5 nutrition and diet tips to transform your abs in 90 days

The path to ripped abs isn’t the same as the path to a big chest or arms – it has a lot more to do with the kitchen than the gym. Focusing on your diet is non-negotiable.

“Nutrition is the determining factor in your success,” says Mike Roussell, PhD, a men’s health dietary advisor. “It’s just too hard to burn enough calories exercising, and it’s far too easy to eat extra calories.” In other words, the abdominal exercises you do and the effort you put into it won’t mean much if you go through dinner buffets like Pete Davidson goes through celebrity girlfriends.

But mastering your diet isn’t as daunting as you might expect. You can get on your way to visible abs in 90 days by following these simple steps. Find information like this and more in the new men’s health training guide 90 Day Transformation Challenge: Abs. In one volume, you’ll get all the tools you need – information, a nutrition guide, and workouts – to build your abs in just 3 months.

Step 1: Find your macros

Okay, you know you need to cut calories to lose fat, but how exactly do you do that? You could just make an effort to eat less, but that leaves a lot to chance. How do you know exactly how many calories you’re eating if you don’t log them? Also, not all calories are created equal. You can achieve a calorie deficit by eating only bread and water, but do you really think you’ll look better after 90 days with this strategy?

Roussell recommends breaking down your calories into macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) and counting them daily. It’s not as brutal as it sounds, but it does require you to read food labels and invest in a food scale (you can get one for a few dollars at virtually any grocery store).

Getting the right amount of each macro gives your body the nutrition it needs to maintain muscle and fuel your workouts without leaving excess to store as fat. No, there is no exact macro formula that will give you abs in 90 days, but the one below from Roussell is a good start.

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1. Multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 13. This determines the number of calories you will consume from your diet. For example, a 190 pound man should start consuming 2,470 calories per day.

2. Eat one gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 190 pound guy will eat 190 grams of protein. “Protein is the most important macronutrient while you’re slimming down,” says Roussell, “because an optimal protein intake will help your body retain lean muscle mass while helping you feel fuller and more satisfied after your meals.”

Now find out how many calories your protein intake counts by multiplying the number by four. (Since one gram of protein contains four calories, 190 grams of protein contains 760 calories.)

3. Subtract the protein calories you just calculated from your total calories. That leaves 1,710 calories for the 190-pounder (2,470 – 760 = 1,710).

4. Now you need to figure out how many grams of carbs and fats you are going to eat. Divide the remaining calories in half. In our example, 1,710 divided by two equals 855. A gram of carbs contains four calories, just like protein, so dividing 855 by four leaves the 190-pound guy with 213 grams of carbs to eat. One gram of fat contains nine calories, which means it is entitled to 95 grams of fat.

Still with us? We’ve determined that a 190-pound man will need to eat 190 grams of protein, 213 grams of carbs, and 95 grams of fat to start his diet. Again, it’s not an exact science, but it doesn’t have to be. You can round your numbers to the nearest integer if that makes it easier to remember or count them. You may also find that you are still eating a little too much to lose weight, even though you are hitting your macro goals perfectly.

Roussell says give it two weeks. If you’re not losing weight by then, reduce your carb and fat totals a bit and keep tracking your weight. After a few weeks of trial and error, you’ll find the macros that work. You can read more about this strategy in 90 Day Transformation Challenge: Abs.

Step 2. Choose Real Foods

The number of calories you eat is the biggest determinant of how your weight changes, but just like your macros, the quality of your food also matters. “Aim for the majority of your diet to consist of unprocessed and minimally processed foods,” says Roussell. “If a food has ingredients that you can’t get and cook yourself, that’s a food you want to minimize in your diet. This will allow you to eat more nutrient-dense foods that will help you feel fuller and more satisfied per calorie.

