Constructing an Effective Diet Plan to Get Lean Before Summer

May 4, 2009

So both me and my girlfriend are going to “lean out” a bit right before summer.

Neither of us has much body fat to lose, but getting extra lean allows us to still look sharp even if we gain 5 pounds over the course of the summer. I figured I would outline the plan we will follow over the next 6 weeks, to maybe give you some ideas.

Hopefully analyzing my diet plan will allow you to come up with your own perfect approach.

summer diet plan

[I can’t wait for summer BBQ’s and dinner parties! Nothing better than coming home from the beach or boating, taking a shower, putting on clean clothes and heading over to a friend’s house to be greeted by the smell of bbq and a cooler full of ice cold beer.]

Getting Lean Before Summer – How I Used to Do It

I used to have a pretty harsh approach to getting lean. I would drink a protein shake in the morning, one for lunch, had a chicken breast salad with rice vinegar dressing, and a Fuji apple about 2 hours before bed.

This approach worked well and it still does, but it is kind of harsh. If you don’t mind being irritable and hungry all the time, this is a quick way to drop weight. The problem is that it isn’t healthy or realistic.

What I Have Done the Past 3 Years

These last few years I have relied more and more on “real food” and less on shakes. In fact, I do have a few packets of shakes on top of my fridge that I haven’t touched for about 3 months.

Ever since I read Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss Handbook (4 years ago), I have come to the conclusion that you can actually get leaner with real food than you can on protein shakes.

Note: Lyle McDonald’s approach is pretty extreme as well, but he admits that his diet plan is just to be used if someone is running out of time and needs to drop body fat quickly.

For people who stay lean year round like I recommend, no need to go that extreme.

This Spring Will Be Paleo With a Touch of Eat Stop Eat

My game plan the remainder of this spring is to go low carb and eat a diet based around protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.

I will also do Eat Stop Eat style intermittent fasting (twice per week I will fast until dinner time). I won’t be 100% paleo, since I will include a limited amount of dairy in my diet as well.

Only One Happy Hour Per Week for 6 Weeks

Both me and my girlfriend enjoy going to the bars of expensive restaurants downtown for their “happy hour”. Typically between 4pm-6pm, you can get great deals for a fraction of the regular price.

This is a way to get quality high-end food and cold beer for the price of a cheaper meal. Although I love happy hour, I am going to try and limit it to once per week. We have been going about 2 times per week this past month, but need to back off temporarily.

Limit Eating 2-3 Hours Before Bed Time

Most of the year, I don’t worry about going to bed right after eating…but to get extra-lean it helps to go to bed on an empty stomach. I won’t torture myself either. If my stomach is growling and I’m hungry I have no problem eating a Fuji apple or a small cup of yogurt.

A Typical Non-Fasting Day

I will get up sometime between 6:30-8:00 and drink 2 cups of black coffee. About one hour later I will head to the gym. I wait about an hour after working out and then eat an omelette.

It will be a veggie omelette and I typically add salsa and a tiny bit of sour cream. On some days I will eat a bowl of fruit and yogurt instead of the omelette.

In the mid day, I will have some type of soup or salad. Dinner is a typical paleo salad, soup, grilled meat and veggies, or stir fry of some sort. If I’m still hungry I will eat some fruit later.

What I Eat When I’m Fasting Until Dinner

To get best results using an Eat Stop Eat style fast, it is best to eat a normal sized meal. So most of the time, my dinner will be the exact same size and proportion as the dinners I eat on the non-fasting days.

A big mistake I used to make was to eat a big dinner after fasting for the day. This is the Warrior Diet way of doing intermittent fasting and it doesn’t work as well as Eat Stop Eat.

No Need to Make Your Diet Plan Too Complex

I know that many people are probably disappointed that my diet plan isn’t very complex. It is basically just a temporary low calorie plan based around limiting carbs.

Twice a week I will fast until dinner. The majority of my meals will be paleo-style (meat, fats, veggies, fruit, and very few grains). The calories will be pretty low for 6 weeks, but I’m not going to be calorie counting.

A Source of Easy-to-Make Healthy Low Carb Recipes

There are a lot of really great blogs out there that have amazing Paleo recipes, but one of my favorites is Feel Good Eating.

There are about a dozen blogs I visit for recipes (I’m betting they will comment…hint, hint), but I really like the dishes that Marc outlines.

Warning!!!! Don’t visit Marc’s site if you easily get jealous. He lives in an amazing part of Naples, Florida.

He occasionally puts up photos like this, in mid-winter to show us the incredible weather he deals with in Naples year-round.

About Your Diet Plan – Bottom Line…

Dieting should be just a temporary thing. Ideally you should eat well enough to look lean year-round.

It is never a bad idea to “lean out” a tiny bit more before summer or a special trip, but it is best to stay within striking distance of your top condition.

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

keith May 4, 2009 at 8:31 pm

hey rusty great article. I was wondering how many calorie u eat in the dinner of your fasting day and how many on your non fasting days. Also if u go to a BBQ for dinner how do u control how much u eat. THanks

Carole May 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Overall, I think you give pretty good advice. I don’t agree with the fasting. Not eating all day slows down your metabolism – and while you might be a warrior and might be able to control yourself when you finally do eat for the day, most people aren’t so saintly 😉

Summertime is full of great fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of fun activities. It’s the easiest time of year to enjoy great foods, and stay thin. Beer drinking aside….

