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I get plenty of questions in various comments throughout the website, but I also get comments and questions via the Project Swole Contact Form.
Generally I address those questions through e-mail, but often I do not have the time to reply to each and every question personally.
From now on I want to take a more proactive approach to answering Your Health Questions by posting them separately in the blog. This way we can be sure that everyone benefits from the Q & A.
“I am looking to loose my belly (its a small one but there non the less) in the next 2 months. I want to drop about 10lbs and get tone. I’m not a huge meat eater, my protein usually comes from fish, chicken and tofu. Do you have any recommendations, besides eating fewer than 100g of carbs and hitting the treadmill everyday?”
Paula, let me start by saying that I do not recommend you to hit the treadmill everyday. You could probably hit the treadmill about 20 times in one day (with an axe) and never have to hit it again.
You won’t be using the treadmill much at all actually, as long as we can find suitable alternatives. In fact if you own and hate a treadmill I would recommend you start some sledgehammer training by bludgeoning the thing to pieces in the backyard. (I hate treadmills only slightly less than squatting in a smith machine.)
The only details I know about you are what you described above, so I’m limited in my ability to tell you what to do. I can assure you that I’ll do the best I can with what I have, which is inevitably not that much considering all I have is my own brain.
There will be 3 steps to this 2 month weight loss, and you have to follow all 3 in order to see the results you want.
Before you start this program, you should weigh yourself either on Sunday night or Monday morning and take all the measurements you care about. Usually I take measurements at the mid upper arm, chest, waist, belly button, hips, and mid thigh. Record all these numbers and repeat once a week. Keep it consistent though; if you measure on Sunday night, always measure on Sunday night.
Since diet is responsible for 80% of your fat loss results, we should tackle diet first.
What you need to do, is to eat 3 small meals and 3 snacks each day.
The meals should consist of 4 oz of lean meat such as chicken, turkey, eggs (whites), and fish; a complex carb such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain cereal, a sweet potato (or yam), or a small white potato; and a green vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli, bean, peas, or salad.
Only one 4 oz serving of meat and one serving of your chosen carbohydrate is allowed, while multiple servings of vegetables are encouraged.
For your snacks you will choose a piece of fruit, a serving of dry roasted unsalted nuts, more vegetables, a low sugar protein shake or protein bar, or another 4 oz of lean meat. Also consider dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, and cheese, but make sure those products have NO SUGAR in them.
Most meals will add up to about 350 calories, while snacks will be roughly 150 calories, for a total of roughly 1500 calories. Since I don’t know anything about you, I am using 1500 as a baseline.
A more accurate way to get a base caloric level would be to multiply your current weight by 13 to get a maintenance level and subtract about 200 calories to put you in a deficit. You would then add or subtract 100 calories each week depending on whether you lose too little, too much, or just the right amount of weight the previous week.
Ideally you will lose 5 lbs in the first 10 days and 2 pounds each week thereafter. You can see how easy it is to lose 10 lbs in just 2 months.
So what’s the catch? You have to really commit to this kind of diet in order to lose 10 lbs in 2 months. You have to get all your meals in as scheduled and you have to eliminate added sugar and junk food of any kind. This is a strict diet designed to lose weight quickly. A better representation will be presented when I publish Project Shred in the near future.
Please do yourself a favor and commit to this diet entirely for one month. Do not cheat even once. This is the way you will lose 10 lbs in 2 months, not by just eating healthy.
Besides this diet is just about the healthiest eating you can do, so imagine if you could convert to this type of eating full time for the rest of your life. I’ve seen no less than 4 people already decide to do this after trying the diet for a couple weeks.
You really should exercise 5-6 times each week for maximal fat loss when following this plan, however I have seen people get good results with only 3, 1 hour long workouts in a week.
This can be 2 cardio workouts and 3 weight training workouts, 5 cardio workouts, however you choose to split it up is fine with me. Cardio and weight lifting workouts must be at least 30 minutes in duration, but remember that if you only workout 3 times, and each workout is a low intensity 30 minute cardio workout on the treadmill, you will definitely NOT maximize your fat loss.
For weight training, you should follow a 3 day total body workout routine, an example of which you can find here: total body workout routine.
For cardio, you should follow an high intensity interval training (HIIT) sprint routine where you sprint for 30 seconds, slow down for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, slow down for 2 minutes, and keep repeating this for 20 minutes. HIIT training can be done with many exercises including machines, jogging, biking, rowing, stair sprints, etc…
If you have a better solution for high intensity cardio, please do it. Some examples might be spinning, extreme kickboxing, jumping rope, or a plyometric circuit. Just please don’t walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes and call it a ‘cardio workout’.
Don’t forget to also stretch for 10 minutes after each workout session.
You may not believe I’m about to say this, but this might not be the best time to make major lifestyle changes, with a couple exceptions. My reason being because this diet is going to be tough enough as it is, never mind making psychologically taxing changes like quitting cigarettes. That could be the sort of straw that can break a camel’s back.
Instead focus on positive lifestyle changes that you can add to your life. Things like sleeping an extra hour or drinking an extra bottle of water. You should be drinking 8, 8 oz glasses each day. If you must drink coffee, limit it to one cup per day. NO SUGAR. Learn to drink it black or with 1/2 a shot of skim milk. Decaf would be even better.
Be sure to take your multi-vitamin each day as well as any other supplements you might use, like calcium and possibly a fiber pill or powder. Trust me when I say the extra fiber will come in handy on this diet. Also pick up an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement such as Fish Oil or Flaxseed Oil.
Attempt to stay de-stressed as much as possible. Meditate if that’s what you do. Watch a movie if that’s what you do. Whatever it is, try to relax whenever possible. Also, if possible try to do a bit of sex. Sex always obliterates stress completely… at least for an hour or so.
On a positive note, you can relax a bit after the first month. Stay strict for 30 days, then allow foods to creep back in that you know are pretty healthy such as light flavored yogurt, cottage cheese with pineapple, lean ground beef, whole egg omelets, etc…
The important piece will be to keep your eating habits pretty healthy, maintain your workout routine, keep living healthy, and keep the calories monitored so that you don’t regular go above your maintenance level.
After the 2 months, I would highly suggest you don’t go back to eating junk food. Always keep your sugars, animal fats, trans fats, and starches low. Foods like pasta, lamb, nachos, and cake should be avoided 99% of the time. Staying strict on this diet will make your body feel awesome and I really don’t think you will enjoy eating garbage food again. And keep having sex.
Please let me know how it turns out (the weight loss, not the sex).
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