I have an active job; thus, I burn a lot of calories in a day – around 3,000 to 4,000 depending on the exercise I choose to do.
I follow two basic diets all year round in regards to the quantity of calories that I consume.
- A muscle building diet where I have a calorie surplus (e.g. I expend 3,000 calories in a day and input around 3,400 calories)
- A fat loss diet where I have a calorie deficit (e.g. I expend 3,000 calories in a day and I consume around 2,500).
However, where these two diets are similar is with the quality of food. All I change is the amount I consume, rather than the type of food I eat. This allows me to have a relatively clean muscle building diet, even though I’m eating excess calories in total, and a fat loss diet that doesn’t eat away at too much muscle tissue.
The diet below is not for everyone as we all have different food preferences and calorie expenditures; but this is what I do when I do a 6.30am cardio workout and a 1pm weights workout with the aim of losing body fat and retaining muscle. The diet continues to change over the weeks that I’m in fat loss mode as my basal metabolic rate reduces and my body naturally needs fewer calories; but the basics behind this is that I need to keep protein at an optimal level while reducing carbohydrates and fats at different points in the day in order to achieve a daily calorie deficit of between 300-500 calories.
CHRIS JAMES’S DIET FOR LOSING WEIGHT
6.15am: BCAA tablet x 3 + green tea
6.30am: Fasted cardio – LISS or HIIT
7am: Banana + 30g whey protein shake + BCAA tablet x 3
7.30am: 100g (dry weight) porridge made with water, 20g micellular casein protein and 50g Total 0% fat yoghurt + hardboiled egg + Omega 3 tablet + Multivitamins
10am: 200g chicken + 100g sweet potato + unlimited greens
12.30pm: Grenade pre-workout shake
1pm: Weights workout – continue to consume Grenade during the workout
2pm: Apple + BCAA tablet x 3 + 40g whey protein shake
3pm: 200g white fish + 100g sweet potato + unlimited greens
6pm: 200g salmon fillet + hardboiled egg + unlimited greens
8pm: Homemade ProYo: 40g micellular casein protein + 150g Alpro Soya yoghurt (put in the freezer for an hour for ‘ice cream’ consistency) + handful of almonds
(Drinks for fat loss diet is mainly water but also with 2 to 3 green teas or black coffees per day. Caffeine raises the metabolism to burn more calories).
This is an example of a day; there are small changes I can make based on what I fancy. I do add steak and smoked mackerel in a few times a week but they are higher in fat so the calories for the day need to be watched. If I have a meat/fish source with higher fat for dinner, I will remove the hardboiled egg or other fat source. White fish and chicken are good on a weight loss diet because they give you the right amount of protein but with reduced fat and calories, making it easier to keep your protein levels up whilst maintaining a calorie deficit.
I alternate my sweet potato with other complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or oats; and my post-workout higher GI carbohydrates can cycle between white potato, white rice, fruit and baked beans. Note, I still keep this quick release carbohydrate in post-training even in a fat loss stage. Also, the timings and weights are not prescribed to the second or gram, but it’s the rough amount based on eating every 2-4 hours and using my trained eye to plate up my foods during the day.
I also still include a treat meal once a week where I eat what I feel like at the time. Treat time works with alcohol too but it is better to have food as a treat rather than alcohol as food calories provide your brain, muscles and bodily systems with some sort of nourishment, whatever the food, whereas alcohol does not. When I drink, I drink wine or sparkling wine. Whatever the treat is though, it goes in and it is enjoyed. The only proviso is that I have scheduled in the treat meal a few days in advance so that I look forward to it.
However, with the above menu, I rarely need a treat. It’s so tasty and filling with sweet, savoury and salty that I never feel like I’m ‘on a certain diet’. Also, don’t forget that a ‘treat’ meal on a calorie restricted meal plan allows you to stay on track overall. It also looks to increase your metabolism after it has slowed down from your continued calorie restriction; this short-term increase helps you burn more calories in the long run – just make sure it’s only ONE treat a week.
If you have any questions as to why I use certain foods, why I eat them at certain points in the day or some alternative suggestions for a personal meal plan for you, send me a message.
Director – Head of Fitness and Nutrition
Fitness Body Pro