Macey May 5, 2009 at 4:59 am

I really like this plan if fits in with my approach, however the protein seems a bit low, lets say you have a 3 egg omlette, that’s around 20g, salad for lunch obviously very little protein, some meat with dinner, somewhere from 20-50g, so a total of 40-70g for the day & less on the IF days, in order to maintain muscle while in the calorie deficit don’t you think the protein is a little low
? in the past 3 years has this been a concern or does your evening meal include a large steak etc which could provide maybe 100g, even then it’s still isn’t too much, i myself do not drink shakes & struggle getting 120-150g from food (i’m 185lbs).

Warrior May 5, 2009 at 5:02 am

nice article Rusty!

but, i have seen people here who have been misquoting the “Warrior Diet”, which makes me wonder if they have actually read it! Sorry if this post sounds inflammatory, it is not my intention to lash out. I thought that since people would like to “fast” to lean out, this post could be of some use when concerning the Warrior Diet:

1. Nowhere in the Warrior Diet does it state to “eat a giant meal,” Ori merely says to “eat until you are full” and that the size of the meal will depend on the persons age, gender, activity level, etc. For example, I was use to eating 3 meals a day, still exercising, etc. When I started Warrior Diet, I was _sure_ I would eat like 3000+ calories on my main meal. Surprisingly, I dont normally go over 2000 (between 2000 and 2200 I would say) calories on my main meal, while still exercising. My main meal is slightly-above-normal sized, and I just eat more appetizers too. Also now I am finally starting to get that coveted 6pack without even trying, and without deprivation.

2. Also the Warrior Diet is not a fast in the strictest sense (Ori even states, it is NOT a water fast). Throughout the day you can eat raw vegetables and fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, berries) etc. Eat as much of these as you want during the day (he mentions other food too, but i forget what). I usually eat 6-7 servings of fruit and veggies. His whole thesis is that by undereating throughout the day, your digestive system can rest, and your body can “cleanse” itself. You eat foods that the body can digest with minimal impact, but which are healthy and still provide you energy.

3. Finally, the Warrior Diet is not about “limiting calorie intake” either, but is rather the opposite. Ori states that many diets are built around deprivation, and this is the reason they fail in the long term for most people. This diet is not about depriving yourself of calories (who wants to go to bed hungry…really now). Just eat primarily at night until you are full. If you are still hungry, eat some more. Make sure the food is healthy 99% of the time. Even moderately healthy is okay too, especially if you are a student. Occasionally you can indulge. In fact, the only “diet” portion of the warrior diet (which is more a way of life than a diet) is which Ori explicitly states “no processed sugar of any kind.”

@carole Not eating all day may slow down your metabolism. Honestly I dont know. I can only speak from my personal experience that my metabolism is through the roof when it’s dinner time! So I guess this diet just works great for me.

That being said, I am on the Warrior Diet and I have achieved excellent results. It allows me to better meter my food intake so I eat as much as I need, since during the day I find it difficult to eat proper, healthy meals. Also I do not like bringing meals with me to work (sandwich making…ugh), just fruit and veggies. I am quite lean, in excellent shape, etc. without calorie deprivation. For example, today I will do the Warrior Diet: 5 apples, 4 oranges, quinoa, then off to a restaurant at 7:00 to feast!

But it works well for me. It is not everyone. It may not work well for you, so my suggestion is, find a diet that looks good, practice it, see what results you get. if the results suck, try something new.

Greg at Live Fit May 5, 2009 at 5:27 am

When I first started trying to lose weight and get in shape, I focused heavily on shakes. Now I’m more into the “real food” approach, as you put it. My shakes were at least, fruit shakes. But nowhere near as satisfying as a plate full of vegetables…

Kevan May 5, 2009 at 5:31 am

Hey Rusty,

Do you have any recommendations on a good protein shake to use? I am a busy guy, and can’t always stop to find some decent healthy food.

TheStrugglingDieter May 5, 2009 at 5:37 am

Like you over the past few years I’m also relying on ‘real food’. I’m done with all those shakes and other gimmiky food supplements. Nothing’s better than healthy natural food – it’s cheaper too!

Al S May 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

What type of soups do you like to eat? I didn’t know that soups were a part of the Paleo diet. This would make my diet much easier if soups were involved. THANKS!

Adam Steer - Better Is Better May 5, 2009 at 8:45 am

Hey Rusty,

Thanks for giving us a peak inside your pantry! 🙂


Rambodoc May 5, 2009 at 9:40 am

You seem to be the kind of person who can survive on water and air!
I eat a lot more than this, but I am still leaning out steadily, thanks to a persistent caloric deficit. I tell myself that my off-and-on sweet eating (which jacks up my caloric/carb load) is good to stimulate leptin secretion, which is so important to keep the fat burning engine turned on. Hopefully, it is true!

Jake May 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

Rusty– do you keep the same workout schedule while you’re leaning out or do you find that you have to tone it down? I imagine the lack of calories and carbohydrates wouldn’t allow you to keep your workout intensity as high. And like a lot of people, I’m afraid of losing some of my muscle mass on a diet like this although I would love to get rid of that last pesky layer of fat.

LynneP May 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

You will never find any studies that prove not eating during the day slows down metabolism. Even if you did, a slower metabolism is not necessarily a bad thing. I do the Warrior Diet and have lost all excess fat. I train 1- 15 hours a week. I’m a martial artist and the training is intense. I don’t know if my metabolism has slowed but I have more energy than ever throughout the day. Additionally, eating six meals a day doesn’t boost metabolism either – it also leads to a diet mentality.

