Eat Like a Model – Lift like a Bodybuilder for the Ultimate Physique

Believe it or not achieving a visually stunning physique requires much less work than you probably think. You don’t need to workout 2 hours a day like most people assume. In fact 3-4 hours per week is more than enough to build a perfectly lean and muscled physique.

Look at some of the top hollywood fitness icons like Ryan Reynolds (Blade Trinity), Brad Pitt (Fight Club), Cam Gigandet (Never Back Down), Christian Bale (American Psycho) and even Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon).

Now what do all of these guys have in common? They all have a natural amount of muscle mass with very low body fat. This is what creates the incredible appearance. If they were to maintain the same amount of muscle but gain a little bit of fat they wouldn’t look nearly as good. They would lose their cuts and defined features and they would start to look just average.

So what does it take to build this type of physique?

Strength Training 3-4x per week and a strict diet. THATS IT! When it comes to losing body fat it really just comes down to diet. Cardio is completely optional.

Yes cardio may slightly speed up the fat loss process but you can do all the cardio in the world and if your diet is bad you won’t lose a single pound. So the strength training is to build / maintain muscle and the strict diet is to maintain/lose fat.

Lift Like a Bodybuilder

In the title of this article I said to ‘lift like a bodybuilder.’ This is partially true and partially false. You see our strength training workouts are going to be completely different from a bodybuilder. However because of this overtime you will be able to handle weights that a bodybuilder 30 lbs heavier than you would be lifting.

You see bodybuilders train solely to increase muscle mass. Therefore they follow high volume – fatigue oriented workouts that force their muscles to adapt by increasing in size (not strength). This type of training creates bulky, puffy looking muscle lacking true strength and power.

Our strength training workouts are going to be focused on building dense, defined and compact muscle that is visually stunning. Low reps with sufficient rest time build this type of functional strength and muscle. The muscle gains will be slower training in this manner but the difference will be night and day in your appearance.

Eat like a model

If you can get used to eating low calories (while strength training) you will be able to reach a very low body fat while maintaining muscle. Do this for a long enough time period and eventually you will look like Tyler Duren (Bard Pitt in Fight Club)

But won’t I lose muscle and damage my metabolism eating low calories?

Nope! As long as you strength train 2-3x per week and get in at-least 90 grams of protein per day you will be fine. You definitely won’t damage your metabolism either. I used to think that if I dieted I would inevitably lose muscle like crazy. Well after reading Brad Pilon’s awesome book, ‘Eat Stop Eat‘ I realized this is just not true.

But I hate eating low calories! Have any tips?

Focus on your goal. A leaner, fitter YOU. Forget about the excess garbage that you don’t need. It will be difficult for the first few days but after you start to pick-up positive momentum it will be effortless. I recommend putting motivating pictures in your room and on your fridge.

Listen to great music that puts you in an awesome state. Drink lots of tea (fills you up and kicks your cravings to the curb). Ask yourself – is this going to benefit me when your considering eating more food.

Pretend you’re eating with the FUTURE YOU – What would that person do (obviously they would make the right choice). Perform a few sets of push-ups, pull-ups or dips before and after a meal. Totally gets your mind off food.

Low Cal Model Diet

Breakfast – Protein Shake (250-300 calories and 30-40 grams of protein)

Lunch – Protein Shake (250-300 calories and 30-40 grams of protein)

Snack – piece of fruit

Dinner – Lean Meat, Veggies, Salad

Snack – 2 hard boiled eggs

This diet kicks butt for losing fat fast! Once you begin closing in on your goal weight you can switch to 2 meals and 2 shakes and 1 snack. You will be hungry on this diet but that just means your using fat for fuel. You need to accept being hungry and tell yourself – “I’m hungry but I love it”

Another awesome option is to fast until dinner 1-2x per week. When your body goes 24 hours without food your hgh levels (fat burning hormone) go through the roof and you start to burn fat like crazy.

This 24 hour fast is tough but it totally pays off. I have gotten awesome results from it. In addition you won’t lose muscle mass at all because your body begins to shuttle amino acids to your muscle cells. You can learn more about this by checking out Brad Pilon’s book ‘eat stop eat

What if I’m skinny and I need to gain weight?

If your skinny and you need to seriously put on weight than I recommend eating more carbs and using slightly higher reps. This will allow you to put on muscle faster. However, a lot of bodybuilders will tell you to eat like crazy and this will just cause you to ruin your physique with excess fat. The best times to have high carbs is after your workout.

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  • Mark

    Another great article. Thanks.

    What would you recommend me if i am prety skinny(150 lbs,5’9) but have just enough fat to cover my abs completely?

    • admin

      I would recommend getting lean first! Clean up your diet. More protein and less carbs. In addition start hitting the weights 3-5x per week. Once you get to your desired level of leanness you can re-evaluate.

  • Andreas

    Awesome diet, thanks mate.

  • Dave – Not Your Average Fitness Tips

    Eat Stop Eat and Visual Impact make for a great combination. I think people often underestimate how lean they have to get to really get their abs to pop. I know I do! Fasting is a great way to cut some calories while not completely killing your metabolism since it allows for some cheat days.

  • Howard – Energia Fitness

    Hi Greg

    Like the way you have focused on diet to be the main priority when it comes to getting lean and cut. So many people think it is all about doing the right exercise and then get frustrated when their body doesn´t change like they want it too. The diet you highlighted is simple yet effective and will deliver results. Also a big fan of visual impact just working through phase 3 and seeing everything come together. Great work on your physique.



