28 Days: 4 Weeks Of Fat Loss

Nutrition

“Slow and steady” is what people want to hear when it comes to weight loss. I used to say that to new clients when I first started out as a personal trainer, too.

With enough experience, though, I realized that “slow and steady” rarely worked. If someone isn’t ecstatic about the changes they see in their first two to four weeks, their likelihood of sticking with their program past the first month goes down dramatically.

Over time, I focused more on the first four weeks of a client’s program, knowing that if I could help them accomplish something more radical in that short window of time, they’d be more likely to follow along with a more sustainable program later on.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different “jump starts.” I don’t believe in starting with a 12-day water fast, a detox, or a cleanse, for reasons I’ll address in future articles.

Instead, I believe in focusing on strength training, skipping snacks, eating more protein, and incorporating a form of intermittent fasting. It’s simple to follow, minimizes cravings and fluctuations in energy, and sets people up for an easier transition to a more sustainable nutrition and exercise pattern after the “jump start” is over.

That’s where I came up with 28 Days. Initially, I put it together as a quick Facebook Live video for the VIGOR Facebook group. The guys had so much success with it that I decided to make a VIGOR and VIGORESS version as free ebooks when people signed up for the VIGOR Training programs.

As more people have gotten such great results, I decided to make it available as an article, free for everyone. Of course, I hope you’ll join the VIGOR Training program after reading this, but even if you don’t, I’m certain you can take the concept of 28 Days and make yourself fitter in four weeks than you have been in a long time.

28 Days is a starting point. It isn’t a miracle diet (there is no such thing), and it won’t undo all the damage of decades of poor food and lifestyle habits. However, 28 Days is extremely effective for a few reasons:

  1. Anyone should be able to commit to something for four weeks. The average lifespan is 78.7 years, or 4092 weeks. We’re talking about 4 weeks of strict commitment to get your health and fitness headed in the right direction.
  2. These four weeks of discipline can lead to a big enough change that you’ll feel inspired to keep going with good nutrition and consistent exercise once they’re over.
  3. Four weeks is short enough to see an end in site. Well, it isn’t really an end, it’s just an end to the beginning of a better you.

28 days. Can you stick to a diet for four weeks? Would you forego your favorite foods to shed some fat, minimize your muffin top, shrink your saddlebags, or get some shape to your shoulders?

I lost 17.6 lbs., 6.8% in body fat, gained 1.5 lbs. of lean mass, and lost 4 inches off my waist!

Brandon Wallace

If this sounds interesting, let me try to talk you out of it first.

28 Days Might Not Be For You

I won’t cajole you to follow this program. I won’t coddle you to keep with it. In fact, I’m going to dissuade you from even getting started because 28 Days isn’t for everyone.

28 Days is not for you if:

  • You believe “slow and steady” is the right solution when just getting started with weight loss
  • You come up with reasons every diet or exercise program “won’t work for you” before you’ve even given them honest efforts
  • You are unwilling to get sufficient sleep or invest time and effort in strength training
  • You want to believe you can “eat all the foods you love and still lose weight”
  • You are more concerned with losing weight than you are with dropping body fat
  • You are going to “play the field” by starting on this tomorrow, and looking through “other options” the day after – if you won’t be monogamous, don’t make the initial commitment
  • You’re dealing with adrenal fatigue, unmanaged hypothyroidism, kidney disease, or other health problem where your doctor recommends against higher-protein intakes.

Disclaimer

I am not a licensed healthcare practitioner, physician, or medical professional. I offer no medical diagnoses, treatments, suggestions, or counseling.

The information presented in this article has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I recommend you obtain a full medical clearance from a licensed physician before beginning or modifying any diet, exercise, or lifestyle program, and inform your medical professional of all nutritional changes you choose to make.

I claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information in this article.

Our attention spans are shorter than ever, and if it takes four weeks just to shed the first four of forty pounds, few people follow through.

Life is short. I wouldn’t want someone to waste their time following a program they won’t fully commit to.

Then again, life is short. Why would you want to live one more day with less than the vigor, strength, and confidence you’re capable of?

28 Days isn’t about making you ready for a magazine cover. While I can certainly get someone ready for that, or for a bodybuilding or physique competition, 28 Days is about something much more important, and less self-centered.

