Fast & Furious: 21 Day Shredding Workout Cycle And Diet

Fast & Furious: 21 Day Shredding Workout Cycle And Diet
This 3 week fat burning cycle focuses on low-carb food choices and hardcore workouts that restrict rest between sets, finishing with intense 15 minute cardio sessions.

Workout Summary

Lose Fat
Full Body
Intermediate
3 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

No, this article isn't a gimmick. It wasn't written to fool people into thinking they can get shredded in only 21 days. I call this program "fast and furious" because:

Fast - You are eating only 1/3rd of your daily calories before dinner. This will feel like fasting for most of you, and is only one step away from intermittent fasting.

Furious - Workouts are fast-paced, exhausting, exhilerating and calorie-burning.

This workout and eating plan is a fat loss cycle based around a 21 day schedule. It can be run once if you only need to knock off a quick 5-15 pounds, or multiple times if you have more weight to lose.

21 day cycle expectations

This cycle is designed to strip away fat while maintaining muscle tissue. It can help you achieve that ripped or toned look you are after.

During the first week of a reduced calorie and carbohydrate diet, you will flush a lot of excess water and lose weight rapidly. This is neither unhealthy, nor an indication of what your rate of weight loss will be like during weeks 2 and 3. With that said, men should expect to see an 8 to 12 pound loss during these 3 weeks, and women will likely lose 5 to 10 pounds. 

If you continue to run this program, your rate of overall weight loss will slow during the second and third cycles. You have already flushed out quite a bit of excess water weight, so from this point forward the majority of your weight loss will be fat loss. Men should lose about 5 to 10 pounds during the second cycle, and women 3 to 6 pounds.

These 21 day cycles are perfect for individuals who gained extra weight during the past 6 months, and need to drop just a little fat to get back to a more normal weight. I don't recommend running these cycles more than twice, maybe three times max.

So, if you're ready to look better at the beach, let's get moving.

Shredded body

21 day cycle basics

Here are the basics of each 21 day cycle:

  • Limited Pre-Workout Meals - You will be eating lighter during the day, and consuming the bulk of your calories during a 4 hour window each night.
  • Resistance Training - There will be 4 gym workouts per week, focusing on limited rest between sets.
  • Cardio - Intense 15 minute cardio sessions will follow each resistance training workout. Additional cardio is optional, but examples are provided below.

This is not a beginner workout. If you do not have an understanding of the exercises used in this program, please take some time to learn them before attempting this plan. Also note that 2 eating plans are provided: a 2,100 calorie per day plan for men, and a 1,500 calorie per day plan for women.

Here is a sample workout schedule. You can play with the days anyway you want, as long as there are 2 days of rest in between upper body workouts, or 2 days of rest between lower body workouts.

  • Monday - Upper Body Workout A
  • Tuesday - Lower Body Workout A
  • Thursday - Upper Body Workout B
  • Friday - Lower Body Workout B

Rest between each set is exactly 30 seconds. Keep the same weight for each set of a given exercise. For example, when performing the dumbbell bench press, if you are using 50 pound dumbbells, use the same weight for each set.

Make sure to pick a starting weight that allows you to perform the stated sets and reps. If you are unable to perform all the reps for each listed set, lighten the weight load the next time you perform this exercise. On the other hand, if a weight doesn't feel challenging enough, add weight the next time you perform this exercise.

Optional cardio

You can add in an optional cardio workouts:

  • First thing in the morning.
  • On off days.
  • At least 4 hours before a resistance training workout, or at least 3 hours after resistance training.

These optional workouts don't have to be boring. You can go for a walk, go hiking, swimming, running, do hill sprints, etc.

