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Zig-Zag Calorie Cycling Diet To Get Ripped

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Zig zagging calories for fat loss is awesome! Been doing it for a long time now, I got from 35% bodyfat to 3.5% bodyfat with it, in just a matter of 4 months, that is MUCH faster than just eating low calories most of the time!  Plus I maintained ALL my muscle in the process.  This is (I believe) the secret to getting ripped fast!  So read carefully..

The best zig zagging method I have came up with is to eat low calories for 2-3 days, then high calories for 2-5 days, then repeat. On the high days, you generally increase your complex carb intake, and fat intake (near the end of the phase) as well, protein should remain the same on both high and low days. Reading down below on this page you will get a better understanding of how to do "Clean Bulking". that refers to getting and staying lean all the time while gaining muscle at the same time.

The main way this diet works is the zig-zagging of the starchy carbs, where we avoid starchy carbs (like bread, pizza, pasta, potatoes, rice) during the low days and only eat them during the high days, this enables your metabolism to run smoothly all the time (even during the low days), and keep the hormone insulin low during the low days so fat loss will occur.  Muscle maintenance is also there thanks to all the high days and the carb load meals.

NOTE:  Below is a typical example of food a person will eat who's lean body weight (your weight minus your fat weight) is about 160 pounds, and may be different according to your physique.  This exact same diet has been working very well for me.

Also, as common dieting practices go, you should eat every 3 hours or so, which ends up to be about 5-6 meals a day. These are the break down of the food intake for both phases:

2-3 Low calorie days:

Meal #

calories - protein/carbs/fat grams

Contents:

meal#1

660 - 65/55/20

Tasty oatmeal: 1 cup of plain oatmeal, 1 TBS raw honey, 1 TBS flax oil (or hemp oil), 2 scoops of whey protein, 1 scoop of caseinate protein, and cinnamon.

meal#2:

320 - 35/12/15

5 oz of chicken breast, raw mixed vegetables, 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1 TBS of extra virgin olive oil. NOTE: Last day of the low phase, eliminate the rice.

meal#3:

320 - 35/12/15

5 oz of chicken breast, raw mixed vegetables, 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1 TBS of extra virgin olive oil. NOTE: Last day of the low phase, eliminate the rice

meal#4:

320 - 35/12/15

5 oz of chicken breast, raw mixed vegetables, 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1 TBS of extra virgin olive oil. NOTE: Last day of the low phase, eliminate the rice

meal#5:

225 - 25/0/14

1 scoop of caseinate protein, 1 TBS of FLAX seed oil. NOTE: Add 1/4 cup of oats on the first low day for this meal.
Totals: 1,845 calories, 195/91/79  (last low day: 1,725 cal)



2-5 High calorie days:

Meal #

calories - protein/carbs/fat grams

Contents:

meal#1

660 - 65/55/20

Tasty oatmeal: 1 cup of plain oatmeal, 1 TBS raw honey, 1 TBS flax oil (or hemp oil), 2 scoops of whey protein, 1 scoop of caseinate protein, and cinnamon.

meal#2:

440 - 35/42/15

5 oz of chicken breast, raw mixed vegetables, 1 cup of brown rice, 1-2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil.

meal#3:

440 - 35/42/15

5 oz of chicken breast, raw mixed vegetables, 1 cup of brown rice, 1-2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil.

meal#4:

440 - 35/42/15

5 oz of chicken breast, raw mixed vegetables, 1 cup of brown rice, 1-2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil.

meal#5:

320 - 25/23/14

One scoop of casein protein, 1/2 cup of oats, 1 TBS of FLAX oil.
Totals: 2,300 calories, 195/204/79

NOTE: This is just a typical diet that can be done with calorie cycling. You can always use a different protein, carb, or fat sources as you chose.  Such as choosing turkey, beef, tuna instead of chicken, or choosing another whole grain carb choice rather than brown rice.  You can even do a more restricted calorie phase during the low days.  As a matter of fact my friend Matt lost 100 pounds in 6 months by doing intermittent water fasting during his low days.

