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. Thanks SOOOO much for making things/everything so clear..You are just simply AWESOME! I set up my macros and was hoping that you could look it over and let me know if it seems Right. I’m scared that its wrong and would hate to fail AGAIN. I feel like I’ve been on a diet for most of my life and never get the results I strive for. I’m a 25 year old female. 5’4 Fluctuate between 118 -120 pounds. And right now I have my calories set for 1600 with macros of 40/30/30 pro/fat/carb. Do you think that this will work for me? I workout 5 days a week usually some type of HIIT and run a couple days out of the week. My goal is to lose fat ..around my stomach butt and thighs. I really want to be Lean and Toned with a flat stomach and possibly some visible abs! 🙂 Thanks for reading, it’s greatly appreciated! 🙂 If you have any other tips/ suggestions for me that would also be great.

  2. If only my college professors have your enthusiasm and gusto! After reading the whole diet plan I feel mentally drained. So much information! I’ve heard all of the diets: low carb, no carb, high protein, low fat, high calories with no fat…you name it I probably have naïve friends who are trying it at this very moment. Guess what? I DON’T see results from them. I’ve constantly told them “no matter what you cut back on: protein, carbs, fat…if the overall caloric intake is more than you burn, you WON’T lose weight”. FINALLY reading something that I’ve tried to preach for a loooooooong time. Even after a million crunches they don’t see improvement. So excited to start this plan up, already bought protein powder and have been using creatine for some time now. Will update my physical progress soon!

  3. Great guide!! But I still don’t understand HOW THE HELL DO PEOPLE COUNT CALORIES!!?? How can i know the exact amount of calories i eat every day? I tried to count the amount of calories in everything I eat but it seems imposible for me to do it on a regular basis… Maybe there are some secret for easy calorie counting… I don’t know. Help me please!!

  4. Hi,

    Ok i’m a beginner, I put in my numbers based on what my weight seems to fluctuate to most from…139 or 140 lbs( sometimes it could go down a little more to 137, but i just went with these most common numbers)

    Height: 5’4
    Weight: 139 lbs

    Calorie maintenance: 2108

    + 250 calories

    2, 358 = calories per day to build muscle

    Protein intake: 139 grams of protein per day

    Fat Intake: 66 grams of fat per day

    Carb Intake: 303 of carbs per day

    Age: 24
    Height: 5’4
    Weight: 140 lbs.

    Calorie maintenance: 2114

    + 250 calories

    2, 364 = calories per day to build muscle

    Protein intake: 140 calories per day to build muscle

    Fat intake: 66 grams of fat per day

    Carb intake: 303 of carbs per day

    My question is to build muscle, does a caloric surplus need to occur by the end of the week, or every day. Like I know on lifting days, some men eat more on lifting days, and cut back a tiny bit on non lifting days. I’m not sure what it’s called, i believe it’s calorie/nutrient cycling approach. Should I be doing that, or eating the same amount regardless of whether i’m going to the gym or not? I’m following a full body 3 day workout.


    • As long as that same total weekly surplus is there, that’s the main thing.

      There are pros and cons to both approaches, but they’ll both work just fine. Pick whichever seems more ideal for you.

  5. Hi, it’s so refreshing to have straight forward answers so thank you very much!
    My question is, during the holidays I have Gained around 3kg due to frequent days of overeating. If I resume eating my 1650 calories a day that was maintaining my previous weight, will I go back to the weight I was then? Or do I have to create a deficit again to get to my previous weight and then resume eating 1650 calss? I’m not in any rush to lose this extra 3kg. Thank you!!

    • Going back to your typical calorie intake will technically already be a deficit from whatever amount you were eating that causes you to gain weight. So that should be enough to get back to where you were.

  6. Hi.
    So I’ve been following your guidelines for about 5 months now and it’s been great! I’m losing a healthy amount of weight per week and I’m now starting to see a significant change in my physical appearance! I have a question regarding pre-workout nutrition. Are any of the pre-workout supplements worth taking?

    I’ve read your article on how 99% of the crap they sell in supplement stores is just worthless, yet I’m still curious if you’ve had any experience or have experimented with any of these? I’ve heard the ON brand Platinum Pre is supposed to be decent.

    • Glad to hear it!

      As for pre workout supplements, I personally don’t use any… but I can tell you that caffeine is one of the most proven stimulants around. So, if your chosen pre workout supplement contains caffeine, it will likely provide some form of benefit.

      Or, consider supplementing with just caffeine by itself.

  7. In the best diet plan, to lose weight you recommended that the caloric deficit be 20% below maintenance level per day. However, in the ultimate weight loss diet you just recommended a set 500 calories below maintenance level per day. Which option is better to lose weight?

