Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You

Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You

by Jillian Michaels

ISBN: 9780307382511

Publisher Harmony

Published in Health, Fitness & Dieting/Exercise & Fitness

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Sample Chapter


As with any fitness regimen, before you even begin this one you must visit your doctor or health care professional to make sure you're in fighting shape to start Making the Cut. Once you get the all-clear, the first step toward success is setting goals-you can't get anywhere if you don't know where you're going and what you want. But it's no good setting goals if you're not straight with yourself about where you're starting from, which is why Making the Cut begins with a thorough assessment of your current situation. Identify in cold hard terms where you are right now, and you'll have a crystal-clear idea of where you want to be. And once you get there, you'll never want to go back! Having a record of where you started is also a critical and often-overlooked source of motivation. Sure, you may know that when you complete my program you will lose inches from all over your body and get stronger. But if the going gets tough and you need an inspirational boost to keep going, you won't believe how motivating it is to take a step back and be able to chart the progress you've already made.

Last but hardly least, it is important to make sure you are mentally prepared for the hard work and the changes that lie ahead. Most fitness books deal only with the diet and exercise parts of losing weight and getting fit. In my experience, mental readiness is just as key to your lasting success.

The following chapters walk you through all of the important first steps, so that we're sure you're starting with your best foot forward.


Where would any kick-ass makeover be without "before" and "after" pictures? Well, that's where we're going to start, except this is more than a before picture; this is a goodbye picture. Say goodbye to the old you, and get ready to embark upon a fitness journey that will change you for life. Take several photos from different angles, one from the front, one from the side, and one from the rear. And wear as little as possible-the more you show, the more you'll know.


Let's be clear: Making the Cut isn't about losing 100 pounds;* it's about tightening up, getting strong, and changing your body composition. You'll be shedding fat and building lean, strong muscle in its place. You'll be developing a drop-dead, smokin'-hot body. So while you'll see the difference in the mirror and feel it in the way your clothes fit, you may not see a huge drop on the scale.

If you know your body fat percentage going in, you'll have an accurate way of measuring your success as you work the program. Below are some guidelines so you know where you are in comparison with the general population. Personally, I like to see my guys ripped at 8 to 10 percent and my girls ripped at 15 to 18 percent, but it's your body. I am here to empower you with the tools and knowledge so that you take the reins.



Men 14-17% 10-13% 4-9%

Women 21-24% 16-20% 12-15%

There are several different ways of measuring your body fat, but at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is that you are consistent in your methods from one measurement to another. The most accurate, but also the most expensive, is to ask your health care provider to run a DEXA scan on you. The next most accurate is hydrostatic weighing, which is offered at most university health care facilities, but it involves being dunked under water (so it's not the most convenient).

The easiest and least invasive methods of measuring body fat percentage are (1) have an expert measure you with calipers (which you can have done at most health care facilities or gyms at little or no cost) and (2) use a BIA scale (which uses bioelectrical impedance analysis, or BIA, to measure how much of your body is made up of water and roughly how much is fat). When using the calipers method, make sure you get the same professional to measure you each time; and when using a BIA scale, make sure that every time you test you do so at the same time of day, preferably first thing in the morning before breakfast, but after a glass of water, since your body needs enough fluid in it for a measurement of bioelectrical impedance to be meaningful.


This is one of my favorite ways of tracking progress because it's a motivational tool that doesn't require any fancy equipment-it's just you and a tape measure, baby!

Here's what to do:

u Start by getting naked! If you measure while dressed, wear thin clothes and make a note of what you're wearing so you know to wear the same clothes the next time you measure.

u Pull the tape snug but not too tight. It should never squeeze your body.

u Measurements taken around the hips, thighs, and upper arms should be taken around the largest circumference, while the waist measurement should be taken around the smallest circumference. Stand with your feet together when taking hip and thigh measurements.

u Never flex or tense your body while you're taking measurements. Don't suck in your stomach to take waist measurements. Relax, let it all hang loose, and enjoy knowing that very soon you'll be able to see your progress both on paper and on your body.

The specifics:

u Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but again, don't pull the tape too tight.

u Chest: Measure just under your bust.

u Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist.

u Hips: Stand with feet together and place the tape measure around the biggest part of your hips.

u Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh.

u Arms: Measure around the largest part of each upper arm.

