Are your abs hiding under a layer of fat? Have you tried multiple diets plans without success? Getting your midsection lean and trim takes hard work (i.e., a consistent weight training and cardio program) as well as the right nutrition program designed to support recovery and rev up your metabolism.
In a previous article, I went through the four foods you need in your diet to help you get that 6-pack stomach you’ve been hoping for. Yes, eating plenty of fresh greens, fibrous carbs, healthy fats and lean protein is a start, but do you know how much of each you really need to get the results you want? Keep reading to find out how to structure your meal plan for six-pack success.
Lean Body Building Protein
When it comes to building a body, protein is key. Protein provides us with the aminos we need to build and recover our muscle from a hard workout, but it also is highly thermogenic! That’s right, it takes calories to assimilate protein into a useable source in the body. And including plenty of it in your diet is even more important when it comes to getting a lean and trim tummy. When your diet is high in protein, your body is more likely to use fat as fuel. This helps to improve your body composition from skinny fat to lean and muscular. Protein should make up 40% to 50% of your diet.
Top Protein Picks
Poultry – Chicken, Turkey
Lean Red Meat – Tenderloin, Eye of Round
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Non-Fat Cottage Cheese
Fatty Fish – Salmon, Tuna
White Fish – Barramundi, Cod, Mahi Mahi, Sole
There’s no need to cut your carbohydrates completely—we need carbs in our diet to fuel our training and busy lifestyles, but you might not need as much as you think.
Lower carbohydrate diets can maximize the usage of the carbohydrates we are providing it and tap into stored body fat! The best way to get the body burning fat is to restrict the amount of carbohydrates that are available. Choosing carbohydrates that are high in fiber and low in sugar ensures we get more of what we need in our diet and less of the things we don’t (i.e., refined sugars and processed flours). Carbohydrates should make up about 20% to 30% of your nutrition plan, depending on your metabolism, your activity level and how your body utilizes carbs.
Top Carb Picks
The last part of any good six-pack diet plan is healthy fats. A moderate amount of healthy fats is necessary for the production of many important hormones that drive metabolism. In addition, fats can help preserve muscle tissue and actually facilitate the body burning fat as fuel more efficiently! Fats should make up 20% to 30% of calories.
Top Fat Picks
Putting it All Together…
Choose a calorie range that suits your athletic and metabolic needs. If you’re very active and have a high metabolism, your calorie needs will be much different than someone who is less active and has a slower metabolism. Remember the key is to create a calorie deficit where you’re burning off more than you’re eating!
A good rule of thumb: Take your current weight and multiply it by 10 (or 12, if you have less to lose). Use that as a starting point for your daily calories. (Please understand that this is a starting point and not an absolute. The multiplier may not be a perfect for you, based on your activity level and starting point.)
Once you have identified your calorie range, multiply the recommended macronutrient percentages for protein, carbs and fats by your calorie intake to determine the amount you need of each daily.
Your 6-Pack Diet Plan
Using the food listed above, create meals that appeal to your taste buds. Be sure to eat about 5 to 6 meals/snacks per day, spaced evenly apart to help maintain blood glucose levels and keep hunger reduced. Here is an example of how to build a yummy diet plan with foods you love but still be within appropriate calorie ranges to finally get that six pack!
Total Calories: 1508
Protein: 164g (43%) | Carbohydrates: 105g (28%) | Fat: 48g (29%)
|Meal 1 – Mexican Scramble|
|1 Cup of Egg Whites – Scrambled
½ Teaspoon of Chopped Onion
1 Tablespoon of Avocado
1 Tablespoon of Salsa
½ Cup of Quinoa
Calories: 323, P: 32 g C: 24 g F: 11 g
|Meal 2 – Chicken, Avocado and Sweet Potato Salad|
|4 oz Grilled Chicken Breast
1 Cup of Spinach
½ Cup of Chopped Kale
¼ Cup Chopped Cooked Sweet Potato
1 Teaspoon of Avocado
1 Teaspoon of Chopped Green Onion
1 Teaspoon Pomegranate Seeds
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Calories: 314, P: 28 g C: 19 g F: 14 g
|Meal 3 – PB Banana Choco Shake|
|1 Scoop of Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon of Natural Peanut Butter
½ Frozen Banana
6 oz of Ice Cold Water
Calories: 286, P: 28 g C: 21 g F: 10 g
|Meal 4 – Steak and Pumpkin Puree|
|3 oz of Grilled Tenderloin
1 Cup of Pumpkin Puree
10 Spears of Grilled Asparagus
Calories: 273, P: 28 g, C: 29 g, F: 5 g
|Meal 5 – Chocolate Almond Yogurt|
|¾ cup of Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
½ scoop of Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
Calories: 312, P: 48 g C: 12 g F: 8 g