  8. Hello, first let me start by saying Thank You so much for the information! because of you I know that I will be successful in my journey to a healty life. I have read so much in the past on how to do this and always failed at it because of all the back and forth of whats the right way and who’s right and who’s wrong etc….Anyways I love that you made it cleared about the calorie deficit along with protein, carbs, fat etc. That was the best information anyone that is just starting can have, including my self! It took me a couple of days to read all of it but it was the best knowledge I have received. Great! Great! article. I only have one question for now may sound dumb but im gonna ask anyways…I hear alot about drinking chocolate milk after a workout cause it has everything you need for recovery. Do you recommend it and if so can I mix it with my protein? Again thank you for the info!! Finally someone who made it clear for us to understand:)

  9. Hi there,
    Great site!
    Have a question for you (suprise) I starte monitoring my calorie intake and have been trying to loose weight so I have been exercising more frequently to create a calorie deficit. And now that I’m exercising twice as much, I’m twice as hungry! Which is understandable but im not sure how to conteract this as I don’t want to be hungry all the time ,but I also don’t want to eat more as this cancels out all the extra exercising?!
    Hope this makes sense, looking forward to hearing your response.

    Thank you,

    • Your goal is to end up at your ideal calorie intake through your diet, exercise or a combination of both. So if your goal was 2000 calories (just an example) and you eat 2000 calories (meaning the goal is reached through diet alone) but then exercise extra and burn an additional 500 calories (thus putting you at 1500), you should have actually eaten 2500 calories that day instead since exercise was going to set your deficit.

  10. Thank you soooo much for this! I’ve been reading it the whole day and it has been really helpful. I finally know how to plan my diet. I just have one question. When planning meals is it good to start by calculating how much calories are in certain amount of grams per (for example) skinless chicken breast and then plan the size of the meal? I don’t want to spend much time calculating the calories every time before I start cooking something. Maybe a ‘personalized’ calorie-table would work? Thanks in advance! I’m now going to read you workout guide. 🙂

  11. Hi, I have recently started strength training 3 times a week following your beginners’ workout plan (absolutely love your guide by the way, so much sense!) and am wanting to lose a significant amount of weight, currently weighing in at 218 pounds (I’m female). According to your guide I should be eating an awful lot of protein, however it is hard to eat that much protein and still have a calorie deficit, even when using shakes. How would you suggest I proceed with this? How many grams of protein should I aim for? Thanks for any help, I am so glad I found your websites!

  12. Just want to say a very big “Thank you” for this excellent website. It has been of immense help to me, certainly assisted me in filtering out all the BS I read on a great many other sites that I felt wasn’t right, but wasn’t sure why; now I know why.

    Have tailored a diet to match my workout regime (who knew I’d ever have a real use for the Solver function on an Excel spreadsheet?), am eating healthier than ever, am not busting a nut doing so. Great stuff.

  13. I have done the numbers according to what I have seen but I am a little confused on a few numbers I should have used. My scenarios is I am a 316lb male (age 42) who is pretty sedementary and I would like to get down to 220lb. Of course I know first off I have to get off my butt and I am doing that. I have started using a stationary Cycle and I am doing some walking (Mile a day). When I do the numbers and I use the calculator for figuring my ideal caloric intake I get a huge difference in between the two methods you listed. One has me at 2773 and the other one has me at 4424. Which one is the more accurate one and the one I should follow whn figuring protein, fat, and carbs? When I figured my protein I used the weight I wanted (220 LB) as you said not my current weight (316 lb). Should I be doing the same for when I calculate my fat and carbs also? Should I be using my idea weight (220lb) or do I use my current weight (316 lb)?

    I understand this is a marathon and not a sprint race so I am happy taking 1-3 pounds off each week. I will be sure to keep you posted as I am on my journey. If you get the chance can you throw in a few more examples of what to do for those who are looking to lose alot of weight and not just 15-20 lbs?

    • I’d start with something in the realm of 3000 calories and work from there (monitor progress, adjust as needed).

      Protein would be the only macronutrient to calculate based on goal body weight. Plus, fat is based on a percentage of calorie intake (not body weight), and carbs just fill in whatever is left over.

  14. Hi
    What if my daily calories are not met. I.e I have had breakfast , lunch and tea and snacks but not reached the calories I am meant to.

    • Depends on your goal. If it’s building muscle/gaining weight, you will fail to do that.

      If it’s maintaining weight, you’ll fail to do that.

      If it’s losing weight, your deficit will be X calories bigger on the days that this happens. Assuming it’s a small difference, it’s probably not a big deal (especially if it’s only an occasional thing).