How Many High and Low Days to do?

Most zig-zag programs for fat loss usually only have 1 high day followed by 3 low days.  From my experience, if you extend the amount of high days, you will crank your metabolism up even further so once you go back on the low, fat loss becomes even quicker than if you just did one high day!  I have had great results doing: 2-low, 2-high, 2-low, 3-high, 2-low, 2-high, 2-low, 3-high etc etc.  This keeps your metabolism tricked so it know it doesn't get used to a certain program.  Last thing you want is for your body to find homeostasis for your metabolism, which fat loss becomes almost impossible then!, which I think it can find doing only 3 low and 1 high constantly.  But the whole principle here is that you want your metabolism (which is gets revved up during the high days) to run quicker on the low days, so fat loss can occur.

How many high and low days you want to do is up to you, but I would keep it in the range of 2-7 high days and 2-3 low days. You can experiment yourself to see what works best for you (or see the chart below for examples). Most zig-zag programs have you do more low days relative to the amount of high days. But I have found out through LOTS of experience, if you double the overall amount of high days to low days, your metabolism will run hot all the time and you will burn fat faster overall, and your body will simply look way better and more ripped.

It's important to make sure you do not extend the low days past 3 days. Your metabolism will start to kick in starvation mode and you will be much better off going right back to the high days then to keep your metabolism running hot.  You will most likely lose more fat on your second low day than your first or third. Because on the first day your body is getting rid of all it's liver glycogen and nutrients in the intestines before it starts to tap into bodyfat.  And the third day won't be as much fat loss compared to the second low day because your metabolism starts to slow down.  So I actually recommend sticking with 2 low day cycles most of the time.

I also recommend cycling your cycles (see chart below for what I'm talking about), this will prevent homeostasis (your body remaining the same, thus fat loss coming to a halt). 

Take a look at this chart to help you decide how many high days and low days to do. My better recommendations are at the top and least are at the bottom:

Cycles:

Totals:

Comments:


3 high
2 low
2 high
2 low
 
5 highs / 4 lows This is the main one I have used myself to drop to a very low bodyfat percent very quickly!

5 high
2 low
3 high
2 low
2 high
2 low
 
10 highs / 6 lows I have recently started to use this cycle, and let me tell you, this one may even be better than my top choice. Only difference is, it adds a 5 high day cycle in the mix. I am experiencing a hotter metabolism more often with this one! And fat loss on the lows are incredible!  This is recommend for people with a 3% bodyfat and over!

5 high
3 low
3 high
2 low
 
8 highs / 5 lows I have not tried this, but I would assume this would work good for someone with a bodyfat % between 9%-14%.

3 high
3 low
2 high
3 low
 
5 highs / 6 lows I have used this one before during a high bodyfat percent and worked real good. It started to work less efficiently on me once my bodyfat percent got lower and lower.  So this one is recommend for someone who has a bodyfat percent over 18%.

2 high
2 low
 
2 highs / 2 lows This uses very short cycles all the time, and it works very well! If you feel like your metabolism might be slowing down a tad, then stretch the high days to 3-4 to keep it going hotter.

5 high
2 low
 
5 highs / 2 lows This diet cycle is the complete opposite of what most diet books and "dieters" recommend. Most people would think to do the opposite, which would be to eat low for 5 days, then high for 2 days, such as eat low during the weekdays, then pig out during the weekends.  Well guess what?  I can guarantee you, that you will lose fat 3-5 times faster doing the opposite (5 high/2 low).  As long as you stick with the program correctly, that is eat maintenance level (or even a little above) with clean healthy foods for 5 days, then cut carbs back for 2 days, while doing plenty of intense cardio all the time, you will get LEANER MUCH FASTER than what most people would do instead (5 low/2 high).

