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LEAN BODY 12 WEEK
If you want to lose unwanted, annoying pounds of fat from your belly and love handles; if you want to add inches of rock hard muscle to your arms, chest, back or legs; if you want to sport the "six pack" abs that women love and men envy; let us show you how we can help you reach your goals!
Get lean. Get hard. Burn fat and build muscle. Transform your body. Take your first important step NOW and read below!
Transform your body. Take your first important step NOW and read below!
Essential Fatty Acid Blend
Hi-Protein Meal Replacement Shake
Pre-Workout Energy Drink Mix
Glycogen Super Loader
Muscle Growth Stimulator
Want to lose weight? Pick a diet… any diet. Research has shown that most popular diets will help you shed a few pounds, at least in the short term.1
But getting shredded is another matter. You don't actually want to lose weight... you want to lose surplus body fat while gaining strength and solid muscle. That’s where most popular diets fail: they’re designed to help people get smaller, not harder and leaner. To optimize your body composition and physique, you need a serious nutrition plan that...
This is what the Lean Body Promise is all about!
A calorie (actually a kilocalorie) is a unit of energy. Scientifically speaking, it's the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1°C. Since your body maintains a core temperature of roughly 37°C, 24/7, it’s obvious that you need a certain number of calories just to exist. The number of calories needed to perform basic life functions (like breathing and thinking) is known as your resting energy expenditure (REE).
Activities such as walking, talking, eating and – yes – exercise require additional energy. So, your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is your REE, plus the energy used for physical activity and digestion (aka the “thermic effect of food”).
To put it another way…
Your TDEE is the total number of calories you can eat without gaining or losing weight.
Not surprisingly, this is the starting point for any plan designed to chisel off body fat, including this one. So forget about ads for books, programs or supplements that claim you can "eat all you want and still lose weight." If you want to reduce your body fat, you need to reduce your calorie intake, too – that’s the bottom line.
There’s always a catch, isn’t there? Reduce your calories too much, and you risk…
You’ll also be setting yourself up for rebound fat gains. The numbers don’t lie: the vast majority of dieters regain their lost weight, and sometimes more.2
The Lean Body Promise plan was designed to prevent this! By strategically balancing your protein, fat and carbohydrate intake, it ensures you can safely lose up to 2 – 3 pounds of fat/week, without dropping too far below your TDEE.
Protein, fat and carbohydrates are collectively known as “macronutrients.” Each macronutrient supplies your body with essential metabolites AND energy.
Protein provides you with the amino acids your body needs to produce its own proteins – including muscle!
Body proteins are “dynamic” – that is, they’re constantly being broken down (catabolism) and rebuilt (anabolism). The amino acids released from broken-down proteins can either be a) recycled and re-used; or b) burnt for energy.
Normally, muscle catabolism and anabolism are balanced, so that there is no net loss or gain of muscle tissue. Eating below your TDEE, however, tips the balance towards muscle loss, since your body needs the energy!
Fortunately, you can tip it back by a) hitting the weights; and b) eating the right amount of high-quality protein. A good amount of protein to aim for is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. This is more than most dieticians recommend, but it’s perfect for hard-training guys who need to maintain (or gain!) lean body mass.3
|Optimal Protein Sources||Sub-Optimal Protein Sources|
|lean beef (flank steak, beef tenderloin, 96% lean ground beef)||deli meats|
|skinless chicken breast||hard cheeses/processed cheese|
|turkey breast||lunch meats/hot dogs|
|fish/shellfish||whole milk/milk drinks/milk substitutes|
|pork tenderloin||fried chicken/fish|
|non-fat cottage cheese||ground beef with >4% fat (by weight)|
|nonfat Greek yogurt (plain)||cuts meat with visible fat/marbling|
|water-packed tuna||buffalo wings, bbq ribs|
Note: don’t be fooled by front-of-package labeling! This may come as a surprise, but more than half of the calories in 15% “lean” ground beef come from fat! This is because the label is based on the percentage of fat by weight. Since fat is a concentrated source of calories, even small amounts of fat can add a lot of unwanted calories.
