that up front as an athlete, everything you agree to do with that coach from that point forward is 110% up to you, making most of this your responsibility.

Article provided by John Gorman Fitness and Weight loss Coach

Team Gorman Facebook


Hitting macros per meal versus macros per day

Folks this isnt going to be the most popular thing to say but I gotta speak up. You may agree or disagree with me here to varying degrees, but I am going to speak through experience over the years with myself, and my clients.

I see so many people struggle with hitting their pro/carbs/fats (macros) that are just eating and logging the food they eat. Sigh….maybe it’s the old school way I learned but what happened to eating X amount of meals a day (however many work for your daily routine) and hitting macros per meal? Do I think there is an advantage for fat loss there? Minimal to none, but that’s not why I think more people should be trying to hit macro’s per MEAL instead of macros per DAY.

When you strive to hit your numbers per meal you will get much closer to your macros per day total than you will just randomly eating food and logging it into myfitnesspal or some other app. I have clients, friends, etc that say “I was under my carb intake today 30 grams” or “I went over my protein today by accident, sorry coach” and I find out they are just eating and logging their food and not trying to hit meals totals I give them. It seems these day’s with flexible dieting that people have abandoned the concept of planning meals out and are just more focused on hitting numbers at the end of the day. The only problem I have with that is when the problem comes up of being “off” your numbers. Especially protein, I mean if you are a guy eating 240 g of protein and you only eat like 15 g at one sitting and then 80 at another your missing out on the point of optimizing protein synthesis from that protein feeding. Balancing your meals with protein at least should be a minimum and there is plenty of data to support that. I give every single client a certain amount of pro/carbs/fats per meal to do 2 things- optimize protein synthesis from their protein at that meal, and to get them more accurately hitting their daily totals instead of trying to figure out how to make them all fit at the end of the day.

I hate to think this way, but it’s almost like people just dont want to plan anything out anymore. If you are a physique athlete, I suggest planning your meals for the day instead of just eating and logging. Sure people will say “but it works for me, I even get contest lean” and that’s fine, but if you are constantly juggling numbers and off that’s not ideal for you. Just plan your meals out for the day or days and put a bit more effort in and make sure your calories and macros are where they should be.

Article provided by John Gorman Fitness and Weightloss Coach

Team Gorman Facebook

Why Bodybuilders eat Rice Cakes.

As a bodybuilder, you may be more concerned with putting on weight than losing it, so typical “diet foods” like rice cakes might not be on your radar. But rice cakes are a good addition to your diet. They’re a good source of high-energy carbs and low in sodium to help prevent fluid retention.

Rice Cake Nutrition

Rice cakes are not only low in calories, but also fat-free. One cake has 35 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 0.5 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein. It’s also a good source of manganese, meeting 17 percent of the daily value. Although not a significant source of any other nutrient, rice cakes can help boost your intake of niacin, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus.

Carbs for Energy

When it comes to nutrition as a bodybuilder, your focus may be protein. But carbs are an important part of your diet plan, providing the energy your muscles need to lift those weights. Rice cakes are considered a high-glycemic food, which means they digest fast and act as a quick source of energy, so they’re a good pre-workout carb choice. Rice cakes can also be part of a nourishing post-workout meal, which is necessary for replenishing energy stores.

Low in Sodium

As a low-sodium food, with 29 milligrams per serving, rice cakes are a good choice when trying to limit your sodium intake to improve muscle definition. Limiting your sodium intake helps prevent fluid retention and is the safest way to cut weight before a competition, according to Human Kinetics. A 1,500-milligram sodium diet is considered very low-sodium, but you can survive on 250 milligrams of sodium a day, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension.

Serving Tips

You can eat rice cakes plain, but it’s better to combine them with foods high in protein and healthy fat. For a pre-workout snack, top your rice cake with turkey and fresh cranberry sauce or tuna with a touch of balsamic vinegar. After your workout, get the carbs, protein and fat your body needs by topping your rice cake with peanut butter and sliced bananas. Or smear some avocado on your cake and top it with thinly sliced chicken breast.

Good vs. Bad Carbohydrates Or Simple vs Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates, often referred to as “carbs,” are your body’s primary energy source, and they’re a crucial part of any healthy diet. Carbs should never be avoided, but it is important to understand that not all carbs are alike.

Carbohydrates can be either simple (nicknamed “bad” ) or complex (nicknamed “good”) based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them.

Complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and legumes, contain longer chains of sugar molecules; these usually take more time for the body to break down and use. This, in turn, provides you with a more even amount of energy.

