Diet and Exercise Program to Get you Lean and Mean in 2018

By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018

Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD

It’s 2018 and the gyms are full of the “new year, new me!” people.

Some of you might find it annoying, but it’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to make some changes and start working on new goals as the new year rolls around. It’s sort of like a fresh sheet of paper to work on and actually accomplish something.

People have business goals they are seeking to reach in 2018, relationship goals, spiritual goals, so on and so forth…

…But the number #1. goal most men are looking to fulfill, is to lose weight, gain more muscle, and simply; feel better. Since you clicked open this article, I’m guessing this applies to you as well. If so, great!

I’m here to tell you that about ~90% of you with the above goal will not reach it within this year1, and won’t even manage to reach it in 2019… 2026 …2030 or even before 2040.

Why so?

  1. They lack discipline
  2.  They overanalyze and set unnaturally high goals and frameworks to follow.
  3. Combination of the above absolutely and completely destroys their motivation and momentum.

The blatantly obvious fix to the issue above is to S-I-M-P-L-I-F-Y everything. You do not need to know with 100% accuracy what is the perfect macronutrient ratio for you. You do not need to over-analyze the fatty-acid profile of the foods you eat to a gram. You don’t have to know whether it would be optimal to workout 6 times a week or 3 times a week. Supplements? Pretty much irrelevant at this point.

Stop looking for that perfect diet with those perfect macros and the “cleanest foods”. Stop trying to find that #1 scientifically proven workout program that’s been proven to hit just the right muscle striatons when measured with EMG-device. Stop obsessing over supplements and seeking for that magic-pill (or combination of pills) that would make you gain muscle, lose fat, and increase testosterone.


  • Pick a resistance training/exercise program and follow it at least 6 months without program hopping AT ALL. Just pick something that suits your goal, be it strength, muscular gains, athletic performance, endurance, etc. The internet is absolutely chock-full of these and most of them do work, as long as you follow them. Sure some are better and some are worse, but 99% of them are better than sitting on your ass all day over-analyzing them. (I will write a sample one below just in case).
  • Get a food scale and a caloric intake tracking app to your phone (I explain this more in detail here). Weigh everything and jot it down to the app to see how much calories you consume. You don’t need to be 100% accurate. Just don’t “forget” to add the foods in there, because that’s how people “magically” end up gaining weight on what they think is a caloric deficit. People are extremely efficient in under-estimating the amount of food they eat2. Don’t be one of them.
  • Monitor your activity level (walking, daily activities, exercise, and so on). this is to get to know how much calories you actually burn on a daily basis, so you won’t have any excuse to over-eat or under-eat while lying to yourself about that “2-hour gym session” which you recall (again, humans are very efficient in over-estimating their activity levels3). The best way to do this would be by at least starting with some sort of wearable activity tracker like FitBit et al. to get a feeling of how much you actually move thorough the day.
  • Once you know how much you consume calories and how much you burn them, you can set up your calorie and macronutrient targets to suit your goals, BUT please make it S-I-M-P-L-E. If you want to lose weight, aim to be on a caloric deficit of about 500kcal per day. If your goal is to build up muscle and get bigger, aim to be on a caloric surplus of about 250-500kcal per day. Regardless of which you choose you should stick to some sort of resistance training program to either preserve and slightly gain muscle mass on a weight-loss diet or add in slabs of muscle on a muscle-building diet with caloric-surplus.

The stuff above may start to sound confusing to some of you, but the main point is this:

  1. Pick a goal
  2. Pick a training routine
  3. Learn and get to know how much you eat
  4. Learn and get to know how much you move
  5. Use your knowledge of energy (calories) in and energy (calories) out to either lose weight and maintain muscle mass or to gain weight with accelerated growth of muscle mass (unless you are an absolute newbie to resistance training it is really hard to do them both efficiently at the same time).

Once you know all of the above to some extent. START, and keep going. Don’t program hop. Don’t try new diets. Don’t waste your time trying to master everything. Just start and go forward, as this will create momentum which in turn will improve your discipline and skyrocket your motivation.

I know many of you will still have a ton of questions after this. But with that being said, I do not care, and neither should you. If this sounds hard or you don’t care to go through with it, then cool beans, do something else, BUT if you’re up for it, START.

