The End Of The Best Diet Plan

If you’re reading this, then it appears that you’ve made it all the way to the end of my free (and awesome) guide to creating The Best Diet Plan. Sweet!

At this point, I have just 4 things left to say.

1. Congrats!

First of all… congratulations are in order.

You’ve now learned more about diet, nutrition, and how to get the results you want than the majority of the population will ever learn in their lifetime. Congrats!

2. Put It To Use!

I hope you liked the guide and actually use what you’ve learned to create the diet plan that will work best for you and your specific goal.

Because honestly, reading and learning and understanding is great and all, but the only way it’s truly going to work is if you actually put it into action. So… do that.

3. But Wait, There’s MORE! So Much More!

Believe it or not, I still have a TON of information to share with you here at A Calorie Counter.

While The Best Diet Plan was pretty damn comprehensive, there actually is a whole lot of stuff that I purposely left out, skipped over or just felt didn’t fit right as a part of this guide.

And the more I think about, the more I realize just how much additional important and useful stuff there is to say about diet, nutrition, supplements, losing fat, building muscle, and really just improving your diet, your health and the way your body looks or performs.

Luckily, I fully plan on sharing all of it right here on a regular basis. To make sure you never miss any of it, be sure to subscribe to A Calorie Counter via email using the form directly below this article or on the top right side of this page.

You can also subscribe via RSS if you prefer it.

4. Give Me Your Feedback!

And last but not least, I want to hear your feedback. In fact, I want 3 different kinds of feedback.

  1. First, I want to know what you thought of the guide.
    I want to know what you liked best, what section was most useful, what you wish I covered in more detail or explained better, what you felt was missing (if anything), and basically your thoughts and opinions on the guide itself.
  2. Second, I want to answer your questions.
    If you had any questions about any aspect of diet or nutrition, creating your diet plan, reaching your specific goal (losing fat, building muscle, etc.), or anything else while reading any part of this guide, just leave a comment below and ask me. I will answer.
  3. Third, I want to hear how well it’s working for you.
    Once you start using the information contained in this guide, guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to start getting the results you want. Sounds good, huh? Trust me… it is. And when that starts happening for you, I want to hear all about it in the comments below.

The End

Well, that’s about it.

Once again I hope you liked the guide (and if you did, be sure to tell your friends about it) and I hope you actually use what you’ve learned from it.

I also hope you subscribe because I plan on writing similarly awesome and useful guides in the future.

And again, if you have any questions, comments, feedback or just want to tell me how well it’s working for you, just leave a comment below.

Enjoy your results.

(This article is part of a completely free and amazingly awesome guide to creating the absolute best diet plan possible for your exact goal and preferences. Check out the entire guide here: The Best Diet Plan)

image description Comments (995)

Leave Reply
  • Samantha Muir September 07, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS GUIDE!!! I knew the basics but was getting frustrated because of how much information is out there for dieting and losing weight! I use livestrong.com and anytimehealth.com and now with your guide it just solidifies everything I have been researching and practicing to reach my target weight and muscle toning. I love how easy to read and follow your guide is. I also enjoyed the humor in your writing when talking about myths in dieting and meal frequency. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 07, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      You are quite welcome Samantha. Awesome to hear you liked it!

      Reply
  • Todd September 07, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    You know this already from all the comments, but this is the most complete, comprehensive, educational and straight forward guide I have come across on the web (and like most, I’ve read a bunch of them).

    Well done sir, I will be sharing this with everyone I know that claims other than the truth that you have shed a direct light on!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 07, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks man, that’s exactly what I was shooting for when I put it all together.

      Thanks for spreading it around!

      Reply
  • stef September 09, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E96b4Tg9PWU&feature=plcp hey man id like to hear your opinion about what this guy says cause i think hes pretty knowledgeable and his opinion is science based like yours

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 09, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      No time to watch right now, what specifically are looking for an opinion on?

      Reply
      • stef September 09, 2012 at 7:20 pm

        well he has a pretty different opinion about post workout nutrition than you and i think you should watch it cause i ve seen other guys say the same thing like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cjFQr1pWT8&feature=plcp

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter September 09, 2012 at 10:51 pm

          Give me a brief summary of what this different post workout opinion is.

          Reply
          • stef September 10, 2012 at 4:14 am

            well they pretty much say that if you have had a preworkout meal before training,lets say 1-3 hours,then there’s no need to eat something immediately after workout cause you already have nutrients in your system since a normal sized meal takes about 5-6 hours or more to get digested and the anabolic window that once was thought to be an hour after training is more like 24 hours.also they claim that theres no point in eating carbs after training cause protein alone can elevate insulin and prohibit muscle breakdown and glycogen depletion in a typical weight training routine is pretty small.they back it up with some studies and thats why id like to hear your opinion about it

            Reply
            • stef September 10, 2012 at 4:16 am

              actually i find out that alan aragon says the same thing.question 3 http://fitnfly.com/learn-about-food/nutrition-facts#

            • aCalorieCounter September 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

              Here’s a quote from my pre/post article regarding the post workout meal:

              “However, if you already got your PRE workout meal right, then it probably doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as some people make it seem.”

              So that’s not really much different from what I say.

              Here’s a question though… right after the guy mentions “there’s no need to eat something immediately after workout” does he suggest you actually do that? Does he recommend you wait hours and hours before eating? Or does he back track and say you should probably still eat a meal soon after your workout anyway?

              And after he says you don’t need carbs, does he suggest you actually avoid carbs post workout?

              There’s a difference between saying ‘don’t do this because it’s counterproductive’ and ‘this may not be HUGELY beneficial but it’s probably still a good idea to do it anyway.’

              And here’s another quote from my article… it’s the main point of the whole thing really:

              “No matter what any diet guru or supplement company claims, the most important part of your diet is always your total calorie, protein, fat and carb intake for the day, not some magical world of “nutrient timing” or any other such nonsense.

              But yeah, proper PRE and POST workout nutrition will certainly play a positive role in your overall results.

              Is it enough of a role to make or break your diet or your ability to lose fat, build muscle, or reach a similar goal? Nope. Is it enough of a role to make up for failing to get the real important stuff right? Definitely not.

              But, assuming you’re already doing the important stuff correctly, getting your PRE and POST workout meals right is the icing on the cake.

              So, surround your workouts with meals that contain a nice amount of protein and carbs, and don’t waste time or energy making it much more complicated than that.”

            • aCalorieCounter September 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

              And looking past post workout nutrition, there may be additional calorie partitioning benefits to consuming a nice amount of calories/nutrients around your workout.

              Another benefit to eating at that time.

            • stef September 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

              that makes perfect sense.thank you very much for your answer.

  • Holly September 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Awesome guide, this is by far the most comprehensive, organized, informative and easy to read guide I’ve come across anywhere. You’ve made the intimidating task of diet planning for building muscles and/or losing fat possible for anyone, thanks!!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks for the compliments Holly, glad you liked it!

      Reply
  • MrGuy September 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    This guide has helped me out SO much! I really appreiciate it. I wish I know your name, but since I don’t, I’ll just call you Diet Guy.

    But um…yeah I have some questions if that’s all right…you see my recommended daily caloric intake is 1,793.30, and my Basal Metabolic Rate is 1494.42. I’m 21, a guy, and sedentric. But I’m planning on working out as soon as I’m sure that I know what to do. And I was going to take your advice on eating 250 calories over 1,793.30….but I’m confused. Am I supposed to BURN that 250 surplus through exercise? If so, then I’m confused again…if Basal Metabolic Rate means that the number it provides is how much I burn without doing anything, then is it possible that my BMR ITSELF will burn away the 250 surplus?

    Please help me Diet Guy. :-O I’m desperate! And thank

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Diet Guy to the rescue. ;-)

      You didn’t mention your goal, but since you did mention a surplus, I’m assuming you’re trying to build muscle?

      If so, then you are NOT supposed to increase activity to burn the surplus. If you did that, there would be no surplus. Your goal is to basically try to estimate how many calories your burn per day (your maintenance level) and then eat just a bit more than that (e.g. 250 additional calories).