  • Ahmed-LivingNotSurviving

    Nice article, agree with Dave on fasting. Fasting can be a life-saver for those who aren’t effective in cutting calories on the daily.
    Ahmed-LivingNotSurviving recently posted..Is Diet Soda Healthy or Is Diet Soda Bad for You

  • Gary

    Great post. With this diet, do you have any recommendation on when it’s best to work out? First thing in the morning? In the evening? Also, do you recommend a particular protein shake?

    Keep the great ideas flowing. Thanks!

    • admin

      I recommend working out at the time slot that best fits your life and schedule. With that being said, I’m a big believer in empty stomach workouts so I usually workout in the morning or mid day without eating before. This is beneficial for fat burning as it forces you to use fat for fuel as well it elevates fat burning hormones (HGH) much higher. However there is some evidence to suggest that going into your workouts in a fasted state can be beneficial for muscle gains too. This is because the post workout protein synthesis is much higher. So your muscles will soak up more protein. However there is a negative to doing this and thats that muscle catabolism (breakdown can take place). You can combat this by taking 5-10 grams of BCAA before and after workout.

  • Twerff

    Hey, I am a teen and I really like scoobys teen workout at Could I combine this kind of workout white your recommended diet advice? Because scooby has a different meal plan.

    • admin

      Yes! You could definitely combine the teen workout with this diet.

  • Michael

    Hey Greg, is the 90 gram a day just your guess or is there any science behind it?

    Because some days I don’t get .8 to 1 gram/lb

    And what was your diet when you were getting big? because I know now you’re just mainly focusing on keeping your physique


    • admin

      There is scientific evidence to suggest that you probably need much less protein than recommended by fitness trainers and bodybuilders. However I like to get 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass just to be safe. Considering I am carrying around 155 lbs of LBM I strive to get 110-155 grams of protein per day. When my diet is very low calorie I probably only get around 120 grams. But when I’m following a more moderate diet I probably get 140-160 grams. Keep in mind your protein intake doesn’t have to be consistent everyday just like your caloric intake doesn’t have to. So if you don’t get very much protein one day don’t fret.

      Since you eat more calories when you are putting on muscle its pretty easy to get 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. So thats what I shoot for when gaining muscle. It’s probably more than you actually need but its better to be safe.

  • Twerff

    I was also wondering: when do you need to change your workout?

    • admin

      You need to change your workout when you are no longer making progress. If your lifts are going up and your making good progress than stick with it.

  • Carlos

    this diet are not so dangerous? only 900 kcal for day? and only 90 gr of protein for kg ?

    • admin

      The diet is about 1200-1500 calories. It is a good option for short term fat loss. Research shows that you only really need 90 grams of protein. However if your working out hard and you have a good deal of muscle your probably want around 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass just to be safe.

  • Alex

    Can i use your density training pdf with the diet here?

    • admin

      Yes! For sure.

  • The Underwear Body

    Love this post. When I read the title I was like “yep, that sums it up”. It really is the route to a great looking body.

    Learning that you don’t need to eat big is probably the biggest hurdle for most of us guys. The marketing pretty much leads you in the opposite direction, but of course, that’s only so they can sell you stuff.

    All the guys with the most impressive physiques know how to eat to stay lean. Being able to do that is probably a lot more important than a lot of the workout details we spend a lot of time worrying about.

    The Underwear Body recently posted..Escalating Density Training- How to get in shape fast- literally!

    • admin

      Yep thats exactly it Mike!

      I love to workout and very rarely do I take time off from the gym. (even when I need a break I still workout but just with less intensity). So my progress and how I look is directly tied to my diet.

  • Onur

    thank you for this awesome post yet i have a question
    you encourage people allot by using strong words like ”If you can get used to eating low calories (while strength training) you will be able to reach a very low body fat while maintaining muscle”
    this gives me so much motivation and so i was going to ask you:
    how lean could i get in the upcomming 2 months?
    i’ve been training for a year and a half now and i have not that much fat to melt away (i dont have a belly at all just a small stubourn layer of fat) if i did the ultimate fat burning wourkou 3-4 times a week lifting heavy weights and most of all eating super clean, fasting on some days , and doing the ”get shredded/sliced diet” for 2 weeks ..

    how far would i be able to get what COULD my possible results be?


    • admin

      I have taken my body fat % from 12% – 6% in only 3 weeks before. I went from 178 to 166. This was extreme and I was averaging about 1500-1800 calories per day. Performing cardio almost every day and strength training 4-6x per week.

      In 2 months you can achieve INCREDIBLE RESULTS IF YOUR ARE LAZER FOCUSED TOWARDS YOUR GOAL. The first 2 weeks you can drop about 10 lbs. and then for the other 6 weeks you can average about 2-3 lbs per week. So 25 lbs in 2 months is doable. That can be like a 10%+ drop in body fat. So if your around 16-18% now you can definitely get to under 10% in 2 months.

