I'm going to get into something here that you'll probably rarely see in anyone's diet advice. There is going to come a point in your quest for an ultra shredded physique where you're going to get run down and your body is going to start fighting back. This is only something someone who has dieted extremely hard and gotten extremely lean would know.
There will come a point when you feel like walking death, and your mind will play tricks on you! You won't know if you look any better or not because you feel like such ass that you cannot accurately assess progress any further. One day you think you're flat, the next day you think you look great. One day you're in the gym in a tank top and the next day you don't even wanna be looked at. You really start going borderline crazy.
This is going to be very difficult for most to do because we are extreme by nature. But if you want to really amp up results then here is my advice; throw a monkey wrench in your diet for 5-7 days. Go off the diet for 5-7 days and then get back on it and go the last month harder than hell!
Your body will get used to diet foods. It will stop responding well. Your mental health will suffer. You will get tired and run down. You've hit the diet threshold.
Take a look at a bodybuilder's face around contest time and you'll see eyes that look sunken in and a face that looks like it hasn't slept in months. Now look at the bodies. So many guys are in a catabolic state and really just don't look good. Yes they are lean, but it's just not a good look. Many over killed it, they have stripped away muscle and pump, they've ruined their look with diuretics. They look like something the cat dragged in!
Here is my advice to you:
After about 8-9 weeks of hard dieting take about 5-7 days off the diet. NOW, don't go totally off course here, still eat healthy but throw in some foods you haven't had in awhile. Instead of 12 egg whites and oats for breakfast, switch to 4 hard-boiled eggs and a bagel. Instead of rice for lunch then go with 5 or 6 rice cakes with peanut butter. Go get yourself a chicken or steak burrito, have a bowl of fruit, and throw in some avocados or mixed nuts. You're only going to do this for about a week max.
Just eat when you're hungry. Don't harp on how many meals you've hit. Your body is going to tell you when it needs to eat. When you do this, you're probably going to be very surprised at the results. What will probably happen is the scale will weigh the same or lighter, not heavier. Your body may start to feel hot during this period. This is a good thing Your body feeling hot means it's being pushed into serious thermogenesis. It's easy to feel cold all the time when you start stripping away fat, so it's actually a nice change for me.
Something else this is going to do for you, you'll get your damn sleeping pattern back! When you start getting extremely lean you may find that you just don't sleep well. It's because you're physically starving. You don't have to look like an Ethiopian to be starving, you just need to go long enough on a caloric deficit that your body is pretty much shot to shit.
When most of your fat stores are gone, where the hell does your body tap into energy from? Nowhere! Because you aren't feeding it enough to utilize. Even if you just ate a 1,000 calorie meal, your body does not say “Oh great, now we are back to normal, we've been starving for several weeks but thanks to this 1,000 calories we are right back on track!” It doesn't work that way.
Sometimes just 1 “cheat meal” is not enough, you actually need a complete system reset. Look at this like wiping your hard drive on your PC clear, what happens when you clear your hard drive? You lose a lot of things you may not have saved, but the computer runs like new again and is much faster! Within a few days you have everything back, downloaded, and it's like you never lost a damn thing.
Your body is the same way, my friend. Even if you spill over a little, who gives a fuck? It's nothing you cannot get back and beyond in the next month.
After your 5-7 day diet deload, you must get back on track.
If you are training for an event, pay attention to how your body responded during that de-load. Did you look better on day 1, day 2, day 3, etc.? For myself I have it down like a science. If my event is on Saturday morning, then Thursday evening I'm coming off the diet if I feel I'm not full enough. I may not come off the diet if my look is where I want it. But if I feel like I can be fuller with tighter muscles and skin I'm going off my diet. THIS DOES NOT MEAN EAT SHIT! I'm not eating things like candy bars and ice cream here, it still has to have some nutritional value to it. But the foods tend to be a little “heavier” that's all.
Remember, sometimes we can become our own worst enemies. Yes, you can overkill it sometimes. I'm sure we've all been there. You're busting your ass and suffering through it and you just don't look the part. Then, when you back off a little and just don't give a fuck you start looking great.
Just know that busting your ass is what got you there, and only back off when it's necessary. If you've only been dieting for 4 weeks and still can't see your damn abs, don't go reading my article and think it's okay to go off your diet. This advice is for people who have already gotten extremely lean and just need to push that last little bit. It's hard to back off from it, and I guarantee 90% of those guys competing keep pushing harder and harder as the show gets nearer, throwing their bodies into a more sleep deprived, stressed, and catabolic state.
Every retard has the same stupid answer, “Eat more protein.” No, that is not the right fucking answer. Back off for a little and regroup. Soldiers do not fight day and night without some sort of break or rest. They take a break and come back to the battlefield sharp again and energized. Bodybuilding is no different.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BACK OFF AND REGROUP WHEN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO!