I have been recently changed from building muscle mass to working on muscle definition. Based on my size and activity levels, it was suggested to me that I eat 2,800 calories per day, in 3 or 4 meals, with 30% of my calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates and 30% from fats. It was also suggested that 90-120 minutes before a workout, I eat 15 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbohydrates, and immediately after a workout I consume 40 grams of protein and 80 grams of carbohydrates.
What are some ways I can achieve these goals? What are some meals that I could eat that would fit these requirements? Also, do you have some suggestions for things that I could eat pre and post workout? –Jacob W.
So glad you’re following through with hitting your nutrition targets. First, let’s look at dividing up those calories per your description: 2,800/4 meals = 700 calories without snacks, or 3 meals of 700 calories plus 700 calories to share pre/post workout. A quick rundown of those 700 calories in the percentages you mentioned yields a meal that is 52 grams protein, 70 grams carbohydrate and 23 grams fat.
There are plenty of options to fulfill those requirements! Take this sample meal pattern for example:
- Breakfast: 3 eggs, 1 Cup nonfat Greek yogurt, Large banana, Large slice whole grain bread, 2 teaspoons peanut butter
- 1st Midday meal: 5 ounces chicken breast, Large sweet potato, Large ear corn, 1 Cup cooked green beans, 2 teaspoons margarine
- 2nd Midday meal: Large bowl chili made with 3 ounces ground turkey, 1.5 Cups pinto beans, 1 Cup diced tomato, 1 small onion, 1 pepper, any spices and topped with 1 ounce cheese
- Dinner: 5 ounces salmon, 1 Cup rice pilaf, 2 Cups broccoli
And for your workout days consider these snacks (totaling 676 Calories, 54 grams Protein, 78 grams Carbohydrate, 18 grams Fat) instead of one of the meals above:
- Pre: 3 ounces ham, 4 wheat crackers, Tangerine
- Post: 16 fluid ounces 2% milk, scoop hydrolyzed whey providing 20 grams protein, cereal bar (plenty of quick carbs for recovery, but if you really want 70 grams here just add chocolate syrup)
Remember, the key is to fuel your body for the definition work that you are doing. That means your diet should be based on vitamin and mineral-rich foods such as fresh produce, lean meats and seafood, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. For hitting specific numbers like the advice you’re trying to follow it will take diligence to get portions right, so no eyeballing it!
– Debbie J., MS, RD
Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?