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.
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. The 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, nut 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.
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.)