Fit female

21 Day Shredding Workout

Workout A
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press 8 8
Seated Cable Row 8 8
Machine Overhead Press 8 8
Cable Curl 6 8
Skullcrushers 6 8
Workout B
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Machine Chest Press 8 8
Lat Pull Down 8 8
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press 8 8
EZ Bar Curl 6 8
Cable Tricep Extensions 6 8
Workout A
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 8 8
Leg Curl 8 8
Leg Extension 6 8
Seated Calf Raise 8 8
Planks 6 30 sec
Workout B
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Hack Squat 8 8
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 8 8
Goblet Squat 6 8
Leg Press Calf Press 8 8
Hanging Knee Raise 6 15

Workout FAQ

Do I have to use the dumbbell bench press?

No. You can use any dumbbell or barbell bench press variation.

Do I have to use machine exercises?

No. You can use any suitable dumbbell or barbell exercise replacement.

Can I use pull ups instead of lat pull downs?

Yes.

Can I use barbell rows instead of seated cable rows?

Yes.

Can I use squats instead of leg press?

You could, but the muscle soreness will be unbearable. This is a rest-pause workout. Squats might leave you in pain for a week to come.

Isn't this a lot of sets?

Yes, but it's a rest-pause workout. Because you are restricting rest in between sets, the amount of weight you will be using for each exercise will drop slightly. So while the volume is increasing, the intensity is decreasing.

Shredded six pack abs

21 day cycle Cardio Workout

Perform the following cardio workout after each resistance training session. If you are pressed for time (or the gym is packed), you can also perform this session later in the day or first thing in the morning on your training days.

For this cardio workout you will need:

This cardio session should take you around 15 minutes, or maybe longer. Perform the following sequence 5 to 6 times through using no rest between exercises and treadmill work. 

Cardio Workout
21 Day Shred
Exercise Reps
Push Ups 10
Jumping Jacks 20
Burpees 10
Treadmill walking - slow & steady pace 30 seconds
Lying Floor Knee Raise 20
Jump Squats 10
Mountain Climbers 20 each leg
Treadmill walking - slow & steady pace 30 seconds

Diet Plan For Men

This eating plan restricts food consumption prior to 5 pm. You will focus on low carb, high fat, high protein eating. Dinner (your main meal) should be eaten around 5-6 pm, and your pre-bed snack around 8-9 pm.

Here is the meal plan schedule for men:

  • 8 am - 3 scrambled eggs (large) cooked in 2 pats of butter, with any veggies you prefer such as peppers, diced onion, mushrooms, spinach, etc. This meal contains about 330 calories and 20-22 grams of protein.
  • 11 am - Whey protein shake, 3 fish oil softgels and 3 ounces of strawberries or blueberries. This meal contains about 157 calories and 22-25 grams of protein.
  • 2 pm - 2 pieces of regular fat string cheese and one ounce of almonds. This meal contains about 324 calories and 22 grams of protein.
  • Dinner (post-workout) - Pick from one of the 3 dinner choices below.
  • Pre-bed Snack - Casein protein shake, 3 fish oil softgels and a medium apple. This meal contains about 213 calories and 25 grams of protein.
Dinner - Meal 1
  • 10 ounces of baked, boneless and skinless chicken breast. (312 calories and 65 grams of protein)
  • Sour cream and salsa topping for chicken breast. Combine 2 ounces of full-fat, natural sour cream with 2 ounces of salsa. (141 calories and 2 grams of protein)
  • Spinach salad. 2 cups of spinach, 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (dressing), salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 diced onion, 10 halved cherry tomatoes, 3 ounces of diced mozzarella (full-fat) cheese, one ounce of diced black olives. (631 calories and 23.2 grams of protein)
Dinner - Meal 2
  • 8 ounces of 70% lean ground beef mixed with 1/2 packet of taco seasoning mix, and topped with 2 ounces of guacamole. (743 calories and 60 grams of protein)
  • Place the beef over a bed of: 2 cups of shredded lettuce, 1/2 cup fresh salsa, 1/2 cup shredded (full-fat) cheddar cheese, and one ounce of sour cream. (343 calories and 15.6 grams of protein)
Dinner - Meal 3
  • 8 ounces of salmon. (466 calories, 50 grams of protein)
  • Lemon butter sauce for salmon: 3 melted pats of butter combined with the juice of one lemon and 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic. (112 calories)
  • Spinach salad. 2 cups of spinach tossed with a dressing of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 ounce of walnuts, and 1 ounce of dried cranberries. (518 calories and 3.6 grams of protein)

