21 Day Fix Example Meal Plan

Hi Folks

Following on from my top picks to start your New Year fitness journey I highlighted the 21 Day Fix as my top option.  The basis for it was not just short. modified workouts but also a comprehensive nutrition plan.  I’d go as far as saying it is the best nutrition plan by a BeachBody programme to date.

The workouts are pretty self explanatory – simply follow the calendar to find out what todays workout is and push play.  The nutrition plan can be daunting so I’ve pieced together a sample nutrition plan based on 1,500-1,799 calories (it can be daunting for any programme).  Roughly this is where I sat when I initially started cutting down.  Depending on your caloric intake all you do is simply add in or take away container options.  FYI looking at the plan I sit in the 2,100-2,299 range

First and foremost – get rid of all of the junk food in your house, the fizzy drinks, the sweets, the chocolate bar stash etc.  If you are like me and find it  – you will eat, keep it clean and do yourself a favour take away the temptation.  By the way don’t bin it give into a local food bank where it won’t go to waste.

21 Day Fix Meal Plan Example <— **Click to view**

It’s actually pretty straight forward, with minimum ingredients (takes out a lot of the thinking) and some variation to keep you interested.  It’s really what you want to make of it  yourself, you may decide to split some of the greens I have in snack 1 into meal 2 and the same with the red container contents.  This is really on a starting point to get you going, once you familiarise yourself with the container contents you will automatically know what to do.  Additionally you can transfer this knowledge into the nutrition plan for other programmes as you progress.  Despite what you initially may think, this is quite a bit of food to consume in a day.  The nutrition plan also provides advice on what to add in for treats so please refer to it.

Once you get into this you will see how simple things like a KitKat contain 103 calories for 2 fingers and how a few of these with tea or coffee a day soon add up and you can see where the excess caloric intake come from.

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions

Yours in health & fitness

Tony Mac

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Shake it!

Shaker cups, anyone who works out regularly has a cupboard full of these. Often orders placed online will have a complimentary one thrown in guaranteed to give you a smooth shake – at least that’s the claim. Over the years I have had many cups, some good and some very bad. If you have also left one in your gym bag for a few days you will also know how smelly they can get.

So I’ve currently 5 different shakers in my cupboard which I will run through now.

The Core 150

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Available at http://www.core150.com
Price £12.99 each

This is one of my favourite shakers as it has 3 compartments that fit inside the shaker. You can have your pre, intra and post workout powders or capsules in the shaker. It holds up to a litre of liquid – great for weight gain shakes. I use this cup daily to monitor my water intake. I know to drink about 4 litres of water a day and this does it for me. It is big and bulky but a great shaker.

The Vortex 2.0 Kickstarter Version

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Backed $100.00
The Vortex Original
£18.99 Amazon.co.uk
Upgrade kit £16.99 Amazon.co.uk

If you want a smooth shake this is the daddy of silky smooth shakes. I had the original and was very impressed so I joined the Kickstarter campaign for the 2.0 version that included a rechargeable battery, side measurements for liquids and a nutripod to hold your powder or capsule supplements. Any protein shakes I’ve had in it mixed very well and is very handy now with the pod and measurement markings – can’t understand why the original never had this as its pretty basic and simple to put markings up the side. There are 2 gripes about this one the cost, even the original is probably the most expensive I’ve ever seen and secondly the rechargeable battery connector – really should be micro usb like the majority of mobile phone chargers. Other than that it’s a very durable and unique shaker, if I was at the gym this would be great for me. Even at home it can be used to mix drinks (without the ice), eggs etc.

SmartShake

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£varies – Original £7.99 Amazon.co.uk

Prior to the Core150 this was my go to shaker. 3 compartments (including the shaker) separate dividers for capsules if necessary was the big point for me. Huge variety of colours and colour combinations available. The capacity is 600ml although there are now larger versions 800ml and smaller 400ml. Nice fitting shaker for smaller bags on the go.

