FAQs: More Food & Barbell Questions

I’m getting back into “real life” mode after a very fun vacation (you can see pictures here) and a very loooong car ride home on Sunday. I kicked off Monday with a majorly necessary trip to the grocery store, a ton of food prep, and a workout. After nearly a full week off, it felt glorious to have a barbell in my hands -  however 5x5 back squats are not so great after you’ve sat in a car for 14 hours...add in 5x12 heavy hip thrusts and you have problems walking the next day.

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 Sitting in car for hours and hours gave me a chance to catch up on reading, emails, and such and while I was doing that, I noticed a few questions that I get asked pretty frequently so with that said, here is a brief little Q&A style post with a bunch of info about my two favorite topics: food and barbells.

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Q: Beginner resources for weight training?  Resources for workouts/programs?

A: I really think investing in a good coach or trainer is worth every.single.penny when it comes to learning about weight training - even just a few intro sessions will help out ALOT. As for other resources that are chock full of info and some good programming check out:

- Nia Shanks has some great ebooks

- Lift Big Eat Big offers several programs

- Jen Sinkler has great workout circuits

- Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe (this is a pretty technical but interesting book. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in it but it does give a good in depth look on squats, deadlifts, bench, etc.)

- BreakingMuscle.com also runs different programs put together by great coaches

 There are many good resources out there - you can check out Greatist’s Top 15 Must-Read Trainers for more! Most importantly, pick something and stick to it. Trying out different programs for a week or two at at a time isn't going to do anything for you - find something that fits your goals, needs, etc. and DO IT.

 

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Q: What do you do on rest days? active recovery days?

A:  On rest days...I REST. I foam roll, stretch, do mobility work, eat and then eat some more. On days I’m not in the gym, I don’t feel compelled to do a “WOD” or go on a run (well, I never feel like doing that). My version of active recovery is walking to and from the fridge and spending an hour with my foam roller. Exciting? No. But your body needs it - I have made huge gains since I incorporated more rest days into my week. In the words of Mark Rippetoe “You don’t get big and strong from lifting weights - you get big and strong by recovering from lifting weights”.

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Q: How do you plan well-rounded gluten-free or paleo meals?

A: Generally, I like the idea of trying to include a protein source, fat source, and carb source at every meal. When most people initially go gluten-free or “paleo” they feel extremely restricted and find themselves living off of guacamole and chips (or carrots) - not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Meal composition and timing depends ALOT on your goals (fat loss, muscle gain, maintenance, gut healing, etc.) but including a protein, fat, and carb source at each meal is a good idea. I remember one day when I felt really lost after I had to give up gluten - I felt like I couldn’t eat ANYTHING (dramatic, much?) and I was so sick of eating the same meal all day, every day. To remedy this, I made lists of foods I could eat  - because, um, I love lists - and forced myself to try new combinations. It looked something like this:

Proteins

Fats

Carbs

Veggies

eggs

avocado

rice

broccoli

pork chops

shredded coconut

sweet potatoes

brussel sprouts

ground beef

olive oil

regular potatoes

peas

chicken breast

almonds

corn *

bell peppers

salmon

cheese

gluten-free rice pasta

okra

chicken thighs

avocado

rice

broccoli

This served as an easy “guide” for constructing meals. For example, maybe on day I had some chicken thighs with avocado, rice, and bell peppers and the next day I had salmon, with gluten-free rice pasta, peas and olive oil. It’s not a particularly mind blowing concept but it does help you visualize a meal and “build” one bit by bit.

 You can check out this post on the nitty gritty of meal planning for even more food nerdiness!

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Q: How many calories/how much do you eat a day? What eating plan or “style” do you use?

A: I’ve answered this several times but generally I aim to eat between 2200-2400 calories a day with at least 150g protein - my fat and carbs vary on a daily basis (workout vs. non workout days). I don’t really count calories or macros but will track every once and awhile when I feel myself getting off track or notice that I’m tired, sluggish, not recovering well, etc.

Generally, I do a very informal form of carb cycling - I eat more carbs & less fat on days I work out and less carbs & more fat on days that I don’t. I usually time my carbs around my workouts (so the evenings) with some in the afternoon prior to my gym time. I don’t get too crazy with it - I usually crave carbs (like rice, oh so much rice) on heavy, hard workout days and crave things like avocados and coconut milk on rest days.

Got more questions? Ask away!