With working days continuing to grow longer, more time spent commuting and an abundance of after-work activities on offer, organising your week’s worth of meals is a tedious task. And if you’re intent on getting your eight hours of sleep every night, it’s easy to give late-night cooking the flick. But instead of turning to expensive fast food options that you quickly regret, ready-made meals services are now a more realistic prospect than ever. So I teamed up with My Muscle Chef, a high-protein based meal-delivery service with the aim of feeding my workout goals, to see if I should consider outsourcing one of life’s biggest chores. Here’s what I learned.
1. I Freed Up A lot Of Time.
If you’ve ever tried meal-prepping, you’ll know how time-consuming it can be. Consider brown rice and quinoa on the stove – you’re losing 30 minutes preparing just a fraction of your feed. Take into account dinners and breakfasts, and preparing meals that deliver necessary nutrients will chew up more time than you can afford. Delivered to your doorstep, My Muscle Chef covers a week’s worth of meals giving me back hours in the evening.
2. I Got Shredded Quick
With each meal typically containing upwards of 40-50g of protein but less than 50g of carbs and only 5-600 calories (although though some do exceed that amount), expect to shed any extra weight (and some muscle) you may be carrying. I went into this tried and tested sitting at just under 90kg and a gym regular. Within the week, coupled with exercise, I noticed I started to drop the kilos quick.
The science backs it up too. Research published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport confirms the effects of a calorie surplus and calorie deficit on the scales.
While, on average, most men need about 2500 calories a day to maintain weight or 2000 calories a day to drop half a kilo a week, the magic number is largely dependant on numerous factors including age, height, current weight as well as how much you’re working out.
3. My Body Adjusted
The truth is, I typically eat 3-4000 calories a day and burn an equal amount. That’s also the amount of energy I need to fuel my body. While I struggled with the smaller portions for the first couple of days, my body quickly adjusted leaving behind any side-effects from the shock to the body.
Although I did supplement my initial feeds with heavy snacking, I eventually adapted, lowering my required calorie intake to between 2000 and 2500cal a day. The scales soon followed with my number slowly creeping down.
4. Three Meals A Day Won’t Get You Jacked
Despite the high-protein content, unfortunately, if you go with just breakfast, lunch and dinner, you won’t stack on pounds of muscle. In order to fuel your muscles, good carbs and calories are necessary. And with my particular frame, this low-carb diet didn’t meet my body’s requirements (the best way to get around it is snacking in between meals).
That being said, if you have a skinny frame and you’re just getting started, this particular eating plan can help you build lean muscle and get absolutely ripped.
While a lack of carbs can cause your body to burn-fat (this is the science behind the keto diet), studies continue to provide evidence that carbohydrates are key to growing your muscles. Previous findings have also confirmed that carbs are definitely not the enemy – carbohydrates are a great source of glycogen, a necessary macronutrient in fuelling your workouts.
In order to meet my body’s needs – maintaining weight and increasing muscle – I would need to include a 4th and 5th meal. But don’t be alarmed. No, you don’t necessarily have to cook two seperate meals. You can turn to smoothies and shakes to supplement your main dishes.
5. It’s Actually Pretty Good Value
My Muscle Chef is available both online and in supermarkets like IGA. When you bulk buy for the week, you’re typically looking at $8.50 a meal. Stand-alone meals at grocery stores will set you back $10 meal. Considering most takeaway feeds come in at around $15 to $20, these pre-made meals are a decent shout and you can avoid the greasy options afforded to you.
And given most prepped meals don’t last past the three to four day mark, you’re also avoiding food waste, another costly factor of cooking for one.
6. There Was Plenty Of Variety In The Meals.
When you think of healthy eating, the first thing that springs to mind is chicken and vegetables…every day. Whether you’re after a Mediterranean twist on your favourites or a high-protein, low-carb pasta dish, the meal-delivery service ensures that no two meals are the same, taking full advantage of international cuisine.
This was a good service. It’s certainly cost-effective given the convenience and the variety is refreshing. While the delivery plan might be better suited to those on the lighter side, those with bigger frames can still use the service – just expect to supplement meals with calorie and carb dense snacks.