- Ensure that you eat 6 times a day (once every 2-3 hours): In this manner, your blood sugar remains stable, cravings are minimized, energy and metabolism are maximized, and muscle gets fed constantly.
- Eat the right amounts and types of protein: To figure out your protein needs, multiply your total bodyweight by 1.2 and that will give you the total protein grams you need to consume per day. Divide that number by 6 and that equals the amount of protein grams per meal. Limit your protein sources to lean meats like chicken, turkey, and white fish such as tilapia. Out of the 6 meals, no more than 3 should be protein shakes. The post workout meal should be a whey protein powder mixed with the cream of rice as in this manner nutrients will reach the muscles as quickly as possible. In addition to the post workout meal, no more than 2 other meals should be liquid ones.
- Eat the right amounts and types of carbohydrates: To figure out your carbohydrate needs, multiply your lean body mass (Fat free bodyweight) by 0.8 and that will give you the total grams of carbs you need to consume per day. Divide that number by 3 and that equals the amount of carbohydrate grams you will have for Meal 1, on your meal prior to the workout and on your meal after the workout. Since we are emphasizing fat loss, stick to low glycemic carbohydrates (such as oatmeal, brown rice, grits, and sweet potatoes), except for the post workout meal where a high glycemic carbohydrate such as cream of rice is more desirable.
- Eat your vegetables: A diet high in fibrous carbs not only helps to suppress appetite, slow down the release of the other nutrients and increases the absorption of the protein you ingest, but also cleans your system and increases your metabolic rate (as the body has to work hard to process the vegetables). No need to count vegetable grams. As long as they are the green leafy type such as broccoli, green beans, and lettuce, you can have as much as you want at any meal (except the post workout one as at this time we do not want the vegetables to slow down the absorption of the nutrients).
- Consume your essential fats: These fats are highly important for general health, muscle protection and for fat loss! A deficiency of these and not only energy levels will suffer but you will also encounter issues gaining muscle and losing fat. 2 Tablespoons of Flaxseed Oil with any meal or protein shake (except the post workout one as at this time we do not want the fats to slow down the absorption of the nutrients).
- Drink your water: Properly hydrate yourself as water is needed for muscle building and fat loss to happen optimally, in addition to creating a feeling of fullness that helps when one is dieting. Shoot for a minimum goal of half of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day.
- Increase carbs over the weekend: Increase the quantities of carbohydrates over the weekend to 1.3 times your lean body mass (fat free bodyweight) in order to prevent your metabolism from getting used to the diet. This time, divide that number by 5 and consume the carbohydrates over Meals 1-5. Try to ensure that Meal 5 is no later than 6 pm so that no starchy carbs are consumed after that time.
About The Author
Hugo Rivera, About.com's Bodybuilding Guide and ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, is a nationally-known best-selling author of over 8 books on bodybuilding, weight loss and fitness, including "The Body Sculpting Bible for Men", "The Body Sculpting Bible for Women", "The Hardgainer's Bodybuilding Handbook", and his successful, self published e-book, "Body Re-Engineering". Hugo is also a national level NPC natural bodybuilding champion. Learn more about Hugo Rivera.