      Monitor what your body weight does over the next couple of weeks and if it’s increasing at the ideal rate, you’re good. If it’s not, adjust your calorie intake up or down until it is.

      Reply
  • MrGuy September 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    OHHHHH, okay, I get it. :-D

    But um I do have about 3 other questions if that’s okay. There’s absolutely NO rush, so answer whenever you feel like it. :-D

    So you see, after your response, I redid all my info on a website and discovered that if I start working out, my daily caloric intake would need to be 2316.45. And my BMR would still be 1494.42. But here’s what confuses me…if my body naturally burns 1494.42 calories, and I’m left with 821.93 calories, what am I supposed to do with those calories? Do I burn them or leave them alone? And if I leave the 821.93 calories alone, wouldn’t my body store them as fat? Like what would happen if I did burn them? Oh, and yeah I’m trying to gain muscle. Thank you so much again for all your help! :-D

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Your BMR is the estimated amount of calories your body burns at rest to keep you alive and functioning. So, if you just sat still in a bed all day… that’s your BMR.

      But, you don’t sit in a bed all day. You move. You walk. You cook/clean/get dressed/brush your teeth and do a million other daily tasks… plus exercise.

      All of this will burn a significant amount of those 821 calories you’re left with. And then, assuming things were estimated correctly, there should still be a little bit left over to create the ideal caloric surplus you need (AKA calories that WON’T be burned by your body) to support muscle growth.

      And assuming you’re training correctly to signal muscle growth, your body will put some/most of those calories toward the creation of new muscle tissue rather than just storing them all as fat.

      Reply
  • MrGuy September 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Oh okay, now I got it. :-)

    Well I guess that’s all for now. But I really wanna thank you for all your help. I mean your articles are REALLY helpful, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates your helpx100. So yes, thank you so much Diet Guy. You are the BOMB…and when I say bomb, I mean the ATOMIC bomb that can kill us all! ;-P A li’l dark humor there.

    Anyways, take care of yourself Diet Guy! And know that it’s because of you that others, including me, are able to take care of themselves too.

    **5/5 stars for the both the Diet AND Muscle article**

    – Easy to understand

    – Extremely detailed

    – To the point

    – Funny

    ……..life changing……

    :-)

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Ha, no problem dude, thanks for the feedback.

      Be sure to keep me updated on your progress if you can.

      Reply
  • stef September 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    hey man. i wanted to ask you if we should count the protein from sources like grains and fruits in our daily protein intake or not cause i ‘ve read that they’re lower quality than meat,whey etc.thanks a lot

    Reply
    • stef September 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      i’ve also noticed that you dont include egg yolks in your good fat food sources.why is that?

      Reply
      • aCalorieCounter September 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        Mainly because I only wanted to list a few basic high quality sources of fat rather than literally every single food there is.

        Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Yes, count protein from all sources. The only real exception is if those lower quality sources are accounting for a majority of your protein intake.

      In that case the issue becomes less about what to count and more about just eating better sources of protein.

      Reply
  • Vrr September 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Hello I was wondering what if we gain a lot of fat (like Ive gained already about 6 pounds in 3 weeks it seems, although it may be a water retention too..its around my belly and tights, there were abs there before :D )SO, will we be able to stop eating more after we ve gained? I mean, what if the weigh will just continue raising after we uppered our calories intake and “let ourselves loose for more fuel :) “? Also, what would you recomend for girls to have a fat percentage? Im pretty low on fat, and BMI overall, that is why I need to be gaining..

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      If you’re trying to gain weight, you need to eat more calories. If you want to then maintain the weight you gained, you can’t go back to eating the amount you were eating before because you’ll lose whatever you gained.

      Once you reach a weight you’re happy with, you basically just need to (usually) lower your calorie intake slightly to end up maintaining rather than continuing to gain.

      Reply
  • Michael September 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I was just wondering, what is your recommendation for rest day diets? Should it just be the same amount of calories and macro nutrients or change it up for the rest day?

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      That depends on how your diet is set up. With a straight deficit or surplus, you’d have the same intake of everything everyday. With some kind of calorie cycling approach, you’d have more calories (typically via carbs) on training days, and less (typically via carbs) on off days. And then there’s a bunch of different ways that can be set up (maintenance, surplus and/or deficits on certain days of varying degrees).

      With all else being equal, it all works. Depends on what best suits the goals/needs/preferences of the person. As for me, I personally use a calorie cycling approach.

      Reply
      • Michael September 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        So if my diet is 3400 calories a day on training days, I’m trying to gain muscle and I have 2 rest days a week how should my rest day diet be configured?

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter September 30, 2012 at 3:32 pm

          Rest days can be a surplus, maintenance and even a small deficit. As mentioned above, there isn’t one way to do it… there’s a lot of ways. And each has its own pros and cons that may be more ideal for some than others.

          I’ll write plenty about calorie cycling in the near future.

          Reply
  • Kathy September 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I spent all afternoon reading “The Best Diet Plan” from the beginning to end, made all of my calculations, made a TON of notes and I’m going to start putting everything into action tomorrow morning. This has been the easiest, most down to earth, REALISTIC, and entertaining “diet plan” that I have ever come across. For me, I’m not going to be “dieting” it’s more of a life style change. I’m going to follow this all the way down to my target weight and keep adjusting everything until I’m where I need to be. I’ve been plagued with health issues following the birth of my daughter 5 years ago that lead to a kidney transplant 2 1/2 years ago. I had to lose weight to be able to have the transplant so I know I have the will power, but after the transplant my surgeon told me that I could eat what I wanted again (within limits that I obviously got carried away with). I have to lose at least 100 pounds and I hope to work my household into this as well to get everyone healthier. Thank you for putting this out there. You have taken the “complication” out of figuring it all out, and put it all together where anyone can see that it IS a lot easier when you have the information right in front of you and can make the plan specific to “YOU” as opposed to “this is how everyone does it, so you should too” plans. I appreciate all the work that you have put into this piece, and hopefully my family will too one day :)

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      You’re very welcome, Kathy. Thanks for the compliments… awesome to hear how helpful it was.

      Keep me updated if you can, I want to know the second you lose the first 20lbs, then the next 20, and every 20 after that until you hit your 100lb goal.

      Reply
  • stef September 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

    hey man.I was reading your article about cheat meals and I saw you recommend 1-2 per week.I also saw you mentioned pizza and ice cream as junky garbage food. from what i’ve read your body doesn’t see clean or unclean food but nutrients. so when you eat pizza it breaks down to protein,carbs and fat.the same with ice cream. so why can’t you make these foods a part of your diet and not consider them nutritionally worthless as long as they fit in with your macros?

    Reply
  • BALADY September 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Kathy wrote my introduction…”I spent all afternoon reading “The Best Diet Plan” from the beginning to end, made all of my calculations…This has been the easiest, most down to earth, REALISTIC, and entertaining “diet plan” that I have ever come across.” TOUCHE’! Once before, I tracked calories, fat, fiber, & sugar,(because that’s what we hear about)to get a handle on my waistline and was reasonably successful…until circumstances sucked the life right out of me and everything went by the wayside. My health has been spiraling downhill while the pounds galloped skyward until here I am 100 pounds overweight. When I questioned the doctor I was just told to eat fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables. Factual, but not very helpful. And trying to convince them I really didn’t eat as much as it looked like I did. So I started my manual tracking again last Monday,(partially for knowledge and mostly for ammunition)when it occured to me that there was no indication of how much protein I should have or was getting. What I found was that although I ate fish & chicken, my protein intake was only 25% of the RDA. (I literally woke up one morning a couple of years ago and said, “Where the hell did my muscle go?” Enter “The Best Diet Plan” and suddenly lights began flashing. The rest is almost history. I’ve signed up for the online tracker and will continue to track manually until I’m comfortable with the program. In the meantime, thank you for providing the knowledge, guidance and tools to move forward and toward better health. You are a gift! The fact that it’s free almost makes me giddy!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter September 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm

      Ha, awesome! Very happy to hear how helpful this was. Flashing lights and giddiness are exactly what I was shooting for. ;-)

      Be sure to keep me updated on your progress if you can. I’d love to hear how well you’re doing.

