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I’m a trainer in San Pedro but I live and go to college at Loyola Marymount University so my week is a series of 30 min 22 mile commutes to and fro these two places. I do this commute sometimes twice a day so I’m puttin in at least 5 hrs a week in the car… bummer. Anyway, I’m always looking to make this mundane journey work to my advantage and one of the things I do is stock it with food that allows me to recover from my workouts, promote fat-loss, and just keep me at optimal health.

One of the recurring themes I see with my athletes/clients when we hit a brick wall or a plateau with our progress is the concept of busyness. Now gym time well spent is good and all but its the time you spend and habits you adopt out of the gym that makes all the difference.

If someone is not getting the results their after this is the conversation I have.

me:Did you eat breakfast?”

athlete:
No”

me: “Why not?”

athlete: “I was running out the door, didn’t have time”

Then I’ll ask this one

me:
“Ok when was the last time you ate?”

athlete: “I haven’t” or “six hours ago”

Time for the come-to-Jesus talk…

Ok, I know you’re busy; kids, jobs, wives, husbands, bills, soccer practice, recitals, etc. but being busy just isn’t an excuse. There are too many things you can do to make being busy work to your advantage.
First of all busy is good. Busy = Activity = calories burned, pounds lost, etc.

Being busy means you don’t have to sit on the couch trying to ignore the Ben & Jerry’s in the fridge.

So if you find yourself with no time to prepare a healthy meal take this list to turn your car into a fat incinerator.

Broccoli, Carrots (preferably raw)-(kept in fridge taken with you before you walk out the door.) I buy the packaged broccoli florets and sliced carrot combo. Its in a pretty small bag and already cut up so i can just munch on them while I drive. I hate eating veggies at meals but if there just sittin there in the passenger seat in traffic I got nothing else better to do than eat em. They take a lot of room in you stomach and vegtables like broccoli are a bona fide super food packed with fiber and do-goodins and you can eat as much as your gums can take.
(disclaimer: broccoli = breath like a grassy knoll , keep mouthwash handy)
You can also bring any pre-cut veggie with you I just happen to prefer Broccoli.

Low fat String cheese– Also keep in fridge grab 3-4 strings before you walk out with the broccoli. Sorry to make you go to the fridge in such a hurry but c’mon theres no prep time! Its like a buffet, Grab and GO. Grab and GO. Low fat string cheese is virtually protein on a stick. 6 grams a protein a pop thats great so gobble at any time. Note: protein is where a lot of people get it wrong. Dont neglect to eat protein its the raw material for muscle.

Keep These foods in a bag in the backseat within reaching distance

Almonds- I go to Trader Joe’s and get the dry roasted unsalted variety. Almonds are another super food loaded with essential fatty acids and will curb your appetite. These are super healthy but calorie dense so don’t go nuts.. bad joke. I sometimes get raw almonds because they taste just ok meang I won’t overeat.

Beef Jerky:
Loaded with muscle-building protein and are the perfect food to sit handy in your car as it will not spoil. Hell, if you dont eat it it will probably outlast the next ice age.

Protein Shakes/Powder-
I keep a tub of powder in my trunk with plastic cups and utensils to mix it with. You can also get shkes in a can that can sit in your backseat RTD (ready to drink)

Fruit?- If you keep tabs on the food you can put some apples and oranges in the car handy for you to eat but fruit doesn’t like to stay edible for long in the car. After a couple days they start to age and resemble Rodney Dangerfield.

*the trick here is to have foods you can tolerate but don’t love. You wanna capitalize on the desire to eat out of boredom not because it tastes great, otherwise you run the risk of overeating.

So there you have it. A small list of foods that if you keep handy and actually eat on your commutes you will find yourself eating out less, saving money, losing weight, and performing better at work, home, and in the gym. I.E You just got better at everything. Win. Win.
done and done.

image by sparktography



  • Leslie October 14, 2009, 4:43 am

    My question is if I am both vegetarian and generally dairy free, how would you recommend getting protein in and how much. I know that nuts are a great source but too many nuts can essentially backfire when it comes to calories. Also, when it comes to portions and meals, there is so much talk over 5 small meals vs 3 meals and what’s snacking appropriate. What would you recommend? Thanks!!

  • Ricky October 20, 2009, 12:56 am

    Leslie,

    Before I could really answer you completely I’d have to know what kind of vegetarian are you?

    Vegan?

    Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian (no red meat, chicken nor fish, but the consumption of dairy products and eggs)? Or

    Lacto-Vegetarians (no meat and no eggs, save the consumption of milk)?

    The protein question is a difficult one for vegetarians but if your practice of it allows fish, than hands down this should be your primary source of protein. Salmon, Halibut, Tuna, Shrimp.

    Do you allow chicken or eggs? If you do then these are great as well.

    You may want to consider protein powder as well this allows you to get the amount of protein you find in meat without violating your diet. And No, it doesn’t give you huge guns or cause weight gain. But, nothing beats meat, fish, poultry, and egss when it comes to protein.

    However, if you do not allow the aforementioned foods than next in line is beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

    Or soy protein. These are a distant second as far as protein quality (especially soy, which I don’t touch) but if if its your only alternative, have at it.

    As for the second question…..

    Yes you should never find yourself going to bed having eaten 3 or less meals on a consistent basis. (unless fasting)

    This keeps the metabolism below its caloric burning potential and conditions your body to store fat.

    Does this mean you double your eating? No.

    Does it mean prepare 5 neatly tupperware’ed meals to haul to work everyday? Not at all.

    the fact of the matter is that you NEED to eat more often.

    This does not mean 5 “meals”

    This means that at least 5 times throughout any given day you need to have put something nutritious in your mouth,chewed, then swallowed.

    A handful of nuts, a couple bites of a salad or sandwich, some baby carrots and a spoonful of peanut butter,

    These all achieve the “meals-throughout-the-day” principle.

    Think of your stomach as a reeeally nagging needy boyfriend and if you dont give him attention (food) all day long he wont keep you happy (and lean).

    Make Sense?