Get Lean, Build Muscle & Stay Healthy… FOR GOOD
A really good diet should shred body fat while allowing you to continue performing at a high level, keeping as much muscle mass as humanly possible – all of it ideally. This has become known as the “perfect diet” that all are seeking in record time.
Yet 9 times out of 10, the diets that claim to help you get ripped are unsustainable and cause poor health. You lose muscle mass, strength and performance plummets, and you likely suffer some form of nutrient deficiency or hormonal down regulation – if not both.
The issue is that everyone is searching for quick fixes, the perfect diet and something that will get them shredded in a month. These quick fix plans usually entail extremely low levels of calories, which will only lead to poor health, declining performance, and starving muscles.
So what can you do? Simple; don’t follow the crowd! Do this instead.
The Perfect Diet To Stay Patient & Consistent
Here’s the deal; you can’t rush this process. Getting super lean doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen in 30 days either. The issue with 90% of people is that they’re too impatient and want results overnight. I get it, I want that too – but once I faced the facts and realized that if I wanted low body fat levels while still having a solid amount of muscle and performing at my best, I needed to slow down a bit.
So why the slower process? Because we want to be as strong as we possibly can, while actually keeping our precision muscle mass.
If we rush the process of fat loss, the result will be a skinny fat body that has a snail like metabolism and the performance of an adolescent tee ball player.
I’m going to imagine that you just read that, shook your head, and will agree on the fact that you do not want that to be your current reality. If you’re an avid reader here on DrJohnRusin.com, then I know you enjoy being dialed in, performing at your most optimal state as often as possible, and seeing more muscle definition than you see belly fat.
The reality is that if that’s the goal you desire, then you need to consider slowing down just enough to actually lose pure body fat and keep your body as healthy as possible. This is the only way that you can achieve a lean physique and actually keep it long-term too, because it will keep your hormones healthy and performance improving.
The Perfect Diet Plan For Longevity
Now that we set the tone and you understand that you will need to commit and invest some time into this, we’ll move onto the concepts of the diet.
This diet is a collection of the best diets out there. It allows us to reap the benefits of them all, without falling into one single camp. Because as most know, there are some small detriments to most diet plans. This is as close as it gets to the perfect diet.
Paleo is great for your gut health, but it doesn’t always allow you the flexibility you’d like in order to reach your caloric intake. Add to that, sometimes it’s hard to actually get enough fuel for optimal performance. White rice is an excellent example of this, because it is such a perfect fuel source around your training – easy to digest, almost pure carbohydrate, and in most people it can be turned into energy in the body very rapidly.
Intermittent Fasting has unbelievable health and hormone benefits that contribute to longevity, fat loss and muscle gain. Things such as growth hormone, testosterone, insulin sensitivity, blood sugar levels, digestion, and inflammation all see improvements when intermittent fasting is utilized regularly. But it’s also extremely hard to hit your protein needs and sometimes even your daily caloric needs while following this protocol.
IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) makes sense in logic and provides the metrics needed to ensure your numbers are matching up with what you personally need in order to reach your goals. But fitting in a bunch of junk food just isn’t healthy no matter who tries to convince you that it is, so in that regard it’s just not sustainable from a health perspective. In order to minimize joint, brain, and gut inflammation we need to still focus on the quality of our foods and not just the quantities.
So what do we do at this point? We combine them all, to make “The Perfect Diet”.
This is something I’ve personally tested and used on countless clients and the result has been better than I ever expected. So great that I’m surprised more and more people don’t just give up there camp and be a part of them all.
More on exactly how you’ll be setting up your weekly diet towards the end of the article, for now lets dive into how and why we’ll be applying each of these perfect diet strategies.
Losing Fat While Maintaining (or Gaining) Muscle
When our goal is to lose body fat or cut some weight, we all know this means we need to be in a calorie deficit. The problem with this is that a calorie deficit also means we’re not very likely to build muscle or any appreciable strength.
So we’re going to avoid that whole “deficit” part for 75-80% of the week, because we’re in this for the long haul and we want actual muscle mass when we strip off that body fat. For this diet, we’re going to refer back to an old concept that many have forgotten but has not lost its benefits and capabilities; a concept that John Berardi made popular called “G-Flux”.
I’m not going to go into the science here, I’ll let you refer back to his many articles for on G-Flux . Instead I’m going to just tell you what it is in one simple line…
Eat More, Train More.
All’s this concept really means, is that you’re going to match your expenditure with your intake (very similar to being at your Maintenance Calories).
This is going to optimize recovery, performance, and metabolism and although the result may not happen in a week like some extremely low calorie diets will, this way of eating will produce results that actually last.
But we’re not going to do this every day of the week, because we still need some form of deficit in order to lose serious body fat.
That’s why 1-2 days per week we’ll create a large calorie deficit for you to take advantage of fat loss. The other 5-6 days per week you will remain at a maintenance level of calories to allow better performance, recovery, and some possible muscle growth – these will be your hard training days.
