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.

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.

UPDATE #1: If you want to lose body fat as quickly and effectively as realistically possible… WITHOUT losing muscle, without giving up the foods you love, without feeling hungry all the time, without doing tons of cardio, without metabolic slowdown, without annoying diet rules and restrictions, and without the countless problems and mistakes that cause most people to fail, I just spent a year creating the perfect program for you. Learn all about it right here: Superior Fat Loss

UPDATE #2: If building muscle is your primary goal, and you want to do it as quickly and effectively as possible WITHOUT gaining excess body fat along the way… I have the perfect program for you as well. Learn all about it right here: Superior Muscle Growth

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)

1,012 thoughts on “The End Of The Best Diet Plan

  1. Excellent articles! I have tried just about every “diet” out there and nothing has worked for me. I feel that what I have learned from you could very well be the life change that I need to lose weight and be healthier. My question has to do with the calories related to activity. If my BMR Is 2000 and my deficit is 500 that means I should eat 1500 calories a day but how does exercise play into it? If I burn 200 calories than my net deficit would be 700 (or net calories would be 1300) which would help me to lose weight better or faster. Is that how it works? Is there a point that I would need to eat more calories so as not to go too low and have my body try to keep the fat? If that is correct then what is the minimum net calories I should strive for? (Sorry if this has been asked before. I haven’t had time to review all of the feedback.)

    Thank you!

    • If you need to be at 1500 calories per day, and you will burn 500 calories that day, then you should eat 2000 calories that day. Basically, adjust diet/exercise accordingly so that you still end up at your target calorie goal. If you weren’t going to be burning those 500 calories through exercise, you’d just eat 1500 calories that day.

      In both cases, you still end up at 1500.

      Regarding your other question, it sounds like you might be referring to “starvation mode.” In that case, stay tuned. I plan on writing an article about this topic in the near future.

      • I loved your site, your humor and solid advice. I was diagnosed last May with diabetes. At 314 lbs, I was nearly bedridden. My diabetes educator started me on a diet. I have thought she had me consuming too many carbs and not enough proteins. The amount of carbs she suggested(45 grams per meal), at 1200 calories per day I just couldn’t find a way to do this and feel satisfied. But only a single ounce of protein at each meal. I only lost 8 lbs in 3 months. I was tired and hungry all the time! I’m supposed to eat a higher protein diet for my Fibromyalgia pain. After I found out 5 months ago I also had severely low vitamin D and B12 levels, good cholesterol was also too low. I made changes to the diet and ended up with something very similar to what you suggest. I increased my proteins 2-3 times the amount I was eating before. I lost 66 lbs in the last 5 months, for a total loss of 74 lbs. My current weight is 240 lbs. Using your calculations I still should be eating more protein and plan to do my best to do just that. Now, I usually consume on average of 15 to 20 grams of carbs at each meal, proving that a higher carb diet was wrong for me and kept my blood sugar high. For this reason I switched to all whole grains. With the increased protein I feel fuller and more energetic. In fact I’m not bedridden anymore. I have given away my bath chair, walker and cane. I’m repainting my house and let go all my helpers, I don’t need them anymore, I can do it all by myself now. I plan on losing 80 more lbs or so, I will see how I feel when I get there.

        • Wow… amazing progress Lorrie. Normally I’d be impressed with 74lbs of weight loss alone, but the additional health and overall physical improvements you’ve made thus far are impressive as hell. Congrats!

          Definitely keep me updated on your progress if you can.

  2. Wow couldn’t stop reading your site. Wonderful. I haven’t even been able to get this info from my dietician. She has me on a low carb diet of around 120g instead of your 200g and I’m wondering why I aren’t loosing any weight. All makes sense ecmxcept for the calories from fat. Is that 25% from avo, nuts or does it include protein sources such as the fat in eggs and cheese?

  3. Thank you so much for this awesome guide!!! I have been trying to improve my overall health and this information is invaluable!
    My question after reading through everything is this: I have been eating just under 1200 calories a day based on what a calorie counting app has told me. Based on your article, my ideal cal count is 2150, with a 430 cal deficit bringing that down to 1720. I would LOVE to be able to eat more, but I’m afraid it will affect my weight loss or worse, make me gain weight. Is this fear unwarranted? My goal right now is losing the last of my fat while building muscle.
    Thank you again!

    • This one is pretty simple. Start eating that estimated amount of calories and monitor what your body does by tracking your weight, measurements and just what you see in the mirror in general. Give it 1-3 weeks.

      From there, if everything is going how it should, keep eating that amount of calories. If it’s not, adjust, give it another couple of weeks, and see what happens then. Repeat this process until everything is working like it should be.

    • Kelli,

      Have you implemented his method of calorie counting and losing weight? How is it working for you? I have the same issue and didn’t want to bother him again with the same question. According to a calorie app (MFP) I should be eating 1200 calories a day. I work out every day, burning between 500 and 1000 calories per work out. I don’t plan on eating back my calories that I burn. But according to his method, I should be eating 2000 calories a day!! That’s a difference of 800 calories. I’m afraid I’m going to gain weight too. I wasn’t losing on 1200 but it was hard to maintain that. I was always so hungry!!

