June 9, 2009

In order to get in great shape, you’ve got to avoid fast foods at all costs. The drive-thru at the golden arches, Dave Thomas’ joint, BK’s, and virtually every other fast-food chain is off limits. Right? Well, not exactly. Believe it or not, grabbing a fast-food meal can actually help you get in better shape. I know, I know… this sounds preposterous, but please hear me out

Over the past decade, I’ve helped literally thousands of people lose fat, gain muscle, and build stronger, healthier bodies. One of the reasons I’ve had such great success with my “clients” is because I recognized, long ago, that the nutrition programs I outlined for them had to be “user friendly.” You see, I know most people lead extremely hectic lives and don’t always have time to shop for, much less prepare, multiple, healthy, nutritious meals day in and day out.

And, that can become a big problem because the nutrition programs I recommend—the ones I have found work best for people who want to transform their physiques—include frequent feedings (up to six times a day). And each meal must contain a serving of protein and carbohydrates, while being low in fat.
One of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to build muscle and lose fat is skip meals. Not only does this impair your body’s ability to recover from exercise and cut into your energy, but it can also lead to overeating or “bingeing” at night (a problem which plagues many dieters).
Basically, to get in great shape, you gotta eat, and in this article, I’ll share with you some vitally important information about how to use fast foods to improve your level of fitness and physique development. But first, I must point out there’s a difference between “junk foods” and “fast foods.” My definition of junk foods are things like cheeseburgers, French fries, doughnuts, cheesecake, anything deep fried—things that provide your body with little or no quality nutrition and excess amounts of saturated fats, calories, and sodium.

Now, despite popular belief, not all fast food is junk food. At restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Boston Market, etc., you can get “clean foods” like grilled chicken, turkey, vegetables, and salads, which are good for you!

Basically, using fast food for fitness is simply a matter of making the right decisions, and to do that, you need the proper knowledge, which I’m going to share with you in this article.
However, before we get started, I need to warn you that when you pull up to the drive-thru at some of these fast-food joints, you might have a moment of “weakness” and decide to just “go for it.” You might think you can get away with eating some French fries, a burger, or something that’s not on the “approved” list. If you really, really want to do that, go ahead, but think about it first. Remember this—nothing tastes as good as being in great shape feels!

Think of how proud you’re going to be of your new, lean, and healthy body. Think how proud those around you (family and friends) are going to be of you when you reach your goal of building your best body ever. Think about how long you’ve wanted to be perfectly fit! It can happen! You’ve just got to give it a chance; you’ve got to stick with it. I promise it’s not that hard. If you think for a moment, I’ll bet your willpower will be restored!

Here’s What To Do At The Drive-Thru

McDonald’s: Grilled Chicken Deluxe, Hold the Special Sauce

Now, let me tell you about all the things you can have at your favorite fast-food restaurant. Let’s start off with the big daddy of ’em all—McDonald’s.
When you walk into McDonald’s or pull up to the drive-thru, here’s what you should do—order a Grilled Chicken Deluxe without the high-fat sauce they typically put on it. The Grilled Chicken Deluxe is even better with ketchup (which is low in fat and calories) and extra lettuce and tomatoes!

If you don’t want ketchup, you can have mustard (or both), or you might even try putting one of their “lite” salad dressings on this sandwich—fat-free Italian dressing with lettuce and tomato on a Grilled Chicken Deluxe is pretty darn good—give it a try!
I also have a little trick for those (like me) who like to feel “full” after a meal—drink 12 oz of water before you even take your first bite out of your sandwich, and make sure you drink another 12 oz of water (or iced tea) with your sandwich.

Another tip: even though this is “fast food,” don’t eat it fast! Set your food down between each bite, and thoroughly chew what you’re eating. This is a good habit to get into no matter what you’re eating.
That Grilled Chicken Deluxe equals one “meal”—it contains a serving of protein and carbohydrates.
If you don’t want a chicken sandwich, have a Grilled Chicken Salad Deluxe with lite vinaigrette dressing.
Never have regular salad dressing—it’s way too high in fat and calories. The lite or fat-free dressings available today taste just as good as the regular kind but have far fewer calories. You might also get in the habit of carrying some of your favorite fat-free dressing with you.
These meals I’m telling you about are okay for lunch or dinner but not for breakfast. I don’t think any fast-food meals are “ideal” for breakfast—there’s nothing I recommend more highly first thing in the morning than a high-quality MRP (meal-replacement powder) like Myoplex.

Taco Bell: The Chicken Burrito, but Have Just One

An “approved” meal at this fast-food hot spot is the grilled chicken burrito. It’s low in calories, low in fat, and contains a serving of protein and carbohydrates.

When you order your grilled chicken burrito, be sure to ask for extra lettuce and tomatoes, and have all the salsa you want. But ask them to hold the cheese and sour cream!

A lot of people who eat at Taco Bell get in the habit of ordering at least two or three items. That’s not such a good idea. If you do this, you’re just taking in too many calories at one time.

If you don’t want a chicken burrito, you can have a grilled chicken soft taco.

