To get ripped, cut, shredded or whatever else you want to
describe the process of getting ultra-lean as, it takes real grit,
determination, consistency and knowledge. For those people who claim it is
‘easy’ to get peeled, let me tell you for most of us it is not! Possible yes,
but not easy. Negativity isn’t something I ever am, nor do I want to be.
However I do not want you to be disillusioned, to get into skin popping
condition it will take a great deal effort on your behalf!
With that out of the way we can move on. For sure, there is
certainly more than one way you can get lean and it depends on your body type
as to what method will work best for you. However, from my experience dieting
myself and helping clients the method I am going to share with you will help
get you into eye opening shape!
Before I go through the effort of sharing the diet, let me
lay down some rules. Whether or not you read differently elsewhere, if you
choose to follow my plan you must stick to these rules with no exception.
Missing Meals is something you cannot afford to do. Over a 12
week period every meal counts and adds up to complete the overall puzzle. If
you miss a meal the metabolism will slow down, blood sugar levels take a dive
and your insulin sensitivity is affected. This can lead to the inability to
metabolise body fat as well as the breakdown of muscle tissue. This is off
limits no matter the excuse, if a solid meal isn’t possible then have a shake!
Cheat Meals are something which I believe everyone craves
during their transformation no matter how mentally tough they are. This doesn’t
excuse you from the fact that you cannot afford to pick at biscuits here, have
a bit of ice cream or scoff on chocolate when you get a bit hungry. Again,
eating junk food will not only alter your calorie intake but it will also play
havoc with your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity which will have a
very negative effect on your fat loss goals.
Being strict is essential! Cutting out milk and sugar from your
hot drinks is something I feel is necessary. Milk is primarily a carbohydrate
source, not a protein or fat source. In every 100ml of skimmed milk there is
10g of sugar which will certainly have a negative impact on your fat loss
progress. It may sound over the top, but I think if a radical transformation is
the goal then drop the milk! I personally use Stevia, a natural sweetener to
replace the sugar I crave in my coffee.
Hydration is so important for health and fat loss! The majority
of the population are dehydrated without knowing it, did you know that? We live
in a society where sugary fruit drinks and hot beverages are used as a means to
stay hydrated. The problem is that sugar can cause dehydration and coffee and
tea can act as diuretics which can lead to dehydration! Personally I would
recommend drinking 1 litre per 50lbs of body weight, and around 25% of it
before and during your workout.
With the foundations in place we can move on and discuss the
plan, or the ‘’Beach Body Blueprint’’ as I like to call it.
Protein has a very important role in this plan for several
reasons. Whilst you are in a net calorie deficit the risks of losing muscle
tissue due to catabolism are higher! By keeping your protein intake high and
regular, you can help combat this. Aim for 1.5g of protein per pound of body
weight from high quality lean red meat, game meat, poultry, eggs, protein
powders and low cottage cheese.
Protein is also essential for fat loss because it helps
regulate constant blood sugar levels. What this does is help prevent any unwanted
fluctuations which can lead to cravings for sugar, and poor insulin
Fats are so good
for you, so I don’t apologise for using the ‘F’ word!! Whilst some diets will
advocate cutting your fat consumption right down, or even completely eradicating
them I advise the opposite! The cells in your body are made up of fats and by
cutting fat out of your diet you are not minding your own health very well.
Fats are also essential for optimal brain function throughout the day,
promoting healthy cholesterol levels, organ health, joint health and they also
have an array of other functions.
In regards to fat loss I think healthy fats are so
beneficial and here is why. Fats have over twice the calorific density of
protein or carbohydrates which means that they will keep you feeling fuller for
longer. Logically then it makes sense to consume healthy fats when cravings are
going to be an issue i.e. following a junk free diet. This is why all time
classics like having peanut butter before bed had survived the test of time,
fats stop your tummy rumbling and temporarily take your mind of raiding the
Consuming healthy fats also helps the body metabolise body
fat which is essential if you are going to get those abs to show.
absolutely fine as long as you manage them. In the media you will often hear
about why carbohydrates are so bad and why you shouldn’t eat them if fat loss
is the goal. In contrast, I would argue against that point all day. Eating the
right kind of carbohydrates at the right time of day in my opinion is not only
OK, it is essential!
