What sounds good on paper doesn't always work in everyday life. The longer I've been in this game, the more clearly I've come to understand a few fundamental principles that dramatically impact the execution of a diet:
- Discipline is a finite and exhaustible resource.
- Decision fatigue is a real thing.
- Convenience improves adherence and success rates.
- Automation makes everything easier.
So we could talk about numbers and singular foods and so forth, but what's a higher-level food hack that shifts reliance on discipline and decision making over to convenience and automation? And what will give you a better shot at making your physique-focused plan easier to sustain?
Answer: Never Cook a Single Meal
When you actually do have some time in your week, cook a bunch of physique-friendly foods for multiple meals at once. Store the leftovers. The rest of the week can be full of easy and convenient grab and go's, mixes and matches, etc.
Who in today's world has time to cook multiple meals a day made from real, whole, natural, nutrient dense, high-satiety foods? You do. You just don't have time to do it every single day. But you can certainly sneak in an Iron Chef session twice a week – maybe once on the weekend while watching the ballgame and once during the week instead of watching TV.
Efficiency is crucial for normal dudes with a real career and some kind of life outside of fitness. It's even more relevant to advanced lifters in the middle of aggressive fat loss phases, where satiety, motivation, impulse, and instinct are all often heading in different directions.
Now this doesn't have to be just the ol' bodybuilding chicken and broccoli. A wide variety of foods can work in a physique-focused diet.
Here Are Some Ideas:
- Marinate and broil or bake a few pounds of meat. On a nice day, get out there and grill it.
- Hard-boil a carton of eggs for "instant" breakfasts that have a better protein-to-carb ratio than Fruity Pebbles.
- Grab a couple bags of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other tubers and bake, boil, or roast them.
- Rice cookers are awesome. Get a big one and make a giant pot of rice. Meat and rice has been a foundational physique meal for decades.
- Pick a few of your favorite vegetables, throw them in a pan, and stir-fry together to bring out the flavors. You don't have to chew on raw celery sticks to get your veggie game on.
- Hell, throw some veggies and a whole dead animal in a Crock Pot and cook that sucker until it's as tender as a taint after a day with your not-so-friendly neighborhood dominatrix.
You can still add spices, sauces, and extra ingredients to make these more exciting. The base ingredients (meat, veggies, starch) will be ready to go.