Getting Ripped for Spring Break: My Plan for a 30 Day Cut

Getting ripped within 30 days can be tough, if not downright impossible for most people. When I say most people I mean that the final month of a plan to have ripped six pack abs at the beach is usually spent zeroing in on an already tight diet and exercise program. Let me say that I’m not a fan of crash diets or trying to lose a ton of weight in a short amount of time because it can simply be too unhealthy and/or counterproductive towards a long-term goal of being fit and looking good doing it. However, I personally do like stepping up the intensity in the gym and within my diet for short bursts in order to cut out the excess fat in time for a beach vacation. Realistically, this means losing 6-8 pounds in 30 days and having an overall tighter frame, where you find your body at now will determine whether that means six pack abs during Spring Break or a healthier version of you that may take a few more months of work to chisel out completely. Either way, putting in the work now will set you on the right path towards the goal of having a ripped physique and here are some of the rules I like to follow when I am in spring break fat loss mode.


1. Know your maintenance caloric intake

Maintenance caloric intake is the amount of calories you need to feed your body each day in order to stay roughly at your current weight. When cutting, I drop the calories by 500 to set myself up to lose a pound of fat per week, it doesn’t always happen but one pound of fat is equal to about 3,500 calories so it’s a good starting point.

Another way I might determine the calories I should be eating on a cutting cycle is by multiplying my body weight by 10 or 12 to equal the number of calories per day. So for example if I am at 190 pounds then I will fall in the range of 1900-2280 calories per day. This is perfect for my purposes of getting shredded while maintaining the muscle mass I have gained. I tend to break down the calories in terms of a nutrient ratio in which 40% of my calories come from protein, 40% from carbs, and 20% from fat. This gives me a great balance and feeds my body what it needs in order to recover properly.


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2. Cut it Out

If I have longer than a month to get ready for the beach (which I usually do give myself 3-4 months) then I can slowly implement changes into my diet to make the transition easier to handle. However, in 30 days to maximize my results then I must get rid of all the junk pronto. Soda, alcohol, chips, processed foods are no longer a part of my life, even in the form of cheat meals. Planning and learning to deal with food cravings goes a long way in keeping you on the right path.

3. This is What I eat

It may take some experimentation to calculate the amount of macronutrients that you are going to need to take in (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) but like I said I like to use a 40/40/20 split. I may drop the carbs down slightly as I get closer to the beach but that’s not always the case.

Let’s do an example. Say your caloric intake for the day is supposed to be 2,000 calories. That means 800 calories should come from protein, 800 from carbohydrates, and 400 calories from fat. Per gram of protein and carbohydrates is 4 calories, and is 9 calories for fats so your macronutrient breakdown would be 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbohydrates and 44 grams of fat per day.


Some people don’t like to count calories or have to do the calculations. Hell, I forget to do it myself sometimes but I do follow basic guidelines and know what type of food I should be eating.

Good sources of protein- eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, lean cuts of beef, lentils, beans, whey protein powder.

Good sources of carbohydrates- brown rice, oats, vegetables, whole wheat bread.

Good sources of fats- nuts, olive oil, fish oil, flax seed oil, natural peanut butter.

Notice that for carbohydrates that whole wheat bread is listed and oats that you have to cook and not instant oatmeal this is because they are less processed.

4. How often do I eat?

In terms of how you metabolism operates, smaller meals is the way to go. I try to get 5-6 small meals a day, which is tough to do sometimes on a busy schedule but it must be done. This means that I will be eating every 2-3 hours to keep that metabolism firing on all cylinders. Portion control is important as well as having great food options on hand in order to avoid temptation from sugary snacks. A meal isn’t necessarily big either, it could mean for me that I have a protein shake and a banana. I eat portions that satisfy and not stuff my belly while maintaining the caloric range I need to stay at.

5. Drink plenty of water

Water will keep you hydrated, keep you feeling fuller, give you a little boost to your metabolism, and help you recover from your workouts. Water is pretty much all I drink, especially during this last 30 days. Although I do mix my whey protein shakes with fat free milk.

6. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is possibly the most underappreciated aspect of getting into shape but it is vitally important to reaching peak physical conditioning. Sleep is when your body recovers and makes attempts to heal itself. During certain phases of sleep, many hormones are released (testosterone for example) at a higher level than during the day which aid in muscle growth and repair. If you’re not sleeping then you will miss out on all of the great benefits that come with it.

7. Lift Weights

Cardio alone is not going to cut it and we are going to be lifting weights during this 30 day period because it helps burn more calories each day, tones your body, and builds more muscle which burns extra calories throughout the day. If you aren’t a weightlifter then you should probably try starting out with three days a week, say Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Any more than that and you will probably be too tired and sore to get through your workouts and we don’t need to be missing scheduled days.

Personally when I need to cut down I usually ramp it up to 5-6 days a week of lifting and cardio but I’m used to working out and generally only use this training method for a short amount of time (like 30 days) to avoid overtraining. Only you know your level of fitness so see what works for you.

8. Cardio

We are going to need to get that heart rate up and our bodies in motion between 3-5 times each week for 30-45 minutes. Again if you are a beginner start on the lower end of the scale with three 30 minute sessions a week and maybe add a 4th during the last two weeks. I like to do shorter 15 minutes sessions but do a couple of exercises like run for 15 minutes, then get on the bike, and then get on the elliptical. This allows me to keep it short and not get bored doing the same monotonous activity for 45 minutes.

Here’s a Cardio Program I Really Like from Fitness Trainer Rusty Moore

Some other Posts I’ve Written on Cardio:

30 days isn’t a long time, so you cannot expect completely transformative results in that amount of time but you can either set the foundations or get rid of some of the excess in such a short time. Getting into shape shouldn’t be something you do once a year and live like crap the rest of the time, it is a lifestyle change that you need to maintain with other productive habits. Patience and persistence have always carried me to where I want to go and what goals I want to accomplish and the previous 8 tips have always served as a baseline for me getting ripped abs.

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