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If you're going to train like an athlete, you need to eat like one. That means you need to eat quality carbs, proteins, and fats. The meal plan for Elite Body isn't complicated. In fact, it's built on single-ingredient, whole foods that you can make into myriad muscle-building meals. This is the plan Erin Stern follows to support a great physique and incredible performance.
Although you're working on a leaner, more athletic body, you need to fuel your efforts in the gym with quality nutrition. This meal plan will deliver the energy you need to attack the iron and crush your cardio. It won't leave you feeling hungry or depleted, but it will fuel great results.
Nutrition Video EXTRA
Watch the video: 7:51
Elite Body Nutrition
Living a fit lifestyle isn't about strict guidelines or endless sacrifice. When following the Elite Body Trainer, your meals aren't set in stone. You'll eat lean meats, nutrient-dense veggies, unprocessed grains, and healthy fats.
Note: To see exactly what Erin eats, just check out the daily Elite Body pages. Erin has provided a complete seven-day meal plan, so each day of the week shows the meals Erin eats to fuel her physique.
Keep in mind that you don't have to follow Erin's meals precisely. You'll have to tailor the portion sizes to your own body, but Erin's full plan provides a great template for doing so.
In general, you should stick to a 40/40/20 macronutrient ratio. This means that 40 percent of your daily calories should come from protein, 40 percent from carbs, and 20 percent from healthy fats.
As long as you stay in that ballpark, do your research, and make smart choices with simple, whole foods, you'll do great on this program.
Not all protein is created equal. You can judge the quality of a protein source by measuring how many essential amino acids are in that particular type of protein. Essential amino acids are called "essential" because the body doesn't make them on its own—you have to get them from food. The foods that are highest in essential amino acids are lean meats, dairy, and eggs.
Eating protein is vital for muscle growth, but quantity matters almost as much as quality. Whenever you have meat in a meal, Dr. Wilson suggests that you eat at least four ounces. There's a very good reason for that specific number, which is your body's amino acid intake threshold.
Put simply, you initiate maximum muscle protein synthesis when you have 10-15 grams of essential amino acids (EAAs) per sitting. Four ounces of lean meat equals roughly 10-15 grams of EAAs, depending on the source, so it's the ideal amount when you're trying to stay lean while spurring growth.
Four ounces of meat is also important for satiety. People feel fuller when they eat about four ounces of meat, so don't go below this number in an attempt to save calories.
When it comes to carbs, just keep them complex! You can eat quinoa, pumpkin, sweet potato, whole wheat pasta, and other whole grains. Rice cakes work as a snack or in a pinch. Erin considers leafy greens a "free food," meaning you can eat as many of them as you want.
Through the next 28 days, you'll eat complex carbohydrates that are very micronutrient-dense, meaning they digest slowly and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. These fibrous, relatively low-calorie carbohydrates will keep you satiated through the day and offer a steady source of sustained energy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You'll notice that almonds and salmon pop up fairly frequently in this meal plan. These foods are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, also called essential fatty acids. Like we learned in the protein section, "essential" means the body can't make these nutrients itself, so we have to get them from food.
Essential fatty acids allow us to use insulin more effectively. They can also help you stay leaner and support muscle growth.
You'll be eating five or six times per day. Yes, this is an old-school approach, but it's also tried and true. Frequent feedings may not inherently accelerate fat loss, but they will keep hunger at bay and help you focus on food as fuel.
The goal for your nutrition each day is to never be hungry but never be full. Like Erin says, "If I'm not necessarily hungry but it's been three hours, I might just have a protein shake. That way I'm always getting enough protein and keeping my metabolism revved."
"Studies show that what you eat for breakfast can program what your metabolism will use for fuel the rest of the day," Dr. Jake Wilson says. So if you wake up in the morning and have a bunch of carbs, your body will use carbs for fuel the whole day instead of your own fat.
If you wake up in the morning and have good fats combined with lean protein, you'll actually use more body fat for fuel throughout the day. Don't be afraid to eat fat. It's definitely not a bad thing, especially when it's paired with a smaller amount of carbs.
Structure your meals so you're eating carbs before and after your workout. Your body needs carbohydrates to train hard and recover effectively. As the day wears on, decrease your carbohydrate intake. Eat fibrous veggies at night so you're fuller, longer.
Elite Body Meal Plan
The meal plan below is exactly what Erin eats to achieve elite results. It's only one day out of seven. To see Erin's other meals, just check out each daily page of the Elite Body Trainer!
Take some cues from Erin's template: Eat 5-6 times per day, eat protein at every meal, stick to complex carbs, don't skimp on healthy fats, and taper your carbohydrate intake as the day goes on. Follow these rules to build your own specific meal plan.
Sample Meal Plan
The Condiment Question: Don't get bored with bland food! The following condiments are OK: salsa, mustard, low-fat and low-sugar dressing, no-sugar-added ketchup, sugar-free syrup, all seasonings, and a small amount of olive oil.
egg whites: 4
Ezekiel Bread: 2 slices
Protein Shake: 30g of whey protein in water
Steamed Asparagus: 1 cup
Ground Turkey: 4oz
Hummas or Avocado: 4 tbsp of hummas or 2oz avocado
Grilled Steak: 4oz
Steamed Veggie Salad: 1 cup
Protein Shake: 30g of whey protein in water
Almond or Peanut Butter: 1 tbsp
The Athlete Lifestyle
It's difficult for people to stick to a diet because it sounds like something temporary and painful. Don't think of the next 28 days as a deprivation period. Think of them as the beginning of a lifestyle. Gradually incorporate Erin's foods and eating habits into your life so you don't ever have to feel deprived.
Remember, nothing is completely off limits. If you want to have a cheat meal, keep it relatively clean and don't go crazy. Get right back on track the next day. That's the athlete mentality: Train hard, eat right most of the time, and enjoy life. Balance is everything.