Complex carbohydrates do have very good anti-catabolic
properties as they are able to shuttle nutrients into the muscle cell, increase
insulin secretion (this is beneficial post-training) and by replenishing muscle
glycogen levels there is less chance your body will breakdown muscle proteins
for fuel. High quality complex carbohydrate sources are generally good sources
of micronutrients as well as fibre.
Fibrous carbohydrates are great because they provide fibre
to aid the digestive system, micronutrients and due to the fact they are so low
in calories you can eat relatively high volumes to help prevent cravings.
The Criteria is very specific.
As we touched on before, I insist that you eat 1.5g of
protein per pound of body weight.
The volume of fats you consume needs to be in the region of
0.4g per pound of body weight.
Try to get your protein and fat sources from at least 4
different sources every day – this ensures you are getting a more diverse range
of healthy fats and amino acid profiles.
The complex carb intake is limited to 50g per day which is
to be consumed with your post-training meal.
On top of that you are allowed between 50-100g of
carbohydrates per day from GREEN fibrous vegetables.
The overall calorie intake for this plan is between 10-12
calories per pound of body weight.
Every 3 hours throughout the day you must consume a meal or
shake with the correct nutritional content without fail.
Why do I insist on following this criteria? From personal experience
with clients it has the highest success rate where body fat is concerned. In regards
to eating every 3 hours this helps prevent blood sugar levels dipping, insulin
levels being affected and your muscle being broken down for energy?
For those who are unaware, the reason we do not want spikes
in insulin secretion throughout the day is because in short this prevents the
body from burning body fat. The only time this is beneficial is immediately
post-training which explains the complex carbohydrate allowance.
Holding on to lean muscle tissue (even for you ladies) is
essential for two reasons when stripping away body fat. First of all, the more
lean muscle tissue you have the better you will look with lower body fat
levels. Secondly, as I mentioned before muscle has a very high metabolic rate
so it helps keep your BMR (basal metabolic rate) high which leads to higher
To make things simple, let’s look at an average day in the
life of a client. On my plan, this is the type of diet they would be eating on
a typical day.
Breakfast – salmon fillet and macadamia nuts (people with nut
allergies would have blueberries here)
Mid-Morning – chicken breast, 2 whole eggs and broccoli
Lunch – lean beef steak, cabbage and cauliflower
Mid-afternoon – chicken breast and avocado
Post-workout shake – whey isolate protein with pineapple
Post-workout meal – lean beef steak, basmati rice, broccoli
Before bed – multi-blend protein, peanut butter
This is a very vague outline for illustration purposes only;
of course it is absolutely necessary that you measure the food according to
your own body weight. However, this at least helps show you the meal frequency
over the course of a day and what types of foods are eaten and when they are
The toughest part about this plan is allowing for ‘loading’
days where you would typically have a day where you can eat complex
carbohydrates up to 4-5 times. Again, as a rule of thumb I would suggest that
you do not have a loading day for the first 4 weeks, and depending on your condition
you can look to have one every 2 weeks after the initial period of 4 weeks. If you
feel your condition is not where it needs to be after 4 weeks, I would suggest
waiting until around week 6. Why do we have loading days?
As I recently touched on in my guide to clean bulking, the
hormones within your body play a huge role in body composition. Another one of
those hormones is known as Leptin, often referred to as the hormone which sends
a signal to the brain telling it you are starving! This occurs when Leptin
levels drop dramatically and as a result the body becomes very resilient to
burning body fat. Complex carbohydrates are very effective at rising Leptin
levels which is why we have these days, as well as kick starting the metabolism
and reloading the muscles to an extent.
On loading days don’t view it as a free license to hit every
food outlet within a 50 mile radius which tickles your taste bud’s fancy! Sure,
I will generally allow my clients to have one cheat meal on loading days which
can be any meal they want. However, the rest of the day their carbohydrate intake
will come from high quality sources such as oats, brown rice, potato, sweet
potato, fruit and the likes of.
So there we have it, in a nutshell my ultimate guide to
eating for abs! Just to wet your appetite a little, below are before and after
photos which were taken just 8 weeks apart by a client I am helping as we
speak. The diet he is following is very similar to this one; naturally there
are small variations where I see fit for his own individual needs and rate of