The Diet and Meals That Help Me Stay Lean and Train

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

March 8, 2020

I’ve been through several body transformations so far, and I got most of my results only when I followed a proper diet that sustained the tremendous physical effort and provided the other essential nutrients, not just fuel.

Now I am a lot more consistent, stay very lean all-year-round, and my physical performance skyrocketed too consequently.

Many within my community asked about what I eat every week, and it’s about time I reveal my meal samples and also explain the reasoning behind it.

First and foremost, I used no drugs and artificial enhancements, never. I am a naturally built athlete and plan to stay so. Because of that and for I do plenty of other cardio and high-intensity activities, I keep myself athletic, not humongous, and strong only.

However, before rushing into my meal samples, I want to give you the best tips and practices I use in my diet. I hope that you will learn some new stuff and achieve your fitness goals faster.

I Plan My Meals in Advance

One huge mistake most people do in their quest to achieve fitness results is not planning their meals as they do with their workouts. I never wake up and eat whatever comes into my face. It is the best practice to end up indulging with refined sugars excessively or generally eating empty-calories or a meal deficient in nutrients. You want to avoid that at all costs!

If it’s Sunday, then I think of what groceries and goodies I need to buy for the next 2-3 days, then I go to the market and pick the best products possible. I basically choose what I enjoy eating and, at the same time, keep track of what’s essential for my body. For instance, 95% dark chocolate -it has more calories, although more nutritious and great good fat content.

I do the same with any other product, brown rice over refined rice, fresh vegetables over canned, whole pasta over refined pasta. The list goes on and on. Watch the food label every time. It has to be short in the description and high in various nutrients. Otherwise, you just got an overprocessed product.

Workout Meal

By planning and watching over the ingredients, you don’t end up eating whatever pops up quicker and more accessible. The only way you can control the macro ratios, calories, cooking methods, ingredients, and the quality of the food itself (even its freshness), is by planning and obtaining the best products possible.

I Prepare, Cook and Pack My Food

I had to learn how to cook decently and master the skill as I go through. I have no other way around it. Restaurants or eating in town doesn’t offer me the kind of meal I need and prefer. For them, it’s a business, and they will always utilize and reutilize inferior products to increase profits.

Anyway, some restaurants provide nutritionally correct meals, but the sizes are either too small to sustain my physical effort or way too expensive.

Meals for Fitness Results

So regardless of how much time available I have or not, I created a discipline and habit around planning, buying the food, and cooking enough quantity for the following days.

If I have an appetite for something, then I search the internet for a recipe and execute step by step.

Best Nutrition Practices for Busy Men

Sometimes, preparing and cooking can take as much as 1-2 hours. There is nothing I can do about it except cooking enough quantity so I can pack and eat again for the following 1-2 days. In this way, I reacquire time later in the coming days.

Typically, it’s lunch or my after workout meal that I prefer cooking in larger quantities and eat repetitively. For snacks and breakfast (if I don’t fast), I have other options that don’t require more than 5-15 minutes to get it done.

Oat Flakes and Eggs for Breakfast

The best tips I can give you if you’re a busy man are:

  1. Stop getting frustrated about cooking and packing. The sooner you understand that food is about longevity, well-being, fitness, the faster you’ll adapt and stay committed. Or perhaps it is your wife or girlfriend who can help. That’s the best-case scenario!
  2. It took more than two months to get past the discomfort. I had to accept that cooking sometimes is annoying, takes a bit of extra time I could otherwise utilize more effectively, and so on. Yes, it is true, slicing onions or mushrooms can take longer. But I like eating them, and my body needs these fibrous and no-calorie vegetables to function correctly. So get past that!
  3. It gets a lot easier over time. After several months, I can tell that I do my shopping a lot more rapidly, my food tastes better, and I also cook it faster!
  4. Never stay hungry outside with no available good food around. It’s the best way to mess everything. Pack the food and get it with you.
  5. Always search the internet for meals that take less time to be ready concerning your nutritional principles as well.

Meal Samples and Diet to Get or Stay Lean

I Don’t Count Calories or Macros

Everything I buy, eat, and do has a reason. I had evenings when I charged with over 2000 calories in a timespan of 3 hours on top of what I had until that moment because I knew my body needs more nutrients this time. I didn’t store them as body fat and nor was I swollen because I ate correctly, balanced the macro ratios well, and had plenty of other nutrients too. Thus, no empty calories or high-density foods here!

Your calorie intake varies from a day to another, and for this reason, you can’t count. Calorie intake depends on various factors:

  1. How sore your muscles are.
  2. How much training you had and what type of exercise you did. If you did more high-intensity, then you’ll crave for carbs. If you did a lot more cardio, then you will not need so many carbs nor calories, and you’ll not feel so hungry. In this case, you can use fat reserves for your basal metabolism and stay in a deficit more comfortably.
  3. How much you ate the previous days. Maybe you unconsciously were on a calorie deficit until now. If your body is sore and needs nutrients and calories, but somehow you were in a gap, then you will feel an enormous appetite at some point. I suggest developing self-awareness and listening to your body. Then, don’t fight that hunger; just eat the right food. Eating the right food makes you feel sated because of volume, fiber intake, and low density, even if the calorie intake was not high. That’s why it’s easier to stay in deficit by eating right.

