To build a bigger and leaner physique, bodybuilders and average guys alike often turn to the same strategy: eating everything in sight, or “bulking,” and then burning fat, or “cutting,” by reducing calories and eating cleaner to reveal the new muscle beneath. It works, but it takes time and can cause you long-term damage on a cellular level—and it can make it very hard to stay lean over the long term.
When your goal is to slash fat and build muscle as fast as possible, however, accounting for every calorie at once can condense these two phases into one superefficient “clean bulking” phase, enabling you to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously, and ultimately emerge with your best body ever.
The stripped-down recipes in this meal plan are crafted for a caloric deficit with ample high-quality protein and a moderate amount of carbs that, when combined, burn fat, spur the growth of new muscle, and meet the recovery demands of high-intensity, anaerobic-based training. They also increase in nutritional value as the day progresses, allowing you to burn fat in the first part of the day and then direct the bulk of your daily nutrition to muscle growth.
Try it for six weeks and see.
Start your day with 12 ounces of black coffee, which contains just four calories and delivers thermogenic benefits that cause your metabolic rate to increase, according to a study published in the journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. You can use any method to make your coffee. We like the French press.
- 2 Tbsp coarse-ground coffee
- 12 oz water
- Put coffee in a French press and add water. Close lid (don’t stir) and leave for 4 minutes.
- Press plunger down gently using just the weight of your hand until it reaches the bottom. Pour and serve immediately.
Nutrition: 4 calories; 0g protein; 0g carbs; 0g fat; 0g fiber
Total time: 6 min.
Need to eat something in the morning? Human beings evolved on a fasting and feeding cycle. We spent the majority of our existence fasting or eating lighter during the day while actively tracking, hunting, and gathering our food. We spent the evening relaxing and feasting on the majority, if not all, of our daily food intake. This structure fits with our natural instincts and social patterns. It’s not all or nothing, though, and if you absolutely can’t handle not eating for a few hours after waking up, here are some options that won’t hurt your results: ¼ cup nuts, a serving of fruit, 8 oz lean meat, 4 eggs, or 2 tbsp natural peanut butter.
Lunch: Salmon and avocado
Eight ounces of salmon delivers an incredible 45 grams of muscle-building protein, and the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation to speed recovery.
- 8 oz salmon (or flank steak or chicken breast)
- 1 tsp olive oil salt and pepper to taste?
- ½ avocado (or 3 eggs; or 1⁄2 cup almonds, cashews, or macadamia nuts)
- Rub salmon with oil, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and broil ?for 5 minutes each side.
- Cut avocado in half and serve.
Nutrition: 483 calories; 47g protein; 9g carbs; 29g fat; 7g fiber
Total time: 13 min.
Dinner: Pork loin and potatoes
We’ve mixed white rice and potatoes. If you don’t like potatoes, use 3–4 cups of white rice for your carbs. If rice isn’t your thing, 24 ounces of potatoes will cover your bases.
- 4 tbsp canola oil
- 1 ½ red potato, diced
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- 8 oz pork loin (or bison, chicken, or salmon)
- 1 cup white rice
- ½ red pepper, sliced
- 2 tbsp red onion, sliced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- ½ cup carrots, chopped
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high. Saute red and sweet potatoes, stirring frequently, until slightly browned, for about 12 minutes. Clear skillet, add 2 tbsp oil, and cook pork loin for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Cook rice according to packaging instructions.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute red pepper, onion, broccoli, and carrots, stirring frequently, until tender and slightly browned, for about 10 minutes.