      Reply
      • BALADY November 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm

        9/24/12=269…11/15/12=244…7 1/2 weeks and a total weight loss of 25 pounds. Initially it was as if someone had taken a blow torch to a body of butter…8 pounds the first week, 9 the second…followed by a 3-pound bounce the 3rd week. Then 3,4,1,2,1 so it appears to be leveling off. Changes made? I track EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth(calories,fat,protein,carbs,fiber,sugar,salt)aiming for established goals. 2.)I look for the highest protein with the lowest calories (fish)concentrating on single-ingredient foods (no more packaged, processed stuff)and using Whey Protein as a booster. 3)I’ve cut WAY back on dairy, particularly cheese. I’m amazed at how many calories I was injesting in so little actual food. And yes, I take a free day every 10-14 days. I purposely took exercise off the table until I felt it could be added in without squelching my enthusiasm…as it turns out, I’m feeling better and doing yard/garden work which is a plus in the activity department and planning to add some structured exercise by January 1st. Again, thank you for being there and providing an educational base from which to move forward and encouragement to do so.

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter November 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

          Awesome, awesome and awesome! That is some damn good progress, and even better is the fact that you seem to be doing it all in an extremely manageable and sustainable way. Keep it up!

          Reply
  • Oscar Barajas October 02, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Will I be able to get abs if I follow this plan?

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 02, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Seeing your abs is a matter of fat loss. Fat loss is caused by a caloric deficit. So yes, if you follow this plan (or any plan) based around a caloric deficit, and you do it long enough to lose whatever amount of fat is on your stomach covering your abs… you will indeed get the results you’re looking for.

      Reply
      • Oscar Barajas October 02, 2012 at 5:25 pm

        But what if I want to build muscle and I have to gain weight to do so. Are abs then out of the question because I’m consuming more calories than I’m burning because I want to build muscle?

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter October 02, 2012 at 5:36 pm

          Nope, it’s definitely not out of the question. It’s just that most people aren’t going to be capable of losing significant amounts of fat and building significant amounts of muscle at the same time. Fat beginners, steroid users and people regaining lost muscle are the main exceptions.

          For the rest of us, we need to focus on one goal at a time and alternate between them so that in the end, we have more muscle AND abs.

          Reply
          • Oscar Barajas October 02, 2012 at 7:49 pm

            Do you recommend doing the P90x workout with your diet plan?

            Reply
            • aCalorieCounter October 02, 2012 at 10:03 pm

              Depends on goals and needs. If you want to burn some calories and can only workout at home, P90X is ok.

              Otherwise, a more traditional weight training program is definitely my first choice.

  • Jennifer October 03, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Do you have any recommendations on sugar intake? I’m trying to balance getting the right amount of calories from the proper sources and having my 5 servings of fruits/veggies per day. Since fruits have a lot of sugar, should I keep them to a minimum or have them anyways? Right now I have a breakfast smoothie (bananas, strawberries, and fat free plain yogurt) with 29g of sugar (21g from bananas). According to some websites, that’s more sugar than I should have in a whole day!

    Reply
  • Wallessa October 03, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I absolutely LOVED this guide!! This has been the easiest, funniest, comprehensive, straight foward, and entertaining diet plan that I have ever come across on the web. I will definitely recommend this website to all of my friends!! Awesome job! Quick question.. does it REALLY matter what I eat in order to meet my calorie count? I mean I will NOT go over it. For example, if I acknowledge the amount of calories, protein, carbs and fat in a fast food burger (McChicken perferably) and incorporate it within my calorie intake and meet my goal, is that ok?

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 03, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Awesome to hear it!

      About your question, the answer that it makes no difference in terms of weight control and body composition with all else being equal.

      For example, if your goal is fat loss and you need to eat 2000 calories per day to make that happen, your results will be the same whether you get all of those 2000 cals from 100% “good” foods, or if you get some of those 2000 calories from fast food or other similar “less good” foods. As long as your total calorie and nutrient intake remains what it needs to be, you’re good.

      But from an overall health perspective however, you still want to keep those “less good” foods to a minimum.

      Reply
  • Paul Dempsey October 03, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Amazing! You just answered almost every question I had concerning nutrition and weight loss and it didnt cost me a penny.
    I cant thank you enough……..WOW

    Reply
  • Paul Dempsey October 03, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Glutamine——I would like to know your thoughts as far as supplementation and its correlation with muscle building and weight loss.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 03, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Very unnecessary. It won’t improve muscle growth or fat loss.

      Reply
  • Leisa October 04, 2012 at 10:04 am

    This is such an amazing article, thanks so much for all your clear info on nutrition, meals, calories and the rest! It was presented so logically as we’ll, I’ve passed it onto a few of my friends. Well done on your hard work putting this guide together, you are helping alot of people achieve their goals!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 04, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Awesome to hear you liked it! Thanks for the spreading it around.

      Reply
      • Leisa October 04, 2012 at 11:26 pm

        Hi again, I do have a question though… I find that I only eat approx 1200 cals a day, very clean healthy and whole foods, and I’m full with that amount. Even though by BMR is 1450, is this why I’m not losing any weight? Should be adding more calories?? Thanks in advance

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter October 05, 2012 at 10:15 am

          I’d double and then triple check that calorie intake. 99% of the time when someone says they are eating fairly low calories – low enough that it should clearly cause weight loss for them – and they aren’t losing weight, it’s because they are eating more calories than they think they are.

          Or, burning less calories then they think they are. Or both.

          Or sometimes they truly do eat that amount some days of week, but then go overboard enough on other days to cancel out whatever deficit was created.

          Reply
  • DeeDee October 04, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Thank you for this easy to follow, informative and humorous guide. I enjoyed it very much and will put the information to good use.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 04, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      You’re welcome DeeDee. Keep us updated on how well you do.

      Reply
  • stef October 05, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I have a question.I’ve been weight training for about 5 months with your beginner routine.I’m about 13-14% bf and I’m in a caloric deficit.Yet I’m still increasing(very slowly) my lifts.could it be that i’m still building muscle? I ask cause I saw you say that this is a magic power only fat rank beginners and people on roids have.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 05, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Hard to say for sure, but at 5 months in and as lean as 13% BF, it’s doubtful that you’ll be building much muscle anymore while in a deficit.

      It may still be possible to some very small degree, but that magic power is likely to be running out at this point.

      Reply
      • stef October 05, 2012 at 6:55 pm

        so,it’s possible to get stronger in the hypertrophy zone(6-12 reps) but not get any bigger?

        Reply
  • Chelsea October 08, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Hi…I really love your site and have already written to shower you with praises :-) Thank you so much!! …I do have a quick question: When you figure your ideal amount of carbs (after protein and fats), do you differentiate between starchy and fibrous carb sources or all they both combined together in determining the grams allowed per day?

    I’ve been following a “fitness model” workout/diet plan through an on-line personal trainer for the last 12 weeks that has outlined very specific macros on carbs/proteins/fats but essentially allows for almost unlimited fibrous veggies. For the last 6 weeks, I have been on a stringent carb cycling phase which although working in terms of reducing body fat% is making me feel pretty crazy and unbalanced–not to mention hungry!-a lot of the time. I will “officially” complete the program this week but am kindof scared about how to transition back into more balanced eating and want to be clear about how carbs will factor in to my maintenance plan and my eventual goal to build more muscle. Now that the program is almost over, I feel like I’m falling off a cliff! I know both your diet and workout sites will be and already are a tremendous help! (I am almost 55 and female, started with over 26% BF and have dropped to about 17%) Is that a healthy BF% to try to maintain?

    I’d also like to know what you think about carb cycling in general.

