Do it right
Diets generally fail for one of two reasons: they are either too restrictive about the kind of food you eat, or they leave you feeling as if you haven't eaten anything at all. In either case, it's usually not long before you have chocolate biscuit crumbs on the corners of your mouth. You won't be sabotaged by either of those problems with our programme, which was created for us by expert trainers and nutritionists. If you want to shrink your gut, get enough protein in your diet. In this case, about 25% of calories.
Get enough protein Protein makes you feel full and helps you to build muscle – which increases metabolism, making it easier to lose weight. Just as important, high-protein diets have been shown to be the best way to attack belly fat.
Get enough fat About 30% of your calories should come from fat. Firstly, fat helps you to feel fuller longer between meals, slowing your appetite. Secondly, it provides essential fatty acids needed for optimal health. Above all, fat makes you feel that you're eating real food, not starving in the land of plenty. If you get enough protein and fat, your total calorie intake should take care of itself. Because you feel full, you won't binge on a packet of crisps and blow your calorie count for the day. The remaining 45% of calories in this plan comes from carbohydrates – enough to give your palate a full range of tastes and your body a combination of fast and slow burning fuel.
The fat-to-muscle diet
The meals shown here are ‘templates' that you can vary to keep your tastebuds happy. Follow them and you'll consume between 2, 400 and 2, 800 calories every day. That should provide plenty of calories for all but the most severely obese, while allowing most men to shed fat at a steady pace. Don't worry about hitting all the numbers on the nose every time. If you exceed your fat quota during lunch, for instance, just cut back a little during dinner.
5 tbsp (40g) wholegrain flakes or porridge oats
150 ml (5fl oz) skimmed milk
2 tbsp chopped nuts
2 tbsp raisins
Total: 566 kcal, 20g protein, 80g carbohydrate, 19g fat
Sandwich made with 2 slices wholemeal bread, 5 oz (150 g) ham or tuna, 1 slice low fat cheese, 2 slices tomato
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 glass (150ml/5fl oz) orange juice
Total: 621 kcal, 47g protein, 50g carbohydrate, 26g fat.
5 oz (150g) cooked lean meat, poultry or shellfish
Small green leafy salad
2 tsp French dressing
Medium serving (80g) broccoli
4 tbsp (150g) cooked rice or pasta or potatoes
1 medium-sized fruit eg apple
Total: 662 kcal, 39g protein, 60g carbohydrate, 31g fat.
2 slices wholemeal bread
2 tbsp peanut butter
480ml (16fl oz) skimmed milk
1 medium apple
Total: 605 kcal, 32g protein, 70g carbohydrate, 23g fat.
If you want to see your muscles, you have to get rid of what's hiding them. To do this, you must eat enough to preserve muscle, but not so much that you put on fat. Here are some basic rules to follow to lose fat and build muscle:
Fill up on protein and multi-coloured vegetables. A high-protein diet makes you feel full longer and keeps your belly flat, whereas eating too many carbohydrates makes you feel bloated. Eat chicken, fish or beef with as many vegetables as you want, the more colourful the better.
Go easy on ‘dry' carbohydrates. After 4pm, try to stay away from refined carbohydrates such as white rice and bread. If you want to include a carb with your evening meal, choose the unrefined kinds, like wholewheat pasta or brown rice.
Eat fibre. Fibre keeps you regular and helps your body to better assimilate dietary fat.
Try sprinkling your cereal with raw oat bran. Start with one tablespoon a day for two weeks, then double that amount.
Consume good fats. You don't need to cut out fat altogether - you'll feel deprived. You should aim for around 95g per day. Where possible choose monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive and rapeseed (canola) oil, avocados and nuts in place of saturated animal fats like cheese, butter and meat. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats found in linseed or flaxseed and fish oils are also great.
This is an excerpt from Men's Health Best Turn Fat into Muscle (Rodale, £7.99). To buy it from Amazon, click here