The Cutting Diet For Single-Digit Body Fat

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The secret to getting the lean, defined look of a fitness model: whittling your body fat down. Under 12% is the threshold, although you can try to go as low as 6% depending on how much you want your abs to pop.

To do that, you’ll need to cut about 500 calories a day and adopt a high-intensity resistance-training programme to add muscle and shred fat. This will see you lose about up to a kilo a week.

Use this three-day sample eating plan to ensure that the weight coming off is actual body fat – not water weight – then use the same principles to create your own long-term plan.

Day 1

Workout

Drink 500ml water

Breakfast

2 slices sprouted-grain bread topped with 1tbsp natural almond butter
1 fresh banana (10cm long)
250ml skimmed milk

Morning snack

Handful of trail mix made with raw almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins
350g fresh pineapple
Protein shake made with 20g protein powder

Lunch

100g salmon fillet, pan-seared then baked and topped with 1tbsp barbecue sauce
200g mashed sweet potatoes topped with 2tbsp raisins
100g brussels sprouts, roasted

To make

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Season the salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Cook skin-side down for three to four minutes.
  3. Flip the salmon and cook for one minute, then flip back.
  4. Spread the sauce on top of the salmon, then place in the oven. Cook until it’s done the way you like it.

Afternoon snack

20 wholegrain crackers topped with 40g cheese
Handful of strawberries and/or grapes

Dinner

100g grilled marinated chicken breast
130g tabbouleh (bulgur wheat mixed with garlic, parsley and vegetables)
Salad made with tomato, cucumber and onion

To make

  1. Marinate the chicken breast in 100ml any vinaigrette dressing for at least two and up to 24 hours
  2. Place on the grill and cook until chicken reaches 75°C.
  3. Take off the heat and allow to rest for five minutes, then slice and serve with the tabbouleh and salad.

Day 2

Workout

Drink 500ml water

Breakfast

225g low-fat cottage cheese with 100g mixed berries
30g low-sugar, low-fat granola
5 walnuts

Mid-morning snack

170g quinoa with ¼ avocado, 2 boiled eggs and 1tbsp fresh salsa

Lunch

Burger bowl

  • 450g chicken mince
  • ½ an onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ a red or green pepper, chopped
  • Herbs and spices
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Bunch of cavolo nero
  • 200g farro

To make

  1. Add 1tbsp of the olive oil to a frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and pepper, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the chicken mince and cook until thoroughly browned. Toss in your favourite herbs and seasonings to taste.
  3. In a separate pan, add the remaining 1tbsp olive oil and cavolo nero. Season with salt and pepper, then put a lid on to create steam so the cabbage cooks.
  4. Cook the farro according to directions.
  5. Place the farro at the bottom of a bowl. Add the cavolo nero and top with the chicken mixture. 

Snack

Chocolate and peanut butter protein shake made with 20g protein powder, 1tsp cocoa powder and 1tbsp peanut butter

Dinner

100g baked trout
340g new potatoes roasted with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary
125g asparagus, roasted

To make

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Place the trout on a baking sheet with cooking spray. Add salt, pepper and any fresh herbs and spices you like.
  3. Bake until the trout is cooked all the way through, about 20-25 minutes.

Day 3

Workout

Drink 500ml water

Breakfast

1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, scrambled or hard-boiled with ½ an avocado
Portion of muesli (recipe below) topped with 50g blueberries

  • 180g rolled oats
  • 110g chopped almonds
  • 150g ground flaxseeds
  • 130g raw pumpkin seeds
  • 125g chopped walnuts
  • 150g golden raisins
  • 35g dried unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 70g sunflower seeds
  • 95g chopped dried apricots
  • 1tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt

To make

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir.
  2. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To serve

Measure out a 185ml portion and add 125ml low-fat or nut milk. Soak for about an hour in the fridge or microwave for two minutes.

Nutrition (per serving): 330 calories, 12g protein, 15g fat, 36g carbs

Mid-morning snack

60g black beans with 2tbsp salsa, 2tbsp grated cheddar and 30g brown rice

Lunch

Turkey sandwich made with 85g turkey breast, 2 slices of sprouted-grain bread, ¼ avocado and fresh rocket
1 medium apple

Snack

100g tuna packed in water
225g fresh spinach
60g wild rice

Dinner

Salad made with 150-200g greens and fresh vegetable and 2tbsp vinaigrette
Bison burger

Bison burger ingredients

  • 450g bison or beef mince
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Sliced cheese (1 slice per burger)

To make

  1. Mix the mince, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.
  2. Form six patties (you can freeze any you don’t want immediately). Grill or fry until cooked to medium-rare to medium (pink to slightly pink in the middle).
  3. Add a slice of cheese to each burger, assemble on wholegrain buns and serve with the salad.

This article first appeared in the US edition of Men’s Fitness

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