LynneP May 5, 2009 at 10:17 am

10 – 15 hours a week training…

warren May 5, 2009 at 10:25 am

So i might not be doing myselff any favors breaking a fast with buffalo wings and 3 stella’s? I’m trying to “lean-out” too but since i’ve never actually been lean its hard to know how to get there. I’m down to 195 from 260(5yrs ago) but still sporting a signifigant gut and fat on my legs. I know beer is a signifigant player so I try to “save” carbs for when i do indulge. thanks. Ive suscribed to your blog and its becomming one of my fav’s.

Helder May 5, 2009 at 11:05 am

I seems like a nice plan, like Dan John usually say, burning fat is a war, win that war fast and then just keep it and enjoy. He said this with other words, but that was the meaning

I’m really looking forward for the summer 🙂 it’s going to be fantastic, beach, parties etc…

Fit Jerk May 5, 2009 at 11:54 am

Good post, but in reality I see no reason to just “lean out” for the summer. This type of mindset is counter productive as I’ve seen clients to become lazier during the winter because hey, they’ll look better when summer rolls around. right?

How about adopting a lifestyle that keeps you at lean YEAR ROUND? (say 6% 😉

Trust me, once you get this ball rolling, it’s much easier to maintain. Whether trecking through 2 feet of snow or running on a sunny beach… I stay lean and mean. That’s how you should roll.

My 2 cents.

BurritoKid May 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

so this is what you will just follow most days but if something comes up you’ll stay flexible and have a happy hour or meal with friends? you dont plan any “cheat” meals?

surely you have heard of the new cheatyourwaythin book that has just come out, do you have any thoughts about it?

BurritoKid May 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm

@fitjerk rusty will remind us to enjoy life from time to time too as well as living a lean life style. he prob. stays around 8-10% all year and then drops below 8% for summer.

Anonymous May 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Blah, I live in Tampa, Florida :).
But really if you were to live in Florida you don’t think it’s that great or special. Yeah people always wish for our weather but sometimes its just way too hot.

Evan May 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm

This post is encouraging as it follows exactly what I have been doing for a long time. I made a comment on an earlier entry of yours about weight loss plateaus. You assured me that if I kept at it, my progress would pick up again, and I’m happy to report that it indeed has.

Many people object to fasting, saying that it slows down metabolism. I’m not sure what to make of that, as I’ve experienced nothing but good things while practicing intermittent fasting: steady energy thoughout the day (sometimes increased energy), serenity of mind, and, apart from the occasional plateau, slow and steady fat loss. Are there just some unlucky folk for whom IF is difficult? I suspect a lot of them try to jump into it straight from regular consumption of soda, juice, and high carb snacks.

keith May 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm

hey rusty how much protein per day do u consume to maintain your muscle, and how much do u weigh

admin May 5, 2009 at 7:22 pm


I’m going pretty low calorie these days so my dinner on my fasting days is around 600-700 calories. I’ll eat again a couple of hours later. I basically fast for 18-20 hours and give myself an “eating window”. The goal on my fasting days is to eat around 800-1,000 calories on those days (but I don’t calorie count). On my non-fasting days the total daily calories are around 1,800…with the ocassional higher calorie day thrown in. As far a BBQ’s go…in the summer I eat quite a few more calories at these BBQ’s. I pretty much go for it when I’m at a good BBQ!


Many of the studies on fasting and periodic fasting are pretty recent. Intermittent Fasting works well at both reducing the overall calories consumed for the week as well as help people lose weight without the metabolism slowing down. We have been told for years that eating every few hours will keep the metabolism high and help the body burn fat…unfortunately that advice has (recently) been proven wrong.


Brad Pilon recently released a great book called “How Much Protein”. I was shocked and amazed at how little protein we really need to maintain muscle mass. Not worrying about how many grams of protein I need has really freed me up. I continue to get stronger and maintain lean muscle mass of much less protein than I used to. I aim for around 100-120 grams per day…somedays less, somedays more.


That is a good explanation of the Warrior Diet. I own the book and it is good. Props to Ori for being the first person to really explore this way of eating in full detail. I like Eat Stop Eat a little more, but both are great books.


Good poin that real food is more satisfying. That is why I believe it is easier to get lean off of real food than it is to get lean off of shakes. Another downside of shakes is that the body tends to absorb them pretty quickly. This can lead to a surge in insulin, which temporarily halts the fat burning process.


Go to and order the Myoplex Original (strawberry flavor) by EAS. Order the box with 42 pre-measured packets. Mix the packs in a blender with ice cubes and water. No other flavor or brand comes close. It costs $80 at, but stores sell this for upwards of $120. Each packet is 42 grams of protein and 280 calories. At 2 dollars per serving that is a deal.


It feels better to eat real food too. There are phytonutrients and mineral combinations that can’t be replicated in shakes.

Al S,

Soups are a great diet food and a great food in general. First of all, Chicken Broth is an amazing tasting low calorie base for the soup. Add in any meat, veggies, etc…get creative. I like to make tortilla soup, without the tortilla chunks. Grilled chicken, cilantro, tomatoes, cabage, onions, peppers, bell peppers, etc (almost like chicken fajitas in a soup format).