Blender Bottle

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£varies

Have to say this is a shaker I’m not impressed with. I get the concept with the ball whisk. It just doesn’t seem to do the job well, shakes can be lumpy and is very very poor and with thick weight gain shakes. It comes in a variety of colours and there are a variety of bottle sizes, combinations and features. I will be honest I have had many accidents with this bottle – it comes from ensuring the cap is pressed down firmly and clicked into place. I have arm workouts where I can barely lift my arms (I’m looking at you V Sculpt as the most recent culprit) and didn’t click the lid on properly, started to shake and ended up with a post workout shake around me – what a waste. It’s a minor gripe but a messy one and more down to user error lol.

The Basic Shaker

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£- Free -varies

This bad boy is the freebie added in with orders and is the original shaker cup, the most basic and arguably the best. Shakes are not super smooth but do you need them to be? This does the job and for many starting out or who don’t fancy spending nearly £20 on a shaker. There’s no shame in this shaker and would definitely rate it over the blender bottle; if you have small Tupperware boxes for protein you won’t even need a Smartshaker or the Core150 just use them with this shaker.

Like nutritional supplements there are so many varieties of shaker bottle on the market and it keeps expanding.  I do prefer the Core150 as I use it beyond workouts but I’d be equally happy with the basic original shaker cup – effective and cheap.

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac

Getting Started in 2015 – My Recommendations

2015 is well underway any many people will have made the resolution to get in shape, lose that weight or get summer body ready.

For those who have never darkened a gym it may seem like an overwhelming task, taking that first step and committing to a new healthier and fitter lifestyle. Many will even be put off by the cattle market that is a gym in January; so for those people I have 3 phenomenal recommendations to help you get started on your fitness journey.

These recommendations have no costly monthly memberships to gyms or health clubs. They are not fad diets or workouts. They are well designed integrated programmes that not only provide great workouts in short times but also nutrition plans. You will find that 70% of your results are nutrition based and the other 30% are exercise based.

So my first recommendation – P90!

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That’s the updated version of the old Power 90, reworked and updated for the latest fitness knowledge and experience. It’s by my favourite trainer Mr Tony Horton. This is not an extreme programme – no pull ups. It’s described as the on switch to fitness. It’s broken down into 3 blocks and there are 2 different roads you can choose Sweat (cardio based) and Sculpt (resistance based). I’d recommend starting at Sweat then once it’s completed move to Sculpt. BeachBody include a resistance band to get started but I’d recommend getting more bands or some dumbbells. Also there’s a modifier in each workout so you don’t have to jump in straight away – modify to stay in the game. I do it there’s no reason not too.

Each road has 3 phases and you only move into to the next phase once you’ve mastered the current one. So potentially that’s 180 days of fitness taken care of. The first phase is only 25mins a day – sweet. Then it ramps up to 30 and 40 in the next 2 phases respectively. So you don’t burn yourself out initially, you stay committed and you see the results after 90 days!

Also there’s a handy nutrition guide setting out of what you need a to eat. The results off this programme have been great and are a super gateway to other more extreme BeachBody programmes.

My next choice is Focus T25.

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This is a 25minute routine for 5-6 days (Friday’s are double but I usually did the second on Saturdays) with a stretch day too. This is a cardio and resistance routine by the King of Cardio- Shaun T.

I loved doing this programme, get in, get it done and there’s no breaks. Again there’s a modifier for every move. The Alpha round starts you off, it becomes familiar as time goes on. You can actually turn up the background music too once you familiarise yourself with the routines. I recommend this as it really spurs you on. The next round is Beta, builds on the Alpha round moves, ups the complexity of moves and adds some weights. BeachBody kindly add in a resistance band to start you off but I’d suggest getting a light dumbbell as you progress – honestly 3-5kgs is more than enough even for strong dudes/galls. My favourite workout is actually ally Speed 2.0 I always turned the volume up on it and got a little bit too into it. Yeah you may find yourself randomly going “up, centre, back, centre, in, out, in, out ” during the day like I did lol.

There is the option for a third Gamma round. Again it builds on the previous round and gives a great workout.

Doing all 3 phases leaves you at 90 days and I got totally ripped doing this.

