Muscle & Fitness Hers Excerpt: 21 Mix ’N’ Match Meals For Fat Loss.

Between personal obligations, the office grind and hitting the weights, you may not always have time to plan healthy diet. We can help by taking the guesswork out of eating for fat loss. Learn more...

Losing fat to reveal the tight, toned body underneath that you worked so hard to obtain is a common goal. And the truth is, it isn't difficult to reach. If you exercise hard (which you probably already do) and keep your hand out of the cookie jar, you're well on your way. The problem is that the second half of this equation can easily be derailed.

Between personal obligations, the office grind and hitting the weights, you may not always have time to plan healthy diet. We can help by taking the guesswork out of eating for fat loss.

Each day for the next six weeks, choose the meals and snacks contained in this feature in any combination that suits your fancy. Each day you'll take in roughly 1,600-2,000 calories, depending on your exercise habits - enough calories to stimulate fat-burning while simultaneously creating an environment that cultivates muscle growth. Serious gym rats can select meals from our higher-calorie fare while more subdued fitness followers can pick from the slimmed-down versions of these meals.

Whatever your choice may be, the crux of this eating plan is whole foods - nutrient-dense meals and snacks that will ignite your metabolism, helping you improve that buff:blubber ratio. You'll gourmandize happily with fit-food classics like chicken breast and cottage cheese while introducing scrumptious newbies such as protein-rich quinoa and almond butter that's loaded with healthy fat. We're taking your diet from ho-hum to yum.

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Consume the preworkout snacks about 30 minutes before hitting the gym so you have plenty of energy to work up a sweat. Take in one of our high-protein postworkout suggestions soon after so your muscles have the nutrients they need to become more defined. Remember, more lean body mass means you're searing more bodyfat all day long.

On days when you don't exercise, forgo the pre- and postworkout meals and have one of the preworkout snacks midmorning and again as an afternoon pick-me-up. On a side note: Protein and fiber content are kept high on nonworkout days to fuel fat loss while curbing the appetite.

Add a good electronic food scale to your grocery list so you can strictly adhere to our serving recommendations. To be fair, we've given you a bit of wiggle room in case you want to add another small snack, or the urge to eat something you know you shouldn't happens to strike.

Follow this simple plan and before you know it, you'll rule the beach, pool or anywhere else you want to show off that lean, athletic shape.

For the meal plan, pick up the July/August issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers on newsstands June 11, 2007.