In my last post, I discussed the workouts I do, how I do them, etc. This post will focus on what I’m eating, including vitamins and supplements and how I arrived at each of them.
The Train with Lyzabeth (TWL) program comes with a meal plan, which you select based on your own nutritional goals. I chose the muscle building plan, which focuses on building muscle and gaining weight appropriately and in a healthy way. Now, before I get into my meal planning, I just want to point out, this is by far my weakest link. I know I don’t eat perfectly well and I don’t even always meet my goals each day. I especially fall down when it comes to drinking enough water (I try for 48 ounces a day). But, I’ll share what I strive to do and how it mostly comes out each day!
In all the TWL meal plans there are instructions on how to figure out how many calories to eat daily, as well as what your breakdown of protein, carbs and fat should be. In a nutshell, you need to make sure you are eating at least as much as your body needs to sustain itself based on your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). You can calculate your BMR, then you build from there. So, for me, my BMR is around 1,143 calories per day since I’m so tiny. But, I’m trying to gain muscle and weight so my daily calorie intake, based on my activity level and goals is 2,400 calories a day.
Once you know your total calories, you then need to figure out your macros, or the percentage of protein, carbs and fat you need each day. Everyone’s formula is different depending on their goals. For me, I do 25 percent protein, 20 percent fat, 55 percent carbs. Yes, I’m carb heavy! For the longest time I was heavier on protein and fat, thinking it was healthier. Plus, it’s what everyone seems to do. But, I realized over time that I’m not everyone. I need the carbs for energy and to build. I don’t eat “bad” carbs (at least I try not to) but rather big healthy ones, such as couscous, pasta, rice, sweet potatoes and bagels. I’m in the “300 club” meaning I need more than 300 grams of carbs per day. It’s the only way I see any change to my shape and curves on my skinny frame.
One of the best ways to calculate the percentages is to get MyFitnessPal, which is a free meal tracking app. I use it strictly for meal tracking and not for fitness or anything else. It allows me to plug in total calories and then toggle to find the ratios of protein/carbs/fat. Plus, it tracks nutrients, too, so if you’re trying to keep your sugar intake down or make sure you get enough potassium, you can track that.
Actually, I am trying to keep sugar down to fewer than 50 grams per day but it’s SO hard to do. Sugar is in everything, particularly dairy, which I enjoy! The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams or less per day, which to me is crazy to think about! But, sugar has been proven to lead to diabetes and a whole host of other issues with our bodies.
So, I track everything I eat each day. I have the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, and I can access it online at work, as well. This helps me see if I need to add more protein or carbs to my daily intake to reach goals. Do I get there each day? Not always. But the more I meet my macros (the percentages line up), the more gains I can see on my body, as well. Part of my struggle and why I don’t follow Lopez’s eating plan to a “t” is that I have to feed my family and I have to afford groceries. Healthy eating can be expensive and difficult with picky children. Yes, these seem like excuses but they are my reality at the moment and my limitation. I may try to get on a more strict diet in the future but for now, I track and do my best!
When you lift as much as I do, your body needs a little extra to sustain all that effort. This is my current supplement routine and what each thing is for:
C4 – I take four ounces of water and 3/4 scoop of C4 on the way to the gym each morning. It has caffeine in it and gives me the energy boost I need at such an early hour!
BCAAs – During my workout, I drink 28 ounces of water with a scoop of BCAAs, branched chain amino acids, which are protein building blocks that help your body with energy and muscle building/repair.
Creatine – I cycle on and off to help with building muscle. Four weeks on, four weeks off.
I take a ton of vitamins but they are not all associated with my fitness routine. Some are simply to help with a host of health challenges I am facing as I age! But I’ll list them below and for the most part the reasons why I take them:
Biotin (to promote hair growth as I’m currently growing out a pixie cut)
Tumeric (overall health, particularly skin)
B complex (female health)
Vitamin D (because I am deficient without the extra)
Probiotics (helps with digestive health)
Fish oil (heart and skin health)
Magnesium (overall health and relaxation)
Ashwaganda (anti-anxiety herb)
Multivitamin with iron
I buy some of my vitamins on Amazon but most are available at your local grocery or drugstore. I just look at the labels to make sure there isn’t too much extra stuff in there that I don’t need!
Couple Tips for Success
I use Pinterest to find healthy recipes, as well as my newfound Instant Pot and associated cookbooks! I try to eat a variety of food each week, selecting different protein sources, pairing them with vegetables and carbs. We also tend to do at least one vegetarian meal a week.
We don’t eat out much at all. Maybe two to three times a month, we might do pizza or something. That’s it. It is easier to control what I eat when we cook at home. However, when we do go out, I try to pick restaurants and food combinations that match my goals.
I try to keep healthy snacks in the house, such as popcorn, yogurt and fruit. We also tend to enjoy ice cream, but for a hard gainer with three kids, that’s not exactly the worst snack in the world, in moderation!
I do enjoy my wine but have tried to keep it to a couple times a week instead of four to five. I usually only have one to two glasses over a long period of time from dinner until bedtime. While it’s not high in calories, alcohol causes other issues, including interrupted sleep, at least for me.
While we’re on the subject of sleep, I get seven to nine hours per night. I usually am in bed no later than 10.
What questions do you have about my meal/supplement/vitamin routine? Add them below!