Lat pull downs

Diet Plan For Women

Here is the meal plan schedule for women:

  • 8 am - 2 scrambled eggs (large) cooked in 2 pats of butter, with any veggies you prefer such as peppers, diced onion, mushrooms, spinach, etc. This meal contains about 260 calories and 14-16 grams of protein.
  • 11 am - Whey protein shake, 3 fish oil softgels and 3 ounces of strawberries or blueberries. This meal contains about 157 calories and 22-25 grams of protein.
  • 2 pm - 1 piece of regular fat string cheese and one ounce of almonds. This meal contains about 244 calories and 16 grams of protein.
  • Dinner (post-workout) - Pick from one of the 3 dinner choices below.
  • Pre-bed Snack - Casein protein shake and 3 fish oil softgels. This meal contains about 143 calories and 25 grams of protein.
Dinner - Meal 1
  • 6 ounces of baked, boneless and skinless chicken breast. (187 calories and 39 grams of protein)
  • Sour cream and salsa topping for chicken breast. Combine 1 ounce of full-fat, natural sour cream with 1 ounce of salsa. (71 calories and 1 gram of protein)
  • Spinach salad. 2 cups of spinach, 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (dressing), salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 diced onion, 5 halved cherry tomatoes, 1.5 ounces of diced mozzarella (full-fat) cheese. (432 calories and 16 grams of protein)
Dinner - Meal 2
  • 6 ounces of 70% lean ground beef mixed with 1/2 packet of taco seasoning mix, and topped with 1 ounce of guacamole. (545 calories and 44 grams of protein)
  • Place the beef over a bed of: 1 cup of shredded lettuce, 1/2 cup fresh salsa, and 1/4 cup shredded (full-fat) cheddar cheese. (161 calories and 7.6 grams of protein)
Dinner - Meal 3
  • 6 ounces of salmon. (350 calories, 37.6 grams of protein)
  • Lemon butter sauce for salmon: 2 melted pats of butter combined with the juice of one lemon and 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic. (76 calories)
  • Spinach salad. 2 cups of spinach tossed with a dressing of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 ounce of walnuts and 1/2 ounce of dried cranberries. (254 calories and 2.7 grams of protein)

Diet Plan FAQ

What if I don't like the meal choices?

These meal choices are merely examples. You can swap in any protein source, fats and veggies. Just make sure you are not eating rice, potatoes, oatmeal or any other non-fruit or veggie carbs.

For men, dinner calories should equal around 1,076. For women, calories should come to around 690.

Do I need to use casein and whey protein?

No. You can swap in any protein foods as long as the calories come to about 120.

429 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:03
NRT

Do you do all the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next one? Or do all of the exercises once through x 8?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:49
JoshEngland

Hi NRT,

Yes, that is correct.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:29
Meaghan

What is another substitution for strawberries and or blueberries with the 11am Shake if you haven’t made it to the grocery store yet for them?

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Posted Thu, 06/14/2018 - 18:01
Waqas

Hi coach

First of all thanks for your replays and secondly i completed 3 weeks for this workout and i lost 3.2kg to 3.5kg of weight, this workout really helped me a lot in losing fat and weight as well. My question can I repeat the same workout for 3 weeks more after resting 1 week? And can i repeat it for alteast 2 more cycles ao in this way i can perform this workout for 3 times with a gap of 1 week and after that i can choose any other workout for building lean muscles. Please guide me in this regard.
Thanks & Regards.
Waqas

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:56
JoshEngland

Hi Waqas,

Sure! You can set up your workout cycles like that no problem.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/03/2018 - 20:54
Noshid Naheed

Hi coach,

Is there a certain amount of each macro source I should be having?

