It was incredible. We all watched as the very radiant, very purley La’Tasha Givens turned around her weight loss journey on My Diet Is Better Than Yours, lost 45 lbs, fit back into her wedding dress, and put up some really impressive weekly stats (like losing 3” from her waist in our first week together and losing 7 lbs in a week while La’Tasha was on the plan alone.) 

But the real question is HOW CAN YOU DO THE SAME THING??

On the show, you may have heard me say, “The Nutrient Timing plan focus on eating the right foods, in the right amounts, at the right times, specifically in relation to exercise. That means our nutrition plan will be structured around our legit, hardcore training program.”

But what does that meeeean? We need DETAILS. 

As so, I present to you, from the hidden files of ABC, full disclosure on the Nutrient Timing Plan.

My Diet FB Header

What should you eat?

The Nutrient Timing Plan focuses on whole, unprocessed nutrient-rich from-the-earth foods. That means vegetables should be the center piece of your nutrition plan. You’ll also eat plenty of healthy meats and balanced, natural fats. La’Tasha and I baked carrot fries, grilled pork chops, roasted brussels sprouts, and simmered steaks. Our plate included a variety of colors and an eclectic mix of flavors: we GEEKED OUT about herbs and spices – cumin and cauliflower, basil and tomato, thyme and roast beef, cinnamon and pretty much anything. You should eat FOOD….you know, real food. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably should not eat it.

How much should you eat?

The Nutrient Timing Plan uses your hand as a measuring device. For women: 1 palm of protein, 2 fist of vegetables, and 2 thumbs of fat per meal. For men: 1.5-2 palms of protein, 2 fist of vegetables, and 3 thumbs of fat at every meal. 

*These are excellent starting points but can be adjusted based on progress.

When should you eat?

Here’s when things get exciting. The Nutrient Timing Plan highlights the relationship between food and exercise. Because your training should be intense, you don’t want a lot of food in your belly going into a workout. During exercise, a full stomach is uncomfortable and offers little benefit to immediate energy production. grocery store geeksThe goal is to be a tiny bit hungry going into a workout – feeling lean and mean – and then have a solid meal afterwards to help replenish hungry muscles. That means step 1 is to plan your exercise schedule and step 2 is to plan your nutrition accordingly. During filming, if we worked out first thing in the morning, La’Tasha would wake up, have some coffee before, have a BCAA drink during the workout, and wait to have breakfast after. As La’Tasha got comfortable with the training, we decided to do 2-a-days (not necessary for fat-loss, but definitely helpful if you’re trying to maximize it.) Same story…no food before our morning workout, a post-workout breakfast, plenty of time to digest before our afternoon workout, and then excellent and consistent nutrition the rest of the day. Sometimes we would rely on a post-workout shake when food prep was out of the question, but generally speaking, we gravitated more towards whole food options.

Bottom line, having a plan matters and will make all of the difference.

A few helpful tips and tricks:

  • Surrounding yourself with nutritious food makes getting lean easy. Cook once, eat twice. Or better yet, do a big cook on Sunday, and have awesome-for-you, nutritious food available all week. Have you heard? Brown bagging is back. All the cool kids are doing it. 
  • The Nutrient Timing Plan is primarily about nutrition, but if you want to maximize results, supplements can help. During filming I taught La’Tash the benefits of BCAA’s, Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and caffeine (in its most awesome form – coffee.) Extensive info on all of these supplements, as well as a full protocol is available in Shred Kitchen.
  • Don’t be afraid of fat. Eating fat will help us get lean and for many of us that even means eating more fat. But be careful, because a fat inclusive diet doesn’t mean
    fast food and twinkies. Ideally 1/3 of your fat is saturated (animal derived fats –
    like 100% all-natural grass-fed butter), 1/3 is monounsaturated (olive oil, nuts, IMG_2727nut butter, avocado), and 1/3 is polyunsaturated (fish oil, salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds). Zero thirds of your fat should be man made trans fatty acids. That means no hydrogenated vegetable oil, no margarine, no fast foods, and little-to-no packaged foods. Man made trans fatty acids are no bueno. They increase our risk of coronary heart disease, raise “ bad” LDL cholesterol, lower the “good” kind (HDL), cause inflammation and muck up our arteries. There is no intake at which there is no adverse effects. 
  • Understanding calories is awesome but counting them on the reg is not. It’s enslaving, inaccurate, and turns food into a math problem. Rely on your hand for measurements and make adjustments from there.

