The Zigzag Diet Plan Okay. Let me hit you right between the eyes up front. The answer is so simple, yet I've NEVER in all my years of being in this business, heard ANYONE utter it. I claim it. Here it is:
You can't lose fat unless you're on a negative calorie balance diet
You can't gain muscle tissue unless you're on a positive calorie balanced diet
You can't lose fat and gain muscle unless you alternate periods of negative calorie balance with periods of positive calorie balance.
It doesn't matter if you're trying to lose total body weight, stay at the same total body weight or gain total body weight. The zigzag rule applies to everyone. All the time. The process if zigzagging is actually integrated into a more comprehensive plan which accounts for the factors noted earlier regarding personalizing and integrating your training efforts. There are five rules to the process, and they apply to everryone on Mother Earth, from cradle to grave: Rule One Always eat at least 5 meals a day (preferably 6 or 7). Two or three meals simply isn't often enough. Your blood sugar levels will be controlled (and thus your cravings), you'll get protein in small amounts throughout the day to support growth and recovery, and (most important) the enzymes that store fat will be produced in far smaller amounts, making your body far less capable of storing fat! Simply, by providing your body with a consistent and frequent supply of calories -- life-giving energy -- its need to store fat is significantly reduced. Conversely, when you eat infrequently, your body recognizes a "famine" situation, and the enzymes are produced in large quantities to "swoop down" on every calorie you consume in order to store it as fat in preparation for the "famine" to come. Rule Two Remember the 1-2-3 rule. In each of your 5 meals, approximately 1 part of the calories should come from fats, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from carbohydrates. This is a guideline, not a hard-and-fast law. Just keep the fat intake down to a low level (do not eliminate fat, as some fat is essential for maintaining good health), consume enough protein to support growth and recovery, and carbohydrates commensurable to your energy output (carbos are your body's preferred energy fuel source). Remember that protein and carbohydrates both have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram. Rule Three When you sit down to eat, ask yourself, "What am I going to be doing for the next three hours of my life?" Then, if you're taking a nap, eat less than the average amount of carbos; if you're planning on being active, eat more than the average amount of carbos. For average between-meal activities, eat an average sized meal. Always keep your protein intake up to an appropriate level. This simple system ensures that you'll never put fat on from eating excess calories, or cannibalize your muscles from eating too little. Rule Four Another thing to remember whether you're trying to lose fat or adding lean muscle is to "zigzag" your caloric intake. For example, if you want to lose fat, reduce your calories during the week, but "pig out" on Friday night and Saturday. This will 1) readjust your BMR upwards, 2) support lean tissue building, and 3) give you a psychological "lift." Remember, in Rule One you learned that your fat storing enzymes were no longer a threat, so you CAN pig out once in awhile! In fact, if you want to put on lean muscle, you MUST! There is no way you can maximize lean muscle mass while on a calorie-restricted diet. Rule Five Your reduced intake of calories makes it almost impossible to get all of the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy and active. So, it's important to supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals and other carefully selected substances to ensure maximum progress toward your fitness, health and fat loss goals. Also, no matter how hard you try, no matter how good of a cook you are, or where you buy your food:
You can't always eat 5 or 6 times daily;
There are many instances where your body either requires or can make good use of certain nutrients in greater amounts than what can be derived from Mother Nature alone;
A perfectly balanced diet cannot be maintained during periods of contest preparation or periods where there is a purposeful caloric restriction imposed;
Periods of high-stress training require supernormal intake of many nutrients without a commensurable increase in caloric need;
Periods of high-stress training creates a situation in which various benefits can be derived from nutritional substances not normally found in food or biosynthesized in the body in sufficient or significant quantities but which are either man made or derived from botanical sources
Soil depletion, toxins in the food chain, overprocessing, overcooking, free radical formation in the body, and a host of other (sometimes medically related) factors all interact to make food less than totally nutritious.
Because man has been able to improve on Mother Nature's original work in many of life's arenas, there are some "superfoods" available which are plain and simply BETTER than the normal diet for serious fitness training. So, you MUST use nutritional supplements! Where Your Calories Come From
1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.
1 gram of protein equals 4 calories.
1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories.
It's clear that you should reduce your consumption of fat in order to decrease your body fat level, because fat is a highly concentrated source of calories.
It's also clear that in order to gain muscle weight, you must reduce your consumption of fat in favor of more protein, because 1) fat can't become muscle, and 2) only protein can. Will Cutting Calories Result In Fat Loss? There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat. That means that by reducing your food by 500 calories per day, you should lose one pound of fat per week, right? WRONG! Actually, much of the weight you'll lose will come from muscle tissue, NOT fat! Why? Because your body tends to use ("excess") muscle tissue for needed energy before it reclaims fat deposits.
5#'s of fat next to 1 # of fat.The answer is to TAKE YOUR TIME with fat loss, and either preserve or build muscle tissue by integrating scientific weight training, mild aerobics, dietary manipulation, supplementation and other technologies into your lifestyle. Follow the rules above!
This poor soul actually lost 21 pounds of muscle and only 9 pounds of fat! He'll yo-yo back up to 200 in no time (within 1-2 years according to information compiled during the Congressional investigation into the fat loss industry). However, in doing so, he or she will be 35 percent body fat instead of their original 30 percent. Why? They never regained all of the lean tissue they lost as a result of their crash dieting earlier.
NEVER attempt to gain or lose "weight!" Instead, you should always strive to gain muscle and lose fat!