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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

3.8 143
by Jillian Michaels

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You’ve seen her change lives on The Biggest Loser–why not yours?

Are you in good shape but struggling with those last ten to twenty pounds? Do you have an event on the calendar where you’d love to make jaws drop? Or do you just want to see what it would be like to have the best body you’ve ever had? Then you need to discover what


You’ve seen her change lives on The Biggest Loser–why not yours?

Are you in good shape but struggling with those last ten to twenty pounds? Do you have an event on the calendar where you’d love to make jaws drop? Or do you just want to see what it would be like to have the best body you’ve ever had? Then you need to discover what millions who’ve seen Jillian’s training methods on The Biggest Loser already know!

Making the Cut empowers you to:

• Identify your unique body type and metabolic makeup (are you a fast, slow, or balanced oxidizer?) and customize a diet plan that is perfect for you
• Acquire the mental techniques that will greatly enhance your self-confidence and sharpen your focus on success
• Develop your strength, flexibility, coordination, and endurance
• Reach levels of fitness you never before thought possible

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Making the Cut by fitness trainer Jillian Michaels is the perfect book to get you in the best shape of your life.”
Complete Woman

Product Details

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Making the Cut by fitness trainer Jillian Michaels is the perfect book to get you in the best shape of your life.”
Complete Woman

Meet the Author

JILLIAN MICHAELS is a strength trainer and life coach for NBC’s hit series The Biggest Loser. She hosts a successful website, www.jillianmichaels.com, and is the author of Winning by Losing.

