He’s a fixture in the strength community and has been for some time. John Berardi, PhD, is the founder of Precision Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition coaching and education company. Berardi advises organizations like Apple, Equinox, and Nike. He’s coached the San Antonio Spurs, the Carolina Panthers, US Open Champ Sloane Stephens, and 2-division UFC Champ Georges St-Pierre. He is the creator of this program, and will walk you through all the details.
My baseline nutrition approach is best known for being moderate, smart, and sound. And that’s why 92-98 out of 104 weeks are marked by moderation and good dietary decision making. But that’s not what this plan is about. No, this is about presenting an extreme dietary strategy designed to make body fat disappear into thin air in the shortest amount of time. To give you an idea of just how fast we’re talking, you should expect body fat decreases of about 0.5%-1% per week when following The Get Shredded Program. No kidding. And with this rate of progress, you’ll actually be seeing physical changes every few days.
The Get Shredded Program Isn’t For Everyone
I can’t emphasize this point enough – this strategy isn’t for everyone. In fact, if you’re closer to 20% body fat than you are to 10%, this strategy isn’t for you at all. However, once you’ve figured out how to slowly and sanely whittle your fat percentage down to the “fairly lean” range (12% or less for men and 19% or less for women) and you’ve learned the habits that help you stay that way, that’s when something like this can be a powerful weapon in your fat loss arsenal.
Simply put, if you’re starting out fairly lean, you follow The Get Shredded Program strictly, you have no underlying clinical problems, and you begin from a good foundation of eating, supplementing, and training properly, this plan will make your body fat disappear before your very eyes.
Below I’ll lay out the full plan – the calories, the macronutrient breakdowns, the meal breakdowns, the example menu, the re-feed days, the supplements, and more. I’ll even talk about why on earth one might want to get down to 3 or 6% body fat, even if they’re not a physique competitor. (You might be surprised.)
The goal here is to help you drop 0.5% to 1% body fat per week for between 6 and 12 weeks. The duration depends on how much fat you have to lose and how long you want to endure the plan. With this goal in mind, you know you’re going to have to cut calories. And you’re going to have to cut them hard. So here’s your new calorie formula:
Body weight in pounds x 10kcal
Now, does it have to be exactly bodyweight x 10 every day? Not necessarily. Your calorie intake will likely fluctuate unless you eat the same exact things every day. So, if it fluctuates naturally, don’t worry if you’re at body weight x 9 one day and body weight x 11 another day. You can likely get away with that 10% spread. However, just make sure you stick within this range of calories. Here’s a handy table that outlines how many calories you should be aiming for.
A couple of important notes on calories:
- If you’re one of the folks that naturally fluctuate in their day-to-day intake and you’re not seeing the 0.5%-1% per week fat loss rate, you absolutely have to do two things. First, make sure you tighten things up and are consistent. Second, make sure to stick to the lower end of the range (bodyweight x 9). Some might even need to try bodyweight x 8, if necessary. But start at the 9-11 range and measure your results every week to determine how to change up the program.
- If you’ve been chronically undereating for a long period of time, this program won’t work as well for you. As discussed, those individuals who’ve figured out how to stay fairly lean – while choosing balanced meal selections – will do best when they launch into The Get Shredded Program.
The Macronutrient Split
Now that we’ve established the right calorie range and the conditions necessary before starting the diet, let’s talk macronutrients.
Protein should make up between 30 and 35% of your daily intake and all of it should come from whole food sources. This is the case for three reasons:
- Whole food sources will contain more vitamins and minerals and it’s essential to maximize vitamin and mineral intake when on such a low calorie diet. With this level of hypocaloric intake, you’ll already be borderline deficient in some micronutrients so don’t make it worse by using low micronutrient proteins during this extreme hypocaloric diet.
- Whole food sources provide better satiety vs. some supplemental protein sources. As you’re going to be huuuungry, you’ll need every bit of satiety you can get.
- Whole food sources have a higher thermic effect vs. most supplemental protein sources. Since you’ll want to maximize your metabolic rate, you’ll want to increase your thermic cost.
Carbs should make up 10-15% of your intake. All of your carbohydrates on this diet should come from fresh vegetable sources (preferably organic) like spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower, different color peppers, carrots, tomatoes, etc. Again, right now you’ll need all the nutrition you can get in as few calories as possible. Every day I’d like you to get at least one serving (1/2 cup) of each of the veggies listed above.
Fats should make up 55-60% of your intake. You should be getting a fairly even mixture of saturates, polyunsaturates, and monounsaturates (this means about 33% of your total fat coming from each). But don’t worry, you don’t have to be exact. Simply adding some olive oil, flax oil, fish oil, and avocado each day will help.
Here’s a chart that includes your protein, carb, and fat intake goals:
Now that we’ve established your calorie, protein, carb, and fat goals, let’s talk meal breakdowns. This part is simple. You’re going to eat 4 food meals each day with your calories evenly split throughout the day. So, simply divide the numbers above by 4 to get your per-meal totals. Another chart to ballpark your meal-by-meal goals:
Now, does each meal need to be exactly one-fourth of the daily total? No! Just make sure that you’re splitting your food intake up relatively evenly throughout the day.