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Charlie Mike is designed to push you mentally and physically much more than you're used to. This is why your nutrition program is so crucial. Without the proper fuel, the workouts will wreck you, leaving you barely able to crawl back for the next one.
Don't expect any fancy calorie counting or macro targets with this program. Instead, the focus is on consuming ample, high-quality fuel to ensure you can complete each workout and recover well enough for the next.
Stock your kitchen based on the suggestions below, and your physique and performance will do nothing but improve!
Carbohydrates are your primary fuel source. Without ample amounts of the right type at the right time, you'll be without the necessary energy to complete the workouts. In general, stick with whole, unprocessed options like oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and fruit.
Proper placement of carbohydrates throughout the day will make your training sessions much more effective. About 2-3 hours prior to training, have a meal that includes high-fiber carbohydrates, if possible. Be careful, though—too large a quantity or too much fiber just before training can result in a pitiful performance and some nasty stomach cramps.
Don't worry about measuring your carbs—a fist-sized portion should be enough to get the job done. If your schedule doesn't allow a meal at this time, have a small portion of carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit, 30-60 minutes before the workout.
To help you maintain high-level performance throughout the entire workout, consider sipping on a liquid carbohydrate like coconut water, dextrose, or natural fruit juice. This will be especially beneficial during the long, endurance-based workouts.
Once you're done with the workouts, it's key that you replenish your fuel tank to prepare for your next one. Within 60 minutes of finishing your last set, be sure to eat another carbohydrate-rich meal to refuel.
This program will repeatedly break your body down. The key to building yourself up again is to consume adequate protein throughout the day.
Your body breaks down protein into amino acids, which serve to replenish and rebuild your damaged muscle. Without enough, your muscles will have inadequate resources to rebuild and repair. This can lead to prolonged soreness, weak performance, and greater injury risk.
Protein needs to be a staple each and every time you eat. Every 3-4 hours, eat a palm-sized portion (roughly 25 grams for most women) of lean protein. Some good options include chicken breast, turkey breast, tilapia, cod, pork tenderloin, low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, whey protein, and eggs.
Fat plays an integral role in recovery by reducing inflammation, keeping your hormones in check, assisting absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and supplying a secondary source of energy.
Not all types of fat provide benefits. Trans fats, common in baked goods, spreads, and other junk food, do nothing good. In fact, they actually promote inflammation, which can hinder your recovery. Unsaturated fats, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, will positively influence recovery, whereas saturated fat will help optimal hormone and vitamin production.
Some excellent examples of these healthy fats include nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocadoes, olive and coconut oil, and fish oil supplements.
Now that you understand what types of food you need to eat, it's time to go shopping. We've put together a list of carb, protein, and fat sources, as well as herbs and spices you can use to make your food delicious. If you stick to this list for the most part, you can be sure you're providing your body with the fuel it needs to dominate this program.
|Sweet potatoes||Turkey breast||Almonds|
|Brown rice||Lean lunch meat (chicken, turkey, ham, roast beef)||Walnuts|
|Wild rice||Pork tenderloin||Sunflower seeds|
|Quinoa||Ground beef/chicken/turkey (93/7)||Pistachios|
|Couscous||Low-fat milk||Peanut/almond butter|
|Whole-grain bread||Low-fat Greek yogurt||Olive oil|
|Popcorn (ditch the butter)||Egg whites||Canola oil|
|Beans||Whey protein||Coconut oil|
|Legumes||Beef Jerky||Flax seed|
|Herbs and spices||Fruits and vegetables|
|Crushed red pepper||Apples|
Meal Timing and Rest-Day Nutrition
Try to eat every 3-4 hours. You don't have to eat a full meal each time, but if you can eat three solid meals and two snacks each day, you'll be golden. These meals ensure you're supplying your body with the fuel it needs to perform at a high level.
In general, place a majority of your carbohydrates 2-3 hours pre-workout and up to one hour post-workout, as well as any you sip on while you train. The remainder of the meals should supply carbohydrates primarily through leafy green vegetables and fruit.
Nutrition on your rest days will be just as important as your training days. Since you won't be expending nearly as much energy as you would during your training days, you don't need to eat as many carbs. Keeping your carbs on the lower end on your rest days will do a lot to help you get leaner.
Sample Meal Plan
Although it's not essential to follow a specific meal plan, this one can give you some ideas to base your day around. It's designed for a woman who weighs 145 pounds and trains at noon, but you can adjust it based on your body and schedule.
Whole eggs: 3
Spinach: 2 handfuls
Low-fat cheddar cheese: 1/4 cup
Whey protein: 1 scoop
Whole-wheat bread: 2 slice
Honey: 2 tbsp
Grilled chicken: 3-4 oz.
Mixed greens: 2 handfuls
Dried cranberries: 1/2 cup
Balsamic dressing: 3 tbsp
Wild rice, cooked: 1 cup
Baked salmon: 3-4 oz.
Roasted cherry tomatoes: 15
Baked sweet potato: 4 oz.
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Low-fat Greek yogurt: 3/4 cup
Almond butter: 2 tbsp
Coconut oil: 1/2 tbsp
It's essential that you take a "food first" approach to your nutrition plan; a protein shake won't make your gains for you. However, supplementing with quality products can help you perform at your best and recover better than you would otherwise.
Whey protein is a great part of any meal or snack. You can also use it as a quick protein source before or after you train.
Dosage: 1-2 scoops
Branched-chain amino acids are an excellent way to supplement your recovery. You can take them before, during, or after your training session. You can also have them throughout the day.
Dosage: 1 scoop
If you train in the morning or just need a little boost of energy before you hit the gym, take a scoop of pre-workout about 15-20 minutes before you start working.
Dosage: 1 scoop
Multivitamins can help make sure you're getting the right amounts of vitamins and minerals. Take one with breakfast every morning.
Dosage: 2 tablets
Supplementing with fish oil is just an all-around good idea. The omega-3s may support your metabolism, heart health, and cognitive function, as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory.
Dosage: 2-3 softgels
Superfood blends contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help support a healthy body that performs at its peak.
Dosage: 1 chew