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How To Get Ripped


Your incentive to get ripped is overwhelming, but one thing’s stopping you: You don’t have the slightest idea where to start, let alone know how to create your own diet plan. You need help. I’m here to put you on the right path!

I’ve been in the business of creating championship physiques and constructing “lifestyle” nutritional programs for over two decades, and I can tell you that the first step toward getting in shape is coming up with a plan. Need a little more motivation? Take a read of this post by Canada’s premier fitness expert John Cardillo


You need to look at your nutritional program much as a contractor looks at building a multimillion-dollar skyscraper – one doesn’t just pick up a bunch of tools and materials and start building. The builder has a blueprint to follow, step-by-step instructions for how to construct the skyscraper. I often look at bodybuilding or losing weight to create the ultimate you in much the same way. Your nutrition program is the blueprint, and your body is the structure to be built, shaped, chiseled away at, and crafted into the ultimate physique—the body you’ve always wanted.

Over the years I’ve learned that starting your nutritional program with a game plan provides you with an insurance policy for success. So what is the plan? I’ll let you in on a few of the keys that will put you on the path to achieving your weight goals:


How much? How long? You first need to determine how much weight you want to lose and set your time frame. Please be realistic. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend wanting to lose 30 pounds in a month. You need to be not only realistic but also health-savvy. If you want to lose 20 to 30 pounds, that’s great, and that should be your goal, but give yourself 10 to 12 weeks to do so. That way, if you lose weight more slowly, you won’t be discouraged; however, if you lose weight more quickly, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. No matter what your case is, remember: Everyone is different, so the time it takes to reach your goal will differ from the time it takes someone else.


Figuring how much carb and protein you need per meal per day is one of the most important keys to success, but it can also be one of the most frustrating because it can feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark when you’re starting out. How much is too much, or how much is just enough? With regard to carbs, again, everyone is different, and the numbers will vary from person to person.
I suggest throwing mathematical equations and so many grams per pound out the window. Those cookie-cutter weight-loss formulas are more hurtful than helpful.

For most of the general public, creating a weight-loss program can prove more difficult than learning a foreign language later in life. When they see the direction to eat 1.5 ounces of protein per pound of body weight, they take it literally and stick with it forever. What they don’t realize is that, as I’ve been telling you, everyone is different. That equation won’t work for everybody. Some people need more carbs than others, and some need more protein than others. So to set a number and assign it to everyone is preposterous. That brings us back to the matter at hand: how to start.

I suggest beginning with a half-cup serving of carbs, which is basically four ounces, per meal. From there you can add or subtract, depending on your needs. When taking into account what types of carbs to incorporate into your diet, throw the crazy fads out the window. Use variety, and think of health. If you like vegetables, great. Potatoes and rice? Fantastic. I’d stay away from breads and limit fruits because of their natural sugar content, but you can still eat them in moderation.

With regard to proteins, men should begin with a base of about six to eight ounces per meal and increase or decrease from that point. Women should start with about four to six ounces and increase or decrease from there, depending on individual body reactions.

Good sources of protein are lean cuts of beef (eaten occasionally); skinless, boneless turkey breast; skinless, boneless chicken breast; fish—such as tilapia, tuna, orange roughy, cod, and halibut—and small amounts of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews. Even though nuts are high in fat, they’re loaded with essential fatty acids. Of course eggs are also a great option! 

If you’re asking yourself how to tell what amounts of proteins and carbs are right for you, it’s simple: Start with your base amount and follow that for a couple of weeks: You’ll soon be able to tell if you need to adjust the amounts by watching for the following:

Are you extremely hungry between meals, feeling lethargic, and losing weight very quickly?


Are you full all the time and don’t seem to be dropping weight at all?

If you answer “yes” to the first question, you need to up your carbohydrates or proteins to suit your needs. If you answered “yes” to the second, then back off the carbs and proteins a bit. A good rule of thumb is that you should feel hungry and ready to eat no more than 30 minutes prior to your next scheduled meal.

You’re probably wondering how to actually plan your eating schedule. You need to figure how many meals you’ll need to get you through the day. You also need to plan when to eat the meals. A good suggestion is to eat a little something about every three hours throughout the day—approximately five smaller meals or four meals and a snack. Considering that most people don’t eat three square meals a day, four to five meals daily may sound extreme. When you eat four ounces, give or take, of clean carbs and four to eight ounces of clean protein, though, you’ll be surprised how quickly your hunger grows between meals.

Begin with Meal 1—breakfast—and then plan the rest of your meals every three hours or so thereafter to fit your schedule. I would suggest making meal 4 your last meal, with a good amount of protein and carbs, and make meal 5 simply a light meal or a snack and have it approximately one and a half to two hours before going to bed so that you don’t have a heavy meal sitting in your stomach while you sleep.

Something that is important and often overlooked is the need to incorporate solid vitamin and mineral supplementation into your nutritional plan. Though the foods you eat are healthful, any type of weight-reduction program strips the body of much-needed nutrients, not to mention how the stresses of everyday life can wreak havoc on the immune system. Before starting your program, see your physician for a checkup. In addition to all the regular tests, ask him or her to run your blood work, including a full vitamin-and-mineral screen. That will show you where you’re deficient and help you better plan your supplementation.

Giving yourself at least 10 to 12 weeks of hard dieting is a good plan. Use the sample diet programs in this article as a reference point. Then if you want to lose more, go for it. If you’ve reached your goal, have a reward. A little cheat every once in a while will help you keep your sanity as well as appreciate your healthful new lifestyle. Moreover, once you reach your weight-loss goal, you can add a little more food or more of the foods you enjoy to your maintenance diet. Just as with creating your plan, you’ll need a little trial-and-error testing to find the right maintenance program for you. Good luck. This is one time that losing makes you a winner.

Note: The diets in this article are templates. Please feel free to interchange the proteins and carbs with comparable amounts of your favorite meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, carbohydrates, etc.



½-1 cup low-fat yogurt (your choice of flavors)
20 - 40 g pure whey isolate
4 - 8 oz. ground turkey breast or lean ground beef
½ - 1 cup cooked rice and black beans
Greens and vegetables
4 - 8 oz. grilled chicken breast or fish
2 - 3 Tbsp fat-free dressing
4 - 8 oz. lean steak
3 - 6 oz. sweet potato with fat-free butter substitute/cinnamon and Splenda
Small dinner salad (Fat-free dressing)
20 - 40 g chocolate pure whey isolate
½ - 1 Tbsp peanut butter



1 pack instant oatmeal (any flavor)
20 - 40 g pure whey isolate
1- 2 tsp peanut butter (in protein shake)
4 - 8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breast
3 - 6 oz. baked potato (with your favorite fat-free condiments)
4 - 6 oz. lean turkey
2 pieces whole-wheat bread
Any condiments you like
4 - 6 oz. fat-free cottage cheese or ¼ cup unsalted nuts
4 - 8 oz. fish (could be sushi or sashimi)
5 - 7 asparagus spears
20 - 40 g Chocolate pure whey isolate
½-1 Tbsp peanut butter