  • Onur

    THİS is what i am talking about you can motivate people so badly its insane TY so much for your support and damn am i laser focused i want that body which i dream of every day and i will achieve my goal
    and the cardio was it like:
    HİİT 12-14 mins
    low intesity cardio 20-30mins?
    (damn i love you , no gay but you truelly boosted my motivation again :D)

  • onur

    it just popped in my head that i may have a problem

    i was supposed to diet for july and august but in august il be fasting the entire month (religion) and i was a bit concerned if it could set my progress a bit back.

    il need to wake up around 4-5 Am to eat a bit then go back to sleep and fast from the moment a wake up to like 7-8 pm.

    so my question was could this be a possible way to lose fat do you have any suggestions like:
    ”drink a protein shake and a healthy meal at 7-8 pm to create a large calorie defecit”

    isn’t the warrior diet something like that?
    like eating nothing and having a good satisfying dinner?

    anyways i really need your help on this one , what should i do?

    • admin

      You should be okay. Just remember it comes down to calories in vs. calories out.

      I would have a protein shake with 2 tbs of almond butter at 4-5am. The protein and fat should help you get through the day. If your going to workout during the day I would take some BCAA pills. These will ensure you don’t lose muscle while training in a fasted state. For your meal stick to high protein and fat. Avoid the carbs. By eating a high protein/fat and low carb diet you will be able to replenish your muscles, stay full and satisfied while efficiently burning fat.

      Here is the protein powder I use –
      Prograde protein is one of the highest quality protein powders on the market and it has absolutely no artificial ingredients. I would never take a protein that has artificial ingredients.

      The same company also sells high quality BCAA (branched chain amino acids) –

  • onur

    will i still get the same results if i were not to fast? like being able to drop 2-3 lbs per week while i am fasting?

    and yes i will be working out same as always lifting heavy weights followed up by your ultimate fat buring cardio routine.

  • Alameen

    Hi Greg,
    I’m using your density pdf for th strength training portion. I was wondering how much rest i should take in between sets?

    • admin

      You want to take full rest in between exercises for strength building. I recommend a good solid 2 minutes rest between sets. If these seems very long you can shorten it to 90 seconds. However don’t go any shorter than 90 seconds because you need to be fully rested to increase strength.

  • onur

    Greg i just need one last thing of you and all my answers are done.
    i thank you allready for answering all my questions, so here is the final one

    İ kinda made my own meal plan and was going to ask you to see if it was a good one.

    So i skip breakfast every day and start eating around 3pm.

    morning – Cardio routine and Strength training

    3pm – A cup of oats mixed with water and 30-40g of protein powder and some veggies

    4pm – a handfull of Almonds

    6pm – ”Clean” Yogurt (no sugars) with a couple of strawberries mixed in it and a protein shake, apple and some veggies

    8pm – protein shake

    İs this diet ok or do i need to add/remove some foods?

    — i drink my shakes with water or should i drink them with milk to (if needed) increase calories) —

    Hope you have the time to reply


    • admin

      Looks good to me! I would say skip the oats BUT since its a post workout meal and your only having 1 cup it shouldn’t be an issue. I would also get in at-least one solid meal. Perhaps at 6pm or 8pm. Something like an omollette, steak, chicken or fish with veggies/greens and a salad plus some salsa for flavor (salsa is awesome and is low calorie). If you find you get hungry around bed-time you can add 1-2 tbs of almond butter into your late night shake.

  • Alameen

    thnx greg

  • Ike

    Hi Greg and thanks for the great blog.

    I had a few questions I was hoping you could answer.

    Is pork (not bacon) considered a lean meat?

    Where do you get calcium in a diet like this?

    What are your thoughts on instant coffee in a diet like this compared to tea? When I cut calories I notice I get a little tired so caffeine, either in tea or coffee, helps but instant coffee is obviously faster.

    Thanks for your time.

    • admin

      Pork is considered a lean meat but its not as lean as chicken breast or white fish. Pork is fine on the diet.

      I would recommend taking a multi vitamin/mineral to ensure optimum nutrients. However many dark leafy greens are high in calcium. Kale is my favorite.

      Coffee or instant coffee is fine and is a great addition to the diet. It can slightly blunt appetite and elevate your resting metabolic rate.

  • Ike

    Hi Greg,
    Is there any problem cooking our meat, or chicken in olive oil? Or do you recommend we just avoid butter in general but olive oil and PAM are OK?

    • admin

      Olive oil is not the best oil to cook with. This is because it tends to go rancid with high temperatures.
      The healthiest oils to cook with are coconut oil and macadamia nut oil. I can only assume that pam is pretty bad for you.

  • Ike

    Hi Greg,
    I’m going to do this diet/workout and then follow it up with the shrink wrap effect when that time comes. For this Model Diet/ Shake & Salad Diet, I was thinking of getting the Carinvor Beef Protein powder for making my protein shakes. Do you recommend this or is it a bad powder? Thanks for your time answering all my questions. I really appreciate it.

    • admin

      never heard of that protein powder so hard for me to say. Can you not have whey? There is also hemp protein, pea protein and brown rice protein. Oh and don’t forget egg white protein. One of my favorites.

  • Ike

    I can have whey. I’d just rather stay away from dairy. Besides, Carnivor and it seems Elite Primal, have creatine in them. So I figured I would just kill two birds with one stone so to speak. I’ll give Carnivor a try or Elite Primal.

    • admin

      cool! Let me know how it is cuz I’m curious. Never heard of carnivore protein before.
      ps. one big benefit of whey protein is that it is extremely high in the amino acid leucine which is very important in muscle growth and recovery.