I don’t have an impressive pantry, but I’m trying. I am doing my best to work my way out of my comfort zone to try new dishes. Tonight, I’m going back to an old favorite…fish tacos. It will be 100% paleo, except for the two corn tortillas that I use. It is Cinco De Mayo after all!


I like to hit up the sweets as well! I can do anything for 6 weeks…this isn’t my normal diet plan. You should see me at a BBQ or a holiday event…heck, happy hour. I can put down some food. You are right though, kind of “living on air” at least a few days per week for the next 6 weeks.


For some reason my site won’t let me post links when I reply to the readers comments. So, I am going to tell you how to find a post I think you will like. Go to my search bar in the upper right hand corner of my site and type in 800 Calories…click the first post that comes up…”Maintain Muscle Mass On 800 Calories Per Day?”. This will show you how to diet hard without losing muscle and dropping nothing but body fat.


I completely agree with the idea of fasting to lose weight. I’m guessing you are responding to Carole. Really the bottom line is to create a daily calorie deficit. If someone is only eating 1,200 calories in a day, then they could do six 200 calorie meals (if you can call that a meal)…or they could eat most of it in one bigger meal. The biggest difference is that their body will become better at using fat for fuel if they reach a fasted state from time to time. It doesn’t make sense to have an endless supply of “food energy” if you want to use stored body fat for energy (this is the biggest reason I like to fast a couple times per week).


I love it that you mentioned Buffalo Wings and 3 Stella’s! That is one of my favorite happy hour combos…with the occassional Mothership Wit or Hoeggarden in replacement of the Stella. It isn’t the best strategy when you are trying to get really lean, but cetainly you should do it from time to time. What would life be like without the awesome combo of hot wings with blue cheese and cold beer! You’ve lost a to nof weight by the way. Good job!


I like the idea of “winning the war quickly”. Lose the fat quickly, then keep it off. Sounds good to me.

Fit Jerk,

Yeah…I stay decently lean year round. I always have a little bit of a six pack. I just go from 8-9%, down to around 6% for summer. Nothing extreme. I don’t like the idea of bulking and leaning down or any of that weird bodybuilder nonsense…I just sharpen up a bit before summer.


Yeah…I eat with friends and go to the ocassional happy hour still, etc. Today is Cinco De Mayo and my friends are having a little party. I’ll eat a couple of fish tacos and have 2 Corona Lights. If I wasn’t leaning down, I would eat more food and maybe add in a magarita. I am still dieting, although the food I eat tonight is outside of my typical 6 week diet plan. I have heard of Cheat Your Way Thin and I’m sure it is based upon a low calorie diet mixed with high calorie “re-feeds”. It is a strategy that works pretty well, but I don’t know if I like the message being sent. I can’t give it a true review until I read it.


You are right…The people who have the hardest time doing Intermittent Fasting are the ones who eat mainly carb-based snacks and meals. If someone eats more paleo and low carb, it is much easier. I find that when I’m eating healthy it is easy to follow and my body feels great. When I eat a bit of junk, it becomes a tough deal. Good job on losing weight again!


I weigh 192 pounds and I try to consume around 100-120 grams of protein per day. I know that doesn’t sound like enough, but we have been duped into believing that we need much more protein than we actually do. Brad Pilon wrote an amazing book called How Much Protein, that blows down the doors on a bunch of myths about protein. Bottom line…I don’t even count grams of protein anymore.

Great comments!


admin May 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

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[Brad put together a little bonus for the readers of Fitness Black Book. If you guys want to see a preview of Brad’s book, click the little pdf banner below.]

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mickieb May 5, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Ive been having alot of luck following an Atkins type of diet..for those who arent familiar, it also follows low carbs and making sure to have enough protein and fats and vitamins and minerals…I eat about 20g of carbs daily and I have alot of energy! I workout daily with weights (not too heavy..Im a middle aged woman not looking to gain muscles) and two types of all, Im exercising for 1 1/2 hours and no ill effects at all from lack of carbs! body seems to have changed from burning the carbs (glucose) to burning fat for energy! its really amazing how that works, but it does…the paleo diet seems very much like this too, but I dont have nearly as much fruits…fruits are good, but they have high amounts of I have to limit those…but if anyone thinks that they need all those carbs to be able to have a good workout, well think again! and believe me, I thought the same thing a few weeks ago…Ive lost 6 lbs in 2 weeks and Im never hungry…I do eat about 4 times during the day, so its not the Warrior diet…but I eat proteins and veggies..this supplies my body with the necessary nutrients (I also take supplements..just regular vitamins and minerals) and my body has been burning the fat for energy! I wouldve never fully believed this until I tried it! Hey I hope this trend keeps up…Id like to be lean for the summer too! Good luck to everyone!

