Have You Got Good Diet Plans That Support Your Home Fitness Training?
Good diet plans are essential for achieving your health and fitness goals. Diet and fitness are as connected and intertwined as a clownfish and its anemone. You just can't have one without the other.
I recently tested out a brand-new, online diet planner, called plan:one. The "one" stands for online nutrition expert and that's exactly what it is. Plan:one is an online nutrition management tool to help you with your fitness goals.
What attracted me to plan:one initially was this claim from their website...
"...provide a complete nutrition plan for anyone interested in maximizing the effectiveness of their fitness and strength training program..."
I think people often don't realise how intimately connected diet and fitness are. I know personally that my fitness training runs exceptionally smoothly when I'm on the right fuel. It is critical to eat well if you want to see good results.
I have been using plan:one for 10 days so far and I can already see the power in this tool. I have been impressed with how simple, practical and easy to use it is.
Here are some of the features of plan:one
- Meal planner, which matches your personal nutrition requirements.
- Shopping list generator based on your meals.
- Performance tracker to watch your improvements over time.
- Predefined good diet plans to suit people with different training goals.
- Recipe and ingredient manager for customizing the plans to your tastes.
I ordered plan:one on a 14 day trial basis to test it out. The trial only cost me $4.95 so I figured there was no harm in giving it a shot. If I didn't like it, I'd just cancel it. No harm done.
To carry on using plan:one after the trial period, the price was $97. Which, I thought, was a fairly small investment considering the potential upside. I figured $97 wasn't much to pay for a year of good diet plans and all the other tools offered.
After I ordered plan:one, the setup was fairly easy. I just followed the instructions and logged in. The application started up in my browser and prompted me to install a plugin called silverlight. This was just a quick download which only took a few seconds.
After I logged in, I saw a screen something like this...
Note: You can click on the screenshots for an enlarged image
In the rest of this article, I'll go through the different modules of plan:one and discuss what I thought about each one.
Your Profile - Your "Before Snapshot"
When you first log in to plan:one it asks you a few things about yourself:
- Your training objectives: Bulk, Maintain, Taper etc. (The definition for these is in the help tool)
- The average amount of time you exercise each day
- Your gender
- Whether or not you are a vegetarian
These factors are all used to calculate your daily nutritional requirements. Check out the image below. As you can see, it calculates your total calorie requirements. It also tells you the number of calories you need from carbohydrates, protein and fat as well as your water requirements.
I've always wanted to track this sort of information but lacked the ability to do it. I imagine it would be incredibly revealing seeing the proportions of nutrients you eat vs. what you really should be eating.
To complete the profile, you're also asked to fill in the measurements of your body. The idea behind this is to take a starting "snapshot" to give you something to look back at.
One of the measurements they ask you to enter is body fat (%). You need body fat scales or calipers to measure this statistic, which I doubt many people own.
If you did want to track body fat then it would probably be worth buy a set of calipers. As you can see at the bottom of the screenshot, there's a recommendation that you take your measurements once per month, so the calipers would get regular use.
Built In Plans So You Can Start Straight Away
Once plan:one has determined your nutritional requirements it gives you some options to make sure that you meet them. All of the options they give you have automatically been created to suit your nutritional requirements perfectly.
- You can use a built-in sample diet plan.
- You can setup your own meals and plans.
- If your friends use the program too, you can trade good diet plans with them.
Because I wanted to keep things fairly easy for myself, I started with a built-in sample diet plan. I then modified it to suit my particular preferences.
What's In A Good Diet Plan?
A plan is basically an outline of every single meal that you'll eat over the coming week. All the meals combine to perfectly meet the nutritional requirements that were set in the profile you filled in.
Each plan has normally got:
- 2x snacks
- Pre-workout and post-workout snacks
Most of the meals look highly nutritious, using fresh, whole foods and minimal packaged food. As an example, look at some of these meals.
For lunch on today's menu I have got...
