To maintain a feeding pattern consistent with building a rock solid body many successful bodybuilders have learned the art of assembly line cooking one day per week. Although you can pick any day that best suits your schedule, most bodybuilders who use this method often designate Sunday as the day when they plan, purchase and prepare all of their road meals for the week. The best way to do this is to break up your food preparations into three categories, which are proteins, starchy carbs and fibrous carbs. This way all you need to do is mix and match these three components to create awesome meals on the go.
Making sure each of your meals contains adequate protein is key to successful bodybuilding. Protein foods arguably require the most planning due to the fact that if not prepared and stored correctly you not only will be wasting hard earned money, you may even get yourself some type of food poisoning along the way. On top of the bodybuilders portable protein pyramid we have chicken breasts, lean ground turkey or hamburger, lean cuts of read meat and water packed tuna. The first thing you'll need to know is how much protein per meal you need and how many portable meals you will be cooking during your assembly line project. So lets say your diet calls for 35 grams of protein per meal and you want to prepare 3 meals per day for 5 days. This means you'll need 15 meals and since your 35-gram protein portions can be met with one large chicken breast (ribs attached) your goal could be attained simply by cooking and storing 15 large chicken breasts. Now if you want variety you may want to cook only 5 chicken breasts and split the other 10 meals with ground turkey and water packed tuna. Cooking off five-7.5 ounce turkey patties and stockpiling the necessary canned tuna in your pantry can easily achieve this. No matter which way you choose to divide up your protein portions keep in mind that they only make up part of each meal. So plan according to the total meal. For example chicken breast, brown rice, broccoli, corn and salsa make a nice meal but could get monotonous. At any rate make sure you immediately store the cooked proteins in Tupperware (standard equipment for the bodybuilding road warrior) and refrigerate. Another good investment is a small Igloo style beach cooler which will serve as a traveling carrying case for your supplies.
Depending on your diet goal each meal should contain at least some carbohydrate. Starches are easy to prepare and also build your muscle glycogen stores effectively. The best starchy carbs are yams, baked potatoes, brown rice and steel cut rolled oats. Later we’ll discuss adding fibrous carbs or using a fiber supplement so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to make each meal glycemically “perfect”. Once again you’ll need to calculate how many grams of carbohydrates you want to consume each meal. You will basically be prepping 15 carbohydrate portions so just get a handle on how much per serving and start steaming, baking, or micro waving those glycogen filled treats. For example one medium sized baked potato (a large fist) yields about 30 grams of carbs. A good resource for carb content in basic foods is the Nutrition Almanac, which can be found in your local health or bookstore. Remember to prep with the total meal in mind so that you don’t wind up with oats at every meal. You should store your carbs the same way as proteins, using Tupperware then refrigerate.
The Fibrous Carbs
To ensure good health and to alleviate any wild blood sugar swings ample amounts of fibrous carbs should be eaten at each meal. The only exception is that if the starchy carb (like steel cut oats) contains ample fiber or if you are in a pinch use a fiber supplement such as Metamucil. The best bet here is to purchase blends of frozen vegetables from your local supermarket and microwave several 1-2 pound bags and store them just as you would your proteins. There are several good varieties that can found virtually in any good grocery store. Many of them have ethnic styles such as fiesta blend (Mexican) as well as Italian, Japanese and Oriental. It sure beats the heck out of shopping, dicing and slicing produce.
Putting it All Together
Now the hard work is done. All that’s left is to throw each set of meals together in the evenings to prepare for the next day. This is also the time you can choose any condiments, special fats or spices that provide the finishing touches to each meal. Don’t worry you can still enjoy eating fresh food for dinner and the smell of oats in the morning but now you’ll never worry about what you’ll have for those three meals you always need on the road.