cook like a man

How to Cook Like a Man

When it comes to cooking these days, there seems to be a disconnect between men and the kitchen.
Maybe you grew upon mom’s cooking, progressed to Ramen and dining hall food in college, and graduated to Chinese take out, frozen pizza, and Subway in your early adult years.

Let’s do a little math here – according to a 2010 study, 59% of Americans cook for themselves at home 4 times a week or less. That means if someone is eating 3 meals a day (21 meals per week), 17 or more of those meals are from somewhere else – McDonald’s, Olive Garden, you name it. That’s pretty scary when you think about the damage all those restaurant meals can do to your wallet and your waist.

Women also spend more than double the amount of time cooking than men do. Well guys, I’m here to tell you that the kitchen is no longer just for the ladies. No, not in a feminist, “liberate women from the oven and sandwich jokes” way. I honestly just believe that your life will be so much better if you have confidence in the kitchen. Especially if you’re trying to knock Arnie down to Numero Dos. Okay — so maybe you need a little convincing to give up your Easy Mac and Bagel Bites.

cook like a man wine

I’m here to tell you that the kitchen is no longer just for the ladies.

Here are just a few reasons for men to get their cooking on:

1. You’re more likely to stick with your nutrition plan (A.K.A. You’ll get lean!).

One of the biggest reasons guys seem to have a tough time sticking to a nutrition plan is not being able to incorporate it into their everyday lives. If you don’t know how to cook healthier options, there’s a pretty big chance that you won’t be able to follow the plan for long.

You may have heard the old saying that “physique is 20% exercise and 80% diet”. Well, for the most part, that’s usually true. So if your goal is to get ripped, you’re going to need to get your nutrition in line. Learning the basics of cooking will help you make smarter choices without stressing you out, and without making your nutrition plan a pain in the ass to follow.

Being able to cook your food to your personal taste will help you create variety in your meal choices, so you’ll actually be able to sustain a healthy diet for longer than a month. Plain chicken breast and steamed broccoli should NOT be your lifelong meal plan.

cook like a man the rock

You’ll get lean if you cook your own food. (Hence, the Rock.)

2. You’ll save money.

Dining out and ordering delivery can add up, and “ready to eat” frozen meals are pricey. In reality, you can buy ingredients much cheaper and cook in large enough quantities to last through multiple meals. Boom — there’s your “microwave dinner” for just a small time investment and a fraction of the cost. With the extra saved money, you could purchase gym gear, hire a coach to help you really hit your goals, and maybe even take a tropical vacation to show off your newly sculpted physique.

Plus — it opens up some serious savings in the dating arena. Drop $100+ on taking your date out to a restaurant, or spend $25 on some ingredients and a bottle of wine? You do the math.

3. It’s more convenient in the long run.

Once you’ve learned some of the basics of cooking, you’ll be surprised to see how convenient cooking for yourself is. A lot of your favorite dishes will become second nature. And they’ll usually take less time than it would to wait for delivery or drive out to the nearest Chipotle.

Batch cooking will also give you freedom during your day. If you have an already prepared lunch waiting in the fridge at work, you can spend your lunch break going for a walk, at the gym, or scrolling inspirational Instagram pics, instead of on a trip to the nearest sandwich shop.

4. You’ll be eating healthier.

You’ll know what’s going into your food and have power over what you consume. Most restaurants add tons of extra (and sometimes questionable) ingredients that spike up the calorie content. Cooking for yourself ensures that you get a good idea of how much and what you’re eating. You’ll also be able to optimize your performance and physique by having a more accurate sense of your macronutrient ratios. Most restaurant meals are pretty low on protein – probably because it’s more expensive. You can’t expect to pack on the lean muscle you’ve been training so hard for if your only fuel is pizza and bagels. Remember, nutrition is the most important part of getting lean and building muscle.

Handsome man cooking at home preparing salad in kitchen.

Cooking for yourself ensures that you get a good idea of how much and what you’re eating.

5. Counting macros will be infinitely easier.

Now, counting macronutrients is not for everyone, and many will avoid it at all costs. But, a lot of people find that they can only meet their physique goals by being a bit more meticulous with their food intake. As someone who is experienced with macro counting, I can honestly say that cooking for yourself will improve your accuracy by leaps and bounds. Even though eyeballing your restaurant meals is better than not trying at all, there’s no telling exactly how much oil your veggies were sautéed with or how many grams of rice were in your taco bowl.

When you cook for yourself, you can either measure or weigh what you’re eating, or at least make educated estimates based on serving sizes. Holding the breadsticks and getting a side salad at restaurants may have gotten you this far, but getting super lean will most likely take some extra participation on your end – which usually means some form of macro tracking. Make your life easier and cook most of your meals yourself.