  15. Thank you so much for this guide, its been really helpful. Same with aworkoutroutine. A couple of questions though.
    1. I’ve been feeling hungry before i go to bed on my bulking diet. Is this normal or did I calculate my caloric intake wrong or something? I’m around 135 pounds, and set my macros to:
    65g fat
    275g carbs
    150g protein
    The total is around 2300 calories. I just kind of took an educated guess when calculating my caloric intake, which was around 2000.

    2. Is it okay to drink pop (or soda) after a workout to get fast carbs? Or candy?

  16. hi…Just want to say a very big “Thank you” for this excellent website.
    i wan’t to know my son in now 10 years old, he has a athlatic tournament on end of this month, is it ok giving creatine? if it is ok how is the dose? plzzzz can u tell this as soon as possible….

  17. First off thanks for such a great informative site!!! I was wondering can you eat to few of calories? I am 4 months post partum and nursing exclusively. Before my baby I was 105 lbs and I ate around 600-900 calories a day net so after burning usually 250-350 cals in hiit training. I use a calorie counting site for accuracy and a hrm for calories burned. now postpartum Im eating pretty much the same way, high protein, veggies, minimal dairy, lots of raw foods but same caloric intake, but now im nursing and im stuck. I only gained 20lbs during pregnancy but cant shift the last 6-8lbs, am I eating to little now because the nursing burns anywhere from 3-600 cals a day also. which would put my net intake im guessing around 2-300cal total. too low right, is my body holding on for milk production? im 5’6″ and currently 113 usually 105. please help…
    Thank you

  18. I enjoyed reading all of the information on your website. I have been looking for thorough information regarding losing weight for a very long time. And this is it! Thank you very much! I started today but I did not meet my protein amount. Healthy fat & carbs were met. Just need help with protein. I am not a big meat eater, so any suggestions. Thank you.

  19. Awesome found out a lot of important things 🙂
    just 1 thing that confuses me a little, when you say target body weight, is that the weight you are aiming for or is that your current weight?

  20. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for this information. I have been struggling despite having made huge changes to my lifestyle. I count calories and exercise and am usually within my caloric goals but I never realized how important the breakdown of those calories was eg. protein!!!! I am going to try to make the adjustments and hope everything else falls into place and this stubborn 30 pounds take a hike!!!! I also must say I love your post 11 reasons you are not loosing fat!!!! Free magical calories HAHA!!!

  21. First, thank you! An amazing resource and FREE! This was the most comprehensive, understandable and useful health and fitness related document I’ve ever come across.

    These also may be dumb questions, but

    1. do I need to recalculate my intake values for macronutrients every time I see a change in weight?

    In other words, my goal is to build muscle so if I gain .50 lbs per week based on the scale do I need to recalculate the number of grams and calories I’m eating daily for protein, carbs, and fats?

    2. Also, your recommendation for a pre and post workout meal having some protein and carbs. My question is how much of each for these particular meals? For me, it’s easiest to have whey but there’s very little carb intake with it. I think there was a reference to .25 grams per lb of TARGET body weight but I don’t really know what my target body weight is. I just know I want to increase my size/muscle mass. I’m 41,
    5′ 10″ and 172 currently.

    3. Lastly, if I’m missing my intake mark by a little up or down for protein carbs and or fats how big a deal is that? For example, I calculated mine as follows

    Calorie maintenance level 172 x 14 – 17 2408 – 2924 (2624)

    Ideal surplus for gain is 250 plus 2624 = 2874

    Protein 36% (258 grams) 1,032 cals
    Carbs 39% (281 grams ) 1,124 cals
    Fats 20-30% (64 – 96 grams) 575 – 862 cals (80 grams or 718 cals is 25%)

    If today my protein ended up at 298 grams and carbs at 290 grams but my total calories was almost perfect, should I work harder to get those gram amounts down?

    Sorry for the long list.

    Thanks again for this incredible guide.

    • 1. Recalculate only when progress stalls for 2-3 weeks and an adjustment needs to be made. No need to mess with anything before that point.

      2. Honestly, a “decent amount” of protein/carbs will be fine. No need to make it any more complicated than that.

      3. Doesn’t matter and it’s pretty much impossible for that NOT to happen. No one will get everything right to the exact gram. Just get as close to it as you can. A few grams off here or there won’t matter.

  22. Took a full week off due to lack of recovery/over reaching while on fat loss diet…, I have outlined your -Lose Fat/while keep Lean Muscle Workout- and truly hope that when I begin training again on this routine it will help me achieve my fat loss goals and keep/build up my strength again!!!!! I feel there has been muscle loss instead of true fat loss and tst completely opposite of how I wanted to look better naked!
    If you have any additional suggestions before I start training again I WOULD TRULY APPRECIATE EVERY WORD!!! I do not want to stop training, I do not want to live in a calorie deficit for the rest of my life and I just for ONCE want to like what I see in the mirror after being so dedicated, strong willed and sadly now obsessed!!!!!