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 09, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Once you’ve set protein and fat to optimal levels, carbs (in all forms and from all sources) should comprise the rest of your calorie intake.

      Regarding carb cycling, that depends on your exact version of it. If calorie intake is staying the same and you’re just having higher/lower carb days throughout the week, that’s mostly pointless if your goal is fat loss or muscle growth. I mean, if a calorie intake of 2000 calories causes you to lose fat, you’re going to lose fat just the same regardless of carb intake as long as your calorie intake is staying at 2000 each day. At that point you’re just cycling carbs for no real reason.

      On the other hand, calorie cycling is something I’m a big fan of. In this case, you ARE STILL cycling carbs, but the purpose for those higher/lower carb days is to manipulate your calorie intake into a weekly net surplus or deficit depending on your goals. This I like. Some people call this carb cycling as well (and this may very well be what you did)… but I think calorie cycling is more accurate.

      Reply
  • Chelsea October 09, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Thank you for your response. The trainer only asked me to “count” the starchy carbs in my daily carb equation and on low days it’s been 20 grams, excluding veggies, and on high days, 120 grams, excluding veggies. No added fats are included at all on the high days and 24 grams of fat are spread out on the low carb days. The cycle has been a repeating 3 low, 1 high cycle. I’ve been tracking everything religiously in a log but ignoring I suppose the carb counts from the veggies as they haven’t been limited and she has mentioned they are less significant somehow because of their “thermic” effect? I don’t quite understand it.. The program has been co-ordinated with a 5 day strength training split and TONS of cardio. I’m seeing definite results and that is gratifying but as I near the end I’m running out of steam, hungry all the time and wondering WHY I am doing this? Of course the answer is I want to look like a 55 year old fitness model! :) On that note, this trainer is a competitive fitness model and she said the aim is to have a body fat% in the 10 to 12% range. My last check was 17.6 with maybe a bit lost since then but no where near the “goal”.. To be honest, I’ve never been leaner and even feel I look a little scrawny! I’ve dropped quite a bit of scale weight (I am 116 and 5 ft 6″) but it seems like 17% BF is pretty high still. I asked her if I could be losing muscle weight and she said that wouldn’t happen until after losing the body fat but I can’t imagine trying to get much leaner than this and have anything left if I were to get down that low (10 to 12%) (just to meet the challenge). Could I be losing muscle weight instead of BF even with all the weights and cardio?
    I haven’t yet thoroughly navigated your site but I imagine you address these questions and concerns…trying to figure out how to feel and look great as well as achieve a healthy, functional body is quite the balancing act and then throw getting older on top of it, geez! Should I expect different results because of my age or do the same rules apply?

    Sorry if I was rambling but thanks again,

    Chelsea

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      In all honesty, looking over someone else’s diet/training program and either trying to make sense of it or answer questions about it or figure out what’s right/wrong with it is one of my least favorite things in the world to do, so I try to avoid it.

      But, combining 5 days of weight training with “tons” of cardio AND days of super low carbs… it’s pretty easy to see why you’re running out of steam and hungry all the time. The fact that you’re 55 instead of 25 doesn’t help matters, either.

      And yes, this can certainly cause muscle loss and lots of it, especially as you get leaner.

      As for your goals, 10% body fat is EXTREMELY lean for a female. That’s like for the highest level female bodybuilders who are stepping on a stage to compete that day, not something that is realistically (or healthily) sustainable. I think you may be shooting for a bit too much with that goal. That’s the equivalent of a man trying to get to 5%. A bit crazy.

      17% bodyfat is actually quite lean for a woman and close to where where many fitness models are at.

      Reply
  • Chelsea October 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Yes, I realized my mistake in laying all that on you…but appreciate you taking the time to comment. Yesterday was my “official” last day of the program and as I’ve crawled to the finish my body has definitely been telling me that things were/ARE out of balance. But I was trying so hard to stay committed to the plan laid out for me and placing a lot of trust in a trainer I’ve never met and only knows the most basic facts about me, though the service included weekly email communication where I did ask these questions. The goal was most certainly NOT to feel like crap or to feel like I failed for not meeting a goal of !0% body fat, but I (momentarily) did feel that way–now, I’m little pissed but I have learned from it.

    So… even as we speak, I’ve been poring over your site and have done my calculations based on your formulas and am trying to re-work everything so I can “recover” from this experience! Reading Tina’s story was just what I needed this morning — I even tried out your Bodybuilding 2.0 workout this afternoon and am going to work with that one for a while along with much more moderate cardio–not to mention more food! This last plan had me on 60 mins fasting cardio in the AM 6 days/week followed by 45-60 minutes after strength training 5 days a week–Damn right I was feeling beat up for a 55 year old!

    Thank you again so much–you are so generous to share your knowledge and experience and it’s helping me tremendously!

    Chelsea

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 11, 2012 at 7:52 am

      No problem at all Chelsea.

      And the fact that your trainer barely knew anything about you yet was recommending some very extreme things is pretty scary. Just based on what you’re describing (and now 60 mins of fasted cardio 6 days per week on top of another 60 after weight training? holy crap, waaaaay overkill… surprised you lasted this long), I wouldn’t recommend going back to them.

      Reply
  • Chelsea October 11, 2012 at 12:54 am

    But it does go to show that you’re never too old to be crazy (and you might add, stupid) :)

    Reply
  • MHK October 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Hey.. Your site is awesome! I’ve been trying a lot to know how to get a healthy body. Unfortunately, ALL the sites i went into searching for a good diet plan asked for money, except for this site surprisingly!

    I have two questions if you don’t mind?

    1st I’m still kind of confused about how to count the grams of proteins, fats, or carbs. Because many foods contain more than one organic nutrient, like beef as an example. Although you listed it as a protein source, it surely has some fats as well. I’m still confused how to know what does it contain and whether to count both or just protein, same goes to other sources?

    2nd I went to a doctor a couple of months ago, she had this machine that calculates your body fat percentage, muscle percentage and water.. She told me i have 25% body fats and 75% muscles, and that its more than average for both, I’m 17 by the way. I used to left weights and do aerobics, but right now I’m trying to focus on losing fats and i still want to keep my muscle percentage. So does working out while making my diet maintains muscle percentage or does it push it higher? And does it make me bulky, because I am already a bit.

    Thanks a lot for you help sir

    Regards,

    Kolli

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      1. Some foods are considered good “protein sources” or “fat sources” because they are highest in these nutrients. However, that doesn’t mean you should be ignoring everything else they contain. Instead, count the protein/fat/carbs/calories of EVERY food, even if you are eating them primarily for protein, fat or carbs. It all counts.

      2. Are you saying you want to lose fat but maintain muscle? If so, create a moderate caloric deficit, keep your protein intake at sufficient levels, and weight train correctly.

      Reply
      • MHK October 11, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        I’ll make sure to follow these steps.
        Again thanks a lot for your guidance and your knowledge.

        Regards

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter October 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm

          No problem. Keep me updated on your progress if you can.

          Reply
  • Carly October 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for this amazing guide. It’s hard to believe it’s free because it’s so good haha. But I have just one question. You said that if you have an ‘above average’ amount of weight to lose, you could lose 2 pounds (or more) per week. The calculator says my daily calorie intake should be 2821, and if I create a deficit of 20%, that makes it 2257. My question is, can I or should I make the deficit GREATER Than 20%? Is it okay to make it 30%? 40%? Or do I just stick with 20% and hope that i get more than 2 pounds a week weight loss? PS I am also running 1 mile a day right now plus a 30 minute cardio/strength/ab workout 6 days a week. I want to lose weight as fast as possible but still be healthy and safe.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      You’re welcome Carly, glad you liked it.

      As for your question, your deficit can be larger or smaller than the middle-of-the-road 20% I recommend, but there’s a lot that goes into making that decision. Obviously a bigger deficit (to a sane and healthy degree of course) will mean faster fat loss, but it may also mean too hard to sustain and therefore no fat loss at all.

