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Zig Zag Nutrition Plan

Exercise Database
RIPT Main Site
Daily Carb Levels:
The "Lifestyle" Zig-Zag Plan:
  • Monday = No Carb (carbs from fibrous veggies, so total for day is ~25g)
  • Tuesday = Low Carb
  • Wednesday = High Carb
  • Thursday = No Carb
  • Friday = Low carb
  • Saturday = High Carb+
  • Sunday = Low Carb
High Carb+ Day is a regular High Carb Day, plus:
  1. Any carbs are acceptable for your carb meals
  2. You may drink alcohol during one of your carb meals
  3. You must keep fats as low as possible (except continue with fish oil supplementation)
In addition, once every other week, your middle of the week high carb day can have one "high carb+" meal.
Wednesday is optimal, but if the big dinner you have planned falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, feel free to swap days. If you move it to Thursday, Friday should become a no carb day.  So, for example, let's say the "splurge" fell on a Thursday...I'd recommend switching it up as follows:
  • Monday = Low Carb
  • Tuesday = No Carb
  • Wednesday = Low Carb
  • Thursday = High Carb
  • Friday = No carb
  • Saturday = High Carb+
  • Sunday = Low Carb
The "Basic" Zig-Zag Plan:
  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - No carb days
  • Tuesday and Saturday - High carb days
  • Thursday and Sunday - Low carb days

Protein: 1g per lb bodyweight

4 meals include lean protein (no more than 10% of calories from fat), and 1 meal includes higher fat protein source (20-25% of calories from fat); if you don't wish to eat the higher fat protein source during that specific meal, then add 10-15g of fat to that meal.

Fat Consumption
I recommend keeping dietary fats on the low side, with the majority of fats coming from supplemented EFAs (essential fatty acids)-specifically fish oil (high in long chain omega 3 fatty acids -- EPA/DHA).
Why fish oil? It is sufficient to know that it has all the benefits of other EFA sources (such as flax and hemp oil) and in addition, has been shown to increase leptin sensitivity and exert positive effects on body composition much more efficiently than other EFAs.
You will be getting some fats in your lean protein sources (probably between 10 and 20 grams of fat) and a few grams from the carb sources (another 10 to 20 grams on high carb day). At least two meals per day will include protein of the higher-fat variety (if not, then you should add a fat source from the list below).
You will be supplementing with fish oil at 10 to 20 grams a day -- the more the better. This assumes you are using a standard fish oil supplement which, on average, contains one gram of oil and is 30% EPA/DHA. Should you choose the superior version, you may consume a bit less. I recommend you either split it up equally across all meals, or split it in half, and consume it with two meals. If you absolutely refuse to take fish oil, add in one to two servings of flaxseed or hempseed oil daily.
High Carb Day
On your high carb day, four of the meals (three if you are only eating five meals) can have as much carbohydrates (yes, they must also be from the approved list) as you like. Remember that you must eat the minimum amount of protein at each meal as discussed above.
Also, each one of those meals must include a small piece of fruit. Almost any fruit will do (except bananas, kiwis, avocado, and other very high calorie or high fat fruits). Take in a small serving of fresh fruit, say between 50 and 100 calories worth.
Also --and this is important-- you can choose which meals (3 of 5 or 4 of 6) will have carbs and which don't, but the meal preceding and following your workouts must be a carbohydrate meal. The other two meals will be made up of protein only, and, while there is a minimum amount, as always, there is no maximum.
Summary of High Carb Day:
  • 3 meals have as many carbs as you'd like, with each meal containing 50-100 calories of fresh fruit (not bananas or kiwis)
  • Pre- and post-workout meals are carb meals
Meal 1: peach, low-fat/low-sugar yogurt, 2 pieces whole-grain toast with light margarine
Meal 2: 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese, almonds, 1/4 cup Fiber One cereal
Meal 3: grapes, large green salad, 1 TB cheese, oil and vinegar sparingly, 4-5 oz grilled chicken breast
Meal 4: moderate-carb/moderate-protein nutrition bar
Meal 5: apple, 4 oz sweet potato, 1/2 cup broccoli