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Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 142 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This workout & nutrition program is intense!! I love how the book breaks down different eating plans for different metabolisms also. As someone who constantly researches new ways of fitness training, this book has become my new bible. It's definitely for a more experienced/fitness savvy person. If you're a beginner it's probably not the best option for you until you bring your fitness level up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jillian is an expert & her book demonstrates her wealth of knowledge. She warns you in the beginning it's not for the faint of heart- she's not joking. You'll have alot of prep work to do for the menus 'not to mention the expense of a big grocery bill'. The exercises are intense, but worth it. The layout isn't user friendly- you'll spend time flipping through to find exercise descriptions it would have been helpful to list the page # beside the specific exercises. Same situation w/ menus & recipes. I can highly recommend this book ONLY if you read ahead & know your exercises plan ahead with your menu & prep work, especially if you're a normal busy person. Bottom line is that you have to work hard in all areas- organization, planning, exercise & diet if you're going to make this work. True of any program, but you can't lose w/ Jillian.
sublimelmf More than 1 year ago
The book itself seems fantastic! I read the whole thing in a day! But the thing is, the workouts are too advanced for me. If you haven't already been training then try a different one. If you have been training though, then this book will be great!! The recipes and meal plans are awesome too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found it disheartening that the instructions on the exercise said not to stop between sets within circuits. However, with the amount of different moves, it is impossible not to stop in order to learn the moves. She says to review the written instructions before starting. With 5 circuits containing approximately 16 moves, this is not realistic! Also, some pictures of the moves, don't match the written instructions. As to the menus...there is no coordination between ingredients. i.e. You'd have partially used cartons of dozens of foods, because you would only use a small portion once. Not for anyone who wants to have a normal grocery bill. Also, the recipes are quite complex (even lunch) and would take too much time to assemble for each meal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jillian is back at kicking our butts with this book. Every bit of it is a great workout. Each workout is easy to understand and gives the overall benefits from each workout in addition to specific exercises. She is just awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are already slightly in shape or athletic and want to really see a difference this book helps you look great. It is encouraging in a non-self-help way, so you don't feel embarrassed to read it.
pegaroo More than 1 year ago
I was skeptical about buying a fitness celebrity book, but I was surprised by how much I liked the book. I think her information is accurate and delivered in a no-nonsense way. She doesn't overwhelm with a lot of scientific information, nor does she try to come across as someone who knows it all. Its got a good program with diet and exercise that can give anyone a starting place - just starting out or needing to change up your routine. I used it to approach my workouts in a different way. I have seen some real improvements in my knee pain and I credit the workout because I started training legs so much more than before. I haven't lost any weight on it, but I have not attempted to overhaul my diet yet. Its a good book, worth it if you can get it at a lower price and its filled with good info and ideas.
lsjd2000 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for weight loss - it is geared more towards those that have already been working out and losing weight vs a beginner who has never worked out before. If you are in your last 10-30pounds to lose this book is great if you are just starting try her book winning by losing. This book has a simple fitness test in it plus the pics of proper weightlifting and different exercises are great.
DarkAngel79 More than 1 year ago
I first got this book for myself and it has given me all that I need to work out to the best of my ablity and it is a great gift. My sister in law found this book very helpful with her goal for her last 10 lbs that just wouldn't leave. Over all it would highly recomend this book for those who are looking to lose weight.
CQNY More than 1 year ago
I used this book and not only learned more about food and exercise but all the diet methods out there and what can really help. This book is a amazing workout, where you will see your body transform in a very short period of time. The meals are delicious and I was never hungry. I lost 9 pounds and I started the book again to drop the remaining 5 lbs. Jillian is the most informative person that I have ever read, thanks to this book I am back in fighting shape after many unsuccessful tries in the past. If you are in good health and have been working out, add this book to your routine and you will be ripped in no time!
Mythical_MiLee More than 1 year ago
Okay, first off Jillian Michaels is amazing - her no nonsense style is refreshing in an industry where so many fitness books offer you the 'easy' way or 'quick fix' options. Though this book is geared towards those already somewhat fit and needing to only shed those last 5-20lbs it is a great read for anyone trying to lose weight. Especially if you have already started working out and eating healthy - this will help you burst through a plateau in you weight loss. There is so much information in here that can be applied to your entire health routine that I highly recommend it for anyone who cares about their health and fitness. I have it in hard back and ebook. Well worth the money as it helped me improve my health and lose weight!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Embedded tables are oriented in landscape and the reader doesn't allow you to rotate them (confirmed with B&N). This was a waste of $ since the tables are a major component of the plan. I've requested a refund and am waiting for a response from B&N. I'm done with this reader since you won't know on future purchases if they have the same issue.
GETRIPPEDNLEAN More than 1 year ago
i have a bunch of workout books, and diet books, and magazine workouts and all the crap you could think of...but NONE can compare with this one! by far the BEST one i own..the workout circuits are incredible!! you will drop pounds,get lean,get ripped, and kick your own butt IF you follow her regimine! also the diet recipies are wonderful. u can learn a TON about overall health and fitness with this book.
srgann More than 1 year ago
I learned a bunch that I didn't know. It's a very strict program and though it sounds good, I have not put it into practice yet.
jprince More than 1 year ago
I have been a runner for several years now. I have a healthy level of endurance. It has not helped me through Jillian's workouts. They are kicking my butt. It is an amazing workout. If you really do what she asks of you, you will feel like you are working out, possibly harder than you've ever worked out before. I haven't finished the whole program, so I can't evaluate the overall effectiveness, but I am really enjoying the plan and feel like there's no way it can't work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book and believe that it definitely covers all topics to help one maintain a healthy and balanced life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i bought her book right when it came out, read it in a couple hours and started her exercise and food plan the very next day. the exercise is hard, but i feel SO GOOD! im not much of a cook, so i havent made any of the recipes, but it doesnt matter, i am eating close to what she suggests...i highly recommend this book if you are ready to work really hard exercising.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very inspirational. Painfully truthfull. Empowering. Jillian, as always, tells it like it is, but this time she tells alot more. She talks about how to use food and supplements to balance your hormones and rev up your metabolism. An eye opener. Highly recommend.
Forensicbronxnurse More than 1 year ago
this would have been better had I bought it in book form and not nook, to many exercises to try to remember. Very easy read as well.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Jillian's in your face message and i found this book really inyeresting and helpful. The videos are fantastic! That said, while the book really does a great job of breaking everything down, the diet portion of the book is lacking for vegetarians. I've been a vegetarian fir most of my life and am pretty good with adapting foods from meateater menus but I found it a bit difficult to adapt the menus in this book. All in all, the book is definitely worth buying, especially the enhanced version. I find myself referring back to it as a reminder snd a reference to help remind me of how far I've come to get cut. The advice on exercise, nutrition and lifestyle is solid.
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