The key is focusing and engaging in every single move

Again there’s a simple nutrition plan to support the programme.

Finally and my actual number 1 recommendation is – The 21 Day Fix!!!

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This is a programme my a Autumn Calabrese and is the shortest of all programmes. It only lasts 21 days, the workouts are 30 minutes long with a number of different varieties to keep you guessing if you do successive rounds. The big plus to this programme is the Eating Plan and containers. The workouts are intense as any other and have a great modifier built in. But as I said earlier the key to health is nutrition and this is where this plan excels beyond any other.

You initially work out your caloric range based on your goals, this gives you how many of each container you need to eat during a day. Each container has a list of foods and even adds a few treats. You split your containers across the day and base your food intake on this. Simple and effective. I find spreading them out across 3 meals and 3 snacks works perfectly for me. This is a simple solution to people who are confused about their nutrition and what to eat initially. You will not go hungry on this plan either as the food is filling and nutritious.

You can also easily plan out you eating daily and it really becomes second nature, there’s a variety of foods for each container so you won’t get bored it’s not all plain chicken and rice every day.

Once you master the nutrition plan you can migrate this across to many other BeachBody programmes and is a real investment. BeachBody have recognised this and include these containers with their latest programme Insanity Max 30. Insanity Max 30 is not a recommended programme for newbies, pick it up later down the line.

I have attached below a document which transcribes the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan – what foods are in which containers, how many of each container for each calorie range etc.  It will also show to anyone considering that programme what foods are in the plan.  Print it off, keep it in the kitchen and refer to it.

21 Day Fix Nutrition Plan

Irrespective of the programme you choose BeachBody have a money back guarantee so it’s no risk if you don’t like them – you won’t get your gym membership refunded folks! All these programmes can be done in the privacy of your own home and if you need to you can pause – you can’t pause a gym class. Once you have bought the programmes and decided to keep them you can keep on doing and rotating them – it’s a one off cost. Many of these programmes can be done on the go too, if you travel with work you don’t need a hotel gym they can be easily done in your hotel room!

Whatever you decide to do, kudos to you for starting. Regardless of where you start from you will always progress if stay committed. As BeachBody says – decide, commit, succeed!

If you have any questions or comments please drop me message here or by email tonymacfitness@gmail.com

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac

Happy Thanksgiving & Cheat Meals

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends today, I’m thankful for my loving wife and kids who support me everyday.

It’s that time of year in general plenty of eating and drinking going on, not just in America but everywhere.  We have office Christmas parties, reunions, Thanksgivings, religious festivals etc; all big important events with plenty of food and drink.  **Danger Danger Danger Will Robinson** Unfortunately these splurges play havoc with training preparations and your health and we’ve all done it, yup me included, I’ve over done it at these things and we’ve all felt pretty rubbish the next day and the next day and the next day.  You can have more than your daily caloric intake at these meals.  So what are the options, well lets takes exercise first.  On the morning of these big splurges get some high intensity cardio going.  There are loads of options from running, cycling, studio classes or home workouts (I’m glaring at you Shaun T workouts) but its important to get the heart, lungs and legs going and begin a burn off.  Trust me this will be a great way to start your day and feel pumped for the day ahead.  Next is food, about a few hours before the big meal have a smaller meal, eggs and veggies for example.  But hey you are saying you will ruin your appetite for the big meal – exactly the point.  You won’t eat as much turkey, stuffing or creamed potatoes but you will have eaten some good source of protein, carb and fat before hand.  If you happen to be eating out as the server if you could have the veggies without the butter on top, or some brown rice or not to have the greasy option or just go vegan for the meal.  You entice them with a tip at the end.  Additionally you may want to just consume smaller quantities of the food on offer.  I am no fan of these low fat options about, I’d much rather take a quarter serving of the regular full fat option than a full serving of the low fat option.  Why? because the low fat options are typically further processed and have many more unpronounceable words in them including sugar.   Drinking well, I’m no fan of drinking, I used to drink but stopped about 7 years ago as I hated the feeling next day.  Life is short enough without wasting a day or 2 or 3 being hungover.  If you are going to drink please take a 10 ounce glass of water between each drink – you’ll drink less, feel better hydrated and hopefully not have a dire hangover the next day.