  4. Thank you soo much!!

    I’ve been trying to find a guide that would help me achieve my goals for weight loss and not sugar coat everything!! All of the information on this site was so helpful!! I also love that you told everyone HOW TO CREATE a proper diet plan, not do all the work for us.

    Thank you again, and I plan on being a regular reader!!

  5. This is really really the best nutrition guide I have even seen !! nothing will ever be better cause I know this is valid for every one any where! this is GOLD info, ppl make money selling that and u r explaining it for us in the most clear beautiful cute way for FREE!! GOD bless you! I just can’t believe how awesome is this website! I have already counted how many calories I should consume.. and for the first time I was able to know how much I should eat for my daily protein/fat, most amazing info when u said that there r no rules except calories.. I raised my hand during the ‘small 5 meals’ article, and this is how I like to eat.. but to know for sure that u r still going to loose fat no matter what way u go just by having the right calories is a great relief, every thing u said goes perfectly with the ‘right instinct’ and the ‘common sense ‘ ,
    so THANK u THANK u thank u!! really can’t say thank u enough!! its late here so tomorrow i’ll go through it again and start writing my OWN plan.. thank you 😉
    and I’m sure soon I’ll start telling u about my great news ! :)))))

  6. Another no nonsense article. Thankyou!!

    I have one quick question which goes back to the amount of calories needed and using the calculator. There were options in regards to how active you are and this is hard for me to nail down. I sit at a desk all day (sedentary) but weight train at night and run a couple times of week. So on one end of the scale I do nothing but the other end I am very active. Should I choose middle ground here in determining maintanence calories?


    • Yup, take your best guess. The thing to remember here is that all the calculator is doing is giving you an estimated starting point. The key step is to then eat this amount of calories consistently, monitor what your body does as a result, and adjust if necessary.

  7. Absolutely amazing article. Answered many questions I’ve had for months of working out and no weight loss:( can’t wait to start this plan out and will comment pending results! Thanks for taking the time to make this free and easy to understand! The calorie deficit is what I’m really excited to try!

  8. Very comprehensive and informative…Cripes, I’ve got 5 pages of notes…No BULLSHIT, as we say.

    I was hoping for a detailed diet plan but totally understand why it is difficult to put together being as we are all unique in our weight issues.

    But, do you think you might be able to do sort of a generic plan say for people of XXX weight looking to lose XXX pounds?

    Or something that listed a wide variety of foods broken down by Pro/Fat/Carb per unit of food.

    Heck, I’d pay for something like that. (Not a whole lot, mind you!)

    Anyway…great job…well written…very informative and helpful

  9. First off, great article! I have been researching fitness for 2 years now and this is by far the best diet guide I have ever read. I will definitely share this with anyone I know that is looking to burn some fat or build some muscle. My question has to do with acohol consumption. I am in college and am about to turn 21 so not drinking wiht my friends will be pretty difficult. My goal is to lose fat until I get to my desired body fat level and then start gaining muscle. I only plan on drinking one or two nights a month, so on those days, should I just go a little lighter on the calories to make up for all the calories I’ll be drinking that night? Also, is there any recommendations you have on how alcohol should treated on any diet?

  10. Love this site thank you so much. Just wanted to ask you…
    I enrolled at a gym had a few sessions with a pt and lost a stone by a meal plan she gave me also cut out sugar as i had an incredible sweet tooth! I’m 47 5’3 and now 9 stone 7. Problem is my fat percentage is not decreasing its 43% I really am worried about it any ideas? I go to the gym 2-3 times a week 30 mins cardio and weights. Any suggestions?

  11. First of all, I want to thank you for putting your OWN time and effort into this article. If anyone ask me about getting started on a diet, I’ll definitely recommend them to this. I’m also ready to make a lifestyle out of this. Haha. I’m in highschool and I play football. Trying to get big in the offseason. I do however have some questions that are pretty long. Please take all the time you need to answer them.

    1) Since you suggested taking GNC multis, which I chose mega men sport, If I’m going to be taking creatine should I still take it? The reason why I ask this is because it already contains some creatine as a multivitamin. I worry about going over the limit on creatine. Also, if I do take mega men sport, should I still take it on off days?

    2) Does cooking something such as eggs change the nutrients from when it was raw?

    3) Can I still follow my same diet plan during the season? Like drinking whey and creatine after football practice? Which is 3 hours long in pads.

    4) Last question. How important are off/rest days from working out? I ask this because I really want to be the best at my position, and I don’t know why but I feel like rest days are like taking a break and being lazy. I want to be at my highest potential.

    Sorry again for all the questions. But if I ever become famous at a sport, I’ll let them know that this got me all started. (; haha thanks again man.

    • 1. I’d avoid multivitamins that contain creatine. Stick with GNC’s basic Mega Men instead.

      2. Yup. Just make sure you track your diet using the raw or cooked version consistently each time you eat that food, not one way one time, the other the next.

      3. Depends on your goals then. For example, if your goal is to gain weight now and maintain weight during the season, your calorie/nutrient intake would obviously need to be different. As for what to eat after your workout, protein/carbs are always a good idea. Creatine I’d save for after weight training on training days, and any other time of the day you want on non-weight training days.

      4. Very important! The human body can only take and recover from so much before A) progress stalls, B) regression begins, C) injuries occur or all of the above.

