It’s Sunday night. All of your meals are prepped and packed for the week. You’re pretty proud of yourself. You’ve been doing this fitness thing for 3 weeks strong! You might even post a picture of your fully prepped food on social media for a few more pats on the back from your #fitfam. Another week of perfect execution of your plan goes by and you prepare the week’s worth of food the following Sunday and you’re ready for another successful week. Or so you think…
Monday morning you find out a loved one has been in a car accident and is in the hospital. You started the day with egg whites and oatmeal and ended it with 3/4 of a large pizza. What happened? Life happened. You had the perfect plan, the ultimate training routine, and all the right supplements! Your perfect plan was there to help you be consistent and reach your goals, there was only one problem: it only works in a vacuum!
What do I mean by that? It would only work if you have the exact same schedule with the exact same events (or lack thereof) going on every day! So as long as something doesn’t come up that changes your status quo, you’re golden! Yep, the same magical six meals every day at the exact same magical time (every 3 hours) with no interruptions and you’re sure to reach your goals.
I’m not going to dispute the science (or lack thereof) regarding meal frequency or IIFYM vs. “clean eating” as that’s not what this is about. I am telling you that if you don’t have a contingency plan in place for when life happens you are going to fail! This is why I tend to advocate a flexible approach to dieting anyway. Did your workday get crazy and couldn’t eat your fourth meal? Combine two meals! Had to make an emergency trip and have nothing on hand to eat? Have some protein powder, oats, and peanut butter in appropriate proportions and just add water. We’re not talking about making these things habitual, we’re talking about making sure you are able to adhere to your plan as much as possible. A small deviation is better than going off the deep end!
How do you know how closely you are sticking to your plan? You should have some idea of your total calories and macronutrients (more on that in my next post)! Total calories > macronutrient breakdown in each meal > macronutrient distribution throughout the day > micronutrient breakdown. So do your best to match your total calories, then focus on hitting your numbers and so forth. That will ensure damage control when life goes crazy.
DO THIS… Keep a “spare meal” in your vehicle and/or cooler made up of non-perishable foods that you can adjust ingredients and modify according to your needs (if it’s your last meal of the day and you are leaning down you probably shouldn’t consume a full cup of oats)! A great example is the one I gave earlier with the protein powder, oatmeal, and peanut butter (use PB packets if you are prone to overconsumption)! You can do this if you plan ahead and expect the unexpected!
2 days out from my first show in 2014. 4 days prior my wife was in a near fatal car accident. I had basically cancelled any plans I’d made once I found out, but I stayed the course the best I could and I was able to compete and get my first class win.