Do I have to count macros forever?

Well.. that’s a giant bucket of OMG!  How do you count that???  I count it as  DGAF.

The question I received today was

“UGH.. do I have to count macros forever?”

The answer is “Yes and sort of yes and no-ish.”

Let me explain: 
Your body counts macros whether you count them or not. If you are fluffy,  it is because you are eating in a surplus. If you are drinking that giant margarita you know you are going to feel accountable for that in some manner. That is surplus for sure!!

IIFYM/Macro counting is not a diet. It is  simply a way to  eat well and achieve your physique goals while enjoying the foods YOU like.. So if you want to achieve your physique goals, yes.. for sure you will have to count them.  However..

The progression of macro counting is fantastic.  The longer you do it, the more comfortable you may feel with “Intuitive dieting”

Intuitive dieting is basically eating your macros and doing math in your head.  Simply understanding that you have a certain amount of Protein, Carbs and Fat and fiber to hit and are able to do that fairly easily.

Example:  I had a Quest bar.. that was  25g protein, 27C and 8g F.   Iced coffee with it that’s an extra 10g protein… etc.  I’m doing math in my head.  It starts to actually become a natural thing the longer you do it.  This works great when you are traveling.  I have found it very easy to eat in airports with intuitive dieting.


When I get a check in from a  client that said “I didn’t track yesterday but I aimed for my protein and hit my calorie goals  pretty close”  this is awesome.  This is someone who understands her goals but can be “flexible” in her food!!

BREAKS ARE GOOD.. SOMETIMES.
I had a client check in and tell me. “I didn’t track at all for the holiday. I was on a float and ate some things, but kept my portions small. I enjoyed the day”

This is a time when you don’t need to track.   This is a flexible dieting win!  My client was aware, she enjoyed her day and she didn’t stay glued to a tracker.   She is back on her normal food right away.

I was very excited to hear her experience over the holiday simply because a dieting break is good for the soul. It’s ok.  On that break, she didn’t binge, she didn’t freak out or beat herself up.  She woke up and went back to her plan.  This is amazing.

Ok.. so I’m just not going to track and guess..
This is could be a struggle with clients who are used to starting and stopping diets.
I’m not advocating this at all. Consistency wins over perfection in the IIFYM game.  Working intuitively for long periods of time is for the advanced macro counter.

Honestly, I can’t even fathom not counting for a long period of time. If you reach that level greatness.. Cheers!!

If you are not solid on your macros. If you cannot hit them consistently. If you are prone to binges and see not tracking as an opportunity to eat in a surplus.. you are probably not ready for intuitive dieting.  That’s ok. Stick to your journey and use the tools you have to be successful.  Never give up but know that the longer you do it, the easier it will become!!

IIFYM 101: I don’t know what to eat

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When a new IIFYM client starts my program, I will typically get this questions.
“What should I  eat? I don’t know what to eat”

hmmmm..

Ok.. first of all the most important step you can do as a new IIFYMer is to  follow directions of the plan.  Our plan starts with three full days of tracking YOU.

I ask my clients to fill out their tracker with their normal food for 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day.   Looking at your normal eating habits is eye opening. It’s easy to tweak your food so it fits your macros.  If you toss the entire way you eat, and are searching for food to eat, you are missing the whole point of IIFYM.  EAT WHAT YOU WANT.

If you are low on fiber and protein, then you certainly can figure out how to add more of those. If your carbs and fats are way over, you are going to have to make some adjustments.  Simply cutting the serving sizes for overages is one way you can modify . Weigh everything in grams.
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The protein bar problem.

One client told me she was really sick and tired of trying to find a protein bar that would fit her macros for a snack.

“I need a bar that is 12g protein and 13g Carbs.  All the bars have 24g Protein and 26g carbs. “

Ok.. so she probably could simply use half the bar . Right?
Make it fit.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!
Clients start this project jumping ahead to the middle instead of following our directions.
A huge mistake is to start with a whole new menu because you “think” you have to.

WE NEVER TELL YOU TO DO THIS. Success in IIFYM comes from the fact that you can eat like YOU.  The more it feels like  YOU, the more consistent you will be. Consistency wins over perfection.

When you want Qdoba.. add it to your tracker and make it fit.  You can use Fatsecret.com to find all kinds of food that you might like if you have a hankering.

Hacks:
AIM FOR PROTEIN FIRST.
Most of our clients come to us eating very little protein. They end up with 100g of protein left at the end of the day and no carbs or fats.