- Pitta with cottage cheese
- Mixed salad
- Herb dressing
- Fruit and nut mix
My pre-workout snack is...
- Vanilla smoothie
- Dried apricots
- Creamy mushrooms with Polenta
- Edamame (green soya beans)
- Baked apples with fruit and nuts
Evening snack is..
- Egg salad sandwich
They also have protein supplements built into some of their meal plans. I personally don't take protein supplements because I prefer to get protein from my food. So I just edited that part out.
You can browse through the plans and when you find one that suits, just import it and you're ready to go.
At this point, everything is setup.
- You can now view and print off your menu for the day.
- You can see how well your food is meeting your nutritional requirements.
- You can generate and print off a shopping list for a certain time period. For example, 5 days worth of food.
If you want, you don't have to spend any more time on it than that. Because after all, this is meant to make things easier for you.
But if you're like me, and enjoy tinkering with things, you can customize the plan to suit you better. I made a few changes here and there to the pre-set meal plans to see what would happen.
I was pleasantly surprised...
I found out that even though you can change the sample diet plan, you can't really "damage" it too much. plan:one automatically adjusts the quantities of certain ingredients in your meals to make sure you maintain the correct nutrient intake. Genius!
For example, one of the dinner meals I setup had:
- Energy requirement: 587kCal
- Actual energy intake: 587kCal
This was made up of a Bean, Rice and Vegetable Stir-Fry and Poached Pears with Plums and Raspberries.
I decided to see what happened when I added another dessert :) Yum!
I added Chunky Fruit Salad and checked my actual energy intake again. It was still 587kCal.
How did that happen? The quantities of oil, onion and mushroom had reduced in my stir-fry to account for the changes in protein, fat and carbohydrate levels.
These are some seriously good diet plans. They won't even let you cheat!
No matter what changes you make, there's a guiding hand everywhere you go. It keeps you on track and always focussed on the goals you set at the beginning.
Track Your Performance Over Time
One of the best features of this program is its ability to track your performance over time. If you regularly take your measurements then plan:one will keep track of the changes for you. It gets displayed to you on a graph, as shown below...
You can track
- Daily calories and the proportion of those that came from fat, carbohydrates and protein.
- Any of your body's measurements.
You can also change the time period you look at. So if you're training a particular muscle group for a few weeks you can zoom in to that time period and see the changes you made to those specific muscles.
I haven't been using plan:one for long enough yet to track any decent trends. But I do know from previous experience that tracking my results is incredibly motivating to me. It builds momentum and a hunger for more improvement.
Furthermore, I think that this sort of tracking is powerful in more ways than one...if used correctly that is...
Lets assume that you stick to the plans and do actually eat your planned meals. At any stage in the future, you can look back in time and see what you were eating on a particular day. You can see the nutrient content of those meals and see the effect it was having on your measurements at the time.
That sort of information is priceless. It will allow you to clearly see your mistakes and make improvements along the way.
However, life doesn't always go to plan and it's not always practical to eat what you're "supposed to eat". So lets say for arguments sake, you do stray from the plan.
My personal opinion is that the best thing to do would be to update the plan to match what you did eat. Then you'll know the data in the diet planner is accurate and you'll be able to see the true effect of the food on your body.
Help And Support
There is a built in help system to make sure you know how everything works. All the features are explained in relatively simple terms which makes it easy to pick up and use straight away.
I emailed the support team with a few questions and they replied within the same day. So I'm fairly confident they're there to help.
All in all, I thought that plan:one was highly useful. Probably the best benefit I can see is the ability to support your fitness training without having to put in any deep thought. It's just a matter of looking at the menu, buying the ingredients and eating. It's a good diet plan for people who are busy.
If you would like to sign up for the plan:one trial, you can do it here. I totally recommend it. The benefit's you'll see in your body are well worth the effort. Remember, it's less that 5 bucks to try it out. If you don't like it, you can easily cancel it.
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