Eating To Get Lean and Build Muscle: "The Chris Diet"

Personal trainer Chris Hitchko shares his secrets for eating to trim fat and build muscle. Try the Chris Diet and share your results with us!

Chris Hitchko

Eating healthy is simple and straightforward. Good nutrition basics include eating breakfast within an hour of waking up; grazing throughout the day, eating every two to three hours; drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water a day; and limiting simple carbs, fats and sugars (e.g., white bread, red meat and ice cream).

Does that sound difficult?

I have adopted the following eating habits into my lifestyle, and there is a method to my madness. I try to eat like a prince in the morning and a pauper at night, consuming more in the a.m. and less in the p.m. I also have five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Most important, I consume my carbohydrates from whole grains before noon; after that, all  my carbs come from plant sources.

I realize that this program might be unrealistic for the average person. I own a personal training business and I teach personal trainers for a living, so I need to practice what I preach.

For you, good nutrition can begin with a few simple steps:

• Reduce or eliminate processed foods like chips, soda, white breads and pastas. Replace them with fruits, veggies and water. I consume one gallon of water every day

• Try to have some protein, carbs and healthy fat during each meal

• Eat the colors of the rainbow (gummy worms do not count). I usually add raw red bell peppers, mangoes, spinach and/or my famous turkey meatballs to any meal

• Carry snacks around so you can avoid low blood sugars. Good choices are apples, bananas, red bell peppers, trail mix and hard-boiled eggs. If my energy level is diminished or I really need to eat, I have a Quest bar, more eggs and/or more vegetables.

• Eat fairly consistently. I average 3,500 to 4,500 calories per day based on my weight (195 pounds) and level of activity (moderate to intense). You will need to calculate your resting metabolic rate to determine how many calories you need to consume to achieve your goals.

People are obsessed with the word diet. But if you are looking to lose weight and build muscle, consider giving "The Chris Diet" a shot. It may be egotistical and narcissistic to name the diet after myself, but my eating program is based on what I consume daily, and it works for me.

In no way, shape or form am I telling you to do this. Always consult a registered dietitian before beginning any new nutrition plan. But I have found success with this plan, and I feel awesome. With advice from a dietician, if you try this program, you can too.

A Typical Day in The Chris Diet:

7:00 a.m. Wake up

7:15 a.m. Eat two slices of whole wheat bread with two tbsp. of natural peanut butter and two hard-boiled eggs (30 grams of whole wheat carbs and 20 grams of protein)

8:00 to 9:30 a.m. Work out

9:30 a.m. Drink a protein shake made with one tbsp. of natural honey (approx. 20 grams of protein). If possible, buy your honey from a local farmers' market; store-bought honey can include pesticides and chemicals.

10:00 a.m. Eat one cup of oatmeal with one-third cup of trail mix and a tbsp. of ground flaxseed (approx. 15 grams of protein)

11:30 a.m. Feast on two servings of a homemade stir-fry of lean chicken, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, yams, onions, and red and orange bell peppers (25 grams of protein)

1:00 p.m. Snack with and apple and a Quest bar (20 grams of protein)

3:00 p.m. Enjoy half a pineapple and two hard-boiled eggs. (15 grams of protein)

5:00 p.m. Eat a mixed green salad with my famous turkey meatballs, a homemade blend of onions and lean ground turkey. Don't put any salad dressing or salsa on the salad (approx. 24 grams of protein)

7:00 p.m. Eat two more servings of the same stir-fry blend (25 grams of protein)

9:00 p.m. Eat the other half of pineapple and two more hard-boiled eggs. Avoid carbs before bed since they will spike your insulin levels and result in fat storage during sleep. But if you have a sweet tooth—and I am a sucker for pineapple—fruit is a good choice (15 grams of protein)

10:30 p.m. Sleep

Protein Total: A whopping 179 grams.

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