You know that nutrition is an essential component of hitting your health and fitness goals, whether you want to add mass or torch fat. But putting that knowledge into practice isn't always easy. Keeping track of your protein, carb, and fat intake alone can be tough, but when new and conflicting diet information seems to pop up daily, figuring out how to eat for your goals can seem nearly impossible!
What better way to sort through all of the information being thrown around—and separate scientific fact from bro fiction—than consulting with those who eat, sleep, and breathe a healthy lifestyle? Thankfully, fitness model Alicia "Ziggy" Ziegler and Chef Patrick Stark, otherwise known as the "Stark-Raving Chef," are here to help you fuel your day.
From a morning meal to a nighttime snack, they'll reveal what their day of muscle-building fuel looks like and share their tips, secrets, and favorite nutritious recipes. Whether you follow the meals to a T or tweak them to please your palette, their suggestions will help put you on the path to building a simple day of fitness-friendly fuel!
Ziggy's go-to breakfast is an egg-white omelet rich in colorful vegetables to boost her nutrient and antioxidant intake. She pairs this protein-packed plate with a side of energy from carbohydrates in the form of jasmine rice.
On the occasion that breakfast becomes her post-workout meal, Alicia chooses hearty, slow-burning oatmeal to keep her full and fueled for hours to come. Her favorite oat concoction includes a scoop of Dymatize protein powder, fresh fruit, a tablespoon of nuts, and a dash of ground flax seeds and cinnamon.
Stark is a big fan of pancakes for breakfast, and recommends you make his must-try Fluffy Aquafaba Protein Pancakes. What the heck is aquafaba? Put simply, it's the liquid leftover from canned chickpeas!
Once whipped and incorporated into a dish, aquafaba acts as an emulsifier—similar to the yolk of an egg—and can be used to help slash fat intake in your favorite recipes. That comes in handy if, like Stark, you want to enjoy the occasional piece of candied bacon alongside healthy cakes. Choose your fats carefully!
Fluffy Aquafaba Protein Pancakes
Candied Turkey Bacon
2. Pre-Workout Meal
When looking for a boost in energy and focus, Alicia Ziegler often pairs a quick-digesting protein source with caffeine for her pre-workout meal. The caffeine helps her get energized for the workout ahead, while the protein sets her up for muscle growth and repair.
"You can actually put coffee right into your protein shake and drink it on the way to training," Ziggy explains. Be careful when adding coffee to a shaker cup though, as the heat of the coffee may tempt your lid to pop off!
Stark swears by using a pre-workout supplement before he trains. A quality pre-workout can help energize you for training, get a better pump while working out, and potentially help you workout out stronger and longer with ingredients like creatine and beta-alanine.
Stark enjoys using a pre-workout so much that he's actually found a delicious way to incorporate it into a blended vinaigrette. Yes, that's right, a pre-workout salad dressing! Stark enjoys drizzling this fruity burst of flavor and energy atop his superfood mixed-green salad prior to his workouts.
Pre-Workout Vinaigrette With Mixed Green Salad And Rosemary Sprouted-Grain Chips
3. Post-Workout Meal
Immediately following her last set, Ziggy likes to drink a blend of fast- and slow-digesting proteins to help promote and support a prolonged muscle-building environment. Stark is no different. If you're stuck in a recovery rut, consider making his favorite post-workout treat. Combined with plenty of fast-digesting protein for rapid delivery to your muscles, and loaded with antioxidants to support recovery, this shake is sure to hit the spot!
Iso-100 Recovery Shake
As her day is winding down, Ziggy likes to taper her calories and begin reducing carbohydrate intake, especially starchy carbs. "A lighter [lower-calorie] dinner packed with more vegetables is perfect for me," she explains. "In the evening, I don't necessarily want a traditional carbohydrate with my meal, since I usually eat starches throughout the day."
A perfect dinner in Ziggy's book consists of ample greens and 4-6 ounces of lean protein. One of her favorite combinations includes Brussels sprouts topped with shaved parmesan cheese, tahini dressing, kale, and slivered almonds—alongside a grilled chicken breast, of course.
The Stark-Raving Chef also opts for a lean source of protein along with some delicious mixed greens. He enjoys reaping the numerous health benefits of omega-rich salmon alongside a healthful portion of greens.
Pan-Seared Salmon With Pico And Mixed Greens
5. Before Bed
Before it's time to call it a day, Ziggy ensures her body is set for recovery success throughout the night. When you're not eating overnight, your body is still utilizing protein for various internal processes, which means it's important to consume protein shortly before you go to sleep.
"Casein dramatically slows the rate of protein breakdown, which is why it's beneficial as a pre-bed snack," she explains. Ziggy enjoys making a shake consisting of casein protein, unsweetened almond milk, and an occasional scoop of nut butter—all topped with a dash of cinnamon.
Sick of smoothies? Stark swears by his creamy tuna with cucumber recipe as a perfect bedtime snack. This protein-packed bedtime snack will provide your muscles with the overnight growing power they need and your taste buds with the flavors they desire.