Simple carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with little real value for your body. The higher in sugar and lower in fiber, the worse the carbohydrate is for you — remember those leading indicators when trying to figure out if a carbohydrate is good or bad.

Fruits and vegetables are actually simple carbohydrates — still composed of basic sugars, although they are drastically different from other foods in the category, like cookies and cakes. The fiber in fruits and vegetables changes the way that the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates to limit in your diet include:

  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Artificial syrups
  • Sugar
  • White rice (jasmine), white bread, and white pasta
  • Potatoes (which are technically a complex carb, but act more like simple carbs in the body)
  • Pastries and desserts

You can enjoy simple carbohydrates on occasion, you just don’t want them to be your primary sources of carbs. And within the simple carb category, there are better choices — a baked potato, white rice, and regular pasta — than others — chips, cakes, pies, and cookies.

The Detail on Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are considered “good” because of the longer series of sugars that make them up and take the body more time to break down. They generally have a lower glycemic load, which means that you will get lower amounts of sugars released at a more consistent rate — instead of peaks and valleys —to keep you going throughout the day.  Complex carbs are slower digesting so you will fill full longer especially if you metabolism is operating at an optimal level.

Picking complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates is a matter of making some simple substitutions when it comes to your meals. “Have brown rice instead of white rice, have whole-wheat pasta instead of plain white pasta.

To know if a packaged food is made of simple or complex carbohydrates, look at the label. Read the box so you know what exactly you’re getting. If the first ingredient is whole-wheat flour or whole-oat flower, it’s likely going to be a complex carbohydrate. And if there’s fiber there, it’s probably more complex in nature.

Complex carbs pack in more nutrients than simple carbs, because they are higher in fiber and digest more slowly. This also makes them more filling, which means they’re a good option for weight control. They are also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because they help manage post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Fiber and starch are the two types of complex carbohydrates. Fiber is especially important because it promotes bowel regularity and helps to control cholesterol. The main sources of dietary fiber include:

  • fruits such as apples, berries, and bananas (avoid canned fruit, as they usually contain added syrup)
  • vegetables including broccoli, leafy greens, and carrots
  • nuts
  • beans these are good sources of folate, iron, and potassium
  • whole grains

Starch is also found in some of the same foods as fiber. The difference is certain foods are considered more starchy than fibrous, such as potatoes. Other high-starch foods are:

  • whole wheat bread
  • cereal
  • corn
  • oats
  • peas
  • rice (brown rice)

Complex carbohydrates are key to long-term health. They make it easier to maintain your weight, and can even help guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the future.

The Glycemic Load Factor

Describing carbs as being either simple or complex is one way to classify them, but nutritionists and dietitians now use another concept to guide people in making decisions about the carbs they choose to eat.

The glycemic index of a food basically tells you how quickly and how high your blood sugar will rise after eating the carbohydrate contained in that food, as compared to eating pure sugar. Lower glycemic index foods are healthier for your body, and you will tend to feel full longer after eating them. Most, but not all, complex carbs fall into the low glycemic index category.

It is easy to find lists of food classified by their glycemic index. You can see the difference between the glycemic index of some simple and complex carbohydrates in these examples:

White rice, 64
Brown rice, 55
White spaghetti, 44
Whole wheat spaghetti, 37
Corn flakes, 81
100 percent bran (whole grain) cereal, 38

To take this approach one step farther, you want to look at the glycemic load of a food. The glycemic load takes into account not only its glycemic index, but also the amount of carbohydrate in the food. A food can contain carbs that have a high glycemic index, but if there is only a tiny amount of that carb in the food, it won’t really have much of an impact. An example of a food with a high glycemic index but a low glycemic load is watermelon, which of course tastes sweet, but is mostly water.

The bottom line: Just be sensible about the carbs you choose. Skip low-nutrient dessert, consider the levels of sugar and fiber in carbs, and focus on healthy whole grains, fruits, and veggies to get the energy your body needs every day.


Curcumin for Muscle Growth

Here is a great article by

Here’s what you need to know…

  1. Curcumin displays anti-catabolic effects.
  2. Curcumin can optimize the effects of insulin.
  3. Curcumin has been shown to reduce estrogen levels, which could lead to increased Testosterone levels.

Anti-Catabolic Potential of Curcumin

Curcumin is widely known as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, but new scientific evidence shows that it may also be anti-catabolic, insulin sensitizing, and even androgenic.

Studies have shown that curcumin supplementation inhibits protein degradation after injury and in cases of cachexia (general wasting usually associated with chronic illnesses), suggesting that curcumin does indeed display anti-catabolic effects.