As you can see from the table, an optimal source of protein is…
Meat, fish, poultry, egg and dairy proteins are not only concentrated sources of protein; they’re also rich in the essential amino acids (EAAs) that our bodies cannot make. By contrast, plant foods contain less protein overall; and may be deficient in one or more EAAs.
Once upon a time, “fat” was a four-letter word; and diets that slashed fat intake to the bone were all the rage (in fact, severely low-fat diets are still popular in some quarters). Nonetheless, some dietary fat is important for good health and optimal (anabolic!) hormone levels. A little goes a long way, though, since fat is a very concentrated source of calories (9 calories/g vs. 4 calories/g for protein & carbs). Because of this, you should limit your fat intake to 0.3g per pound of bodyweight, with the bulk of it coming from natural, whole food sources and small amounts of unrefined and/or supplemental oils. Good (and not-so-good) sources of fat are listed below.
|Optimal Fat Sources||Sub-Optimal Fat Sources|
|almonds/walnuts/pistachios||commercial cooking oils|
|ground flax seed||margarine/butter|
|hemp/sunflower/sesame seeds||commercial salad dressings/mayonnaise|
|avocadoes||whole milk/half & half/cream|
|extra-virgin olive oil||shortening/lard|
|fish oil||ground beef with >4% fat (by weight)|
|EFA Lean Gold||cuts of meat with visible fat/marbling|
Note: be especially wary of foods containing “partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil.” Partially-hydrogenated oils contain harmful trans-fats, which are linked to heart disease and strokes.4
What makes the fat sources on the left better choices than the ones on the right? The ones on the left provide heart-healthy monounsaturated and/or omega-3 essential fatty acids. Foods like nuts, seeds, avocadoes and salmon also supply valuable nutrients in addition to the fat. On the other hand, the fat sources on the right contain excessive amounts of saturated fat, trans-fats and/or pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.5
Not all carbohydrates are evil incarnate, despite what low-carb diet advocates claim. Complex carb sources like fresh vegetables, legumes and whole grains provide energy, vitamins/minerals, disease-fighting phytochemicals and fiber - which are important for both long-term health and athletic performance. When you're training heavily, complex carbs - taken at the right times in the right amounts - can be your best friend!
|Optimal Carb Sources||Sub-Optimal Carb Sources|
|sweet potatoes/yams; white potatoes||french fries/potato chips|
|brown/wild rice, barley, quinoa||white rice|
|old-fashioned/steel-cut oatmeal||packaged, ready-to-eat sugary cereals|
|100% whole wheat bread/pasta||bread/pasta made with “enriched” white flour|
|legumes (beans and dried, split peas)||baked beans; canned bean/pea soups|
|fresh and frozen (unseasoned) vegetables||sauced/buttered frozen vegetables|
|fresh and frozen (unsweetened) fruit||dried fruit/”fruit snacks”/juices/juice drinks|
|Rye Crispbreads||commercial crackers and tortilla chips|
|corn tortillas; air-popped popcorn||jams/jellies/honey/agave syrup/sugar/maple syrup|
|candy, cookies, snack cakes, breakfast bars|
|sweetened coffee drinks, energy drinks, Gatorade, sodas, “Vitamin Water”|
Note: don’t be misled by front-of-package terms like “organic,” “natural,” “healthy,” “made with whole grains,” or “low fat.” Organic sugar and “natural” unbleached white flour aren’t any better for you than their conventional counterparts. Likewise, many products “made with whole grains” are simply white flour products, with a few grams of whole grain flour added to justify the label claim.
In truth, many so-called "healthy" food products aren't good for you at all: they're just less unhealthy than the “regular” versions. A truly healthy food will make a strong, positive contribution to your diet, not simply contain fewer "bad" ingredients.
It should be easy to see the differences between the optimal and sub-optimal carb sources in the table above. An optimal carb source…
Eating 1g of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight should be just about right for most people looking to lose excess body fat; although competitive athletes and men with physically demanding jobs may need more. If you feel less than energetic on the Lean Body Promise plan, try upping your carbs to 1.5g/pound of bodyweight.