28 Days is about getting you fit and healthy, so you can add more value to those around you. So you can live up to your potential. You might even consider it a crash-course in personal development, because once you start redeveloping your body, you’ll inevitably overhaul your mind, spirit, and emotions, too.

One last thing…I strongly recommend using high-quality supplements as part of your program. I’ll get into the specifics later in this article. If you’re not already on my VIP List, click the button below to join.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

I’ve divided this article into four sections. Since you’ll probably want to use this as a reference, and come back to certain parts now and then, click the relevant section to jump right to it. However, if this is your first time checking it out, please read (or listen) from start to finish.

28 Days Great Expectations Tom Nikkola

Realistic Expectations

The next 28 days won’t be easy. The rest of the world has its priorities, and your program won’t be one of those priorities. You’ll face obstacles and challenges. And, in a short time, you won’t feel like following this program.

How’s that for inspirational?

Rather than misleading you by telling you what you want to hear, that this will be “easy,” I’d prefer to tell you how it will actually be. Maybe that makes me a lousy marketer. I’d prefer you start this program with the right expectations.

I’d rather set the right expectations from the start, so you won’t be rattled when things get challenging.

Motivation is a fleeting feeling. You don’t need to be motivated to get results. You just need to be willing to do the work. Every day.

I don’t say that to discourage you. I just want you to know the truth. It’s up to you to show up and do the work, even when you don’t feel like it. If you rely on your feelings, they will fail you.

1. Expect Restriction

A diet is a specific way of eating. It is strict. It means that some foods are not allowed. And, it means you might need to eat more of certain foods you don’t necessarily enjoy.

But this is only 28 days. It isn’t even a month (unless you’re reading this in February).

The diet is a diet, which means you’ll need to avoid some of the foods you might be eating right now. The faster you accept it, the faster you’ll start seeing results. Don’t be the that guy or lady who feels compelled to complain to friends about his or her diet the day after starting it.

It’s just food. The more of an issue you make out of it, the more of an emotion you tie to it, and the more you put food in control of you, rather than you being in control of your food.

If a food has that much power over you, that’s a problem.

2. Expect An Appetite

You’ll probably feel hungry at times. That doesn’t mean you need to eat.

About 80% of the foods people eat are the same from week-to-week, and they eat those foods around the same time each day.

After years, or even decades of eating the same foods, and drinking the same beverages, at the same times, day-after-day, your body expects what you’ve been feeding it, when you’ve been feeding it.

When you mess with your timing and the foods you eat, you mess with your appetite.

It’s kinds of like a teenager who’s been getting an allowance for years, who’s told it’s time to get a job. He or might throw a fit and make you feel guilty. You might be tempted to give in. But that doesn’t help the teenager grow up.

Giving into your appetite won’t help you get healthier and leaner either.

Don’t mistake appetite for hunger.

Appetite is about your desire to eat. Hunger is about your need to eat.

There will be times when the only thing you can think about is the food you used to have. It won’t be hunger that calls to you. It’ll be appetite.

When you feel the desperate need to eat something that isn’t on the plan, remember that it’s just your mind messing with you. Then, remember that you’re in control.

One of the best ways to learn a new language is to drop yourself in the middle of a country that speaks it, and keep yourself from the opportunity to talk to someone in your normal language. Given no other option but to learn the other language, you’ll do so. 28 Days can be the same thing.

28 Days is an immersion course for living leaner.

3. Expect Inconvenience

For the first week or two, your excitement about seeing some definition again will help you overcome the pull back to old habits. It’ll help you ignore the inconvenience of making time for exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating quality food.

But, within 10-14 days, that excitement wears off. All of a sudden, it’ll feel inconvenient to follow this program. A little voice in your head might even start whispering, “This program just doesn’t work for your lifestyle.”

When you commit to a fitness program, it’s unlikely you have several extra hours each week in which you’re not doing anything at all.

The time it takes to train needs to take the place of something else. If you just try to add your training time to your current calendar, you will fail.

Expect that it’ll be inconvenient and you won’t be caught off guard when it is. Better yet, give up some stuff now to make space in your life for these healthier activities.

Read more: Got Goals? Embrace The Emotional Cycle Of Change.