6. You’ll gain self-reliance.

Being able to cook can be pretty liberating. Maybe it’s nice to have food delivered to your door or made by someone else — but when it’s all said and done, wouldn’t it be even nicer to know that you can be in a kitchen full of food and actually be able to prepare something for yourself? It may sound harsh, but you aren’t a child anymore – no one (not even your mom) thinks it’s cute that you only know how to pour a bowl of cereal or microwave a cardboard box full powdered potatoes and fried chicken. Trust me, kitchen helplessness is NOT a good look on a man.

7. You might actually enjoy it.

Cooking can be fun. Maybe you’ll even start to enjoy cooking and finding new ways to prepare foods. You’ll definitely enjoy eating it. A lot of people find that cooking is not only a creative outlet, but one that can be almost meditative. Who knows, you might even find a new interest that you never knew existed.

8. Women love it.

I can’t say this enough. Seriously. Women love a man that can cook. It takes some of the pressure off of us, and shows us that you’re self-sufficient. Plus, it’s nice to sit back and relax occasionally while your man whips up a delicious dinner. It doesn’t even have to be a gourmet meal – a nice steak and roasted veggies will get you a long way. Unless she’s a vegetarian, in that case, run! (Just kidding…). And like I said above, cooking for a date will save you money and get you some serious brownie points. Win win.

Are you convinced yet that spending some time in the kitchen might not be all that bad? Let’s say you’ve taken the bait. Now how exactly are you supposed to learn to cook?

cook like a man hot girl

Women love a man who can cook. Image courtesy of

Here are a few tips to becoming a better cook:

1. Start small.

If you’re new to cooking, it probably doesn’t make sense to start with a 30 ingredient recipe that’ll takes 2 hours to prep. Start with some basic protein and veggie dishes and build from there. Even the simplest of meals can be delicious with the addition of spices and herbs – and you’ll be less likely to get frustrated and quit if you start with something that’s impossible to screw up. There are plenty of beginner recipes to try your hand at, so don’t be intimidated if you think you need to be a professional chef to pull off a decent meal.

[Note from Jason: If you really want to learn how to cook, the best method I’ve found was The 4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss]

2. Learn basic cooking methods.

Contrary to popular man-belief, grilling is NOT the only form of cooking. It’s delicious and convenient, but if all you’re doing is grilling, you’re seriously missing out on the other awesome ways to prepare food. Try baking, steaming, slow cooking, and sautéing. I’m a big fan of slow cooking because it takes very little prep time, hardly any effort goes into the actual cooking, and you’ll get a large enough quantity to last for multiple meals. Try different cooking techniques to really enjoy the different flavors that come from each method.

cook like a man bbq

Contrary to popular man-belief, grilling is NOT the only form of cooking.

3. Experiment

You’ll probably find yourself cooking the same 4 or 5 dishes most of the time, but it’s important to occasionally try something new to mix things up and not get bored. You can buy different cuts of meat, an ingredient you’ve never tried before, or play around with different spices. Have fun with it, and don’t get too set on following recipes letter for letter. If something needs more salt or pepper than a recipe calls for, add it. If you want to try your own spice combination, go for it! Too many people get bored with their own cooking because it’s bland. Use different methods and spices to make meals flavorful and exciting.

4. Ask a pro.

If you know someone whose cooking is amazing, ask him or her for a couple tips. Maybe even ask them for their favorite recipes. Hell, write to me with any questions and I’ll be happy to give you pointers. Asking for the advice of someone who has experience is the fastest way to skip all the “beginner mistakes” and move up to the big leagues.

5. Cook for others.

Practice by cooking for family and friends. Get feedback and venture out of your comfort zone. Invite the guys over to watch a game and surprise them with some awesome homemade buffalo wings. If you’re really aiming to impress, invite your girlfriend’s parents over for a home cooked meal. Not only will you be making memories, you’ll be building valuable cooking skills at the same time.

6. Take a class.

If you really want to step it up a notch, find a local cooking class. Plenty of community centers, colleges, and culinary schools offer inexpensive classes. It can be a fun way to meet people (yes, there are ways to meet people aside from Tinder), a great date night, or just a good old-fashioned learning experience. Besides, who doesn’t like the sound of learning “knife skills”?

Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Learning to cook will be a huge step towards getting the lean, strong body you want. Any guy with a cell phone can get pizza delivered; but a real man can cook.

About the Author

Susanna Headshot copySusanna Rainey is a certified Fitness Nutrition Coach and co-founder of Superior Motives Health & Fitness, where she helps guys build lean and strong bodies with personal training programs and nutrition coaching. She is currently pursuing her Master's of Science degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health.

Works Cited

Smith, Lindsey P., Shu Wen Ng, and Barry M. Popkin. “Trends in US Home Food Preparation and Consumption: Analysis of National Nutrition Surveys and Time Use Studies from 1965–1966 to 2007–2008.” Nutrition Journal. BioMed Central. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <>.
“Three in Ten Americans Love to Cook, While One in Five Do Not Enjoy It or Don’t Cook.” Harris Interactive: Harris Polls. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. < Default/Default.aspx>.