Starting At Your Peak

Weight: Weight:

Bust: Bust:

Chest: Chest:

Waist: Waist:

Hips: Hips:

Right Thigh: Right Thigh:

Left Thigh: Left Thigh:

Right Arm: Right Arm:

Left Arm: Left Arm:


This is a series of tests designed to quickly gauge your general fitness level and to act as a benchmark for future testing. If you have one, use a stopwatch. If not, your cell phone clock or a wall one will do just fine. After you complete my program, take the test again and compare the results.

If you rate below average on any of these tests, you may be better off beginning a less advanced fitness program and saving this book for later. Again, you can go back and pick up my first book-it's a great place to start.

The testing is divided into four sections, but you should do all parts of the test in one session, with a four-minute rest between each to give yourself the recovery time you need so you will see ideal results.

Step Test to Measure Aerobic Endurance

Using a 12-inch-high bench (or a similar-sized stair in your house), step on and off for three minutes. Step up with one foot and then the other. Step down with one foot, again followed by the other. Try to maintain a steady four-beat cycle; it's easy if you say "up, up, down, down." Go at a steady and consistent pace. At the end of three minutes, remain standing while you immediately check your heart rate by taking your pulse for one minute. To do this, find your wrist pulse-point, and using your index and middle finger, count the number of beats while watching a minute go by on the clock. Then consult the charts below, to see how your rate compared with others in your age group.


AGE 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+

Excellent <79 <81 <83 <87 <86 <88

Good 79-89 81-89 83-96 87-97 86-97 88-96

Above Average 90-99 90-99 97-103 98-105 98-103 97-103

Average 100-105 100-107 104-112 106-116 104-112 104-113

Below Average 106-116 108-117 113-119 117-122 113-120 114-120

Poor 117-128 118-128 120-130 123-132 121-129 121-130

Very Poor >128 >128 >130 >132 >129 >130


AGE 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+

Excellent <85 <88 <90 <94 <95 <90

Good 85-98 88-99 90-102 94-104 94-104 90-102

Above Average 99-108 100-111 103-110 1-5-115 1-5-112 103-115

Average 109-117 112-119 111-118 116-120 113-118 116-122

Below Average 118-126 120-126 119-128 121-129 119-128 123-128

Poor 127-140 127-138 129-140 130-135 129-139 129-134

Very Poor >140 >138 >140 >135 >139 >134

Push-ups to Test Upper Body Strength

How many push-ups can you do in a minute? Both men and women should use the standard "military style" push-up position, with only the hands and toes touching the floor. Keep your back and legs completely straight as you lower your chest to the ground. ("Girly" push-ups? I don't even want to hear it-toughen up or go buy someone else's book.) Do as many push-ups as possible until exhaustion. Count the total number of push-ups performed. Use the chart below to find out how you rate.


AGE 17-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-65

Excellent >56 >47 >41 >34 >31 >30

Good 47-56 39-47 34-41 28-34 25-31 24-30

Above Average 35-46 30-39 25-33 21-28 18-24 17-23

Average 19-34 17-29 13-24 11-20 9-17 6-16

Below Average 11-18 10-16 8-12 6-10 5-8 3-5

Poor 4-10 4-9 2-7 1-5 1-4 1-2

Very Poor <4 <4 <2 0 0 0


AGE 17-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-65

Excellent >35 >36 >37 >31 >25 >23

Good 27-35 30-36 30-37 25-31 21-25 19-23

Above Average 21-27 23-29 22-30 18-24 15-20 13-18

Average 11-20 12-22 10-21 8-17 7-14 5-12

Below Average 6-10 7-11 5-9 4-7 3-6 2-4

Poor 2-5 2-6 1-4 1-3 1-2 1

Very Poor 0-1 0-1 0 0 0 0

Sit-ups to Test Abdominal or Trunk Strength

How many sit-ups can you do in a minute? To perform the traditional sit-up, lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat. Your hands should rest on your thighs (not grabbing them to complete the lift up- that's cheating!). Squeeze your stomach, push your back flat against the floor, and come up high enough for your hands to touch the tops of your knees. Don't pull up with your neck or head, keep your chin tucked in, and keep your lower back flush to the floor. Time yourself and count how many you can do in one minute, then check the chart below for your rating.