If so how do I work out on how many of each I should be eating and how much calories I should be having in a day?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/04/2018 - 10:32
JoshEngland
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Posted Sun, 06/03/2018 - 10:15
Tyler

What is the recommended test period between sets?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/04/2018 - 10:32
JoshEngland

Hi Tyler,

Go with 30-45 Secs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 06/02/2018 - 01:39
Viraj

Is there a cheat day?

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Posted Fri, 06/01/2018 - 02:33
Kenneth A

Hey man!
This looks like a nice program, and I can't wait to try it in a few weeks when my exams are done. But I wanted to ask about how many percentage of carbs, fats and proteins you would recommend to take on this diet.

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Posted Thu, 05/31/2018 - 16:43
Waqas

Hi coach
In the day 4th there is hack squat and my gym has v squat machine is it the same exercise as today i am done with my 1st week. And i did v squat instead of hack squat. Please guide me in this regard.
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/01/2018 - 08:43
JoshEngland

Hi Waqas,

That is a fine substitution.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 05/28/2018 - 16:21
Michael J. Yong

Hi there,

Is it possible to do the cardio fasted in the morning instead?

I always find myself never having enough energy to do cardio after my weight lifting portion.

Regards,

Michael.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:11
JoshEngland

Hi Michael,

Sure that is fine. Doesn't have to be done fasted either, you can simply do the cardio whenever you find the time to do it during the day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 05/25/2018 - 22:22
Waqas

Hi coach
Can i do cardio 30 mins in the morning with 4 abs exercises and in the evening same weight exercises as mentioned in the plan.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:12
JoshEngland

Hi Waqas,

Sure that should be fine. However, the additional work might not be necessary.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 05/24/2018 - 03:15
Tom

Hi

tbh, I'm confused. If I read Ian's other article: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/get-crazy-ripped-with-these-8..., he is actually suggesting to do the exact opposite.

This workout is high rep & mid (light) weights and his other article states and I quote: Forget about training light. Switching to high rep sets and a lighter weight when trying to get shredded is a recipe for disaster. Heavy weight encourages your body to maintain its existing muscle mass.

Can someone explain that to me? I guess I missed something of this workout, which btw is quite good.

Thanks

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Posted Tue, 05/22/2018 - 14:15
Sam

Sir, just need to know that do i have to sum up my calories deficit from the maintenance. My maintaince calories are 2500. Also is it good to cardio just after gym workout ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:13
JoshEngland

Hi Sam,

Simply subtract 250-500 calories from maintenance for your deficit.

Yes, performing cardio post workout is fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 05/12/2018 - 11:40
Jessica

Can I have coffee?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:01
JoshEngland

Hi Jessica,

Yes, you can include coffee in your diet.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 05/10/2018 - 18:42
Stefania Minisini

If I train early in the morning, then should my dinner be light? (Instead of the suggested post workout dinner)

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Posted Thu, 05/03/2018 - 18:07
Oscar

Are you supposed to feel like crap while you’re doing this diet plan? because I just started it’s been like one week and I have a headache and feel very lethargic and sleepy!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 05/04/2018 - 08:32
JoshEngland

Hi Oscar,

It's possible. It's a very generic diet plan and doesn't account for every individual's specific needs. This particular plan would be wayyyyy to low cal and carb for me personally.

My recommendation would be to start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Subtract 250-500 calories from that number.