“The” optimal meal frequency and pattern is being hotly debated as we “speak.” Eating 5 - 6 meals/day was a bodybuilding standard for years; and it works fantastically well for most people. Nonetheless, current research has failed to uncover any metabolic or nutritional advantages to 6 meals vs. 3.6 "Intermittent fasting" has also grown in popularity, both for fat loss7 and (potential) disease prevention.8
In other words, there’s no scientific consensus on the “best” number of meals or when to eat them. So why not go with the “flow” and eat whenever you want?
Here’s why: I achieved peak competition condition eating small, frequent meals; and this pattern has helped countless others do the same. This is why you’ll be eating 5 meals/day on the Lean Body plan. While eating fewer meals might not hinder your progress, why mess with success?
Meat and fish are concentrated sources of protein and essential amino acids, so it’s not hard for omnivores to eat the recommended amount of protein. Vegetarians, however, may have a tougher time. If you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian, the void left by meat can be partially filled with eggs/whites, lower fat dairy foods like cottage cheese and Greek yogurt and - of course – high-quality protein supplements like Lean Pro8 or Lean Body.
But vegans can also manage, if they choose their foods and supplements wisely. Vegans should focus on plant foods that contain the highest amount of protein, such as lentils, soybeans, split peas and other legumes; peanuts/peanut butter, spinach, oatmeal and whole grains (including products like whole wheat pasta and bread). Certain specialty products (like “Quorn” or "Gardenburgers") and plant-based protein supplements (brown rice, pea, soy and hemp protein powders) can also be used, although whole/minimally processed foods should form the core of your diet.
Vegans/vegetarians may also come up short in certain food elements that omnivores take for granted: vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, creatine, vitamin D (assuming lack of daily sun exposure),9 EPA/DHA10 and carnosine.11 Certain supplements in my line are perfect for vegans, such as my BA-Endurance, EFA Gold, CreaLean, Kre-Alkalyn, BCAA Power and HICA-Max, as they restore the carnosine, EFAs, creatine and certain essential amino acids that may be lacking in a vegan diet.
To sum up, the average guy looking to strip off excess body fat needs to eat…
You don’t need to be a math wizard to figure it out! If you weigh 200 pounds, you need to eat 200g protein (200 x 1); 60g fat (200 x 0.3); and 200g carbs (200 x 1). Since both protein and carbs contain 4 calories/g, and fat contains 9 calories/g, it adds up to approx. 2140 calories/day.
Here’s a simple meal plan for a 200 pound man:
|Meal||Protein (g)||Carbs (g)||Fat (g)||Calories|
|Breakfast: Veggie omelet, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 2/3 c. blueberries, coffee, EFA Lean Gold||34||38||11||392|
|Mid-morning: ½ c. 1% cottage cheese, 2 rye crispbreads, 1oz. raw almonds, kiwi fruit||25||40||16||404|
|Lunch: 4 oz. sliced chicken breast; broccoli florets/baby carrots/olive oil vinaigrette, 1/2 small whole wheat pita||39||23||13||365|
|Mid-afternoon: Lean Body MRP, small apple||35||42||7||371|
|(Pre-Workout: Super Charge Xtreme, scoop of Power Carb)||0||33||0||132|
|(Post-Workout: 1 heaping scoop of Pro-V60 protein powder, mixed in water)||33||13||3.5||215|
|Dinner: 5 oz. baked orange roughy, steamed green beans, spinach salad w/1T olive oil-vinaigrette dressing, EFA Gold||35||12||10||256|
Note: pre- and post-workout supplements have been added to the above plan. Although they’re not formal meals or snacks, they still count toward your total calories, protein and carbohydrates. You will not need these supplements on days when you’re not training, so the calories/macronutrients should be divided amongst your regular meals/snacks.