  23. I stumbled across your diet plan while doing research to better improve my own diet and exercise program, after countless websites and random information picked and gleaned from confusing and contradictory “facts” and opinions. I read your whole outline, and was pleased to find all the information I had been learning, and clarity on what I was still trying to learn, all in one useful source. I was able to toss out all the scattered notes I’d been previously writing, and simply keep your outline to easily reference. I have always been a naturally health watching, food eating, exercising person, but never really learned the whole break down, partly because I believe many people and diets overdo it, to an unhealthy counterproductive end. I decided to better improve my own knowledge, but still had my beliefs against much of the contradictions in diet opinions. I find your information not only accurate, but your advice to not over stress certain things, like how to customize your particular diet to YOURSELF, very sound advice. I myself have never been able to eat a big breakfast, but have always been just fine making it up later. And I worked in construction for years, 10-14 hour shifts, Mon thru Sun, and I was like a MACHINE. So thank you for taking the time to inform everybody looking for help in this often confusing area, you are doing a great service to humanity.

  24. Ok so I’ve been reading all of your material for the past couple hours and it really all makes sense. Here’s my issue. My exercise is crossfit. I like doing it and it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing things I’d never thought or seen myself doing. I read somewhere in one of your comments that you’re not fond of the sport. That’s ok. But my issue with it is I’m eating too few calories based on the whole paleo/zone thing, with the exception of white rice post-work out (shoot me paleo gods). I workout 5 days a week with a Saturday-Sunday rest. I typically eat the same thing every day and when I calculated it, my calories were only 1119 per day. I was shocked and pretty upset because not only is that a setup for metabolic damage, I’m pretty miserable too. Yes I’m trying to lose fat. But isn’t 1119 a bit too drastic of a deficit?

    My other question is, I’ve pretty much upped all my foods in my calorie calculator to consume at least 1650 calories. My main concern is the adding of additional fats (nuts, oils, etc.) since my fat intake from my protein sources seem pretty high already (just eggs and 85% grassfed ground beef. not really a fan of chicken or fish). I’ve always followed the “eat a separate fat with every meal” because that’s what crossfit/paleo/zone pounds into your head. My current ratio is just about 40-30-30 (pro-carb-fat). My protein is at 135g (target body weight), carbs are at 105g with half of those coming post workout white rice and fats are at 46g. I don’t know what I weigh currently but I know it’s not 135, which is where I want to be. So I guess my concern is since I want to lean out doing crossfit and they say to keep your fat intake somewhat high, should I up my fat intake or just keep it as is?

    • I don’t know your height/weight, but it’s pretty safe to say that 1100 calories is most likely MUCH lower than you should/need to be eating to lose fat.

      I don’t know/care about whatever paleo/crossfit nonsense you’ve been told, but I can tell you that I personally recommend getting about 1g per pound of body weight from protein, 20-30% of your total calorie intake from fat, and the rest from carbs.

  25. Without a doubt THE most enlightening article I’ve ever read which truly puts into perspective how much utter bullshit there is circulating the web around diets and nutrition. Found myself having several ‘light bulb’ moments that actually made me chuckle at how simplistically common sense it all is, you just happen to put it across in a way that actually MAKES SENSE. Amazing stuff!!!!!!!!!

  26. Thanks so much for this article!! Really helpful and thorough!

    My problem is that after eating 1260 calories daily and exercising six days a week for one hour (3 days cardio/3days weight training) for two months, I lost 11 lbs. (about a pound a week). However, I’ve been stuck at the same weight for the past month and a half — staring weight 146 and I’m now at 135. I am a 36 year old female, 4’11” tall.

    According to what I’ve read here, my caloric intake to lose weight should be 1499. However, I’m hesitant to up my daily calorie intake if I stopped losing at 1260. What would you recommend? Should I drop it lower to 1000 or is that too low?

  27. Hello thank you so much for always replying., i’ve been losing weight by eating my recommend maintenance calories for my weight everyday apart from one where I eat about 800. Doing this had been making me lose around 1lbs x week without feeling like I was on a diet or restricting.. . I’d like to stop losing now but I’m scared of switching to maintenance calories/ don’t know how to!! I’ve worked out that if I eat my maintenance calories every day instead of only 6 out of 7 I would be consuming around 1,000 calories more per week. Is this enough to make me gain? Will the weight loss stop ? Thank you so Much

    • Simple. If you’re currently losing weight and you want to switch to just maintaining your current weight, add about 250 calories to the amount you currently consume daily. Then take 1-3 weeks and see what happens (you might initially gain some weight, but this is not fat… it’s just water, muscle glycogen and/or the fact that there is additional food in your body waiting to be digested).