      Ha, and yeah, I will definitely be holding you to season tickets. 😉

      • Thanks for the feedback! I may have some more questions later on, but for now I have to ask you about dextrose. Where do you get your from? Or where do you recommend getting it from?

          • Just to let you know, I’ve gained 15 pounds of pure muscle through this diet!!! THANK YOU!

            I have a few questions though..

            1) Right now is the time where were transitioning from off season workouts to april spring practices. I want to continue to get more muscle mass on me until the actual season starts in august. Could I treat football practice as a workout? Like have my normal diet I had in the off season, and a pre and post workout for practice just like I did with a normal weight training workout? And would you also still recommend taking creatine after practice??! Thanks!!

            2) All the cutting you do in football really takes a toll on joints such as knees. Do you know any specific supplement that helps out with joints??

            • Glad to hear it dude!

              1. If you feel you’d benefit from some sort of pre/post meals before and after practice, go for it (and if they are long/hard practices, you probably would benefit from it). The most important thing of course is that your total calorie and nutrient intake for the day is what it needs to be. And the timing of creatine doesn’t matter… take it whenever.

              2. Start here.

            • From what I understand, you said that creatine gives you extra energy to your muscles such as completing that one last hard rep. Why would you suggest taking creatine after a workout if its supposed to help during the workout?? It would make sense to take it as a preworkout. Just a thought.

            • Because creatine isn’t something you take and get the benefits of right after taking. Caffeine would fit in the category, which is why taking caffeine pre workout makes sense. Creatine doesn’t work like that.

              You take it daily to max out the levels of creatine in your body, and then continue taking it to maintain those levels. For this purpose (which is the only purpose), it makes difference whatsoever when you take it.

  12. WOW! Thank you.
    This information is brilliant, succinct & makes so much sense! I knew I was being had by the diet industry bullshit…but didn’t know where to go from there. Now, I can use your information to put together my own plan based on reality & not absurd lies. I hope I can do this as a lifestyle change to look & feel great again, but also to give to my clients to empower them through their changes post quitting smoking.
    I do hope my next feedback is to let you know of my success!
    Happy New Year and thanks again 🙂

  13. Hey I just found out I have to eat 2000 calories a day but that’s too much can I eat 1200 or 1500 calories a day and still lose weight with no problems? I eat 12 to 1500 calories a day without starving. Thanks for your help.

    • The further below your maintenance level you go, the harder it’s going to be to sustain and successfully lose weight (and keep it off) due to issues ranging from metabolic slowdown to hunger to just feeling like crap mentally and physically.

  14. Thank you so much for this no-nonsense, bullshit-free and scientifically based guide. Reading your guide, I actually felt GUIDED, rather than preached at. Thank you for emphasizing that the only way to stick to a new lifestyle is to base it on our OWN life, rather than someone else’s. I’ll keep that in mind!

    One question: Is it smart to work out two times a week while maintaining a calorie deficit? Will everything be alright if I stick to the deficit until I reach my desired fat percentage and then switch to the building/maintaining muscle plan?

    Thanks a million and Happy New Year!

    • You are quite welcome… glad you liked it! Happy New Year to you as well.

      Are you referring to cardio or weight training? Either way, of course you can do it twice per week in a deficit. In fact, if you’d like to maintain as much muscle as possible while you lose fat, some amount of weight training will be required during this time… not after.

      Also keep in mind that if you’re a beginner, you’ll be able to build some muscle while in a deficit. It’s a short term borderline superpower beginners have that you should definitely try to take advantage of.

  15. Wow! I love your websites! For the last two days, I’ve been veraciously reading your Calorie Counter and Workout Routine sites. I’m about 9 months into a 2-3 day a week workout regimen, focused to weight training. I’ve lost 25 lbs (after 2 babies), and built muscle that I’ve NEVER had before. I’m not sure how much more weight I need to lose (34 yrs old, 5’2”, 134 lbs), but my focus now has really been on wanting to be strong and muscular, but not “bulky”. However, I’m definitely “plateauing”, struggling to see the same results I did at first. Any suggestions? Should I still be working in a calorie deficit? Also, how do you get so much protein in your diet? It seems like an obscene amount. Lots of protein powder, I assume. Anyhow, I have been truly inspired by your websites. I’m going to really examine my diet and try to overhaul my workouts: more compound exercises than isolation exercises. Thank you!!! By the way, I’ve shared you all over my Facebook page! Happy New Year!

    • Awesome to hear you liked both sites… thanks for sharing them!

      “Should I still be working in a calorie deficit?”

      Yup, assuming you’re trying to lose more fat, you still need a deficit. Can’t lose fat without it.

      “Also, how do you get so much protein in your diet?”

      I used to have the same exact problem early on but then, over time, it just becomes really easy. Now I have to actually keep an eye on my protein intake to make sure I don’t exceed my daily goal by too much.

      At 134lbs, you should be shooting for somewhere between 107-134g of protein per day. From there it’s just a matter of dividing that up over however many meals you eat per day. For example, with 4 meals per day, you just need around 30g of protein per meal. And that assumes you like it that way where it’s the same amount every meal. You could just as easily have 60 grams during 1 meal in this example, and 20g in the other 3. Whatever you like best and is most convenient and enjoyable… do that.