This blog tells you where to get protein  (feel free to also search “Protein” on this blog)

Add your breakfast first.  Most of us have a favorite breakfast so put her in there and let’s see how she fits!
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This is Ashley’s pancakes with Cinnamon and pumpkin. She tweaked her recipes so it fit her macros.

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Tracy topped her waffles with syrup and Sugar free Jelly.  Man I love her. She’s bomb.

Add dinner or Movie time carbs next
If you are fired up about Taco Tuesday,  then do yourself a solid and put those tacos in your tracker in the morning or the day before. We call this FRONT LOADING YOUR TRACKER.

You can eat the tacos YOU want!    Or what about Pizza!! Maybe you have a pizza craving!! Whatever it is.. put it in so when movie time happens you have your food accounted for.


Fill in what is left for the day!!

HACK: 
Front load the whole tracker. Sit down at your PC and add the food you want to eat to your tracker for the next day.  Make it fit. Take the time to do it and pick things you want.
Make sure too add your fruit and veggie requirements and your fiber too.

Then hit the PRINT button for your menu. Eat that for 1 or two days.  You don’t have to track it again.. just follow the menu.

Even if you don’t want to food prep, you can still make convenient foods fit!
EAT WHAT YOU LIKE.

I did that but someone asked me to have lunch with them and now I don’t know what to eat.

That could happen and that’s why you are learning IIFYM. So move some things around in your plan so you can enjoy lunch with your friend. If you cannot fit it into your macros ask your friend to give you a days notice so you can be prepared!!  You are never more than 24 hours away from what you want!!

I filled in my lunch but now I have a bunch of ‘dangling macros left and I dont’ know what to eat.

If you don’t front load your dinner, evening food and eat around that all day.. this could happen.
You can do a flex bowl if you truly can’t get it together.
This is the blog on Flex bowls.  

Flex bowls are a way to take the protein you have left and create something exciting and fun with the macros  you have left.

I had a bunch of macros left over and I don’t want to eat anymore so I’m just going to bed.

ACK we get this quite a bit.  Try harder. You need to hit your macros +5/-5 grams every day.  That is your job. You are eating like it’s your job so focus.  You can do it.

If you end up with 75g protein left at the end of the day.. just move on with your life. Tomorrow, figure out how to eat more protein during the day. Increase the protein at each meal or have something extra to bring your protein up.  I like Laughing Cow cheese or even Kraft Shreds. Cottage cheese is packed with protein.

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Really? Still have no idea?  Go to Ripped Recipes.com and enjoy their recipe search.
Use your computer, NOT your phone because the filters are better!!
You can add the macros you have to work with and get recipes to match.
You can do a whole day or just a certain amount.
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This game is like Tetris. You can learn something new every day and when something doesn’t work.. that’s ok. You have a clean tracker tomorrow!! So get on it!!
Let’s see what you can do.

IIFYM 101: How to Get Protein like a boss

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If you are just begining your IIFYM/Flexible Dieting Journey you may be surprised to see how much protein you are going to need to eat each day.  In fact, most of my new clients come to me eating very little protein so it looks daunting to try to hit those protein goals!

The question I get the most is “How can I hit my protein goals with out going over fats and carbs?”

Protein is very important to our physique goals!!  We need protein to build muscle and we all know that muscle is the fountain of youth!  In a fat loss plan, we eat protein to help us maintain the muscle we have!!   Protein also helps you feel full!!

Protein 101: Basic Sources
Meat Lean cuts to keep fat down. Skinless white meat is lower in fat.
Chicken
Turkey
Pork
Beef
Fish
Other Seafood (shrimp, scallops)
Dairy
Milk, Chocolate milk (great post workout)
Sour cream
Greek Yogurt
Cheese
Laughing cow cheese is fun!
Cottage cheese (add to your pancakes to add a fluffy texture)
Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese
Halo top Ice cream (I had to add that)
Eggs
Egg whites (buy the pour-able kind)

Legumes
Beans and legumes have some protein but the carb profile is higher, but if you can make it fit.. could be an option.

Whey
Whey protein or Isolate : you can cook with this!!
Lenny and Larry’s cookies (low protein profile but worthy)
Kodiak protein pancake mix (Target)
Protein Bars like Quest or B-Up bars (check your local Supplement store for variety)
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Peach Protein Cupcakes with Raspberry Lemon icing.. I tossed this in for you just for fun. Here’s that recipe.  P:11 C:11 F2 for each cuppie.