As you can see, each meal features a solid whack of lean protein, a source of healthy fat, vegetables, and either a starchy/complex carb source or fruit.
There are more meal plans in the Lean Body Promise. Needless to state, it’s tough to feel hungry or lack energy on a plan where you can eat frequent meals of whole, satisfying, nutrient-dense foods!
Keep a journal. . If you're serious about your training, you already keep records of your exercises, sets, reps and loads. If you're serious about improving your body composition, you'll do the same for your meals. There are a number of online programs and mobile apps you can use to make this simple, although even pencil-and-paper will do. If you need to tweak your program (and most people do, at some point), your journal will provide you with valuable insights on how to do it.
Measure your food. The “normal” portions we’re used to eating and drinking have expanded over the years... and Americans have been expanding right along with them! "Portion distortion" is one reason why people fail in their efforts to lose excess fat: they're eating many more calories than they think they are! Take peanut butter for an example: a "serving" is two LEVEL tablespoons. Most Americans use heaping spoonfuls - equivalent to 2 - 3 servings. Even small underestimates, over the course of the day, can add up to enough extra calories to derail your efforts.
If you’d rather not use measuring cups or spoons to measure your food, use your hands and eyes instead. The portion of protein at your main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) should be the size of the palm of your open hand. Starchy, complex carbs (like sweet potatoes or brown rice), should be the size of your closed fist. And fibrous/green veggies are free! As long as you keep your fat portions small and controlled, you won’t go past your calorie limit.
Measure your progress. Don't rely solely on the scale, as simple changes in weight can be deceiving. Since your goal is to lose body fat and maintain/gain lean muscle, you need a method for assessing changes to your fat and lean mass. The simplest and best method is to pick up an inexpensive caliper, like the Slim-Guide or Accu-Measure™.
Plan ahead! Shop for the foods you want to eat BEFORE you want to eat them - never shop when you're hungry! You can also prepare many staples in advance. It's easy, for example, to put together a quick, healthy entree, if you have pre-chopped veggies, grilled chicken breasts and pre-cooked brown rice already stored in the fridge or freezer.
Pack a cooler. There are a lot of simple to prepare-and-eat foods you can take with you to work: sliced pre-cooked meat or poultry, raw veggies/grape tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, wholegrain crispbreads, cottage cheese/Greek yogurt (plain), foil tuna packets, pre-made (deli or home) tabouli and hummus are some examples. If you have access to a microwave, you can also bring leftover chili, stew or other entrees from home.
And don't forget to toss in a couple of Lean Body® packets and a shaker bottle! Having access to a filling, high-quality, emergency meal or snack can be a life (and program) saver (see below for more information)!
Drink plenty of water. It's important to stay well hydrated! In addition, water can help reduce your appetite and - when consumed with meals - increase your sense of fullness.
Take a good, basic multivitamin and source of essential fatty acids (like EFA Lean Gold, fish oil or Udo's Choice).
Limit your alcohol intake while you're on the Lean Body program. . Alcohol slows fat burning,12 and alcohol calories displace healthier ones.
Cheat! More on this below…
Yes, you read that right. I want you cheat… a little. Too many diets are “all or nothing diets.” On the Lean Body plan, I encourage you to stay within the guidelines but twice a week you can cheat and enjoy a small portion of your favorite foods.
Here’s how you do it: always start your meal with a protein serving, no matter what. The protein will stabilize your blood sugar and supply your muscles with amino acids. Once you’ve eaten that protein, your appetite will already be partly satisfied. As a result, you’ll be less tempted to over-indulge.
Warning: never cheat when you’re hungry, because you’ll tend to overeat. Don’t overdo it, either! A cheat meal isn’t a license to go hog-wild. It’s still an exercise in discipline: ultimately, controlled cheats will help teach you how to live in the “real world,” once you’ve reached your goal weight and body composition.
In truth, you don't need to take supplements to get - and stay - lean and muscular. On the other hand, I can’t think of anyone who's ever gotten into top shape - myself included - that didn't use a few, carefully selected products. The right supplements can help you train harder and recover faster - important considerations when you're on reduced calories!
