I was raised in the 1980’s, where most people’s idea of exercise was Jane Fonda attempting to give us aerobics instruction on VHS with Michael Jackson’s “Can You Feel It?” playing in the background. Back then, I watched my mother go on just about every diet there was. The entire decade was a sad era for the entire fitness industry, to be sure.
Problem was, despite the occasional exercise video being played on our TV, nobody in my family played sports or worked out. Mom gave up on the gym because of all the creeps who’d constantly hit on her. Dad played sports in high school, but he hurt his back in his twenties and didn’t do much after that. I was a hyperactive little girl, and begged for dance and gymnastics—but received piano lessons instead. Sports and exercise simply didn’t exist for me then, especially at home.
My point? I don’t have any sports background to speak of, and I didn’t start seriously lifting weights until I was in my early thirties. Until then, I was that stereotypical yoga and Pilates person who, admittedly, thought a vegan lifestyle would get me healthy, lean, and change my shape.
I’m not a fitness competitor in any way, shape, or form. I’m just your average American girl looking for a way to have my cupcakes and my bikini body, too—and I’ve figured out a way to do that. No matter where you are in your own exercise and fat loss journey, you can do it, too.
Don’t Count Calories, But Calories Count
One mistake I often see with my clients now is when they think that removing carbs from their diet gives them a free pass to eat as much as they want. This is a mistake. If your body is used to being on a restricted diet, or you’re a [shudder] “cardio queen,” you’ll gain weight if you stop doing cardio cold turkey and start eating more food.
I often say I hate cardio, but that doesn’t mean you should just stop doing it and start eating junk just because it’s your once-per-week Carb Nite. These plans—Carb Back-Loading and The Carb Nite Solution—work like crazy, but the whole thing’s a system no matter which diet you’re on. You can’t just pick out the parts you like and ignore the rest.
No Free Foods EVER
If I tell some of my clients that something is “free”—like vegetables, for example—they’ll invariably stuff their faces with it. I’m constantly having to tell them not to do this. Keeping your overall calories in check will help you tremendously in your fat loss efforts.
In fact, you should keep your calories on the lower side as a lifestyle. I’m not suggesting under-eating here, but being hungry once in a while isn’t going to kill you. When it comes to Carb Back-Loading, I’m willing to be a little hungry in the morning in order to reward myself with Nutella on toast after dinner. In my book, that’s a fair trade.
Carb Back-Loading and The Carb Nite Solution are such elegant plans because they take away the obsession with food from which we all suffer. You don’t have to take an entire day to prepare 36 meals for the week. With some very basic changes, you can still be extremely successful with zero advance preparation. The rules that’ll get you results are very simple, and can be used by everyone, regardless of your experience level.
Easier Than You Think
It breaks my heart when my clients and friends say this to me. Really? You can’t drink coffee with heavy cream for breakfast? You can’t eat a cobb salad for lunch, and a steak with green beans for dinner? When people say they can’t do this, they’re vastly overthinking the process. This type of eating is simple, and it keeps your blood sugar steady with no food prep involved.
Sure, you can figure out all your daily macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) down to the gram, but you don’t need to get stressed out over this if you’re following the correct principles. That’s not the secret. The thing that will give you the most wiggle room when you’re on a Carb Back-Loading plan is how hard you’re willing to push yourself in the gym.
Cupcakes and Bikinis
You need to get to the gym. Now. If you seriously hate exercising and are willing to settle for a little more squish than sass, you’ll be getting only one set of treats per week on The Carb Nite Solution. That’s six months straight of an ultra-low carb diet without the results you want—and it’s not an option for me or my clients. CNS is the best program in existence for getting lean, but without moving your body against some type of resistance, you won’t be able to achieve the tight, toned look you want. Skipping resistance training is not your fast track to a hot bikini body. Using High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is better than nothing—but it’s still not your best choice.