      If your weight is staying the same, good… keep eating that amount. If you’re still losing, add another 150-250 calories and see what happens over the next 1-3 weeks.

    • Less filling/satisfying than chewing a solid food. And by only eating a single source of protein, you may be missing out on certain nutrients that this single source doesn’t contain that another source might.

  28. First of all, I LOVE this. It’s the best diet-type reading I’ve ever read. Very well written and zero bullsh!t. Many times where I was thinking “but what about X..?” and then it was the next thing you said. Answered pretty much all my questions and taught me a lot.

    Second of all, I decided today that I officially despise GNC. They either try to talk you out of what you went in for, into one of their GNC or full of krap products, or tell you what you want is terrible for you (like the person who told me not to buy Optimum gold standard because it’s very high in cholesterol .. yaa… it has less than half the cholesterol of an egg per serving.. considering I’m 25 and generally in good health–and don’t eat red meat– I think I’ll be ok).

    Anywho, onto my actual question (which has arising from my latest encounter with GNC) .. creatine. GNC person says not to use creatine, and IF by some chance I do, I definitely want to go with HCL only. So my question is what is the ‘deal’ with this HCL stuff? Also, I am more so trying to lose weight than build muscle but I do want to build muscle. Does this present any problems with the creatine? Should/shouldn’t I bother? I’d appreciate your opinion on it. Thanks!

    • Glad to hear it Lana!

      And here’s the best advice I can give you… ignore everything you hear from everyone in GNC. It’s a store like any other store, and their salespeople are there to get you to buy stuff. In fact, they typically have specific products that they are told to try to sell more of each month, so that will always be the product they recommend to whoever walks in that month. It’s all bullshit.

      I wouldn’t even recommend buying your supplements there… it’s always cheaper online (like Amazon, for example).

  29. This article is amazing, thank you! I have been following this advise for 3 weeks and have had results; incredible results!

    I’m curious though, who is the author? I can’t find any information. You obviously know your stuff, but the site doesn’t really say who to thank for all the work put into this.

    Lastly, I’ve heard from many people in a calorie deficit that it is difficult to meet your protein goal while staying under in calories, myself included. Personally I’ll be anywhere from 60g to 80g per day. I should be higher based on body weight, quite a bit higher. Tips on this would be great. Of course protein powder would work, but you don’t really talk about the calories. Is sacraficing real food (like rice or bread) in exchange for protein powder worth the calories? Is protein powder filling enough to sacrafice a carb for a protein shake?

    • Glad to hear it Jeff! As for info about me, this is a good place to start.

      As for your question, this is why protein is the first nutrient that should be worked into your calorie intake (like my guide recommends). First set calories, then set protein, then set fat, then set carbs. As long as you go in that order, your protein needs will always be a part of your intended calorie intake.

  30. My eyes are crossing from all of this information !! Thanks so much for putting everything out there and keeping it simple!

    I started working on myself 10/8/13 after dealing with 2years of my “post baby” body. Which really means it took me 2 years to get sick of being over weight. B4 the kid I was 5’5 and 150lbs. In October I was 240lbs :/. Here we are in march and I am down to 210lbs, which I am really happy about – but I am not seeing the results I was hoping for after 5 months. After reading everyyyything you have wrote I know I haven’t been doing all of it right.

    I plan to start your beginner routine this coming week and hope to lose another 50lbs plus be in shape. I think I will keep some cardio in it (probably because the personal trainer has embedded it into my brain).

    Just out of curiosity…. When should I start seeing results by following this plan? Should I set length goals?

    Again, thank you for all of this information and help with planning!

  31. I finally found you! Thank you SOOOOO much for that guide. It is just simple, crystal clear and can be adapted for everyone. Love your style, I laughed a couple of times too.

    Ok now the questions:

    I just finished Insanity Program (without losing weight because I didnt know how to eat) and about to start P90X. In the nutrition guide of Insanity (I just found it before yours), I calculed my total calories intake with Harris Benedict formula, I got pretty much the same results with the method in your guide with little variations. Between 1700 and 1900 calories per day (My goal is to lose fat without losing muscles)
    And they recommand to choose ‘Moderately Active’ or ‘Very Active’ BECAUSE I work out 5-6 days/week, but that’s all.