      I cover this in more detail here: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/calorie-deficit-to-lose-weight/

      Reply
  • Sylvia October 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    From my calculations my calories from Carbs is a lot higher than total proteing and fat? Is that correct? I used the ideal weight for protein calculation.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Yup, carbs are usually going to be the highest macronutrient of the 3.

      Reply
  • Charlie October 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I hope you can understand what a blessing it was to find your “Best Diet Plan”. After years of confusion about; no fat, all fat, some fat, low carb, high carb, no protein, some protein, eat once per day, three times per day, 10 times per day, etc…I have finally found the perfect eating plan. I had always thought that your body doesn’t care when you feed it as long as it is the right balance. I have never read anything as comprehensive yet easy to understand as your plan and the way you break it down is just great. I started on my own plan, using the best diet plan” as my guide, 3 months ago. My goal is to lose 58 pounds. I have already lost 34 pounds!! My starting weight was 248lbs and my goal is 190lbs. I work out, cardio, 3-4 times per week to help burn unwanted calories. Finding your web site has been a game changer for me, you have truly changed my life. Thank You.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      That’s fantastic progress, congrats! Awesome to hear the guide helped in any way. Be sure to let me know when you hit 190!

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply
  • Geno October 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I don’t know what to say, but what an amazingly informative site! I’m 42 and for the last several years go through phases where I workout and “eat right” to lose weight or gain muscle, but everything I thought I knew about nutrition and necessary caloric intake was not even directionally accurate – I can only imagine how much more quickly and effectively I would have been able to achieve my goals if I would have read The Best Diet Plan previously! Is it possible for one to be happy and depressed at the same time after reading your insights?!?!?

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Ha, it’s definitely possible. We’ve all been in that same “I can’t believe how little I knew/I finally get it now” position before.

      Happy this guide helped you get there.

      Reply
  • John October 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this guide, i have been struggling with my weight for a long time and now i feel thanks to you that i have all the tools and information i need to lose my excess weight and start living my life again.. its a brilliant in depth yet simple easy to understand guide that i will for sure be sharing around with people like myself who are struggling with their weight issues.. i do have a question though… when creating a caloric deficit to lose bodyfat how many grams of sugar per day is considered acceptable? and how much is considered too much? many thanks once again =]

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Awesome to hear you liked it.

      Regarding your question, there isn’t really an ideal daily amount of sugar. Ignoring overall health and looking at this strictly from a weight loss perspective, it’s not really going to matter how much sugar you consume as long as your calorie intake remains what it should be.

      The thing is, the more sugar you consume (most of which comes in the form of typical junk foods), the harder it’s going to be for you to keep that ideal calorie intake intact… because A) foods containing sugar taste awesome and are very easy to overeat, and B) they’re usually not very filling, so you’ll be hungrier sooner/more often.

      For these reasons, most people will do best keeping sugar on the low-ish side. Just enough to keep you happy.

      Reply
  • Nick October 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Hey! This is an incredible guide that just corroborates, centers and combines every bit of good advice I’ve been gleaning from all over the place for the past few years. I am extremely grateful that all of this no-nonsense, straightforward material is being provided for free. Many thanks. I’ve been fumbling with changing my diet for the past 6 months and have lost 8 lbs when I in fact wanted to be gaining muscle weight instead!

    What’s also awesome is the partner workout plan site, where I realized that as a beginner I dove right into intermediate workouts from the start, and where I also realized that my on/off working out over the years means I should be using beginner programs even now!

    I’ve been working out a meal plan based on your info, and readying a progress binder for my workouts using your beginner plan. Combined with my experience in the gym I’m feeling better than ever about the coming results… and I’ll be patiently working at it, so I can hopefully send you before and after photos in 6 months (or more!) from now. CHEERS!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Awesome! Definitely looking forward to seeing how well you do.

      Reply
      • Nick October 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

        Hey – just looking for some clarification on the Harris-Benedict calorie calculator here: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/calorie-maintenance-calculator-daily-calorie-requirements/

        If I’m currently using your beginner workout program (found here, I’m using version 2 with the 2 added exercises: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/the-beginner-weight-training-workout-routine/), and consistently following its schedule to the letter, what “activity level” would that put me at in regards to the above calorie calculate? “Lightly active”? “Moderately active”? It’s fairly vague.

        Just want to be sure I’m hitting the right calorie maintenance + surplus counts so I don’t get fat or lose muscle. Thanks!

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter October 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm

          I get this question a lot, and I honestly have no idea. The activity levels are quite vague, I agree.

          But the answer I always give is this: it doesn’t matter.

          The calculator exists to help you come up with an estimated starting point, not a guaranteed 100% perfect calorie intake. What REALLY matters is that you just take your best guess, put it into action consistently for a couple of weeks and monitor what happens during this time. Then, if your weight ends up doing what it was supposed to do at the rate it was supposed to do it, you’re good. If not, adjust calories up or down in small increments until it does.

          That’s the step that matters most and will ensure your progress goes as well as it possibly can.

          Reply
          • Nick October 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

            Makes sense, I’ll be watching my weight numbers over the weeks. Thanks for the help.

            Reply
  • Errol October 22, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Hi,

    First and foremost, I want to thank you for the knowledge and education for free. I learned a lot from this article as well as your workout article. I have been working out on home for the past 3 months, there are good results but not the best. Because of your articles I have now a good understanding about nutrition, diet, exercise selection and frequency.

    I workout at night, starting from around 8:30pm to 9:30pm. I take my post workout meal right after workout. I am taking ON Hydrowhey (I am lactose intolerant) then banana and skim milk 1 hour after.

    Now I want to add the dextrose in my post-workout meal. The problem is, I have to be asleep by around 11:00pm. It means that taking a solid post workout meal(white bread?) is not convenient for me so my best option is dextrose/(liquid PWM). My question is, will the dextrose give me a hard time from trying to get asleep?

    I want to switch to casein also because most of the time, I workout at night. Can you recommend some brands that is okay with lactose intolerance?

    Again man, thank you very very much for sharing your knowledge.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      For your first question, I honestly don’t know. I’ve never personally consumed a large amount of sugar from any source very close to the time I go to sleep, so I don’t really know from experience what happens. But, if I had to guess, I’d say there is a chance it could be an issue for you.

      Regarding casein, if you are lactose intolerant, you might not find a good one. The fact that you were able to find a good whey is hard enough, but casein is the much more problematic of the two.

      Reply
  • Sarah October 22, 2012 at 12:38 am

    So THANKFUL for your site and all the information. Just read the whole guide as I try and push towards a new goal weight. It’s always one of those things where I have to balance what is ‘worth’ seeing if I can get to and what I am okay with (extra 5 pounds) to keep up with other life priorities. I feel better equipped to see if I can drop 5 more, but make sure it’s done in a healthy way. (If my personal trainer text book was written this clear I think I’d only have to read it through once to understand it all!) :-)

    Reply
  • CDFitness200 October 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    This site is fabulous! Thank you for sharing it. It is so straight forward and easy to understand. I have been a long time weight watchers follower, but have not had success with the plan released in Nov 2010. It’s probably because I don’t understand the “whys” of nutrition. I wanted to learn more about nutrition to really help myself understand the best approach for me, and understanding why something works, helps me to stay on track. I actually have to get back to works, so I am only about halfway through with reading it. I can’t wait to read the rest. Your site is AMAZING! Thank you!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter October 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      You are quite welcome, awesome to hear you liked it!

      Reply
  • stef October 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    let’ s say that I want to lose fat and my daily caloric intake is 2000.

    will I have the same results if all those calories come from only carbs or fat or protein with the case these calories come from a more balanced diet like 1 g/pound of protein,25% fat and the rest carbs?

    so in practice, is the theory “a calorie is a calorie” right?

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 08, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      A calorie is a calorie, but macro-nutrients still matter. Once a sufficient intake of protein/fat/carbs have been met, then calorie sources begin to matter a whole lot less.