Let’s talk more about the training plan…

Because of the show’s emphasis on long term health, weight-loss, AND endurance, for exercise La’Tasha and I focused on a three-tiered approach: 

  • We lifted heavy weights (the best ways to dramatically change your body) with little to no rest. Think heavy, hard, compound exercises strung together in supersets or circuits. 
  • We did high intensity interval training. Think fan bike, row machine, or stepper – a series of aggressive, short sprints.
  • I put together a cardio/endurance running program to get La’Tasha ready for the half marathon – longer, slower running/walking that gradually progressed to help build La’Tasha’s cardiovascular capacity.

A sample day:

7:00am – Coffee.
7:30am – Cardio – 4 mile walk/run
9:00am – 3 egg omelet with a heavy dose of vegetables.
10:00am – Filming, grocery store scene
1:00pm – Salmon with roasted carrots and grilled zucchini (packed in lunch box.)
4:00pm –  Pre workout BCAA’s. Filming workout – 2 rounds of density training, 1 round of HIIT
5:00pm – Post workout shake made with almond milk, whey, and berries
8:30pm – Steak, brussels sprouts, and grilled asparagus 
10pm – Epsom Salt Bath 

The Final Pillar

The unsung heroes of weight loss are sleep and stress management. If you want to maximize your results, you should put some consideration towards soft tissue work, massage therapy, and quality sleep habits as well as stress management techniques like meditation, regenerative movement practices, and a thoughtful nighttime ritual. 

Last Words

Food is complicated. Our nutrition choices sit at a complex intersection of health, finance, vanity, morality, politics, socio-economics, and a bunch of other stuff too. There’s A LOT to consider. Sometimes we want to be lose weight but sometimes we want to drink pink raspberry cosmos at the pool with Becky. Try to be kind to yourself and understand that eating well is a life-long pursuit.

(A few weeks ago, hopefully you saw my post on nutrient timing that talks a lot about the science behind these decisions.)

If you’re interested in getting your hands on some badass nutrition and training guides and learning more about all of this, I gotchu:


guides with Shred

LIKE THIS POST? Join the #BandanaArmy. We'll teach you how to fight tigers*.

* Do not fight any tigers, ever.

  • Katie Brucas

    Awesome tips! I watched the show and loved this diet plan. Will be incorporating these tips into my daily routine!

    • BandanaTraining

      Appreciate the love Katie. Keep crushing.

  • Elizabeth

    Do healthy carbs like sweet potatoes ever make an appearance in the plan? #BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Great question Elizabeth. Yes. Carb intake really depends on your goals, your fitness routine, your body type, and your current rate of progress. Fruit, rice, or potatoes are all excellent carb options. Your first post workout meal is a nice starting point, then again, make adjustments from there. Does that make sense?

      • Elizabeth

        Absolutely! I am going to try this and make adjustments as necessary. I know what to eat just not when lol. A carb for post work out makes a lot of sense to me. I often would crash after a workout but I never thought to eat! #BandanaArmy

  • Nicole

    Loved you on the show, and the connection between your plan and just the AWESOME energy you had, and how you worked with La’Tasha was amazing. I wish she’d had you from Day 1 – Jasmine and Kurt would have been sweating bullets at the end hoping they could beat her! #Bandanaarmy

    • BandanaTraining

      haha. Wish I had been there from the jump as well. Hopefully it’s not the last you’ll see of my on TV. =) Thanks for the love. #BandanaArmy

  • Heather Elyse Maggio

    Great article, you say to not count calories, but is there maybe a margin to stay between for each day for weight loss? I usually stay around 1400 everyday and train for about 45 min a day.

    • BandanaTraining

      You’re in the right ball park. Is your nutrition similar to the routine outlined above?

      • Heather Elyse Maggio

        Yes, I am doing a fistful or roughly 4 oz of protein with every meal and 2 veggies, and using nuts, feta cheese, oils as my fats

        • BandanaTraining

          Excellent. How’s progress been so far?

          • Heather Elyse Maggio

            This is my first week doing it, but I feel leaner and I don’t feel deprived at all

          • BandanaTraining

            Well, well. That is music to my ears. You working out?

          • Heather Elyse Maggio

            yes, strength training 5 days a week with a little cardio mixed in, saturdays i do an hour long boot camp which is a mixture of weights, TRX, battleropes, kettlebells, and free weight exercises

  • Angelina Exline

    Any tips for broke college students trying to eat healthy on a budget? Meats can get real expensive real quick! #Bandanaarmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Buy and cook in bulk. It’s the cheapest way to eat well. I use to make huge meals on Sunday and have leftovers for most of the week (heck..sometimes I still do.) #BandanaArmy

  • Stella Gianniler

    Loved the article! Great advice! I workout 6 days a week…once a day…I saw that you had morning and afternoon workouts…Should I add once or twice a week a double workout? Or is it better for the body to rest before the next day’s workout?

