By Nate Miyaki, C.S.S.N, C.P.T. Men’s Fitness
To build a bigger and leaner physique, bodybuilders and average guys alike often turn to the same strategy: eating everything in sight, or “bulking,” and then burning fat, or “cutting,” by reducing calories and eating cleaner to reveal the new muscle beneath. It works, but it takes time and can cause you long-term damage on a cellular level—it can make it very hard to stay lean long term.
When your goal is to slash fat and build muscle as fast as possible, however, accounting for every calorie at once can condense these two phases into one superefficient “clean bulking” phase, enabling you to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously, and ultimately emerge with your best body ever.
The stripped-down recipes in this meal plan are crafted for a caloric deficit with ample high-quality protein and a moderate amount of carbs that together burn fat, spur the growth of new muscle, and meet the recovery demands of high-intensity, anaerobic-based training. They also increase in nutritional value as the day progresses, allowing you to burn fat in the first part of the day and then direct the bulk of your daily nutrition to muscle growth.
Try it for six weeks and see.
BREAKFAST – COFFEE
Start your day with 12 ounces of black coffee, which contains just four calories and delivers thermogenic benefits that cause your metabolic rate to increase, according to a study published in the journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. You can use any method to make your coffee. We like the French press.
2 tbsp coarse ground coffee
12 oz water
Put coffee in a French press and add water. close lid (don’t stir) and leave for 4 minutes.
Press plunger down gently using just the weight of your hand until it reaches the bottom. Pour and serve immediately.
The Numbers: 4 calories; 0g protein; 0g carbs; 0g fat; 0g fiber
Total Time: 6 minutes
Need to Eat Something in the Morning? Human beings evolved on a fasting and feeding cycle. We spent the majority of our existence fasting or eating lighter during the day while actively tracking, hunting, and gathering our food. We spent the evening relaxing and feasting on the majority, if not all, of our daily food intake. This structure fits with our natural instincts and social patterns. It’s not all or nothing, though, and if you absolutely can’t handle not eating for a few hours after waking up, here are some options that won’t hurt your results. 1⁄4 cup nuts A serving of fruit 8 oz lean meat 4 eggs 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
LUNCH – SALMON AND AVOCADO
Eight ounces of salmon delivers an incredible 45 grams of muscle-building protein, and the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation to speed recovery.
8 oz salmon (or flank steak or chicken breast)
1 tsp olive oil salt and pepper to taste
1⁄2 avocado (or 3 eggs; or 1⁄2 cup almonds, cashews, or macadamia nuts)
Rub salmon with oil, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and broil for 5 minutes each side.
Cut avocado in half and serve.
The Numbers: 483 calories; 47g protein; 9g carbs; 29g fat; 7g fiber
Total Time: 13 minutes
DINNER – PORK LOIN AND POTATOES
We’ve mixed white rice and potatoes. If you don’t like potatoes, use 3–4 cups of white rice for your carbs. If rice isn’t your thing, 24 ounces of potatoes will cover your bases.
4 tbsp canola oil
1-½ red potato, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
8 oz pork loin (or bison, chicken, or salmon)
1 cup white rice ½ red pepper, sliced
2 tbsp red onion, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
½ cup carrots, chopped
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high. Sauté red and sweet potatoes, stirring frequently, until slightly browned, about 12 minutes. Clear skillet, add 2 tbsp oil, and cook pork loin for 3 minutes each side.
Cook rice according to packaging instructions.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté red pepper, onion, broccoli, and carrots, stirring frequently, until tender and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
The Numbers: 846 calories; 62g protein; 116g carbs; 14g fat; 15g fiber
Total time: 22 minutes
SNACKS – FRUIT
Grab a fruit (mango, orange, banana or grapefruit) right after your workout to halt muscle catabolism (breakdown). Due to the body’s preference to fuel the brain and central nervous system, catabolic activity can begin relatively soon after training. Fruit provides an immediate source of fuel.
The Numbers: 202 calories; 3g protein; 50g carbs; 1g fat; 5g fiber
Total Time: 1 minute
SUPPLEMENTS TO BOOST YOUR GAINS
These supplements will allow you to strip off even more fat while also helping to build up more muscle.
Phenylethylamine. This naturally occurring metabolite of the amino acid phenylalanine is an important stimulatory transmitter in the body that enhances nerve transmission. it blunts hunger, too, and research even shows it to be an effective antidepressant. take 100–500mg of phenylethylamine or beta- phenylethylamine first thing in the morning.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Restricting carbs in the first part of the day frees up fat from your fat cells, but for that fat to be burned away for good it needs to enter the mitochondria. Carnitine helps to shuttle fat into the mitochondria so that it’s burned for fuel. This form of carnitine is taken up better by the body in the absence of food and carbs. Take 1–2g three times daily.
CLA. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a healthy fat that helps to prevent the storage of the fat you consume, forcing it to be burned for fuel. Several clinical studies confirm that CLA helps to build lean muscle and increase strength while simultaneously allowing you to shed fat from your physique, exposing the new muscle. Take 2–3g with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Creatine. Creatine is the most effective supplement for building muscle and strength. It’s a critical energy molecule that comes in handy when carbs and calories are low. Some studies even suggest that creatine may enhance fat loss. Depending on the form of creatine you use, take 1–5g before and after workouts. On rest days, take one dose with dinner.