4. Expect To Test Your Optimism

For you to truly remain positive all the time, you’d have to live in denial about the challenges and setbacks you face.

Personally, I wouldn’t trust someone who never felt frustrated, down and discouraged. That’s normal.

That’s why I don’t pat people on the back and say, “You got this!” when they’re feeling doubt, discouragement, or defeat.

Being positive isn’t a solution to a shitty situation, but being optimistic opens your eyes to the solutions that’ll get you out of it.

A positive attitude is really just about an outward appearance. An optimistic outlook is a way of seeing all situations, and finding a way forward, finding something good, or making something good out of the situation.

A positive attitude says, “Well, at least they’re lemons and not rotten eggs.” That attitude does little to move forward or make a difference. The optimistic attitude says, “I bet we could squeeze these babies and make some fabulous lemonade.”

At some point, you’ll feel like the world is conspiring against you. Don’t be deceived.

The world is as it’s always been, but when you decide to change, you feel the pull back to old ways. To living in convenience.

When you feel discouraged, seek and ask for solutions. Avoid simply sharing your discouragement. The more optimistic you are, the more likely it is you’ll move past the temporary situation and get back on track with your program.

Read more: Victimhood Fragility: 4 Ways We’re Weakening Our Bodies, Minds, and Culture.

28 Days The Diet Tom Nikkola

28 Days: The Diet

Summary for men: Two meals per day. No snacks. High protein. Mostly low-carb. No gluten, and limited dairy.

Summary for women: Three meals per day. No snacks. High protein. Mostly low-carb. No gluten, and limited dairy.

Before getting into the specifics of the diet, I need to stress a few things:

  • Following a strict diet without doing strength training is stupid. If you’re unwilling to weight train three to five times per week, please do not follow the diet.
  • No snacks means “No snacks.” Snacking in general is where most people sabotage their nutrition.
  • Most, but not all women, do better long-term with eating three meals per day instead of following a 16-hour intermittent fasting plan. Their susceptibility to stress isn’t the same as men’s. This is especially important for women who’ve experienced adrenal fatigue. That’s why guys eat two meals per day in an 8-hour window, whereas women eat three times in roughly a 12-hour window with 28 Days.

No Gluten, Limited Dairy

No gluten. This as a nonnegotiable. It’s easy to avoid the obvious sources, like regular crackers, bread, and pasta. However, gluten can also be found in seasonings and sauces, too.

If you go out to a restaurant, ask for the gluten-free menu. Almost any restaurant will have high-protein, gluten-free menu options.

Read more: Gluten and Going Gluten-Free: What You Need To Know.

Regarding dairy, if you tolerate it, use whey protein. But that’s the only source of dairy allowed on this diet. Everything else – milk, cottage cheese, heavy cream, regular cheese – not an option. Fortunately, that does mean Halo Top could work with some of your carb-heavy dinners.

I’ve often worked with people who said they “tolerated dairy” just fine, and within a few days of dropping all dairy, including whey, they’d drop one to three pounds of puffiness.

If you use this diet as part of a weight loss contest, I recommend dropping all sources of dairy, including whey, especially a few days prior to your “after photos.”

Read more: Is Milk Or Other Dairy Good Or Bad For You?

High Protein

As you’ve probably read from me elsewhere, I recommend no less than 0.8 grams, and more ideally 1.0 gram of protein per pound goal body weight per day, assuming you do not have pre-existing kidney disease.

High-protein diets have consistently been shown to improve body composition.

Since you’re only eating two or three meals per day, your protein portions will probably be larger than your accustomed to. This is where a protein shake comes in handy. If it makes things easier, just drink a low-carb protein shake while you eat your meal.

As for your source of protein, animal protein is best for building and maintaining muscle and bone density (yeah, I know…vegan is all the rage right now. I don’t recommend it).

For lunches, and low-carb dinners, choose animal proteins with a moderate fat content, such as skinless chicken thighs instead of skinless chicken breast, dark meat turkey instead of white meat, or New York Strip instead of round steak. You could also include some ground meats, such as ground bison, turkey, chicken, and 90% lean ground beef, and eggs of course.

Moderate amounts of fat from animal protein makes protein more palatable. It also makes it easier to keep your fat intake in check.