    • BandanaTraining

      Two-a-days are tough as hell. First I’d focus on absolutely maximizing the intensity of your current routine. Only then might I consider going to two-a-days, and only for a short period. Make sense?

  • Daniel E West

    Robby old buddy, you have inspired me to tackle a huge assignment. 55 pounds. I’m going to do it. My mind will overcome my short comings. At 62 I want to be around as long as I can and die healthy. I’ll take before and afters and keep you posted.

    • BandanaTraining

      This is wonderful news.

      Decide.
      Commit.
      Succeed.

      I’m excited for you Daniel.

  • I hit the gym on my way to work. Is it better to have a real breakfast before the gym or settle for a protein shake at the office? I’d also like to know the basic schedule of the workout plans you offer. An hour a day five days a week? Two hours? Looking for something that will be intense, but one I can realistically stick with over the long haul. Thanks for the article! Great info.

    • BandanaTraining

      Generally speaking, I don’t like eating right before a workout, so I’d recommend the protein shake at the office. Most of my designed workouts take about 1 hour (some of the energy system workouts are shorter.) The plans/mesophases vary from 4 workouts/week to 6 workouts/week. All of the guides are very practical because they’re based on how I actually train (fine, fine…sometimes I get a little insane, but not usually.) Hope that helps. =)

      • It does! I’m not afraid of a challenge, but I gotta keep it real. Typical over-extender that I am. Too easy to get in over my head and get frustraged. Thank you sir. My wife loved the bedazzled bandana, by the way.

  • black

    #BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      boom.

  • Alejandro Minero

    #BandanaArmy Oh my goodness… What an amazing piece of writting, once again you confirm to me you are one of the best (of the best). Usually when I read fitness info I end up with a lot of confusion and doubts, I only take what makes sense to me and what feels right – I end up with a mashup of advice and not convinced 100%… This NEVER happens here, everything makes sense to me and it feels so easy and encouraging to follow and… FREE?! You are definitely badass Sensei of the Bandana, thanks :).

    • BandanaTraining

      haha. Wonderful to hear Alejandro. This is definitely what I love to do, so I’m happy to share. Keep crushing it!! #BandanaArmy

  • Tracy B

    Ok, so here’s what I do. How can I maximize? Normally, I wake at 6:20a, I brew a cup of coffee. I try to stay away from sugar, but do like a little cream. I have the kids to get ready for school. By 7a I usually have a meal replacement shake 50/50 ratio of protein/carbs 240 cals. I don’t get a chance to workout until after 8:30a usually 9a. I get home, drink BCAAs as a post workout recovery and whey protein w/berries. I try to make a healthy lunch, but most times, I skip….get busy with work. This is the first thing that I KNOW I have to change. What else can I do to maximize my fatloss results. I’m 42 yrs old. A mom, and I have 55-60 pounds I need to lose to be in my optimal health range….we’re talking healthy BMI…not figure competitor fat% or anything.

    • Tracy B

      ps. I didn’t really get interested in the show until I saw an article in the local paper that you’re originally from Dearborn. Too bad you weren’t on for very long! I really find your nutrient timing philosophies intriguing
      .

      • BandanaTraining

        Okay. Yes. Skip the sugar, keep the cream. Maybe even add a little bit MORE cream to help curb your hunger until you workout (better yet…try coconut oil.) Move your BCAA drink to immediately BEFORE your workout (remember whey protein has BCAA’s, so adding additional BCAA’s to whey isn’t necessary.) I’d nix your MRP shake, nix your post-workout protein shake and encourage you to rely on whole-foods. You’re going to have put a little time into food prep (nothing crazy) if you don’t want to eat packaged gut-grenades. Boom…you’re off and running. Does that all sound reasonable?

  • jonsey

    What are your thoughts on Intermittent Fasting and morning workouts.. …Working out to emphasis building strength doing 5/3/1 4 days a week with 20ea 30 yards prowler pushes 2 days a week (squat and deadlift day). 30-40 minute MetCon 1 day week. I like keeping my eating window between Noon – 8pm but I finish my morning workout by 5:30 am. I have always been concerned about cutting into my gains by waiting that period of time to eat post workout. I have considered adding BCAA post work out, is that enough? Should I abandon the fasting all together? I like fasting because it’s less time I have to think about eating and I find that I am much more mentally focused while fasting. But don’t want to leave significant gains on the table. Currently 225 with 23% body fat. Macros on workouts days are 225G Protein, 120 g Starchy Carbs/Sugars/Fruit, 120g Fat, and as many vegetables as I can eat.