A good meal replacement product (MRP). A well-made MRP can be used as a between-meal snack or as a quick meal-on-the-run. When you're on reduced calories, it can be helpful to eat frequent, smaller, high-protein meals; but not everyone has time to prepare 5 whole food meals each day. So an MRP can be a real life saver.
What makes a good MRP? A lot of commercial products consist of little more than whey protein and maltodextrin. These quickly-digested ingredients have little staying power. The best products, like my Lean Body® formulas, utilize a blend of proteins to provide a steady supply of essential amino acids; as well as supply whole grains/fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
2. A solid pre-workout formula to enhance focus, training drive and workout performance. A lot of guys hit the weights after work, when they're fatigued and high on stress. The right pre-workout supplement can make a world of difference in the ability to give it 100% in the gym.
Unfortunately, all too many pre-workout formulas are padded with "label decoration" - irrelevant and/or poorly-researched compounds that look impressive on the label, but contribute little or nothing to its effectiveness. This is why I developed Super Charge: ALL of the ingredients in this clinically-proven formula have been thoroughly researched... and it tastes great, too!
Pre-workout carbs. It takes food energy to power through an intense workout... which is just what you don't have a lot of on reduced calories. This is where a strategic dose of quickly-digested carbs comes in handy. A supplement like Power Carb is high octane fuel for your muscles. Taken before, during and/or after your workout, Power Carb provides you with the energy you need to pound the weights, without compromising your fat loss efforts.
A good anti-catabolic. A lot of trainees focus on muscle protein synthesis (MPS); but when it comes to building muscle, MPS is only half of the story. The other half is reducing muscle protein breakdown! Your muscles are at risk when you're cutting, particularly if you're already on the lean side (like many pre-contest bodybuilders). High-quality protein provides the building blocks, while a clinically-validated supplement like HICA-Max keeps catabolism at bay.14
a beta-alanine supplement like BA-Endurance can reduce muscular fatigue so you can power through more reps.15
Optional extras... Humanogrowth may help counter the drop in testosterone production that often occurs when dieting.
Essential Fatty Acid Blend
Hi-Protein Meal Replacement Shake
Pre-Workout Energy Drink Mix
Glycogen Super Loader
Muscle Growth Stimulator
Check out the Lean Body Promise, which is packed with motivational tips, recipes, workouts and detailed advice on getting lean and mean. And if you hit a stumbling block, have questions or want to share your progress, log into the forum at labrada.com! We’d love to hear from you!
Heart.org. “Trans Fats.” American Heart Association, 29 Oct. 2010. 3 Nov. 2011 [Site]
umm.edu. “Omega-6 Fatty Acids.” University of Maryland Medical Center: Complementary Medicine, 17 Jun. 2011. 5 Nov. 2011 [Site]
Leidy HJ and Campbell WW. The effect of eating frequency on appetite control and food intake: brief synopsis of controlled feeding studies. J Nutr. 2011 Jan;141(1):154-7. Epub 2010 Dec 1. [PubMed] [Abstract]
Harvie MN, Pegington M, Mattson MP, et al. The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: a randomized trial in young overweight women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2011 May;35(5):714-27. [PubMed] [Full Text]
Harris RC, Jones G, Hill CA, et al. The carnosine content of V Lateralis in vegetarians and omnivores. FASEB. 2007;21:769.20. [Meeting Abstract]
Raben A, Agerholm-Larsen L, Flint A, et al. Meals with similar energy densities but rich in protein, fat, carbohydrate, or alcohol have different effects on energy expenditure and substrate metabolism but not on appetite and energy intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):91-100. [PubMed] [Full Text]
nwcr.ws. “Research Findings.” National Weight Control Registry. 4 Nov. 2011. [Site]
Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Faigenbaum AD, et al. Short-duration beta-alanine supplementation increases training volume and reduces subjective feelings of fatigue in college football players. Nutr Res. 2008 Jan;28(1):31-5. [PubMed] [Abstract]