Sometimes opportunity knocks and all you need to answer it is an updated resume or some spare cash. Other times, the only thing you need is to just look damn good physically. If your bod's not ready for that photo shoot, beach vacation hot spot, or Vegas pool party, what do you do? Cancel? Make up some lame excuse? Or go, then feel too ashamed to strut your stuff?
None of the above. With the right plan and a willingness to work hard for a short time, you can achieve some extraordinary results and seize the moment.
How Much Weight Do I Guarantee You'll Lose?
I don't guarantee anything. It's up to you, and let me be clear and not create any false hopes, if you're overweight, with enough love handles for a team of four to grab hold and carry you away, you're not going to show a clear six-pack in two weeks. But if it's more a matter of you wanting to trim up after too much beer or pizza, if you can see some blurry abs when you stand just so with the right lighting, you can cut up nicely.
Exactly how much weight you can lose depends of how hard you work—and how big you are to begin with. A 250-pound man is going to lose a lot more scale weight than a 170-pounder. But the rough amount of body-fat loss will be about the same for everyone with average metabolism. If you have an extremely high metabolism and tend to stay lean no matter what you eat, you might lose more. If you seem to gain weight easily, you might lose less.
The 1,000-Calorie Trifecta
The mathematical calculations in this article assume the following:
- You will continue with your current cardio and add these sessions; or, you’re not currently doing cardio.
- You will continue with your current weight training, and not increase or decrease the volume or work performed; or, currently you don’t weight train, and any weight training can be used toward your daily caloric expenditure goal.
- Your current diet would enable you to drop 2,000 calories a day and still consume 1,750-2,000 calories.
- Your current diet has at least 250 carbohydrate grams to spare.
- Despite being seriously calorically depleted, you can do 60-second sprints with 90-120-seconds of rest between sprints for a total of 30-40 minutes, every day. That’s 10-16 sprints per session.
If any of these bullets don’t apply, this is NOT the program for you.
The first rule of weight loss has to do with caloric deficit. To lose body fat, you must burn more calories than you consume. You may have heard that it takes about 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat. This program is designed to help an average fit person lose at least 12 pounds in just two weeks. To get there, you need to create a caloric deficit of 42,000 calories over two weeks. That's a huge number, but you can do it by consuming fewer calories and doing more cardiovascular exercise than you may have thought possible.
Let's say you currently consume 3,000 calories a day. Knock that number down to 2,000 and you've created a caloric deficit of 1,000 calories a day and 14,000 calories over two weeks. If it takes 3,500 calories to burn one pound, this caloric deficit will help you shed 4 pounds of fat—one third of your goal—if you do nothing else but this.
Now let's add in some cardio on top of your regular lifting schedule. A twice-a-day cardio schedule burns about 500 calories per session. That's another 1,000-calories-a-day shortfall, another 14,000-calorie deficit—and another 4 pounds of fat lost. Now we're up to an 8-pound loss over two weeks.
Then we'll take it up one more notch and reduce your carb consumption to drop yet another 1,000 calories per day. As you'll see in the daily diet to follow, you'll have just one meal a day with carbohydrates in it. On days you don't weight train, the carbs will be in your first meal of the day. On days you do train, they'll be in your pre-workout meal. The meal plan will still provide plenty of protein along with some fats. You just won't consume so much of each that you fail to reach your two-week weight loss goal.
So there you have it: Three ways to burn an additional 14,000 calories each for a total of 42,000 fewer calories and 12 fewer pounds.
This Trifecta of Pain and Deprivation will be hard as hell to maintain. When your spirit and energy hit rock bottom, just remember two things: It's only for two weeks, and when it's all over you'll have the kind of physique you've been dreaming about. Stick with it!
Double Cardio Sessions
Doing cardio twice a day might seem like too much—not to mention doing the first one fasted (you can have a strong cup of coffee or a fat-burner product, but no solid food). Your energy will be on the low side, so you'll do this session with low-to-moderate intensity, but that doesn't mean it should be easy. Use an incline treadmill, a stepper, or an elliptical trainer and go at a pace that makes you breathe faster than normal and break a sweat. Keep it up for 40-60 minutes.
Your second cardio session will come after your weight-training workout and at least 5-6 hours after your fasted cardio; preferably 8-10 hours later. Don't drink anything except cold water during this second workout: No pre- or intra-workout drinks, no BCAAs. This second session will be "only" 30-40 minutes long, but you're going to work hard—super hard. They don't call this a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout for nothing.
Warm up for 3-5 minutes, run as hard as you can for 60 seconds, then rest for 90-120 seconds to catch your breath before sprinting again. Continue this run/rest cycle for 30-40 minutes. You should be able to burn the same number of calories in this session of 30-40 minutes as you did that morning with 60 minutes.
After you're finished with these sessions, always be sure to have a 3-5-minute cool-down to gradually get your heart rate back to normal.
Don't Worry About Losing a Smidgen of Muscle
Every aspect of this program will be very challenging, and you may be tempted to find shortcuts to make it through the two weeks. You could cheat on your diet, skip cardio sessions, or perform with the intensity of a sloth. Or you could have the very best intentions and believe you are adhering to the nutrition part of the program—even as you overeat for fear of losing lean muscle tissue.
As a bodybuilder, you've spent a great deal of time focused on gaining muscle. It's totally understandable if, at any point in these two weeks, you feel like you're losing too much muscle mass. Stop and think about how many competitors' progress pics you've seen on Instagram with a caption bemoaning how "flat" they think they look. Yes, when you drastically lower your carbohydrate intake, your muscles will not appear as full. And losing a significant amount of muscle is very real risk when you go for long periods with fewer calories and more cardio.
But two weeks isn't very long, and as long as you keep your protein at a maintenance level of a little over 1 gram per pound of body weight, you're in good shape. And let's be real here: Even if you do lose a little bit of muscle, you're still going to look bigger and more impressive thanks to all the body fat you'll shed and the muscle definition and separation you'll gain.
These 14 days are all about losing at least 12 pounds of body fat. The only way that can happen is if you switch your brain into full-on fat-burning mode, bite the bullet, and accept the lower carbs and higher cardio for just two damn weeks.
Given the extreme nature of this plan, don’t simply revert to your old approach the day this ends. Ease out of it. Gradually return to just one cardio session per day, removing more of the HIIT sessions first (but not entirely). Next, gradually increase your fat and protein amounts. Then, gradually reintroduce more carbohydrates to your diet. Try to avoid big swings in your calorie consumption from one day to the next.