19 pounds. That is how much weight I have lost since I started this prep in July. It sounds like a LOT, and frankly it is a lot. In all honestly, I am not comfortable being this lean. I went to my husband’s Navy Football game yesterday and wore a 3/4 sleeved shirt because I’m a little embarrassed at how vascular I have become. Borderline freak show. My body does not want to be 123 pounds and neither does my mind. I prefer a much more flexible lifestyle, more curves, and for goodness sake, I miss BREAD like you have no idea.
But for the purposes of going pro and bringing an even more competitive package to the stage in 6 days, I’ll stay the course for a bit longer. Beginning on the Monday after this show on the 28th, I will begin a very slow reverse diet in order to bring my weight back up to a more comfortable place at around 132 pounds. Stage weight isn’t maintainable (nor do I find it very attractive on me for everyday life), and if I want to keep improving my physique and growing my muscles, I need to eat more to fuel that performance. Bring on the carbs!
While my diet has shrunken down to about 1200-1400 calories a day, as opposed to my usual 2200 calories, I do admit that while there are afternoon bouts of low energy, I feel great overall when I eat a diet of 100% clean foods. On the menu most days are egg whites, oatmeal, almonds, a wide array of lean meats, and a lot of green vegetables. I get a little wild some days with hot peppers and flavored mustard. Boring, but it gets the job done.
Here are my best cooking tips for making the most out of a diet that may seem bland but PROVES to work!
I buy most of my vegetables frozen. My favorites are broccoli, green beans, and edamame. Frozen produce is picked at the peak of freshness and flash frozen to retain all the fiber and antioxidants that support a bodybuilders muscle-development needs. For fresh veggies, I choose spinach, arugula, kale and asparagus. I like to roast my asparagus on a large baking sheet lined with organic canola oil spray. Then I spray the tops of the asparagus lightly, and sprinkle on plenty of salt and pepper. I roast them at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook asparagus. You want them to be slightly soft with a little crunch.
Egg whites from a carton are always on hand in my fridge. Organic liquid egg whites are not cheap, at $5 a pint from Whole Foods, but in the end, I prefer to eat the best quality food possible and save money else ware. Make sure that you purchase egg whites and NOT egg beaters or egg substitute. There should just be one ingredient on the label: egg whites. I love to add salt and cinnamon to egg whites, and when I am allowed oatmeal, I mix it all together (after cooking both separately) for a hearty, sweet bowl of goodness.
I buy organic chicken breasts as my main source of white meat and cook them in the oven covered with plenty of Flavor God seasoning. My favorite flavors are Pizza, Taco Tuesday, Spicy Everything and Buffalo. Then I pour a small amount of chicken broth at the bottom and cover the dish with aluminium foil. I bake the chicken at 400 degree for about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. After it cools slightly, I cut it into slices and store it in the fridge for easy access. I do not reheat the chicken when I eat it after it is cooled because it can get very rubbery. I prefer cold chicken which retains a moist consistency.
When it comes to fish, my two favorites are cod and shrimp. I love salmon as well, but the last few weeks my fats have been coming from only almonds, and salmon can pack a whopping 14g of fat for a 4 ounce filet. I buy the cod and the shrimp frozen for ease of storage and cost-savings. For the cod, I spray a casserole dish and lay 6 filets (yes, 6, which I will eat over 2 days) inside, once again covered with Flavor God seasonings and some added lemon juice. I cook cod at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the center is flaky. Do not overcook. You can reheat the fish the next day (or later that day) but I would suggest 30 seconds max in the microwave as to not overcook it.
I cook shrimp on the stove top in a frying pan. Spray oil, Flavor God seasonings, some crushed red pepper – whatever you enjoy! Cook the shrimp on medium heat for about 3 minutes, then flip each piece and cook for about 2-3 minutes more. The key with cooking any meat is NOT to overcook it. Reheat or enjoy cold.
Steak is a rare treat for a bodybuilder at the end of prep, so I typically buy the finest filet I can find from Whole Foods and prepare it in a cast iron skillet with butter and plenty of salt and pepper. I typically eat steak the night before a show, and it’s such a special treat. It’s also always my post show celebratory meal, alongside a crab cake and plenty of bread and butter.
I can’t even remember what a carb tastes like. Just kidding. But besides oatmeal, I haven’t had a potato in about a month, and the only other carbs come from green vegetables and the (very) occasional rice cake. When I am eating potatoes, I slice them into quarters, lay them on a baking sheet, spray with oil and top with plenty of salt and cinnamon (for sweet potatoes). Chili powder and a little cayenne pepper are great too. It’s all about flavor preference, so get creative!
If you’re not much of a cook, then I hope that these simple tips have helped you to see that cooking really isn’t that complicated or time consuming. Simple foods (with spice) are the best way to achieve a lean physique. Have a great week, and take some time to meal prep so you’re always prepared when hunger strikes.