“Muscle building takes place in the kitchen”, “your abs are hidden beneath a layer of fat” and “you are what you eat” are phrases that adorn fitness websites the world over. The reason for this is simple…they ring true!!! Could you imagine The Rock eating 20 Big Mac’s a day in preperation for Hercules? Or how about Brad Pitt munching down on nothing but KFC when he was getting in shape for Fight Club? Doubtful.
The Shortcut to Shred program has a detailed nutrition guide attached to make sure that maximum gains are made in gaining strength, building muscle and burning fat. This plan focuses on the 3 key macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats.
Muscle Building Protein
Protein is king when it comes to recovering, repairing and growing muscles. Anyone who hits the gym with the aim of increasing their size will sip on a protein shake post workout because of this. I felt convinced a protein shake a day would turn me into the Hulk when I first started my muscle building adventure. It didn’t work out as expected. However, you must include the relevant amount of protein into your eating habits if you want to build muscle.
Protein is so beneficial becuase the body has to work extremely hard to convert it into fat! On top of that, protein rebuilds muscle tissue (ideal when the weights you are lifting breaks it down) and is converted into energy. Our cavemen ancestors hunting for animlas now makes more sense than them digging for a potato.
Protein also has high satiety levels. This means it will keep you feeling full for longer than the other macronutrients. If in doubt, head to your local Fuddruckers and try their 1lb burger. Take it from experience, you won’t eat for the rest of the day. I have avoided snacking thanks to this feeling of fullness, making sure my body gets only what it needs.
For the duration of the Shortcut to Shred program it is advised to eat 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. Program creator Jim Stoppani states this is the scientifcally proven amount to ensure maximum muscle growth.
Fat Torching Fats
Marketers must have dreams of the word ‘Fats’. The neurotic are the only people who visit supermarkets based on the amount of fat free items they have for sale. My sister buys into it so much she refuses to have the fat left on her bacon. Despite the bad rep, there are essential fats that our body requires, espcially when it comes to muscle building and, ironically enough, eliminating bodyfat.
Fats are broken into 4 varieties; Monounsaturated Fats, found in food such as Avocado’s and Peanut Butter, help eliminate bad cholestorol from the body. Great for reducing the risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats are found mostly in fish, as well as seed and nuts. They help to keep your joints in order and assist with the performance of the heart. Saturated fat is not the devil, but be careful how much you eat. It promotes testosterone increases, which is very important during intense training. After all, the higher the intensity, the greater the fat burn!
Trans fats are to be avoided at all costs. They are processed to allow food to last longer and provide no nutritional benefit whatsoever. They are the Devil.
The program recommends 0.5 grams of fats to be consumed daily per pound of bodyweight.
Repeat after me – carbs are not the enemy. Looking to bulk up? Carbs are a necessity. Looking to burn fat? Carbs are a necessity. What isn’t a necessity is 3 slices of white bread with every meal, complimented with a packet of crisps and a side of fries.
Carbs provide energy, but little else. There is no essential carb that the body cannot produce, as opposed to protein and fats which both have elements that the body needs. Atkins was definitely onto something. I had to consume a larger portion of carbs to begin the Shortcut to Shred program, as going full carb cut would not have provided the energy to get through the intensity of the first week. It would left me feeling (and probably looking) like an extra from The Walking Dead.
Stoppani recommends eating around 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight in week 1, 1 gram in weeks 2 & 3 and 0.5 grams in weeks 4-6. The only exception is rest day during the final 3 weeks. I’ll have a high carb day when I’m not scheduled to be in the gym. The idea is that my metabolism can slow down when limiting carbs, as my body adapts to using fats and protein for energy. The increased carbs for one day a week allow the metabolism to reset itself for the 6 workout/low carb days.
People will do what is best for them when following an eating plan. For me, the most effective way of eating is to switch into ‘autopilot’ mode. This means eating the same things, at the same time, everyday. I adopt a mindset of eating for a specific goal (in this case muscle building) rather than taste. I’ll save that for reward day!
This works best for me, but it may not be for everyone. If you are looking at trying this program and want more variety in your meals, do it. I’d eat at an Indian restaurant everyday if I had the chance, so I have to do it this way. My daily meals currently look like this
- Breakfast – 3 whole eggs, 3 eggs whites, 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt (all scrambled), 1/4 avocado spread on 2 sices of wheat bread, brown sauce & a cup of tea (I am British, after all)
- During Workout – Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Shake (1 scoop)
- Post workout – 1 small bag of Haribo (a bonus of this program – it’s recommended!), Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Shake (2 scoops)
- Meal 2 – 125 grams ground turkey or steak mince, 1 serving brown rice, 1 serving broccoli
- Meal 3 – As above
- Meal 4 – 1 tin of tuna, 1 serving brown rice, 1 serving spinach
- Evening snack – 3 tablespoons greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, drizzle of honey (mixed)
- Before bed – Effectiv Casein protein shake (1 scoop)
Yes, it’s very dull at times, but as I’ve mentioned, autopilot mode allows me to get through it. During weeks 2-3 I’ll be dropping 2 of the servings of rice, with the final serving being dropped in weeks 4-6 to make sure that all the necessary macronutrients are being hit and the muscle building, fat torching results, as guaranteed by the program, are clear as day.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, if there are any tips or secrets you have figured out or learned or if you will try something like this yourself. Please leave your comments below.
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