Train Like An NFL Star: The Diet Plan

Last week, I posted up a strength and conditioning program for boosting your strength, power, and game-specific conditioning – all the physical qualities you’d use on the football field.  If you missed it, you can check it out here:

For this second installment in the series, I’ve put together a sample meal plan to help you reach those same goals.

Disclaimer:  I’m not a registered dietician; this meal plan is based on what’s worked for me and hundreds of personal training clients over the last half decade or so.  It’s for entertainment purposes only :)

The truth is that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to nutrition. It’s confusing.

I can also tell you from the little bit of pro football experience I have personally: Not all NFL players eat the same – at all.  And they shouldn’t; an offensive lineman trying to stay over 300 pounds is going to eat differently than a safety trying to keep his body fat in the single digits and his 40 yard dash time under 4.4 seconds.

No matter what your goals are, there are a few relatively universal foundational healthy eating principles – whether you’re trying to put weight on or take it off is going to come down to how much food you eat vs. how many calories you burn at the end of the day.  So here are those universal rules:

Eat whole foods

Stay away from processed food – I always tell my clients to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. Put another way, if your great-grandmother didn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.  Exceptions to this rule would be some selected meal replacement bars and protein powders.

Eat veggies or fruits with every meal

Vegetables should form the bulk of your carbohydrate intake.  Fruit is also great – but in moderation.  2-4 servings of fruit per day is perfect for most folks.

Eat a complete protein with each meal

Eat a protein source that contains all essential amino acids with each meal.  Sources of protein that come from animals – meat, milk, eggs – are complete, as is soy protein.

Eat every 3 hours at minimum

Never go longer than 3 hours without eating something, whether it’s a snack or meal.  Just remember that these same principles apply to snacks and meals.

Drink non-caloric beverages

Stick to beverages that contain no calories like water and green tea (and make sure you’re getting a good half of your body weight in ounces of water each day).

Eat good fats

About 1/3 of your daily calorie intake should come from fat – but at least 2/3 of your total fat intake should come from good fat sources like olive oil, nuts, and salmon.

Stick to the 90/10 rule

If you’re on point with following these rules 90% of the time, you’ll make great progress.  In fact, I encourage you to eat what you want 10% of the time – it’ll keep you sane and help you follow your diet.

If you follow these rules, all the other things that go with eating properly to reach your fitness goals – like exactly how many calories you take in, exact amount of carbs, protein, and fat you need per day – will pretty much take care of themselves.

Here’s a sample day of eating, following the rules I outlined above, for someone who weighs in the 150 pound range.  If you weigh more or less, you’ll need to adjust your portions up or down accordingly:

6 AM

Omelete  with 3 whole eggs, 1 cup cooked spinach
8 oz green tea

9 AM

Perfect Food Bar

12 PM

5 oz chicken breast
Salad with spinach leaves, tomato, onions, olive oil and vinegar dressing
8 oz green tea

3 PM

Protein shake with whey protein, 1 banana, 2 tbsp peanut butter, and 12 oz 1% milk

6 PM

5 oz salmon
5 oz asparagus spears
1 5 oz yam

9 PM

15 almonds

So there you have a diet plan to go along with last week’s Train Like An NFL Star training plan.  In the final installment of this series, I’ll go over specific dietary supplements to pair everything I’ve outlined so far.  See ‘ya next time – train hard and train smart!!

P.S. If you’re looking for a complete meal planning guide that follows these same universal healthy eating principles and that has dozens of done-for-you recipes and food combos, also be sure check out my Best Fat Loss Diet plan here:  Best Fat Loss Diet Plan by Forest Vance, MS, CPT, RKC

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2 Responses to Train Like An NFL Star: The Diet Plan

  1. Anonymous says:

    The diet plan looks good but can you tell me approx how many calories that is?

    I am just under 150lbs and want to put on some muscle and get fit. That diet doesnt sound like a lot of calories.


  2. Forest says:

    I'd say this menu is around 2200-2300 calories (that's just from a quick look – not an exact figure)

    It all depends on how active you are – it should certainly be enough to maintain your weight if you're around 150 pounds, which was the theme of the post.

    What you might do is just jack up the portions a bit – eat an extra egg in the morning, 8 oz of chicken breast instead of 5, etc.

    Hope that helps!


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