Low Carb Day
Here, three meals (two if you are only eating five meals) may contain carbs. Again, one rule is that at least the meal following your workout must be a carb meal. The others you can schedule as you see fit. Here, carb amounts are limited, however. Eat approximately one gram of carbohydrate (from the list) per pound of bodyweight each low carb day. Don't forget your small piece of fruit, at these carb meals, as well.
The goal is a satisfied, but not full stomach. The subjective feeling to strive for is where you'd like to have more, but know you don't need it.
Summary of Lo Carb Day:
  • 2 carb meals
  • post-workout meal is carb meal
  • 1g carb per lb bodyweight
  • 1 cup green veggies @ 3 meals
Meal 1: 1/2 cup oats + water, 1 peach or apple
Meal 2: 3 oz turkey breast wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves
Meal 3: can tuna + 1 TB mayo, dill relish, 1 cup green beans, whole wheat pita
Meal 4: 2 pieces string cheese, almonds
Meal 5: 5 oz grilled or baked fish, 1 cup green salad, 1/2 cup broccoli

No Carb Day
Here, you will stick to your six (or five) meals, and only consume protein (and some fats); again from the list, and again, at least meeting the prescribed minimum. Do not be surprised if you eat less than you expect, since eating protein alone can cause one to feel satiated more rapidly. This may seem like a painful or difficult day, but in practice it's not that bad. Trust me. A high carb day is just around the corner.
Summary of No Carb Day:
  • Protein + Fat meals
  • 1 cup green veggies @ 3 meals
  • 4 meals = lean protein source
  • 1 meal = higher fat protein source
Meal 1: Egg Beaters + lowfat Cheese, made into an omelet with 1/2 cup green peppers
Meal 2: 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese, almonds
Meal 3: 5 oz grilled chicken breast (wt before cooking), 1 cup green beans
Meal 4: Protein shake made with 1 scoop whey protein and 1 TB natural peanut butter
Meal 5: 4 oz sirloin, 1 cup green salad, oil and vinegar dressing

Approved Lean Protein Sources (A):

Chicken (white meat)

Turkey (white meat)

Tuna Fish (can)

Fish (flounder, tuna (fatty or not), salmon, shark, etc.)

Shellfish (all types)

Protein (preferably whey post workout, and casein before bed; MRPs must be low-carb)

Lean beef (including lean cuts of steak)

Cottage Cheese (0 or 1% fat)

Egg whites (egg beaters)

Approved Higher-Fat Protein Sources (B):

Chicken (dark meat)

Turkey (dark meat)

Eggs (half whites, half whole eggs)

Steak and other meats (not exceptionally high fat cuts)

Cottage Cheese (Whole Milk)

Approved Carbohydrates:

Brown rice

Oats (Slow Cooked Preferred)

Sweet potatoes or Yams

Fiber One (All Bran) Cereal

Starchy Veggies (corn, peas, etc.)


Approved Yet Limited Carbohydrates**:

Whole-wheat pasta

Whole grain breads, pitas, etc.

** These may only be consumed on high carb days, and only for one meal per high carb day

Fibrous Vegetables:

Alfalfa Sprouts
Artichoke Hearts
Bamboo Shoots
Bean Sprouts
Beet Greens
Bock Choy
Brussels Sprouts
Celery Root
Collard Greens
Dandelion Greens
Hearts of Palm
Millie lettuce
Snow Pea Pods
Spaghetti Squash
String beans
Summer Squash
Water Chestnuts
Wax beans

Weight = 150 lbs
Height = 5'3
Activity Level = Moderate
Goal = lose 20 lbs
@ rate of loss of 2 lbs/week = 10 weeks
Calorie intake = 1500/day
5 meals/day