But overall, I still do not recommend doing this cycle because the cycles are not being cycled.  But the point I am trying to make is, you simply need to eat more food more often and only lower it occasionally to burn fat off quick.

You will burn off more fat in those 2 low days each time, than you would doing 3 whole weeks of doing 5 low/2 high.

If you want to get to an extremely low bodyfat percent, while maintaining all muscles, this is how it is done (not 5 low, 2 high bullcrap)!


1 high
3 low
 
1 high / 3 lows This is what most diet books recommend, and I actually think this is a horrible strategy compared to the ones above!  I think you need more overall high days to low days to get to a low bodyfat percent quickly and this cycle is not the answer in my opinion.  I do think this may work okay for obese people.

Cardio is Key!

You are probably thinking, with all these high days compared to low days, I am going to get fat and gain weight!  This is not the case because is order to make any of these calorie cycling diets work correctly is to make sure you do cardio workouts all the time!  Whether it's a high day or low day, continue to do intense cardio workouts (usually every day) or at the very least, every other day.

Cardio prevents fat accumulation during the high days, and allows you to eat more to increase your metabolism without gaining fat!  This is VERY important to grasp.  If you read my cardio article you will fully understand.

On the contrary, if you do not do cardio regularly and do any of these calorie cycling diets, you will most likely gain fat weight.  The opposite happens when you do cardio, you will get slimmer and slimmer as time goes on while maintaining all your muscles in the process, thus getting closer to a ripped body.  And the more intense you do your cardio, and the more often it's done, the faster you will get ripped.

High Day Tips

On the high days, don't worry about over eating as much, feel free to eat some extra fruit if you like. Feel free to go out to a restaurant and eat a good sized meal once or twice. This will only help crank your metabolism up even further. And remember, don't worry about gaining fat, it will not happen as long as you keep doing intense cardio workouts.

For the second half of the high phase, I recommend adding an extra tablespoon of oil for each of the 3 middle meals, that will add an extra 42 grams of fat and 378 calories to your diet each day, and will further help raise your metabolism..

For the last day on the high phase, have one of your meals be a super carb load meal, such as a big plate of spaghetti, ramen noodles, potatoes, etc. But make it a different carbohydrate than what you usually use for your meals.  For example if you normally use brown rice for your meals all the time, use something different such as spaghetti for the carb load meal.  This results in a different stress to the digestive system, which will help trigger more thyroid hormones.  Doing this carb load will help add more muscle glycogen to preserve muscle for the upcoming low days, and also provides a nice metabolism boost.

I would also keep fruit servings to about 1 on the low days, and 1-3 on the high days. Fruit still contains a lot of sugar, and we want insulin to remain low most of the time.  You can eat as many raw vegetables as you like though.

More tips:

Remember, you will not gain any fat weight on the high calorie days as long as you keep doing cardio workouts. You will however gain some weight most likely during the high phase, but this will mostly be glycogen weight, which is comprised of water and carbs inside the muscles, but this is good weight!  You may even increase muscle mass a little.  And it is very important to never use the scale as an indicator of progress.  The scale will fluctuate dramatically during your high and low cycles, most of this weight fluctuation is coming from water weight, glycogen, and food being digesting.  If you want to use the scale as an indicator, only weigh yourself at the beginning of the first day of the high phase (after finishing the low phase), first thing in the morning, before breakfast, and after you have used the bathroom.  One measurement I do recommend using is the waist measurement, and once again, I recommend measuring your waist the same time as I recommend weighing yourself.  The waist measurement is probably the easiest measurement to take to get an idea of what your bodyfat percent is, because the lower your waist is, the less bodyfat percent you have.

Generally I eat the same breakfast every single day (whether it's a high day or a low day), I always eat a cup of oatmeal, honey, flax/hemp oil, and whey.  It's generally a large meal to jumpstart your metabolism for the day. 