      And if the issue is just finding the time to prepare/cook/eat foods like chicken and eggs, feel free to use a supplement (like whey protein powder) as often as needed to help you reach your ideal total.

  16. Off to a fairly good start…down 9 lbs since 12/26.

    Focusing mostly on the calorie count…no booze…2 glasses of red wine..
    oatmeal, cottage cheese, small portions. Start treadmill next week…Oy vey!

  17. wondering what your thoughts were on krill oil. I know you have to take more of it since the dosing is a lot smaller, but do you think it is worth it?

  18. I really enjoyed reading this article and once I started, I couldn’t stop! For the first time in my life, I understand the whys and hows and feel like I can actually develop a plan and follow it. Thank you so much for providing this information to the public with no monetary gain to be had. I do have a couple of questions, though, if you wouldn’t mind answering them.
    1.) How do I know how many calories I should attempt to burn in my exercise routine and what exercises would accomplish that?
    2.) How often should I work out?
    3.) Do protein powders and supplement give you a full feeling or are you hungry very shortly or immediately after taking them?

    • You are quite welcome, glad it was helpful!

      1. That depends. Assuming your goal is fat loss, you need a caloric deficit. This can be done through diet alone, which means no calories would need to be burned through exercise at all. On the other hand, if you need/prefer to use exercise to burn some calories and create/help create your deficit, then it’s a matter of figuring out how many calories you need to burn to create this deficit in conjunction with how many calories you’re eating.

      As for how many calories various forms of exercise burn… do a search for “calories burned.” You’ll find a bunch of info.

      2. Again, depends on goals and what type of workout we’re talking about. If it’s weight training, then this is a good place to start:

      3. I don’t think anyone has ever had a simple protein shake and got a “full feeling.” That comes mainly from a quality solid food meal (ideally containing a protein source and vegetables).

  19. I started with a search about the right calorie levels and found your site by accident. I just read right through your whole nutritional guide and found it actually included in very clear terms all of the facts I’d spent the last two months researching about and watching lots of the various arguments on places such as Youtube, especially in the bodybuilding community. Your website is the best comprehensive guide, absolutely fantastic.
    I just started a new diet counting macronutrients and trying to reduce fat without losing muscle so we shall see what happens. Thanks for all the free information. I shall certainly subscribe, also read your workout guide.

  20. I read a lot of stuff recently mostly from alan aragon on the forum claiming that nutrient timing is totally irrevelent including pre/post workout nutrition.especially all that fast protein/high glycemic carbs after workout stuff is considered bro science.what;s your opinion about this?

    • Compared to total calorie and nutrient intake, damn near everything else barely matters in terms of fat loss/muscle growth, including nutrient timing.

      From there, as long as your pre workout meal was in check, the post workout meal (and the fastness of it) becomes a whole lot less important.

      As for the specifics of the pre/post workout meals, like their food sources and GI and speed of digestion and exact amount of nutrients and special timing and blah blah blah… I pretty much sum it all up in my article about these meals like this:

      “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.”

  21. I am having a dilemma. Using the Harris-Benedict formula my calorie maintenance level at 200 lbs and light activity comes up to roughly 2800 calories.

    Before reading the blog (Which by the way is what this crazy internet world needs… a simple diet plan that u need to design as per your body needs and changes… HUGE THANKS FROM MY SIDE FOR IT!! helped and is helping me a lot), i came across the mifflin st jeor equation calculator.

    This calculator sums it up to about 2400 calories per day at light activity through out the week.

    I am trying to make up a diet plan currently cause my BMI is at 33 (i.e. overly OBESE) 🙁

    As you can see both are yielding a huge difference. Could you guide me here a little as to which one is more accurate or which one should be followed.

    • Honestly, it really doesn’t matter all that much. The goal of these various calculators is to just help you come up with an estimated starting point.

      The BIG key is to then put that calorie intake into action consistently and monitor what your body (and your weight) does as a result. If it’s doing what you want it to do at the rate it should be doing it, you’re perfect and your estimate was pretty accurate. But if not, you need to adjust until it is. That’s the key step.

      So, you can pretty much just flip a coin on which calorie intake to start with, or you can pick an amount somewhere between the two. Then it’s just a matter of watching what happens and adjusting when/if necessary.

  22. I loved this article, but I’m still kinda confused. How are you supposed to use the diet to both gain muscle weight and lose fat?
    Thank you for your time.

    • With the exception of fat beginners, people regaining lost muscle and steroid users, most people aren’t going to be able to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

      Instead, focus on one goal (getting lean first is usually the right idea) and then alternate to the other.

  23. My daily protein intake comes up to 200g a day. I go to gym 3-4 times a week and mostly its an hour of cardio (not weights, or machines, mostly just tread and stepper). Hence, it can e considered as light activity.

    My weight is 200 lbs and daily protein is at 200g/day for 1g per pound of body weight. As my weight is high i have considered 0.8g/day @200lbs which comes to 160g a day.

    My meal plan is divided into 4 meals a day. I am a vegetarian actually, however i do eat hard boiled eggs.

    Still, i am having a hard time trying to factor in 40g of protein per meal. Could you suggest what can be done for this. (I don’t want to exceed fat intake at more than 30% of target daily calorie intake since i am trying to lose fat).