    Ok so if my calories for a day are 1700 (number to lose fat) because I chose ‘Moderately Active’ and I chose it because I work out a lot, Do I have to eat extra calories I’m burning during the day? Insanity burns between 500 to 800 calories per workout so do I have to eat like 1700 + 500 or 800 because I worked out?

    I’m using the ‘MyNetDiaryPro’ app to count my calories and set maccros, calories per day, exercices, etc. It calculates that I should eat more if I train.

    Sorry I’m confused with the ‘level of activity’ I choose + if I have to eat calories I burned or it is already counted in the activity level?

    Again, where were you all those years? lol Thank you again 🙂 I’m glad I found this site!!

    • Your goal is to use your diet and activity to end up in your intended caloric deficit. So if your goal is 1700 and you eat 1700, you’re good. If eat 2000 and burn 300, you’re equally good. If you eat 2000 and burn 500, you’re at 1500 which is below what your intended goal was.

      Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. But, if 1700 is what you’re shooting for, then 1700 is what you’re shooting for.

  32. First of all I just wanna say thank you for such good information! Big fan of your site!

    I have a question though

    I am female, 23 years old, 165 ibs, 5 feet and 9 inches and when i calculated my bmr it said daily calorie intake 1550 calories. so minus 20% equals 1240. With 165 grams of protein, 72,5 grams of carbs and 32 grams of fat this is how i calculated it to be ideal after your recomendations. So i tried to type my calorie/food comsumption in to “A Calorie Counter” and i realised that i get a lot more fat (no trans fat though, just the “healthy” stuff) than i am surposed to, and way too little carbs, but im still just below my 1240 calories. My question is, that if i eat like this in generel would it be bad for my body, or would it maybe ruin my weight loss or what would the effect be? Cause this is actually how i usually eat just because of my food prefrences, but if its bad i should change it. Hope u can sort it out for me

    • That depends on if you’re missing out on getting sufficient amounts of various macro and micronutrients eating like this. If you are, then you should adjust. If you’re not, you’re probably fine.

  33. Awesome site! I’ve read this one about twice and just recently finished the workout routine. I have been “cutting” for some time now and have seen amazing results, especially always been a chubby/overweight individual. I’d like to start putting on muscle weight now but I was wondering what’s the best way to track and factor in calories burned from the gym. I want to ensure I stay in that ideal surplus. Tips, products, and/or apps you recommend to help?

    • Search for something like ‘calories burned’ and you’ll find a few million ways to estimate. 😉

      The only other option is to wear some kind of calorie-burn-tracking device (like Fitbit).

  34. Great site! Great info!
    Question. My scale says I’m 20% body fat. 5’8″ 173#. I’m on a strength training program. I don’t want to gain weight so much as I want to gain muscle/strength. Secondarily I wouldn’t mind loosing fat.

    If I keep eating at my present maintainance level will I be slowing my strength gains? That is, if my body starts burning fat then I’m probably not building muscle at my fastest rate!?


    • If you’re in a deficit losing fat, you will not be making optimal gains in strength or muscle (or no muscle gains whatsoever). And if you’re at maintenance (or in a surplus), you won’t be losing fat.

      More details here.

  35. Dear Jay,

    I’ve been following your advice on a workout regimine/diet plan now for two weeks and the information is so good that, so far, it’s left very little to be asked. I haven’t had this level of motivation in a LONG time. So thank you for that.

    There is one thing I came across after re-reading the recommended “pre-workout meal”. You mention that if you train first thing in the morning, you should skip this meal altogether. Why is that? I usually make an attempt to get to the gym as soon as possible after waking up, though I’ve been eating a solid food meal and waiting about an hour before going. Would you recommend going on an empty stomache instead?


      • “PRE & POST Workout Meal – What To Eat Before & After Working Out” —
        “A Recommended PRE Workout Meal Protocol” —
        “The following comes courtesy of Alan Aragon, who is hands down one of the smartest and most trustworthy people in the nutrition field……”

        “Option A:…”…”Adding fat at this point is fine, use your discretion as long as it fits into your macronutrient goals. Note that this meal is skipped if you train first thing in the morning.”

        • Hey man one more question. Hopefully it’s not a painfully obvious one.

          I bought the Nordic Naturals fish oil that you recommended. I eat salmon and hemp seeds and possibly some other things daily that contain Omega 3s, should I factor the EPA/DHA I get from those foods into my 1-3 grams per day?


        • Ah, Alan Aragon said it, not me. 😉

          But you’re misunderstanding what he said. He’s saying that if you’re training that soon after waking up, you’d skip option A (the solid food meal) in favor of option b (the liquid meal).

