It’s important to remember that working out can only get you so far, it’s extremely important for a healthy diet to go alongside. With diets you need to keep an eye on what you’re eating at all times, so we’ve devised this four-week diet plan. If you stick to it, you’ll put yourself on the fast track to losing weight and will become leaner, you can even just use it as guide to the foods that you should be eating, it will still help you make changes and benefits.

The most important change people need to make when attempting to get leaner is to replace processed foods and refined sugars in their diet. The body adores storing these as fat, so aim to eat fresh vegetables, protein and healthy fats. Making this change will see you shed that unwanted fat while maintaining your muscle.

Another important part of a healthy diet when trying to lose weight is to make sure your food is full of fibre. This will keep you feeling full, as well as providing your body with vital nutrients and antioxidants.

This four-week plan is full of the food you need to be eating and also designed to ensure you’re getting all the nutrition and energy required to support your exercise regimen. It also cuts your calorie intake to around 1,800 a day. After just four weeks, you’ll be leaner and fitter all around.

As this diet plan is designed to help you shed fat and lose weight, gaining muscle mass will be difficult. A novice lifter with little to no training experience could build some size, but that’s owing to adaptations in the central nervous system. The level of protein found in this nutritional strategy should be more than enough to maintain your existing muscle mass.

It is best to work out around the times when you consume the majority of your carbohydrate. Carbs provide your body with muscle glycogen. Having your carbs around your training means that your muscles will be primed and strong. It also means that you won’t suffer a sugar rush and subsequent slump.

Monday

Breakfast: 45g oats with 300ml skimmed milk and 1tsp honey, 200ml apple juice.
Snack: 120g low-fat yoghurt with blueberries and honey.
Lunch: Grilled chicken (1 chicken breast) salad sandwich with wholemeal bread.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries, 50g blackberries and water.
Dinner: 120g tuna steak with stir-fried broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, sesame seeds and oil, 70g brown rice.
Snack: 250ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,835 calories, 136g protein, 229g carbs, 33g fat

Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 100g strawberries and a banana.
Snack: 120g low-fat yoghurt, blueberries and honey.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread; 200ml skimmed milk.
Snack: Mixed nuts, raisins and cranberries.
Dinner: 100g chicken, bacon and avocado salad.
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp natural peanut butter.
Daily total: 1,802 calories, 131g protein, 219g carbs, 37g fat

Wednesday

Breakfast: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 100g strawberries and a banana.
Snack: 90g mackerel on 1 slice of wholemeal toast.
Lunch: 1 apple; chicken salad sandwich on wholemeal bread.
Snack: 1 banana.
Dinner: 120g fillet steak with spinach and 2 grilled tomatoes.
Snack: 100g low-fat cottage cheese and pineapple.
Daily total: 1,821 calories, 138g protein, 222g carbs, 35g fat

Thursday

Breakfast: 4 scrambled egg whites on 2 slices of wholemeal toast.
Snack: 1 low-fat yoghurt with blueberries and a handful of oats and honey.
Lunch: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries, 50g blackberries and water; 30g brazil nuts.
Snack: 100g low-fat cottage cheese and pineapple.
Dinner: Tuna niçoise salad (100g tuna, mixed salad leaves, plum tomatoes, a red pepper and 4 new potatoes).
Snack: 250ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,835 calories, 136g protein, 229g carbs, 33g fat

Friday

Breakfast: 45g oats with 300ml skimmed milk and 1tsp honey.
Snack: 10 radishes with balsamic vinaigrette.
Lunch: 1 can of tuna with beetroot; 1 low-fat yoghurt.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries and 50g blackberries with water.
Dinner: 120g barbecue chicken kebab with peppers and 70g brown rice.
Snack: 100g cottage cheese; grapes.
Daily total: 1,808 calories, 133g protein, 219g carbs, 34g fat

Saturday

Breakfast: 2-egg omelette with cheese.
Snack: Smoothie: blend 25g protein, 1 apple, 50g blueberries, 50g blackberries and a banana with water.
Lunch: 90g sardines on 1 slice of wholemeal toast.
Snack: 150g raw carrots and hummus.
Dinner: 100g grilled salmon with green beans, asparagus and 70g brown rice.
Snack: 200ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,822 calories, 135g protein, 221g carbs, 36g fat

Sunday

Breakfast: 4 scrambled egg whites on 2 slices of wholemeal toast; 1 grapefruit.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 50g blueberries, 50g blackberries and a banana.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread; 1 pear.
Snack: Mixed nuts and fruit bar.
Dinner: 120g fillet steak with 1 small jacket potato, spinach and 1 grilled tomato.
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp natural peanut butter.
Daily total: 1,840 calories, 140g protein, 228g carbs, 39g fat

This plan only covers you for one week. You could repeat the plan four times over, but that would get a boring. We suggest you mix it up but keep in the things you really enjoyed eating and replace the others. You want to keep the calorie counts for each day around the same but don’t worry about making it exact. Just ensure you swap for similar foods.

Find some tasty snacks to help curve those hunger cravings with the lean snacks article!