AGE 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+

Excellent >49 >45 >41 >35 >31 >28

Good 44-49 40-45 35-41 29-35 25-31 22-28

Above Average 39-43 35-39 30-34 25-28 21-24 19-21

Average 35-38 31-34 27-29 22-24 17-20 15-18

Below Average 31-34 29-30 23-26 18-21 13-16 11-14

Poor 25-30 22-28 17-22 13-17 9-12 7-10

Very Poor <25 <22 <17 <9 <9 <7


AGE 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+

Excellent >43 >39 >33 >27 >24 >23

Good 37-43 33-39 27-33 22-27 18-24 17-23

Above Average 33-36 29-32 23-26 18-21 13-17 14-16

Average 29-32 25-28 19-22 14-17 10-12 11-13

Below Average 25-28 21-24 15-18 10-13 7-9 5-10

Poor 18-24 13-20 7-14 5-9 3-6 2-4

Very Poor <18 <20 <7 <5 <3 <2

Wall Sit to Measure Lower Body Strength

To test your lower body strength, we're going to see how long you can hold a wall-sit position. Place your back flat against the wall and lower your body into a seated position with your knees bent at a 90- degree angle. Start the timer as soon as you're in position, and hang in there as long as you can. Do not place your hands on the wall- that's cheating! As soon as you have to come out of position or your booty touches the floor, time's up. Thirty seconds is average. Sixty seconds is good. Ninety seconds is excellent. In order to begin Making the Cut, you must be able to hold a wall sit for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Starting At Your Peak

Pulse: Pulse:

Push-ups: Push-ups:

Sit-ups: Sit-ups:

Wall sit: Wall sit:

Mind over Matter You can change your life by changing your mind. It's really that simple-nothing is impossible for the willing mind! We all have the power to gain control of our lives, reach our goals, and live our dreams. Your challenge is to locate, nurture, and believe in your ability to do so. Any lingering sense of inferiority or inadequacy will interfere with the attainment of your goals and dreams, while self-confidence and a positive attitude lead to success. To push your body toward ripped perfection, your mind has got to be strong and focused. It is imperative that you hone and train your mind as intensely as you train your body. This means following a few guidelines and performing some mental exercises to replace self-defeating behaviors with positive ones, and to remove distractions and bring mental clarity and self-control. After all, it's your mind that directs and drives everything you do, or don't do- so get it on your side! Throughout the book you will find Mind over Matter sidebars, filled with pointers and exercises to help keep your mind focused, your motivation high, and your goals in sight.



Establishing and maintaining a healthful diet is crucial to your overall success on this program. The right diet will regulate your blood sugar, balance your hormones, and maximize your energy, all of which promote optimal fat burning and muscle development.

When I worked on NBC's The Biggest Loser, I'd travel for three months at a time and have barely a moment to myself. I was lucky if I got to work out more than once a week. I was able to maintain my physique throughout the shoot, though, by following this diet plan to the letter. Once you incorporate these seven nutritional principles into your lifestyle, you will look, feel, and perform better in all areas of your life.


Rule 1: Stick to Your Magic Number

Calories do count in this program, and small errors can add up to a big disappointment. The trick is to cut calories in just the right way so that you are creating enough of a deficit to lose the weight you want to lose, but not so much of a deficit that your body goes into starvation-survival mode and your metabolism slows down. While you're Making the Cut, you're also going to need enough calories to power you through your workouts, so we'll have to add that into the mix too.

As I stated up front, this program functions under the assumption that you are already moderately fit and don't need to lose a significant amount of weight (under 20 pounds), so your calories will not be drastically reduced on my program. As everyone has a different metabolism, though, each person will have a different calorie allowance, a calculation that is based on an individual's basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Your BMR is the number of calories that your body needs to function at the most basic level-it's what you'd burn if you sat on the couch all day and didn't move a muscle.


Excerpted from "Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You" by Jillian Michaels. Copyright © 2008 by Jillian Michaels. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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