Coach Jen will be going live from the Iron Tribe Fitness Facebook page (follow along here!) once a week during the Perform Challenge to answer some of the most common questions about the RP Templates and anything else! Here is what Jen addressed this week on Facebook Live:
How do I use the tabs?
Each template will have tab options. For the cut and mass, there will be base all the way through maintenance. The health template will have 3 meals/day, 4 meals/day and low carb. For the mass and the cut, athletes should start on BASE. For the health template, athletes should choose the tab that best fits their lifestyle to being with. Then, athletes will stick to each tab for a minimum of 2 weeks. In that 2 week period of time, athletes will weigh themselves 2-3x/week and take an average. Weight loss or gain should range between 1-2 lbs/week (NO MORE OR LESS). If no change is happening on the scale or in the mirror, it’s time to move on to the next tab. Athletes should consult with their coaches before moving on to the next tab.
Can I replace meals with protein bars and protein shakes?
ONLY in a bind. This should not be your main source of food for your meals. This is because meal replacement bars/protein bars and protein shakes normally don’t equal the amount of calories you would be getting for a normal meal. Additionally, you will benefit from the nutrients, vitamins, minerals that are provided by eating WHOLE food, rather than just a protein bar or shake. If you need to replace a meal with a shake or a bar in a bind, it’s fine – this will be a better choice than if you were to have a Big Mac. However, don’t make it a habit. Also if you do have a protein/meal replacement shake or protein/meal replacement bar, you have to count ALL of the macros on the nutrition label – carbs, proteins and fats. For the health template, a protein bar or shake is a GREAT option for your snack. Some athletes will have a hearty breakfast shake for ONE of their meals on the template (ex: whey protein, nut butter, fruit), which is OK for one meal per day. FitJoy bars are a great option here.
Can I skip meals? This is too much food!
Just like when you get into a routine at the gym, eating the amount of required food for your template can be an adjustment. You want to follow the template as closely as possible for the best results. With that being said, athletes should try foods that aren’t as filling. For example, have fruit instead of oatmeal with breakfast. Or have rice/quinoa over sweet potatoes. Maybe a whole grain wrap over bread for on a sandwich. Athletes can also try adding more time in between meals.
When I use olive oil to cook my food, do I count it as a healthy fat?
YES!!! Athletes need to make sure they are measuring out the oils they cook with. No more drizzling OO over everything. I love to use OO spray to cook with so that I don’t have to count it towards my healthy fats.
How should I eat on vacation?
Athletes can condense their 6 meals on a cut or mass into 4 meals instead (still keeping in mind macro count). Try to stick to lots of protein and veggies. For athletes going to the beach during the challenge, a good rule of thumb is fresh, steamed or grilled seafood with a side of rice, steamed veggies and a side salad. Have a plan – pack meals for travel or for your day on the beach.
How much water should I be consuming?
(This is from the RP manual) “Without exercise, males should be consuming 125 ounces per day, and women 96 ounces per day. For every 15 minutes of exercise, athletes need to increase fluid intake by 5-10 ounces.”
When looking at carbs on the nutrition label, should I count net carbs (fiber, etc.) or total carbs?
You are looking at total carbs.
If I miss a meal, should I combine two meals into one?
If possible, yes. If you completely skip meals, you are running the risk of muscle loss (especially when the athlete is working out). If you can’t stomach such high volume of food, at least try to add more of your protein, fats and carbs to that combined meal.
Do I count carbs in nut butter?
Nope. Count this as a healthy fat only.
Would you recommend the RP cookbook?
Absolutely. If you are a person who likes to experiment with different recipes and/or needs variety, the RP cookbook is an excellent resource.
Should I measure my lean protein cooked or uncooked?
Uncooked! A quick conversion to measure in ounces: Take your grams of protein/7 = ounces of COOKED lean protein and grams of protein/4 = ounces of RAW lean protein (especially helpful for the health templates).
If I am naturally lean and have a tough time gaining muscle, what should I do? And can you add muscle to a specific part of the body?
I would say the health template and the mass template are a good option for someone who has a tough time gaining muscle. If you have never done a template before, it is advised for athletes to start with the health template. A lot of times, we find that athletes are not eating enough calories, especially in protein. Protein is what helps us build and maintain lean skeletal muscle. If you have already tried the health template or already have experience counting your macros/weighing your food, then the mass would be a good option for you. In terms of adding muscle to specific parts of the body, the Iron Tribe workouts will allow the athlete to build muscle everywhere. If you desire to have stronger legs, make sure you are showing up for workouts that incorporate squats or lunges – ask your coach how you can safely push yourself in these workouts.
How do I make my nightly casein shake yummy?
Casein pudding is a great option – mix with 6 tbsp of unsweetened coconut or almond milk (mix to desired texture). Add calorie free cool whip or whipped cream on top. Also consider adding fruit or a SMALL amount of honey (make sure to read the nutrition label for honey before you use it – it’s very dense and FULL of carbs for a very small amount). If you go on the ITF Nutrition FB page, you can “search” in the space to the right “casein” and see all of the posts that have come up regarding casein recipes – there is even a casein mug cake recipe on there!
What should I expect the first week on a template?
In the first week, some athletes will experience fatigue, hunger, etc. This is normal. Allow your body some time to adjust, especially if this meal program is very different from what you have been eating previously.
If I am on the health template, where does casein fit in?
Casein would be added towards your snack calories.
Jen is a coach at Iron Tribe Fitness Highway 150 in Birmingham, Alabama. Through educating clients on proper fitness and nutrition, she’s helping to carry out the Iron Tribe mission of creating fitness communities that change lives!
Sarah oversees social media and internal communication for Iron Tribe Fitness. Her goal is to share the mission of Iron Tribe so others can be transformed by the program, and ultimately become the healthiest version of themselves.