I decided to write this blog and show what I see many of you search for ‘Rob Riches Diet’, whilst I prepare for a photo shoot in late June for my supplement brand, Bserk. It’s currently the last week of May), and the shoot is about 5 weeks from now, so in order to tighten up and drop a few pounds (down to around 6% body fat), I’m going back to following a daily food prep much the same way that I have done over the past 10 years for each of my competitions.
I know many people do not like calorie counting and see it as unnecessary, and while I can agree that it does require more time and it can be a hassle, I’ve always been able to get into my best condition when following such a plan. This blog article is essentially a breakdown about what I eat on a daily basis, including the amounts of meals I eat, what they consist of, and why I break down my macronutrients (Proteins, Carbs & Fats) the way I do. For an even more detailed look at my nutrition, you can article ‘Daily Meal Prep‘ on my website.
Daily Meal Planning
There are several reasons why I follow a set meal plan (in addition to an intense almost-daily workout routine, which I’ll write about in another blog). These are:
- Having set meal times & portions keeps me from snacking or eating larger portions.
- Preparing all my meals the day before means I don’t have to spend time cooking/making each meal when it’s time to eat.
- Easy if I’m traveling or away from home to eat the foods/meals that I need to without hassle.
- Preparing my meals all at once keeps me focused about what I’m actually putting inside my body.
- Both my mood and energy levels are much more stable as I’m feeding my body regularly throughout the day.
As I wrote (in great detail) in my nutrition book – UltraLean, consistency with meal portions and meal times allows your body to ‘get used’ to when it will be fed (fuel), and providing your pretty close to giving your body with all the necessary nutrients (essential proteins, complex starches, fiber, essential fatty acids etc), and little to none of the bad stuff (mostly processed and manufactured food goods), you’ll find that it becomes much more responsive to weight loss or gain, depending on your goal.
My goal is to reduce body fat levels by a few more percent than it current is (somewhere around 8-10%), and get it around 6%, which works much better for me in photo shoots by revealing more muscle fibers and conditioning. To do this it requires more than simply just eating less, or performing more cardio. I’ve found the most effective method over the years to ‘get my body to respond to what I want’ is to be consistent! Both with my training and my diet. By establishing a steady amount of calories each and every day, made up of set amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, all coming from natural, high quality food sources, my body has all the necessary nutrients it needs and none that it doesn’t. This is really the basic fundamentals to the ‘Rob Riches Diet’
I’ve found that establishing and following a set meal plan for several weeks will allow your body to respond to the slightest changes, which comes after the 4th week in the form of a slight calorie reduction, mostly from carbohydrate sources. This slight reduction in carbs (energy) allows the body to free up more stored body fast as an available fuel source that it was otherwise storing and saving it for ‘times of starvation’ (this is just how the body is made – we’re very good at storing energy in the form of fat), but considering that we’ve established several weeks of consistent calorie/macro intake, the body is much more willing to allow more of this stored energy (fat) to be used when the energy we’re feeding it from food is slightly reduced. It’s when I make these ‘small adjustments’ in my diet after several weeks of following a set plan that I see the biggest changes.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, I highly recommend you take a read of my book (Ebook & paperback), as there are multiple chapters covering this topic, in addition to a 12-week diet plan with 3 different modification stages.
Now, lets get to what you really want to see from this blog:
Rob Riches Diet
My diet below is what I’ll follow for the first 4 weeks before making any changes to calories or macronutrient ratios (how much calories are made up of proteins, carbs and fats). This plan is ideal for anyone wanting to start and follow a structured diet, especially if you’re of a similar build to myself and weigh around 180 pounds. If you’re looking for something more individual, check out the custom packages I have available on my store here.
I start by setting up my daily calorie requirement, which given that I don’t simply want to ‘lose weight’, but rather reduce body fat levels and maintain a high ratio of lean muscle mass, I still want to be feeding my body optimally. I found that 15 calories per pound of body weight is a great place to start, with a macro ratio of 40:40:20. This means at my current weight of 187 lbs, I need to consume just over 2800 calories a day, made up of 281 grams of protein, 281 grams of carbs, and 62 grams of fats. (Calculations shown on my website here).
I eat 6 times a day, spaced out every 3 hours), so basically divide my total macronutrients equally into each of the 6 meals. (281 grams of protein divided by 6 is just under 47g each meal). I do the same for fat, and for carbs I allow a higher amounts at times when my body needs glucose the most, which is after weight training and breakfast (when I haven’t consumed any food for 8-10 hours and my blood sugar levels have dropped slightly). This means lesser amounts of carbs at other times, which is nighttime and between breakfast and post workout.
Below is breakdown of how much protein, carbs, fats and calories I have at each meal, and their times, including some typical food sources where I’ll get the essential nutrition from – although not all of them at the same time!