      Reply
  • Dave November 01, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Forgive me if this has been previously addressed:

    I didn’t see anything about exercise and how it affects “calories out”. Simply put, I have calculated my required amounts of “calories in” as per the guide, but I can’t help but think that exercise will increase calorie expenditure, and will then throw of the net result of the day and lead to undesired/unpredictable results. How do we account for exercise in this plan? Surely the more we exercise, the more we burn, and the more we need to eat to achieve our target net.

    P.S.- LOVE the guide. So clear and B.S.-free. I appreciate it!

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 08, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Glad to hear you liked the guide.

      Regarding your question, calories burned should definitely be factored in here the same way calories consumed are being factored in. Basically, you have a goal calorie intake you’re trying to reach each day. You can reach it through diet alone (less calories in), exercise alone (more calories out) or any combination of the 2. It all counts just the same towards hitting that goal calorie intake and should all be taken into account.

      Reply
  • Marce November 01, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Awesome. Confusion clarified, bullshit debunked. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  • Chris P November 04, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    What a fantastic source of information! I feel like I’ve gained so much knowledge and saved a bucket load of money from dietary gimmicks.

    One question though, in trying to build muscle, it mentions that the pre workout meal should contain ‘Protein = 0.25g per pound of your target body weight’.

    How do I know what my target body weight is? I just want to get bigger and build muscle. Should I aim for a particular increase?

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 08, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Honestly, I wouldn’t really worry about it. Consume a nice amount of protein/carbs before and after you’re workout and you’ll do just fine (assuming of course your overall diet/training is what it needs to be). The minor details and specifics are unlikely to matter.

      Reply
  • Charlie November 05, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Great job putting this guide together!!! So many straight forward answers and explanations that cut through the “bullshit”…which is another reason I love this guide, it’s like hearing the information from a real person not a robot or a medical guide that I want to bang my head against. Keep up the fantastic job!!

    Reply
  • Alejandro November 09, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Mate, I’ve actually been “bodybuilding” (really more of starting hitting the gym when I was 16 but 6 years later only a slightly bigger version of myself) for a time, and I’ve done some research already so I roughly know most of the things you’ve covered. That said, this guide has still been EXTREMELY useful in terms of a) refreshing my memory b) confirming my past homework (last time I did any reading on nutrition was a few years ago, wasn’t sure if keeping tabs of macros was still the deal) c) and just was generally an overall fun, entertaining, and informative read… again, even for someone who has done “some” (because I don’t pretend to be an expert lol) homework.

    I cannot thank you enough.

    Just some concerns :

    1. How old is this guide ? Do you think it’s in need of updating or is everything still as it were ?
    2. Just did a quick search and opened up some links on fish oil. Generally most were in agreement of what you said, but there were one or two that went against it. Thoughts ?
    3. If I regularly eat fish on my diet already, will it be overdose if I take fish oil ?
    4. Where does Animal Pak fall under ? Multivitamins ? I’m using it at the moment (and have used it already before) and I was just wondering what you thought of it.
    5. Probably the most difficult (and time-consuming part) in terms of nutrition for me is weighing food. I just bought a weighing scale to help me with that, but the thing is I am currently working in a situation where all my food, while healthy, are served straight from the restaurant — thus I do not have access to food labels. What would you do in a situation where you do not have (absolute) control and information over the food you eat ?

    I do not expect you to answer these questions as you’re probably busy. Still, if you’re reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you ! There definitely should be more people like you in this world

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Awesome to hear you liked the guide! Regarding your questions…

      1. 90% of it was written last year. Certain sections were written a bit earlier than that as part of some other project that I never finished and used here instead. There is absolutely nothing that is truly in need of updating. However, there are a couple of small things I plan on editing some time soon just to better clarify certain points. For example, in the pre/post workout section, I’d probably place less emphasis on the details and specifics of those meals. I still definitely recommend a good amount of protein/carbs before and after your workout, but the exact amounts and the specific sources… I’ve come to find over the last few years that this stuff is just minor details that barely matter… if they even matters at all.

      2. Fish oil = good. Way more credible evidence for it than against it.

      3. If you get enough epa/dha from actual fish, then you can (and should) skip the fish oil. No matter how good something is, there is always a point of too much where it can become harmful.

      4. Overpriced, overhyped crap. Go with something cheaper and simpler.

      5. Try to estimate serving sizes and take your best guess. There are probably a ton of iPhone apps designed for this purpose that will probably help a bit.

      Reply
      • Alejandro November 20, 2012 at 8:50 am

        Wow thanks for the quick reply !

        I have some more questions, I hope you don’t mind if I just ask here from time to time !

        1. http://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss Like any good student I did some additional research such as this website. They mostly agree with everything you’ve been saying except the part about the “importance” of breakfast. What do you make of it ? Personally I’m more inclined towards your take on it, I mean the article’s take just doesn’t mesh well with the whole point of IIFYM.

        2. On cheat meals, I know you mentioned somewhere that you were against cheat “days”, but say if I can fit all those foods into my macros — ex. eat pizza, ice cream, burgers, etc the whole day, as long as I don’t go over my designated calorie intake — will a cheat day then become “justified” ? (of course i don’t mean to do this often, just once a week)

        3. What’s your take on carb-cycling ? Is it effective, I mean does it really boost metabolism efficiency ? I’m currently at the stage where fat loss is hard to come by (e.g. I’m fit, but I got that “soft look”; the abs and other striations don’t show unless there’s good lighting. sorry don’t know my exact BF%). To be honest, it’s very discouraging as I don’t feel my body’s changing anymore, like I’ve hit a plateau. So do you think carb-cycling can adress this ? Or is it time to (clean) bulk up and cut again after ?

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter November 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

          1. Nope, with all else being equal, skipping breakfast (or technically speaking, posponing breakfast) vs eating right after you wake up doesn’t matter. Do whatever you prefer.

          2. As long as your total calorie and macronutrient intake is what it needs to be, specific food sources becomes significantly less important. The reason I don’t generally recommend this IIFYM approach by default is because for most people, eating like this WILL cause them to exceed those ideal totals. Plus, micronutrients matter too, and typical junky garbage is often low in that category and high in others (e.g. trans fat, etc.).

          3. Three things. 1) Carb cycling doesn’t boost anything. 2) Carb cycling in the absense of a surplus or deficit is pointless for body composition improvements. 3) If you’re not losing fat, you don’t need carb cycling… you just need a caloric deficit.

          Reply
      • Alejandro November 20, 2012 at 9:05 am

        As an afterthought, how much EPA/DHA is there per gram of polyunsaturated fat? I’m asking because I’m currently using MFP for tracking and it doesn’t display any EPA/DHA breakdown (again I can’t use food labels because the food I’m eating are straight from the restaurant/fresh food sources).

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter November 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

          It’s not. EPA/DHA is mainly in fish and fish oil supplements.

          Reply
          • Alejandro November 23, 2012 at 3:30 am

            Ok sorry for the confusion, I meant how much EPA/DHA is present, say in a fillet of fish. I eat salmon/sometimes mackerel/tuna everyday so if I’m gonna buy fish oil I’d want to know how much to take.

            Thanks for the replies !

            Reply
      • Alejandro November 21, 2012 at 2:33 am

        continuation..

        I’m wondering if sports drinks can substitute themselves for dextrose in terms of the immediate post-workout meal. I just bought a bottle of gatorade and powerade each and plan to mix them with my whey (didn’t buy in bulk as I want to hear from you if they’re good substitutes for dextrose)

        Also, when counting your macros do you take into account of some minor details like the way the food is prepared/processed ? Like whether it’s boiled, grilled, baked, etc… If you use cooking oil or not, etc… I mean it seems a bit crazy to get into every specific detail

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter November 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm

          1. Gatorade can work as a post workout carb source. Then again, so could dextrose, rice, potatoes, oatmeal and damn near any other carb source you can think of.

          2. Sometimes those tiny seemingly insignificant differences can add up over the course of a day/week and throw things off quite a bit. I’d recommend getting things as accurate as possible. Eventually you’ll start to just know this information the more you track it, so it will become less annoying of a task over time.