Then go here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-calculate-perfect-macros

And finally, finish up here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 05/02/2018 - 08:34
Katy

I workout at lunch, typically around 12:30. How would you restructure the meals around that type of schedule?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/02/2018 - 09:25
JoshEngland

Hi Katy,

So long as you get the calories you need in to accomplish your goals, you'll be fine regardless of when you eat them. If you plan to eat before your workout at lunch, I'd recommend a meal with carbs and protein to fuel your workout and recovery.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 05/01/2018 - 02:10
DarkKnight

So after 2 to 3 cycles of this program which program should i follow? Can i follow still this program with higher calories intake. Thank you!!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/01/2018 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi DarkKnight,

Yes, that is one option. If you're looking for more of a muscle building program after 2 fat loss phases, you can check out these workouts:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/muscle-building

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 04/30/2018 - 17:54
Garrett

I really don’t like salsa and black olives and tomatoes. What can I substitute to get the same calories and effect ?

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Posted Thu, 04/26/2018 - 16:59
carolina SH

HI I just started this program about a week in, I am doing it to lose fat so i can move on to gaining muscle. What workout routine and diet would you recommend for after i finish this program?

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Posted Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:00
Sahil

Is it neccessary to be on keto diet.
I mean i take 2100 calorie amd protein and low fat amd med carb..?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:17
JoshEngland

Hi Sahil,

No, it's not necessary to be on a keto diet. A diet that creates a calorie deficit is necessary if your goal is fat loss.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 04/22/2018 - 23:49
DarkKnight

So 30 seconds between wach sets then how long between each exercise?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Darkknight,

Keep rest in between exercises to a minimum. You should only rest for however long it takes to move to the next station and get set up.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/20/2018 - 17:45
Kelley

Hi, instead of 8 reps 8 sets can i do 16 reps for 4 sets?

thanks, i'm really liking this plan so far! (halfway through!)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:31
JoshEngland

Hi Kelley,

You can, however, I wouldn't recommend that substitution. 8 x 8 is going to allow you to lift more weight to aid in greater calorie expenditure and eventually greater fat loss.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:48
Marc

I'm on week two and am noticing a huge drop in my strength. Is this normal?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:38
JoshEngland

Hi Marc,

Potentially. Have you cut calories? Cut carbs? How is your sleep and hydration? Are you used to the rep ranges in this program? Stressed out about something?

A lot of factors go into absolute strength. Could be the program, could be other things.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 04/16/2018 - 18:15
Steven Sanchez

Dinner says post workout. I usually don’t get home from the gym till around 9pm. Should I eat a dinner that late? Also what about the before bed snack?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:36
JoshEngland

Hi Steven,

As long as you're consistently eating the calories you need to meet your goals, when you eat those calories doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/13/2018 - 18:23
Eric

I prefer to do my workouts in the morning. Will that work or is the idea to have the big calorie dinner and then workout later that evening after dinner?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:36
JoshEngland

Hi Eric,

When you eat your calories doesn't matter all too much so long as you eat the appropriate amount of calories consistently every day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 04/08/2018 - 09:34
Mary

Can this be done on a 3 day training a week n not 4 days

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/09/2018 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Mary,

Sure, simply alternate the workout performed on each training day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 04/05/2018 - 21:53
JohnStilo

what about warm up? should i do some lighter weights for first few sets and then go for 8x8, or immediately grab the weight for the 8x8?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/06/2018 - 09:11
JoshEngland
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Posted Tue, 04/03/2018 - 12:36
Bharti

Hi.. i am pure vegeterian . Please guide me about diet..
Thanks

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Posted Tue, 04/03/2018 - 11:54
ABi

Hey , for the 21 one day fast n furious diet .Would there be anything else to substitute the 3 eggs ?

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 05:25
Amy Mason

Hi Ian! Loving the idea of this plan and excited to start it today. Just a quick question:

I am a 5ft 5 female weighing 9 stone 2 pounds and I'm mainly looking to shred fat and build a bit of muscle as I'm what is often referred to as 'skinny fat'! Would I see results with this plan? I am going away in four weeks so wanted to try it out for this holiday, then will be continuing with strength building exercises when I return.