This zig zag approach keeps your metabolism revved up at all times. It works perfectly, before your metabolism slows down again from doing the low days, you go right back to the high calorie days to rev it back up again, and you have constant fat loss and muscle maintenance. Your muscles will still have glycogen in them through out the "low" days, which is one of the key factors when it comes to maintaining muscle.

As far as fat loss supplements are concerned, I would do it only on the 2nd and 3rd low calorie day.  I recommend taking green tea supplements, because they help speed up metabolic functions in your body while also providing many other health benefits. You can consider taking a thermogenic product that contains caffeine on the second and third day to help accelerate fat loss.  I do this myself and I think it works good. You can also consider taking a product that contains thyroid hormones on the 3rd low day, but ONLY on the 3rd low day! I personally use LIPO6 Black each time for the last low day, and don't use it any other time.  You want to cycle any supplement that contains thyroid hormones or it could really hurt your thyroid gland or even shut if off completely, which obviously we do not want.

But this method for sure works, I have got ripped VERY quickly doing this. This is probably the best fat loss/muscle maintenance diet out there. Believe me, it works.

Benefits of the High Days

The high days has many benefits and is VERY important to do to help you lose fat and get ripped FAST.  Without the stretch of high days you will experience plateaus of never losing fat, muscle loss, and low energy.  The key to the high phase is all the extra complex carbohydrates you will consume.  Because these are the many benefits:

-Replenishes muscle glycogen (energy stores in muscles), which gives you more energy and helps to maintain your muscle.

-Facilitates many metabolism increasing hormones that will keep your metabolic rate running smoothly all the times for you to burn fat, and helps to prevent your metabolism from ever slowing down and adapting to always eating a low calorie diet.

-Allows you to break fat loss plateaus, and I strongly think this diet is the key to getting to a low bodyfat % safely, effectively, and naturally while maintaining your muscles in the process.

-Allows variety in your diet that allows you to have "pig out" meals without guilt.

Tips to increase health factor!

The diet I outlined above is VERY healthy, and it can be done for a lifetime with many positive anti-aging benefits!  It has been said that when you mix raw honey with cinnamon (like for the breakfast meal every morning), you are helping yourself prevent many diseases, illnesses, and cancers.  Look it up on google (honey plus cinnamon) and you will see all the benefits you get from them together.  Plus all the raw fruits and vegetables help to also prevent cancers and diseases, along with cleaning out your intestines and colon.  The oatmeal every morning also helps to clean out your colon and your arteries.

If you want to even crank up the health factor a bit more, just make sure that all the food you buy is organic, and you will be sure that all the food you get is free of chemicals, hormones, antibiotics etc..

For extra health benefits you can add mushrooms to your salads.  Mushrooms such as Maitake, Shiitake, and Crimini are tasty and add tons of health benefits for you.  You can even take Reishi mushroom supplements, which I recommend for tremendous health benefits.

Don't believe these cycles will work?

If you are skeptical at all about calorie cycling or the cycles I outlined above, then try this..

Lets say you are dieting down to lose fat, and you are sticking to a low calorie diet, with a calorie range of about 1,600 a day, every day.  You came to the conclusion that you are not losing fat at the rate you would like.  Now you are afraid to try my diet because you are afraid to try long stretches of high days all the time, and you think it simply will not work, because you would be eating more than what you are now.  But try this, do any of those cycles above (except the bottom 3), and just let your current calorie range (1,600, or what ever it is) be your high days, and then lower it to like 1,200 - 1,400 (or accordingly for your diet) for the low days.  So lets say if you chose this cycle method here, this is how you would eat:

5 high - 1,600 calories.
2 low - 1,300 calories.
3 high - 1,600 calories.
2 low - 1,300 calories.

Alright?  You have nothing to be scared of, because you are still overall eating your same amount of calories you were eating before, you are just dropping them further only occasionally.  Now try that for awhile and watch the fat MELT off your body with a quickness.

Taking this a step further...