Additionally, curcumin supplementation following eccentric exercise led to reduced post-exercise inflammation and markers of muscle damage while also improving exercise recovery. It’s even been shown to reduce muscle atrophy in the presence of deloading.

While no research has examined the effects of curcumin in muscle hypertrophy with weightlifting humans, research has indicated it’s entirely plausible that the yellow-colored phenol may have an anti-catabolic effect. This means that curcumin supplementation may be beneficial in adding lean mass and recovering from exercise.

Conclusion:  Curcumin supplementation appears to exert anti-catabolic effects, thus it may be an effective supplement in promoting muscle growth and recovery.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Curcumin

While some inflammation is necessary to heal, too much is bad news and can put you out of the training game for days, weeks, or even months. The literature is quite clear that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the major inflammatory pathway (Tnf-α and nF-kB). While the majority of the research is based upon medical applications, the research still applies to resistance training.

Curcumin is interesting in that it appears it can prevent the onset of inflammation and reduce current inflammation due to curcumin’s ability to mimic aspirin as a COX2 inhibitor. Perhaps the biggest benefit of curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties lies in its ability to reduce joint inflammation and arthritis. Research has shown that supplements containing curcumin reduce the severity of joint pain in individuals with osteoarthritis and even in those with rheumatoid arthritis.

While the evidence doesn’t uniformly show a reduction in measurable markers of joint inflammation, individuals with joint pain that supplement with curcumin notice a marked reduction in symptoms.

Conclusion:  Curcumin supplementation appears to exert anti-inflammatory effects and is efficacious in reducing symptoms of joint pain, thus enhancing your training.

Push Press

Anti-Oxidant Properties of Curcumin

Perhaps the original use for curcumin was as a potent anti-oxidant. Of course, supplementing with anti-oxidants is a tricky business as there’s still some debate as to whether supplemental anti-oxidants may actually reduce the training effect. While oxidation of muscle tissue can play a large part in muscle catabolism, exercise induced oxidation may serve as a hermetic stressor that signals muscle growth.

Still, preventing excess oxidation can help aid recovery and muscle growth, and there’s ample evidence in both humans and animals that curcumin is an effective anti-oxidant that may help prevent an excessively oxidative environment.

Conclusion: Curcumin supplementation is an effective exogenous anti-oxidant.

Insulin-Sensitizing Properties of Curcumin

Insulin signaling in the muscle cells results in muscle protein synthesis. Anecdotally and scientifically, optimizing insulin signaling post-workout with proper carbohydrate and protein ingestion results in greater muscle growth.

Of course, like any hormone, the signaling of insulin is regulated and the anabolic signal isn’t infinite, but curcumin may actually help you squeeze a little more anabolic action out of insulin. It’s believed that curcumin prevents the negative feedback mechanism that reduces insulin signaling, suggesting that curcumin may be beneficial in increasing the anabolic signaling effects of insulin by increasing insulin sensitization.

Conclusion:  Curcumin supplementation may increase insulin sensitivity, suggesting it may help increase insulin’s anabolic action in skeletal muscle.

Possible Testosterone-Raising Properties of Curcumin

Testosterone is the king in the world of anabolic hormones. It drives muscle protein synthesis, increases lean mass, and promotes overall health and well-being. While curcumin has been touted to increase Testosterone levels, the research is lacking.

Currently, we do know that curcumin has a protective effect on testicular function, especially in the case of excess alcohol consumption. Also, high intakes of curcumin have been reported to inhibit the conversion of Testosterone to the more active androgen, DHT, but the likelihood of this being true in humans is low given that the research involved extremely high doses. There is some plausible evidence, though, that low doses of curcumin may reduce estrogen levels, which would have the effect of raising Testosterone levels.

Regardless, the jury is still out on the exact effect of curcumin on Testosterone in humans.

Conclusion: Curcumin supplementation appears to protect testicular function.

Dosage and Safety

A recent meta-analysis of six human trials found curcumin to be completely safe and even supraphysiological doses of curcumin showed no toxicity. The LD50 (lethal dose) has been found to be >2000mg/kg in mice, which if accurate and extrapolated to humans puts the LD50 for a 175-pound male at around 160,000 mg. Given that the standard dose for curcumin is between 80-750mg, it’s safe to say that curcumin supplementation is safe in prescribed doses.

Conclusion: Curcumin supplementation is safe in the recommended doses and side effects appear to be negligible or non-existent.


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  2. Li YP, Chen Y, John J, Moylan J, Jin B, Mann DL, Reid MB. TNF-alpha acts via p38 MAPK to stimulate expression of the ubiquitin ligase atrogin1/MAFbx in skeletal muscle. FASEB J. 2005 Mar;19(3):362-70.
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