Training & Nutrition Update – My Optimal Diet

Like I mentioned in the last post about determining your own optimal diet, I have been eating purely per my optimal diet and I thought I’d share my results from eating like this for about 8-9 months now.

The Training:

  • Trained 3-4 days a week for a total training time of about 3 to 3.5 hours per week.
  • 2 days a week – 60 min strength training sessions, 1 day a week – 40 min bodyweight session, 1 day a week – 15 min sprints session
  • Strength training involved back squats, front squats, deadlifts, presses, weighted pushups, weighted chinups, rows and cleans.
  • Bodyweight training involved planks, pushups, chinups, burpees, sprints, jump squats, pistol squats, handstand pushups, elevated pushups and pike presses.
  • I walked about 15 miles (24 kms) per week. This was just my usual walks to clear my head and my strolls with the lady and Calvin.

The Diet:

The following was my diet for the most part. And most part would mean 85% of the time.

  • I didn’t eat breakfast and ate lunch directly. This was mostly because my last meal ended at midnight most days and I’m just never hungry until lunch time. Most of my calories were consumed after training irrespective of when I trained.
  • I ate real food. I mostly ate white rice, vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, spinach, onions, peppers), fruits (orange, apple, banana, plum, berries, avocado), free range poultry (chicken thigh), wild caught seafood (salmon, cod, snapper, oysters, turbot), organic free range eggs, whole milk yogurt, almond milk and coconut products.
  • I didn’t count calories but made sure I ate about 150-175 g of protein everyday. I supplemented with whey or cottage cheese if I didn’t get good quality meat (which happened a lot).
  • I ate carbs everyday. On workout days I ate rice twice a day along with some vegetables and plenty of roots/tubers. On rest days I ate rice or some roots/tubers during my main meal (which was dinner).
  • I didn’t add fat to my food except for a little bit of ghee/coconut oil. Most of my fats came from avocado, yogurt, meat, coconut milk, fish and eggs.
  • Anytime I ate out I ordered some lean meat and vegetables. If it was PWO, I got rice too.
  • On workout days I ate very few fibrous vegetables and focused on protein and starch. On rest days, I loaded up on plenty of different kinds of vegetables.
  • I drank 2-3 cups of black coffee everyday just because I like coffee.
  • I drank about 3 liters of water everyday. Never forced myself to drink any water but at the same time didn’t let myself get thirsty either. There were days when I was out and didn’t get to drink any water.
  • I never starved but I did overeat a little too often.

Here are the supplements I took.

  • Nothing except whey protein if and when I didn’t quality meat.

Here is how I got my micronutrients.

  • Vitamin D from sunlight.
  • Vitamin C from fruit.
  • Other vitamins and minerals from diet (so no need for multi-vitamin)
  • Omega 3s from seafood

And here are the deviations…

  • Every week. Sometimes twice a week as I got leaner.
  • I ate plenty of frozen yogurt during this period. If I had to guess I’d say I averaged about 10-12 ounces every week.
  • My ‘true cheats’ were epic. For eg. One weekend, in a 16 hour period, I had a plate of Moroccan tagine, 14 oz frozen yogurt,  1 plate of french toast topped with syrup along with potatoes and eggs, 1 large Vietnamese sandwich, 3 pretty big and exquisite donuts, 1 medium pizza and 3 bread sticks.
  • My cheats included frozen yogurt, pizza, bread, ice cream, cereal bars (people eat this for breakfast? seriously?) and more.
  • Days when food was total junk or if I got no vegetables and fruits whatsoever, I’d take one multi-vitamin.

The Lifestyle:

  • Was pretty erratic to start with. I had to travel every week. I’d fly out Monday and fly back in on Thursday. This messed with my routine ‘cos I had to adjust to food availability depending on where I was and since I had to wake up at 4am on days I flew I couldn’t train on those days.
  • Lot of airport and commuting time. I made it a point to never roll my suitcase, to never take the elevator/escalator and to never sit at the gate. That helped in staying active.
  • I ate out a lot with the lady and met friends for dinner/lunch too many times.
  • I kept my stress levels low. Super low actually.
  • On days that I flew sleep was messed up. But on all other days I think I averaged about 7-8 hours of sleep.


  • Lost about 5 lb of fat.
  • Strength in all lifts were maintained and I PR-ed on the front squat and deadlift.
  • No injuries. No joint pains. No lethargy. No depression. No uncontrollable cravings.
  • Energy level was super high throughout the day. I woke up every morning feeling strong and ready to go!
  • No gut issues. No constipation or loose stools.
  • I wasn’t fat or anything to begin with but I definitely was carrying around some excess fat ‘cos I was preparing for the Starting Strength Cert etc etc, but body composition definitely improved.

The Picture Evidence:

And here is a picture of myself from yesterday.

Yea I know I look like a tool here, but I don't think anyone is here for my purty face. Deal with it!

I know this isn’t the perfect diet or the perfect way to eat or train, but who gives a crap? This is what works for ME. This is what is sustainable for ME. This is what makes ME enjoy fitness. And guess what,

  • I seem to get more than the required macros and micros.
  • I’m getting stronger and faster.
  • My mobility seems to be spot on.
  • I like how I look.
  • I wake up energized and have no issues falling asleep.
  • I feel great throughout the day with no physical or mental drag whatsoever.
  • My blood work looks great.

Clearly, MY optimal diet is working for ME from both a health and a fitness perspective! How about you? Have you found your optimal diet yet?