  • Onur

    Greg you said on my fasting that i should eat 2 tbs of almond butter is it with bread or without bread?


  • Josh

    What do we eat postworkout? And how many hours before bed should the final meal be consumed?

    • admin

      Post workout nutrition while dieting isn’t very important. You actually want to wait about an hour before eating after a workout. This will allow your hgh levels to be maximized. Your final meal should be consumed about 2-3 hours before going to sleep.

  • Josh

    So I should wait an hour even after a weightlifting workout? Is this sample meal plan good for anyone despite height, weight, body type, and etc? It seems like there is a lot of false information out there in fitness magazines and typical bodybuilding sites. They’re still preaching leg extensions and side bends and a bunch of bs for nutrition. I wish I could have found this site and the fitnessblackbook site a long time ago.

    • admin

      When fat loss is the priority I like to wait an hour or so before eating after a workout. However this is not set in stone and if you feel very hungry than you should listen to your body.

  • John

    Are you saying that you can build muscle on a diet like this? I heard the only way you can build muscle is with a calorie surplus…..

    • admin

      @ John
      Nope. Your not going to build muscle on this program. You will be able to shed fat and increase muscle tone and the result will be a super lean and shredded physique.

  • Lucas

    Hey Greg I have a question. Is your Greek God workout great for getting lean, or do you have a better workout to follow with this diet?

  • Lucas

    I forgot to write this before I am 5’8″ 16 years old at 180 lbs. Which diet and workout plan do you have that will get me a six pack the fastest. Thank you for your time.

  • Ryan

    Hi Greg,

    Quick question: I am 6’0 165 and my problem is I have some body fat (stomach/lower back/little bit here and there) and I would like to be a clean 170-175ish for this years basketball season. What do you recommend? I am not sure how to tackle this issue. Should I bulk first and then cut down? Or try to bulk up cleanly?

    Thanks in advance !

    • admin

      Always cut and then add solid muscle. Drop fat until you reach a very defined state. Then slowly build your way up to 170-175. Chances are you will have to lose more weight than you think. At-least 15 lbs before you look very defined

  • T

    I’m on the fence as to whether cardio could be cut from the equation to getting you really lean. Maybe steady state cardio but stuff like HIIT had me dropping fat like crazy. Of course, strength training was key too, I concur with that point. I was able to take my body fat from roughly 23% to around 17-18% just from amping up the HIIT combined with weight training (primarily kettlebells) these last three months and obviously, eating extremely cleanly too (btw, I’m a girl). I will say that 90% of how your physique looks is due to nutrition. You can jog 10 miles daily and if you’re eating junk…won’t make much of a difference. It took me a long time to realize that golden nugget of wisdom.

    • admin


      If you are trying to lose weight very quickly (over 2 lbs of pure fat loss per week) then cardio is definitely important since you can only cut calories so much unitl you feel deprived. However if you are going with a moderate 1-2 lbs of fat loss per week then this can be simply accomplished with diet alone.

  • Jamel

    Hey Greg!

    Just want to know if i can stick with this diet!

    3pm – 1 can of tuna without oil

    5pm – Protein Shake with water.

    7pm- salad with tuna

    before go to bed, low fat cottage cheese

    What about fat? Do i have to add some?

    Want to get lean very fast.

    Hope to hear from you!

    • admin

      Add some avocado or almonds to the salad. Throw in 1-2 tbs of coconut milk into your protein shake. That will give you sufficient healthy fats.

      Also don’t have tuna everyday! Too much mercury. Cycle between tuna, chicken, beef, eggs…..

  • prateek

    im lifting since the past 3 years i weigh arrnd 175 lbs n i thot my body fat was 10% but i just got to know its 16%.
    i eat 6 times a day
    Sample Diet:
    Get up- Black Coffee
    work out- Density & Strength Training (6-8 reps)
    breakfast 1 protein shake,oats
    mid day sanck at 11- 4 egg whites and half cup oats
    lunch – veggies n 4 eg whites
    snack an apple an protien shake
    dinner veggies and protien shake

    i have been on this diet for a month now and ive lost some fat but should i continue this or downsize my carbs even more

    • admin


      Count your carbs. Try and keep them to 100 grams per day or less. I would stick to no more then 3-4 meals per day. Let your body go longer with out food and you will get better fat burning.

  • Mike

    hey greg im 16 years old, 5’7″, about 170 pounds, no six back. so what is the fastest way i can get a six pack, how long will it take? thank you for your time

    • admin

      Hey Mike!

      If you want the 6 pack you are going to have to drop fat. The only way to do this is to create a daily deficit by eating less. Eat around 10 calories per pound of body weight. So at 170 shoot for 1700 calories per day. 1-2x per week you can bump this up to 2200 preferably on a lifting day.

  • Michael McIntyre

    The title says it all and great image of Bruce, a truly great and functional physique. People mess up their naturally okay bodies by training in a good way but then over eating as bodybuilding websites suggest putting on fat along with muscle. People also assume models don’t eat anything which isn’t true, they just don’t over eat. You as a model can testify that you are not on a bird food diet.
    Michael McIntyre recently posted..Are You A Fat Burner Or A Sugar Burner

  • Terrance

    Hey Greg. So this diet with your workout on your recent post “the best approach for ultimate lean and powerful physique” and the strategic cardio alex o loughlin does 3-4 days a week is good to drop fat quick and effective?