All of this brings me on to cheat meals throughout the year.  When I first started bodybuilding and serious training a had a cheat meal once a week – yup Saturday/Sunday night chinese or pizza it was my reward for a tough weeks work.  This was fine at the start with huge gains but as time went on fat started to appear.  Why because the huge caloric and macro nutrient content of the cheat meal was being turned to fat and wrecking my weekly progress.  So I started to eat differently rather than eat religious healthy 100% for 6 days of the week and binge on one day I took an 80-20 and 90-10 rule each day.  For 80% or 90% of the day I eat very clean and the remaining 20% or 10% I have little cheats the odd kit kat, gluten free cookie, 90% cocoa chocolate etc.  My health improved dramatically over time with this rule.  I still do have the odd cheat meal its never weekly or monthly more often every 6-8 weeks, why?  Because we need to fire up our metabolism from time to time, it adds variety and keeps the body guessing.  If you are preparing for a competition it will be different and tailored to your body.  This is only the system that continues to work for me.  You may be much different.  My most recent cheat meal was at Belfast Christmas Market with a yummy venison burger, yeah it was fatty but hey it tasted good and haven’t splurged like that since September.  I didn’t take any waffles, mulled wine, mince pies or treats so I was pretty happy with that.

One of my favourite cheats are Quest Bars.  Yum yum yummy, anyone who has tasted their cookies and cream or choc brownie knows what I am talking about.  In my opinion the cleanest cheat snack around today – they’ve even come up with crisps but I haven’t tried these.  I always keep a box on hand.  Great for out and about on the road, offices etc.  They are expensive but really nothing else comes close.

Finally be careful of binges but also of cutting out cheats, especially sugary ones from your nutrition.  I recently saw a fitness group doing a No Sugar November.  This turns into a Donut December.  The splurge happens in December when you think you can have some sugary foods and you just eat and eat.  Its not good and its something I always go back to – keep everything in moderation.  Have the odd donut a week, not every day, or chocolate bar a week.  I’ve a sweet tooth for chocolate I find a 90% chocolate slice a day keeps this at bay or if you can find it a chocolate protein shake that tastes nice.

But guess what if you don’t heed any of this opinion thats fine to, take it as a learning experience and move on.  If you do binge at an event take it as restart and redouble your efforts the next day, we all fall down and fail at times but we need to move on and not get bogged down in them. Don’t keep beating yourself up everyday about them, problems really appear very quickly if you are binging daily or weekly.

Keep it balanced

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac

P90X2 Week 2 Thoughts & What’s your breakfast?

Saturday morning X2 Balance & Power in the books. This week I’ve upped just about every number in my workouts, be it weights or reps while still maintaining proper form and engagement. Really concentrating on that last point during X2 as a stable and engaged core means you can do the exercises without injury. Many exercises leave you open and exposed, to heavy a weight and bang goes a knee or your back. Injuries are not cool. The most I’ve used in X2 so far is 25lbs and that was rocket launcher bicep curls, everything else is on average 15lbs.

Also what you need to remember in X2 is that you are engaging a lot of smaller stabilising muscle. These are typically smaller and can burn out quickly so light weights throughout.

So onto breakfast, the top pic is my typical breakfast. It’s simply course cut oats in water (50g hence the scales) with cinnamon. The cinnamon is a natural fat burner. I then usually add something to it. At the minute it’s granola, Fuel to be exact. I normally take half a handful of it as it can contain loads of sugar. This one also contains some chocolate (part of my daily fix). Other times it’s a handful of fresh berries normally blueberries. I’ve never used frozen fruit as the processing rapidly increases the sugar content so be careful.

When heading out cycling a like a good stodgy breakfast so I normally take oats in water, cinnamon, blueberries and a handful of Fuel granola. I let the cooked oats soak into the granola and berries. Delicious and keeps me going on long cycles.

The question is what’s your typical breakfast?

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony MacIMG_1126.JPG