And remember, you can have mild or hot taco sauce, salsa, or pico de gallo (it’s that tasty tomato-relish-like stuff). You can have all you want and lots of lettuce and tomato.

Burger King: BK Broiler Chicken, Just Say No to Mayo

Now, let’s say you’re headed for Burger King. Here’s what you tell those smiling, funny-little-hat-wearin’ folks behind the counter—”I’d like a BK Broiler chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. No mayo.” That’s it—that’s not complicated, is it?

Make sure they don’t put any mayonnaise or their “special sauce” (which is high in fat) on your chicken sandwich.

Burger King also has a broiled chicken salad and offers a lite Italian dressing that’s not too bad.
Hardee’s: It’s Hardy Chicken Again; the Only Way Is Fillet

If you find yourself at Hardee’s, you can have the chicken fillet or the grilled chicken salad.

Boston Market: Turkey or Chicken, Veggies on the Side

Have a Chicken Carver Sandwich with extra lettuce and tomato (no mayo). If you’re tired of sandwiches, there are all kinds of other things you can have at Boston Market that I consider a good “meal.” You could have a turkey breast or a chicken breast by itself and then have any one of the following: a serving of steamed vegetables, garlic and dill new potatoes, whole-kernel corn, rice pilaf, fruit salad, or zucchini marinara.

Boston Market also has a great turkey sandwich—just remember to follow the rules: extra lettuce and tomato, no mayo, and no cheese.

Arby’s: Roast Chicken or Turkey, Two Decent Deluxes

Now let’s take a look at Arby’s—I have two favorites here: the Roast Chicken Deluxe Sandwich (without mayo) with ketchup and mustard and the Roast Turkey Deluxe Sandwich (without mayo). Both of these sandwiches provide a serving of protein and carbohydrates. They will fill you up and keep you going until your next meal.

Arby’s also offers roasted chicken salad with lite buttermilk or lite ranch dressing.

Wendy’s: Dave’s Grilled Chicken, or Try the Chicken Salad

Okay—let’s talk about Wendy’s. Guess what—they have a grilled chicken sandwich too! You’ve probably pretty much got the idea by now that a grilled, skinless chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato at any fast-food restaurant is okay—if so, you’re right!

If you get stuck at a fast-food restaurant where you can only get a chicken sandwich that’s deep-fat fried or has the skin on it, just say no. Remember, we’re looking for a plain, grilled chicken breast with no skin and one that has not been deep-fat fried.

Wendy’s also has a good grilled chicken salad, and they offer fat-free ranch or Italian dressing—just tell them to hold the cheese and breadsticks—the salad is just as good without those things.
Carl’s Jr: Chicken BBQ Sandwich or Chicken Salad Will Do

They offer the old stand-by—a BBQ Chicken Sandwich, and they also have a chicken salad. Either one is fine; you know the rules.

Jack in the Box: Go for the Chicken Fajita Pita

At Jack in the Box, try the Chicken Fajita Pita. They also have… you guessed it… a grilled chicken sandwich.

You can also get something called the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl, but I need to warn you, this should be split into two “meals.” If you want to order the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl, eat half of it for one meal and then the other half later in the day.

Long John Silver’s: Baked Fish and a Potato With Salsa

Another fast-food chain you might find yourself at is Long John Silver’s. This place deep-fat fries everything—even their menus! By and large, this place serves up more saturated fat than any fast-food restaurant I know of, but you can still get a “Bill Phillips approved meal” at this fast-fat haven.

Just ask for the FlavorBaked Fish or the FlavorBaked Chicken, a plain baked potato and/or green beans. It’s low in fat and high in protein and complex carbohydrates.

Here’s a tip that will help you make a plain baked potato come alive—you know how most people smother “bakers” with butter and sour cream? Well, you shouldn’t do that. Try this—put salsa or ketchup on your baked potato—it can really dazzle your taste buds—try it! Salsa and ketchup are “A-OK”; butter and regular sour cream are not!

Subway: Get the Roast Turkey, Chuck the Oil

Subway offers a nice “break” from the other fast-food chains. My favorite “takeout” is the six-inch turkey breast sub with pickles, jalapeño peppers, lettuce, and tomato.

Ask them to hold the mayo and oil and top this sandwich off with vinegar and a little salt and pepper.
KFC: Tender Roast White Meat Without the Skin

Rounding off our list of fast-food restaurants is KFC. You’ve got to be careful here—there’s way too much deep-fat frying going on at this place too.

Try the Tender Roast white-meat chicken pieces without skin and a small serving of mashed potatoes and gravy. You’ve got to remember to order chicken without the skin—that’s where most of the fat is.

About the Author:

Victoria Johnson is the nation’s premier Health & Fitness and Wealth & Spirit “activist.” Victoria is the owner and president of Victoria Johnson Intl., a personal training, consulting, marketing and management company. She is not only a fitness guru, she’s a born and bred entrepreneur. She believes everyone should be healthy and prosperous. She has produced and starred in over 24 award-winning exercise and dance fitness DVD’s and videos, produced and starred in her own television show entitled “Victoria’s Body Shoppe” and most recently authored her third book, Body Revival, Lose Weight, Feel Great and Pump Up Your Faith! 


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