    • BandanaTraining

      Great question homie. I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. Because of circadian rhythms and typical social standards, it’s much easier to fast earlier in the day than in the evening. But for some of us, it only makes sense to train in the early morning. I’m constantly preaching the importance of the post-workout refeeding, so fasting and an early morning workout seem to be at odds. But the truth is, our post-workout window is far more forgiving than we previously thought and the effects of exercise are more long term. Protein synthesis starts to take off 3-4 hours post-workout and doesn’t peak until, like, a day later. SO, pushing your initial meal back ain’t no thang. I’d definitely add some BCAA’s post-workout and I might even recommend ANOTHER BCAA drink a few hours later. 10g of BCAA’s isn’t enough to screw with your fasted state and the additional protein helps stimulating that glorious muscle synthesis (and prevent catabolism.) Gains all around. Give it a go and lemme know whatcha think. Cool?

  • the_wrestling_coach

    Roberto, think I’ll pull the trigger on one of these, which relates most directly to benefitting wrestlers? #bandanaarmy #157forlife

    • BandanaTraining

      Jeffrey – I’m gonna vote for BTX. Some additional thoughts:

      Phase 1 is all about injury prevention and establishing an aerobic base which is excellent for pre-season wrestlers and will also help with weight management.

      Phase 2 increases the intensity in the weight room and adds some power endurance to the energy system training. I’d actually recommend Phase 2 for post-season, when athletes need to redevelop some mass and strength after a grueling competitive season.

      Phase 3 and 4 are both excellent training blocks for wrestlers/fighters in-season. IMO, it’s so important for wrestlers to train absolute strength and absolute power, which often get neglected in the weight-room in favor of more conditioning (I know I was guilty of this as a competitor.) I don’t believe that circuit style weight training offers the same level of conditioning as actually wrestling, and while it may be a nice change-of-pace, generally speaking, I think wrestlers in-season should work towards maintaining their strength and power in the weight room and rely on wrestling/running for their conditioning.

      And then Phase 5 is an excellent cross training, almost crossfity phase. Could be a nice off-the-mats workout during season (to sprinkle in on occasion) or a quality phase off-season to challenge your conditioning.

      Hope that helps, my dawg. #157forlife

  • Sido

    Rob….so grateful you were on the show even though it was for a brief time. I’m on the west coast and would never have heard of #bandanatraining if it weren’t for the show. You were by far my favorite trainer!! La Tasha did awesome because she worked hard and had an amazing coach for the last part!! Thank you for sharing what you did to help her get on track. I’ve already signed up for your emails and I’m saving up to purchase one of your programs. I’m a 45year old mom with 3 kids. I currently train 5 times a week for 60 min. I do a split routine with weights and incorporate hiit, and Pilates for core training. I walk and hike a lot on top of that. I don’t eat sugar or grains (except in a cheat meal) and try to keep my diet as clean as possible with 1 or 2 cheat meals a week. I have a back injury so I can’t sprint or do much plyometric training. No matter how hard I work and eat right I can’t seem to get the last 10 pounds off or get my body as ripped as I’d like to be. I mix my workout plans up every 4-6 weeks. With all that which of your plans would you recommend for me? Thank you!!!

    • BandanaTraining

      Hi Sido. So happy the television has brought us together.

      In broad strokes, you’re doing A LOT right, which is awesome (and it sounds like you have made some pretty excellent progress, yes?) Being ripped is nice, but I’d also encourage you to be kind to your body. Keep in mind that the more extremely ripped you want to be, the more extreme your routine needs to be. Final phase weight loss (getting to ultra shred status) requires you to continue to amp up your training volume and/or intensity while continuing to pay attention to the details of your nutrition. It’s a meticulous game of progression – bouncing back and forth between training and nutrition – until you get to where you want to be. But again, big picture, it sounds like you have much to celebrate…so make sure you do that as well. =)

      Wishing you all the best.

      • Sido

        Thank you so much Rob!!! I can tend to be a perfectionist so your advice helps a lot!! Which of your programs would you recommend for me?

        Thanks!!!!!

        • BandanaTraining

          I’d go with Super Villain. BeachFit is awesome, but it sounds like you have enough experience where you could handle a slightly more advanced program. Cool cool?

