Bodybuilding Champion Turned Personal Chef Talks All Things Summer Fitness

Carlo Filippone is the personal chef for actor and model Tyson Beckford

The Daily Meal spoke with bodybuilding champ turned personal chef Carlo Filippone

As summer approaches, looking good in a swim suit is on everyone’s mind. A quick Google search of, “tips for weight loss” will result in a lot of conflicting information that is largely unreliable. Sometimes you just need to take the word of an expert — someone with years of experience shedding pounds, building muscle, and staying in shape.

The Daily Meal spoke with bodybuilding champ turned personal chef, and owner of Elite Lifestyle Cuisine Carlo Filippone to talk about transitioning from the gym to the kitchen, clean eating, weight loss, and how to get defined abs for summer. Filippone is currently the personal chef for model and actor Tyson Beckford, and if you’ve ever seen Beckford (clothed or shirtless), you’ll realize that Filippone really knows what he’s talking about.

The Daily Meal: What was the hardest part of transitioning from body builder to chef?

Carlo Filippone: Food has always been something that I loved. Creating healthy meals came very natural to me. That being said, I had to give very strong consideration to the menu items I created. I had to ensure that every menu item was not only nutritious, but delicious and appealing as well. Bodybuilders’ diets typically aren't the most flavorsome!

Is there a particular “abs diet” that helps get that six pack?

No two metabolisms are created equal, so when it comes to getting defined abs, each case is unique. However, there are some universal pointers that transcend natural genetic differences, such as consistent clean eating, moderate aerobic activity, moderate anaerobic activity, and mental stability.

A great dietary measuring stick from a macronutrient perspective is the 80/20 rule — where you consume a combined 80 percent of your daily calories from lean proteins and complex carbohydrates and only 20 percent of your calories from fats. A great rule of thumb is to consume 50 percent of your calories from lean proteins (lean poultry, lean white fish, egg whites, and lean cuts of red meat) and 30 percent of your calories from complex carbohydrate sources (oats, potatoes, yams, rice, quinoa) and only 20 percent of your calories from fats (stick to olive oils, raw nuts, avocados, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil). Combine that formula with a healthy dose of physical activity and reduced-stress levels... and you have a perfect recipe!

Is there a safe way to lose five pounds in a week?

Yes! Some people will tell you to work out twice per day or hit the sauna or something of that nature, however... Most people's diets are so bad that simply cutting out simple sugars will work (sweetened beverages are the biggest culprits). Think about this: A Grande Frappuccino from Starbucks contains 72 grams of carbohydrates — 69 of those from simple sugars! If you consume one per day, you would be consuming almost 2,000 calories from sugar in just the Frappuccino alone! And if you’re not consuming sugars, then consider your sodium intake! Eliminating sodium-laden foods could immediately drop your body weight by eliminating water-retention.

What percentage body fat do you need to be before your abs are defined?

I've seen great ab definition in people with three percent body fat and then I've seen great ab definition in people with 20 percent body fat! Again, it comes down to genetics — however, most of us fall into the eight to fifteen percent body fat bracket in order to show true abdominal definition.

What are the best foods to eat before (and after) lifting weights?

If you are going to consume fresh fruit... this is the time to do it! The natural sugars will elevate your blood-sugar levels prior to your workout and help them rebound post workout. If you are not a fruit person, then starchy "white" carbs (potatoes, white rice) will work well. At the end of a workout, you should consume carbs, but combine them with a high-quality protein either by way of a whey protein shake or a lean meat protein.

Are there any particular foods that should be avoided at all cost?


Yes... Absolutely! Processed foods! These include cheeses, bread, "snack" items, cured meats (bacon) and food items with added sugars — high fructose corn syrup most particularly!