Gain Mass

Rock Hard Diet Guidelines Month 1: Calorie Math

No nutritionist on hand? Dont' worry. Here are all the expert food rules you need to melt fat and build a strong, super lean body


Take in Plenty of Fats to Balance Out Your Diet

When you want to cut calories and reduce body fat it seems like a nobrainer to cut fat, right? That’s what many overweight dieters do. But those who are working out intensely have different metabolic needs than the obese. When you’re following a cutting phase while following an intense training program, you still need to get in plenty of both unsaturated and saturated fats. Unsaturated fats provide satiety, making you feel less hungry on a per-calorie basis. They also provide health benefits, giving you the raw materials for supporting skin, hair, tendons, and ligaments. Saturated fats provide the building blocks for crucial hormones such as testosterone. Together, these important nutrients support muscle-building and fat loss.

Your goal: Get in the balance of your calories from fats, split evenly between healthy fats and saturated fats. This means that you’ll consume up to 25% of your daily calories from fats. To determine how much of each type of fat you need, multiply your body weight by 0.20. In other words, a 200-pounder needs about 40 grams of unsaturated fats and 40 grams of saturated fats each day. Good sources of unsaturated fats include olive and canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon. Good sources of saturated fats include dairy, eggs, and meat.

Save Your Fast-Digesting Carbs for After Workouts

While you’re on the Rock Hard Diet, you’ll cut out sugars at most times of day. You should still consume a piece of fruit or two per day (the fiber reduces fruit’s sugar impact), but the only other form of sugars you should eat are the fast-digesting carbs you take in with your post-workout meals. Carbs drive muscle recovery and growth, and the fast-digesting forms are particularly effective right after workouts, when your body seeks to jump-start this process. They trigger an almost immediate insulin release, which enhances anabolism and drives muscle growth. On rest days, you’ll replace fast-digesting carbs with slow-digesting carbs.

Your goal: After workouts, take in ¼ gram of simple carbs for every pound of body weight. This means that a 200-pounder should consume about 50 grams of fast-digesting carbs after training. Make a proportional adjustment if your body weight or caloric intake varies from a 200-pounder who consumes 4,000 calories a day for body-weight maintenance. Before workouts, stick to slow carbs (fruit will work here) to keep insulin levels low and fat burning up during training.

Get in at Least Six Meals a Day

If you’ve jumped ahead to look at our sample meal plans, you probably noticed that we have not reduced the number of meals you consume per day even though the number of total calories has dropped. That’s because each meal provides its own anabolic and body-fat-cutting opportunity.

Your goal: Continue to take in at least six meals a day, reducing the calorie intake of each meal proportionally compared with the amount of calories you typically consume for body-weight maintenance. Take a look at our sample meal plans to see how we’ve designed our one-day plans for both workout and rest days.