Make it Count: 3 great cleanses to get you ready for summer (column) |

Make it Count: 3 great cleanses to get you ready for summer (column)

Two weeks ago I discussed the virtues of dietary cleanses. Elimination diets cause rapid weight loss, give your digestive system — and other bodily functions — a time to rest, and most importantly, engage healthy behaviors that promote long-term benefits.

Even though cleanses aren’t sustainable, they’re a great short-term commitment to health that generates outstanding results. Need to get into summer shape quickly? Here are a few cleanses that you should consider.


The Master Cleanse: Stanley Burroughs first introduced the Master Cleanse nearly 50 years ago. I’ve never attempted this cleanse, but I coach many students who claim success with this strategy. Simply, mix 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 8 ounces of water and a dash of cayenne pepper. Drink 6-12 glasses per day, for 10 days.

The Velocity Diet: Chris Shugart, a legendary fitness professional, formulated this diet for fitness enthusiasts who needed to drop body-fat, rapidly. This strategy is best suited for active individuals. The diet consists of 4 specific shakes, and one solid meal of lean proteins and vegetables ranging between 300-600 calories, per day. On non-workout days, consume 880 calories. Active days, men consume 1,300 calories; women consume 1,000. You’re encouraged to lift weights three days per week, and take daily walks. Perform this for 28 days. I have consistently lost 20 pounds, and 2 inches off my waist using this system.

Water Fasting: Simply, drink nothing but water for a set period of time. I recommend a minimum of 60 hours. No supplements, coffee, tea, chewing gum, or soda — just drink water. It’s somewhat controversial, but intermittent and block fasting has been around since the beginning of time. Dr. Jason Fung’s great work “The Obesity Code” is based on fasting, and he is eliminating type-2 diabetes, hypertension and other diseases with his patients using this approach. I’m currently at the tail end of a 6-day water fast — I’ll report back in a few weeks with the results — and details of this fascinating approach to weight loss and wellness.


Here are a few pointers to consider. Before embarking on a cleanse, it’s a good idea to consult your physician to discuss the safety of any of these strategies. However, unless you’re a teen, pregnant woman, or have an underlying medical condition including diabetes, these programs are generally safe and generate good results.

Keep in mind, the theme in all of these approaches is reducing caloric intake, sometimes drastically. In general, the overall commandment in weight loss — and giving your system a rest — is less food. When you end the cleanse, it’s critical to ease back into proper eating. If you go back to old habits, or binge on junk food, then you will gain all the weight back, and then some. Velocity Diet notwithstanding, it’s also a good idea to take it easy when your cleansing. You’re in a caloric deficit, and you don’t need to break any fitness records during this time.

Good luck with these, and have a great week.

Ryan Richards is a fitness professional who has been keeping the Vail Valley strong for over a decade. You can find him at or 970-401-0720.

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