I originally set out to write this article as guide to meal prepping.That shit is unoriginal, it’ is not going to help anyone. it’s the superficial shit you want, but I’m going to give you a taste of something you need.
“Healthy food doesn’t taste good.”
I will be the first to say that McDonald’s taste fucking delicious. And it should, since they have scientists engineering everything about the restaurant to make it that way. From the colors of their sign to the chemicals added to their fryer oil, it’s all designed to be hyperpalatable. And it’s that way for most of the food readily available to us. But you know what many don’t find hyperpalatable? Spinach. White rice. Eggs. Ground beef. Many of you reading this won’t find whole foods hyperpalatable, so cleaning up your nutrition isn’t going to taste as good as all the processed foods you are used to eating. But it’s the processed foods that make whole foods seem less appealing. Easy fix: season your foods! A well-seasoned Kobe Tomahawk steak is about as delicious as natural food can get. And to get that deliciousness, you’ll have to shell out some dough. Or you can buy simple seasonings: salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin to name a few. Properly seasoned, even the driest ground beef can taste amazing.
“It costs too much.”
In terms of nutritional value per dollar, cooking at home is unmatched. I’ll agree, eating whole foods may SEEM to cost a lot more than processed or fast food. But, you know what isn’t expensive? Spinach. White rice. Eggs. Ground beef. You can get a 20# bag of white rice for under $20. At your local farmer’s market, you can get eggs, beef, and mixed greens for supermarket prices with the added benefit that they are locally sourced, likely free-range and/or organic, and FRESH! That means plants that harvested and delivered after ripening and animal products that actually have better flavor profiles due to not having to be flash frozen and transported across the country. So yes, a homemade cheeseburger might cost more than the $1 option at Mickey D’s, but we’re talking value…not price.
“But eating the same foods over and over is boring.”
Maybe, but what else in your daily life is 100% exciting and new every day? Why is your nutrition held to a different standard than say, your training? You want to add 200lbs to your back squat in twenty weeks? (Yeah Ben, that sounds awesome!) Great! Sign up for the most boring program Power Athlete has to offer: Bedrock. You’re going to squat and press every Monday, deadlift every Tuesday, squat and bench every Thursday, and power clean every Friday. And you can complain about how boring it is, but that boring linear progression is going to guarantee that you add 200lbs to your back squat and deadlift after 20 weeks. Boring as hell, but equally effective.
“I really want to get things in check but I don’t have time.”
So you don’t really want it. Not a point of discussion, but a fact. You see: to say something is a priority, by definition, is saying that it holds importance to you. If nutrition is a priority, you will find time. You find time to train. You find time to watch TV. You find time to do all sorts of things that are less important to your health and performance than finding the 1-2 hours per week needed to batch cook your staple foods. In 10 minutes you can cook a fresh breakfast of eggs, sausage, and oatmeal w/ berries. You have 10 minutes in your day, even if it means cooking everything the night before while watching whatever TV shows you watch religiously and mindlessly.
The Bottom Line
Getting your nutrition in check isn’t easy. But nothing worthwhile is. And I’m not saying you have to go at it alone. But the necessary first step is being honest with yourself. Do your actions emulate your words? You can say you want to make change until your face turns blue, but if you don’t take action you’re never going to get anywhere. And if you need help, we can get you there. And don’t start with the “It costs so much”…we just talked about priorities. You can either fail repeatedly or you can start being honest with yourself. Getting your nutrition in check is the first step to living a healthier, happier life. It is possible; I have done it. My wife has done it. Many of my fellow Block One Coaches have done it. Not one of them said it was easy, or done without sacrifice. Make no mistake, the complaints I’ve laid out above may be valid, and they may be yours.
Just know, somewhere out there is someone who has less cash and less time than you who is accepting the fact that their thursday breakfast is the same thing they’ve had the last 4 days, and it isn’t as tasty as it was freshly made on Sunday. They started accepting that fact 6 months ago, and you haven’t. But that’s not the only difference. The biggest difference is they’ve lost the weight. They’ve gained the strength. They’ve made the progress that you so desperately want. Don’t look back in 6 months and see the same person.
PODCAST: Power Athlete Radio Episode 294 – Robb Wolf
RECIPE: A Leaning Friendly Steak Dinner by Paula Lean
BLOG: Equip Your Kitchen For Success by Ben Skutnik
BLOG: ROYGBIV – Taste the Rainbow by Leah Kay
Ben grew up a football player who found his way into a swimming pool. Swimming for four years, culminating in All-American status, at a Division III level, Ben grew to appreciate the effects that various training styles had on performance and decided to pursue the field of Exercise Physiology. After receiving his M.S. from Kansas State University in 2013, Ben moved on to Indiana University - Bloomington to pursue a PhD in Human Performance. While in Bloomington, he spent some time on deck coaching swimming at the club level, successfully coaching several swimmers to the National and Olympic Trials meets. He also served as the primary strength and condition coach for some of the post-graduate Olympians that swam at Indiana University.
Currently, Ben is finishing his PhD while serving a clinical faculty member at the University of Louisville, molding the minds that will be the future of strength and conditioning coaches. He also helps support the Olympic Sports side of the Strength and Conditioning Department there as a sports scientist.
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