Jim Stoppani, PhD, and Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, provide a diet plan for those weighing between 180 and 250 lbs.:

Higher Fat/Low Carbohydrate Days

Monday through Friday you follow a higher fat and low carbohydrate diet. On these days you will keep calories to around 10 calories per pound of body weight per day. That's about 2,000 for a 200-pound person.

Protein will be high at about 1 gram per pound of body weight per day, or about 200 grams per day. Carbs will be kept way down at approximately 0.25 grams per day or just under 50 grams of carbs per day for the 200-pounder. That's because fat is allowed to jump up to about 0.5 grams per pound or about 100 grams per day for the 200-pounder. Higher fat/low carb foods that you can eat on these days include bacon, Buffalo wings, ribs (just watch the amount of barbeque sauce you use, it's high in carbs), fried chicken (remove the breading), fatty cuts of beef and pork, fattier cold cuts, etc. The criteria are that they have to be high in fat and very low in carbs. Of course, you don't have to eat fattier meats and can always go with leaner meats, such as baked chicken, top sirloin steak, tilapia, shrimp, etc.

If you're worried about all that saturated fat, don't be. Research confirms when you eat saturated fat while maintaining low carb intake, the saturated fat is not the heart-unfriendly culprit it was made out to be. Plus, research shows that when athletes eat a higher sat fat diet they have higher testosterone levels. If you think that fat will take a one-way trip to your fat cells, blurring your abs and other muscularity, think again. When carbs drop way down low, your body is forced to use the fat it gets from your diet as pure energy. Yep, it gets burned and you get lean.

The per-meal rules are as follows:

1) Calories should be no more than about 500 at major meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and about 200 or less for snacks.

2) Protein should be at least 20 grams at every meal and snack.

3) Carbs should be under 15 grams for most major meals and less than 5 at snacks.

4) Fat should be kept under 40 grams at major meals and under 15 grams at snacks.

The following sample diet shows you a typical Monday-Friday for the average 200-pound person on workout days. On rest days, eliminate the post-workout meal. Although this diet is perfect for the 200-pound person, it will also work well for those from about 180-250 pounds. If you weigh more or less than that, make adjustments according to your body weight.

Breakfast

3 eggs scrambled eggs
2 slices bacon

Late morning snack

1 scoop Whey Protein

Lunch

6 oz. Ribeye steak
2 cups chopped broccoli

Midday snack

4 Buffalo wings
6 Celery sticks
(can use blue cheese dressing, but use sparingly)

Post-workout snack

1 scoop Whey Protein

Dinner

1/2 rack baby back ribs
2 tbsp. barbeque sauce
2 cups mixed green salad with 1 tbsp. salad dressing (olive oil and vinegar, or blue cheese, or ranch)

Nighttime snack
1 cup cottage cheese

TOTALS: 2,000 calories, 200 g protein, 50 g carbs, 100 g fat

High Carbohydrate/Low Fat Days

On Saturday, you will switch over to a high carbohydrate, low fat diet. Here you will shoot for about 14 calories per pound of body weight. That's about 2,800 calories for the 200-pound person. Protein stays at around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, but carbohydrates shoot up to about 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight or about 300 grams for the 200 pounder, while fat falls to only about 0.25 grams per pound of bodyweight or around 50 grams. Switching over to high carbohydrates after five consecutive days of low carbs will help to keep your leptin levels up. The hormone leptin is critical for keeping your metabolism high and your appetite low. And carbohydrates are important for keeping it in check. That is why if you go low carb for too long, you run the risk of lowering your leptin levels and therefore your metabolism. But going high after 5 days of almost no carbohydrates will eliminate this worry.

High carb/low fat foods that you can eat on this day are lean burgers (homemade, on whole-wheat bun), cheese pizza, popcorn, tortilla chips 'n salsa, cereal (yes, even your sugary childhood favorites), waffles, pancakes, angel food cake with Reddi-wip, sorbet, jelly beans, peanut butter n jelly sandwiches, etc. The criteria for these foods are that they can be high in carbs (even sugars), but they must be low in fat. Sure, every dietician out there is warning against fast-digesting carbs these days. But on this day, eating fast-digesting carbs like sugary cereals and candies will further help to boost your leptin levels when they may be falling. That's because these foods boost insulin, which signals leptin to stay high.

The per-meal rules are as follows:

1) Calories should be no more than about 400-600 at major meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and about 300 for snacks.

2) Protein should be at least 20 grams at every meal and snack.

3) Carbs should be about 40-60 grams for most major meals and 20-30 grams for snacks.

4) Fat should be kept under 10 grams at most meals and snacks.

The following sample diet shows you a typical Saturday for the average 200-pound person on workout days. If Saturday is a rest day for you, eliminate the post-workout meal. Although this diet is perfect for the 200-pound person, it will also work well for those from about 180-250 pounds. If you weigh more or less than that, make adjustments according to your body weight.

Breakfast

Omelet (1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup fat-free cheddar cheese)
1 cup Froot Loops with 1 cup skim milk

Late morning snack
1 scoop Whey Protein
Peanut butter 'n jelly sandwich with 1 tbsp. peanut butter and 1 tbsp. Jam on
2 slices whole-wheat bread

Lunch
4 oz extra lean burger on a whole-wheat bun with 2 tbsp. catsup
1/2 cup macaroni and cheese

Midday snack
1 scoop Whey Protein
1 oz. tortilla chips with 1/2 cup salsa

Post-workout snack
1 scoop Whey Protein
1 large slice angelfood cake (1/8 of cake)
6 tbsp. Fat-free Reddi-wip

Dinner

2 slices Pizza Hut medium cheese Thin 'N Crispy pizza
2 cups mixed green salad with 1 tbsp. salad dressing (olive oil and vinegar, or blue cheese, or ranch)
1 beer
1 scoop Whey Protein

Nighttime snack

1/2 bag low-fat microwave popcorn
1 cup cottage cheese

TOTALS: 2,700 calories, 215 g protein, 300 g carbs, 55 g fat

High Carb/High Fat (Cheat) Day

Sunday is your official cheat day. No, you can't wake up to a breakfast of doughnuts, but you will get to eat some of the high carb/high fat food you crave, such as doughnuts, fast food burgers, ice cream, etc. The only rules are that you follow the Saturday (high carb/low fat) eating plan through lunch. After that you are free to eat what you want. Just be wise and keep your serving sizes within reason and enjoy the spoils as you still get lean. We'll leave you with one caveat: Following one of our typical get lean diets is still your best bet to get ripped to shreds in minimal time. But this plan will still allow you to eat the foods you like and still see good results.

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