it’s…meal prep time!

I’ve tried a lot of different diets and eating habits throughout the years and the only one I’ve been successful with is Renaissance Periodization (RP). I’ve counted calories, I’ve eaten whatever I wanted when I wanted, I’ve followed a Paleo diet, and I’ve done IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). RP has been the only “diet” that has helped me lose fat while gaining muscle and it’s also the only one I have been able to maintain for a long time. The biggest reason I have been able to keep up with doing RP long term is because I meal prep every week.  So, I’m going to take you through what a week of meal prepping looks like for us.

On Thursday’s, we go grocery shopping (does this make anyone else think of the Mean Girls quote “On Wednesday’s we wear pink”? lol). We spend a lot of our time around the outside sections of the store where all the fresh/frozen fruits, veggies, and meats are. Side note: we’ve been budgeting using tips from Dave Ramsey and do the majority of our shopping at Aldi’s with a few purchases required at Walmart to get everything we need.   

A typical grocery cart for us is filled with:

Fruit- Gala apples, strawberries, blueberries

Veggies- green peppers, white mushrooms, zucchini, yellow onions, canned green beans, diced canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, frozen Brussels sprouts, frozen broccoli (Walmart is the only place that carries the large 3 lb bags…Josh eats through 3 bags a week!)

Carbs- sweet potatoes, Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced 21 Whole Grains & Seeds (Walmart), mini caramel rice cakes, corn tortillas, instant white rice

Meat- pre-sliced baked ham, boneless skinless chicken breast/pork chops/pork loin (no more than 10% fat for any of the meats), eggs

Misc- crunchy peanut butter, mild salsa, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla light Greek nonfat yogurt (Walmart), Diet Cherry 7-Up or Diet A&W Root Beer (Walmart)

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We always try to keep lots of low calorie condiments (soy sauce, salsa, buffalo sauce, southwest spicy mustard) and spices (garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a few different McCormick’s Grill Mates seasonings) on hand to liven things up so we don’t get bored with our foods.  

When we get home Thursday after shopping, I go ahead and roast all the broccoli in the oven for about an hour at 425℉. While the broccoli is roasting, I use my handy dandy Chop Wizard Pro to chop my veggies. If you all don’t have a Chop Wizard Pro, get to Bed Bath and Beyond right this instant and purchase one! I used to hand chop all our veggies which would take me close to 2 hours…seriously, ain’t nobody got time for all that. Now, using the Chop Wizard I can have all our veggies chopped in less than an hour. I chop up all the green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions to use in our veggie “chili”. All the chopped veggies and broccoli just get put in containers and refrigerated until Saturday. The only reason I start our meal prep on Thursday is to get it out of the way-we sometimes have things going on Friday evening and we’re at the gym all morning Saturday and usually busy Saturday nights, so it would be beyond stressful to try to cram it all in.   


On Friday night, I throw our pork loin or chicken breast in the Crock Pot to cook on low overnight (usually about 8 hours). I don’t add anything else to the meat, just keep it plain, as I add different condiments to it later when I portion out all our meals.

When I wake up Saturday, I go ahead and shred up the pork or chicken in the Crock Pot. That goes into the fridge until we get back from the gym. After getting home from the gym, I start our veggie “chili” so it can cook down while we’re eating lunch. This is where all the chopped up veggies and diced tomatoes come into play. Sometimes, there is extra zucchini which I sauté up on the stove to use in my meals. If we bought pork chops for a meat source, this is when I bake them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 350℉. Once the chili is done and cooling on the stove, I set out all our Isolator Fitness meal prep containers on the table. I portion out enough food for 3 meals a day for 5 work days (15 meals each). Josh makes breakfast fresh each morning and we make our own “bedtime snack” every night. We also have a protein shake and a workout carb shake ( on days we workout) that Josh makes up the night before. In each container, I weigh out our portions of shredded meat needed according to our RP templates. Next, I portion out all the veggie chili as evenly as possible between mine and Josh’s meals (we usually get 10-15 one-cup servings depending on how large all the veggies are). For whatever meals still need veggies, I portion out the roasted broccoli for Josh and either canned green beans or sauteed zucchini for me. For the broccoli, green beans, and sauteed zucchini, I don’t measure out any certain amount, just fill up the rest of the meal container. I add southwest spicy mustard or homemade sugar-free BBQ sauce to meals that don’t have veggie chili in them for some extra flavor.     