  1. Pick up a scale, activity tracker, and phone app for estimating caloric intake.
  2. Choose a goal; weight loss with muscle maintenance or weight gain with muscle growth.
  3. Adjust your caloric intake for your goal and pick up a resistance training/exercise program.
  4. Start and keep going, gain momentum, get the ball rolling, discipline and all that…
  5. Stick to the stuff you chose to do for at least 6 months. No program hopping. No new diets.
  6. Don’t over-analyze anything. Maybe you’re not 100% optimal at something? Who cares.

If you’re still here, then great. I will type down simple workout routine and nutrition plan below. You can choose to use them, adjust them to your liking, or find something completely different. Just make sure that you start and keep going…and then keep going…gaining that momentum…and suddenly it’s 2019 and you’re in the best shape of your life.

Workout Routine

man doing bicep curlsthis works on a caloric surplus to add mass or in caloric deficit to maintain muscle, it’s short, simple, and proven effective.

Use a weight that you can just about lift for the said amount, when it gets easy, slowly add more and keep pushing it (progressive overload).

Monday (Chest, Triceps)

  • Bench press (2 sets x 8 reps)
  • Incline bench press (2×8)
  • Weighted dips (3×5)
  • Tricep pushdown (2×10)
  • Brisk walking (30min)

Tuesday (Rest)

  • Use this time for recovery
  • Light walking and recreational stuff are fine.

Wednesday (Back, Biceps)

  • Deadlift (2×5)
  • Chin-ups (3×5 +progress to weighted ones when u can)
  • Barbell bicep curl (3×10)
  • Dumbbell shrugs (2×15)
  • Brisk walking (30min)

Thursday (Rest)

  • Use this time for recovery
  • Light walking and recreational stuff is fine.

Friday (Legs, Abs)

  • Back Squat (3×5)
  • Calf raises (3×10)
  • Front Squat (3×5)
  • Cable crunches (2×15)
  • Brisk walking (30min)

Saturday (Shoulders)

  • Overhead Press (3×6)
  • Lateral raises (2×15)
  • Rear deltoid flyes (3×8)
  • Brisk walking (30min)

Sunday (Rest)

  • Use this time for recovery
  • Light walking and recreational stuff are fine.

Nutrition Plan

potatoes on a panSince people have extremely different taste preferences, favorite meals, and meal times it’s useless to give you a full day from start to finish with different meals (ie. “breakfast: 3 egg omelet with spinach…”)

Instead, I would say to eat what you are somewhat comfortable eating and used to make.

Don’t resort to fast food or microwaveable stuff, but also don’t just eat salad and water or chicken with broccoli all day every day.

Look for foods that you like from this list of 30 testosterone boosting groceries and try to incorporate as much of them as you can on your diet, while keeping protein at about 20-30% of daily calories, carbohydrate at 40-60% of daily calories, and fat at 15-30% of your daily calories.

You may also want to quickly look through my articles on protein, carbs, and fat to get an overall idea on the types of protein, fat, and carbohydrate that are ideal ideal for male hormonal health (high androgens, good thyroid function, I linked them above), which will obviously help you in gaining muscle and losing fat. You don’t need to get too deep into this stuff, however, remember to keep it S-I-M-P-L-E.

Example of macros for weight loss;

  • Caloric intake (-500kcal from energy expenditure)
  • Carbohydrate (~60% of total calories consumed)
  • Protein (~25% of total calories consumed)
  • Fat (~15% of total calories consumed)

Example macro setup for weight gain with accelerated muscular gains;

  • Caloric intake (+500kcal to energy expenditure)
  • Carbohydrate (~40% of total calories consumed)
  • Protein (~30% of total calories consumed)
  • Fat (30% of total calories consumed)

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Forwood S, Ahern A, Hollands G, Fletcher P, Marteau T. Underestimating Calorie Content When Healthy Foods Are Present: An Averaging Effect or a Reference-Dependent Anchoring Effect? PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e71475.
Willbond S, Laviolette M, Duval K, Doucet E. Normal weight men and women overestimate exercise energy expenditure. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010;50(4):377-384.

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times. To read more about Ali, visit his Medium article.