Eating some fat isn’t bad, but when people are told they can eat as much fat as they want, they often eat so much that they don’t lose weight. They might not gain weight, but they don’t lose it either. Our goal is to get your body to use as much fat from your love handles, belly, thighs and arms as possible. Not to have to use the fat from your diet.

Moderate Fat

Most of your fat will come from your protein sources. However, you can add some low-carb, dairy-free salad dressing on top of a salad, or sauté your vegetables in a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil. You could also include one serving of nuts per day if you wish.

In addition to vegan diets, the other craze is Keto right now, and too many people on keto think it’s a “Fat free-for-all” (not to be mistaken for the “fat-free for all craze in the 90s”). As I mentioned above, eating too much fat, when carbs are controlled, might not make you fatter, but it probably won’t make you leaner either.

You’ll also include one other source of fat everyday, which I’ll briefly cover below when we get to fish oil.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Keto.

Carbohydrates

Breakfast for ladies, and lunch for both guys and ladies, will be very low in carbs throughout the 28 days. Actually, I believe they should always be low in carbs whether you’re following 28 Days or not.

By maintaining low carbohydrate levels throughout the day, you’ll notice a consistent level of energy. Not the ebbs and flows you experience when starting the day with carbs.

You’ll also maintain low insulin levels, which allows you to tap into your fat stores.

During your first week, you’ll also eat a low-carb dinner. However, it’s unlikely you’ll experience the “Keto flu” as your protein intake will be high enough to avoid that. We’re not looking for ketosis, which isn’t necessary for fat loss. We’re simply limiting your carb intake.

Beginning week 2, you’ll eat carbs at dinner the night before your first training session of the week.

For example, let’s say you start the diet on a Monday (like 99% of the rest of the world that “starts a diet”), and you normally weight train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The following Sunday, you’d eat carbs at dinner. The next day, you’d be back to low-carb all day long.

Women: Following your first dinner with carbs, you’d pick an evening before another training session three to four days later, and have another meal with carbs. In essence, beginning your second week, you’d eat carbs at dinner twice per week on nights before a weight training session, and spread out three to four days apart. After that first week, you’d have carbs with dinner twice per week.

Men: Following your first dinner with carbs, you’ll stay low in carbs for the next seven days, and do another carb dinner a week after the first. Then, you’ll have another meal with carbs three to four days later, similar to the schedule for women. Basically, you’d get a carb-heavy meal on dinners 7, 14, 18, 21, 25, and 28.

You don’t get to eat candy or junk food during your carb dinners, and of course, NO GLUTEN and NO DAIRY unless it’s whey protein. You can eat as much for gluten-free carbs as you’d like during these meals, but when you step away from the table, your meal is over. Make sure you finish your meals about three hours before bedtime.

By eating the carbs at night, you support serotonin production, which should help you sleep. You also get to bed before the drop in blood sugar leads to cravings for more carbs.

Drink Freely

If it doesn’t contain calories, you can drink it whenever you want, and as much of it as you’d like.

I don’t recommend artificial sweeteners, but I’m all for beverages like Zevia, zero calorie Steaz Tea, or other calorie-free beverages.

Of course, drink plenty of water as well, and feel free to add essential oils to enhance the taste and support detoxification.

Oh, and just to be clear, “Drink freely” does not include alcohol. No alcohol during your 28 Days.

Your breakfast can include black coffee. Followed by another black coffee. No, you don’t get cream, MCTs, or any other calorie-containing add-in. Of course, you don’t have to drink coffee, but it is good for you and does support fat loss and curbs hunger.

As I explained earlier, this is a diet, so don’t look for modifications, and don’t overcomplicate things. You don’t need recipes or a cookbook to figure things out.

Your diet during the 28 Days is intended to cause quick fat loss while maintaining muscle, and help you avoid the stress-hormone rising effects of carbohydrate restriction or insufficient protein.

Of course, the diet doesn’t work by itself. You also need to follow a solid strength training program, which is why I created this plan to complement the VIGOR Training program. No skipping training sessions.

The following are a couple of easy examples of what the diet looks like.

Example Meals

MealExamples
BreakfastEgg Scramble: 2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites, 3 ounces deli meat, 1 cup of frozen Mediterranean vegetables. Black coffee or tea.