  36. Hi,
    Thank you for all this information. It’s been a great read and I’m confident I can follow this plan. However, I’m new to counting calories and I’m a bit confused with how to work out the amount of macronutrients in foods that don’t come with a nutrition label. For example, if I weigh out 100g of skinless chicken does this mean that I have 100g of protein and therefore 400 calories? Or 30g or rice = 30g of carbs therefore 120 calories? Is it as simple as that or should I be looking further into the nutritional value as foods could be made up of proteins and fats? I hope my question makes sense. I’m super keen to get started.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Nope, 100g of chicken means it weights 100g. That has nothing whatsoever to do with how many grams of protein it has.

      What you need to do is look up this type of chicken (with 100g as your specific serving size) here or any similar calorie counting site.

  37. Omg this is soooo helpful thank u very much now i can make a plan by my ruleess and i also liked ur article about starving mode. I just have some Qs if u don’t mind what about chocolate i am addicted is it ok to eat a 150 calories bar of chocolate evryday or piece of cake or choco milk? And wat about cola? I don’t drink diet ones is it ok to drink one can of regular cola once a week? And what about salt is it true that it will presrve the water in ur body and make u fatter? And is it ok to eat like home made fried chicken i mean not deep fried? So srry to bother and thanks very much againn

    • Some chocolate or soda every so often is okay as long as it fits in with your totals for the day. The same answer applies to pretty much every other food. Get the majority of your allotted calories/protein/fat/carbs from higher quality sources, and feel free to get the minority from these “lower quality” foods if you prefer to.

      Salt is required in order to live and function, so you definitely need to eat it. Excessive amounts of it can cause temporary water retention though, but that’s just water… not fat.

  38. I just want to congratulate, and thank you, for such a wonderful article. You explained everything very clear and it was very easy to understand.

  39. Just wanted to say that this article is great and I am very impressed by your friendly awesome responses to everyone who asks a question!!!! I’m gonna quit obsessing over all the crazy facts I’ve accumulated and go with a calorie deficient process. I’ve been obsessing over multiple TDEE calculators and really kicking my arse with workouts for very slow results. I think the tdee have me way over on cals so going with your simple diet plan ;). Thanks!!!!

  40. Jay – really enjoyed the reading! Your work is a perfect summary, analysis, and a BS filtration of many controversies that exist in this space. Thank you for that! I do have one suggestion on the preferred timing of meals. In addition to the 2 meals surrounding the workout, the other 2 meals would be taken after you wake up and before you go to bed. If you agree that (a) the body enters a catabolic state at some point without getting food for a long period of time, (b) sleeping time is generally long enough for the body to enter the catabolic state, and (c) such state is not desirable, then it might be a good idea to reduce the duration of such state. Your suggestion to have a casein shake before bedtime would be an example of such specific time for a meal, as its slow digestion will defer the catabolic state while we sleep. Having a meal as soon as you can after waking up would be another specific timing for a meal, with the purpose to exit the catabolic state asap. Your thoughts?

    • Glad to hear it!

      And nah, I wouldn’t consider those meals to be all that important. Whether you have them/exactly what time you have them is something that should be based entirely on your preferences.

      The “catabolic state” stuff you typically see is greatly exaggerated.

  41. Thanks so much for this amazingly awesome and completely free resource. Have enjoyed the simplicity, bare bones, straight talking approach to I guess what I already knew: fewer calories = less fat. Arrived here after googling ‘starvation mode’ and getting my head straight about the response I was actually experiencing to too much of a calorie defecit with a VLCD (low energy, just plain miserable, extreme cravings that would lead to overeating) and have now set out a reasonable plan that balances the strength training, cardio, macros, supplements, etc. My new favourite term: calorie partitioning. Thanks – the time you’ve taken to publish this guide is much appreciated…

  42. Hi Jay,

    Excellent guide and really interesting.I am also reading your workout guide and have bought the book. All excellent

    Am i right if i am looking to lose fat AND build muscle as being a “beginner” in the workout guide, that i should follow the recommendations in the summary the Best Diet Guide for “losing weight” rather than “build muscle” .

    Another question i have is regarding a shortfall i have in potassium , sodium , calcium and iron. should this all be covered in the multi vits? what are the benefits of these 4 elements.

    Thanks for great information. Am training with a mate remotely abroad on a big fitness push this year so will let you know the results of your advice

    Thanks again


    • Yup, combine the fat loss dietary guidelines (moderate deficit, sufficient protein, etc.) with the beginner routine and a focus on progression. You’ll do quite well.

      As for those nutrients, it would take way more than a quick comment to explain their importance, but ideally a balanced diet would provide the amounts most people need. If you fall short of those amounts, that is when supplementation comes in handy.

