Help! What meal plan works the best?

This week the gym has been more than busy. Our classes are bigger, the floor is full, and the cardio equipment even has a few lines at certain times of day. As a trainer it is awesome to see this many people trying to lead healthier lives.

As I tell many members of the gym and all of my clients, working out is not even half the battle. Actually working out is barely a quarter of the battle. The real change comes from what we eat.


“But Tyler, there are so many diets out there. Which one do I choose?”

This is a question I hear quite a bit. Diets are not really the answer. Sure, they have quick fixes, but the trick is to change our lifestyle in terms of what we eat and consume. The hardest part is figuring out what to eat and what portion size is best. No two people are alike, so what works for you might not work for others. The key is to find what works best for you.


“It’s hard for me to start my day with breakfast because I am so busy. Help!”

For me personally, I am always on the run (sometimes literally), so smoothies are my go to. I am and have been an avid Shakeology user. Their products taste great, it gets delivered to my door, and not only are they quick and easy to prepare, but they are great for people on the go.

Shakeology Breakfast Recipe

-1 cup of Spinach

-1 cup of frozen Strawberries

-1 tablespoon of Peanut Butter

-1 scoop of Chocolate Shakeology

-5 ice cubes

-1 ½ to 2 cups of water

Mix together in a blender. I highly recommend a Nutri Ninja. They are AWESOME!


“I have a lot of friends that do some caveman meal plan. Do I have to go hunt for my own food?”

The caveman meal plan is called the Paleo Diet. You don’t have to go hunt for your food, unless you consider grocery shopping hunting. The paleo meal plan has confused many people for a long time. Rather than explain it myself, I posted a link to one of my favorite bloggers at Nerd Fitness. If you have ever thought about trying to go the Paleo way, this will guide you through it.


“Ok Tyler, I hear and see people posting about macro’s. What is this and how do I know what to eat?

Macronutrients are Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats. The three macronutrients all have their own specific roles and functions in the body and supply us with calories or energy. For this reason, the body requires these nutrients in relatively large amounts to grow, develop, repair and feel good! The trick is to understand how each macronutrient plays a different role in the body and tailor your diet accordingly! The link provided is a great website to figure how much your body needs of each to lose weight or put on muscle mass. There is a bit of work at first with this style, but it pays off in the end after some practice.


“Alright Tyler, I want to eat healthy and all, but I am not giving up wine.”

Like everything when it comes to life, moderation is the key (even when it comes to wine). The Mediterranean meal plan is a favorite among many because of its simplicity and healthy guidelines. The basics are as follows (which is noted in the link below)

Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

Eat Only Rarely: Red meat.

Don’t Eat: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Another reason why this is popular is this meal plan allows room for a glass (not a bottle) of red wine a day.


“I eat pretty healthy Tyler, but am I allowed to have a cheat meal?”

One of the tricks I used when I lost my first 70 pounds was something called 90% compliance. What that means is 90% of my meals for the week were healthy and 10% were cheat meals. For example, if you ate five times a day, 3 meals and 2 snacks, that would equal 35 meals for the week. If you ate 32 out of 35 healthy meals that would be 90% compliance, which leaves you with 3 cheats meals.

When it comes to cheat meals, I always tell my clients to schedule one and have 2 on reserve. In the past I used to schedule my cheat meal for Saturday morning for breakfast. My two reserve cheat meals usually were used if I went out with friends to watch the game or out to dinner with my mom. I made good choices with these cheat meals, but I didn’t deprive myself of a couple beers or a slice of pizza when it came to a cheat meal.

Disclaimer: Saving all your cheat meals for one night out doesn’t work!

Whatever tool you use to create a healthy meal plan, remember that execution is key. We can punish ourselves at the gym all we want, but if we don’t supplement those workouts with proper nutrition and sleep (more on this in the future), we won’t see or feel the change in our bodies. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comment section.




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