Do Less Work to Stay Ripped: How to Approach Maintenance

Today we have an interview with Andrew Tullio who placed 3rd in the Open Level 2 Category in the latest Adonis Index Contest. Check out his pictures:

Make sure you set up good lighting and background when taking the after pictures.

Andrew had to re-think everything. He had to figure out a new way to eat and what would be the best time to have each meal.

He was always used to have big meals. He was never a fan of working on eating smaller portions. However, when you eat three times a day, it might not be a such a good habit to have, because it’s very easy to eat too much food. Most people can get away with eating one big meal, some can even get away with two big meals, but almost no one can eat three large meals every day, and still be lean.

And this need to figure out a new way of eating is not the first time we’ve heard about it. It’s actually a recurring theme.

It’s great if you have figured out how to lose fat and you’ve got lean. However, if you also want to STAY lean, you have to figure out a whole new way to eat to maintain your new body. If you start overeating or get back to your old eating habits you will start gaining fat quickly and you will erase all your progress in a matter of weeks.

There are three basic ways of eating:

  1. The one that gets you overweight
  2. The one that makes you lose fat
  3. The one that you need to learn to keep your new lean body

Since the old habit Andrew had wouldn’t help him lose weight and keep it off, he had to do some thinking.

At this point he only knew how to eat to gain weight and how to eat to lose weight, but nothing in between.

He had to figure out how to eat in a balanced way so he would stay lean all year round.

He tried a few things that mostly revolved around having multiple meals and just counting the calories. However, like he told us, it was just too much counting and he couldn’t enjoy the big meals he loved.

Then, he figured it out.

What really worked for him was having one big meal at the end of the day.

This way he would stay in a deficit, because there is only so many calories you can eat at one sitting. and he didn’t have to count calories, so it was a win-win.

Now Andrew doesn’t have to count anything, he doesn’t worry about maintenance or gaining weight. It’s all taken care of with one meal a day.

He can still eat big with just a small compromise on his part.

But is it really that big of a compromise?

Sometimes he might allow himself a snack, but usually he just eats a big dinner. Snacks are good, if you can keep the calories in check (think of fruit as a perfect low cal, but tasty snack). The issue with snacks is that most people snack on high calorie options and they don’t stop at just one.

Another issue is that the moment you start eating, your appetite goes up and you will want to eat more. FYI this is one of the reasons why eating breakfast is NOT a good idea.

This is Andrew’s overall progress. The first pictures are from his first Adonis Index contest.

Why One Meal a Day Works and What It Can Do for You?

Assuming you already understand the benefits of intermittent fasting, eating one meal a day has a bit more to it as well.

  • Not having to count calories
  • You can have snacks if you limit the frequency and the amount
  • You can enjoy the weekends a bit more
  • You can eat “normally” at some unexpected social eating event, because you are in a slight deficit
  • You can eat a really big meal every day!
  • You can finally focus on something different than food during your day – that’s the productivity cure you were looking for the whole time
  • You will have more energy during the day and you won’t feel tired as a result of eating every three hours

Andrew would have a big meal and small piece of chocolate with it almost every single day.

What other diet will allow you to have chocolate every day?

Not that many, right?

Obviously you have to choose the right foods, you can’t eat nothing but cake, but still it doesn’t have to be “clean” by the conventional fitness standards. You really can have chocolate or pizza if you want.

What you are basically doing is variety in one big chunk each day.

And how would such a meal look like?

You can be creative, but here is an example:

Salad + chicken + potatoes + slice of pizza + small piece of chocolate cake

Sounds good?

Well, you can easily make this under 2000 calories, which is perfect for most guys to maintain.

Just remember, you can have your cake, but everything is good only in moderation.

More tips from Andrew:

  • Learn a way to eat everyday without gaining or going overboard
  • You don’t have to count calories once you figure out a consistent pattern that works for you
  • Judge your progress by the mirror and photos, are you getting soft? Not seeing obliques anymore? If so then you need to eat a bit less (or add more exercise/cardio)
  • Myotape is also good for tracking progress and staying at maintenance
  • When you get into a good eating pattern, stay there don’t mess with it
  • At that point you will intuitively know when you go overboard
  • If you get on the scale too often, weight fluctuations due to water fluctuations will start messing with your head
  • Multiple ways to do it, find the way that works for you
  • Stick to one workout plan
  • Your workout plan should mix things up every once in a while to keep your mind in it and your muscles growing
  • The goal is not having to think about your body, fitness, diet, training, just doing a little work here and there and still looking awesome
  • Re-think and question everything

Links from the interview:

  • Adonis Index 3.0 – The workout program responsible for one of the most impressive transformations online
  • Adonis Index IXP – Advanced muscle building protocol
  • Eat Stop Eat – Lifestyle base around the beauty of intermittent fasting

Read Andrew’s experience with Adonis Index in his own words:

This is the third Adonis contest I took part in, AT3, AT4, and now AT7… The first few contests I spent a tremendous amount of energy focusing on my caloric intake and trying to lose weight and then trying to figure out how to eat for my new leaner physique. Sometime during my prep for AT4 I realized that having one big meal over three smaller meals was a a lot easier and definitely helped me to maintain a level of leanness, unfortunately I would usually find myself overeating during the weekends and to compensate I end up regularly fasting for… Continue reading here

Listen to the interview here, and please “like” it when you’re done:

About Allen Elliott

Allen is the Editor-In Chief of the Adonis Index Blog, bringing you weekly articles on contest prep, transformation testimonials' and much more!

Additionally he is a published Fitness Personality, Certified Personal Trainer, and National Competitor in the NPC Men's Physique Division.

Last but not least, as an Adonis/Venus Index Transformation Coach, he works to provide guided solutions for people who sincerely strive to meet their fitness goals.

Being a fitness model and competitor gives him a lot of valuable insights that nobody else talks about. Among other things, he will teach you how to prepare for a live show or a fitness photoshoot yourself.

Click here to get more from him.