Jim Stoppani's 12-Week Shortcut To Size: Nutrition

In 12 short weeks, I can help you build more muscle while skyrocketing your strength. To succeed, your diet must be elite!

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No program is complete without proper nutrition, especially when that program is all about building size and strength. What you do in the kitchen can make or break the results you produce in the gym. It'd be shame to train like crazy and then blow it on the (easier) nutrition side.

Shortcut to Size gives you a complete nutrition plan, so there are no excuses for failure!

12-Week Shortcut To Size Nutrition Overview
Watch The Video - 14:58

Terms You'll Need To Know

Macronutrients: Fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Fats and carbs can primarily be considered as fuel sources, while protein is responsible for building muscle.
Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals. These co-factors help your body utilize nutrients from foods, whether for fuel or muscle growth.
Amino Acids: The building blocks of protein. Essential aminos (EAAs) are the amino acids your body can't make on its own; you need to get them from foods and supplements. Extra amino acids are needed to maximize muscle growth.

Daily Calories

To build as much muscle as possible and minimize fat gain, it's important to know how many total calories to eat every day. Your caloric requirements are slightly different on training and rest days:

Nonworkout Days: 18 calories per pound of bodyweight, 7 meals per day.

Workout Days: 20 calories per pound of bodyweight, 9 meals per day -- including pre- and post-workout nutrition.

Of course, not all calories are created equal! Check the graphic to see the calories per gram of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Use the calculator below to see how many calories you should be eating, as well as how many grams of each macronutrient, on both workout and non-workout days.

Shortcut to size Nutritional Calculator

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Rest Days

Workout Days

The majority of your micronutrients come from the well-balanced Shortcut to Size nutrition plan, but you'll also want to add extra micronutrients from a multivitamin each day.


Protein is critical for both building muscle and as an energy source. When building mass, shoot for a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

During the Shortcut to Size program, I suggest upping that to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, and even closer to 2 grams on workout days to really maximize muscle.

"Protein is critical for both building muscle and as an energy source."

To a certain extent, more protein produces more muscle mass, but protein isn't all about growth. You also need protein as an energy source. Any excess protein you take in (that's not going to synthesize new muscle) will be used for energy. Complete proteins, like animal proteins, provide all the essential amino acids your body needs.

Lean Animal Protein Sources
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.)

Protein supplements are an excellent, and sometimes essential, alternative to whole-food protein sources. Not only do whey and casein provide complete amino acid profiles, but they're both extremely bioavailable. Because whey is a fast-digesting protein source, there are specific times it should be used over whole foods.

When To Whey In
  • Upon waking: After fasting through the night, you need to get amino acids to muscles quickly.
  • Pre-workout: Shuttles protein to your muscles for training fuel.
  • Post-workout: Quickly instigates muscular repair, recovery, and growth.


Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source, particularly during workouts. On rest days, aim for 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. On workout days, since you also have a slow-digesting carbohydrate before the workout and a fast-digesting carbohydrate after the workout, that total rises to about 2 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight.

Carbohydrate Choices

Low-glycemic (slow-digesting): These carbohydrate sources enter your blood system slowly, causing less of an insulin spike. Low-glycemic carbs are ideal throughout the day, and include fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and sweet potatoes.
High glycemic (fast-digesting): Fast-digesting carbs hit your blood stream quicker, causing insulin to spike. Fast-digesting carbs are ideal after a workout. Fast-digesting carbs include white bread, white potatoes, sugars, candy, gummy bears, Pixy Stix, and Swee Tarts. Tropical fruits are also typically fast-digesting.

"Fast-digesting carbs are ideal after a workout."

When you're not actively training, you want a carbohydrate that is not only going to provide you a slow and long-lasting energy source, but isn't going to spike insulin, either. Any time you spike insulin, you increase your chance of storing body fat (except after a workout). To stay lean while you build muscle, most of your carbs should be slow-digesting.

Fast Times

1. First thing when you wake up: You've been fasting all night long. Glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates in your liver) decreases overnight, and your body begins consuming muscle tissue for fuel. Drink a whey protein shake and fast-carb food for breakfast to stop muscle breakdown and encourage protein synthesis.

2. Right after you work out: You deplete glycogen levels while you train, so you need to restore glycogen levels with fast-digesting carbs. Spiking your insulin at this key time won't cause fat storage, but will enhance muscle growth.

Fun Fats

Fats are also known as lipids. Fats provide energy for the body, but they also offer myriad health benefits. The essential Omega-3 fats, for example, can support heart health, joint recovery, and can even aid fat loss.

Saturated fats, which normally get a bad rap, also provide a benefit. Research shows that athletes who consume a higher intake of saturated fats, as well as monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil), actually have higher testosterone levels. Fat intake is critical to keep testosterone levels high. For a male, that's important when you're trying to increase size and strength.

"Fats provide energy for the body, but they also offer myriad health benefits."

During the Shortcut to Size program, you will take in slightly over half a gram of fat per pound of bodyweight. A 200-pound guy would eat about 100 grams of fat per day (about 30% of daily total calories). Fat intake on the Shortcut to Size program is lower than carb and protein intake because fat is so calorically dense.

