Sometimes, I think of a full-on rest day as taking one step back as you’re taking five or six steps forward, but that’s ultimately a false construct. You really need these rest days to help prepare you for the shifts you’re going to make from one week to another in your training and nutrition. Today you’ll do more than rest to prepare you for the next week of Operation Aesthetic. Here’s your to-do list for today.
DAY 7 TO-DO LIST:
Each full rest day—the 7th of each week—comes with bullet points you need to complete. So think of that as your workout or discipline on Operation Aesthetic.
Weigh yourself upon rising. You should have dropped about 2 pounds at this point. If not, then make these adjustments for the upcoming week based on your results.
*I have added weight—Cut your calorie consumption to 13 g per pound of bodyweight and bump up every session of cardio to 30–35 minutes. Pay strict attention to every food you’re consuming, and make sure there are no errors in your program.
*I have not lost weight—Cut your calorie consumption to 14.5 g per pound of bodyweight each day, and bump up every cardio session to 30 minutes unless you’re pleased with the way your body looks. If you’re adding muscle and losing fat, then your weight may not have shifted. If that’s the case, then keep your nutrition and cardio the same for the next week.
*I have lost 1–3 pounds—Don’t make any shifts in your nutrition program or cardio for the upcoming week. This is about what you should expect to lose on a fat-loss program with intense training.
*I have lost more than 3 pounds—Drop your cardio to only 15 minutes for your later session each day, and re-evaluate all of the foods you’re consuming to make sure you’re taking in what I recommend. If you are, then bump up calorie consumption to 16 per pound of bodyweight for the second week of Phase One.
Take photos of yourself. Put on the same clothes you used for your beginning photos. And take photos in the same setup at the same time of day as you did for your “before” photos. You want to remove all the variables other than your progress from your weekly photos. Take shots from the same angles and using the same lighting as you did during your “before” shots.
Read through your journal and make sure it’s up-to-date. We can all get a little cocky, thinking we’re going to remember everything we did on one day or another, but eventually you lose track if you don’t keep a precise record. Fill in all the spaces you have in your journal, and continue to make sure this is a full record of all your workouts, meals, and supplements.
Get in your cheat meal at the end of the day. Remember, you’ll consume a meal that’s equivalent in calories to about 4 for each pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, your cheat meal should be about 800 calories. This will refuel you for the upcoming week, and we have legs up tomorrow. Don’t treat this as a free-for-all where you eat everything you want. Pick your cheat foods and stick to the calories I recommend.
I mentioned in my nutrition overview that cheat meals do more for your body than make you feel good. They also help boost metabolism so that you continue to burn body fat. Extreme deprivation sends your body the message that it needs to hoard body fat. Giving it that re-feed meal not only feels good, but it supports better workouts and, ultimately, greater fat loss.
This is the only day of the week where you won’t perform your two 25-minute sessions of steady-state cardio, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything to support muscle growth. You can include an active rest activity. This can be anything from a walk in the park with the kids and/or your significant other, a yoga class that emphasizes mobility for both recovery and greater range of motion, or a passive activity such as a massage, soak in a hot tub, or a session in steam room.
FAT-MOBILIZING SUPPS: L-CARNITINE
Research shows that carnitine, a compound derived from amino acids, helps release stored fat that you can then use for energy. You’ll perform your morning cardio before consuming calories to encourage fat release. Getting in L-Carnitine before cardio supports the release of free fatty acids providing energy on an otherwise empty stomach. It does the latter by transporting fatty acids into your cells where your mitochondria—the engines in your cells—oxidize them to promote energy. Carnitine also promotes post-exercise recovery.
FOR BEST RESULTS: Take 3–4 servings of L-Carnitine each day—get in one before each of your cardio sessions. You can take another dose of L-Carnitine before your weight-training session or immediately after if you’re performing cardio right after your weights workout.