Your full plan to get in shape for summer 2019

Written by: Brad Pilon

I’m about to arm you with everything you need to get in shape…

And yes, it involves counting calories 😉

As you know, I don’t usually count calories. But honestly, you can tell.

I’m lean, but not ultra lean.

This is because if I wanted to get ultra lean, I would need to count calories.

This is how I would count them…

Firstly, when counting calories, I do NOT count the calories from protein.

It’s not that protein doesn’t count, it’s that I don’t count protein, there’s just no need.

Now, this doesn’t mean that all protein foods are FREE! You still have to count the OTHER calories in that food.

Your tofu scramble still has carbs and fats you have to count, as does your top sirloin and even your whey protein.

***This is a bit annoying at first, as you have to learn to calculate the protein calories (grams of protein in your food multiplied by four) and subtract it from the total calories.

[[ This takes some mind space, but it’s worth it. Alternatively, you could just use an app like MyFitnessPal and call it a day. ]] 

Based on this when I say “count calories” we’re really counting calories from fat and carbohydrates; and to be truthful, I don’t care about the mix…

Eat as many or as little carbs as you want, eat as much or as little fats as you want.

In the past I’ve given recommendations that reverse taper calories, and my recommendations largely relate your height.

I realize that can be complicated for some, so I’ve simplified it down to this…


1,500 Calories per day. Minimum 100 grams of protein.

If you’re very tall (over about 6’2) you can try 1,750 cals
If you’re shorter than average (under 5’6”) you can try 1,250 cals


1,250 Calories per day. Minimum 90 grams of protein per day

If you’re very tall (over about 5’9”) you can try 1,500 cals
If you’re shorter than average (under 5’3”) you can try 1,000  cals

[Remember that straight protein calories do not count for this total; so, 100g of protein is roughly 400 additional calories! ] 

Now, here is the trick to making this all work: you must eat AS CLOSE to this number as possible.

As an example, for men 1,500 isn’t the max, it’s the goal.

That 1,500 can be eaten in any pattern you wish, just remember, you don’t count the protein calories, but you DO count the carbs and fats that are still present in your typical protein foods.

With this plan you still fast once or twice per week, however now nothing changes on your fast days. You still aim to get as close to your calorie goal and protein goal as possible… Remembering of course the you still eat every day, since your fasts are always divided between two days (ie 2 pm to 2 pm the next day).

[[ Again, this post is simply about what works, and we’re not going to dive into why… ]]

Next discussion is your protein; these are minimums you must hit every day.

The minimums are pretty much inline with the amount I recommend in How Much Protein for muscle growth. However, because you are eating in a deficit and trying to lose weight, feel free to eat more protein, really as much as you want. It’ll help with hunger… And yes, it makes a difference.

[[ Again, no point in going deep into the arguments for or against, just remember to eat protein, hit your minimums, and don’t be afraid to go over… Double the number if you want. ]]

Next are your workouts.

Workout 3 to 4 times per week, following Progressions.

Because of the progressive nature of Progressions (I know, bad sentence), they allow us to properly track your energy levels.

Even under a slight energy deficit, you should be able to make progress and increase your strength with these workouts.

If you get stuck at a progression for an exercise for more than two weeks and are not injured, then increase your calories by 200 calories per day and try again.

[[ The easiest way to do this is to add 200 liquid calories to your day. I like using coconut water, but you can use anything, just make sure it’s only 200 and not giving yourself permission to eat A LOT more. ]]

In other words we use your strength to assess and regulate your calories needs and whether you have gone too low with your calories.

Here you may be thinking, “But Brad, I thought it was impossible to go too low on calories? After all, don’t you recommend fasting?”

And my answer is there is a big difference between being very low in energy for 24 hours, and being very low for months on end… One is doable, one will cause you to fail.

So this is the total plan. You track NON-PROTEIN calories, and TOTAL protein intake.

You try to get as close to the goal as possible for calories. You try to always exceed your minimum on protein.

You workout. If your Progressions workouts stall, you slightly increase calories.

You keep doing this until you get the body you want, or until you get sick of counting calories and want a break.

On this approach you will lose weight SLOWLY but consistently. It will be steady improvements.

It will not be LIGHTENING FAST weight loss… But it will be really effective long term weight loss.

[[ Usually between 1.5 and 0.5 pounds per week, with the larger drops happening after your fast. ]]

That’s it, that’s the entire plan.

Finally, remember you do not have to count calories – you can still lose weight without this effort, but if you are having problems losing weight, or are planning on getting very lean for the summer, then this is the plan I would recommend.

If you paid me thousands of dollars for coaching this is what you would get. I would give you this exact plan, then remind you EVERY WEEK that your calorie goal is a goal, something you should strive to hit every day. Your protein is a minimum that you should go over every day, and that that precise time you eat your calories is up to you.

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