Have you ever wondered what it’s like to spend the day eating like a YouTube fitness model? I thoroughly enjoy watching videos about the diets of fanatical fitness people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Rock. Their diets are insane, and of course they work hard in order to achieve insane results. But I’m always left wondering, how sustainable is a diet like that? Especially if you’re not getting paid big bucks to see it through, day in and day out? So I did a little experiment of my own.
I planned to eat for one whole day like my favorite fitness YouTuber, Natacha Oceane. Let me just fangirl a little bit here. She follows an “intuitive eating” diet, which basically means she eats when she’s hungry, and she fuels her body with what she intuitively thinks it needs. Sometimes that is a Greek orzo salad with grilled chicken. 🥗 Sometimes that’s a few Lindt Lindor chocolates. 🍫 And her training is science-based with the aim to maintain functionality and flexibility long-term. I really love learning from her, because she shares information based on articles in peer-reviewed journals. Okay, enough of that, as I’m probably boring a lot of you. Let’s get to the food!!
Breakfast – Chocolate Sea Salt Granola
In the “day in the life” video I watched of Natacha Oceane, she started the morning off with homemade chocolate granola by Minimalist Baker. And this granola is so delicious! It’s versatile and easy to substitute ingredients you already have in your kitchen. It didn’t look like Natacha added anything other than milk to her granola. But I added non-dairy Greek yogurt for extra protein.
After a breakfast of chocolate granola, she hit the gym for a lower body work out day, including a squat matrix (I tried this and was in so much pain), box jumps (plyometrics), leg press, deadlifts to a squat press, and lunges (resistance/weight training) and topped it all with a finale of jump rope (cardio). See, I told you – she is a big advocate for training in all sorts of ways to promote full-body health and maintain the functionality of your muscles, joints and bones.
Personally, I felt like granola was not nearly enough to fuel me for this level of a workout. I felt a bit weak, very hungry, and in need of more fuel in my “pre workout meal” before training at this intense level.
Lunch: Poke Bowl
After a crazy-intense workout, Natacha picked up lunch at a poke bowl restaurant. Now, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE poke bowls!! Some of the best, fresh poke I’ve had was in Hawaii. Poke bowls are a great post-work out meal, since the fish contains lean protein and healthy fats while the vegetables contain fiber and nutrients. If you’ve never had a poke bowl, it’s sort of like a sushi bowl – it’s got the rice, raw fish and a variety of delicious add-ins.
Since poke is comprised of raw fish, it’s best to research poke places near you to find where serves the freshest fish. As a side note, I also stay tuned into seafood watch, which is a site that provides information on the best types of fish to consume in order to maintain the health of the environment and ecosystems. 🐟
Dinner: Tofu Noodle Stir Fry
We’ve come to the third meal of the day. Which, first let’s just take a quick moment to talk about that. You don’t need to restrict to one meal a day if that doesn’t suit your body. And you don’t need to eat a dozen tiny grazing meals throughout the day either to be “fit and healthy”, if that’s not what gives you energy and sustenance. It’s usually best to eat in a way that helps you feel nourished and energized when you’re awake, and rested and refueled after sleeping.
This tofu noodle stir fry for dinner was incredibly tasty. I love stir fry meals because just like granola, it’s wonderfully versatile. Whatever veggies you have in the fridge, toss them in. Add some of your favorite sauces and a source of protein and badda-bing-badda-boom, a wholesome meal is on your plate! I’ve included the recipe for this tofu stir fry below, in case you want to try it! 😊
Dessert: Smoothie Bowls
Did you think dinner is where it all ended? Ha! Not quite yet! For dessert, Natacha got a fruity smoothie bowl, because she still had room for dessert! And I don’t mean “room” as in the number of calories or macros leftover on her meal plan to squeeze in a treat. In fact, Natacha doesn’t track her macros or calories. I mean room in her tummy for some cold sweet goodness to end a great day. Now, if following a meal plan works for you, then keep at it! But I’ve found that I quickly begin to obsess over the numbers and restrict my food to an unhealthy amount.
Plus smoothie bowls are super easy to make at home. Check out my recipes for a rich vegan chocolate peanut butter smoothie bowl & a green date, kale and tahini smoothie bowl here!
My Experiment’s Conclusion
Thanks for reading along in my day’s journey of eating like a YouTube fitness model. The “fitness model” whose diet I followed eats intuitively. This method doesn’t work for everybody, nor should it, since every body is different. I did this experiment to primarily see if day-in-the-life diet of a “fitness model” is realistically sustainable. So many people idolize professionals and influencers on social media in the fitness world. They are often the benchmark for what we think we need to look like, eat like and train like.
I went into this experiment thinking that the majority of influencers on social media have insane eating habits. There are way too many individuals on social media glorifying calorie restriction as well as eating until you can’t even move. Which is why I chose to spend a day working out and eating like a YouTube fitness model based on someone that I have come to respect over the past few years.
In my opinion, everything Natacha ate tasted great, but I would just eat larger portions and include more snacks, since I felt hungry, especially during my workout. And it’s important to note that for the sake of the experiment, my workout was the same workout she performed on this what-I-eat-in-a-day video
. Let me know your thoughts about these topics, as I’m really interested in what you think! 💚
Tofu Glass Noodle Stir Fry
- 14 oz extra firm tofu
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce or Bragg's liquid aminos, divided
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- 200 grams glass noodles, soaked in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are al dente texture.
- 4 cups mixed stir fry vegetables (broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, etc.)
- ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
- Rinse the tofu under running water then wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Place on a plate and place a heavy skillet or Dutch oven lid on top, to squeeze as much moisture out of the tofu as possible. Leave to drain for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.Slice the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon soy sauce and one tablespoon cornstarch.
- Arrange the tofu on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silpat so none of the pieces overlap. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the tofu are very crispy.
- Meanwhile, submerge the glass noodles under hot water in a large bowl. Let them soak for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they are al dente texture. Drain the noodles and set aside.
- Heat the remaining two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the veggies and stir often. Cook until the vegetables develop a bright color and are still a little bit crunch, about 10 minutes.
- Add the glass noodles along with the remaining one tablespoon of soy sauce and the teriyaki sauce. Mix until everything is well-coated in the sauce.
- To serve, portion out the vegetables and noodles. Top with some crispy baked tofu and a drizzle of sesame oil. Enjoy!