Making it to that final hybrid training session will demand a two-pronged approach focusing on a pair of often undervalued nutritional priorities: performance and recovery.
What does that mean in action? This is not a workout program to be paired with an intensive fat-loss diet. Now, that doesn’t mean you should hit the nearest all-you-can-eat buffet. But if you keep your caloric intake at or slightly above maintenance level, you’re likely to unleash some significant body composition changes in a short period of time.
Sure, the scale may not always reflect these changes, but good before and after pictures are worth a year’s worth of weigh-ins.
Here’s how to make the most of every meal during Ripped Remix.
This is an advanced training plan, and if you want to use it to achieve advanced-level results, counting calories and macros is pretty much a must. Yes, you can achieve solid results on a program like this without counting everything to the gram, but if your goal is what has been called “Vazquez-ularity” around the Bodybuilding.com office, it’s time get out the food scale.
First, figure out your daily calorie goal to maintain your weight, which you can do with this caloric-intake calculator (select the “maintenance” option under the “activity level” section). Next, set a specific number of grams for each macronutrient. I recommend addressing protein first, and then tackling carbs, beginning with the lower end the spectrum.
Finally, fill in the remaining calories with fat. Toggle each amount until you find an ideal number that not only keeps you near your maintenance calorie allotment, but one that compliments your palate and preferences.
Here’s how those macros play out for two individuals:
Before diving into the program, I recommend you eat according to your new macros for at least one week (follow your previous lifting plan), while simultaneously tracking your weight a few days throughout. This is to ensure you’re not entering the program in a gaping deficit.
Even at maintenance, though, the first week will be an adjustment period. You may feel fatigued, beat up, and unwilling to move. This is to be expected, since it will be a novel stimulus compared to what you’re accustomed to.
If you notice this trend continue, however, it could be a sign that you simply aren’t eating (or sleeping) enough. If this is the case, increase your daily calories by 10 percent via a combination of added carbs and fats.
On nontraining days, you can keep these the same, or if you’re really looking to dial in your physique, cut calories by about 300 and carbs by about half. But if your recovery suffers as a result, stick to training-day nutrition throughout the month.
If your weight stays within plus or minus 1 pound, you’re in a solid spot to start the program, and no further change is necessary at this time. However, if you drop a couple pounds, you’ll want to increase calories by 10 percent—either carbs, fats, or a combination of the two. For instance, if you lose 2-3 pounds eating 2,500 calories per day during the first week, add 250 calories the following week.
Note: If you already have predetermined macros, still track 100 percent for a week to ensure they’re indeed enough to support weight maintenance prior to beginning this workout.
“If it fits your macros” is all the rage at the moment, and I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t work for a lot of people. I’ll only say this: Prioritizing sugary crap and nutrient-poor fare will not help you maximize your performance or recovery on this plan. Good luck completing 3 sets of 25 of a box-jump-to-burpee combination 75 percent of the way into a Week 3 workout while running off of Skittles and Bagel Bites.
Of course, how you spend your macros is up to you, but here’s my two cents. Most of your food choices should come from the list below.
*Low-fiber carbs digest quickly. You may benefit from choosing some of your carbs from these sources at either your pre- or post-workout meal in order to maximize fuel without the accompanying GI distress. See sample meal day below for an example.
It’s okay if you miss the mark on a macro here or there. That’s why I’ve provided you with a range: not only to promote flexibility, but to encourage you to listen to your body. If you feel the need for 25 more grams of carbs after a grueling total-body workout, have the damn carbs rather than starving yourself. However, do be careful that you’re not consistently eating too little. This will jeopardize performance and recovery.
More than likely, you’ll find yourself slightly increasing calories at some point during this four-week program. It’s expected. Remember that this is not a rigorous dieting phase, and you need to prioritize fueling your muscles for the demands ahead.
The workouts in this program are nonstop, high-rep, high-volume behemoths. But what’s more, you will encounter a lot of demanding exercises you may be unfamiliar with. In order to safely and effectively get all of this done, it will require an unmatchable level of focus, willpower, and courage. Fortunately, I know a nutrient that provides fuel for both the brain and muscles: carbohydrates.
Remember that these are merely suggestions and a starting place. Find an ideal amount (and source) that works for you. Here are a few guidelines to enhance pre-workout fueling:
200-pound individual (350 grams of carbs per day)
150-pound individual (263 grams of carbs per day)
Though not mandatory, consuming carbohydrates during a workout of this volume and intensity will help to combat fatigue and muscle damage so that you’re able to maximize performance and recovery as the workouts pile up.
As your workout intensity increases, your body relies more heavily on carbohydrates for fuel. This translates to your body breaking down muscle glycogen into glucose, which rapidly flows through the blood and to your muscles to fuel contraction.
Your muscle glycogen levels, however, serve as a fuel barometer. And as levels are depleted, your body begins to signal fatigue, which can impair performance as you become mentally and physically exhausted. By choosing to consume carbs during your workouts, you essentially provide another route for glucose to get to your muscles—via the glucose directly from the liquids you drink.
Meal 1 Totals:
Meal 2 Totals:
Meal 3 Totals:
Meal 4 Totals:
Meal 5 Totals:
Meal 1 Totals:
Meal 2 Totals:
Meal 3 Totals:
Meal 4 Totals:
Meal 5 Totals:
When you follow a healthy diet, what’s the point of supplements? One word: recovery. OK, maybe one more word: performance. Remember, those are your two nutritional priorities during Ripped Remix.
To max recovery, you’ll use the tried-and-true trio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, better known as the branched-chain amino acids. Performix’s Iridium Series ISOi 9:2:2 contains all three in time-release capsules, along with other recovery-boosting staples like citrulline malate, betaine anhydrous, L-glutamine, and electrolytes, along with a range of nootropics to boost cognition and focus.
To max performance during these workouts, a pre-workout like Performix Iridium Series IONi can pay off immensely. Since most of the world takes caffeine in some form already, you may think you don’t need another reason to. But Bodybuiding.com author Nick Coker can give you five that might surprise you.
In short, caffeine is about as proven a performance-enhancer as there is in the world of sport nutrition. To further boost its effects in high-rep workouts like these, Coker stacks his stim-based pre-workout with a stim-free, pump-focused workout like Performix’s Pump.
This combo delivers plenty of other performance- and endurance-boosting ingredients like beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and betaine. You’ve got plenty of reps ahead of you, so don’t hesitate to call in the nutritional cavalry. If you find yourself working out late at night, you can also stack Pump with a BCAA product like Performix Iridium Series ISOi to get plenty of proven performance-boosters without the stimulant effect.
When recovery is the priority, the familiar athlete allies of whey protein and BCAAs are also a no-brainer. A solid amino blend can help instigate muscle growth and cut into exercise-induced soreness before it starts, while a solid whey shake is, and always has been, the best way to kick off the post-workout period with a blast of growth and recovery agents.
A final word: Don’t wait until you’re desperate for proper nutrition and recovery to do your shopping on this plan. By then, you’ll be behind the eight ball. Do your shopping, start the month prepared, and get ready to redefine your results.