However, all of sudden, it's roughly one week until summer. And again, you've waited to long to get your body ready.
But there's hope.
If you're willing to buckle down, cook your own food, stick to an intense training plan and supplement properly for three weeks, you've got what takes it turn your physique around. Remember, keep this plan in context. It's less than a month. You won't be in the running to graze a magazine cover or be a contender to win a physique show.
But if your goal is to be able to show up to a pool party and take your shirt off, you've come to the right place. You'll achieve faster results with this approach than any other way you've tried this far. If you're in a time crunch and you need to crash diet, this is the best way to do it.
Shredded for Summer Diet PlanIn such a short time period, diet will be key. You can do burpees until you puke, but if you don't tighten things up with your diet, your physique will refuse to tighten up as well. We'll cover supplements, cardio and training, but diet will be the foundation.
You'll be using the carb cycling method for this 3 week shred. Carb cycling is a manipulated alternation of carb intake in order to prevent fat loss plateaus, maintain a healthy metabolism and to prevent sub-par performances in the gym.
Related: How to Get Shredded and Stay That Way 24/7/365
Carb cycling is considered a high level strategy typically used for physique athletes. However, for those who are in a time crunch and are willing to follow a plan with little deviance, carb cycling can work for regular people as well.
Below is how you'll set up your diet:
Off carb day
- First, set your carbohydrate intake at .35 per pound of bodyweight. If you're 190 pounds, that's 66.5g of carbs per day (190 x .35). This is extremely low, but we only have about 21 days so suck it up.
- Second, set your protein intake at 1.25 per pound of bodyweight. If you're 190 pounds, that's 237.5g of protein per day (190 x 1.25). Hitting your protein numbers will be critical, especially with how aggressive this diet will be. If you haven't done anything like this before, the protein number will seem very high. And it is, due to the restricted intake of carbs and a lower fat intake. Plus, protein has the highest thermic effect of food, or also known as TEF (The thermic effect of food is the caloric cost of digesting and processing different macronutrients in your diet). This simply helps burn more calories.
- Lastly, you'll set your fat intake at .35 per pound of bodyweight. If you're 190 pounds that's 66.5g of fat per day.
High carb dayAfter several days of off carb days, you'll throw in a high carb day. This will keep your metabolism running efficiently and give you a boost in the gym so your performance doesn't suffer too greatly from being in a caloric deficit.
- For your carb intake, set your levels at 2g per pound of bodyweight. If you're 190 pounds, that's 380g (190 x 2).
- For your protein intake, set your levels at .75g per pound of bodyweight. If you're 190 pounds, that's 142.5gg (190 x .75)
- For fat, limit your intake to essential fats. Typical sources are flaxseed oil and fish oil supplements. Don't skip this part. Even though we are cutting fat down on your high carb days, trying to eliminate them completely will backfire on you. Dietary fats support metabolism, assists in proper absorption and functions as a transporter of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
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Meal timing and meal frequencyThis plan is intense as it is. To add more complexity to it would probably decrease adherence rate. I don't want you to stress out over how many meals you should eat per day. I don't want you to be that guy who flips out because he can't have his protein shake 47 seconds after his last rep.
As long as you are hitting your macro nutrient numbers and staying in caloric deficit, you will burn the fat. Meal timing and meal frequency aren't as important as you think.
A weight loss study done by the University of Ontario, split people into two dietary groups. One group ate 3 meals per day and the other group at 3 meals plus 3 snacks per day. Both groups were in a caloric deficit. After 8 weeks, researchers found no significant difference in average fat loss.
The point is, do what works for you. If you like having 6 smaller meals thorough the day, fine. If you like having 3 larger meals per day, cool.
Diet ScheduleThis is the cycle you will follow. On "off" days you will follow your off carb day nutrition plan. On your "high" day you will follow your high carb day nutrition.
- Day 1 Off
- Day 2 Off
- Day 3 Off
- Day 4 Off
- Day 5 High
- Day 6 Off
- Day 7 Off
Shredded for Summer SupplementsDuring your emergency shred, there are a few supplements I recommenced that will support a healthy metabolism, maximum fat loss, improved recovery and minimize muscle loss.
