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Getting lean and muscular is no easy task. Getting shredded is even tougher. And while you may not plan to hit the stage with striated glutes, there are a few things you can do that will help drop some hard-to-lose fat while you continue to build rock-solid muscle.

I hate using the word diet because for many it has a negative connotation when it comes to eating. While it is true that if you want to get really lean, you need to restrict calories, part of successful dieting is making “healthy eating” a regular part of your lifestyle. So when you are ready to cut, it is much easier. To that end, if you are quite a bit overweight, a highly restricted diet is not your best choice. For a less restricted diet, refer to the plan in the Hyper Growth Bench and Squat Strength Program. But for those looking to show off your abs, define your muscles, and get the tightest physique you have ever had, then be prepared to dip into your discipline a little till you get the hang of what it takes to be in top shape.

There are no shortcuts, and while you can stray a little from your diet, if you go too far, you will lose ground. To that end, your food choices should be high in all three macronutrients (fats, carbs, and proteins), and snacks and smaller meals should be the same, just smaller in portion size. You need to ensure you maximize your workout capacity by taking a good pre- and post-workout supplement such as those provided in our super stack. Don’t starve yourself, but you need to get used to being hungry.

Nutrition Basics for Getting Lean and Muscular

Protein and Carbs. You need them. Both. Don’t skimp on either. The only big thing to remember is that you need to be careful eating too much too late in the evening, as your body slows down and so does your ability to utilize the fuel. In fact, I recommend starting big on carbs and cutting down as your day progresses. Regular eating is a must both to keep your energy levels primed but also to improve your metabolic rate and overall fat-burning capability. Shoot for smaller portion sizes, more frequently.

“Cheat” Meals and Snacks

In my mind, there is no such thing as a cheat, rather it is “necessary” to indulge and give your metabolism a boost, your body some needed energy, and your mind some reprieve. But remember, a slight diversion does not give you authority to trash your diet altogether and go crazy at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Instead, splurge a little by throwing in some fat, like a few French Fries, or some sugar, like gummy bears or even a cup of ice cream. If you splurge sensibly, then you are not cheating, rather you are entertaining.

A Sample Diet

Don’t you hate when sample diets come out and have specific serving sizes with no guidance to match your body type. Should a 200-pound person consume the same 4 oz chicken breast as the 150-pound person? Nope. So this nutrition plan will help you modify your plan accordingly. As a rule of thumb when it comes to gaining strength, you want to eat a little more, shooting for as much as 20 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. But for losing fat and maintaining muscle, you want to shoot for closer to 12 to 13 calories per pound unless you have a fast metabolism and know it, in which case you can jump that up. On workout days, you should add an extra 200 calories per day to that total. While this seems counterintuitive to losing weight, the worst thing you can do when dieting is to prevent your muscles from getting the nutrients they need to build themselves up. Don’t get caught up in cutting too much. And finally, if a day goes over your regular total calorie intake, it’s okay provided it is not way over. But then modify your next day eating by cutting a few extra calories. Again, don’t panic—your body takes time to balance out, so messing up a single day is not a bad thing.

Meal Strategy:

Eat four to six meals per day, and EVERY meal should have carbs, protein, and fat. Ideally each meal would be equal in calories, but since it is likely you will do lunches and dinners for business/pleasure, the following plan is most recommended.

The General Goal is to consume around 35% protein, 50% carbs, and about 15% fat.

The Table is based on 15 calories per pound of bodyweight. If you have a faster metabolism, increase by 10% to  15%, and vice versa if you have a slower metabolism. For bodyweights that lie in between each 50-pound increment, divide through the nearest weight to calculate your ideal breakdown. Remember, this is not including the extra calories you may ingest on workout days.

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Meal breakdown for a person weighing 150 pounds based on an 1,800-calorie diet.

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Meal breakdown for a person weighing 200 pounds based on a 2,400-calorie diet.

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Meal breakdown for a person weighing 250 pounds based on a 3,000-calorie diet.

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A Sample Day Meal Program for a 200-Pound Male

One thing to keep in mind is that to see solid muscle gains while losing fat, you need to keep your protein levels high. It is virtually impossible to get all the protein you need from regular foods alone. While the strategy is to get protein at every meal and snack, you may need to grab 20 to 30 g of whey protein in the form of quick shakes one to three times more per day. Remember as well, you want to get some fat and carbs at every meal.

The following diet can be altered up or down based on your bodyweight and target goal. Eat this way five to six days per week and you will hit your target weight in no time, provided you don’t go overboard on your cheat day.

