I know what you’re thinking.
He’s going to say it.
He’s going to tell us to…. (don’t say it, don’t say it)… DIET???!!
Haha, well I’m not going to really tell you to diet (but kinda I am). There is no quick fix, no short-term “diet” that ever really works. Instead, it’s about creating a basic healthy diet (a general way of eating) that you can live with. While working out is necessary (I am addicted to working out), unfortunately, getting your abs to show is overwhelmingly determined by what we eat.
My problem though (and I’ll guess most people’s problem)? I LOVE eating! Let me say that again…
I LOVE EATING. I admit it! I am a fat kid at heart; and for a few years in HS/College I was more than just a fat kid at heart, I was one in reality too (if anyone posts pictures I will not be happy haha). So it’s not like I have amazing ab defining genetics. The diet rules I’m going to lay out for you – in extremely simple terms – balances my love for eating, with achieving my goal of 5% bodyfat.
This is definitely the longest post I will ever make, but once you read through it, you’ll see it’s really not that complicated or difficult to live by. It’s more of a lifestyle thing than a diet.
***Note to everyone – I f’n love ice cream and Rita’s. I will admit I eat one or the other about once a week. So while it’s no where in this diet, I wanted to just own up to my own weakness – but sue me… it’s my vice (well that, patron, and girls that get blackout. But we’ll cover those in another post).***
1. Water, Water and More Water – You literally can never drink enough water AND you should always be drinking water. I used to carry around a bottle of smart water with me wherever I went but now (thanks to some prodding from a certain female) I bought a water bottle and just constantly refill it.
The point is forget about diet soda, or vitamin water (IT’S NOT WATER!!) you need to drink REAL water. I’m not going to go into the science of it, but replace all your daily drinks with water. It helps flush your system, keeps you full, and keeps you hydrated (needed for workouts).
Your goal 10 glasses a day – or 4 fill ups of a basic water-bottle.
2. More Meals = Faster Metabolism – We all want to believe that eating less helps us lose weight, but that’s not entirely true. Without getting too technical, skipping meals or starving yourself causes your body to go into crisis mode and actually slows your metabolism down. It teaches your body to use LESS calories to function because it has no idea when it might get fed again. So what’s the answer? Eating more! At least 5 if not 6 meals a day. These meals should be smaller then whatever you consider a normal portion size, but a meal none the less.
3. Cut out the unnecessary – For most of us (like me) extra calories and fat adds up – and it shows. When you want to make changes to your body (especially when trying to tighten up) the easiest thing to do is look at the little ancillary things we consume that we don’t realllllllyyyy need. Crutons, Mayo, Cheese, Bacon, Pasta/Rice/Bread (as a side dish), etc. Now I will admit that I love cheese, but I only eat it on it’s own (where I really get the taste and satisfaction of eating it). However, on sandwiches, or salads I never get it anymore (just wasted calories). Which leads me to my next point….
4. Save your calories – If you love eating like I do, then you need to save your calories, carbs, etc. for the important meals or restaurants. For instance – I eat ridiculously healthy during the day and on nights when I cook for myself. I am extremely strict with my diet on these days (usually about 5-6 days a week). However, I am do so with a purpose. I do this so that when it’s worth it, I can eat what I want and not feel guilty. Weekends, nice restaurants, dates, they are all reasons you are going to want to be able to eat a little bit more freely. Save your calories for those moments. Don’t blow them on a bowl of pasta on a Wed night, just because you don’t FEEL like eating a salad.
PS – Girls don’t mind a guy who’s healthy, but girls DO NOT like a guy that eats too healthy. It makes the girl feel like a fatty and makes you look like a P*&SY. So save your calories for those dates… or you’ll be eating a lot more meals alone haha.
5. Protein is gooood – I’m going to keep this short. You can eat as much LEAN protein as you want at any meal. Egg Whites, Lean Turkey, Chicken, etc; not burgers or fried chicken. While you can have a little bit of fatty protein you should try and stay on the lean proteins.
The More Complicated Stuff
6. Modified Carb Cycling – While I believe in keeping a low-carb diet, I have recently made switch in my diet to to a modified Carb Cycling program (and I’ve seen great results). When I stuck to a strict low to no carb diet I could get very lean very quickly, however as soon as I had a weekend of fun eating I felt soft immediately (like on a recent trip to California). This happened because my body had no idea what to do with all the carbs I consumed. So to prevent this from happening again, I switched to a Carb-Cycling program. Carb Cycling is basically rotating between days of high-carb, low-carb, and no-carb intake; all along teaching your body how to use carbs efficiently. Because I have a very specific goal of less than 5% bfp, I really only have Low Carb and No Carb days, but once a week I allow 1 high-carb day (we are only talking about approved carbs – which I’ll get to in a minute). My day rotations usually are set up so that my High-Carb day falls on a weekend but you can’t win all the time. The catch, you need to eat one small serving of fruit with each carb meal. This small amount of sugar helps the liver stay in fed mode rather than going into starvation mode (basically keeps your body from storing an excess amount of carbs. Oh yea and one of your carb servings MUST be right after you workout (your body needs carbs for the muscle rebuilding process).
