Men's Health: Get In Shape Fast

If, like most flabby guys, you prefer waiting until the last minute to shape up, hear this: It is now, officially, the last minute. Beaches still are teeming with nubile bikinied women — but not for long — and millions of portly guys across the nation are sucking it in as they prepare to remove their shirts by the shoreline.

It's now or never, dude.

Why It’s Not Too Late

In a perfect world, you would have started chipping away at your excess poundage months ago. But even if you're planning to hit the beach in two weeks, that's still enough time to make a significant dent in your front bumper.

With this quick-start program, you'll put your eating habits on track with your very next meal, and you'll begin a simple, effective exercise plan that starts burning fat right away.

And this time, it will work. The genius of our program — and the reason it will work for you, even if you've tried to lose weight before and failed — is quite simple: It eliminates the need for thought. By following our simple meal plan for 14 days, you're relieved of the burden of making decisions about food. (This is highly significant, since a series of bad decisions about food was what landed you in your current flabby state.) And your mental cruise control will also work with our fat-burning, muscle-building exercise program — we've done all the math for you, so there's no need to worry about whether you're burning enough calories or lifting the right amount of weight.

Finally, since life is longer than 14 days, next week we'll show you how to (1) keep on losing even after the immediate crisis has passed and (2) keep the pounds off when you get to where you want to go, by eating the way thin guys eat. We're talking about nine simple rules you can hang onto for the rest of your life — they can keep you from ever having to go on another weight-loss program.

So give us two lousy weeks. Come beach time, you'll feel a lot better about taking off that T-shirt.

The Quick-Start Meal Plan

Step 1: Check your brain at the door. There are no calories to add up or fat grams to count. These menus, from Leslie Bonci, director of nutrition at the Allegheny Center for Digestive Health and team nutritionist of the Pittsburgh Steelers, will average out to about 2,000 calories, divvied up as 60 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fat, and 15 percent protein.

Step 2: Look at your watch and figure out when your next meal is. Start then. Waiting till tomorrow is a bad idea: Even if you ate a box of donut holes for breakfast, today is not a lost cause.

Step 3: Eat. Trust us. We tried these menus ourselves, and we can guarantee that the food is edible and the portions are big enough to keep you going all day. Also, the meals are basic enough that any guy can assemble them.

Day 1 * Breakfast: Smoothie (blend 1 mashed banana and 1 cup skim milk); 1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter * Lunch: 3-ounce hamburger on a whole-grain bun; 1/2 cup coleslaw; 1 piece fruit * Snack: 1 bagel * Dinner: 2 medium pork chops; 1 large baked potato with 1 teaspoon margarine; 1 1/2 cups broccoli with 1 teaspoon margarine

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