  43. Just want to say that this diet plan is great. You go into a lot of detail and explain everything very clearly. You make it very easy to follow. But I have one question for you. I have been keeping track of my calories for about a week now after I read this diet plan. But i have found that I am not getting all the calories I should be getting per day. I am a college student and I eat 3-4 times a day. Since I am a college student I dont have the time to be going to the dinning hall 5-6 times a day, nor do I want to be eating that many times. Do you have any suggestions on how I can be getting all the calories that I require? Should I just eat 3-4 BIG meals a day?
    Also I am 20 years old, about 5’8″, weigh about 150lbs and I calculated that I should be eating 2600-3000 calories a day. I am also trying to build muscle.

  44. Oh my God what brilliant articles you write. You’ve cut through all that bull about “starvation mode” that these fitness gurus almost had me believing in. Told us “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” whether it’s from carbs fat or sugar, sugar alone won’t make you gain 10lbs of belly fat overnight, & the only way to lose belly fat is a calorie deficit. Thank you so much for clearing up a misty, murky almost occult subject of weight loss! You are absolutely brilliant. Priceless advice that’s simple to understand and also very funny. Much love to you.

  45. It took me more than 2 hours to read everything step by step and I happily say it was WORTH IT! 🙂
    I’ve always had hart time who to listen when it came to eating, fat, carbs, timing, workouts and always have been overweight no matter how hard I tried in diets I would lose it all after finishing it. I really believe this will work out way much better than anything before 😀

    But somethings I still need to ask:
    1. What about fruits? I would really appreciate if I had more to know about what they contain (calories, vitamins, protein, acid or whatever) and how much.
    2. I am SO BAD at reading food labels and I really don’t understand how much calories they contain. Is there any webpage or app that can be useful to count the calories each amount of food contains? It would be THE BEST thing ever!! I really need it!

    But can’t leave without saying THANK YOU A BILLION TIMES for this article. You really read my mind many times 😀 and I laughed. Thank you and be blessed :)))

    • 1. Use any calorie counting site or app and look up their nutritional content just like any other food.
      2. Yup, plenty. myfitnesspal is one of the more popular apps around, but there are probably hundreds of apps and websites for this sort of thing. Search around.

  46. Great info on this site, I read everything on here and on http://www.aworkoutroutinecom. One thing that I was wondering about was: Do you need to pick weight loss or build muscle? Since muscle is made from amino acids in proteins it would seem that the fat on my body couldn’t be used to build muscle and I would have to burn that off before adding more protein to build bigger guns, or could the body do both if you are dieting and strength training, like if you had a calorie deficit but a protein surplus?

  47. So it seems that you agree with the ‘a calorie is a calorie’ statement. I’ve done research on ‘Raw vegans’ and they eat as much as 5000 calories of only fruit and veg a day, surpassing the amount of calories they should be eating which has me questioning the statement. What are your thoughts on this?

    • A surplus of calories from any source ALWAYS causes weight/fat gain. A deficit of calories ALWAYS causes weight/fat loss.

      Anything you come across that disagrees with this is bullshit 100% of the time.

  48. How wonderfully refreshing to come across a website giving actual advice that makes complete logical sense and does not lure you through pages and pages to “The one secret to your perfect body!” to then find you have to pay an extortionate amount of money to know! I came across your site while trying to figure out what extra I can do as I am determined to be fighting fit for my wedding in October this year and the half marathon I am doing the weekend before my wedding! I currently use My Fitness Pal which I cannot praise enough, I have lost 12lbs so far which I am so proud of and hoping to loose a few more! I tend to stick to cardio exercise of all types as I have always been scared of bulking up and TAADAA I no longer need to be scared and feel very stupid for thinking I would….

    My issue is that I have only ever used machine weights, do I need to start using free weights? Or could I get away with some machine weights? I am assuming the answer to be no as I know technically it’s not a natural movement? Think I am hoping in vain! Also with bench press (I am english) does that mean pushing a bar up while on your back?

    You have plenty of thank you’s on here and I am sure you will get more. My thanks to you 1. for actually giving people what they need, information and clarity on that information and 2. for not being a greedy individual and charging for it! I appreciate you have probably paid a lot (through time, blood, sweat, tears and money!) to gain the knowledge you have, and for sharing it, for that I am truly grateful. I hope you have someone who looks after you like you have looked after us!

    • Ha, thanks for the ‘thank you’s.’ You are quite welcome.

      Some machines are perfectly fine and can be just as good as free weights. The problem however is that not all machines are created equally for all bodies, and some definitely put some people into unnatural positions that are likely to eventually lead to injuries. And yes, the bench press is done by lying on your back and pushing a weight straight up above your chest.

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