Your Deficit Days
On the 1-2 days that you’re going to be in a serious caloric deficit, you’re going to implement some intermittent fasting and the longer the better! With fasting, the longer you push it the more your hormones will benefit. So we’re going to recommend at least 14-16 hours on these days, but feel free to push it up to 20 hours if you can handle it.
This is going to allow a few great benefits:
- Make it easier to hit your lower calorie intake, because your eating window is smaller and your meals for the day will be less.
- Hormonal optimization; fasting allows your body to fight cravings, curb hunger, and keep energy levels high throughout the day.
- Growth hormone release – to add the bullet above while getting a bit more specific, the body will release a surge of growth hormone after reaching about the 14-hour fast mark. This will actually allow more potential muscle growth, a better muscle protein synthesis response, and fights any catabolic states the body tries to go into during your time being in a caloric deficit.
- Insulin and blood sugar levels will improve – more hormonal responses to fasting, which can directly increase longevity but also improves your body’s ability to send nutrients directly to the muscle and minimize any fat gain.
So what we’re doing here, is tricking the system. We’re staying at or just above caloric maintenance most of the week to allow our metabolism and hormones to continue thriving for optimal performance and health. But then we will tap into a serious calorie deficit 1-2 days per week, allowing the body to enter a serious fat loss state while keeping a hold of anything we could possibly sacrifice on a typically diet by utilizing this intermittent fasting protocol.
Dieting With Health As A Priority
There are really 2 key points when it comes to staying healthy; eating enough food and eating the right food.
In other words, if you stay on a low calorie diet for too long or do not get enough of the important micronutrients – you’re bound to suffer from health detriments sooner or later.
We’re already covering our bases on the “eating enough front” by keeping calories at least at maintenance 5-6 days per week. But the second part is what we’re going to bring our paleo friends in for…
One of the biggest benefits of paleo is that it’s damn near impossible to be unhealthy on it (unless you’re the type eating “Paleo Cookies” every single day and end up over consuming calories and being overweight).
Everything you consume is typically easy to digest and easy to absorb nutrients from, plus it’s really hard to overeat while following a paleo approach. It also almost forces you to focus on food selection because you are so limited, which is why the typically paleo follower searches for variety which will allow your gut health to thrive as well.
Paleo is by no means perfect or for everyone, but it can help many become a healthier individual and because of that we’ll be incorporating some principles.
Think of this nutrition plan as a “Hybrid Paleo” diet, because 80% of the time that’s what you’ll be practicing
If you focus 80% of the meals you cook, prep or go out and eat around these staple paleo foods while attempting to get as much variety as possible within these, you’re guaranteed to have above average health.
Great health will allow you to achieve a better body composition, because your gut will be healthier and that’s a huge component to everything that goes on in your body from your digestion to nutrient and calorie absorption to central nervous system functions.
As mentioned above, you need to know your calories. If you don’t, we won’t be able to determine if you’re eating enough on your training days (5-6 days per week) and if you’re in a real or big enough deficit on your fat loss/fasting days (1-2 days per week).
This is where the IIFYM and “Flexible Dieting” crowd will get there time to shine.
We need metrics. End of story. Without seeing where you’re currently at, we have absolutely no way of determining how to get you where you want to be. We also won’t have any way of adjusting along the way, because plateaus are bound to happen during your journey to an aesthetic physique.
All that being said, while following the paleo approach 80% of the time you’re also going to be tracking your calories and macros.
This is not only going to keep our metrics on point, but it’s going to stop you from going overboard the second you have a piece of pie (or whatever non-paleo foods you enjoy). This is another way of staying sane and keeping yourself way more consistent, which is always going to be one of the biggest factors in seeing real results with the perfect diet.
Now again, because I have to be very clear, this isn’t an excuse to eat Pop-Tarts every day. This is a way to make sure your metrics match your goals and for you to allow 10-20% wiggle room.
Putting The Perfect Diet To The Test
Now we just need to wrap this all up and create a routine out of it. The key to truly being consistent and seeing results week after week, is building a routine around the system you’re following. Your perfect diet is the only perfect diet that matters.
Add to that, with a diet plan like this it will benefit you most if you utilize all these specific strategies on the proper days so you can actually benefit from each.
Both options allow 4 heavy lifting days, 2 days of cardio (either HIIT or LISS), and 1 rest/active recovery day. Along with the type of training, comes the specific nutrition protocol to follow.
Your days may switch up a bit, because nobody is really on the same schedule and that’s fine. The big key here is that you match up your training with the proper nutrition protocol. That way you take advantage of optimal recovery and performance, while dialing in fat loss on the days you’re not training hard.
If you can adhere to this plan, you may finally find that perfect diet that you’ve been seeking forever, and will be able to maintain forever. Use these tools, train your ass off and reap the benefits.
About The Author
Cody McBroom is a strength coach, certified nutrition coach, writer, podcaster, and owner/head coach of the Online Coaching Business Boom-Boom Performance. Cody’s expertise is in Nutrition and Fat Loss Transformations specifically. He is also known for his free daily content where he takes science based fitness and nutrition information, and delivers it in a simplified “real-life” approach through all of his platforms (instagram, Facebook, blog, podcast, etc.).