Debbie James, RDN, helps answer an LA Fitness member’s question regarding protein supplements to help build bigger muscles.
I am asking for help with calculating my macro goals and with meal planning (when, how much and what to eat)?
After 20 years as a Registered Dietitian it is my humble professional option that you need to tackle consistency in your meals before you attempt to aim for specifics. If cooking isn’t your thing, you need to be a savvy shopper to get healthy prepared foods and stock up on mini-meals and snacks for your alternating schedule. What are you willing to fix? What foods are best suited to bringing to work?
Frozen skillet meals can be enhanced with fresh ingredients on hand — only one pan to clean, plus leftovers! For portable meals, consider a cold vegetable/pasta/protein dish from the service deli counter at your grocer. Think outside the box of what’s typical “breakfast” fare. A bowl of chili with a piece of cornbread at 8 am might wrap up your waking/working hours before daytime sleep. Write out some ideas for the week and shop accordingly.
As far as building lean tissue on your lean frame, focus on adding 200-300 calories on the days you work out, divided equally between pre- and post-training. Wrapping your head around this small quantity is simpler and may be more effective than trying to pinpoint each macronutrient gram in an entire day’s worth of eating. 150 calorie snacks to support workouts include:
2 C. kale chips or light microwave popcorn (1/3 bag)
1/2 apple with tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 C. hummus with crudités
1 scrambled egg with diced ham and broccoli
Mini pizza: 1/2 English muffin + tomato sauce + shredded mozzarella
For personalized assistance you can find a nutritional professional near you, use the “Find An Expert” feature from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
-Debbie J., MS, RD
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.
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