19 responses to “Training & Nutrition Update – My Optimal Diet

  1. Confused Rose July 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    detailed posts this one and last, thanks for the promptness Raj! 🙂

    My little brain is unclear on one part though (I did read the macro nutrient madness and various other posts on the blog.. yet not clear :D)

    Is eating to satiety (even real food) not okay for those of us looking to lose weight? Ultimately, i should have a calorie deficit to lose weight, and that means I have to count calories even if i load up on veggies, is that correct? (or do you think it’s hard for someone to eat real food and take in excess calories..? I’m actually quite a proof and hence super scared last few days.)

    In the macro nutrient madness post, do you target people like me in case 2: “fat loss”? I understood that as people who dont need to lose weight but to tone up (decrease fat % – up muscle mass). Pliss to clarify?

    These days am sounding like one of those religious preachers, talking real food at home, thanks to you. 😉

    • Confused Rose July 22, 2011 at 12:23 am

      actually, i got my answer (or so i think).. 🙂

    • RG July 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      A calorie deficit is a must but you dont need to count calories… and really no one needs to count calories unless they want to get to an extremely lean shredded state (think bodybuilding competitions). If you are grossly overweight just eat real food and eat to satiety. Focus more on vegetables and other foods that are less dense in calories. This will help you stay fuller while not consuming too many calories. If you only a few lbs overweight and are looking for visible abs or similar, do portion control. Eat a pound of meat, 2 lbs of vegetables etc etc per day. As stated in the macronutrient post.

  2. krishna July 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

    You look good! A couple of questions:

    Frozen Yoghurt – Does it have sugar? Forgotten how this was in the US
    Also when you discuss Fat – I notice you exclude cheese from that category. However you include that in Protein. Any reason?
    Why do you exclude fibrous vegetables on work out days?

    • RG July 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Frozen yogurt does contain sugar. Thats why its a cheat/deviation.
      I dont eat much cheese unless it is with a couple of glasses of wine. But yea, cheese is a good source of dietary fat and protein.
      On workout days I eat more calories than I really need and sine I fast I eat them all in a short time period. Eating a bunch of fibrous vegetables at that time will make me full too soon and will result in not being able to get enough calories and especially protein. So on training days I focus on lean protein and starch and on rest days I focus on fibrous vegetables and fatty protein.

  3. bee July 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    nice to read what works for you. not working out for a couple of days helps me to improve my personal best as well.

    my optimal diet:

    mostly paleo with 100 gms protein (female – 118 lbs at 17% body fat) and atleast an equal amount of carbs.

    don’t count fat or calories. i avoid carbs at dinner time and eat a lot of chocolate. if it’s guitar-shaped like this,

    it tastes even better. 🙂

  4. bee July 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    any reason why you eat seafood and not meat? i really you once said you eat bacon.

    • RG July 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      there are 3 things that can cause my downfall – bacon, chocolate and ghee dosa. but luckily for me they’re all good for health.

      But yea, I love bacon and other meat. But I try to get in more seafood for two reasons…
      1. Seafood (regular and shellfish) has plenty to offer and good quality stuff is easily available. With beef, I’d need to go out of my way to find grass-finished beef that isnt ground.
      2. I’m preparing for my move to India and, obviously, beef will be super rare once I do move. So trying to get used to eating mostly foods available in India.

      • RG July 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

        Whats with you guys closing comments by the way?

      • bee July 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        i closed comments because for a long time we were vegan/vegetarian and some of my readers can’t handle the paleo turn. so they go ballistic.

      • RG July 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

        you cannot be serious! wow.

        its funny how nutrition becomes religion so easily… and immediately people take sides and everything goes to the dumps. madness.

  5. Adam July 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

    when you say you dont add fats “I didn’t add fat to my food except for a little bit of ghee/coconut oil. Most of my fats came from avocado, yogurt, meat, coconut milk, fish and eggs.”
    does that mean you dont cook with fat or rather, you’re not going to finish a salad or veggies with EVOO etc etc? just curious. thanks

    • RG July 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

      Adam, I generally get most of my fats from whole foods – yogurt, eggs, cheese, meat, seafood and the occasional nuts. I’m not big on oils cos they’re isolated fat sources that don’t have much to offer really. I’d compare oils to say chicken breast or whey isolate (isolated proteins) and white rice (isolated carbs).

      But when I do eat a salad with lean meat, I top it with a tbls or 2 of EVOO.

  6. Vivek August 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I have been following yours and Arvind’s blog for a few days now. It is really useful. You have said that you use only whey protein as nutritional supplement. What do you think about Casein Protein isolates? I am a south indian(chennaite) living in texas and I had been trying to put on some muscle mass for about 8-9 months without proper results. But once I started taking Casein proteins before I went to sleep after a good workout session, I saw drastic results. But I am sure my body fat % has increased a bit too.
    And what do you take for pre-workout energy? My trainer suggested whole wheat breads about a hour or so before workout for the energy. I have been doing it for a couple of months now and it worked. But now after I read about Gluten and other anti-nutrients, I really want to cut down on whole wheat and whole grain stuff. What would you suggest as a pre-workout meal then?
    And finally, all the best to you guys with The Quad. I will swing by when I come to chennai next time. 🙂

    • RG August 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Vivek – Casein isnt really recommended as an isolate ‘cos there is some research proving the carcinogenic properties of casein. In milk, they whey neutralizes this. So I’d stay away from that.

      Whole wheat bread does more harm than good. If you need energy pre workout, eat a medium fruit or some sweet potato or even a cup of beans.

  7. Pingback: Self Experimentation – Vegetarian Diet (Part 1) « Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger.

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