There are so many advantages of drinking water, from keeping healthy and hydrated, to being a natural calorie-burner as we learned in part 7,  from the author of the Final Phase Fat Loss program.

As a bodybuilder, John Romaniello knows that preparing your meals is an important part of a professional bodybuilder’s life.  Today, we find out if he is a better cook or a baker, when it comes to making some of his fat burning meals.

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Craig Ballantyne: Let’s move on into your meals.  With the fat loss program that you mentioned on the 24-hour blog post, you don’t really eat until you’ve been up for quite a few hours.  So, why don’t you talk about that?

John Romaniello: This is something else that I’ve been playing with for about a year now.  People are always big on breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And I don’t think it’s not. I just think the timing of your breakfast is probably a pretty transient thing for most people.

If you are like me and you kind of run your day, and you don’t have to be anywhere at any specific time, I think that you can really get away with pushing your meal back several hours.  This is something Brad talks about and some of the intermittent fasting guys like Martin Berkhan talks about this. I have just always, whenever I’ve been trying to lose fat I’ve always liked eating later in the day because I find that my workouts are much more productive if I don’t eat beforehand.  And also, now that I’m writing pretty much full time I find that I do my best writing before I’ve eaten.

Once I eat, I get a little lethargic and everything.  So yeah, I don’t eat for the first five or six hours that I’ve been awake.  And this is not uncomfortable for me. It used to be that I was hungry, but between the water and the Athletic Greens, and then I go down, and I train pretty hard.  Then I’m fine and I have my post-workout shake.  My pre- and post-workout shake, the total calorie is maybe 500 or 600.

And then about an hour after that I have a meal, and it’s usually very large, like five or six eggs.  So I’m getting a lot of calories right after my workout.  And it’s always best to have as many of your calories surrounding your training as possible.  You’re just going to absorb more there in terms of  macro nutrients and micro-nutrients to correct the microtron that you’ve created during training. I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone.

I don’t think everyone should skip breakfast.  If you have to get up and work and be functional, and you like being full then you should get up and have a healthy breakfast.  But for me personally because my best workouts are like 11:00 or 12:00 I don’t mind not eating from 7:00 in the morning until after the workout.  It works really well for me.  So it’s kind of an individual thing.

Craig Ballantyne: And then you also cook some pretty quick meals.  When I was visiting you, you made those steaks pretty quick.  And just in the meals that you mentioned on the blog post, you’re very, very quick with those.  Anything else you want to – you like cooking, right?

John Romaniello: I do like to cook.  My cheat day when I’m cooking cheat meals, like if I’m cooking pasta or lasagna, I’ll really take my time and put together a nice meal.  However, you have to keep in mind that I was literally in bodybuilding mode for three years.  And I did this from the time I was 19 up until the time I was like 22 or 23.  And I would eat tuna out of a can.

Food became a very necessary sort of thing.  It was like, “Okay, it’s time to eat,” not, “Oh, I get to eat now.”  It was just like, “Oh yeah, I need 30 grams of protein and some other stuff so that it doesn’t taste like crap.”  And I would just put a bunch of tuna in a bowl and then put some salsa on top of it and go from there. So now anything, I eat that isn’t that is delicious.

So I just don’t go in for a lot of food prep when I’m losing fat.  I like to season my steak with dry rubs.  And I like my steak rare, so I’ll just throw it in a pan with some coconut oil three minutes on one side, two minutes on the other, and it’s done. So I really enjoy cooking, but being very honest I have always – and this is because my mother was a pastry chef – I’ve always been more of a baker than a cook.

I’m getting a little off topic here, but baking is something that requires you to follow a specific number of steps in a specific order in a very specific way, otherwise things go horribly bad.  So baking is very rules oriented, whereas cooking it’s a bit more lackadaisical.

As long as everything winds up in the pot it’s all going to taste the same.  Baking is not like that. So I have always been a better baker than a cook, because either you bake something exactly the way the recipe says and make very minimal changes, and it comes out good, or you try to do your own thing, and it comes out like crap, and you throw it out anyway.

So as a cook because I am very impatient I make mostly fast meals because I just want to eat, whereas when I’m baking things on cheat days I really like to enjoy the process.  I’ll make my own handmade dough.  I don’t make anything out of a box.  Everything is from scratch.  And that process is very fun for me. But when I’m dieting for fat loss my whole life seems like it’s kind of accelerated, so I would rather make fast meals.

So I’ll just do things that are easy for me to multitask.  It’s very easy for me just to put on some steamed broccoli or steamed spinach or steamed cauliflower in one pot, and then having the steaks going in a pan.  And then in a pan in the back I’m also maybe doing some eggs.

Things that I don’t really have to pay attention to are easier when I’m working for fat loss because it’s very quick and that works better for me. I really believe in meals that don’t take a lot of time because if you look at your schedule, and you realize you only have an hour to eat, mentally you’re calculating that it’s going to take you 17 minutes to cook, eat and clean up then you can do it.

However, if you’re looking at your clock, and you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, I really only have an hour, and it’s going to take me 45 minutes just to get the meal ready,” you’re probably going to wind up eating something that isn’t on your plan.  So having a bunch of fast meals, it’s very different.  It’s more effective. I think.

Craig Ballantyne: You have never baked me anything.

John Romaniello: We’ll have to remedy that, Craig. I promise that the next time you come to New York, we will bake.  We can bake together.  We’ll get it on video.  It’ll be a lot of fun.

Craig Ballantyne: I didn’t say that.  I said you haven’t baked me anything.

John Romaniello: Okay.  Well, I will bake and you can hold the camera, and it will be –

Craig Ballantyne: You can ship it, right?  Can you just make it?

