Pack Your Meals! Tips On How To Succeed

containers-stacked-for-storageAnyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that I am consistent about packing clean meals and toting them around with me throughout the day. It can be cumbersome to pack food, especially when I know I will be out of the house for most of the day, but by doing so I have peace of mind knowing that I will be able to stay on track with my meal plan no matter what. Competitors and fitness professionals practice this habit and can attest to the power of clean eating in maintaining a sculpted, muscular physique.


However, I realize that many of you who do not compete or have an involvement in fitness may be wondering if there is any point to packing meals if you are an average person. There are a multitude of benefits to be gained from packing meals for the day:

• Portion Control – If you measure and weigh your portions before placing them into containers, you will have full control over your intake.

• Cooking Method – Steaming, baking, boiling, grilling and poaching are easy cooking methods which also enable you to prepare food without adding unnecessary fat.

• Save Money – By purchasing food at the grocery store and preparing it yourself, you will save a significant amount of money.

• Maintain A Low Sodium Diet – Restaurants often add significant amounts of sodium to enhance the flavor of their dishes. If you are trying to keep your sodium intake low, you are better off preparing your own food.

• Accommodate Medical Dietary Restrictions And Food Allergies – Restaurant meals may add ingredients which are forbidden from your meal plan due to medical conditions or food allergies. Instead of taking a risk, you are better off preparing your meals and packing them with you.

When I worked the Arnold Sports Festival Expo in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, I made sure to drink plenty of water, filling up my one liter container 3 to 4 times each day. I also brought my Hot Logic Mini with me (https://youtu.be/GQltYTRLTC4) and had meals from Icon Meals (https://iconmeals.com/) with me, and I made sure to consume a meal every 3 hours to keep my energy levels up. If you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you will find ways to stay in line!

I always recommend tempered glass storage containers over plastic, since heating up ingredients in most plastic containers carries a risk of deranging the plastic and releasing harmful chemicals into the food. I make an exception with BPA-free containers, and recommend the types which have locking lids to prevent leakage of food.
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The BEST meal packing system out there is made by Six Pack Bags:
https://www.sixpackbags.com/bags.html

By adopting the habit of packing your meals, you will be on the road to better health!

Consistency (Updated Post)

As a physician, I am as much a therapist as I am a physical healer, and am well aware of the vital connection between mind, spirit and body. I have also seen how closely linked emotional stress is to development and exacerbation of physical ailments. What concerns me is when people abandon healthy habits during times of adversity, because it is at those times that some structure would provide balance to their lives.

A common question I hear from patients, clients, and strangers I meet is, “How can you maintain a regular exercise schedule and pack your food all the time with your busy careers?”, to which I respond, “I just do it.” Working out and eating right are as essential to me as sleeping and brushing my teeth. It never occurs to me to abandon healthy habits during stressful times. I recently went through a particularly difficult month during which I took a rigorous board certification exam, went through a residential move, and traveled to four destinations (two for my medical career, two for fitness and bodybuilding) over a two week period. Though I didn’t work out my usual six days per week, I did manage to train four to five days per week, every single week. The regular workouts gave me structure and balance which helped me to burn off some of the stress I was under, regulated my sleep cycle, and just plain felt good. In addition, I traveled with clean foods and lots of water, packing them and making sure I stayed on track.

Why would I push myself like this? Because I know that consistency is key to maintaining balance in one’s life. When I am consistent with my workouts and food, I maintain structure and focus and do not allow excuses of an insanely busy schedule to deter me from my mission to live an optimally healthy lifestyle. I know that if I were to deviate from a healthy lifestyle, I wouldn’t have the energy to push through my to-do list, and I certainly wouldn’t be very happy either. No matter whether I am traveling, working, or enjoying a rare free day for myself, I make sure to invest in myself every single day.

When I worked the Arnold Sports Festival Expo in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, I made sure to drink plenty of water, filling up my one liter container 3 to 4 times each day. I also brought my Hot Logic Mini with me (https://youtu.be/GQltYTRLTC4) and had meals from Icon Meals with me, and I made sure to consume a meal every 3 hours to keep my energy levels up. If you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you will find ways to stay in line!

If you make an investment in yourself by being consistent with your exercise and meal habits, you will be rewarded with greater balance in your life and better health. Don’t you deserve that?

No Wonder Oksana Grishina Keeps Holding Her Titles

Oksana Grishina successfully defended her Arnold title last weekend, to make her two-year consecutive win a threepeat, and it’s pretty obvious why she remains at the top of the heap. I also wouldn’t be surprised if her visits to Arnold Europe and Olympia this year (both of which she has won for the last two years in a row) also culminate in threepeats. Her athleticism, extraordinary physique, and stage presence are truly beyond compare. Check her incredible routine from last Friday:

Arnold Sports Festival 2015

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For the first time ever, I am actually going to attend the Arnold Classic and Bikini International Finals at the Battelle Grand in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, March 7, 2015. I am so excited to be able to watch these prestigious competitions from the audience!

This year will be the second year in which I will NOT be working a booth but instead will visit the Expo as a spectator, so it will be a very different Arnold experience for me this time around. I actually prefer to work a booth, but it will still be nice to see friends and fans, network, and have the freedom to come and go. Another big change this year is that it will be the first year that I will be staying at a hotel which is immediately adjacent to the Columbus Convention Center, which means I can keep exposure to the bitter cold and snow to a minimum!

For those of you who are unable to attend the Arnold Classic, tune into the live webcast on Bodybuilding.com. Simply go to the Bodybuilding.com website and click on the link!

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Trick Or Treat For Adults? Samples At Fitness Expos

Mention the word “FREE” and people will suddenly scramble to participate, whether it requires standing in line, being part of a contest, or simply showing up at an expo or convention. Fitness and bodybuilding expos are certainly no exception. I still get a kick out of expo attendees who lose control of their impulses and ingest EVERY drink and food item which is offered to them to sample. The inevitable result is an expo hall full of supercharged, jittery, bloated fans who either quickly learn that such abandon is not the wisest thing, or foolishly repeat the behavior the following day.

Some attendees have become wise to the hazards of consuming samples and instead know how to collect samples to take home. My perspective is usually from behind a table at which I am working, where I observe the excitement and frequent frenetic energy of people who act like kids in a candy store while at expos. They will open up their bags and look at me expectantly to see what it is that I am about to give them. In that sense, it is very much like trick-or-treating. I have definitely experienced the wonder of dumping all my samples onto a hotel bed at the end of the expo day and assessing what I collected, much like a pirate with a bounty. It’s extremely enjoyable and visually interesting to look at all the packaging, and it certainly feels like a victory to amass a huge collection of free stuff.

Some people have the technique of collecting samples down to an art. On the rare occasion when I was at an expo and not actually working at a booth, I collected roller bags full of samples and full size products EACH DAY, which was a great way to learn about the different products and companies. I had to laugh when I saw my friend IFBB Men’s Physique Pro Dr. Brian Epstein’s haul from the Olympia Expo on September 19th and 20th, because he collected roughly the same amount of stuff that I used to accumulate during a large expo like Olympia, L.A. Fit Expo or the Arnold. Go Brian!samples heaven

I have one caveat which is that if you have any health concerns, such as high blood pressure, neurological disorders, diabetes, etc., then you need to find out the ingredients in the samples you collect, and if any substances are unsuitable for you, avoid supplements which contain them.