  • Vlada

    Oy, do you make Protein Shake with low fat milk or with water ?

    p.s. your site is fantastic, btw im from EU and i see that in America you have sooo much cheaper and better choice whey proteins than we have. Cheers ! =))

    • admin


      Thanks for the support man. I appreciate that. I use unsweetended almond milk. Gives it a nice thicker taste and the almond milk only has 40 calories per cup.

  • Jonathan

    But isn’t losing more than 1lb of fat a week once your 10lbs away from being really lean (6-8% bf) bad for preserving muscle?

  • Joey

    Hey Greg, i am 17 and i am about 5’7 way about 180 pounds i want to burn this fat off my stomach and get a six pack i never had a diet plan because i need a set one can you please help me out it will mean the world for me to transform my body man, like what to eat for breakfast? lunch? Dinner? i got all the working out cardio i just need help with a set meal plan for every day please help me out man i want to change my life up and transform thank you!

  • Michael

    I work nights 9.30pm-6.10am
    What times would you recommend that I eat?
    How many calories do you think I should consume.
    I weigh 15.8 stone. Got muscles but also got a belly…
    Your help would be very appreciated.

    • admin


      Eat in a way that works with your schedule the best.

  • Max McGlinchey

    how many reps would you be getting out of the movements? what is better for getting more dense muscles? is it heavier weights with lower reps, or higher reps with lighter weights? also how many body parts should people workout with each day.

    • admin


      Lower reps with a heavier weight will build more muscle density. Higher reps contributes to the inflated pump in a muscle. Two to three body parts per workout is ideal assuming you are lifting 3-4x per week.

  • mike

    Hey dude. Great site man.

    two questions:
    1.) So, i had previously read/heard that eating low calories and also periods of “starvation” makes your body store fat instead of cut fat. Am i misinterpreting what i’ve heard.

    2.) How long should a cardio session last to become effective and how many times per week would u recommend?

    Thanks man,

    • Greg


      The only way to lose fat is to eat less calories then you are burning. Starvation mode is a myth. The only time your body reaches starvation mode is when you hit extremely low levels of body fat (under 6%). So if you want to get lean you will have to cut calories. Those that claim reducing calories will put you into starvation mode are eater liars or fools. Either way run away.

      A cardio session should last at-least 45 minutes to be effective and done 3-5x per week. If you are doing cardio after a strength workout then 30 minutes is fine.

  • Vitor

    Hi, i´m 23 54Kg(119.049 lb) 177cm(5´´10?) and olnly 4.8% body fay. Shouldn´t I eat like crazy to compensate for this extreme slim?

    Thank you

    • Greg


      Yes. You should probably put on some decent weight. I recommend you bump up your calories. 4.8% body fat is very, very low.

  • anthony wustefeld

    What is your opinion about soy milk ? I don’t seem to digest regular milk quite well. But i have been hearing a lot of bad news about it. Is it good or is it bad, and if so what are better alternatives.

    Your site has been really helpful to me. I’ve already learned a lot about fitness & nutrition just be visiting this website.

    • Greg


      There is no reason you would ever want to drink soy milk. Bad for testosterone levels and the protein is not very easily absorbed. Stay away from the stuff.

  • Jareem Edwards

    Hey bro this site is great ive read almost every post and comment and I’m
    Going to put a plan together and set it in action Monday but I had a couple questions I plan on buying protein shakes what’s a good brand?? And should I do cardio every day? Or just 3 times a week? Because I work 8 – 5pm mon-fri

    • Greg


      I’ve steered towards doing less cardio. I instead focus my attention on lifting and my diet. This has given me the best results. If you do choose to do cardio than I recommend incorporating 3 cardio sessions per week.

  • Jareem Edwards

    Also how can I determine “my perfect measurements” to have great abs and defined muscles? How do I determined my body fat ratio and what is ideal

    • Greg


      A waist measurement (around the bellybutton while relaxed) of 44.7% of your height tends to be the right size for nice abs.

  • Mike

    Hey Greg – I just found your site today. I’ve been reading the E-S-E manual and started the Adonis program. Your site/info is pretty consistent with their info which is refreshing. I’ve read that to lose weight, a good start while working out 4-5 days / week is to take your BMR (approx., your body weight x 10) and use that as a caloric ‘target’ until you hit your goal weight, then adjust from there. For me, I’m currently 158 lbs, but my goal Adonis ‘ratio’ would be a weight of 149-150. That said, a caloric target would be about 1500 cals/day, +/-. Your sample diet above, I would guess brings in about 1200 cals/day. How low can a person go and stay healthy without losing muscle mass. I think Brad Pilon mentions ‘starvation mode’ is an utter myth, but 1200 cals seems quite low.

    Also, once you’ve hit target, how many cals / day would you want to add to your BMR goal to maintain that weight?

    Thanks man – great info and vids here. I’ve done 3 rounds of P90x, great results dropping from 179 to 153 after round one, but it’s daunting to count macronutrients – looking forward to this change to take things to the next level. ‘The ‘X’ was great, but time to focus more on some focused lifting. Cheers!