Leftovers: 6 ounces ground bison, sautéed mushrooms and onions.

Men: Black coffee or tea only. No food.
LunchSalad: Leafy greens and chopped cucumbers, black olives, celery, chicken, and avocado with balsamic vinaigrette.


Chipotle: Salad with chicken, barbacoa, or canitas, guacamole, and pico.
DinnerLow-Carb Dinner: Sirloin steak, pork shoulder steak, grilled skinless chicken thighs, or baked salmon with steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus, or eggplant.


High-Carb Dinner: Turkey burger with a gluten-free bun and baked chips, gluten-free spaghetti with extra lean ground beef, sirloin steak with a baked sweet potato, or chicken tacos with corn tortillas. And, if you tolerate dairy, maybe some Halo Top for dessert.
Training and Recovery 28 Days Tom Nikkola

Training and Recovery

Following a weight loss diet without incorporating weight training is one of the most destructive things you can do to your body.

I understand why people do it. It’s easier. However, when you eat to lose weight, it isn’t just fat that you lose. You also lose muscle too.

I did hundreds of fitness assessments with new gym members over the years. Often, people would join the gym after having lost 30 pounds. Unfortunately, too many people think they need to get in shape before they join a gym. Don’t be one of those people.

In street clothes, they looked like they were at a healthy weight. However, when I grabbed their arms and legs to do body fat measurements, they’d feel soft and squishy.

More often than not, their “skinny fat” frames were from following calorie-restricted diets like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.

Though they looked normal in street clothes, in gym clothes it was clear their body fat was still quite high, and their lean mass was far too low.

Muscle is like quality-of-life insurance. The more you have as you enter older adulthood, the more you can afford to lose without sacrificing your quality of life. That’s just one of dozens of reasons why you need to weight train.

All that to say that you need to commit to weight training if you’re going to follow this diet, or any other weight loss plan.

Weight Training

Without weight training, your body won’t maintain muscle and bone density.

By “weight training,” I’m not referring to exercising with a couple of dumbbells you found in your basement, or doing only bodyweight exercise in front of your television.

Read more: 5 Common Weight Training Mistakes You Might Be Making.

By weight training, I mean using barbells, dumbbells, squat racks, benches, and a few other accessories like cables or kettlebells. If you have a gym within 15-20 minutes, get a membership and go. It’s better to get away from the place you’re comfortable and get around other people who are also pursuing health.

If you don’t have a solid plan to follow, join VIGOR (guys) or VIGORESS (ladies). For $29 a month, I’ll take care of your training plan.

START VIGOR TRAINING
START VIGOR TRAINING

Feel stronger. Look stronger. Be stronger. Inside and out.

The more experience you get with exercise, the more often you need to give your body a reason to build and maintain muscle.

Like bathing or brushing your teeth, you should train more days than you don’t each week, which is why I recommend going to the gym at least four days per week. In case you were wondering, I do recommend bathing and brushing your teeth daily, though.

Walk

Your diet causes weight loss. Weight training builds bone density and muscle mass, which improves body composition and helps you look strong and lean. So, you don’t need high-intensity interval training or excessive cardio to succeed on this plan. In fact, if you overdo the cardio, you’ll shortchange the results of this program.

Walking, on the other hand, is great for enhancing recovery. Taking short walks frequently throughout the day avoids the negative impact of sitting. Walk 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t matter what time you do it, just that you do it.

Adding excessive cardio to this program will negatively impact your recovery, increase cortisol levels, and slow or stop your fat loss.

Sleep

It doesn’t matter how good your diet is if you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep debt could be the most destructive, disease-inducing lifestyle choice you can make.

Parents with newborns make the most of their short-term season of life, napping  and taking turns getting up when it’s possible. But outside of a baby, most other causes of sleep debt are the result of personal choices.

Sleep not only allows you to physically recover, supports fat metabolism, and reduces stress levels, it also protects your brain. You need to sleep.

In fact, it’s so powerful for metabolism that many people drop several pounds of water and body fat by just sleeping eight hours per night consistently.