High Carb Day = Approved Carbs with 3 of your 6 meals
Low Carb Day = Approved Carbs with 2 of your 6 meals
No Carb Day = No Carbs (haha obviously)
7. Carbs Anytime?? No – So my basic rule for eating carbs can be called the triangle principle. Picture the base of the triangle being the time you wake up, while the top (the point) is the time you go to sleep. During the base of the triangle (the morning) is when you can consume the majority of your carbs. As the day goes along your carbs consumed should decrease as well. Carbs are a pure energy source and since by the time your work day is over you’ve used the majority of the energy you need in a day and don’t really need any more carbs for the day. So on your High Carb and Low Carb Days try and consume your carbs earlier in the day rather than later on.
8. Boozin = Bellies… or does it? – So listen, calories are calories so drinking like freshman year will never help you lose weight…. BUT, drinking isn’t going to kill you. A couple general rules: 1. Don’t just sit home drinking beers (see saving calories), if you’re going to drink then go out. 2. Don’t let drinking turn into eating (THIS is where most people go flying downhill). 3. Stick with light beer or non caloric mixed drinks (anything mixed with water or club soda).
What do my typical day diet look like? Low Carb & Modified No Carb Day
Low Carb Day
6am – 1 Piece of Toast, 2tsp Organic Peanut Butter , and a little Sara Beth’s Jelly (Best Jelly Ever!)
9am – Protein Shake (protein, skim milk, ice, and banana)
11am – Nonfat vanilla yogurt, blueberries, low-fat granola
1pm – Salad, Spinach, eggwhites, red beans, turkey/chicken, red peppers, tomatoes, O&V dressing
3pm – Protein powder in skim milk (nothing else)
5pm – Protein Bar or Granola Bar + a few strawberries or blueberries
8pm – 2 Grilled Chicken Breasts (lightly seasoned), asparagus or spinach, & baked sweet potato
No Carb Day
6am – Egg whites, spinach and turkey (sometimes a little cheese) and a sliced tomato (NO KETCHUP)
9am – Protein powder in skim milk (nothing else)
11am – Oatmeal
1pm – Salad (similar to what I described above)
3pm – Sliced Turkey (just on it’s own) or Yogurt + Strawberries (no granola)
5pm – Banana
8pm – Salmon over spinach, Turkey Burgers, or Grilled Chicken are my go-to’s
10pm – Protein Powder in water
A couple notes:
1. I don’t have a true high carb day OR a true No Carb Day; however like I said, I will (once a week) save my carbs for a big meal that I know I am going to have (love pasta, and sweet potato fries and I will sacrifice during the day to have them!). I also workout so much that I always have at least a little carbs in my day or I’d never make it through my workouts.
2. I typically mix my low carb/no carb days totally at random (with only 2 No Carb days in a week) so as not to let my body get too timed to a particular cycle.
3. On almost everyday I snack on some raw unsalted almonds, but I don’t eat a ton – and if you find yourself not losing enough fat, this is the first and easiest thing to cut out.
4. While I try and watch the fat content on my proteins I am rather loose with this rule. I mainly try and avoid adding cheese or caloric sauces/condiments to things. I save my cheese time for when I JUST want cheese.
5. Make sure to treat yourself. Don’t let this type of diet rule your life, let it just be a guideline. And don’t look at eating what you want as a cheat meal or cheat day (I HATE this). It’s not cheating, because I am not telling you to have a full normal day of food and THEN have 3 slices of pizza and chocolate cake on top of it. However, if once/twice a week there is something you really want… eat it, and balance it out later (or before is usually best). But within reason – Don’t eat an entire magnolia cupcake (only 1 person I know can do this and still keep her 6pack day in and day out), eat half and save the rest for another day.
6. Try and avoid processed carbs whenever possible. I eat as little bread, rice, pasta, cereal as possible. If I’m going to eat carbs I try and get them from natural sources like sweet potatoes, bananas and other fruits.
7. If you are going to eat carbs they should really only be the following:
So that’s it… A short book I know, but it’s probably the most important part of the quest for 5%
Got Questions?? Let me know.