Sam Barnett May 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm


Great Post. I wanted to get your thoughts on whether someone can lose wight as long as they have a calorie deficit. Your diet is very low carb, which has worked for me in the past but has really caused my workouts to suffer. Is it possible to achieve a very lean physique, while incorporating some carbs? I have been following the Warrior Diet for about six weeks and will usually stick to fruit as my dessert, however I also like to listen to what my body is telling me and if I am craving grains will have a few slices of bread for dessert instead a couple times a week. My calories are usually around 1800-2000 a day, since I fast during the day, and I am burning around 3300-3700 calories a day ( I have a BodyBugg which measures calories). Also, the Warrior Diet condones going to sleep right after your evening meal. Is this going to inhibit my fat loss?



mickieb May 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm took my body about 4-5 days to adjust to the low carbing…so take it easy on the exercise while your body adjusts. One of the best things about this is that I get to eat all day and feel full but I never actually crave anything anymore…like alot of people I loved carbs and sweets…but it really seems like pure magic on this low carb diet.

mickieb May 5, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Another thing about eating low carb is that the body is a great machine…it knows when youve eaten too much sugar or carbs and will come along and sweep away this by increasing insulin…however, once this insulin does its job, it leaves your body with a low suagr feeling…so it then asks you for more sugar and carbs…it becomes a vicious cycle where your insulin levels and blood sugar levels spike and hit low points all day long…thus eating more and more…with the low carbing, the insulin gets to rest a bit and used less frequently causing less spiking, so your body is not craving carbs and sugars…hope this makes sense!

Dan May 5, 2009 at 8:05 pm


The Warrior Diet seems very interesting.

What does Ori recommend eating for the 1 meal? Are certain foods off limits?

I’ve been doing Warp Speed Fat Loss for a week now and have seen some nice results already. I am just not a fan of eating 6 meals a day. I like to training plan outlined in it much better than the meal plan.


BurritoKid May 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Hey Rus,

I was reading your muscle density building post. do you know work out the lower pecs at all? any decline presses? I’ve been wanting to develop that area of my pecs but saw you dont do them. are they not needed?

word May 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm

hey rusty I just wanted to let you know that I have looked at pretty much all websites related to exercise and yours is by far the best.

I am 15 years old and for the past 3 weeks ive been eating a diet consisting of mostly turkey chicken beef eggs cheese and a few fruits and vegetables every so often. I have dropped from 167 to 149 ( 6ft tall) and I look way better. I am looking to drop about 3 more pounds and then maintain my weight. Is this a good diel to get lean fast?

GERMANOFF May 6, 2009 at 4:05 am

Hey Rusty,
you have great and qite simple diet plan and I still think that more simple is alway more effective when it comes to dieting. I have tried any almost anything by now but what relly works for me is a low carb, no sugars dite plan and lots of HIIT. Any way I need an advice since you are my gym guru from some time now. Already 6 weeks I am doing your body weight cirquits the complete 8with no rest in 3 series. I do the tabata protocol after or 3-5 intervals on the tredmill like 40sec sprint with 90-120sec rests. And all this is 4-5 day a week, should I do that every other day, like mon, wed, fri and waht to do the other days of the week. I am not doing any weights anymore and do not feel like I am loosing muscle mass, just feeling leaner and fitter each day. I am just worried not to overtrain and get the change slowed down.
Give me your opinion please.
May the force be with you!

Digistrom May 6, 2009 at 5:43 am


carb-junkie May 6, 2009 at 7:28 am

Great Post Rusty.

Dan, I recommend having a look at the forums on for information on the warrior diet. Ori recommends eating high carb/fat days. The fats coming from nuts and seeds mostly.

I too have followed the warp speed fat loss program and got great results from it however, eating the many meals prescribed makes me tired earlier in the day.

The warrior diet makes me feel energised and mentally alert during the day whilst remaining lean. Another pleasant side effect has been that when I do indulge in pizza or other “cheat” foods, my body seems better equipped to handle it! I dont feel as tired or groggy as I did before, possibly because my insulin has become more sensitive.

I believe that people need to follow a diet that works for them as we all respond differently to certain food combinations.

Love the site Mr Rusty!

LynneP May 6, 2009 at 8:31 am

Hi Rusty,

Sorry for any confusion. I was replying to Carole!

Andy May 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

Great post Rusty!

carb-junkie May 6, 2009 at 11:21 am

I have been doing the Warrior Diet and I think its amazing. There are paralells with the paleo diet with more dairy and it does work.

I find even if I eat a healthy lunch of veggies and eggs (for example) I still can get tired in the afternoon. The warrior way keeps me tuned in for the entire day!

Another great side effect I have found is that when I do indulge in a “cheat” day, I dont feel as sluggish or tired the day after as I used to. Possibly because my Insulin is now more sensitive!

Arya-weight loss blog May 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Great post Rusty!
I have been swamped with finals but just saw your last two posts. It is great to see your workout and eating routine. I especially like that you make sure to address that it is important to have a balanced life and to allow yourself the occasional beers and wings at a BBQ or happy hour. I just wrote a post on my website on alcohol, its effects on your body, and strategies to best negate a night of drinking. The post is geared more towards the college demographic who deal with the temptations of heavy nights of drinking coupled with a 3am pizza delivery. (my college friends ask my advice on this constantly) Anyways my point is it is all about balance and you do a great job of showing people how to have their cake and eat it too. You should write a future post specifically on how to maintain a lean physique year round while allowing yourself the occasional indulgence. I really enjoyed your post on adjusting cardio intensity to match your diet as well as your “perfect diet post”. Both provide great maintenance strategies. Can’t wait for summer keep doing what you do!

Jason G May 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I wanted to thank you for another great post on weight loss. I came across your site about six months ago and read “People are Quick to Criticize Low Calorie Diets”, and something in mind just clicked. I started eating about fifteen hundred calories a day (mainly processed foods and protein shakes) and lost forty pounds in four months. However I hit a weight loss plateau around two months ago, so I changed my diet to a paleo/low glycemic style diet. To my surprise I am losing weight at the same rate that I did when I was obese. Six months ago I was obese based on the BMI and now I am in the normal weight realm.