Meal 1 – Breakfast (eaten at 8:00am)
Protein: 47g (Egg whites, fish, ground turkey, protein powder, cottage cheese)
Carbs: 70g (25% of daily carb intake) (Gluten free oats, brown rice, yam/sweet potato)
Fats: 10.5g (Egg yolk, avocado, flaxseed oil, raw walnuts)
My favorite meal here us actual an egg white scramble, with one full egg, plus a handful of spinach, mushrooms, brown rice, and a tablespoon of salsa. This is eaten after I’ve normally performed 40-60 minutes of cardio, followed by an abdominal circuit.
I take a serving of Core prior to cardio to help increase my focus, energy, & the amount of body fat made available as fuel. I helped formulate both of these products based on my years of competing and wanting to create the perfect pre-cardio fat metabolizer.
Meal 2, 3 & 4 – Day Meals (eaten at 10:30am, 1.30pm, and 4.00pm )
Protein: 47g (Chicken breasts, turkey, white fish, beef/steak)
Carbs: 40g (14% of daily carb intake) (Brown rice, yam/sweet potato, quinoa)
Fats: 10.5g (Avocado, flaxseed oil, raw walnuts/almonds)
The above 3 meals are all basically the same meal in terms of nutrition, which makes it easy and quick to cook the same meal the night before instead of having to measure and prepare 3 different meals. Just because the nutrition is the same, doesn’t mean they all have to be the same meals. My typical meal here is something like ground turkey and brown rice with some green vegetables and avocado, or chicken breast, yam potato and salad or greens, along with some raw nuts or cold-pressed oil for fats.
This allows for some variety with different foods (providing its still high quality, real food), and means I don’t have to stick with the same meals every day. (You’ll also see that my pre-workout meal doesn’t contain any extra carbs, unlike my post-workout meal. Thats because I don’t want to spike my blood sugar levels prior to working out, which can result in a dip during training. My glycogen levels will already be well saturated by the time I workout, with over 67% or 188g of my daily carb intake consumed after the 4th meal).
To help maximize nutrient absorption from the high quality foods I’m eating, I take a Digestive Enzyme along with ALA & Chromium Picolinate (when higher carbs are consumed – such as breakfast and post workout ), to help stimulate a greater uptake of glucose into my muscles.
Meal 5- Post Workout (eaten at 7.30pm)
Protein: 47g (Protein powder, chicken breasts, turkey, white fish, beef/steak)
Carbs: 84g (30% of daily carb intake) (Dates, Pineapple, Waxy Maize Starch, brown rice, yam/sweet potato, quinoa)
Fats: 10.5g (Avocado, flaxseed oil, raw walnuts/almonds)
I split my post workout meal into two, with half the protein and about 2/3rd’s the carbs being consumed immediately after I’ve left the gym, in the form of easily digestible, fast-absorbing proteins and carbs (usually from Dates, pineapple or a modified starch, such as Waxy Maize). 30 minutes later I’ll consume the rest of the nutrition with a smaller solid meal, usually made up of white fish, sweet potato, and some steamed green vegetables along with a teaspoon of flaxseed oil for the essential fatty acids). I feel by splitting up my meal this way it’s not only better absorbed and more efficient, but it allows me to get something fast-acting in as soon as I’ve finished lifting (which can stop the body from entering a state of catabolism especially given that I’m on a controlled calorie intake and only really feeding my body what it needs each day without any excess ‘fuel’), plus a small meal which acts as a dinner for me before my final meal of the day.
Meal 6- Nighttime (eaten at 10.00pm)
Protein: 47g (Protein powder, cottage cheese, egg whites)
Carbs: 8g (3% of daily carb intake – to allow for naturally occurring carbs in protein/fat food sources)
Fats: 10.5g (Almond butter, flaxseed oil)
Eating these 6 meals spread out throughout the day at 3 hour intervals really helps regulate my metabolism and allows my body to establish a very familiar routine that it soon adapts/gets used to. This is essentially all there is to the ‘Rob Riches Diet’, and after several weeks of following this eating habit, which I can vary the types of foods I eat, providing they’re all high-quality, nutritious foods, and that I remain with the same macros, portions and meal times, I can then begin to make a small adjustment to my carb intake as well as my overall daily calorie intake. I won’t cut this by my carbs and calories by much as this may be too much of a drop [of energy] to my body, which can result in locking of fat cells as an available fuel source and instead, catabolising muscle! I will only drop my carb intake by as little as 8-10%, and reduce my overall calorie intake down from 15 to 14 calories per pound of bodyweight. Again, I write about this subject in great deal in my book – UltraLean.
I want to end this blog post on a thought that really helped me understand and realize how to achieve a stage-worthy physique, and that is give yourself plenty of time (typically 12 weeks is the standard timeframe), and remain as consistent as you can, making small changes every few weeks. It’s important to have a goal, a deadline, and be highly motivated – as this will all help drive you and keep you focused and committed. The key to this is understanding that this won’t happen it leaps and bounds, but rather much more of a slow and consistent walk: One successful footstep, followed by another successful footstep. Master this and you’ll have mastered what it takes to really do just about anything!