    • Being a vegetarian certainly makes it harder to get enough protein in since most of the ideal foods (chicken, turkey, fish, beef, etc.) are off the table.

      Eggs/egg whites are a good option, as is milk if that’s something you can consume (and digest well, I don’t). Beyond that it’s just stuff like nuts and beans which contain some protein, but not very much.

      But your best option (again assuming it’s something you can eat as a vegetarian) is to consider a protein supplement such as whey protein powder. It’s as quick and convenient as can be and makes reaching your daily protein requirements significantly easier. Also contains little to no fat.

  24. RE: How Many Meals A Day – When & How Often Should You Eat?
    Thank you for this article about how many meals a day I should eat. Always thought you need to eat 4-6 meals a day or at least spread out your calories throughout the day, but your article confirmes if i want to i can eat one meal a day, as long as I eat the required calories. That’s the most important thing to worry about is calories like your article explains, then I won’t eat breakfast or lunch and eat just before bed, since I absolutely need my energy to sleep. I will feel energized and eating 1200-1400 calories a day will help me get through my exercies. Wow this makes a lot of sense now!!

    • While still technically an option, 1 meal per day may be a bit tough on the body from a digestion standpoint (not to mention having to eat a days worth of calories in 1 sitting).

      For most people, anywhere from 2-6 meals per day is perfect.

  25. I was at the gym tonight and I did a little bit of cardio and weight training. My question is I’m kind of on the chunky side I would probably say 25% body fat. What should be my cardio to weight training ratio?

  26. I’ve been dieting on all types of diets for 40 years with no long term success. This is the 1st time I actually relaxed, instead of feeling dread, while reading about this food plan. This is something I can do for the rest of my life without the fear of not being able to keep it up and gaining everything back because of feeling deprived and doing something not right for me and MY lifestyle. I feel creating your own diet is an outstanding concept and you’ve made it so easy. I like liquid meals sometimes for quickness, especially in mornings. Is there a protein substitute for those who can not do dairy or casein? Thanks again. I am pregnant with hope;)

    • Very happy to hear that! Be sure to let us know how well you end up doing.

      As for protein, avoiding casein is a good idea as that is by far more problematic than whey. As far as whey itself goes, some brands are better than others. For example with me, I have issues with diary and certain protein powders give me more problems than others. But, the one I’ve used for the last few years (Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey) contains lactase which helps improve digestion. For me, it’s been the best whey I’ve come across.

  27. This plan is incredible. Everything is to the point, humorous, and so simple! And thank you for finally busting the “breakfast is the most important meal” myth. I can’t stand eating in the morning, and if I do, all of a sudden I have a huge appetite and cant stop eating. It’s weird. But after reading your article I can relax and know I can eat whenever works best for me!

  28. Loved all the information here. Humorous and myth busting.

    I am a 30 year old beginner training for past 2 month. I am 5’10 , 174lb, approximately 20% BF. Your articles cleared the confusion that i should lose fat before doing any kind of bulk.

    I do have some questions:
    1. I was about to start taking creatine before i got on this website. Should i take any creatine during my cut cycle(as you said beginners might build some muscle during cut) ?
    2. Being so late in the game of body building. Can i still build good physique at 30?
    3. I don’t know why but all my push exercise are very very weak compared to my pull exercises. For example, I can row upto 120lb but my pressing is around 65 lb. My chest, triceps and shoulders just doesn’t seem to have any strength. Is there anything i can do about it?

    Appreciate all the work you are doing. Thank you.

    • 1. It’s certainly not required, but you can. It will help with performance, which will help with muscle maintenance/growth. Just keep in mind that there is usually a few pounds of water weight gain during the first few weeks.

      2. Of course. 30 is nothing. Guys first starting in their 40’s can still make good progress. You have plenty of time.

      3. You’ve only been training for 2 months. Just keep at it and focus on gradually getting stronger on all exercises.

  29. This truly is the best thing about dieting that I’ve ever read – you, Sir are awesome and the fact that you wrote all this and just made this whole big thing is amazing. I think I found this while searching for ways to prevent muscle loss when trying to lose fat (I can’t really remember, since it was a few days ago and since then, I’ve had A Calorie Counter open in a tab all the time), and this told me what I wanted to know, and so much more. I have one question though – for just over a month, I’ve been on holidays from school (I’m 17 and a girl) and have lost 4kg, but I haven’t done any weight training (only calorie deficit and cardio), which prompted my muscle loss worry. I’m definitely going to get some protein powder now, but I was wondering what muscle exercises I can do if I’m really weak (like I don’t think I can actually do a push-up weak). And since I’ll have school soon, I was wondering about the pre- and post- workout meals. Would it be better to work out right after school, before dinner, or a couple of hours after dinner, and have protein right after. And if the second one is best, which protein powder would be best for after, since I’ve just finished a workout, but I’m going to bed in an hour…

  30. Also, I love your writing style. I don’t know how to explain what I mean, but your articles have your personality in them, and it makes them much more fun to read than a lot of other things out there. Have you ever been on If you haven’t, you should, it’s brilliant. Anyway, your writing style is a lot like the writers over there. Hmm … you should write school textbooks.

