Nutrition

Super-Fast Slimdown Plan

Lean-out fast—and stay that way—with a simple-yet-highly effective diet and training reboot known as carb cycling.

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The Diet Plan
Manipulate your carb intake to maximize fat loss

Maintaining a careful balance of your macronutrients—carbs, protein, and fat—will help you get the results you want. Each day, you’ll have four primary meals and two snacks. (See sample menus, opposite page.) Start with the high-carb day, then segue into the lower-carb days. Follow these other dietary guidelines throughout the plan:

High-carb for energy (1 day) . To keep your metabolism humming, go high carb for one day, aiming to consume approximately 1.4–1.6 grams of carbs per pound of body weight (about 182–208 grams for a 130-pound woman). The extra carbs will recharge your muscle glycogen stores and speed up your metabolism, leading to even greater fat loss. They’ll also trigger the release of insulin, one of the body’s most important anabolic hormones. Taper your intake as the day progresses, consuming the majority of your carbs at breakfast and pre- and post-workout.

The bulk of your carbs should be low glycemic to prevent insulin surges, which could hamper fat loss. Choose slow-burning, complex carb sources such as sweet potato, oatmeal, whole- and sprouted-grain breads and bread products, fruits, and fibrous greens like broccoli, kale, collard greens, and spinach.

Low carb for fat loss (3–4 days) . Start by limiting your carb intake to about 0.6 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day. For a 130-pound woman, that’s 78 grams. Your body will turn to fat stores for energy during this relatively short period. Ideally, you’ll taper your carb intake as the day progresses, consuming the majority of the macronutrients at breakfast and pre- and post-workout.

Protein changes, too. On the days you’re following the high-carb guidelines, consume about 1.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. (That’s 182 grams total for a 130-pound woman.) You won’t need to increase protein by too much on higher-carb days, since the extra carbs generate more insulin, which helps you get more protein into your muscles. On your low-carb days, decrease protein intake slightly, to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (156 grams total using the example above). The slight drop in protein on low-carb days allows for an increase in fat intake, helping to keep your calorie intake stable while fueling your muscles during intense training sessions.

Choose from high-quality proteins like chicken breast, turkey breast, eggs, lean beef, and fish, as well as whey protein powder. Aim to consume about 20–40 grams of protein with every meal.

Fight fat with fat. On the days you’re following the low-carb plan, eat more fats to maintain energy and satiety. That translates to about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight per day, or about 65 grams of fat. Alternatively, on higher-carb days, you’ll lower your fat intake to 0.2–0.3 grams per pound of body weight per day (27–39 grams). When choosing fats, pick healthier varieties from polyunsaturated- and monounsaturated-rich sources, such as avocado, natural nut butters, and nuts like walnuts.

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