It’s no secret that it takes a great deal of sacrifice to achieve the lean, chiseled physique necessary to have visible six-pack abs. Not only does your training need to be on-point, but your diet has to be extremely fine-tuned, as well. Personal trainer and body transformation specialist Ngo Okafor has helped hundreds of men realize the dream of a Fight Club-style physique throughout his career, and in a new, expansive interview with Men’s Health, he says that many of his clients share at least one mistake in common when it comes to how they fuel up.

Specifically, he says, even when people think they’re eating lean and healthy, they’re still eating way too much to ever reach single-digit body fat percentages. Perhaps most surprisingly, he argues that protein might be one of the biggest culprits. “You know that whole ‘rule’ that you should eat your bodyweight in grams of protein? That is like the greatest error in this business. For a 200-pound man to consume 200 grams of protein—the amount of food and supplements you have to consume to make up for that [means] you can’t cut those last few percentages of body fat. [You] just keep shoving all this protein and shakes,” he says.

The alternative, Okafor says, is rather simple: “Just eat like a normal fucking person. Eat a normal-sized portion. A normal-sized plate. Most people don’t need to consume more than 10 or 12 ounces of steak or chicken in one sitting.” Okafor also advises his clients to cut back as much as they can on carbs if they want to get truly shredded, and give up alcohol entirely for the duration of his typically month-long training plans. That said, he does make some allowances.

“We all have a slight sugar addiction, so carbs are hard for people to cut. Which is why I have my clients eat oatmeal in the morning, so you get some carbs. And then for your snack, you get like a handful of nuts. You can have some raisins and cranberries in it so you get some sweet taste, so you don’t feel like like you’re suffering.” The hard-and-fast approach may not be for everyone, but if you’re trying to get shredded in a hurry, it requires both consistency and sacrifice.

Or as Okafor puts it more bluntly, “You wake up and you go. So stop being soft. Get up and do it.” For more advice—including a look at the training plan Okafor prescribes and how it differs from his own routine—check out the rest of Okafor’s new Men’s Health interview.

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