          Reply
          • Alejandro November 23, 2012 at 3:43 am

            About these “seemingly insignificant differences”, one of my concerns also is the specific amounts of macros for each type of food. I finally got a weighing scale, but the thing is, say I’m using MFP, there are sometimes like 10 different entries for one type of food. Even when I check other websites (nutritiondata, livestrong, calorieking, etc), they sometimes give different amounts. Now I don’t mind so much if the differences are negligible, but sometimes the discrepancy’s too wide (ex. i’ve seen some give a serving of chicken breast as 22g protein while others 35g of protein !). And as you said, when accumulated overtime I’m afraid they could throw my whole diet off the track. So I guess my question is, in such a situation what would you do ? Any rule of thumb you’d recommend ? Averaging all of these maybe ?

            At the moment I just refer to the USDA’s list of foods just because it’s the most “official-looking”

            Reply
            • aCalorieCounter November 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm

              Take your best guess. Even if things are slightly off, as long as you consistently use those figures AND closely monitor your progress (body weight, measurements, etc.) and adjust if needed, everything should be fine in the end.

  • Castille November 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

    So, at the end of Sept I started logging all the foods I ate on a lark, found it made me more attentive, prompted some weight loss, and next thing you know I’ve formed target daily calories and maybe some amorphous far-off weight goal. My best estimate was 1800-1900 calories was maintenance for me, and my target daily calories for weight loss is currently 1200. I don’t feel stressed or hungry with it and I could maintain it indefinitely – since my cringe worthy approach is to eat whatever I darn well feel like as long as I make the calorie deficit at the end of the day. Mostly, I eat decent things, but there averages at least one bit of utter garbage a day, I estimate. I’ve gone from 204lbs to 183lbs this way, but it’s probably the least balanced I’ve been eating in a decade, so I’m eyeing improvements. Which brings me to my question… At 180lbs, you’re recommending 180 g of protein (720 cal.) and then 25% in fat (300 cal.) which leaves 180 cal in carbs, which is way too low carb to be sustainable for me. Where should the rest give in order to allow for more carbs? Should I be using a target weight to gauge protein, and a lower value like .6/lb? (middle aged, female and sedentary)

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      To bump up carbs to a more preferred level, you can bring protein down to 0.8g per pound of current body weight or 1g per pound of target body weight… or you can bring fat down to 20% of your calorie intake.

      Or, you can do both.

      Reply
  • Cindy November 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you for the fantastic information and for laying it out in a manner very easy to follow and easy to understand. I did not see anywhere where you mentioned the importance of drinking water. Would you agree or disagree with the typical reccomendation of drinking 8 8oz. glasses of water per day? Thanks.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      You’re welcome, glad you liked it!

      Regarding water, I’ve yet to come to any kind of concrete conclusion as to how much water a person should be drinking each day. It’s one of the few questions I honestly have no really good answer for.

      Reply
  • Angela November 18, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I would like to say that i really appreciate your work. I found your articles very informative yet it wasn’t a chore to read. Even the stuff i knew about was still a joy to read on your website. I weighed 150-ish and with a combination of your website and another calorie counting site/app, i now weigh 135-ish. I’m trying to get down between 125-115 (or wherever i feel i look good enough for summer days). I would like to say thank you for the information, for your not-boring writing skills, and i admire you for what you have done.

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks for the compliments and congrats on the progress. Glad the site helped.

      Reply
  • stef November 18, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I’ve read that eating large amounts of fruits (fructose) can lead to fat gains even if there’s no caloric surplus because once the liver glycogen stores are full the excess gets stored as body fat. is there any truth to that and generally that high carbs can make make people with low insulin sensitivity fat?

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Search around for stuff Alan Aragon has written about this subject. He’s covered it quite well.

      Reply
      • stef November 20, 2012 at 6:19 am

        from what i’ve found it can happen but it takes a huge amount of fructose that’s almost impossible to get from fruits alone. so does this mean that you can gain fat without exceeding your maintenance level?

        Reply
  • Muhammad Irfan November 21, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Hello Sir,

    I hope this finds you well,

    Before you read this I would like to say that this set of comments and questions would be quite long. So kindly spare some time for this out of you busy schedule

    Comments

    1)You must have definitly got a lot of this type of comments by now but even then I would like to appreciate your effort in putting this together for our benefit. On top of that, these guides are for free of charge which is a huge achievement. Very nice of you. The guide itself was amazing and very comprehensive. Really impressed with your knowledge on this subject.

    2)I am glad to share with you the experience of my diet and exercise plan. I had already achieved my target weight before I read this guide but I was extremely pleased to read it because my plan was perfectly in line with your advises in this guide. Although I was not so calculated in my calories intake, but the qualitative part of your guide was what I was strictly adhering to i.e. what we like, what fits us well and so on. It was extremely effective and I am happy to tell you that I have lost 18 kgs in 4 months. Now I am planning to maintain my weight with a healthy diet and exercise plan.

    3) One constructive (I think so!!) feedback on this guide which I would like to give would be on the humiliation of every other health expert or diet nutrition. You are a better judge of this but I would recommend presenting these guides with gentle criticism rather than using words such as crap, bull shit and so on :) I know it might be an informal piece but I believe that it would be nice the other way.

    Now on to the questions

    1)As I have mentioned before, I am planning on maintaining my weight hopefully for the rest of my life. I don’t intend to build muscles; I simply want to look fit and healthy. So besides the diet plan, I have started to run consecutively for 15 minutes and 10-15 minutes of continuous swimming. My question on this is that would this be a good combo exercise on a regular basis for me provided that I maintain a healthy diet? Usually what is more effective? Swimming or running?

    2)Second question is about our food. I am originally from Pakistan and as you might know; our traditional foods are usually full of oily and fried stuff. Our regular meals mostly are curries such as chicken, beef, mutton or vegetable curry with baked breads or rice. So how can I eat these foods calculatedly? I guess your first advice would be to avoid these foods completely. But if I tell you that because of our culture these types of foods are almost a must, so can we set a quantitative limit on these?

    3)I tried to find your bio on this website but couldn’t locate it. I believe the minimum reward for this effort of yours is that we should know your name and face (Being famous!!). Can you post those ;)

    4)I read your cereals comparison guide. Since I was and am consuming the Nestle cereals most of the time, can you also add the Nestle cereals in that comparison of Kellogg’s, post and general mills? We mostly have Nestle and Kellogg’s cereals here in United Arab Emirates (this is where I live)

    That’s all from me now. But will definitely have more comments and questions as I visit this site regularly

    Thanks a million in advance for your response to this long post

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      1. Thanks man, glad to hear it!

      2. Awesome progress… congrats!

      3. I’ve gotten this kind of feedback maybe a dozen times per year for like 10 years now. I understand what you’re saying, but… it won’t change. ;)

      1. With intensity, frequency, duration, etc. being equal, you’re not really going to see much of a difference between calories burned during most forms of cardio. So for swimming vs running, pick your favorite. Or, alternate between them.

      2. Track them like any other foods and try to stay within your ideal daily totals for calories, protein, fat and carbs.

      3. I’ve written something close to a bio over here: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/about/

      4. No idea when, but I’ll try to eventually update that comparison at some point in the future.

      Reply
  • Muhammad Irfan November 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Mr. Jay,

    Amazing bio that, I was really pleased to read about you…all the best for whatever are your wishes in life….

    Reply
  • Alejandro November 24, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Hey man by the way I’m also in the middle of reading your ultimate workout routine guide, and I’m currently doing a two-times a week/muscle group split which fits easily into your scheme. Anyway, my question is your claim that we should have at least one full day off per week (including cardio). Now in my current split I’ve two days “off” but that’s where I do most of my cardio so I won’t get burned out too much from doing cardio + weights at the same time. This is because I felt that cardio does not count as the type of exercise that needed rest days (e.g. “oh that’s just cardio so you can do it everyday”). Of course after having done some research I think this is the wrong conclusion.