    • Greg


      This article was written a while ago when I believed in super strict diets. I have changed my opinion on this. I prefer to take a slower approach to dieting now and average a pound of weight loss per week. This is much more enjoyable and strength/muscle doesn’t suffer as much. Maintenance calories for someone getting an hour of moderate exercise per day tends to be around 14-15 calories per pound of bodyweight. Reduce calories by 500-700 from this number and you should see 1+ lbs of fat loss per week. There is no need to rush it. Take it slow and you’ll be better off.

  • John

    Hey Greg,

    Just a quick question for ya….

    I’ve just started into phase two of visual impact muscles building program…This may be a silly question but Rusty talks about not lifting til failure, especially in phase two… question is….if your doing 5repsx5sets and once you can do all of them, rusty says to move up… do you avoid failure? I’ve noticed I can do 5×5 so I move up in weight and then I will for example not be able to complete say the full 5 reps of the 4th set etc…..

    Im alittle confused how to increase weight without reaching failure….or is it just a matter of knowing how many you have left and stopping before failure??

    any tips would be appreciated!

    • Greg

      Yes it’s a matter of knowing how many reps you have left and stopping 1 rep before failure. As you continue to train while avoiding failure you will know exactly if you will be able to get the next rep. If you have doubt then rack the bar. Overtime your muscles will strengthen and you will be able to lift more weight / do more work.

  • John

    Hey Greg,

    As always, thanks for the replies.

    I am into phase 2 of visual impact and in retrospect and from reading others posts, I think I definitely should have lost weight before starting the program. I’m wondering if you think I should continue with the program til the end or do something different? I’m currently 5’9.5 164 pounds. I have definitely lost weight and gained muscle but I’m wondering if there is a different route I should be going right now? (seeing as I am assuming my body fat % must be fairly high).

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Greg

      Go to phase 2 or phase 3 style lifting and diet down to a low body fat. When you’re lean then go back to phase one and work on building muscle.

  • John

    Hey Greg,

    Happy belated birthday!

    I have another quick question for you. When I started reading your page and doing the visual impact workout (beginning of June) I was at 171 lbs…now im down to 160lbs. I think I could still loose at least 5 lbs (im 5’9). I did what you mentioned above and stayed at phase 2 while trying to loose body fat. Im just wondering if you think I should stay on phase 2 for a while longer and try to cut the last 5 or so pounds or switch it up for phase 3 for a while before starting the program over? I had to take about a 2 and a half week off from the gym (due to starting university again and no money = no gym membership) and now that im back I havent lost much strength, but when I look at my workout log from the start of phase 2 to now, I havent made any real huge gains. Am I doing something wrong or do I just need to keep at it?

    I guess thats why im wondering if I should go to phase 3 for a bit just to change up the routine?

    I have also stopped with the protein shakes, but now being back in school its tough to have enough food for the day (when im there 8:30-2:30 mon/wed/fri). Would it be beneficial to take protein in these circumstances? I usually bring some kind of chicken or tuna with avacado and greek yogurt with some almonds for the day and then eat a bigger meal at dinner and thats it.

    Sorry for the long post. Any advice would be appreciated as always!
    thanks Greg!


    • Greg

      You can continue fat loss in phase two or three. I would switch to phase 3 for the last 5 lbs. Don’t expect huge strength gains during the program. Gains take time! As well since you are dieting you will be doing well to maintain strength or make very small gains.

      I actually like your approach of eating a light lunch and big dinner. There is no need to add protein shakes to this.

  • John

    Hey Greg!

    Awesome articles lately, as usual! Everytime I hit a slump in my training, I get remotivated when I read some of your articles…Thanks for that!!

    Couple of questions for you…

    First off, I know this probably depends on each individual but….Im wondering if there is kind of a set body weight I should be getting down to? Im 5’9 and 159lbs at the moment. I started at 171. It has been slow going on loosing more weight lately, and Im wondering if that is simple because of “the last 5-10 pounds are the hardest to loose” saying? I guess I’m wondering because as I mentioned in a different post, I’m not sure whether to stay on phase 3 of visual impact and try to loose 5-10 more pounds or if my weight is at a sufficient place to go back to phase 1? How lean is lean? I have no idea what my body fat % is.

    Also (this may be a dumb question) but I notice all of these guys at the gym, working out everyday….and none of them have that ripped, lean look (daniel craig style etc)….Is this due to the fact that most people just dont supplement their weightlifting with a proper diet and or effective trainint? Kind of a silly question, but it intrigues me how so many guys I see day in and day out at the gym that never really look that different, but all the while they are doing similar exercises if not the same as me (visual impact type of programs etc)

    Anywho! thanks for all your motivation!

    • Greg

      There isn’t any set weight you should be. Just continue dieting down until you hit a body fat percentage your are really happy with. Aim for a 31-31.5″ waist. That’s great at your height. From there you can focus on upping the calories and building muscle slowly (2-3 lbs per month max).

      Most people rarely look great or see any meaningful changes to their physique because they

      A) There diets suck and they have a little bit of excess fat blurring definition. These people need to track their food intake and lose the fat.
      B) These people rarely track progress so they make very little improvement in weight lifted especially after the beginner stages.

      • John

        Thanks for the fast reply Greg!

        Im going to measure up my waist tonight and see where I’m at!
        Sorry for all the questions, but I have one more…
        I mentioned in an earlier post that I usually have coffee in the morning and a lunch of tuna, avacado, and some greek yogurt, maybe some almonds….and then a bigger meal at dinner, usually chicken breast, red potatoes or sweet potatoes, and some rice….