Read more: Sleep Now Or Pay Later: The Significance Of Sleep And How To Get More Of It

Supplements

If you’ve been in the VIGOR Facebook group / VIGORESS Facebook group for any length of time, you’ve seen me mention the Foundational Five, the best supplements for foundational health. For almost everyone, I recommend the following five supplements to support the foundation of a solid nutrition plan. If you ever ask me what other supplements you should take, I’ll always ask if you’re already taking these. 

High-quality Multivitamin

A high-quality multivitamin has ranked at the top of my most-recommended supplements for as long as I can remember.

Unfortunately, multivitamins are often overlooked because they aren’t sexy, and you normally don’t feel an immediate effect from taking them.

You might never experience the benefits of taking a multivitamin, because it’s benefit isn’t in what it helps you gain, but it what it can help you avoid.

Vegetables, fruit, and organ meats are the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat, but most people don’t like the taste or texture of organ meats, and your intake of fruit will be very limited. Even if you eat vegetables with every meal, it’s nearly impossible to consume the optimal levels of all micronutrients through food alone today.

You very much get what you pay for with a multivitamin, so don’t be cheap. For more guidance on shopping for a high-quality multivitamin check out my article: Why You Need a High-Quality Multivitamin.

If you are a Young Living member, use Master Formula. If you are not a Young Living member, set up a Wellevate Account and order Thorne Multi-Vitamin Elite AM/PM. I have a special affinity to this multi as I developed it with Dr. Mario Roxas. It’s spectacular.

Also, if you’re not a Young Living member but would like to be, message me and we can chat about it.

I completed 28 Days, and lost 11 pounds in 28 days. I have since incorporated some of the eating strategies into my daily nutrition and have been able to keep my weight consistent. Perfect plan to jumpstart a lifestyle change or use it to tighten up the diet and push thru a plateau.

Ryan Gentry

Fish oil

After a high-quality multivitamin, fish oil is my second most-recommended supplement for general health and wellness.

Fish oil has a high concentration of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). While we get plenty of omega-6s, we get very few omega-3s.

Doug Bibus is one of the world’s leading experts in omega-3 metabolism. In a conversation a few years ago, he explained that high intakes of omega-3 fatty acids help make cell membranes more fluid, allowing nutrients to flow in and out like they’re supposed to. When the concentration of omega-3s is too low, the membranes become more rigid, and nutrients and waste products don’t flow in and out as well. 

Besides healthier cell membranes, DHA and EPA, when combined with protein, increase protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown greater than when protein is consumed alone.* They’ve also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and support normal inflammatory levels, triglyceride levels, and brain function.*

Read more: Fish Oil: Why Your Body And Brain Benefit From Supplementing With Omega-3s

Magnesium

About 70% of the population consumes less than optimal levels of magnesium alone, and dieting may speed up the rate of mineral use.

You may also notice that you experience muscle cramps more often on your diet, since you’re carbohydrate intake will likely be much lower. Salting your water, and supplementing with magnesium may help with the cramps.

Most high-quality multivitamins don’t contain much calcium and magnesium. It’s not because the manufacturer is cutting corners. It’s because these minerals, when in supplement form like magnesium bisglycinate, take up a ton of space. 

A good daily dose of the magnesium alone usually requires three to four capsules, so you’ll want to take these along with your multi and fish oil. I recommend Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate, which is available with your Wellevate account

Read more: What You Need to Know About Magnesium.

Probiotics

Any time you change your diet patterns, you affect your gut bacteria. Fibrous vegetables provide food for your good gut bacteria, but you also need to supplement your diet with a variety of probiotic strains.

The health of your gut is connected to your brain, immune system, hormones, micronutrient levels, and so much more.

Your diet is the most important factor in the types of bacteria that live in your gut.

For example, excess sugar is connected with SIBO and Candida. Lower-sugar and higher-fiber diets are associated with healthier guts and overall improved wellbeing. 

To help populate your gut with good bacteria, I’d recommend a couple of different high-quality probiotics. 

With thousands of different probiotic strains in our environment, it’s probably wise to expose your digestive system to a variety of bacteria. Then, as you continue to take your probiotics, keep eating high-fiber foods to feed them. 

As the bacteria feed on fiber, they not only multiply, but they also release short-chain fatty acids (SFAs), which promote the health of your intestinal lining.