Now did you know that since your body is not a machine, but rather a force of nature, it will do anything in it's power to survive and adapt to your environment accordingly (that's nature!), thus it is not all about calories burned versus calories consumed through your day that determines your fat loss rate (like what most people think).  It is all about your metabolism and adaptations that determine your ACTUAL fat loss rate.  If you are doing intense cardio every day, you have all the right to increase those calorie ranges above and still burn fat off quick, and you will experience a much more toned and defined body over time, while experiencing fat loss about the same rate.  So for example you can start doing this and probably see even better results:

5 high - 2,000 calories.
2 low - 1,600 calories.
3 high - 2,000 calories.
2 low - 1,600 calories.

Funny, how now we are eating the same amount of calories on the low as we did on the high with the previous diet.  The point is, if you keep juggling your calories on a higher end rather than a lower end, overtime you will develop a much more defined and toned body with much more muscle mass, and you will still lose fat at the same rate as with the previous diet above.  This is another VERY important secret you must grasp if you want to get ripped with big muscles and very low body fat percent.

You can also use this information to determine how big or how small you want to look over all.  If your goal is to lose weight (that is both fat and muscle), then juggle your calories on a low end.  If your goal is to have lots of muscle mass with still a very low bodyfat percent (like a typical bodybuilder), then juggle your calories at a higher end.  You will probably not find this information anywhere else!

 

What defines true fat loss?

It is NOT all about calories burned (through physical activities) versus calories consumed through your day that determines your fat loss rate (like what most people think).  It is all about your metabolism and adaptations that determine your ACTUAL fat loss rate.

It's important to keep in mind that most of the calories you burn in a day is not directly from the activities that you do but rather your metabolism which is created from the activities that you do. In other words, changes to your physique are due to your metabolism and not burning calories during physical activities.

Taking this another step further...

In order for a natural bodybuilder to look huge with big muscles with a low bodyfat percent (such as looking like someone who takes anabolic steroids), or as looking like the incredible hulk, well not exactly but you get the point!  He would have to eat similar to this:

5 high - 4,000 calories.
2 low - 3,300 calories.
3 high - 4,000 calories.
2 low - 3,300 calories.

And yes you can do this diet and overtime you will develop HUGE muscles, and if you do intense cardio every day (maybe even twice a day), overtime you will lose fat as well. This is the secret of how you would build muscle and lose fat at the same time! Well really it's possible to lose fat and build muscle with any calorie cycle range, but doing this extreme amount of calories will result in someone who will look BIG (that is with lots of muscle and very little bodyfat).  NOTE: Whether you are a male or female, and how tall you are, will determine how well this typically would work for you.  How intense you train (with weights and cardio) will also determine how well this diet will transform your body.

Examples of bodies and different calorie cycle ranges:

To give you an example of what a certain body would look like who cycle their calories with different calorie ranges, lets look at these two celebrities that do calorie cycling with intense cardio all the time:

Bodybuilder Stan Mcquay

Celebrity Bradley Cooper

Bodybuilder Stan Mcquay

Celebrity Bradley Cooper

Cycles calories at a higher end
(around 2300 - 3000)

Cycles calories at a lower end
(around 1400 - 1800).

NOTE: Both are natural and do not take any drugs.  Both do "Clean Bulking" which means they never just do bulking phases.  Bulking means where one would avoid cardio for awhile in an attempt to slow down the MBR (metabolism) to allow expansion for quick mass gains (but this will both be fat and muscle).  But these 2 celebrities have built all their muscles and lost all their fat at the same time doing "Clean Bulking". Which means they do the 4 essentials all at once: calorie cycling, cardio, strength training, and core workouts.  Now the point of these two comparisons is telling you what you would generally look like depending on which calorie range you chose to do the calorie cycling with.

You can see here that they both have six pack abs (thus having a low bodyfat percent), but Stan cycles his calories at a higher end than Bradley, which enabled him to pack on muscle mass.  Bradley Cooper on the other hand never goes above 2000 calories in a day, and as you can see he has a much smaller appearance than Stan.  Bradley Cooper is still in very good shape because he works out every day.