To help provide more support for your and Brad Pilons concepts I have been working out for the last six months in the three to six rep range in an almost identical fashion as described in your last post. I have gained strength in the last six months and have held on to my muscular frame. Anyway I wanted to say thanks because I know that nice abs are only about three months away (Sadly I might not have them until the end of summer).

karie May 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

thanks rusty, i have a question regarding the body weight circuits you suggest. what exercises should i be doing and how many reps? in the body weight program you posted its for gaining mass which i don’t want. do i just do as many reps as possible of different exercises and keep moving as to provide a type of metabolic training to it?

Tyler May 8, 2009 at 1:08 am

Nice post Rusty. I’m doing something similar to lean up over the coming months. Although, I’m having some difficulty figuring out how to maintain my weight once I drop 3-4% body fat. Do I just up my caloric intake to “maintenance”, and keep a workout similar to the one you outlined? And on that note, how many calories is defined as maintenance?

Lose Fat & Build Muscle May 8, 2009 at 3:56 am

Multiply your weight by 10 and eat that many calories/day to maintain it. On days you workout, multiply your weight by 11 to 12 and eat those many calories for the day. Of course make your meals well balanced with protein and carbs.

myra May 8, 2009 at 6:53 am

Hi Rusty

Please answer me this…. why is it when we get so close to our goal we start to slip a bit ??? Im trying hard to not do this making myself more consious of what im doing but i cant help thinking i dont need to try so hard yet obviously since i have worked so hard to get the body i want i dont want to blow it all by being weak! maybe ive hit the dreaded plateau maybe im getting bored and need to alter some gym for classes i dont know but of course i wont give up full stop, im too dedicated!!! Please help

MarissaM May 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I know how you feel Myra, I am just about where I want to be and only want to lose like 3-5 more pounds. I will be really strict w/ diet for 2-3 days but since I am really happy with my body right now I guess I’m not as motivated to stick with it??? I still push myself really hard in workouts but I let my eating slip so I’ve been around the same weight for a while but I do think I have tightened up a bit.

I think i’m trying to find the right weight for me because I want to be thin and fit but I do not want to be too skinny (lose my booty and overall shape). I know that being lean is good but also for a women some curves and softness are good also. Aaahhh I am stuck in the middle, I will prob. try to lose 5ish lbs for summer since I lifeguard at a beach. Opinions welcome, I am 5’4 116lbs, don’t know my bf% that would prob help me.

Catelyn May 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Hi Rusty,
How do you stay so motivated? I find that I get all excited about a plan, follow it for 3-4 days, go to happy hour one day, and then say screw it and go back to my old ways. I’m not overweight, but have problem spots that I know I need to get super strict to correct. Sometimes I wonder if I had more weight to lose, I’d stay more motivated. Maybe I need a competition or something to push me the extra mile. My mind is playing tricks on me…

myra May 9, 2009 at 10:36 am

To MarissaM

Hi Thanks for your imput im glad to have someone who can relate to this also. what im going to do is try and keep more active and minimise the tempting foods, if i dont buy them in, i cant eat them hey !!!!
About the right weight thing, one of my best friends is an avid gym bunny like us, and her partner is a fitness teacher and they did this healthy eating plan for me, well ive shed the weight, and will continue with the plan, and i asked them about when ive lost all i want, how do i stay at that weight, they said your body stops losing not sure how this works but like you im almost there and dont want to go too far, i like my curves!

Johnny May 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

hey all…

very interesting article….perhaps I can get some input here….i’m what you might call a “freak”, i’m a slim guy at 150lbs and can eat alot and not really gain alot of weight….yet I still have a good portion of fat around my mid-section….so how would I go about getting that cut look with what diet?

keep in mind, I was once at 137lbs after a tour in iraq and still had my belly…..I already do HIIT and resistance training with heavy weights/low reps, but what about my diet? suggestions to get the cut “hollywood” look? thanks all!

admin May 13, 2009 at 7:02 pm


Great point. People think that they are going to lack energy when they don’t eat carbs. This does happen at first, but as soon as your body gets better at burning fat…this isn’t the case. If someone wants to burn fat this is a good strategy.


I think it is best to wait a couple of hours before going to sleep if you eat a full meal. It won’t hurt if it is just a small snack like a piece of fruit or cup of yogurt. Also…feel free to eat more carbs than I have outlined…everyone is different.


It took me close to 10 days, but once I adapted great things happened in regards to body composition. Low insulin levels is a key to staying lean year round. Those insulin spikes do bad things to the body.


I like Eat Stop Eat better than the Warrior Diet and I will tell you why. In Eat Stop Eat, Brad Pilon recommends that you eat a healthy and clean realistic diet 5 days per week. That could be anywhere from 2-6 meals (I rarely eat more than 2-3 times per day). Twice per week, you eat one meal at night…and that meal is a regular calorie dinner (not a big meal like Ori recommends). This creates a strong “Weekly Calorie Deficit”…which leads to a couple pounds of fat loss each week. I love this way of eating. When I was doing the Warrior Diet, I couldn’t get as lean.


Decline presses are on my “don’t-do” list. The problem is that your lower pecs will quickly outgrow your upper pecs if you do decline presses…this will make your pecs more “breast like” which isn’t something you want as a guy. I recommend doing 1 flat bench lift and 2 incline lifts…or one flat bench and one incline…this will insure square pecs and develop that line up to the collar bone.