The Training Split
If you’re new to fitness language, a “training split” means you can separate your week into training sessions, going to the gym three, four, or five times a week with great results. Here’s a training split I like to use with both beginners and advanced trainees:
Monday: Lower body push
Tuesday: Upper body push
Thursday: Lower body pull
Friday: Upper body pull
You’ll notice here that you won’t be training on weekends. That’s because any smart training split gives you dedicated rest days, meaning you won’t be doing anything on those days. Your recovery days are the days your body rebuilds itself. I call these your “getting leaner days.”
Your body needs this kind of rest, because more is not always better. If you’re still sore from Monday’s leg workout, it’s a good idea to rest a little longer before you train your legs again. Maybe that’s the day to go for some yoga or Pilates, as long as it doesn’t keep your muscles from recovering properly.
The Bikini Plan
Focusing on strength training and getting stronger and more explosive with weights will do some fun things for you. You’ll be able to skip more workouts, and you’ll also be able to indulge in more treats.
This is because people who’ve moved into the advanced category with lifting weights have spent more time learning how to build muscle. They’re better at using their time in the gym, and they can get a lot more work done in a lot less time—both in terms of what they know how to do, and the amount of weight they’re lifting in total.
When I refer to an advanced level, I’m talking about the amount of weight you’re capable of lifting relative to your bodyweight. I don’t know what the “official” numbers are—or if there even are any—but I have my own goals for this with my clients. If you can squat 1.5 times your body weight for 5-10 repetitions, you’re advanced. If you don’t like squatting, see if you can do this with the deadlift.
So, if you weigh 110 pounds, you’re aiming for 160 pound squats. Sure, this sounds heavy, but I’m not trying to let you off the hook here. I’m trying to tell you the truth. These numbers are possible for you.
For upper body strength, focus on bodyweight pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips. Using Kiefer’s Shockwave Protocols is the fastest way I’ve been able to gain strength—and my clients have had fantastic results using this program, too. With Shockwave, you don’t need to spend hours “crushing it” to get what you’re after. Instead, crush the whole thing with a dedicated, organized system of training.
You Can’t Eat Like a Man
No matter how well you can perform in the gym, or how much work you do, you won’t be able to eat what the guys around you can. You can thank Mother Nature for this. Women just don’t have the muscular system for it. This doesn’t mean you have to completely deprive yourself, though. You can indulge in three or four desserts a week—and if you’re a genetic freak, you can have more. No matter who you are, however, the key is placing your carbs where they belong. Nobody’s stopping you from having them in the morning, of course, but if you choose to go this route, you can expect negative results.
For women who want to use Carb Back-Loading, our back-loads aren’t exactly the large feasts you’ll see our male counterparts enjoying. You can have an overripe banana after training, but your nightly back-loads will look more like a single serving of a starchy carb, or a high-sugar but low-fat dessert. Either way, the flow of carbs is still controlled.
Here are two tips to help you out in this department:
1. Be patient. Wait until you really like how your butt looks naked before you start experimenting with bigger back-loads. Stick with the basics, and let the diet do its work.
2. Don’t keep your back-load food in the house. Having your favorite treats in abundance at your fingertips is never a good idea. Plan to leave the house for your treats. This is also a way to get healthier choices: foods that are fresh and not full of preservatives.
Consistency is the key here. Both my male and female clients are shocked when I tell them that six or seven hours of training per week is all they need to achieve amazing results. To a competitor who’s spending double or triple this amount of time lowering body fat, this is a walk in the park.
To the beginner, however, it seems like a lot, but when we add up all the yoga, CrossFit, and extracurricular stuff that isn’t getting them anywhere with their body composition goals, they begin to see the light rather quickly.
If you exercise like this while following The Carb Nite Solution, you’ll teach your body to burn more fat as fuel on a daily basis. Then, when you start timing your nutrition as outlined in Carb Back-Loading, you’ll be able to build some very pretty muscles and lower your body fat while eating the treats you love.
And it won’t be long before you’ve got the toned arms you want, and the tight legs and tush you’ll feel proud to display in your bikini.