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Question from a first timer?


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Hi everyone, 


I am preparing to do my 1st Whole 30 starting 1/5! I'm excited and looking forward to it, but I have a question about the timing of meals and exercise and pre-post workout meals. 


I have a weird work schedule, so I currently do approx 30-40 min of cardio on my lunch break- come back to work and eat my lunch then I will do 45-60 minutes of a group exercise class (weights, squats, lunges, etc) after work. 


I'm not sure if I need to eat breakfast, and lunch and 2 pre workout/postworkout meals? I'm confused on how many meals to eat and when. Can anyone help me? 


My goal (other than a healthy relationship with food) is fat loss and building  cardio/anaerobic endurance/stamina. 


Thank you!!!! 



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This is every day? 1.5 hours of exercise?


It would be helpful to know more about your context, the nature of the weight class (light weights/short rest times/high rep? or heavy weight/lots of rest time/low rep?). If you don't do it every day, how often do you do it? Have you been doing this for a while? If so, how did you fuel before the whole30 and how did that work for you? What is the rest of your life like (sleep habits, stress, work, etc.)?


Ultimately context is critical. 1.5 hours per day might be ok if intensity is very low, or if you are approaching pro athlete status. If that's not you and you don't LOVE doing exactly what you are doing, we might make suggestions to tweak. If you consider the quantity of exercise non-negotiable, and intensity is anything other than very low, we would recommend finding ways to compensate for that extra stress on the body--"pay" for your desire to work out a lot with more food (those pre- and post-WO snacks), more sleep, and more recovery (massages, foam rolling, etc). More specific info will help us give more specific suggestions.

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Thanks for the reply! Hopefully I can answer your questions and provide you with more info.
I do cardio on lunch Monday thru Thursday. I do jogging/walking intervals for approx. 30 minutes. Some days if my body feels like it needs it, I will just walk for 30 minutes.

The group exercise class is after work on Mondays and Wednesday sand Saturday mornings. It is an hour long and we basically do squats, lunges, chest, biceps, shoulders, and triceps. Right now I have the bar plus 7 pounds on each side. I have been doing this class for almost 2 months. Before starting this class, I have never done weights so I am very new to this.

There is a HIIT class that is after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I attend on occasion. It is 45 minutes long and we do things like jump squats, mountain climbers, bear crawl, burpees, push-ups, etc. I struggle with some of these, so I modify as needed.

I am not interested in being a pro athlete at all- but I do want to get in good shape, lose fat and maintain once I get there.  I will be taking a physical agility test and want to pass it. I have run it before and struggled clearing the 5 ft jump and with the push pull portion of the test. Here is the info in it:


I feel I manage stress well and typically get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. My Dr. recently had me start taking a Vitamin D supplement, because my levels were very low. In addition, she is having me take a thyroid supplement, because my levels were not quite where they needed to be. I am supposed to get those re-tested in February to see where they are at.

I foam roll on workout days. I don’t do any exercise on Fridays or Sundays. I have been eating mostly Paleo type foods for about 2 months. Right now I have breakfast –egg muffins- (6:00), a snack mid-morning -2 hard boiled eggs, handful olives (9:30), go and do cardio (11:00), eat lunch protein, sweet potato, veggies, (12:00), have a small snack midafternoon- celery, almond butter, (3:00), go to class after work (4:30) and then come home and make dinner- protein and veggies (6:00). (meal times are approximate and my foods vary- I don’t eat the same thing every day, I just wanted to give you an example of what I have been doing)

Hopefully that helps give you more info. Any help you can give would be great, I’m new to this and there is a ton of info out there that is very confusing! I want to set myself up to succeed!




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Whew! That's a lot of info. Thank you. I think you could benefit from a little more variety in your workouts (even the "strength" one is pretty light weight/high rep), so consider adding a day of much heavier work and reducing the number of days/hours of other things to compensate. Two days of rest is good, but the overall quantity of exercise is still relatively high. Don't be afraid to take more rest or replace some workouts with something lighter, like walking or gentle yoga. Too much stress causes the body to hang onto fat, especially in the abdominal area. With a fat-loss goal, sometimes less is more.


For food, the whole30 strongly recommends three primary meals, no snacking outside of pre- and post-workout context. This makes a huge difference in balancing hormone levels and getting your body on track vs. snacking and grazing. SO, consider reducing the snacks to a smaller portion (bite-size, really) and having them right before your workout. OR, try without any snack at all (honestly this is optional, only strongly recommended if you workout first thing in the morning). Other than that your meals sound good. If you have trouble going without the snacks, look to bulking up your meals (with more of the same foods) until they satiate you for 4-5 hours. If you start lifting heavier or feel like you are not recovering well from exercise, add some lean protein (starchy carbs too, optional) within 1/2 hour of the workout.


let us know how it goes!

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