Meal Prep. Those two words evoke mixed emotions for me. As someone who has competed in natural, competitive bodybuilding nearly a decade ago, I think back to the 8-10 weeks leading up to a show in which I would prepare chicken breast, tilapia, egg whites, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and asparagus every single Sunday. It was a huge time commitment and having to eat the same bland foods for 8-10 weeks made for a pretty mundane palate as well as social life. Sure I got really, really lean and looked great on stage and in pictures but it wasn't a sustainable way of life and you can even make a case and say that it was unhealthy (yes, there is such a thing as getting too lean)!
Nowadays, one word sums up my perspective towards health and fitness..BALANCE. I encourage my clients and members at my gym to stay on point 80% of the time with regards to nutrition and to not feel bad about having a few cheat meals each week or having 2-3 drinks of alcohol. Where people really get into trouble is when they start to binge eat. Binging is typically a result of being super stringent on a meal plan and ultimately reaching your breaking point with it. You see, extremism is rarely a good approach to take with anything in life and a more middle of the road nutrition strategy will still enable a person to make strides towards their body sculpting goals while not causing them to feel alienated in other aspects of their life.'
As a gym owner, professional trainer, and single man it's quite easy for me to get pulled in several different directions and lose sight of the ever so important element of life balance. This is where having my meals prepared ahead of time becomes so vital. We've all heard the saying, "time is money." As I'm sure many of you can relate to, I find this to be oh so true these days and long ago came to the realization that I am not Bobby Flay in the kitchen. Fortunately, I recently stumbled upon a local meal prep company called Fresh & Fit Meals on Instagram and reached out to them to see how they could help take the burden off of me. One of the owners, Matt Zozoya, responded immediately and I couldn't be happier with the service he and his company have provided.
For those that may have never heard of them, Fresh & Fit Meals is a San Diego and Los Angeles based meal prep company that truly hits it out of the park with their middle of the road nutrition strategy. They produce all-natural, well balanced, tasty meals at what I consider to be a very affordable price (about $10 per meal). All of their food is preservative free with the nutrition facts printed on the label. The guesswork and time commitment is removed from the equation as each meal is composed of (in general) a moderate amount of carbohydrates, low to moderate fats, high protein, and all that's left for you to do is reheat it for 2-3 minutes. They have over 50 different meals on their site, Freshandfitmeals.com for you to choose from and I personally have tried 16 of them—they're all great but I've included my top 5 thus far down below:
1.) Sweet and sour pork. Growing up my mom always made delicious pork tenderloin but didn't quite put this twist on it. Loaded with veggies and lean pork and they even throw in actual pineapples!
2.) Turkey meatball with marinara. Being a Chicago guy, this gives me that Italian fix that I often crave. A much better substitute than deep-dish pizza, the meatballs are incredibly full of flavor and the marinara sauce is on point. A very good low carb, moderate fat, high protein meal combo.
3.) Chicken breast with pecan'd yams and asparagus. Such a great meal combo. The chicken is super tender and the yams give that perfect amount of sweetness.
4.) Steak and roasted herb potato medley. Again, being a midwest guy we like our steak and potatoes. This is good old fashioned growth food. The steak is not dry as one might expect and the potato medley has a nice garlic flavor to it.
5.) Mediterranean Cod. I don't eat a lot of fish so it's nice to mix things up every so often. The cod is very smooth, the rice is flavorful, and they pack in the veggies.
Since getting my nutrition back on point with the help of Fresh and Fit Meals it really has helped re-solidify the framework for my balanced life approach. As I say to my clients and members, "You have to feed the beast" and in giving your body the nutrients it needs you in turn become more productive in other aspects of your life and your body composition starts to improve. Across the board, life gets better when you eat clean, regimented meals and if you're a busy, working professional like myself I highly encourage you to give them a shot, you will not be disappointed!
About the Author
Gym Owner and Personal Trainer, Keith Diedrich has a B.A. in Exercise Science and has been professionally involved in health and fitness in various capacities since 2005.
"My initial thought about Keith was that he seemed very casual and not as frenetic as other professionals. I quickly learned that he was gauging my stamina, movements, and technique. He wasn't after a fast burnout, but he wanted to exhaust every muscle every time. He said we were working on a "mind to body connection." With this connection I'd be able to gauge whether a set was 15 reps or 20 reps regardless of the initial "goal of 15!" I believe much of my gains came from Keith always seeing my potential even when I couldn't." ~ Saul "Mr. Biceps"