Protip: Aim for protein first, Carbs second and fats last.
If you aim for hitting your protein goals first, you won’t be left at the end of the day with 120g to eat!!  
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Protein hack: You could split your protein goals up by meal. 
Mary Jo has 160g protein per day. She likes to eat 5 meals a day.  Each meal could contain 32g protein per meal.
100g of shrimp is 28g of protein!!

Hidden protein

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Many foods you enjoy each day will have protein in them!!  These amounts will help get you to your goals. Track that food!!  Let’s see whatcha got!!

“I don’t like eggs or egg whites.”
Ok.. I hear you. I don’t care for egg whites on their own either, but I do love Crepes, Pancakes and French toast which are all made with egg whites /egg.
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This is my Birthday Cake  crepe. The recipe is here
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Here’s a Banana Protein Pancake!!!
Protein pudding is boss.. This is at Walmart,  Sup stores, Amazon.
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Oh Hey.. let’s make Fish Tacos!  The shells are La Tiara (4 carbs per taco shell)
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Hack:  Start tracking your normal eating.  Look at it like a puzzle. Are you lacking in protein but way over in fatty/carby foods?  Let’s start working on ways to tweak your normal eating!
How can you add more protein in and hit your other macros on point?

Ideas:
RippedRecipes.com will help you find some fun ideas that are NOT boring.

This Blog!!  Search Protein and you will see all my ideas!!

This is Roo Ferrigno. She is very sure of her protein intake and likes to judge mine.
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I know you are working hard! Don’t give up. If you need macros or help.. connect with me on
LearnIIFYM.com
t

Prepping Not Starving: Taco Tuesday

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Our Team LOVES Taco Tuesday! Who doesn’t!!  IIFYM is bomb because you can make them fit your macros!!  Here are a few of our creations!  The tacos above are grilled chicken !taco1
Alicia scored this find at Trader Joes! 24g Protein!  Holla!
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Coach Michelle is on vacation and on prep. Her tacos are on point. That avocado!!  Avocados and that wrap have fiber. That’s about 20g fiber right there!  taco3
Ashley is about 4 weeks out from her show. This is her masterpiece!

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Coach Julia is 7 weeks from her show and this is her taco crunch wrap!
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Melissa is 7 weeks from her show. These are her shrimp tacos! I love the lime. taco5
These are mine. I am 13 weeks from stage. Each one of those shells is only 4 carbs. taco7
Jen nailed her macros while eating tacos out!  um.. yes please!!
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Holy Mama, sometimes you need a taco when you are out. The macros on the Taco Bell Chicken Soft Taco are sweet.

Hack: If you are craving Tacos, front load your tracker with your tacos early in the day and eat around them.

Here’s my 4g Carb Taco shells.

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These are in the grocery store or order online. We buy 72 shells at a time!

Eat food that makes you happy!  #makeItFit

Prepping Not Starving: Pizza

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Warning: These are actual pizzas made by our bikini team in PREP!!

One of the thing that has me completely over the moon is our team’s ability to create amazing food from prep ingredients.  They do it quickly and with flair.

There is no reason to eat plain when you are in a cut!  Creativity goes a long way and creates a sustainable plan!

The above pizza was made by our girl Ashely who is just 4 weeks out from her show.
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Here’s another one she did!

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Coach Michelle is 7 weeks out from her show and rocked this masterpiece.
Chicken, sundried tomatoes, onions, FF mozzarella, reduced fat feta and basil on a flat out.

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This is my SOB on a flat out. I toast my flat out before we bake the pizza.
Jimmy Dean Sausage crumbles, Onions and Louis Rich Turkey Bacon. Sauce Prego light smart red sauce from Walmart.

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Our Bikini Team Athlete, Tracy made this gem.
Pepperoni Pizza for Dinner! 🍕💪🏻Oh man… Winning! ❤️ 308 Calories / 4.5G Fat / 37 Carbs / 32 G Protein
Tomato Basil flat out Wrap
Turkey pepperoni
Marina Sauce
Fat Free shredded cheese
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes

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Melissa did a fun peperoni and sundried tomato version!  mmmmmm
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Debbie, who is 7 weeks out from her show  created this version of the white pizza!
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Tips: Pizza is an easy dinner and it has a secret bonus. Flat our or tortilla wraps have fiber.
There are lower carb wraps too.  You can create your own toppings from your prep food. You can load veggies if you are into that.  You can use full fat or non fat cheese depending on your macros.

You do NOT have to have 12 dry roasted almonds for your fats.  You can have other fats!
Cheese has protein.  Feta is a great choice too!  This is all about you.

Pro-tip: Build your pizza in your tracker in the morning so you can have exactly what you want. Then eat around it for the rest of the day. You can enjoy your evening meal hitting your macros and feeling super smart!