  31. Hi there, um, I was wondering if it’s possible to burn fat while maintaining my weight WITHOUT working out my muscles? I’m not interested in getting big or having muscles at all really. I just don’t want this fat that lingers on my neck and belly. It looks funny on me because I’m actually slim everywhere else. I’m really just interested in walking as apposed to weight training.

    If it helps, I weigh around 130 pounds and I’m a 22 year old guy. Hope to hear from you. :-/

    • So you want to lose fat without losing weight? AND you want to accomplish this without weight training/building muscle?

      Nope, not gonna happen. Fat weighs something, so if you lose fat, you’re going to lose weight.

  32. I probably should’ve been more specific.

    Let’s say I eat the same number of calories a day. Take for example, 1800 and my RMR is 1654? And I burn the 146 calories left over by walking…would that still be of no use in getting rid of my neck fat and belly fat?

      • Sorry I took a day to respond but yeah I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.


        I really appreciate it.

  33. since we know that the anabolic window lasts at least 24 hours and that pre workout nutrition prevents us from going catabolic after a workout what’s the point in rushing to eat within 30 minutes? do you think there will be a difference in results if someone ate let’s say 2 or 3 hours after a workout if his pre workout meal was in place?

    • There’s really no point in rushing. Whether you eat that post workout meal 30 minutes or 120 minutes later isn’t really going to make or break your results or really come remotely close to doing so.

      I do however think there are small calorie partitioning benefits to eating around your workout. Doesn’t need to be 30 minutes around it, though. But if the choices are eating that meal 30 minutes after or 3+ hours after, I’d shoot for 30 so long as it doesn’t interfere with diet goal #1… eating however you need to eat so that your total calorie and macronutrient totals are met for the day.

  34. Hi there!
    This is the best stuff I’ve ever read. Especially your part on diet cults! I was in one! And now I realize I need to do what works best for me! Thank you so much for putting this together and making it free! And trust me on this, I’ve READ LOTS AND LOTS OF STUFF on nutrition and this is by FAR the BEST STUFF EVER!

  35. First up, excellent article. It helped solidify a lot that I’ve learned already, and given me lots of interesting things to think about. The pre- and post- workout meals in particular.

    I just tried the pre- and post- workout meals this morning. Holy cow, that was a lot of food. I suspect that maybe I don’t need quite the amount stated, and was hoping you could confirm/refute that fact.

    Some data for you – I’m 183 pounds, 5’11, about 27% body fat. I’m running a daily 500-1000 calorie deficit to lose fat. I lift on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. Rest on Sundays. I’m losing at a fairly steady rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week, as you would expect and I’ve dropped nearly 40 pounds thus far.

    My lifting routine is pretty basic, and is machine only at this point. I lift at about 80% of my max weight, 3 sets of 8 reps. I recently changed to this from 60% of max, 2 sets of 12 reps. My routine is pretty balanced, based on a beginners routine found online (I forget the source). My routine takes about 45 minutes.

    Based on your recommendation I started my day with a pre-workout of a scoop of protein powder, a cup of milk and a banana, blitzed into a smoothie. I ended with another scoop of protein powder, a cup of milk and some mixed fruit, again mixed into a smoothie. Followed up with my usual breakfast of half a cup of oatmeal, a cup of milk and two tbsp of PB2. Final result was about 90g of protein and 120g of carbs. Based on the length/intensity of my workout, is that overkill?

    • Here’s the best advice I could possibly give you about the pre and post workout meals. Get a decent amount of protein and carbs in both, and don’t sweat the details.

      Let your own personal preferences dictate EXACTLY how much of each nutrient you include in each meal as well as what food sources you get them from.

      Everything else matters somewhere between not at all and too little to make any real difference.

  36. According to your article, my calorie intake should be at 2000. Which seems like a lot to me. I was at 1200 before (because MFP told me that’s what I needed to be at) and I wasn’t losing any weight. If I’m being honest though, it was very difficult to maintain that amount of calories a day. I work out every day burning between 500 and 1000 calories per work out (according to my HRM watch) but I shouldn’t plan on eating any of those calories back right? Everyday my food calorie intake should remain the same at 2000, correct? I’m afraid to gain weight.

    • Amy, pleaseeeee don’t take this as an insult, because I promise you it’s not intended as one. Cool? Cool.

      You mentioned you were eating 1200 calories per day, burning an additional 500-1000 calories per workout, and STILL not losing any weight at all.

      Here’s what I think. Assuming you’re not already quite lean or just really tiny in general, and also assuming you’re in good health (no thyroid issues, etc.), then you should have lost weight eating that amount of calories… plus burning that amount of calories.

      So what’s the problem here? You just weren’t actually eating the amount of calories you thought you were.

      How could that be? I can’t tell you for sure… there are many possibilities. It’s likely somewhere in the food measuring or diet tracking process. You unintentionally screwed something up somewhere and somehow underestimated how many calories you actually consumed on a daily basis. Either that or you just flat out overate.

      Why do I think this? Because I’ve seen it happen a million times, as has pretty much every single diet professional who has at some point had someone claim to be eating X calories yet still weren’t losing weight.

      In fact, many studies show this too. People say they are eating some low amount of calories but not losing weight. They take these people, lock them in a controlled environment where all of their food is measured and tracked for them and they are unable to eat more than they are supposed to. And what happens? They suddenly all start losing weight just fine.

