Let's try this again. It's a brand new year, and this time you're going to do things right. Your mission is to transform your body from what you let it become in 2011 to what you want it to be in 2012. The goal, then, is to lose as much fat as possible while maintaining, and adding, as much muscle as you can.

You won't get there by starving yourself and boring yourself to tears with endless cardio sessions, because all you'll be burning with that strategy is precious muscle tissue. What you want, and what this transformation program will teach you to do, is to set up your workouts and diet to work synergistically to drop the fat you don't want while conserving the muscle you've worked so hard to build. Here's how it's done.



The Foundation

To lose weight and say goodbye to fat, you have to operate at a caloric deficit, meaning you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. Simply put, eat less and exercise more. Sound advice, but there are some specifics involved. For most males, a good starting point for losing weight is to consume approximately 12 calories per pound of body weight. If you weigh 200 pounds, that's 2,400 calories per day.

Don't just focus on total calories, though. Their source is important, too. For example, a gram of protein contains four calories, as does a gram of carbohydrate, while a gram of fat contains nine calories. Consuming the right amounts of these three macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat), in the right proportions, will ensure an optimal balance between muscle building and fat burning.

In The Gym

Without intense training, even the best-designed diet will fail at retaining optimal muscle. This is the 'use it or lose it' principle. If you don't give your muscles a reason to exist—such as lifting heavy weights—they'll totally dissipate and leave you with nothing but your love handles. You don't want to train too much, however, especially when you're cutting calories. So for this 8-week transformation process, you'll be weight training four times per week, hitting each body part with a lot of intensity once every seven days.

That's not all, though. Cardiovascular activity plays a huge role in any transformation program—at least in the ones that work. Cardio burns additional calories and keeps your heart healthy. It also helps you recover from weight training, so perform all the cardio in this program as prescribed, and don't skip any sessions.

The Macros

Protein is a very important muscle-sparing nutrient, so you'll want to take in roughly 1.25-to-1.5 grams per pound of body weight. Carbs help support intense training and muscle fullness, but too many of them will inhibit the fat-burning process, so you'll have to limit them on this diet - 0.5-to-1.0 gram per pound of body weight. fat is an additional macro energy source that plays a key role in numerous processes in the body, so although you won't want to drop it to zero, you'll be keeping it at a moderate 0.3-to-0.5 grams per pound of body weight.

The sample diet we've provided here offers daily meal plans for a 200-pound male looking to drop weight. Included is your daily schedule for both training and non-training days. Because your energy doesn't need to be as high on rest days, we're lowering your carb intake quite a bit, although we're raising protein during these periods to prevent muscle catabolism.

The Workout

Day 1: Chest/Shoulders
1
Butterfly
3 sets, 12 reps (flex for one second at contraction, 120 seconds rest between sets)
+ 7 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Day 2: Off (Cardio Only)



Day 3: Back/Traps
1
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
4 sets, 10 reps (per side, 120 sec. rest between sets)
+ 5 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Day 4: Off (Cardio Only)

Day 5: Arms
1
Cable V-bar push-down
4 sets, 15, 12, 10, 8 reps (pyramid sets, 60 seconds rest between sets)
+ 6 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Day 6: Legs
1
Standing Calf Raises
4 sets, 20 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
+ 6 more exercises

BodyFit Plus

$3.99/month
  • 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Detailed workout instruction
  • Step-by-step workout tips
  • Training at gym or at home

What comes with BodyFit Plus?

  • Instructional Videos
  • Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

  • How-to Images
  • View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.

  • Step-by-Step Instructions
  • Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you're doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.

Day 7: Off (Cardio Only)

For A.M. Cardio

30 minutes of fasted cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical, stepper) at 70% of your maximum heart rate

Cardio Duration

  • Weeks 1-4: 30 minutes on all off days
  • Weeks 5-7: 30 minutes every day
  • Week 8: 30 minutes on all off days

Daily Meal Plans

Training Day

Meal 1
Ezekiel Bread (toasted)
2 pieces
Omelet (with mixed vegetables)
1 whole egg, 10 egg whites
Meal 2
Chicken
5 oz.
Brown Rice (measured cooked)
3/4 cup
Broccoli
1 cup
Walnuts
7
Meal 3
Oats
3/4 cup
Protein Powder (whey isolate)
2 scoops
Almond Butter
1 tbsp
Meal 4
Ground Turkey
5 oz.
Sweet Potato
1 medium
Green Beans
1 cup
Cashews
2 tbsp
Meal 5
Protein Powder (whey)
2 scoops
Waxy Maize
1 scoop
Meal 6
Steak (eye of round)
4 oz.
Salad (greens)
1 large portion
Olive Oil (extra virgin mixed with balsamic vinegar)
1 tbsp
Fish Oil
3g

Totals

  • Carbs: 175g
  • Fat: 55g
  • Protein: 250g
  • Calories: 2200

Rest/Cardio Days

Upon Waking
Coffee (black)
1 cup
Meal 1
Oatmeal
1/2 cup
Omelet (with mixed vegetables)
2 whole egg, 10 egg whites
Meal 2
Brown Rice (measured cooked)
1/2 cup
Fish (lean)
7 oz.
Olive Oil (extra virgin)
1 tsp
Meal 3
Oatmeal
1/2 cup
Protein Powder (whey)
2 scoops
Cashews (and Almonds or Walnuts)
1/4 cup
Psyllium Husk
1 tsp
Meal 4
Chicken
6 oz.
Broccoli (or green beans)
2 cups
Peanut Butter
1 1/2 tbsp
Meal 5
Protein Powder (whey)
2 scoops
Cashews (and Almonds or Walnuts)
1/4 cup
Psyllium Husk
1 tsp
Meal 6
Steak (eye of round)
5 oz.
Broccoli
2 cups
Fish Oil
3g

Totals

  • Carbs: 75g
  • Fat: 80g
  • Protein: 275g
  • Calories: 2120

How It Works

After Two Weeks

Have a "carb load" day on one of your training days. Take the original carb portions listed for a training day and double your portions for one day only.

After Your Carb Load

Reduce all carb portions on training days by 50%. Do this for two weeks.

After Your Two-Week Carb Reduction

Have two carb-load days back to back, as outlined above, then resume the lower carb diet you used in Weeks 3 and 4.

For The Remainder

Repeat this process one more time to complete the eight-week plan.



What You'll Feel

Carb cycling aloows you to take advantage of the fat-burning benefits of a low-carb diet while still experiencing the surge of a periodic carb-up, an action that will increase your metabolism and refill glycogen stores. Your strength and energy will also be high following carb-up days.

About the Author

Muscle & Fitness

Muscle & Fitness

Muscle & Fitness magazine was founded by Joe Weider in 1935, and its content focuses on fitness and bodybuilding.

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