Meal Samples for Fitness Results

I only listed a few influential aspects of your daily calorie intake, but there is more to consider. Many people ask me how to stay in a deficit without counting. Well, are you overall hungry even by a tiny bit, or you always feel full? Your body tells you everything if you listen. Eat to be sated; achieve a bit of saturation and done. Moderation is key!

When I say to someone to eat in moderation, less or more, I appeal to his intuition and common sense. I developed these two abilities through listening and trial and error.

So I think tracking calories is ridiculous, frustrating, and useless at the same time. If you eat low-density foods and meals, keep a lower fat or carb intake, then there is no way you can overeat by too much unless you deliberately eat more.

Before worrying about calories, make sure you eat the right foods first. The thermodynamic law, calories in versus calories out works if you make extraction that we are humans and not machines. Watch this video and find out about how athletes eat!

The Macro Ratios

I usually have three main meals a day, generally fast in the morning and skip breakfast to lunch directly. However, my first-afternoon meal might be breakfast, actually.

I am not an Intermittent Fasting follower by all means. I don’t see Intermittent Fasting suitable for many because it depends a lot on the lifestyle, but it suits my schedule usually.

If I train a couple of hours after I wake up, depending on the intensity and duration, I have to eat. Otherwise, if I have to sit at my desk all day, then I don’t need breakfast.

I also don’t need any food to jog 1 hour after I wake up, but if I do sprint-intervals or an intense calisthenics session, then it’s a different circumstance that requires more resources.

These are the kind of situations that influence my decision to have breakfast or not. I also take it when I have a busy afternoon and no time to lunch adequately. Therefore, as you can see, I don’t do Intermittent Fasting, I choose based on how I feel and the activities during that day. Even so, everything planned from the day before. I just have to decide whether I prepare the food in the morning or later in the afternoon with 2-3 hours before my workout.

My focus is to get energy from carbs:

Meal Examples to Get Lean

So my macro ratios on a dish would be:

  • At least 50% starches, but low-medium-GI complex carbs and quantity can go higher is I feel more hungry;
  • A bit of fat (animal source or vegetable, depends on the meat as well). I’d say that fat intake is between 5-15% more in favor of good lipids and not animal sources.
  • The rest is protein, typically from an animal source (eggs included). Now I eat instinctively and adjust quantities based on that. When I wanted to shrink in size, I was a lot more careful with sugar and fat consumption.

As I said, sometimes, I eat more carbs or more protein depending on the factors mentioned earlier or how hungry I am.

I also include side dishes almost every time with fibrous vegetables, fresh leafy greens but not starches. You have hundreds of options for fibrous vegetables that don’t provide calories at all or just a few.

I love carbs! For me, excluding carbs from my diet only makes me more cranky and nervous. It depends a lot on the individual, but if you crave on carbs too, then you have to eat the right types and maybe decrease the amount of fat content below 20% (if you are not fit yet). Don’t count; just size it with your eyes.

An athletic person can adjust macros however he pleases. But if you want to downsize, then you can’t have both carbs and fat in large quantities. One or another has to go down considerably.

I don’t overeat meat or proteins. In reality, it’s effortless to get sufficient amounts of proteins from eating various foods and animal products or dairy too. So no need for extra protein charging and is a reason why I see protein powders useless. You can always eat more if you like.

How and What I Eat Every Week To Stay Lean

  1. Complex carbs mostly from a variety of fibrous starches
  2. Fresh vegetables of all kind that don’t have calories but plenty of other nutrients and more specifically, fiber
  3. I barely eat dairy products when I do, yogurt and cheese only
  4. Some fat sources on my dish usually come from meat even though it is as clean as possible. The rest of the fat, I take from extra virgin olive oil (I cook with it), seeds, nuts, almonds, and avocados (practically all the excellent vegetable sources)
  5. I eat bananas every day, several avocados a week, apples every day, and pineapple once a week, maybe. I recommend all the seasonal fruits and especially those that naturally grow in your environment and climate. For me, apples! I charge with 1-2 bananas a day and 2-3 apples. I strongly recommend berries, though!
  6.  I snack on fruit, nuts and almonds, peanut butter, dark chocolate (cocoa has an abundance of essential nutrients)
  7. I love eating eggs! I have a few recipes that include them. I may eat 4-5 eggs every two days, along with cereals or fruit
  8. I eat almost daily cereals but more often oats and corn flakes
  9. Once a week or once every two weeks, I enjoy one or two cheat meals: pizzas, burgers, fries, sweets of any kind, appetizers, traditional food that usually is very rich in calories from all sources (protein, carbs, and fat).
  10. I reiterate! I eat a lot of whole grains. That’s my primary fuel, and I feel perfectly fine on whole grains and cereals of all types. I vary them a lot and try to get the best products possible. But if I double the number of calories by also eating large quantities of fats, then I start to gain size, both muscles and especially a lot more body fat. I need a lot more severe training to sustain a diet rich in all macronutrients. Pay attention to your ratios always. Perhaps, I could eat a lot more and still stay pretty lean, but I prefer this way.

To stay lean depends a lot on hormones and how fast and effectively the metabolism is. I enhanced it not only with proper food but with correct exercise too.

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