Craig Leonard

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Preparing Your Meals For Fitness Success

Amber DeLeal March 2, 2016
Preparing Your Meals for Fitness Success

In case you haven’t heard, working out is only part of the battle for getting a lean, sexy body. Nutrition plays a big part too.

I know. Crazy, right?

Compared to eating for results, training for results is easy. It’s hard to eat clean most of the time and to consistently feed your body for the results you want.

It might take some time to get used to, but once you get in a routine of incorporating a little time each week for preparing your meals, you’ll find that eating for success gets a whole lot easier.Dieting Is Harder Than Working Out

Use Meal Preparation To Your Advantage

When I meal prep I go big and make enough meals to get me through the whole week. Because, let’s face it, who has time to prep meals in bulk two or more times a week?

Actually, I used to. I would make 6 meals on Sunday and then another 8 on Wednesday. But I found myself in a constant state of rushing around and I hate that feeling!

So I decided to dedicate a few hours on the weekend to prep for the whole upcoming week. I can’t stress enough how great this is to get most of your meals prepped and ready for easy eating throughout the week.

Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Then come the weekends. They’re busy, too. For me it’s still easier to block off some time on Saturday or Sunday to prepare my meals for the week.

It may be a different day for you. Just find an hour or two that works for you and make that your food preparation magic time.

How I Make Meal Prep Work For Me

Meal prep has always felt like such a burden to me. So I understand if this is what you’re thinking.

It would always turn into a battle in my mind over whether the time and effort I had to put in to make my healthy meals for the week was worth it. In the beginning, I usually decided it wasn’t.

Since my diet is so strict now there’s simply no way around it. If I’m going to succeed I need my meals prepped and ready to go. It’s all about priorities. I figure out what day I have the most free time (usually Sunday) and that’s when it gets done.

By the way, schedules change so you need to be flexible.

For example, if my husband is working Saturday morning, I’ll wake up, do my fasted cardio, get home, cook and package my meals for the week.

If he isn’t working Saturday, or if I have to go to Craig’s house to get my measurements taken, I will usually just do my meal prep on Sunday.

I’ll be honest with you. Meal prep can be time consuming if you let it. It doesn’t have to be, though.

How I Get It Done

One thing I like to do is cut my chicken before I cook it. This works great for me since my contest preparation has me eating very specific amounts of protein. I have to cut my chicken and weigh it out for my meals anyway. I might as well do it before I cook it.

I usually pan-sear my meat on the stove. Although, grilling chicken on the BBQ is my favorite when it’s nice outside. When I want to be a little more efficient with my time, I’ll bake it in the conventional oven or use our Nuwave Oven.

Once the chicken is finished, I let it cool off, portion it out in plastic bags, and put them in the fridge for later. I put them in plastic bags – already portioned out – in case I get in a time crunch and need to just grab it and go.

This is also an extremely effective space saver in the fridge. Can you imagine 20 containers in a fridge I have to share with four other people!? I don’t think so!

As far as my veggies go, I typically use steamer bags because they’re so convenient. No matter how I cook them, when I’m finished I dump them in my biggest Tupperware bowl and put it in the fridge.

It’s been a while since I’ve had carbs, but I do the same thing when cooking a batch of rice, potatoes, or any other healthy source of carbs.

This makes it waaaayyyy easier not to cheat. If we’re going to be out and about, I’ll just take a few minutes to pack a Tupperware container with my pre-cooked foods. No crap fast food for me, thank you!

My meal prep techniques have certainly evolved over time and I’m sure it will continue to change as I find better and more efficient ways to get it done.

In the end, it’s all about prioritizing, time management, and making it fit into your life.

Prepping Your Food Ahead Of Time Is Important

Preparing your meals is one of those things that’s easy to put off until you’ve seen the value it provides. Life is busy. It’s always tempting to feel like there isn’t time for it.

You have to start thinking differently, though. The bottom line: If you want results you have to know that there are NO quick options for a meal. If it isn’t prepped by you, it’s probably not the nutrition your body needs to get the results you desire!

Protein bars are a good option when you’re on the go, but you have to be careful where you’re getting them. Eating protein bars you picked up at the local gas station is pretty much the equivalent of ingesting a candy bar. Not good!

So, if you’re going to invest in protein bars, do your research first.

By the way, even when I get my protein bars, I still prepare by purchasing enough of them to get me through the week. I always want to make sure that I’m prepared no matter what!

The protein bars I can’t seem to get enough of are currently only available at a local shop called Miss Aimee B’s Fit Bakery. If you’re around the St. Louis area, you can check them out here.

It looks like they’ll also be selling them online soon at in case you want to check it out and bookmark the site for later.

Craig recommends these protein bars.

Making Meal Preparation Fun

When my meals are already made I tend to stay on track with eating what I need to eat to live fit, healthy, and, most importantly, to get results.

It is way too easy to grab a quick, unhealthy snack instead of eating a healthy and nutritious meal when you still have to spend the time to cook it from scratch.

When I first started prepping my meals for the week I always dreaded it! That just wasn’t how I wanted to spend a few precious hours of my day.

Now, though, I really look forward to it. I even feel relieved at the thought of knowing how much easier it will make the rest of the week.

I will often cook my meals while the rest of the family eats their dinner so I can still mix it up with them while I’m working around the kitchen. Or sometimes I’ll start a little earlier than their dinner time and have a meal ready so I can join them at the dinner table.

I also love to play music while I’m cooking! It’s therapeutic.

Knowing I’m ready to take on the week with my food arsenal ready to go gives me a sense of contentment, pride and accomplishment!

I often think of meal prep as setting myself up for success. And that’s truly what it is.

It works. And you need to make it a priority if you want to achieve your fitness goals.

Just remember to have fun with it and regularly remind yourself that the small amount of time and effort goes a long way.

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