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On Sundays, I roast the sweet potatoes in the oven for a little over an hour at 425℉ and cook a pot of white rice (we usually have to make rice once more in the middle of the week).   

Throughout the weekdays, Josh makes breakfast every morning while I weigh out the carbs needed for our 2 work day meals. I wait to portion out the carbs until that day because life happens and sometimes things come up and we’re unable to make it into the gym, so we need to eat a little differently (on “rest” days, we get fewer carbs and a little more fat, while a “training” day is more carbs and less fat). Josh made up some handy flashcards for our most frequently eaten carbs sources that tell us how much to weigh out to hit a certain amount of carbs. Because of these flash cards, it takes me no time at all to weigh out apples, sweet potatoes, and rice for our work day meals. We also keep an extra scale and jar of peanut butter at work for when we get fat with our meals.

One of the best parts of meal prep is that when we get home late from the gym throughout the week (and don’t at all feel like fixing anything because it’s basically bedtime), we already have our meat and veggies ready to microwave and just need to add whatever carbs we want! Josh typically eats sweet potatoes and Dave’s Killer Bread, while I like to have a corn tortilla and Dave’s Killer Bread.

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For Josh’s bedtime snack, he fixes up a bowl of casein “pudding” with apples (or blueberries and strawberries), cinnamon, and peanut butter. My bedtime snack is light Greek nonfat yogurt with cinnamon, cocoa powder, and blueberries with a side of mini caramel rice cakes and crunchy peanut butter…I forgot to take a picture of my bedtime snack as I was distracted by Rocko looking so cute when begging.   

Over the weekend, we usually have extra meat, veggies, sweet potatoes and rice leftover after meal prepping to use for our meals. We honestly don’t have room in our fridge to portion out enough meals for the entire week, so it’s just easier to make those meals as we eat them. And that leaves us room to make some fun “Saturday date night” recipes from the new RP cookbook we just purchased.

I know it might seem very overwhelming at first, but meal prepping has been a total lifesaver for us. Spending an hour or two over a couple of days is much more doable for us than spending 5-6 hours all at one time prepping. And let me tell you from lots of experience, our week goes much smoother having our meals ready for us to just throw in the microwave.

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balancing act

I am super pumped because Saturday marked the start of week 3 on mine and Josh’s RP cut and week 3 of our CF Ripcord Nutrition Challenge! Josh and I had been on maintenance for a little over 3 months (from April to July) and I was more than ready to get back on a “normal” eating schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being a little more lenient over maintenance and eating some really great food on vacation, but there’s just something about eating healthy on a regular basis. I really just feel better, sleep better, work out better, everything’s just better! When we realized it was time to start another cut, we thought why not get the whole gym involved in a nutrition challenge with us? Josh and I have had some great success adjusting our eating habits and I wanna share the wealth! The nutrition challenge at the gym will last 3 months, from the beginning of July to the end of September (this is how long a cut with RP is as well). We wanted it to be a length of time that really got people in the habit of eating healthier long-term and not just a quick fix, 30 day thing that likely wouldn’t last past those 30 days. As part of  the nutrition challenge, we came up with a challenge workout that was done at the start and will be repeated again at the end. We also have weekly mini challenges throughout the twelve weeks to help keep people involved and interested- little things such as drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water each day or completing 100 double unders throughout the week. It’s so great doing this as a gym because it helps us all stay on track and hold each other accountable. If anyone is having a rough day, there’s always someone on the Facebook group willing to offer encouragement or good tips to get through the day. I’m really hoping this challenge will help people make healthier choices. Switch the Mountain Dew for some tea or water. Snack on some cucumbers instead of a Milky Way. These are all seemingly small changes that really add up over time and make a world of difference. They have for me anyways. Through RP, I have really come to appreciate my body and what I put into it, while still being able to enjoy life. It’s been such a learning experience and balancing act. I’ve learned that I’m going to sometimes eat foods that aren’t considered healthy. I’ve learned that it’s ok and I don’t need to punish or starve myself when I do eat something unhealthy- just get right back at it for the next meal. I’ve learned that I feel so much better when I eat healthy and that helps me stay on track. I’ve learned that sometimes I’m not really hungry-sometimes I’m bored or tired or stressed and instead of stuffing my face, I should sip on some tea or get up and move around.    

