By: Autumn Swansen, PT, DPT; ISSA Personal Trainer; IFBB WPD Pro-2016 Arnold Classic Champion







No matter what your “macros” are or the type of meal plan you are following, below are 10 simple guidelines that apply to any diet to get surefire results. Remember that anything worth doing takes work and is never completely convenient. That being said however, all things are doable with some planning and preparation. As a full time Physical Therapist, part time contest prep coach/personal trainer and professional bodybuilder, I know firsthand it all boils down to maximizing the time you have. After all, we each have the same amount of hours in a day. The key is not to waste any of them.

Here’s how you do it once you have a set meal plan:

1. Go to the grocery store once a week making sure you have accounted for all of your healthy meals to avoid midweek mishaps or moments of weakness when you may purchase something you later regret.

2. Eat every 3 hours no matter what….hot or cold! Yes there have been several times when I have been forced to eat cold fish. No it’s not the ideal scenario, but I will meet my goals. Adjust your meals with your personal schedule as far as time it takes. For instance rice takes longer to eat than a potato.

3. Cook in bulk once or twice a week, whatever is easiest. I prefer twice as to have my food more fresh. Remember number 2 cannot occur for the 99.9% of us who cannot cook every 3 hours.

4. Portion out your meals either the night before or morning of (only if you are an early riser).

5. Use a food scale or measuring cups as even the trained eye can be fooled.

6. Utilize all the “freebies” (like green veggies) you can in order to make your nutrition tasteful and not depriving. Quality in equals quality out.

7. Focus on the positive aspect of food which is “eating” to be well nourished and fit and not “dieting” only to rebound later. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Although it is central to virtually everything we do in American, we are all more than food and you have to ask yourself are a few seconds of goodness in my mouth worth the bodily damage in the long run?

8. Considering number 7, cheat in a planned fashion for special events or just for your mental health. Enjoy one to two meals a week and let loose. If you follow all of the other steps, you will continue to achieve your goals and not get burned out finding your knew way of life.

9. Utilize resources that make healthy eating easier for you. There are tons of meal prep companies, gadgets that can transform foods (for instance a potato into potato chips without the oil and frying), meal preparation bags for convenience and insulation, etc. The list goes on and on!

10. Get in your eight glasses of water in a day and then some!!! For me personally, I carry around a gallon jug not only to get in that at least, but for the visualization. You will be shocked at how much you are under drinking. Remember, once you are thirsty, dehydration is already occurring, so drink up! You will see a dramatic difference in your physique as shedding water that lies subcutaneously covering up your hard efforts! Plus, a lot of times our wires get crossed and we actually mistake thirst for hunger.

Above all else, surround yourself with positive encouraging and active people. We all have to be around negativity at times, that’s just a fact of life. In those cases, make sure you are the positive one. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Stick to your guns and stick to the plan. You will certainly be glad you did when you are the one on top. Remember everyone starts somewhere and today is yesterday’s tomorrow!

For further inquiries, I can be personally reached at


About the Series
The YPAL Get Healthy Blog Series, sponsored by Norton Healthcare, will focus on the health and well-being of our Louisville Young Professionals. This blog series will feature various young professional bloggers in our community sharing their stories on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles. Want to write a Get Healthy Blog Post? Email for details!