Read more: Health Benefits of Probiotics: Your Guide.

Vitamins D and K2

Known as the “Sunshine Vitamin,” we’ve mistakenly believed our vitamin D needs were met from spending a little time outdoors in the summer or taking an occasional vacation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like magnesium, most people have woefully inadequate levels of vitamin D.

Also, like magnesium, vitamin D is involved in hundreds of reactions throughout the body, affecting metabolic rate, inflammation, blood sugar regulation, and much more. It’s important to take vitamin K2 when increasing intakes of vitamin D3.

Read more: Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms And Benefits Of Supplementation.

Other Supplement Recommendations

After you’ve covered your bases with the Foundational Five, you might consider some additional supplements. This is not an exhaustive list, as I don’t want it to be overwhelming.

Your supplement needs may also be based on other health and wellness goals you’re addressing.

That said, the following supplements are some of my most-recommended when it comes to improving body composition and supporting a diet like 28 Days.

Berberine

Supports healthy blood sugar and normal cholesterol levels.* 

Research shows berberine inhibits inflammation, turns on genes involved in raising metabolic rate, turns off genes involved in fat storage, and enhances insulin sensitivity.* 

Some studies indicate it’s effect on blood sugar rivals Metformin.

Berberine isn’t absorbed very well, so its health benefits probably aren’t from getting into your blood stream. Instead, it’s believed that berberine positively influences gut bacteria, which then has the effect on insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Supplementing with berberine has been also shown to increase short-chain fatty acid production by gut bacteria, without any change to fiber in the diet.* Like fiber, berberine can be especially powerful for gut health.* 

Magnesium Threonate

Magnesium threonate is a specific form of magnesium found to impact the brain and sleep more than other forms of magnesium. On a program like 28 Days, sleep is especially important to ensure you recover from your training, and that you fully support growth hormone levels, which directly affects body fat levels.

Read more: Magnesium: What You Need To Know.

Melatonin

Melatonin is your primary sleep hormone. When your sleep time gets inconsistent, or you’ve been under higher levels of stress, melatonin production gets suppressed and it gets harder to fall and stay asleep. Supplementing with melatonin has been shown to support sleep in hundreds of studies.*

My favorite melatonin supplement is a Young Living product called Sleep Essence, which also includes a number of essential oils that support sleep.*

Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methyl-Butyrate (HMB)

HMB is an amino acids that supports the maintenance of lean body mass, especially in a catabolic state.

Weight training helps to reduce the loss of muscle during a diet, but HMB may further help lessen the loss of muscle and in doing so, improve body composition.

Read more: The 4 Best Muscle-Building Supplements.

28 Days: The Starting Point To A Leaner And Stronger You

Weight loss isn’t all that hard. It’s keeping it off once you’ve lost it that’s most difficult for most people. Little by little, they start to making little choices that caused them to gain the weight in the first place. 

28 Days is a starting point. It is not the end. I hope that after you complete your 28 Days, you’ll look, feel, and perform so much better that you’ll want to do what it takes to maintain it, or even make more improvements.

My goal for you is not to have you on a “diet” for the rest of your life. It’s to help you reclaim your health, fix your dysfunctional metabolism, shed enough body fat, and build enough muscle that you can live your life within some boundaries and guidelines, but not feel like you’re stuck on a never-ending diet.

However, you only get there if you put in the effort, discipline, and consistency now.

I look forward to reading about and seeing your before and after photos and measurements. And even more, I look forward to seeing the influence you have on others, as they see what 28 Days does for you.

Feel free to ask questions about 28 Days in the VIGOR (men) or VIGORESS (women) Facebook group. Look for the pinned 28 Days post in the group.

To get the most out of 28 Days, join VIGOR Training. Registration is open.

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Feel stronger. Look stronger. Be stronger. Inside and out.

Tom Nikkola

Tom Nikkola

Founder, VIGOR Training

Tom is the founder of VIGOR Training, powerful fitness programs for those committed to getting to the gym. He uses his 20 years of experience, and observation, and education in health and fitness to write, teach, and train men and women to feel, look, and perform better than ever. When he’s not working, you’ll find him hanging out with his wife Vanessa, or playing golf with their grandson Asher.