Thanks for the compliment. I love it that I’m reaching some of the youngers guys and girls. I hope to save you a lot of wasted time and money. Those muscle-building sites are good at targetting your demographic and getting you into their “supplement funnel”. Stick with this site and the regular commenters and contributors (many of the guys and girls who comment have outstanding sites). You sound like you are getting great results already. Keep it up.


I love it that you said “May the Force Be With You!”. I’m actually going to see Star Trek tonight at an Imax theater. I know “The Force” is from Star Wars…but it just brings out the sci-fi geek in me. Three days a week sounds like a solid plan, because I know how brutal that body-weight circuit-tabata-combo must be. Make sure that you stay somewhat active throughout the week and you will do very well with this plan.


Thanks for linking to my blog. I appreciate it.


I like your site as well. It looks like it is off to a good start. I joined your site on your Google Friend Connect widget. The Warrior Diet does work well for a ton of people. Good idea to post that link where people can get more detailed info.


I hope you did well on your finals (I remember those days of little sleep and last minute cramming). Too much drinking is a bad deal. I must admit, that I had at least one or two nights in college where I drank too much. If I could go back I would have drank a bit less, that is for sure. The 3AM pizza or 3AM Denny’s or 3AM Taco Bell…is what really kills any chance of getting lean. Last week I did do a 12AM Jack in the Box, but I do that about once every two months. My girlfriend who never eats fast food, was shocked at how inexpensive the food was. We did the 2 Tacos for .99 deal as well as the chicken burger for .99. I do all the same bad things as everyone else, but just in moderation.

Jason G,

I am so pumped that you are getting such outstanding results. Comments like this really make my day and make me feel like I’m making at least a little bit of a difference. Very few people ever go from obese to getting a six pack. You have taken hold of your life and made it happen. I hope you have before and after pictures, because you could really make a helpful site for others in your same predicament. Keep it up and keep us updated. Very cool!


At the top of my site, you will see a link that says “Body Weight Training for Fat Loss”. That link has one of the routines that I follow and works very well.


It is so hard to give you an exact calorie count. The reason I find it easy to stay lean during the summer is that I’m so active that I don’t wind up eating throughout the day a few times per week. Also, when I’m thirsty I don’t crave food. You will have the luxury of eating a bit more food if you are just maintaining, but don’t worry if you say low calorie for portions of the summer.

Lose Fat and Build Muscle,

That is certainly a great starting point and does actually work well. I have a hard time counting calories and typically wind up with low calorie days and higher calorie days…but I am betting that the daily calorie count average is within that range.


Everyone reaches a plateau. I’ve been at 190 pounds for the past two weeks (I blame it on going to all the Fashion Shows that my girlfriend has been in and the after-parties). I just need to drop 4-5 more pounds to get the exact look I’m after. I’m guessing it will take me until mid-June. It is possible to lose these last few pounds at a much faster rate, but my social calendar is pretty healthy..which does slow down progress a bit. Don’t stress if you are a bit stuck, it happens to all of us!


You sound like you are the ideal weight, but here are my “2 cents”. I like to get a bit lighter at the begginning of summer (3-5 pounds lighter than ideal)…this will give you “wiggle room” to socialize more and go to parties, etc. You will naturally gain back 3-5 pounds over the course of 2-3 months and look outstanding the whole time. Hope that makes sense.


I can take a couple of weeks to get up to speed. It has been 10 days since wrote this post and now the weight is beggining to come off again. I was good for a couple of days and then slipped…then good for 3-4 days and then slipped. Now I’m in the zone and will reach my goals fairly quickly. The key is to “expect” to slip. It is all part of the process.


You are one of those guys who puts on weight pretty heavily on your mid section, so even though the rest of your body is lean…you still have to focus on losing body fat. I would recommend that you focus on gaining strength with low reps while losing weight with a clean diet and HIIT. It sounds like you will have to drop a bit of weight to get six pack abs. For diet…try going low carb-paleo for a while.


Katrina May 14, 2009 at 4:58 am

I absolutely love your website! The advice is so good and original plus it makes a lot of sense, Im so happy not be reading diet myths for once.

Mike May 15, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Hey Rusty,

Quick question on cardio. In the “low body fat percentage” link it says to wait 5 minutes after doing HIT before starting on low intensity cardio. Is this still correct, or can you do the low intensity right after doing the HIT?

Jarl May 16, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Hi Rusty,

When doing 3-5 reps with 10 sets per body part (e.g. chest, back) how long should you wait in between sets? Would 20-30 seconds be okay?

John May 16, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Rusty and anyone contemplating a low-carb approach to getting ready for summer:

I’ve come to the conclusion that the idea that one will lose weight by cutting carbs is a MYTH . . . and I welcome anyone who can prove me wrong. (Not looking for a fight, of course, just looking for good information and discussion.)

Consider the following two situations; each involves an identical male who requires 3,000 calories/day to maintain his current weight.

SITUATION #1 The individual reduces his daily calorie intake to 2,500 cal/day, which theoretically will result in losing one pound/week. The individual divides his calories so 60% (1500) come from Carbs and the remainder come from Fat and Protein. Will he lose weight even though he’s eating a lot of Carbs? I believe the answer is YES.