BCAA's (branch chain amino acids)
When you're at an energy deficit (when you're trying to lose weight), you run the risk of forcing your body to breakdown that hard earned muscle you've trained for. When glycogen storages are low, the body will then oxidize BCAA's for energy and if you don't supplement them it will turn to your muscles for the BCAA's, this isn't good regardless of you're trying to lose fat or maintain muscle mass. So, when there is an energy shortage, BCAA's can fill that void.
In one study, 25 competitive wrestlers were divided into 1 of 3 diet groups: a diet high in BCAAs, a diet low in BCAAs, and a control diet. The wrestlers stayed on the diets for 19 days. The results showed that the high BCAA group lost the most body fat, 17.3% on average. Much of the fat lost was in the abdominal region. In another study 2 groups of climbers were divided into a BCAA supplemented group and a control group. Both groups lost weight but the BCAA group actually gained muscle mass while losing fat and the other group lost muscle mass.
You'll want to take in 10-15g of BCAA's per day while on your emergency shred.
There are thousands of fat burners on the market, but almost all of them increase energy, stimulate metabolism and suppress appetite. Two common ingredients you'll find in fat burners today are caffeine and green tea extract.
Caffeine binds to fat cells to support fat-burning during exercise and green tea extract (namely the antioxidant ECGC, Epigallocatechin gallate) prevents the breakdown of metabolism regulator norepinephrine. In other words, more norepinephrine you have floating in your bloodstream, the higher your resting metabolism (which means a higher calorie burn).
Fat burners will instruct you on dosage, but typically, taking them twice daily is the protocol. Prevent taking them 4-5 hours before bed if possible because the caffeine will impact your sleep.
Getting the recommended amount of fruits and veggies in your daily diet can be difficult, especially if you're busy; and we all seem to claim we are. Unless you're a professional chef, or athlete or unemployed (and therefore have a lot of free time), you might not have the time to prepare the amount of fruits and veggies you need in your daily diet. The solution?
Turn to greens supplement powder. These powders are essentially fruits and veggies that have been compacted and distilled into powdered form. By supplementing a greens powder into your diet, you'll ensure that your vitamin, mineral, anti-oxidant and phytochemical needs are met on a daily basis. However, I don't want you to use the green powder in the place of eating real food. It's a resource to fill in the gaps.
Two servings of a greens supplement a day should augment the veggies your including in your diet.
CreatineAlong with BCAA's, think of creatine as your muscle savior. While you're in this deficit, it's going to get tough. You'll be running on lower energy than you're used to. Adding in 10g of creatine per day will mitigate strength and muscle loss.
EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids)As mentioned earlier, essential fats are imperative. Be sure to include these into your emergency shred plan. The ideal ratio is between 4:1 and 3:1, Omega-6 to Omega-3 but the average person has an intake somewhere between 10:1 to 25:1. This is where a supplement comes in handy to make sure you're ratios are on point.
Shredded for Summer Training Routine
|Chest and Back|
|Incline Bench Press||12-15|
|One-Arm Dumbbell Row||12-15|
|DB Flat Bench Press||12-15|
|V-Bar Pull Downs||12-15|
|T-Bar Seated Row||12-15|
|Push Ups||To Failure|
|Perform 10 Sets (1 minute rest between sets)|
|20 Kettlebell Swings|
|20 Cable Crunch|
|Arms and Abs|
|Cable Curl (rest 10 seconds between sets)||5||10|
|Tricep Push Downs (rest 10 seconds between sets)||5||10|
|Smith Machine Seated Shoulder Press||8||8|
|DB Lateral Raise||3||12-15|
|Rope Face Pulls||3||12-15|
|Captain's Chair Leg Raises 200 reps|
|Perform 10 Sets (1 minute rest between sets)|
|20 Kettlebell Swings|
|20 Cable Crunch|
|Barbell Hip Thrusts||3||12-15|
|Lying Leg Curl||12-15|
|Standing Calf Raise||3||20|
Shredded for Summer CardioOn your strength training days, you will perform 30 minutes of cardio. Any medium that you prefer is fine. Run, row, bike, swim, ski erg, versa climber, whatever. Do this right after your strength training or as a second session 3 to 4 hours later.
You've got the road-map to win this battle.
21 days isn't a very long time, but if you attack it with everything you've got you'll be amazed at how your physique will change. With a little planning and a potent dose of daily discipline, you can avoid looking like a zip lock bag of mushroom soup while you walk around shirtless this summer.
Get after it.