      So, long story short, my advice would be to double check your calorie intake.

  37. Hello there. 🙂

    I have some qestions about caloric surpluses.

    I was wondering, what kind of food exactly needs to be in a caloric surplus?

    Also, I see that to maintain, lose, or gain weight, each time you must eat a certain number of fat, carbs, and protien…. but does that rule apply to caloric surpluses too? Like is there a certain amount of fat, protien, and carbs that need to make up a caloric surplus, or can the whole surplus contain 1 (like fat I guess) and not the other 2?

    Thanks a bunch. 🙂

  38. First, your website is amazing, thanks so much. I have found it such an informative and clearly written resource on a topic which can be overwhelming and confusing.

    My question is – you talk about how caloric surplus is needed for building muscle, while caloric deficit is needed to lose fat. So does that mean one can’t do both simultaneously? If I work out while on a caloric deficit, the best I can hope to do is merely maintain / strengthen my current muscle tissue? I’m just a little confused at how caloric deficit interacts with weight training, and whether i should be aiming for a caloric surplus or deficit for my fitness goals (I want to both lose body fat as well as build muscle).

    • You pretty much have it right. Simultaneous fat loss and muscle growth is something most people will not be able to achieve. The primary exceptions however are fat beginners, people regaining lost muscle, and (of course) steroid users. In these cases, it can and does happen.

      But outside of that, the best most of us can hope for in a deficit is muscle maintenance (although strength gains can sometimes be made), and the best we can hope for in a surplus is to minimize fat gains. We’d than alternate between goals (get lean, then build muscle while trying to avoid gaining excess fat, then lose whatever fat was gained while maintaining all of the muscle that was built, and repeat) until we’ve built as much muscle as we want and gotten as lean as we want.

  39. Hi,

    First of all, thanks alot for the very informative article. I’ve learnt lots of new stuff.

    But, I’m just wondering how to really calculate my maintenance level calories? Tried some tools online and I’m abit confused on it. Would you lend me hand to find my maintenance level calories?

    Age : 19 years old
    Weight : 100kg/220lbs
    Height : 178cm/5ft 10inch
    Activities :
    – Daily walk (5min) from point A (LRT) to point B (College) and vice versa
    – Hit the gym at the evening

    Thanks in advance


  40. I train fasted almost all the time. 12 or more hours fasted. Your thoughts on doing so. In your opinion, bad, good, recommended, not recommended? Your answer will be appreciated.

    • For me, training fasted is bad. Tried it and didn’t like it and have no reason or interest (and see zero benefit) in trying it again.

      For someone who for whatever reason prefers training fasted though? It’s fine.

  41. Hey there! Thanks for writing this awesome article! I was wondering if you can help design my workout plan. I’m a 19 year old girl, 5″2′, 121lbs, moderately active (or I can push myself to be), and I rely my workouts on long, steady walks. I also throw in some cardio yoga here and there. I want to lose fat and get down to weighing 110 within 4-6 weeks. Your help will be much appreciated!

  42. Thanks for the reply. Found out my true maintenance level calories with your great written articles once again.

    Just another question here if you don’t mind;

    Is it ok to eat at 10pm (3 hrs before going to bed – 1am). Will it cause me to become fat?

    Thanks in advance


  43. Hi, thank you for this, you’ve done a really good job. Sorry if i’ve missed abit but, i have visible abs and if I was going to do a diet plan for muscle gain would my abs fade? Just i have been cutting for a while and its took me a while to get my abs visible and i was wondering if the diet where i increased my calories would make me fatter(might be a stupid question lol)thanks.

    • Muscle growth requires a caloric surplus. Now, as long as you’re training correctly, keeping that surplus small and gaining weight slowly (2lbs per month is pretty close to ideal for most men), then you’ll gain plenty of muscle.

      However, unless you’re using steroids or have the most amazing genetics in the world, you’re mostly likely going to gain some small amount of fat along with the muscle. The ratio of fat:muscle gain is dependent on various genetic factors, age, experience level, and how well your diet and training is set up. The better all of that is, the better the ratio will be.

      But even if it’s all perfect, a bit of fat is still going to be inevitable for most people. Your goal is to keep it to a minimum, and lose it afterwards (and before getting TOO fat).

  44. I loved getting all this information. You did a wonderful job of explaining everything in terms that could be understood. Thank you for that. I am still confused on one point though…My calorie maint. level is 2117 and 20% from that leaves 1694. So if I burn 200 calories from exercise do I still need to eat 1694 calories or would I have another 200 calorie deficit for that day? Sorry, I am sure you have to answer this question a lot but I really want to get this right. Thank you again.

    • If you ate 1694 calories that day and then burned an additional 200, it would mean you’re really at 1494, which is a larger deficit than you intended. To reach your intended deficit in this example, you’d eat 1894 calories that day since you’ll be burning 200 more than usual.

      Either way, you still end up at the 1694 you’ll shooting for.

