Every day I get the same questions. “What do you eat? What’s your diet like? Why are you so shredded?”
Most people want to both look and feel good. I program my training for aesthetic results, but I also aim to enhance performance while improving mobility and durability.
As many of you know, obtaining a lean and strong physique isn’t just the product of hart training and countless hours in the gym. Nor is it achieved by depriving your body of essential nutrients and fuel.
In this article I’m going to break down my philosophy on food and diet, as well as how I get shredded for summer.
Eat For Fuel
You need a strong foundation in all the areas of life. If you have one in nutrition, then you always have something to fall back on when you get off track! Building solid habits that you ENJOY is an essential pillar of success when it comes to changing your physique.
Conquer Your Body & Mind to Fight Cravings
Taking the time to connect with your body and see how certain foods affect you will help you create a sustainable nutrition plan that can be tweaked over time.
Be wary of any foods that cause inflammation. Choose staples that your body reacts to well. Ever since I started eating less of the foods that irritate my body or make me feel sluggish I’ve had a significantly easier time cutting weight. Eating foods that cause bloating is usually accompanied by excess water retention. Creating a cycle of bloating and leaning out on a regular basis will make it much harder to reach your goals.
This is one of the main reasons why I keep indulgence to a minimum whether my goal is to cut weight and lean out or bulk up and put on muscle. Fluctuating between bloating and leaning out causes many of us to plateau.
Don’t Be Extreme
Sometimes cliches have a point. When it comes to fitness and health, one things remains true: consistency is key. There is no magic pill. There is no secret. If you want to succeed in anything, consistency always pays off!
Sticking to your plan over the long term brings results. The mistake most people make is becoming discouraged at the first setback. Setbacks are going to happen! They’re part of life! Keep in mind that consistency over the long term is what will make the difference.
“A Little Bit of Everything, Not Too Much Of Anything”
Don’t get me wrong—consistency over the long term doesn’t mean I deprive myself to the point of madness. We’re all human, and I understand that not every plan we follow will be sustainable without some wiggle room.
Personally, I enjoy the old school bodybuilding practice of cutting and bulking. Over the years I’ve found that it’s neither practical nor healthy to sustain an overly low body fat percentage all year long. Cutting to a low body fat percentage during the summer and then adding a few pounds of muscle and fat during the winter is what’s best for my body and goals.
My personal goals are to gain three to five pounds of lean muscle every year and to get increasingly shredded compared to the last. Let’s keep in mind some key factors when it comes to building muscle and recovery:
– To build muscle you must have an excess of calories
– Having a very low body fat percentage can impair recovery
– More sleep equals more calories burned and better recovery
Build A Support Team
Surrounding yourself with people who support you and don’t encourage poor decisions is one of the most important choices you can make to find success in the long run. If the people you surround yourself with can connect to WHY you want to start making healthier choices, or if they UNDERSTAND your fitness goals, then you can create a community that will help you overcome any obstacles along the way
For example, when I tell my friends that I want to start cutting weight for summertime, they can’t all empathize because it seems superficial to some of them. However, if I explain the core reasons WHY I want to get shredded for summer—that it’s more than being shredded, but overcoming goals I have set for myself, putting my brand and product to the test, and also to look my best for workout videos and doing photo shoots for the summer—the outcome is different. If you give people an authentic reason why you’ve set particular goals, they will be more willing to help you get there!
Give It Your All
Results are rewarding! When you put all your effort into sticking with a routine that works for you, you’re more likely to see it out to the end. It’s hard to succeed at something when you only give it fifty percent. Remembering that fitness and wellness are all about lifestyle changes and longevity helps me keep on track and stay driven.
How I Tweaked My Diet To Lean Out
One crucial thing I did to cut my body fat percentage is one of the most basic diet alterations you can make. I simply cut down on my caloric consumption. As mentioned before, consistency and having a strong foundation were the most important elements for my summer transformation. Here are some of my diet fundamentals:
Dark Leafy Greens
All year I focus on eating as much dark leafy greens as possible. Greens are full of vitamins and minerals. They’re also packed with fiber and help keep you full.
I like to eat AT LEAST two large servings of dark leafy greens a day. I usually fill up a large bowl with a spinach and mixed spring mix. This is also one of my go-to snacks during cutting season. My girlfriend likes to snack on popcorn during movies. I snack on greens with raw nuts, sunflower seeds, and some badass dressing!
Note: One of the biggest setbacks for a lot of people can be the dressing you put on your salad
When I’m trying to gain mass, I allow myself to indulge in a variety of healthy salad dressings. I really enjoy some of the dressings from Primal Kitchen.
As stated before, one of the biggest changes for me during cutting season is reducing calories. Cutting back on creamy dressings or eliminating dressings that have moderate or high caloric value will make a huge difference. For cutting season I enjoy balsamic vinegar, Greek Dressing from Primal Kitchen, or lemon juice.
Maintaining a high fat intake is a great modification many people make to their diet to become more efficient at burning stored fat (becoming “fat-adapted”), as well as to have greater satiety (feeling of satisfaction after eating). Including a higher percentage of fat in my diet allows me to go longer periods without eating so that I can focus on the task at hand. I practice this throughout the year regardless of whether it’s cutting or bulking season.
Recall that a single gram of fat has nine calories, as opposed to four calories per gram for carbs and proteins. Keep in mind that less is more when it comes to serving sizes of fatty foods when considering their caloric value.
If your goal is to shred, be careful not to overdo it on the fats. Just because they’re healthy fats doesn’t mean you can stuff yourself full of them. I love snacking on nuts and nut butters like almond butter or cashew butter with yogurt as a healthy snack, but I was having a hard time getting as lean as I wanted because I was indulging too much. Remember that calories are calories.
What My Diet Looks Like During the Summer
– Less red meat and more fish (I like raw ahi-tuna and salmon)
– Eliminate or drastically cut back on sauces and dressings
– I get the majority of my carbs from fresh fruit (mostly watermelon and berries)
– Plenty of eggs (I usually try to have two or three whole eggs and plenty of whites every day)
– Increase the frequency of collagen supplementation (Ten to twenty grams, or two scoops, a day)
What My Diet Look Like Regardless of the Season
– No Dairy
– Lots of dark leafy greens
– Lots of high quality fats (avocados, nuts, and fish)
– High quality meats (bacon, chicken, and fish)
– Plenty of local pasture-raised eggs
When it comes to putting on weight during bulking season, I aim to keep everything mentioned above in mind. I refrain from the traditional bulking season trends, i.e. gaining weight quickly and eating anything available to gain weight. Essentially, everything stays the same except I indulge a bit more frequently and increase my caloric intake.
A Day In The Life
Morning Snack: Handful of nuts (almond or walnuts) and 1 cup of fruit (watermelon)
Breakfast – 1 Fritatta (with onions and peppers)
Snack – Handful of nuts (cashews, walnuts, pecans)
Lunch-: 2 cups of Spinach, handful of sunflower seeds, 8- 12oz roasted chicken, ½ avocado, 1 teaspoon Primal Kitchen dressing
Dinner– Poke Bowl with a Kale Salad (4oz of ahi-tuna and 4 oz of salmon) (no rice, only sambal chili sauce on the side)
Best of luck! Keep on crushing it!