First off, a disclaimer of sorts: I kind of hate this tactic, even though it works short-term. The reason being, any time you implement unsustainable measures with nutrition or training, they are just that–unsustainable. And when the point comes that you can “let loose” or indulge, the indulgence tends to be overdone and the pounds come back on fast. That is why it is critical when implementing any quick-and-dirty fat loss strategies that you EASE out of them rather than diving headfirst into Ben & Jerrys. However, the nature of such programs make it almost impossible to NOT overindulge once it’s over, so my only piece of advice at that point is to use every ounce of self-control to SLOWLY implement a more sustainable approach. Self-control and will-power, unfortunately, are not that reliable when it comes to diets, so I guess it is what it is! :) Good luck!
Your 911 Emergency Body Plan
Anywho, with that said, sometimes we need to implement some quick & dirty rules to tone up, drop a few l-bs and simply look our absolute tightest for an event, reunion, vacation, etc and we only have a couple weeks. (Someone actually just messaged me about a vacation her husband surprised her with, that is in 3 weeks!).
Here are my 10 rules to follow if you have 2-3 weeks to get ready to look your best:
1] Full-Body Metabolic Effect-style workouts 3-4x/week: Metabolic workouts are incredible for fat loss, and give you the biggest bang for your time in the gym.
2] Interval cardio 3-4x/week. 30 minutes of all-out intensity.
3] Move to more of a Paleo-type nutrition plan. 95% of your meals should look like this: EITHER lean protein + fibrous veggies OR lean protein + low sweet fruit (like grapefruit, berries, apple, pear, etc).
4] Eat starchy carbs post-workout only. Have a serving of one of the following within 30-60 minutes of your weight workout: oat bran (or old fashioned oatmeal), sweet potato, brown rice, pumpkin, starchy veggies like squash/zucchini/eggplant, etc along with your protein. You are not trying to build muscle here, you are trying to burn fat, so don’t eat high-glycemic index carbs post-workout (as would be the normal protocol for optimal muscle building).
5] Eat greens like it’s your job. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, kale, bok choy, collards, cucumber, celery, romaine, etc. Lots of B vitamins, good minerals to help your metabolism run efficiently, shed water and create a more alkaline environment. I recommend eating 6-8 servings of greens A DAY :)
6] Sleep 8 hours/night minimum. This is tough, but this is important to help reset your metabolism, increase growth hormone and recover from workouts. In bed by 10pm is ideal.
7] No cheats for you. Sorry!
8] Drop dairy. When you move to more of a Paleo approach, this tends to happen anyway, but decreasing the amount of dairy you eat will help you decrease insulin, shed water and prevent any potential bloating. Diary can be a hyperallergenic food for many people, which means it can disrupt the GI system and impede fat loss efforts in some people, aside from those who have been traditionally-diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Also dairy is a insulinagenic food, meaning it can increase insulin similar to that of carbs (even though it is low glycemic), and insulin causes water retention. Dropping dairy might help you drop a few lbs of water.
9] Eat all “real food.” No bars, no shakes, no sugar-free treats, etc. The additives, sweeteners, preservatives, etc can impede results and cause water retention. The quality of the “look” of someone doing lots of bars and shakes (even if they are considered “ok”) versus someone doing all real food from lean protein and veggies is completely different.
10] Drink plain, old water. And a lot of it. No alcohol, no sodas (even diet), no juice, no Crystal Light (see #9), no Vitamin waters, no sweet tea, etc. At least 1 gallon of plain water each day, plus as much unsweetened green tea and black coffee as you want on top of that. That’s it! Beverage control is super-important for fat loss and helping you shed water.
Here is a typical day for you:
Get up, drink 1L plain water with lemon
12 oz black coffee
Head to gym for ME workout
Post-workout/Meal #1: 1/3 cup oat bran, 6 egg whites
Meal #2: 1 grapefruit, handful raw almonds
Meal #3: Large greens salad, lots of veggies, 1 grilled chicken breast, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Meal #4: 1 cup lean ground turkey, 2 cups broccoli
Meal #5: 6 oz white fish, 15 asparagus spears, small side salad w/ balsamic vinegar
Before bed: Chamomile tea
In bed by 10pm