  45. I’ve always avoided commercial diet plans and what have you like the plague – mostly because listening to the self-saluting “doctors/gurus/preachers” yapatlength (or worse, having to suffer them text-turally) makes my eyeballs roll back in my head. But then, I’ve always found it difficult to swallow baloney, especially when it’s dipped in double talk =)

    You write very well, you back up your statements intelligently, and you pay attention to detail. Important detail. Since I didn’t even come here to read about diets (Google tossed me into the middle of one of these pages in response to a query) I’d say it speaks volumes that a random point within your writing was interesting enough to make me want to find the beginning and read the whole thing.

    Which I did, and rather enjoyed I might add so Thank-You! Right near the end you talked about protein supplements – not something I’ve ever thought about or read up on but now I’m curious and I’m betting you’ll give a straight answer – could that stuff effectively substitute COMPLETELY for all other proteins do you think? Or must we have “natural” (not exactly the proper term I know since whey is in fact natural) proteins as well from meat/eggs/nuts/dairy etc.?

    Have you ever heard, read of, or met anyone whose only protein intake comes from the supplement kind? I’m curious if the body cares – you know, directly or even indirectly…

    • Ha, thanks for the compliments. Glad you liked it.

      I do think it’s probably possible to get by with protein supplements as your only source of protein, although I don’t actually know anyone who has, or really anyone who has attempted to. At least not long term. I’m sure there are plenty of people in situations where they can only drink shakes for some short term period of time, and protein powder is their main/only source of protein. But again, it’s usually a short term thing in those cases.

      I do think that a variety of foods is important for ensuring you get a variety of micronutrients, and getting one macronutrient from one single source usually isn’t ideal for that.

      • Interesting – this past week I decided to track my protein intake after using your calculations to baseline. I’ve been vegetarian since I was kid and noticed that my pet looked far too much like a frying chicken lol, (that and a job in a meat department pretty much redefined my tastes). I’m not a hard-core VT mind you, I still eat seafood, eggs and dairy – so I’ve always figured my protein needs were probably covered… Ha! NOT!

        Turns out I hardly even come close, by your formula I should take in a min. of 120g/day. During an 8 day track I topped out at 70g and had a low end of 29g, average over all was 50g. What’s worse is I can’t honestly say that that’s even a true representation of my protein intake since I know my eating habits for the week were influenced by having read your article. It’s more likely I’ve been topping at 35-45g/day for many, many years – and then only because I eat eggs for breakfast and happen to like cheese with anything =)

        Hasn’t killed me obviously, but now I’m wondering what kind of long term effects it’s brought on. Your answer to my supplement question has me considering “wheying up” as it were, although I have to say I’m not much for liquids, especially cold ones – and can’t see myself sticking to drinking any kind of shake beyond – well, once. Can that stuff be put in soup or say stir fry? How about baking it into a casserole? Is it affected by heat do you know? What does it taste like dry?

        Reads rather silly typed out I know, but like you said people have to be realistic about what they like and don’t like and I really, really don’t care for liquids – save for soup on occasion. Unless I consciously alter it, I pretty much eat like a cat – same thing every day unless someone or something messes with my routine – which I can tolerate for short periods, but certainly don’t appreciate if you know what I mean.

        Funny that while I was reading I didn’t think it’d be all that hard to muster up 120g of protein a day – but Wow. And Hmm too. I’d like to meet a true vegan bodybuilder now, they must be as rare as pterodactyls ;-p

        • A vegetarian who works in the meat department? There’s one I’ve never heard before. 😉

          And speaking of stuff I’ve never heard before… whey in soup? Sounds an equal combination of insane and disgusting. Although, people have come up with interesting recipes for all kinds of stuff with whey as an ingredient to make it a “high protein [some kind of food that normally isn’t high protein].”

          But, I’m terrible when it comes to that stuff, so I’m the worst person to ask. Search around, you’ll probably find something.

          And vegan bodybuilders actually do exist. Search around, you’ll find some of them too. They’d probably have some good advice on getting sufficient protein.

  46. Dear XXXX,
    What a great website! The only thing missing is your name! Who are you? Suggest you put your name on every page.

    I came across this site when I started wondering about the amount of sugar in my Raisin Bran. This morning I teamed it with Almond Milk (ran out of cow’s milk)and there was so much sugar combined that it hurt my teeth. I’m going to pitch this cereal.

    You can be really proud of your work here, you’ve done a great job. Written with humour and so freely given, the information is excellent. Thank you so much!

    Kind Regards, Rita Campbell.

  47. Hello !

    This time I am back with question’s.

    What do u think of ‘ Raw Protein ‘ ? Have u studied that yet … compared to the ‘ Whey Protein ‘ ??


    • Raw protein as in plant based protein sources rather than milk based (like whey and casein)? If so, plant sources are inferior to meat/milk sources when it comes to protein.

      It can still be useful, especially if you’re vegan or have issues digesting other sources. But, if not, I’d stick with whey.

  48. best no nonsense how to manual on staying the right weight and work out…ive read in years..will definitely take it on board…thanks for this!

  49. So just to make sure I have everything correct. I weigh 313 lbs so I was just wondering if I should actually be trying to take in 270 grams of protein a day to lose weight and was also wondering if that’s the case how to do so without going over on my calories?


  50. Thaaaaank Youuuuuuu! I am so happy I found this website. I have been reading it all week.

    I workout about 30mins after I get up in the morning (which is 4:00AM) sometimes I am okay working out without eating but I noticed when I do strength training I tend to feel weak. Any suggestions?

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