Advice from Rich Maffei

Over a 3-year period I have successfully transformed my body from 217 pounds, 13% body fat, to my current physique, which is 176 pounds. 5-6% body fat. Being that my goal is to achieve an athletic model’s type look, I follow a cutting diet about 80% of the year. I have no desire to achieve an overly massive physique. Symmetry is the key here. Sometimes I will only have 5 meals a day. When I wake up late or go to bed early, the days are not long enough to get all six meals in. I always have a cheat day, where I allow myself to carb up on sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oatmeal. I’ll also incorporate some junk food that I’ve been craving all week such as ice cream or French fries. Usually this day will fall on a Sunday.

Once or twice a month I enjoy a cocktail or two on a Saturday night before a Sunday cheat day. Compared to drinks like screw drivers or beer, vodka and diet coke or just straight vodka are better to have while dieting. A lot of those other cocktails have way to much unnecessary sugar. My cheat day will either fall every week or sometimes every two weeks if I’m not losing the fat as fast as I planned.

Here is one of my typical days of dieting during a cutting phase.

7:00 AM: 6 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1/4 cup of oatmeal with cinnamon and Equal, 2 Glasses of Crystal Light

10:00 AM: Protein Shake (about 5-6 grams of carbs, 45 protein, 2-3 fat) 1 Glass of water

1:00 PM: 2 Slices of grilled Chicken, Side of green vegetables (about a cup), 2 Glasses of water

4:00 PM: Protein Shake (about 5-6 grams of carbs, 45 protein, 2-3 fat), 1 Glass of water

7:00 PM: Steak (NY Strip), with a salad (flaxseed oil & a little no carb vinegar), 2 Glasses of Water or Crystal Light

10:00 PM: Protein Shake (about 5-6 grams of carbs, 45 protein, 2-3 fat)


No dairy

No sugar

Drink at least 1-2 gallons of water a day.

Crystal Light counts but water is of course better. If you do decide to drink a lot of Crystal Light, just remember that it contains aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener consisting of the two amino acids called phenylalanine and aspartic acid. When ingested they “taste” sweet.

This sweet taste can sometimes trick your body into releasing insulin, which is something undesirable on the ketogenic diet. (A diet consisting of very low carbohydrate consumption, usually ranging from 20-60 grams per day)

However, we must realize that although insulin is released, there are still no carbohydrates present. Aspartame, therefore, may cause you to become light headed due to too much released insulin, however, it will not take a person out of ketosis.


Cardiovascular exercise is an absolute must for anyone looking to get in and stay in shape. With all the media attention, I am still surprised by some of the misconceptions people have about cardio. Cardio can be boring. Variety is the key. My favorite cardio is rollerblading. I usually rollerblade with my girlfriend by the beach. It’s a lot more fun than sitting in the gym. Since I live in New York, I can only rollerblade only half the year.


Start slow and work up to speed. Men should consider using the recumbent bike whenever possible in light of recent reports of sexual dysfunction experienced by professional bike racers. The pressure of the triangle shaped seat against the groin can cause vascular damage in that area.

Cardio is best done in the morning. I feel I get the most out of my cardio session when I do it as soon as I wake up. I go straight to the gym on an empty stomach. I do 30 minutes on the recumbent bike. Upon waking up, your blood sugar level is normally low. Your body shifts into a fasting mode if you sleep for several hours without eating. When you do aerobic activity in this state, your body is forced to find energy from another source: your fat!

Sometimes I’ll do another 20 minutes after PM weight training if I start putting on bad weight.

If I compete in the future, I will do an hour in the morning and an extra hour at night, alternating the treadmill and recumbent bike. Ultimately, any cardio is good cardio. If you don’t have the time in the morning, then do it after weight training at night. Just do it. The most important muscle you have isn’t your 20-inch biceps, but your heart. Think about that the next time you go to the gym.

Cardio will not make your muscles shrink. This is a myth among bodybuilders. Although, it is true to an extent. If you do too much cardio, everything will get smaller. On the other hand, if you do too little, you won’t get ripped. While getting ready for a competition you have to figure your calorie intake and calorie expenditures. These figures will dictate how much cardio you should do.

I recommend that you keep your level of intensity on the cardio machines to a minimum. The last thing you want to do is put a bike on level 10 after training legs. Take it easy. Remember that your cardio session should be aerobic (burning calories with oxygen) rather than anaerobic which burns fewer calories. If you are on a treadmill running so fast that you can barely speak to the person next to you, then you are not exercising aerobically.

Wait a half an hour to eat after morning cardio. I know it sounds hard being that you just ran 30-40 minutes on an empty stomach, but you will literally be burning fat even if your playing on your computer. The reason being that your blood sugar levels is super low. Techno and house music really get me going during cardio. I leave the heavy metal and alternative music for the weight training.


* Dandelion root & B6 (for water retention)

* High Lignan Flaxseed Oil (Mass Quantities)

* Alpha Lipoic Acid

* Glutamine & BCAA’s (to prevent muscle loss)

* Multi Vitamin

* Water (12-16 cups a day)


My goals are just like any one else’s out there, for the most part. I want more muscle and less fat. Right now I’m 176-180 with 5-6% body fat. I would like to propel to 190 pounds and be 3% body fat. So, I would say, that this would involve me to gain about 15-20 pounds of muscle and lose about 4 or 5 pounds of fat. I hope to reach this goal by the age of 26.

Good Luck Guys


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