The question I've been asked the most often over the years during my fitness career as an exercise Instructor, Fitness Director, National Aerobic Champion, International Fitness Pro, Coach, Fitness Model and Spokesperson has remained some version of: what is your diet program? What exactly do you eat? How often, how much, how come?
Here is a personalized version of the original diet my Washington State nutritionist Susan Esteb gave me when I came to her at the beginning of my fitness competition career. I was 39 when I started this program. I realized right away that this is a program I could live with. I had never been so happy with my physique until following this program. I was never really out of shape or over weight to an extreme but I did not have an exceptional figure. I really feel I have never looked better.
I turn 44 January 2003(!) and I was able to make out abdominal definition for the first time in my life after starting this program. I have slightly altered it to suit my lifestyle. If you need to alter it to fit your own schedule, then that is what you do. Simple.
Remember, I am 5-foot-2 and 105-110 pounds offseason. If you are bigger, taller or have a lot of muscle you will need to adjust your portions accordingly.
This is not for getting into contest shape although originally I started using it 18 weeks out of my very first NPC Fitness show where I won both of the physique rounds as well as the show! I started seeing results within the third week. You need a nutritionist to make the changes and monitor you if your goals are contest driven. Any contest diet is NOT one you would want to use for a lifestyle foundation.
- Any food here can be substituted from the category list. If you don't like something, don't force it. Work something else into that slot that you will stick with.
- You must do your best to eat all of your food.
- Ditto with your water intake
- I hit this about 80-90 percent of the time.
- Do your best not to have too many cheat meals in a row.
- Get your meat skinless and grilled if possible. White meat is preferred, but dark will do in a pinch. No processed deli type meat.
- Lean red meat is OK 2-3 times per week.
- Take a daily multi-mineral/vitamin.
- I take an Ephedrine based fat burner. My system does not have trouble with this. Monitor yours carefully.
- Try your best not to drink alcohol. It is empty in useless calories and weakens your will power. I don't drink at all.
Condiments You May Use!
- Salsa, hot sauce
- Soy or teriyaki sauce
- Fat free salad dressings
- Fruit jams
- Herbs and spices
- Sweetener substitutes
If possible, eat as little dairy and wheat product as you can tolerate. None is better! A lot of people are allergic to these and do not know it. The symptoms can go undetected but the negative result is abdominal bloating related to your system trying to surround the unwanted, irritating materials with water to try to flush it out. The end result is you do not really see the true state of your physique since you are retaining water.
Sample Meal Plans
I eat the rest of the food I prepared from meal 1, or
I drink 70 ounces of water a day. Around 8-10 cups, just like you have always been told! Carry it around if you have trouble drinking all of it. This is important!
Yes, you need to exercise. Make sure you are doing weight-bearing exercises at least 2-3 times per week and keep your cardiovascular system healthy by scheduling in 20-45 minutes of cardio 3-5 times per week.
Get enough rest. A body that is sleep deprived is not running efficiently. Your metabolism also depends on this so hit the sack!
Taking control and watching your body change before your eyes is a powerful, exciting and motivating experience. It makes you realize it really is all up to you. This is about what you want. All you have to do is make up your mind and follow directions.
Set your goals and make them happen. You will be amazed. I was. I am here for you.