Many lifters and gym goers invest countless hours and dollars into their fitness. They spend their hard earned money on gym memberships, equipment and supplements in hopes of building size, strength or dropping body fat. Day in and day out they will put in time at the gym necessary as well as research the best supplements and gear on the market in order to reach their goals. While these are all vital things to do in order to succeed, there is one major piece to the equation that gets overlooked by many people. When it comes to health and fitness, diet/meal prep is hands down the most important factor, in my opinion. For whatever reason, food intake is constantly being under prioritized in favor of supplements and training gear. Many people put in work at the gym and don’t get the results they desire, and the most common reason for this is the diet. To avoid this, it is important to know how many calories you need to eat every day to reach your goals. Once you know this, it is important to execute a plan for you to be able to get these calories in every day. That is where meal prep becomes a vital piece of the puzzle.
Why is Meal Prepping So Important?
Eating a proper, well rounded diet as well as taking in enough calories for your specific goals can be a challenge. Many of us are in school or work full time, as well as have relationships to attend to, families to take care of, bills to pay, home and car maintenance, as well as our workouts to worry about. It is very easy to get burnt out by all of the responsibilities we have. Eating healthy meals as well as having adequate time in between meals to keep your metabolism optimal can only add to the stress of everyday life. Meal prepping can help reduce some of the stress of eating throughout the day by having all of your food for the day ready to go whenever you are ready to eat. This gives you more flexibility and control over what and when you eat. It also saves time to be able to have your food cooked all at once, rather than cooking each meal before you eat it. This is important for everyone who works out, but even more so for hardcore bodybuilders and powerlifters who require insane amounts of calories in order to build size and strength.
The Basics on How to Meal Prep
Meal prepping in itself is not difficult to do. In short, all meal prepping consists of is making all of your food for the week then separating it all into containers, having each container represent one “meal”. Unless you have the luxury of paying a meal prep service, or having a significant other that likes you enough to do your prep for you, then most likely you’re going to be on your own for the entire process. There are several different ways you can get your meal prep done, so I will share with you the way I prefer to meal prep.
My meal prep starts each week on every Sunday. I usually do all of my grocery shopping for the next week (or next two weeks) as well as make my food for the week on Sunday. The amount of calories you need per day will dictate the amount of groceries you need to buy. It is very helpful to plan out your meals and the amount of food in each meal before you grocery shop. Once I’m done grocery shopping, I begin the prep. I like to cook all of the food I will need for the week, and store it all in huge plastic containers. Some people like to skip the big storage containers and prep each meal for the week individually, however I don’t have enough tupperware containers to do this. In addition to this, sometimes your food can become soggy if it sits while mixed with other foods for too long.
Once all of my food is cooked, it is ready to be distributed out in each of my meals. Before bed at night, I simply make my meals with whatever food I need for the next day. Having all the food cooked and ready makes this significantly faster.
How Should I Store and Carry All of My Food With Me?
To carry all of your meals with you, you will need a cooler of some kind. A generic cooler will work as long as you can fit all of your meals inside. In my opinion however, I think spending the money for a nice cooler is well worth it. This is because it is something you are going to be bringing with you just about everywhere you go. It is nice to have a cooler with high enough quality to feel comfortable around your shoulder. In addition to this, many nicer coolers have a specified space for your keys, wallet, and other belongings so you only have to carry one bag with you instead of two or three.
My product recommendation for a high quality cooler is anything from the 6 Pack Fitness company. 6 Pack Fitness makes many different models of coolers specifically designed for gym goers of all types. They have models that include coolers, backpacks, duffle bags, briefcases and even women’s purses. I purchased the Innovator 500 model several weeks ago, and so far I have been extremely happy with my purchase. It holds five out of my six meals that I eat per day, as well as room left over for water bottles, supplements, silverware and my keys and wallet as well. The bag has a pad on the shoulder strap, so it is extremely comfortable to carry. The bag also comes with containers for your meals as well as ice packs for inside the cooler. At first, I was nervous that the meal containers would be too small for the amount of food that I eat, but they turned out to be able to fit all of my food perfectly. There were also some reviews that I saw claiming that the ice packs broke on them, but so far mine have been perfectly fine.
If you would like to check out the 6 Pack Bag that I use, click the product link below!
The Most Important Factor
All of this information is vital to have if you want to begin meal prepping. It is very helpful to plan ahead and be organized in your eating if you want to be able to reach your goals. It is important to remember that meal prepping takes discipline and a good work ethic. There are no short cuts whatsoever. If you are willing to put in the work, then you will reap the results you seek!
If you have any comments about meal prep, or if you have a different way you prefer to meal prep, feel free to leave a comment below!