John Romaniello: No. You’ve got to eat it right.  You don’t want to ship your baked goods.  It’s not the same.  You’ve got to eat it out of the oven if you really want the full experience.

Next up, John’s recommendations for cheat meals, in part 9 of this expert interview series.

Craig Ballantyne: Let’s move on into your meals.  With the fat loss program that you mentioned on the 24-hour blog post, you don’t really eat until you’ve been up for quite a few hours.  So, why don’t you talk about that?

John Romaniello: This is something else that I’ve been playing with for about a year now.  People are always big on breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And I don’t think it’s not, I just think the timing of your breakfast is probably a pretty transient thing for most people.

If you are like me and you kind of run your day and you don’t have to be anywhere at any specific time, I think that you can really get away with pushing your meal back several hours.  This is something Brad talks about and some of the intermittent fasting guys like Martin Berkhan talks about this. I have just always, whenever I’ve been trying to lose fat I’ve always liked eating later in the day because I find that my workouts are much more productive if I don’t eat beforehand.  And also, now that I’m writing pretty much full time I find that I do my best writing before I’ve eaten.

Once I eat I get a little bit lethargic and everything.  So yeah, I don’t eat for the first five or six hours that I’ve been awake.  And this is not uncomfortable for me. It used to be that I was hungry, but between the water and the Athletic Greens, and then I go down and I train pretty hard.  Then I’m fine and I have my post-workout shake.  My pre- and post-workout shake, the total calorie is maybe 500 or 600.

And then about an hour after that I have a meal and it’s usually very large, like five or six eggs.  So I’m getting a lot of calories right after my workout.  And it’s always best to have as many of your calories surrounding your training as possible.  You’re just going to absorb more there in terms of  macronutrients and micronutrients to correct the microtron that you’ve created during training. I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone.

I don’t think everyone should skip breakfast.  If you have to get up and work and be functional and you like being full then you should get up and have a healthy breakfast.  But for me personally because my best workouts are like 11:00 or 12:00 I don’t mind not eating from 7:00 in the morning until after the workout.  It works really well for me.  So it’s kind of an individual thing.

Craig Ballantyne: And then you also cook some pretty quick meals.  When I was visiting you, you made those steaks pretty quick.  And just in the meals that you mentioned on the blog post, you’re very, very quick with those.  Anything else you want to – you like cooking, right?

John Romaniello: I do like to cook.  My cheat day when I’m cooking cheat meals, like if I’m cooking pasta or lasagna, I’ll really take my time and put together a nice meal.  But you have to keep in mind that I was literally in bodybuilding mode for three years.  And I did this from the time I was 19 up until the time I was like 22 or 23.  And I would eat tuna out of a can.

Food became a very necessary sort of thing.  It was like, “Okay, it’s time to eat,” not, “Oh, I get to eat now.”  It was just like, “Oh yeah, I need 30 grams of protein and some other stuff so that it doesn’t taste like crap.”  And I would just put a bunch of tuna in a bowl and then put some salsa on top of it and go from there. So now anything I eat that isn’t that is delicious.

So I just don’t go in for a lot of food prep when I’m losing fat.  I like to season my steak with dry rubs.  And I like my steak rare, so I’ll just throw it in a pan with some coconut oil three minutes on one side, two minutes on the other and it’s done. So I really enjoy cooking, but being very honest I have always – and this is because my mother was a pastry chef – I’ve always been more of a baker than a cook.

I’m getting a little off topic here, but baking is something that requires you to follow a specific number of steps in a specific order in a very specific way, otherwise things go horribly bad.  So baking is very rules oriented, whereas cooking it’s a bit more lackadaisical.

As long as everything winds up in the pot it’s all going to taste the same.  Baking is not like that. So I have always been a better baker than a cook, because either you bake something exactly the way the recipe says and make very minimal changes and it comes out good, or you try to do your own thing and it comes out like crap and you throw it out anyway.

So as a cook because I am very impatient I make mostly fast meals because I just want to eat, whereas when I’m baking things on cheat days I really like to enjoy the process.  I’ll make my own handmade dough.  I don’t make anything out of a box.  Everything is from scratch.  And that process is very fun for me. But when I’m dieting for fat loss my whole life seems like it’s kind of accelerated, so I would rather make fast meals.

So I’ll just do things that are easy for me to multitask.  It’s very easy for me just to put on some steamed broccoli or steamed spinach or steamed cauliflower in one pot, and then having the steaks going in a pan.  And then in a pan in the back I’m also maybe doing some eggs.

Things that I don’t really have to pay attention to are easier when I’m working for fat loss because it’s very quick and that works better for me. I really believe in meals that don’t take a lot of time because if you look at your schedule and you realize you only have an hour to eat, mentally you’re calculating that it’s going to take you 17 minutes to cook, eat and clean up then you can do it.

But if you’re looking at your clock and you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, I really only have an hour and it’s going to take me 45 minutes just to get the meal ready,” you’re probably going to wind up eating something that isn’t on your plan.  So having a bunch of fast meals, it’s very different.  It’s more effective, I think.

Craig Ballantyne: You have never baked me anything.

John Romaniello: We’ll have to remedy that, Craig. I promise that the next time you come to New York we will bake.  We can bake together.  We’ll get it on video.  It’ll be a lot of fun.

Craig Ballantyne: I didn’t say that.  I said you haven’t baked me anything.

John Romaniello: Okay.  Well, I will bake and you can hold the camera and it will be –

Craig Ballantyne: You can ship it, right?  Can you just make it –

John Romaniello: No.  You’ve got to eat it right.  You want shipping you baked goods.  It’s not the same.  You’ve got to eat it out of the oven if you really want the full experience.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com