  • Elizabeth

    Which program would you suggest for a couch potato? I haven’t been the most active person but I recognize how important diet and excerise is to fat loss. #BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      BeachFit, fo sho. It’s a little more moderating programming (compared to SVW or BTX) that’s designed to get peeps comfortable lifting weights (which is the fastest way to change your body.) Cool cool? #BandanaArmy

      • Elizabeth

        My thoughts exactly but I needed a second opinion 🙂 #BandanaArmy

        • BandanaTraining

          That’s what I’m here for. =)

  • Kara Hines

    Rob I have a question trying to get back into eating healthier and working out what would you suggest to help stop drinking soda and getting motivated☺#BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Great question Kara. Having healthy and delicious alternatives available are important for busting the soda habit. Have you ever tried sparkling water with some fresh lime juice? It’s like sprite, except awesome. #BandanaArmy

      • Kara Hines

        Never tried it I’ve drank Mt dew for years mostly because I work night shift to keep me awake looking at your workouts trying to figure out which one to get I’m trying to get back to working out in need some pointers for good motivation is usually start then I end up stopping my workout #BandanaArmy

        • BandanaTraining

          Yea, that sticking point is always tough – 2 to 3 weeks into a program, your body hasn’t change that much, life gets a little stressful and BAM, you skip a workout. Then you skip another. Then all the sudden it’s been a month and you forgot to exercise. I try to remind peeps to tune into how they FEEL after a workout, especially in the beginning. Significant body compositions changes take a while, but the feel-good effects of exercise are almost immediate. If we can celebrate these immediate results for the first month of a smart training program, we can start to make exercise a routine – that’s when the real magic happens.

          • Kara Hines

            which program would you suggest

          • BandanaTraining

            If you’re new to working out and/or just back into a solid routine, I’d suggest BeachFit.

          • Kara Hines

            Can you use it at home? If there is not a gym near by

  • Please tell me you’re coming out with a book!

    • BandanaTraining

      Could be next on my list of “cool shit to do.” Can I ask you a legit question though…do you like my video / on-camera stuff or my writing more??

      • Well, I have to be honest, I just found you yesterday! I watched the last two episodes of the show and poured over your posts here. So, currently I’d have to say both. I like your sense of humor and how you seem so real and relatable. I’m also super intrigued by your methods.

        • BandanaTraining

          I appreciate that Kerri. Truth be told, I love both as well, so I’m not sure where to focus more of my energy. Keep crushin and let me know if I can be of any help. =)

  • Stacey Jones

    Hello I am wondering how much and how does the MOBILE COACHING works? I am so tired of being fat and getting weaker. I am looking at 2 gyms with trainers here in my home town but i am looking at all options. I need/want a change. But i do have one disability that makes working out hard and limited but I need to do it. #bandanaarmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Hi Stacey. The Bandana Training Mobile Coaching starts with a (pretty thorough) assessment of your current routine / body / goals / etc. Then I design a workout program that fits your schedule / lifestyle. I also send you a copy of Shred Kitchen so we can immediately get on the same page in terms of nutrition and supplementation and we work through the book to answer any questions you might have and to make sure you food plan stays on point. The #BTMC is a three month commitment. It’s pretty awesome, I must admit. What is your disability?

      • Stacey Jones

        I have a rare disease called Pompe Disease; Pompe disease affects about 1 in 40,000 people in the United States. Pompe disease is an inherited disorder caused by the buildup of a complex sugar called glycogen in the body’s cells. The accumulation of glycogen in certain organs and tissues, especially muscles, impairs their ability to function normally. Most individuals with late-onset Pompe disease experience progressive muscle weakness, especially in the legs and the trunk, including the muscles that control breathing. As the disorder progresses, breathing problems can lead to respiratory failure. My goal is to keep this from happening as long as possible and to stay out of a wheelchair as along as possible. For more info and where I got this info from. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/pompe-disease

  • Britni Martinelli

    Rob just listened to your podcast with Abel James. Such a great outlook you have. I could use your guidance I have two strained hip flexors that will not heal for anything. I’ve had to almost come to complete rest, walking and upper body is about all I can do. I’m use to following an intermittent fasting high carb fat nutrition plan along with HIIT training 2x a day.. And it worked well, now with walking and not even breaking a sweat I’m confused about if and how to change my nutrition.. Any advice or chance you could do a post or podcast on this topic

    Thank you
    Britni Martinelli
    [email protected]

    • BandanaTraining

      Did you strain your hip flexors sprinting?

  • LSUGrad35

    Rob, I workout in the evening after work around 5pm every day. I’m a little confused on the concept of not eating carbs other than veggies prior to my workout, but then not eating carbs too late and close to bedtime. There seems to be so much conflicting info out there that now I don’t even know what to do. Currently I do 4 eggs and some oats in the morning and then a few meals of things like chicken and brown rice or chicken and quinoa throughout the day. Should I cut out the oats and quinoa pre workout? I need some direction. I’m totally lost. You da best! #bandanaarmy -Jared