Bradley Cooper will never get any more muscular unless he starts cycling calories at a higher end.  And Stan Mcquay will not lose any of his muscles unless he starts cycling his calories at a lower end.  So generally the higher amount of calories you chose to cycle with, the bigger (and leaner) you will generally get.

Another example:

Have you ever watched the world's strongest man competitions on tv? Have you ever wondered how they got so big and muscular without taking drugs?  Some of them even have low bodyfat percents with 6 pack abs!  how do they do it?  This is how...

World's strongest man Mariusz Pudzianowski has won many drug free strong man competitions, and if you look at his physique, he is huge with a 6 pack!  Lots of muscle and hardly no fat:

Strong Man Mariusz Pudzianowski Does calorie cycling

Mariusz Pudzianowski does calorie cycling similar to this:

5 high - 8,000 calories.
2 low - 6,000 calories.
3 high - 8,000 calories.
2 low - 6,000 calories.

Yes it is possible to lose fat eating a whomping 6,000 calories, but ONLY if you just came from eating 8,000 calories for awhile!  His metabolism is FAST because of all the eating and intense exercise he does. And I can guarantee you, his workouts and his daily activities are burning no more than 1500-2000 calories a day. His metabolism is burning the rest of the 4500+ calories up every day.  The extra calories he eats are not being stored (as fat) they are simply being burned up by his metabolism.

This is the secret these guys use to stay huge and lean all year round and win these competitions!

And you know what's even stranger? Pudzianowski eats a lot of candy and junk food to fill in his calorie ranges.  So yeah that kind of proves you can still stay lean as long as you know how to train properly and cycle your calories properly.

See how this works now??

So what calorie range do you chose?  Me personally I am not all about being huge, I would rather stay lean and muscular at more of a medium level, so I cycle my calories around a range of 1,700 - 2,700.  This is still kind of big, but I am not overly huge.  If I wanted to get bigger I would start cycling calories higher.

Arnold Schwarzenegger himself did calorie cycling!

One of the biggest strategies in Arnold Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding routine was calorie cycling. This involved having mostly higher calorie days interspersed with some lower calorie days in order to lose fat continuously and to prevent his metabolism from slowing down, while keeping his muscle mass intact.

He advised that on any calorie-reduced diet, if you went long enough you would see your metabolism slowing down along with muscle loss, making further fat loss incredibly difficult.
 

Arnold Schwarzenegger calorie cycling

So yeah even Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, one of the most recognized bodybuilders ever, did calorie cycling (similar to any of those calorie cycle methods above) to help achieve his physique!  And by the looks of his physique I'm guessing his calorie cycle range was between about 2,500 - 3,500 a day.

Give one of these calorie cycling methods a try and watch the fat melt off quick!  The newer sexy you is just right around the corner with this information!

 

 


 

 

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How to Get In Shape & Gain Weight as a Bikini Competitor
Common Bodybuilding Myths
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How to get 6 Pack Abs
Beginner Body building Guide
How to do Natural Cutting and Bulking Phases
Common Misconceptions In Bodybuilding

Diet Advice
General Bodybuilding Diet Info
Zig-Zag Calorie Diet
Ketogenic Diet for Rapid Fat Loss
Great Tasting Bodybuilding Recipes

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Dumbbells vs. Barbells - Which is Better?
How to Increase Your Bench Press
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How to Build Lower Abs
Keys to Lower Abdominal Definition

Cardiovascular Info
Understanding What Cardio Does for Bodybuilders
Track workouts
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Track Competition Race Preparation

Supplements
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Improve Bodybuilding With Health And Lifestyle
Is this site for Women?
Hormones And Bodybuilding
The Importance of Growth Hormone
Lifestyle Factors that Effect Bodybuilding

 

 

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