Meal 1: 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup strawberries or a large banana

Meal 2: 1 cup of cottage cheese, add fruit or nuts

Meal 3: 6 to 8 oz turkey or chicken breast, 2 slices whole-wheat bread, fat- and sugar-free condiments

Meal 4: 1 can tuna, 1 to 2 cups of broccoli or green beans

Meal 5: 6 oz tilapia (or other fish), 1 small sweet potato, 2 cups salad, low-fat dressing

Meal 6: 1 to 2 scoops of protein or 4 hard-boiled egg whites

Sample Food Suggestions

Breakfast possibilities:

English muffin with peanut butter (little) and/or jam or bagel (or bagel) and 2 egg whites

Cup of oats and 2 – 4 egg whites

2 egg whites on English muffin (with turkey sausage)—add cheese if you need more calories

Eat-Smart Shake with banana/strawberries and teaspoon of peanut butter (or equivalent)

Eat-Smart Bar and 1/2 cup cottage cheese or a Greek yogurt cup

Low-fat bran type muffin (will be around 300 – 325 calories)

Early morning or late morning snack possibilities:

Bagel with low-sugar jam or single serving regular jam and a spoonful of peanut butter

Protein shake with banana/strawberries and teaspoon of peanut butter (or equivalent)

1 1/2 cups of oatmeal (with fresh fruit)

1 waffle with a little syrup and low-cal protein shake

2 wheat pancakes with syrup and low-cal protein shake

3 egg whites, 1 yolk scrambled with veggies

Eat-Smart® Bar

Lunch:

5 to 6 oz turkey on rye or wheat

6 oz chicken breast and vegetables

6 to 8 oz salmon or fish with vegetables

4 oz roast beef

Unlimited salad, vegetables, but be light on high-fat dressings

Baked potato/sweet potato (a little better choice) and 4 oz of white meat chicken

Brown rice (1 1/2 cups cooked) with 2 to 4 oz meat

Mid-Day Snack:

2 egg whites on English muffin

Eat-Smart Shake with banana/strawberries and teaspoon of peanut butter (or equivalent)

Eat-Smart Bar

Low-fat/no-fat cottage cheese (1/2 – 3/4 cup)

1 cup of yogurt

Dinner (keep cheese and sauces to a minimum):

8 oz chicken breast, potato, vegetables/salad

6 oz beef petite filet (not covered in butter), vegetables

10 oz of most fishes (salmon is best), brown rice/potato, vegetables

6 to 8 oz turkey burger (6 if having potatoes)

  • Pork, lamb, duck, etc. are higher in fat so portion size should be no more than 6oz
  • Use common sense, keep portions small, butter and rich sauces to a minimum and don’t feel like you have to finish everything on your plate 

Best Foods for Snacking

Dieting is tough. The urge to snack will always be there, as part of the unfortunate demand of cutting up is feeling a little hungry. Try to resist snacking, but if you have to, use good judgment, and try to keep serving sizes to a minimum. The following lists should act as guides, but understand that not all foods are the same. Take a look at packaging for sugar and fat levels before indulging in what may look like a low-cal snack.

Best 100 Calorie Snacks

Trying to hit snacks in the 100-calorie range is easy enough; however, they likely won’t have a full mix of all the macros. If you have a 200-calorie snack or more, you can combine some good options and have everything you need to provide fuel and help keep you ripped.

Banana

1/2 cup Edamame

1/2 cup oatmeal (non-flavored)

One 5.3-oz container of Greek yogurt—okay, it's about 130 calories…

4 egg whites

1/2 oz light cheese (individual packet)

3 cups air-popped popcorn—little value, but few calories to hit a savory fix

1 1/4 oz beef jerky or 1.5oz turkey jerky

2 to 3 tablespoons of Hummus and some carrot or celery sticks

4 slices of sashimi (yum!!!)—raw fish

3 oz canned salmon or tuna

1/2 oz of trail mix

Handful of almonds (about 10)

1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 apple (or other fruit)

Cup of grapes or 1 1/2 cups of blueberries or raspberries

20 g protein (non fat) scoop

8 medium-sized shrimp

Best 200 Calories Snacks

You can combine any two 100-calorie snacks together or get creative and mix and match half-serving sizes of the 100 calorie snacks. The following 200-calorie snacks will give you a nice fill and keep you going.

PB&J thinly coated on low-calorie whole wheat

6 to 7 pieces of sushi (rice wrapped fish)

Sliced apple with peanut butter (or almond butter)—don’t go crazy, but certainly do enjoy

English muffin and chunk of cheese (cream cheese) or jelly

Chips and salsa (a handful of chips and few ounces of salsa)

Apple in turkey slice – 4 to 5 (turkey slice wrapped around apple slice)

Avocado (1/2) and cottage cheese (1/2 cup)

Omelet with 3 egg whites, 1 yolk, veggies, and salsa

Eat-Smart Bar (15 g protein)

12 Chocolate covered almonds

Smoothie—1 big scoop of Eat-Smart powder, mixed with fruit

Go back to the 8 Week Hyper Growth Program >>

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