Meal Plans

Rock Hard Challenge 2014 Nutrition Month 1

Training is only half the battle. Dial in the perfect meal plans to build muscle while you torch fat.


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On top of its high fiber and potassium content, broccoli can reduce estrogen, hence improving the testosterone ratio in your body. Lightly steam it or eat it raw.

You can train your ass off for every day of our training program, but without the right nutrition plan, you’re not going to be able to see any of your hard work come out in the form of lean, defined muscle. Stick to the macronutrient guidelines we give you for training days and off days. Remember: The nutrition guidelines we post in this issue are only for the first four weeks of the program. The final four weeks of training and nutrition, coming in our April issue, will see some serious tweaks; as far as nutrition is concerned, this means you’re going to see, among other changes, a big cut in carbs as you approach the finish line.

The sample meal plans provided here are designed for a 6-foot, 200-pound male. You don’t have to stick to these meal plans exactly. They are examples that will give you a good idea of what you can and should be eating during the first four weeks of the Rock Hard Challenge. You’ll notice that the calories are actually higher on the off-day plan than they are on the training-day plan. Don’t worry. Remember: You grow at rest, and since you’re only resting one day a week, this is the day to eat big. However, you’ll also notice that most of the extra calories come from protein and fat, not carbs.

The Rules 

Don't stray from these essential RHC nutrition guidelines

Doneness of steak affects more than flavor. Cook steak rare or medium rare. One recent study linked well-done steak to prostate cancer.

1. No bread or wheat of any kind.

Even on the most intense training days, you can’t break this rule (with the exception of your one weekly cheat meal, explained in Rule No. 4). We’ve explained countless times in these pages that the post-workout window is the one time when white bread, white flour, and sugar are OK and even encouraged because your muscles are primed to absorb them and restore spent glycogen; the insulin spike these foods create signals muscle growth during this time; and the sugars aren’t likely to be converted to fat. However, just because you don’t risk gaining fat by eating these foods in the post-workout window doesn’t mean they'll help you get super- shredded in the timeframe of this program. Steer clear of these simple carbs and stick to clean sources like quinoa, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes, and fibrous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

2. Taper your carbs. 

Carbs are essential training and recovery fuel. But carbs late in the day—other than fibrous vegetables—have the potential to sabotage your progress and pack the wrong kind of mass onto your frame. If you train in the morning, shut down carb intake after lunch. If you train in the afternoon or at night, shut down carb intake immediately after your post-workout meal. Or, if you can, try to just stick with the recommended post- workout supplements; the protein and BCAAs in the Anotest and Nitro-Tech should give your muscles everything they need to grow without the carbs.

3. Aim for 1–11⁄2 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.

Our meal plans split the difference; the training day plan gives about 250 grams of protein to a 200-pound guy. You’ll find it incredibly difficult to hit this number without fast-digesting whey (for post-workout) and slower-digesting casein protein supplements for other times of day. See more about supplements in the RHC Supplement section.

4. Treat yourself to one cheat
 meal per week.

Not a cheat day, or half day, or night: ONE MEAL. This will serve two functions: It will save your sanity and let you indulge in some of the junk food you might be missing and, more important, it will help spare muscle tissue while boosting your metabolism.

NEXT: Weeks 1-4 Training Day Sample Meal Plan >>