SITUATION #2 The individual adopts a Low Carb Diet by eating 25 grams of Carbs daily (100 calories). He then forces himself to eat an additional 2900 calories of Fat and Protein. Will he lose weight? I believe the answer is NO.

These two simple situations illustrate (to me, at least) that “Low Carb fat loss” is a myth.

Now . . . I understand that there are huge advantages to controlling and reducing Carbs. They may include the following:

• Weight loss (even when not consciously restricting calories)
• Improved triglycerides
• Reduced blood glucose for diabetics
• Increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol
• Improved insulin sensitivity
• Decreased blood pressure
• Lower blood insulin level
• (With exercise), less muscle mass lost
• Can treat seizure disorders
• Increased energy
• Cravings for sweets gone or much less
• Better mental concentration; no “brain fog”
• Improved mood; emotions more even
• ”Compulsive” or “emotional” eating gone
• Improved dental hygiene
• Reduced joint or muscle pain
• Fewer headaches
• PMS improved
• Gastrointestinal symptoms, (heartburn) improved
• Improvement in skin appearance

Interestingly, what I don’t find on the list is the impact that Fat has on controlling appetite. I believe (as many others have observed) that Fat satiates even the largest appetite . . . causing you to eat less.

Therefore, I believe that the reason a Low Carb Diet works is because people who follow it eat fewer calories.

Let’s look at a final situation.

SITUATION #3 The individual choose to follow a Low Carb Diet by eating only 25 grams of carbs/day (100 calories). Besides controlling Carbs, he ensures he eats (let’s say) 200 grams of Protein per day (800 calories). Carbs + Protein equal 900 cal/day.

The remainder of his calories come from Fat . . . which as he adapts to eating Low Carb, he finds himself being less and less hungry and so eating less and less Fat. He might start at 200 grams/day . . . then 175 . . . 150 . . . maybe even as low as 125 or 100 fat grams/day.

That means that after a 2-3 week adaptation, the individual may be eating less than 2,000 calories . . . or a one-third reduction in daily maintenance.

Add exercise and the individual may be headed towards an extremely low calorie diet.

If anyone has any studies or information proving me wrong, please let me know.

Craig June 13, 2009 at 11:34 pm

John, the case you outline there is the least scientific thing I’ve ever read. Why are you comparing a structured calorie intake (Situation 1) to a plan that involves “forcing” down 3000 calories (Situation 2)? The simple fact is that if you keep calories the same but change the ratio of carbs, the diet with lower carbs will result in greater weight loss 10 times out of 10. It’s not up for uninformed debate, it is a widely accepted fact even by people who oppose low-carb diets. Obviously if you add 500 calories difference between the 2 diets you will prove that CALORIES affect weight loss NOT carbohydrates.

Todd June 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Love your site Rusty,
Was wondering how you make your protein shakes, eg-protein powder+ water or Protein powder + fruit + fat….. ect…? I’m curious because you said when you really want to slim down you have one for breakfast and lunch and a Paleo Dinner. That can’t be any mor then 600-800 cal. for the day if your just using water and the protein powder.
Also 2nd question is on your fast days if your training in the morning, do you go the whole day without eating? Yikess!!!! I got will power but I would be ravished if I did that. Any insight would be great. Thanks for the no B.S. site. It was much needed on the net.

Cornell June 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm


This is really an amazing site. I too am getting lean for the summer.

I do it with one canister of pure whey protein isolate (no additives) of which I take 1 scoop of before bedtime with 8 ozs of lactose free calcium fortified milk.

I stay on a 1600 calorie more or less diet. I break up my carbs and proteins by meals and consume around 80 grams of protein daily. I keep my vegies at 50% of my total diet by juicing.

I then run or walk depending on how I feel 3 miles 3 times a week (muscle recovery and all).

I also train with isotonic equipment mon – fri.

Keeps me at 172- 175lbs with 14% body fat.

Feel free to take a look at my website which I am turning into a Blog. I follow the principles outlined on it religiously.

Scott August 28, 2009 at 10:44 am

Hey Rusty, for those not looking for a short term “diet”, what do you eat all year long to stay lean? I cannot find your year round diet on here. By the way, I visit your site everyday, you do a great job!!

adelle November 16, 2009 at 4:21 am

i think i might have missed this somewhere – on your fasting days what do you have. nothing? drinks, or is this where you have protein shakes? do you still train as per normal on these days?


Herniated Disc Surgery January 21, 2010 at 1:57 am

It’s true that you don’t need a lot of food before bed because you’re going to be sleeping and not utilizing much energy. But remember, while you’re sleeping you’re going a good 6 to 10 hours without any nutrition at all. It’s probably a good idea to eat a slower digesting carb and protein 1 hour before bed.

New York Limo January 21, 2010 at 2:00 am

You really shouldn’t fast at all during weight loss. It can be counter productive because your body will think it’s starving and it will try to hold onto as much fat as possible. You will most likely lose muscle and water weight if you proceed down that path.

Herniated Disc Surgery January 21, 2010 at 2:02 am

It’s probably best to eat something at least 1 hour before bed. Something that will slowly digest through out the night. Remember, when you’re sleeping you’re not getting any nutrition at all.

Besplatne igre December 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm


Quick question on cardio. In the “low body fat percentage” link it says to wait 5 minutes after doing HIT before starting on low intensity cardio. Is this still correct, or can you do the low intensity right after doing the HIT?

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