A goal without a plan is only a wish. Whether you want to gain weight or lose fat, prepare for a marathon, or detoxify your body, you need to create a meal plan.
In this post, I will walk you through 3 simple steps to create your meal plan.
In the end, you will also find a free weekly meal plan template to print it out.
STEP NUMBER ONE OF MEAL PLAN CREATION- SET A GOAL
In the post titled ultimate gym tips for beginners, I wrote that it is essential to set smart goals.
Goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time-oriented.
A plan for weight loss will be different than the procedure for muscle gain.
Know your limitations
Many people start their journey without knowing their bodies well.
Do you have any intolerances or allergies?
It is one of the first questions that I ask my clients before we start creating any meal plan.
If you have so, then take care to avoid a particular food.
If you don’t even know, then better check it.
STEP NUMBER TWO – KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
Every meal plan comes down to numbers.
Counting your macros is a matter of experimenting and checking what works or what doesn’t.
Whether you are going to be on a high carb, low carb, or a keto diet, you need to know your numbers.
Basal Metabolic Rate
Before you set macronutrients, do the math and count your BMR.
Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories that your body needs to function at rest.
There are a few factors that have a significant impact on your metabolism:
- body mass
- lean muscle mass percentage
- body fat percentage
- daily activity
- hormones level
- health condition
Visit active.com and use their calculator to check your BMR.
Meal plan for weight loss
The only recipe for weight loss is calorie deficiency and more activity.
Let’s say that your BMR is 2000 kcal. If you’ll consume 2000 kcal and burn out during a workout 500 kcal, you’re going to lose weight. For sure.
Because you are on a deficit 500 kcal daily, over a month you should melt around 1-2 kg of pure fat.
Anything more than that is just water retention and intestinal deposits.
Meal plan for muscle gain
As opposite to weight loss, a method for muscle gain requires calorie surplus and intentional training focused on hypertrophy.
Let’s project the same example as previously.
If your BMR is 2000 kcal you should:
- eat 2000 kcal
- add the calorie outcome of your workout
- add extra calories as a surplus to gain weight.
One hour of training burns approximately 400 – 600 kcal. It depends on how intense it is.
To create an anabolic environment for your body to grow, you should consume more calories than you burn.
How much should you consume then in total?
2000 kcal (BMR) + 400 – 600 kcal (Training) + 500 kcal (Surplus)
It means that our role model should consume from 2900 – 3100 kcal daily to gain muscles.
You should aim to gain your weight not more than 1 kg a month. Most probably anything more than that will be stored fat.
STEP NUMBER THREE – STICK TO YOUR MEAL PLAN
“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.”
We all have temptations, but if you want to reach your goal, you’ll have to avoid or at least limit occasions to eat wrong.
Your body is responsive. You get back what you put in. Don’t expect changes if you stick to your meal plan at 50 %.
It’s simple. 50 percent dedication – 50 percent results.
There are many ways to stay focused on your diet.
- use app like for example fitnesspal
- write down your meals on a weekly meal chart
- plan your menu and shopping in advance
- check your progress weekly
- check the menu of the restaurant before going there
- learn more about nutrition
Fitnesspal to track your calories
At FitnessPal you can easily log your meals.
User-friendly navigation allows you to track your macronutrients throughout the day so more likely you are going to hit your daily goals.
Use a weekly meal planner
Plan your menu and shopping in advance
”Luck is a residue of preparation.”
Preparing your menu and shopping list in advance is not only beneficial for budgeting. It will also limit your choices. Therefore you’ll avoid overeating, snacking or binging which can set you back in your progress.
It might be the key indicator to keep you on track.
Some people find it very motivational and it helps to stay consistent for another week.
Do it once a week to have a chance to reassess your progress and possibly make some changes in your nutrition or training schedule if they are required.
Check the menu at the restaurants
It’s always better to know what to expect when going to a new place.
In the worst scenario, the restaurant might not have an option suitable for you.
Then either you accept the fact that today’s meal is not going to be a perfect fit within your macros or just look for another place.
Checking in advance also gives you an advantage. You’re going to the restaurant with clear intention so most likely you’ll resist the temptation to taste any other dishes.
Learn about nutrition.
Knowledge is power.
The more you know, the wiser you are. The more knowledgeable you are, the better choices you make.
If you feel confused and overwhelmed with nutrition, I would suggest that you better embrace it.
Everyone should have at least a minimum of knowledge about macronutrients.
THESE WERE 3 STEPS TO CREATE YOUR MEAL PLAN
I hope that this post gave you another point of perspective that can positively impact your nutrition and lifestyle.
If you think that anyone you know can benefit from reading it, please share it with your friends and on your social media channels. Remember, sharing is caring.
If you have any questions related to this topic, feel free to reach me out.