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Saturday was packed full- we spent our morning at the gym lifting, getting in some mobility, and doing a partner hero workout with LOTS of burpees and barbell movements. It was the most amazing weather (sunny and mid-70s) and I tried to soak it all in. After the gym was the usual Saturday afternoon adulting- mowing, laundry, and all the meal prepping. My sister-in-law, Kena, has been sharing some zucchini from her neighbor with us and I love it! There is nothing better than fresh garden vegetables, store bought just doesn’t even compare! This week she spoiled us and brought over 5 of the biggest zucchini ever- I was able to sauté some, use a bunch in our veggie chili, and still had so much left that I had to use 3 whole baking sheets to roast the remainder in the oven.


With the cut and the gym nutrition challenge going on, Josh and I have been really good about staying on track with our nutrition and not eating out. We purchased the newest RP cookbook “The Renaissance Feast” and have been loving it. Every week during the cut, we have decided to choose one recipe out of the cookbook and make it together for Saturday night date night. This week’s choice was orange beef- steak and broccoli covered in a delicious orange sauce on white rice. The best part is all the recipes can be altered so that we can hit the protein, fat, and carbs we need at each meal. It was very yummy and I can’t wait to try out another recipe from the cookbook!  


After dinner, we searched through Netflix to find a movie to watch. Josh found a movie named “Butter” which neither of us had ever heard of, but Netflix was recommending. We decided to give it a try. I’m glad we did. There is a great cast- Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, and several others. The movie is about a butter carving competition at the local county fair in a small town in Iowa. It was not what I expected, but it was so great. I never knew butter carving could be so impressive!

Sunday morning I met up with Kalee and Des for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for some much needed sis time. I have genuinely missed these girls- our schedules are all so different and crazy, we hardly get to see each other as much as we would all like. They both do RP too, so I didn’t feel guilty about meeting up with them while on my cut because I knew they would make healthy choices and help me stay on track as well. It’s seriously the best! We all ordered the Good Morning Breakfast which came with scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, sliced tomatoes, a small fruit cup, and cheese grits. Not bad for eating out! I loved being able to catch up and laugh so much at their stories.

After breakfast, Josh and I finished the newest Netflix series “Friends from College”. There were only eight episodes, so it took us no time at all to finish the season. And you can’t not watch a show that features Cobie Smulders, Fred Savage, and Keegan-Michael Key as main characters. Rocko just wanted to go to Mamaw’s for ham!

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For lunch, we headed to Josh’s Mamaw and Papaw’s house to celebrate Josh/his cousin/his uncle’s birthdays. Rocko absolutely loves riding in the car (I promise, he was very safe and not at any risk of falling out of our car)- seriously how cute is he?!


Before you ask-no, we did not stay on track with our eating. Before starting the cut, we had already decided this would be one of three “off track” meals. This is where the balancing act comes in- I understand that I can’t eat cake every single day, but during a special occasion there is no reason to deprive myself from enjoying something worth it like Mamaw’s home cooked meal and Kena’s homemade cake. Mamaw served us a delicious meal of meatloaf, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, broccoli salad, a veggie tray, and rolls with apple butter and sorghum. I had never tasted sorghum before…I’m a fan. If you like thick, sugary syrup, sorghum is where it’s at! For dessert, Kena made her best cake yet- a vanilla cake with white chocolate chips filled with raspberry icing and topped with white chocolate frosting. She even brought fresh raspberries and made a raspberry compote to put on top. All homemade. *drool*          


After cards and presents were opened, it was game time. While half of his family played a card game, Kaylie, Josh, and I played Settlers of Catan. Even though I’m pretty terrible at this game, I really enjoy playing it. Especially now that we finally read the rules and know how to play it correctly (it’s only been 7 months since we started playing hahaha). Kaylie won…probably cheated lol jk…and Josh and I called it a tie for the loss.

We capped off our evening at home watching “Shameless” (we’re on season 4 now!) until Game of Thrones time. Finally! Having to wait 3 extra months for the premiere was no fun. Game of Thrones is probably one of my favorite shows of all time- I know this because it’s the only show I’m willing to stay up an hour past my bedtime to watch live. I can’t lie, part of the reason we stay up to watch it live is because I don’t want it ruined by people on Facebook and other social media. Seriously, people, not everybody gets to watch it as it airs. Keep the spoilers to yourself!

Someone was all tuckered out from a late night watching GoT.