    So two questions :

    1) Would you recommend me moving my cardio to the other days so I can really have that day of pure rest ? (disclaimer : I have not yet read your ultimate routine completely so if the answer is just there please just ignore this !)

    2) This one more nutrition-related : If I should do that, and thus have a day of full rest, would you recommend lowering my calorie intake for that day than my normal calorie intake ? Because as you said it’s calories-in vs calories-out, and if I understood correctly a rest day means less calories burned (and so a need to lower calories-in ?)

    Thanks as always !

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      1. My first thought would be that you’re weight training 5 days per week, which is usually 1-2 days more than most people will ever need, benefit from or do best with. If you bring that down to 4 days and keep cardio at 2, you now have 1 full day off.

      2. Let’s say you need to be at 2500 calories per day for your goal. Now let’s say you don’t do any training on Monday. In this case, you’d eat 2500 calories. Now let’s say you train on Tuesday and burn 500 calories. In this case, you’d eat 3000 calories so that you still end up at the 2500 amount you were aiming for.

      Reply
  • T November 25, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Great Info!

    I am a female that weighs 143lbs. My height is 5’6.

    Currently, I am not tone; no muscle definition. I am somewhat flabby (well I think so).

    I want to burn fat & gain muscle/tone, but I do not want to lose too much weigh. My ideal weight is 135lbs.

    This is where is gets confusing for me. On my rest days should I use my Caloric Deficit & on my weight training days should I use my Caloric Surplus?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Switching between a surplus and a deficit throughout the week will accomplish virtually nothing if you end up at maintenance in the end. Or, to put it another way, you need to end up in either a net deficit or a surplus for the week to make any appreciable progress.

      Which means, you need to pick a “right now” goal. Either lose fat (in which case you’d go into a deficit) or build muscle (in which case you’d go into a surplus). Then, after sufficient progress is made, switch to the other.

      As for which one to choose first, this should help: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/should-i-build-muscle-or-lose-fat-first/

      A short-term exception to all of this is if you are a beginner to weight training. In this case, a deficit + intelligent weight training should yield some combination of fat loss and some muscle growth, too.

      Reply
  • Aaron November 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Hands down this is the best guide I’ve ever read for diet. I have been researching stuff for about 4 or 5 years now about diet and exercise. This guide takes the common sense from everything I’ve read and puts it in one place. Very refreshing to read something so straight forward and to the point. Great job. Already shared it with several friends.

    At first it seems like one of those sites that lures you in with a bunch of paragraphs that don’t really give you any info, get you hooked and excited about what you’re about to learn, then come to find out it’s $29.95 to buy some online e-book that has all the miracle secrets in it. I was happy to find out that it wasn’t. Just well written articles with good information. You should be proud of this guide!

    The best (and most liberating) advice I learned from this guide was that it doesn’t matter when you eat. I’ve been a slave to eating every 2 hours, force feeding myself a huge breakfast, trying to avoid eating before bed, constantly worrying if this meal is too big or that one is too small etc.. This will make my diet much more attainable. I eat when I want!

    Favorite part of the guide was the first time you called bullshit on popular myths. I laughed, hard. This website and well into the middle of the diet guide has such a…for lack of a better word, ‘textbook’ vibe. But you couldn’t contain yourself when it comes to ridiculous information that gets circulated around about fad diets, specific diet secrets etc…

    I’ve seen minimal gains in my 4-5 years spent trying to put on muscle. I hope to follow the advice found here as best I can and see the gains I’ve always dreamed of.

    I look forward to reading the articles on workout routines.

    I am a CAD Designer/Drafter. I can sit here and do the math all day, calories, grams protein/fats/carbs (in my down time of course ha) My biggest challenge is coming up with a realistic meal plan. At 165lbs bodyweight, I figure I need about 3000 cal/day to put on weight. I chose the middle road for protein (1.25 g/lb bodyweight), and the high road for fats (30% of total calories). Therefore I need 206 g/day protein, 100 g/day fat and 319 g/day carbs.
    This equates to about 2 pounds of chicken and 2 1/2 cups (dry measure) brown rice, which virtually quadruples in size when you cook it.

    Obviously I will eat a variety of things and not just chicken, but my point is, that is a **** ton of food. Swapping chicken with fish and rice with bread here and there, adding fish, fruits and vegetables still requires a massive amount of eating (and cooking/preparing)
    I have no problem getting the fats in, it’s the protein and carbs that are overwhelming, even with a protein shake supplementing my diet.
    Maybe I’m trying to eat too healthy. Avoiding sugar is so ingrained in me at this point, maybe I need to break that thought? Down a cup of maple syrup after my workout? Ha, I don’t know. Any advice?

    Also, this might be hard to give advice on, but what do you suggest for tracking daily calories and macronutrients?
    Maybe I’m trying to be too precise, but the only way I can think to accurately manage how many calories, fat, carbs and protein I’m getting each day is to write down a sample day’s worth of food, catalog all the nutrition in each of it, then eat exactly that every single day. I fear if I do it any other way I will easily lose track of the 4 numbers I need to keep track of.

    Sorry this was so long winded. Like I said, I’ve been trying for years and had minimal success. I feel like too many more failed attempts will pretty much burn me out though and I’ll give up, though I’m pretty relentless :)

    Again, great job on this guide, and thanks in advance for any advice you share in the future.

    Fellow health enthusiast and workout freak,
    Aaron

    Reply
    • aCalorieCounter November 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Ha, thanks dude… glad you liked it!

      Regarding eating enough, it’s one of those things you just have to force at first until your body/mind adjusts and it becomes easy… or at least easier. I’ve been there. You need to choose foods that you actually enjoy and are easier for you to eat in large amounts.

      Protein and fat are usually not the problem here… carbs are. That’s where foods like rice (white, brown, whatever), potatoes (white, sweet, whatever), pasta, oats/oatmeal and bread will come into play big time. For me personally, white rice and white potatoes were/still are huge parts of my diet. I’d never eat enough calories without them.

      If all else fails, feel free to throw stuff in a blender (oats, milk, olive oil, ice cream… whatever) and drink it to meet your calorie requirements.

      As for tracking, that’s certainly one way to do it. Another would be to do that with a handful of different meals and combinations of foods, and then mix and match those meals each day based on your own preferences. Another option would be to eat and track everything in real time as you eat it, and make adjustments as you go so everything ends up where it should at the end of the day.

      Basically, do whatever is easiest and most sustainable for you.

      Reply
      • Aaron December 04, 2012 at 7:15 am

        Weighed in this morning, gained exactly one pound in a week.
        Will keep on this track for sure.

        Reply
        • aCalorieCounter December 04, 2012 at 9:57 am

          Ha, awesome!

          Keep an eye on things over the next couple of weeks. If you’re still gaining 1lb per week after the 3rd or 4th week (which is fine and normal early on due to water retention, muscle glycogen and just having more food in you), I’d slightly reduce your calorie intake to get a bit closer to the 0.5 lb per week end of the range.

          I find that to be more ideal for MOST people.

          Reply
          • Aaron December 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

            Weighed in again yesterday morning. Gained exactly one more pound since last week ha. Like clockwork. 165.0 – 166.0 – 167.0
            Yea I was thinking about dropping the calories a bit if this keeps up, or adding a cardio day. It’d be nice if my abs started to come through at least a little. I’ve never really had that ‘hard’ look. I’m not fat by any means but, leaner would be nice. I do want to gain as much muscle as humaly possible and don’t want to hurt that progress in any way.
            Will keep updating.

            Reply
            • aCalorieCounter December 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm

              Abs certainly aren’t going to begin to show up in a surplus. Even if you’re doing everything just right, the best you can hope for at this time is to just not have them become too covered with fat (speaking of which, I’d definitely recommend cutting your rate of weight gain in half to minimize fat gains… you’ll still build muscle just as fast).

            • Aaron December 18, 2012 at 8:10 am

              Lost a pound since last week. And I eat a ton. Lame.

1 2 3 4 5 9

Leave A Comment