Meal Plans

Diet Advice For Increased Cardio Training

Stave off muscle breakdown when ramping up cardio activity with these meal plan tips.

Dear M&F,

I’ve decided to increase my cardio this summer to take advantage of the warmer weather outside and burn a little extra fat. How can I tweak my diet to make sure I don’t break down any of my hard-earned muscle? 

—Mark C., Chicago, IL

Answer: Ramping up your cardio has the downside of leaving fewer calories to be stored in your muscle. Your nutrition needs to account for this extra activity. The diet below is perfect for you, especially if you plan on running first thing in the morning when the body is burning stored fat as its primary fuel source. First, we’re adding more carbs to your intake to fuel the extra cardio, starting with honey. Research shows that honey helps regulate blood sugar during times of intense exercise. This will be key in helping you exercise longer and harder without breaking down muscle tissue. We’ve also increased your overall calories and protein dramatically to support muscle recovery.

Mark’s Old Diet:


3 scrambled eggs (2 egg whites and 1 whole egg)
2 slices whole-grain toast
2 cups mixed fruit 1 cup Greek yogurt


1 cup brown rice
8 oz chicken breast
1 cup cooked spinach
1 apple

Post-Workout Shake

50g maltodextrin
25g whey proteinisolate
2 fish oil capsules


10 oz salmon fillet
1 medium salad
1 cup whole-grain couscous
2 cups broccoli and cauliflower


1⁄2 cup mixed nuts
1 string cheese

Check out Mark's new and improved diet on the next page >>

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