        I looked at your recent breakdown of calories on the your facebook page and I’m just trying to get this straight….Using the my fitness pal calorie tracker, with the foods I listed above it is saying those two meals….
        a total of only 1152 calories
        31 grams of fat
        82 grams of carbs
        and 141 grams of protein

        This doesnt seem sufficient enough? especially in the fat department…and overall calories…
        I suppose there are hidden things like a couple cups of coffee and some olive oil used to cook but am I on the right track here or should I be adding or changing things up to this idea for a diet?

        I have been doing a diet similar to this (give or take) and find myself fairly hungry and not really loosing much weight at this point (I have lost about 11 pounds but over about 6-7 months. Definitely nowhere near 1-2 pounds a week….

        any thoughts, adive, suggestions would be much appreciated!

        • Greg

          There is no way that you are not losing weight eating only 1152 calories per week. You must have made major mistakes calculating your calories OR you overeat significantly on a couple days per week. Fat is very low. Try including slightly fattier sources of protein in your diet (ex: roast beef, flank steak, 90% lean ground beef, eggs/egg whites). Also you can bump up carbs to 100-120 minimum.

  • amichelle

    Most of what I have been reading has been directed towards men. Do these same “rules” apply to women? I am 5′ 5″ and weigh 220. I have food sensitivities and my physician has advised me to go to a grain free/soy free/legume free diet. I love kettlebell, lifting, and bodyweight exercises. I am proportioned with an hourglass figure. I want to lose all over and get cut in the legs. I’m not looking for a significantly low percent of body fat. I want to be fit! I have done 2 rounds of Insanity. I do kettlebell training. I am not seeing fat loss like I’d like. I just started my new “diet” noted above. Any feedback on how to proceed is appreciated.

  • David

    What do you recommended my goal weight should be with using this diet? I’m 6’1 and 178 pounds

    • Greg

      Impossible to say! Depends on how much muscle mass you have. I would aim for a 32.5-33″ waist at your height. (measured around bellybutton).

  • scott

    hey man you have information here!
    what would you reccomend in 5″9 and 154 pounds at around 12% i want to get lean and then start to build some muscle how would i go about doing this calorie wise and with protein fat and carbs?

    • Greg

      For fat loss you’re looking at 10-12 calories per pound of bodyweight, 1 gram of protein per pound, 25-30% fat, rest carbs. For building muscle start with 16 calories per pound of bodyweight. You want to gain around 2 lbs a month. If you’re gaining faster, reduce calories. If you’re gaining slower, increase calories.

      • scott

        and another question if you do IF everyday for around 16 hours does it matter as much if you take in a lot of carbs because I dont get in much calories with just protein and fats at all because I really want to get lean?

        • Greg

          Protein is very important during dieting. It will help you stay full and maintain muscle. Fat is important for testosterone functioning and long term fullness. Carbs are fine as long as you stay in a calorie deficit.

  • Resi Durna

    Hey Greg,

    First of all, I’m male, 5’8 and 185 lbs. Really want to make change in my life and my body.

    Do you recommend this “Eat Like a Model – Lift like a Bodybuilder” method for me to fat loss and shape my body?

    How many lbs in a month (average) can I lose the weight/fat with this method?

    Thanks you very much Greg. I hope you could help me to make my goal.


    • Greg

      That was one of my original articles. My fat loss approach has change since. Check out my beach ripped article.

      • Resi Durna

        I just read your beach ripped article. I guess I’ll have to wait for Beach Ripped Part Two & Three. Can’t hardly wait for it.

        Really want to start a good program for my fat loss and body shape.

  • Joseph

    Hey Greg, thanks for the great article. Quick question, do you make your own protein shake, if so how? What would you put into it to know exactly the amount of protein amd calories it has?
    Or, if you purchase them is there a fairly inexpensive brand you would recommend?

    • Greg

      Track the grams of protein powder you are using. I like to use unsweetened almond milk to mix with. This usually has 40 calories per cup. Then you can add some healthy fats to the protein shake. 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk is amazing.

  • Chris

    I don’t understand the fasting process. So you fast at 10 pm then you eat at 10 pm the next night? You only have one meal the next day?

    • Greg

      Yes, that’s precisely it. Although I prefer to do a 21-22 hour fast. This gives you a 2-3 hour window to consume your meal. These longer fasts should only be done once or twice per week.

  • Borah

    Hey Greg ,
    what are the rep ranges are you talking about if skinny? And is second phase visual impact good for skinny guys to build bigger muscles cause i am confused didn’t gain much in the 1st phase of vi and now getting defined but still not getting bigger. Any pointers would be really helpful ? At 134 lbs 5 feet 7 inches , 28 waist , bmi 21.5 body fat 18 percent. Though i think both bmi and body fat are incorrect cause used the hand held electronic calculator. Cheers

    • Greg

      Anywhere from 5-12 reps will help with building muscle. Phase two will help build muscle as well.

  • Borah

    Thanks bud for the reply and tip. Cheers

  • Brad

    Hey what workout would you recommend with this diet if I’m trying to drop the weight. I weigh about 210 right now and I’m 6’2″ and trying to get really cut like you explain in this diet.

