There are plenty of ways to maximize your client’s transformation and make them as lean—and muscular—as possible for the summer. Here are four of my top tips for maximizing the transformation.
1. Do More, Not Less
In my opinion, it’s always better to train more and eat more than to cut back on both, whether you’re gaining or dieting. Conventional wisdom says you’ll have to cut back on training volume to accommodate the lower energy intake, but I’d rather see people keep their workload the same while only cutting back on food as much as necessary to shed fat. By keeping your training volume (and intensity) high while still eating plenty of clean food, you turn your body into a veritable fat-burning furnace!
How should this look in your client’s training program? Let’s say they’re already lifting five times per week while bulking or maintaining. When it comes time to diet, keep the volume and intensity of those sessions exactly the same, and even keep trying to add weight and reps. Do NOT let them get weaker, as strength loss almost always accompanies muscle loss.
In addition, add in a couple days each of low-intensity cardio and high-intensity interval training. Before you even cut back on their daily macros and calories, just cut out all the “extra” junk they might normally eat, and see if the cardio alone starts stripping the fat for a couple of weeks.
2. Eat Clean
This may be a no-brainer to some of you, but the whole if-it-fits-your-macros fad has really gotten out of hand. Sure, you can occasionally replace potatoes or rice with a pop tart, and the occasional trip to a fast food joint won’t kill you. But if you want the best results possible in the least amount of time, you need to eat “clean.”
Carbs should come from potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grains and fruits and vegetables; proteins from chicken, beef, fish and other quality animal sources; and extra fats from eggs, avocados, healthy oils and nut butters. There’s a damn good reason why most who get into good shape and STAY in good shape don’t keep crap in their diets!
3. Embrace Nutrient Timing
Carefully timing the intake of carbs and fats also used to be a no-brainer, but a lot of today’s trainees make excuses as to why they can eat whatever they hell they want at any time as long as their daily calories are under control. Does that mentality work for simply getting leaner and healthier? Absolutely. But are you going to be able to get lean without losing muscle by ignoring nutrient timing? Forget about it!
The most important rule is to time your carbs—both starches and sugars—around your workout. Some clients don’t feel like they need pre-workout carbs at all, but personally I like to have at least some rice, potatoes or oatmeal before I train. As for post-workout, EVERYONE should be keeping some carbs in the first meal after training. This meal should be high in carbs, fairly high in protein, and ideally lower in fats.
Speaking of fats, they’re going to be your main “energy” nutrient for most of the day. Other than the times before, during and after training, most of your meals should consist of protein, vegetables and some added fats. Eating too many calories makes you fat—not dietary fat itself—so eat up! You’ll actually make less progress on your diet if you avoid fat altogether.
4. Track Everything
You don’t HAVE to count every calorie and macronutrient you consume, but you do need to keep tight control over your foods and portion sizes. If anything, it’s probably easier to just have set amounts of foods to eat every day, rather than eating a larger variety with the same daily macros.
Whichever method your client chooses, though, they must be consistent! When they’re hungry, “one tablespoon” can easily become two or three, and every portion of carbs is going to be at least a little bit bigger than it should be. Your mind plays tricks on you when you’re dieting, but numbers don’t lie. If they really want to get ripped, don’t cut corners!
Justin Woltering is a distinguished Fitness Expert, Author and Sponsored Athlete. He is also a top cover model who has helped thousands of skinny guys transform their physiques with his exclusive books, videos, articles and training tips. For more information, refer to his website or email.