Tips for Nutritional Success
  1. Cook food in bulk: You can always reheat it
  2. Pack meals iwth cooler bags: Food Safety is key
  3. Keep Protein Bars and RTDS Handy: Cover you bases

Download Jim Stoppani's complete Shortcut to Size program in one easy to use e-book!

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Nutrition Plan

For Workout Days

Buffer workouts with specific pre- and post-workout shakes, shown in the meal plan below. Or, combine the pre- and post-workout shakes into one large pre/during/post-workout shake and drink about 1/3 within 30 minutes before the workout, another 1/3 during the workout, and the final 1/3 at the end of the workout.

Breakfast 1 (Immediately Upon Waking)
  • Whey Protein Whey Protein
    1 scoop
    Calories: 130 Fats: 2 Grams Protein: 24 Grams Carbs: 4 Grams

  • Cantaloupe Cantaloupe
    1/2 medium cantaloupe (~275 g)
    Calories: 94 Fats: 524 Milligrams Protein: 2 Grams Carbs: 23 Grams

    ~5 grams if preferred

Breakfast 2 (30-60 Minutes After Breakfast 1)
  • Whole Eggs Whole Eggs
    3 eggs
    Calories: 220 Fats: 15 Grams Protein: 19 Grams Carbs: 1 Grams

  • Egg Whites Egg Whites
    3 whites
    Calories: 220 Fats: 0 Grams Protein: 12 Grams Carbs: 0.9 Grams

  • Olive Oil Olive Oil
    1 tablespoon
    Calories: 115 Fats: 13 Grams Protein: 0 Grams Carbs: 0 Grams

  • Low-Fat American Cheese Low-Fat American Cheese
    1 slice
    Calories: 38 Fats: 1.47 Grams Protein: 5.17 Gramm Carbs: 0.74 Grams

Scramble eggs cook in olive oil and add cheese to melt.
Breakfast 2 Alternative
Late Morning Snack
Mix pineapple in cottage cheese.
    1 bar
    Calories: 230 Fats: 3.5 Grams Protein: 9 Grams Carbs: 44 Grams

    ~5 grams if preferred

  • Albacore Tuna Albacore Tuna
    1 can
    Calories: 70 Fats: 2 Grams Protein: 13 Grams Carbs: 0 Grams

  • Whole Wheat Bread Whole Wheat Bread
    2 slices
    Calories: 159 Fats: 3 Grams Protein: 7 Grams Carbs: 28 Grams

  • Light Mayonnaise Light Mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon
    Calories: 57 Fats: 4.9 Grams Protein: 0.13 Grams Carbs: 3.5 Grams

  • Fruit Fruit (apple, orange, banana, etc.)
    1 large piece (~140 grams)
    Calories: 100 Fats: 1 Grams Protein: 2 Grams Carbs: 24 Grams

  • Fish Oil Fish Oil
    2-3 grams

    2-3 grams

Lunch Alternative
Afternoon Snack
  • Whey Protein Whey Protein
    1 scoop
    Calories: 130 Fats: 2 Grams Protein: 24 Grams Carbs: 4 Grams

  • Peanut Butter Peanut Butter
    1 tablespoon
    Calories: 92 Fats: 8 Grams Protein: 4 Grams Carbs: 3 Grams

  • Jam Jam
    1 tablespoon
    Calories: 42 Fats: 37 Milligrams Protein: 88 Milligrams Carbs: 12 Grams

  • Whole Wheat Bread Whole Wheat Bread
    2 slices
    Calories: 159 Fats: 3 Grams Protein: 7 Grams Carbs: 28 Grams

Chase peanut butter sandwich with shake.
    ~5 grams if preferred

Pre-Workout (Within 30 Minutes Before Workouts)
Post-Workout (Within 30 Minutes After Workouts)
  • Salmon Salmon
    8 ounces
    Calories: 349 Fats: 11 Grams Protein: 59 Grams Carbs: 0 Grams

  • Chopped Broccoli Chopped Broccoli
    1 cup
    Calories: 27 Fats: 319 Milligrams Protein: 3 Grams Carbs: 5 Grams

  • Mixed Green Salad Mixed Green Salad
    2 cups
    Calories: 9 Fats: 0.13 Grams Protein: 0.84 Grams Carbs: 1.76 Grams

  • Salad Dressing (Olive Oil and Vinegar) Salad Dressing (Olive Oil and Vinegar) Salad Dressing (Olive Oil and Vinegar)
    2 tablespoons
    Calories: 138 Fats: 15 Grams Protein: 0 Grams Carbs: 769 Milligrams

Dinner Alternative
Before Bed Snack
  • Casein Protein Casein Protein
    1 scoop
    Calories: 110 Fats: 0.5 Grams Protein: 23 Grams Carbs: 4 Grams

  • Peanut Butter Peanut Butter
    1 tablespoon
    Calories: 92 Fats: 8 Grams Protein: 4 Grams Carbs: 3 Grams

Non-Workout Day Totals
  • Calories: 3100
  • Protein: 265g
  • Carbs: 260g
  • Fats: 110g
Workout Day Totals
  • Calories: 3700
  • Protein: 335g
  • Carbs: 340g
  • Fats: 110g
Meal Replacements

I do NOT recommend you eat the same meals for all of those days. Consider this list as a good source to consider when you're not looking forward to yet another piece of salmon or bowl of oats.

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