Tip: Green, leafy vegetables like spinach are a must on any get-lean diet. Their fiber and water content contribute to fullness without adding many calories, and they have no effect on blood sugar, so they won’t impact fat burning. If you can’t eat enough on their own, blend them up with your protein powder to make a shake. (You won’t taste the spinach.)
1. Start Lean
Here’s the tough-love truth: If you can’t see your abs pretty well already, you need to diet to get your body fat down first. The shrink-wrap plan is primarily for losing subcutaneous water weight that’s obscuring definition, so if your belly hangs over your waistband, it’s going to take more than a week to get rid of it.
2. Do the Math
You should already be following a diet to get lean, and should therefore be aware of how much you’re eating. But to remove any guesswork, we’ll give you some numbers to hit for the week: Consume one gram of protein and 10–11 calories for every pound of your body weight; 20% of those daily calories should be from fat, and the remainder from carbs. (Remember to first subtract the protein calories you’re also eating from the total allowed before you calculate the number of carbs.) For example, a 200-pound guy following this program would consume 200 grams of protein per day, and eat 2,000–2,200 calories—that’s approximately 420 calories (about 50 grams) from fat, and 880 calories (220 grams) from carbs. Your protein and fat intake will stay relatively constant, but your carbs can be raised or lowered as needed (see Step 5). So, if you’re taking your shirt off on Saturday, begin following this protocol the Saturday prior.