Hey.. if you want to learn more about IIFYM.. go to LEARNIIFYM.COM and let us teach you!
If you want to join our IIFYM bikini team.. we’d love to talk to you.

IIFYM, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Pancakes

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Congratulations to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for being chosen as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Note: This is also win for the ladies who like a little beefcake, that’s for sure. 🙂

The Rock is a fitness icon!  He is an athlete and  clearly he lifts!
Not only is he a super positive force in his career, he knows how to eat for his physique goals.

One thing we can all be sure of he has his food correct !!

Plus, he likes pancakes.

Pancakes!
After he finished filming “Hercules” The Rock held an epic cheat day! On this day he whipped up his famous pancakes and ate 12 of them!
I love this picture because in our world of IIFYM, we call this a ‘carb up’ or refeed.

When a person has dieted for a while, a few things happen.  
1. The person gets weary of the diet. Even on IIFYM the fact that we are on a hard cut means we are eating less.
2. Our bodies can become adapted to the lower calories/macros.

A simple carb up or re-feed or in this case.. cheat day will help in both those scenarios.
So while “The Rock” called this an epic cheat day, he still utilized the concepts of body building and IIFYM.  He is eating with purpose!

YOU CAN LEARN EVEN MORE ABOUT RE-FEEDS HERE

In our program, carb ups or re-feeds are given to clients with specific instructions. It’s not a random cheat day or binge day, just so you know.

The Rock is a huge dude so 12 pancakes fits his macros. Most of us, ladies.. not so much. That’s why we tailor our carb ups for our clients so they have the best results.

If It Fits Your Macros is amazing because it’s all about the YOU.  You can carb up on things YOU like. I like Fro-yo and Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  Our clients have a lot of fun when it comes to their re-feed!

If you would like to know more about IIFYM and learn the secrets of success, please check us out on LEARNIIFYM.COM  We will teach you online!!  We will work with you to help you reach your physique goals!
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IIFYM: Eat this or that

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    Ok.. let’s talk for a minute about choices.  First of all, you are IIFYM, you have them.
    Your world does not have to be protein cookies and no fun.I have compared two items.
  • Lenny and Larry’s Complete Protein Cookie. Serving size is HALF the cookie.
  • One Taco Bell Soft Chicken Taco
    The macros in each are almost the same. The rating is higher on the cookie because of the fiber.  Although, in the large scheme of things a B- isn’t horrible.I eat mostly A /B rated food because I’m probably psycho but more because I like to. It’s a slippery slope when I’m all crazy with my food.  It’s just my way. I’m in no way advocating getting an eating disorder of only eating A rated food. That’s no good.There are people who eat IIFYM who don’t monitor their food rating because they just hit their macros and fiber numbers. The food rating is my thing!

    But..
    I also have issue with eating a A rated protein cookie because sometimes I think it’s important to eat some food that looks like food.  If I can’t make a chicken taco fit in my day, and choose a half of protein cookie.. what? That seems to defeat the purpose of being flexible. My gut instinct is to choose cookies because I eat like a 4 year old. Sprinkles, and icing is my game!!

    The taco would be nice and satisfy my brain and my macros.  It has less carbs than the cookie. I really can make it fit. If you don’t want fast food in your life.. I get that too but we have options.

    Now. I’m not going to get crazy because the taco is lower rated due to the fiber. It has more protein than the cookie.

    My day looks like this:

  • I get about 50-60 g of fiber a day.
  • I eat 3 servings of fruits
  • 500 grams of veggies
  •  I take my Juice Plus trio for my micros.
  •  I eat 5 sources of protein each day and over 35 different foods a week.
  • In a cut I eat 95% nutrient dense foods and 5% discretionary food.

This chicken taco does not scare me. I don’t even think that falls under discretionary food!

 

Would I eat taco bell in prep.. yep. I know science wins here . I’m still finding my way and comfort zone. As I draw closer to stage.. maybe not.  Flexible lifestyle dieting is about options!!

This may be second nature to many IIFYMers.  I am a recovering clean /binge eater+ overthinker . I’m just being honest.

Journey on!!

If you would like to learn how to master your macros.. please visit our site LEARNIIFYM
and we will teach you online!!

t

Ps: check out Fatsecret.com for a huge list of all foods and their macros.

Summer prep: More grilling

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I am 21 weeks out from UFE Halloween Mayhem. I’m doing a slow cut and I’m 100 percent IIFYM.  We are using the grill for prep this year!!