Believe it or not, this rule makes it much easier to count what you have set up with your macros. Calculating the protein content of some skinless chicken breasts you cook yourself is much easier than figuring out the number of grams in a Chipotle burrito (regardless of what they say in the nutrition information on their site you can’t trust it). You can track the fat content of two tablespoons of olive oil you drizzle on your salad better than you can estimate the butter they put in your restaurant hash browns. (That said, you CAN eat out with this plan; see step 4.)

grilled shrimp, beef and chicken

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Let most of your protein come from lean meats, like round beef, chicken breast, turkey, white fish, and shellfish. Let your carbs come from vegetables (broccoli, kale, peppers, spinach, etc.), whole grains and starches (oats, quinoa, potatoes), and beans and legumes (lentils, black beans, chickpeas ). Your fats should be mostly a byproduct of your protein foods (there’s still fat in most meats, even if you eat them for protein), but you can also have olive oil, nuts and avocados to complete. Learn to cook yourself and embrace calorie-free seasonings (like Mrs. Dash).

Step 3. Plan your menu

We’ve given you a fair amount to follow, and the truth is that the more refined you eat, the less likely you are to stick with your diet. Changing up the foods you eat every day and trying to fit gourmet meals into your schedule can make the process more enjoyable, but it will be harder to maintain. “Be aware that diet variety is overrated and overrated,” says Roussell. “It’s much easier to eat the same thing for breakfast all week than to eat seven different breakfasts just for variety.”

When it comes to meal plans, boring is better. Choose a few foods for each meal that you will eat most days and prepare them in advance. “Spending a few hours on the weekend preparing your weekly menu will save you a lot of time and potential weekday headaches,” says Roussell. “I’ve always found the easiest diet for clients to follow is the one that’s automatic.”

salmon on a serving plate on a table

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Make Sunday your day for shopping and spend the afternoon grilling your chicken and fish so you have a stock of protein to spread over the week. (Bonus tip: Buy protein foods in bulk to save money!)

“When it’s time to eat, if your food is there, you’ll eat it,” says Roussell. “If you have to stop, think about what you’re supposed to have, then go find it, the chances of you sticking to the plan are greatly reduced.”

Step 4. Eat smart

You don’t have to live like a monk to lose weight. There are bound to be times during the 90 Days when you want or need to eat out or take out, and that doesn’t have to derail your diet. Just make the best choices possible. Instead of ordering foods advertised as battered, breaded, crispy, fried or smothered, choose baked, braised, grilled, poached or steamed dishes.

japanese woman eating vegan lunch in vegan cafe

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Start meals with a salad and ask for the oil and vinegar on the side, so you can control the amounts you use. The same goes for any other dressings or sauces. Replace potato or rice side dishes with additional vegetables. (Yes, we said earlier that starches are okay, but when you eat out, you’re often consuming more calories than you think; cutting out starches helps offset that.)

Don’t drink alcohol or other high calorie beverages – ask for water, tea, unsweetened iced tea or diet soda. Skip the bread or tortilla chips on the table, as they’re too easy to overeat without even noticing. Finally, leave the leftovers. “Most restaurant portions are way too big,” says Roussell, “so set aside at least a third of it to take home for later.”

Step 5. Stop thinking it’s “all or nothing”

According to Roussell, here’s the biggest mistake men make when trying to figure out their abs: “They’ll be 100% committed. [to their diet]but then Friday night comes along, someone orders a pizza, he takes a slice, and then all of a sudden it’s, ‘Oh, I’m just going to have four more slices and start my diet on Monday.’ »

Let’s get this straight now – you will absolutely fall off the wagon from time to time over the next 90 days, and the solution is to simply get back on your feet. When you cheat, try to cheat as little as possible and eat smart at your next meal. Don’t say “shit”, get further and back even further.

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Men’s Health 90-Day Transformation Challenge: Abdominals – Men’s Health Shop

“If you end up having a few slices of pizza, OK, that’s okay,” says Roussell. “Stop at two, then refocus by making sure your next meal is one that supports your goal of getting abs.”

For more abs shredding tips and a workout plan, grab the 90 Day Transformation Challenge: Abs.

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