    • Greg

      This is a very low calorie diet. I would recommend three strength training workouts per week and maybe 30 minutes of low intensity cardio on off days. Don’t do crazy amounts of training, it will cause more harm than good on a low cal diet.

      • chris

        could you do up to 45 mins of cardio? 15 min hiit then 30 min low intensity with this diet?

        • Greg

          You could, it probably wouldn’t be necessary on such low calories though. I’d maybe just do 30 minutes – 15 hiit and 15 low intensity.

  • Will

    Hi Greg,

    Loving the intermittent fasting! Benefits were seen days into it, up until recently. What can you do when you’ve hit a wall in your fat loss. I was already quite slim before I started and my main goal was to get rid of excess fat on my face. I was 5’8″ and 145 lbs before and am now at 137 lbs. I usually take some wpi in the morning, strength train (following the american psycho outline, going heavy enough to be able to do 2 sets of 5-6 reps of each exercise), then post workout wpi usually by 12.30pm, then my first meal is at 3pm until my last meal at about 9pm. I also do HIIT 3 times a week.
    My meals consist of a lot of skinless chicken, beef, oats, fruit and eggs.
    Lately I’ve reached a plateau and can’t seem to lose that last couple pounds to really get that extra definition and also add that extra chiselled look to the face.

    Would love to get your thoughts man!

    • Greg

      I would start doing refeed days! Every fourth day go up to about 16 calories per pound of bodyweight. Try and get about 50% of your cals from carbohydrates – potatoes and rice are ideal. This will help stimulate your metabolism and boost leptin.

  • Jared

    You say I won’t lose muscle on a strict diet when working out 3-4 times a week but actually the more I try to eat a an high-protein, low-calorie diet while working out 3-4 times a week, the more flabbier I become and the more I see my abdomen becoming jelly like and my muscle shape disappearing. So I guess this is the real definition of muscle loss. I believed this was impossible too but I have to rethink my position now because dieting + strength training is not making me leaner for some reason but skinner and flabbier.

    • Greg

      I find that very doubtful that eating a low calorie diet and strength training is making your fatter. That doesn’t make any sense so something else must be going on. Maybe try going higher in calories while still eating at a deficit. Maybe 12-13 calories per pound of bodyweight. This should allow you to hold onto your muscle glycogen better so your muscles stay fuller.

  • chris

    Hey Greg,
    I just read the article and im going to start soon, but I have a question, how often would you have a cheat meal or day on this?, cause i go drinking like every weekend at partys and things so what would you say?

    • Greg

      This is a very strict diet, you could probably go higher in calories on the weekend. So maybe on friday and saturday you go up to 3000 calories and then follow the diet on the other days.

      • chris

        Thanks for the quick reply, also how many sets and reps and rest per set would you recommend for the strength training?

        • Greg

          3 sets of 6-10 reps works quite well. I like to rest 3 minutes for strength movements and 1-2 minutes for isolation movements.

          • chris

            Could you do a bodyweight workout with this?

          • Greg

            Yes, focus on chip ups, dips, push ups, hand stand push ups and pistol squats. Add weight if possible.

  • Rajiv Rai

    Greg i had a big question pondering in my mind…in ur most of the blogs u say that we must not take breakfast for maximum fat burning…but in ur blog-(eat like a model and lift like a bodybuilder)…u say that protein shake for breakfast…i mean i dont know what this means…as u are intermittent fasting and dont take breakfast at all.

    • Greg

      Well this article was written 2-3 years ago. I now prefer skipping breakfast entirely as this approach works phenomenal and making dieting much more effortless. That said, as long as you focus on eating at a deficit then you can eat breakfast. I just find skipping it and eating bigger meal to be much more enjoyable and sustainable.

  • Gary

    wont this diet have you really hungry at night? it seems very unfilling/satiating as well as unhealhy. Would like to try something like this but I just feel like I wouldnt sleep at night due to being hungry.

    any thoughts Greg?

    • Greg

      Yah its a super strict diet, I really wouldn’t recommend it. I wrote it a long time ago when I was into brutal diets. Try the kinobody fat loss diet. It’s in the ‘best of’ section.

  • Jake Britton

    Hey Greg I just read this article and I was wondering is this the same program as The Hollywood Physique program? How long should the workouts be? Can I do an all bodyweight prison style workout with burpees, dive bombers, and other bodyweight movements to get a Hollywood Style physique?

    • Greg

      Don’t think so, I haven’t read the hollywood physique program.

      • Marty

        This is pretty much opposite to Hollywood Physique diet as that doesn’t worry about calories and means you eat lots of eggs, meat and salad/vegetables…so its interesting to read such conflicting advise?

        • Greg

          The HP gets you to eat at a calorie deficit unconsciously. By cutting out carbs you end up reducing your calorie intake. The law of thermodynamics requires that you be in a calorie deficit to lose fat. No getting around that.

  • Yves

    What workout program would be good to get a Calvin Klein Body like mark walhberg

  • http://n/a ryan

    hi – can the 24 hour fast referred to above before performed for more than he suggested 1-2 days? I’m thinking of doing it for 5 days consecutively. Also, I’m 16 and live with the folks so is it cool to just eat what they serve up for dinner providing that they’re the only calories Im taking in?


    • Greg

      No. I don’t even do the 24 hour fast. It’s not necessary if you’re fasting 15-18 hours daily and eating properly.