Costco:
The mister hit Costco yesterday. He literally walked the food from the car to the grill.
The above pic is our charred chicken breasts. I like them so much better on the grill. They were juicy!

This is the seasoning he used.

Jennie-O turkey Sausage
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This is crumbled Jennie O lean turkey sausage, onions, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
This was really good. The macros on this are 6g fat per 56g of sausage so I only had  a little but it fit my macros!

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Grilled Cali flower!!  The mister cut it and laid it on the grill. Done.

Other things that we could have added to this were BBQ sauces! These are at Walmart.bbq

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Love this! Costco!


I love having choices and not living on 6 meals of turkey, chicken and fish.
The grill makes things taste better and it’s fairly easy.
I wish you luck with your show!
t

Starbucks for girls on prep

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I drink Starbucks every day. Close to my show, I’ll do 2x a day.  That’s my thing.  These are the things I love to order when I’m cutting.  You can make your own at home too. I have an espresso machine so often I will do my own.


Starbucks:

Iced coffee plus 1 scoop vanilla whey in the blender!
I love this. It’s fantastic!
Or
Icy Donut (my hubs created this one for me)
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Add your own protein powder to this. I use Quest Salted Caramel! It’s amazing.
I don’t know what the macros are for Starbucks protein but I know my own!!

Sexpresso
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Blendicano
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My Birthday cake shake
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Prep 101: Summer time grill

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So this week a competitor was on a board talking about how she was going back to her Bro plan because she tried that “iifym thing” and it didn’t work. I asked her what was it that didn’t work and really had no answer. She said she ” just needed to eat clean.”

Some people get overwhelmed by too many choices. I can understand that, especially when you are used to being a strict meal plan kind of girl. It’s all you know, right?

Refresher:  
IIFYM is not a diet. You count macro nutrients :Protein, Carbs and Fats.
You must eat at least 20 g of fiber each day.
You must hit your numbers +5/-5 grams daily.
You can eat any way you want but in a fat loss plan, your ratios are 95 percent nutrient dense foods and 5 percent discretionary.
You could eat paleo, diabetic, vegan, bro, whatever you like. You just have to hit those numbers!

This girl was confused. She missed an opportunity to eat well and have choices which is exactly what IIFYM is about. Choices!!

Ideas!
My prep is starting up and we decided that this summer is going to be about the grill.
I want to show you some things we did for my prep.

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Bison burgers are lean.
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This is shark! mmmmmmm
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This is Cajun shrimp. He didn’t even flip them. Just closed the lid on the grill.
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Butter Ball Turkey breast , thawed and cut into steaks on the grill.

Protein:  I get about 190 g protein per day. Rob grilled bison burgers, Shark Steaks, Cajun shrimp and turkey.  So the turkey.. he took a Butterball breast and thawed it. He cut it into steaks and grilled it, 20 min per side. It was insane.  There is no added fat in anything here.
I added avocado to my turkey for my fats and fiber and it was amazing.

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Bison and cabbage
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Grilled purple cabbage from the farmer’s market.
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The zucchini was the best. It’s so flavorful! Asparagus was great! So much better grilled.
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Yellow peppers and poblanos! There’s zuc in there too. This bowl was gone fast! YUM.

All our food came from the farmer’s market next door to my studio.
There is no additional fats on these at all. The squash is my favorite. The flavors burst. We used poblanos and yellow peppers. I hate regular green peppers but you could try.  The yellow ones are so sweet when you grill them.

Roasted cabbage is very good. We have made that into a salad for lunch tomorrow. With this grilling, Rob really just chopped and grilled. He likes to use seasonings so you can too.
I’m sure you have your own flavors you dig.

You can do it
If you are a person who thinks you have to choose the restricted non scientific BRO plan because IIFYM means all you eat is crap.. I am so sorry that you have misunderstood.
I want you to learn so you can have peace in your plan. If you are happy with ‘clean’ food then by all means, enjoy the food you eat.  Dousing things with mustard because you don’t believe you can sub out anything for egg whites is just foolish. It doesn’t make you a better athlete. It doesn’t make you  more HAM or beast mode.  Here’s what makes you a better athlete. Listening to your body. Eating well for your gains. Choosing things that YOU like for consistency and to not feel restricted.

Remember as athletes we need 300-500g of fruits and veggies per day. All my clients, in fact eat this. That’s about 300 calories and 40g carbs or so.  We need 35 different foods per week and we need to focus on our micro nutrients too. Different foods provide micros! Don’t be stuck with the same 6 food items! Investigate!!  Let me know if you have questions!!

I wish you luck with your competition!!
t