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Muscle for life

The Great “Best Diet Plan” Hoax

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The Great “Best Diet Plan” Hoax

If you want to know, once and for all, which type of diet plan is truly “best” and why, then you want to read this article.

 

If you give too much credence to mainstream diet trends, you’re pretty much doomed.

Maybe you’ll identify with the Paleo culture and become convinced that eating like a caveman is the way of the future. Or maybe you’ll go for scapegoating the carbohydrate as the source of all your weight loss woes and subject yourself to trial by ketogenic dieting. Or, heaven forbid, maybe you’ll mire yourself in the swamps of outright quackery: “cleanses,” “unclogging hormones,” “biohacking,” and the like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can fritter away months like this, jumping from one form of dietary dogma to another, with little-to-nothing to show for it in the gym and mirror. And, if you’re like many people, you’ll just suck it up and soldier on, continuing your quest to find the One True Diet that will give you the body you’ve always desired.

Here’s the problem: there is no One True Diet. There is no “shortcut to shred.” There are no “weight loss foods” or “muscle-building hacks.”

The “truth about dieting” is rather boring, actually. It doesn’t have the sizzle to sell millions of books and millions in supplements. But it has this: it works. Efficiently. Unquestioningly. Invariably.

What is this truth?

Well, it has several parts, or tiers, and can be envisioned as a pyramid of descending importance that looks like this:

food pyramid

Let’s look at each of the layers in detail.

Energy Balance

Energy balance is at the bottom because it’s the overarching principle of dieting. This is the one that dictates your weight gain and loss more than anything else.

What is energy balance, though?

Energy balance is the relationship between the energy you feed your body and the energy it expends. As you probably know, this is often measured in kilocalories.

The bottom line, scientifically validated, unexciting reality…the one that book publishers and TV producers yawn at…is that meaningful weight loss requires you to expend more energy than you consume, and meaningful weight gain (both fat and muscle) requires the opposite: more consumption than expenditure.

If you’re shaking your head, thinking I’m drinking decade-old Kool-Aid , answer me this:

Why has every single controlled weight loss study conducted in the last 100 years…including countless meta-analyses and systematic reviews…concluded that meaningful weight loss requires energy expenditure to exceed energy intake?

Why have bodybuilders dating back just as far…from Sandow to Reeves and all the way up the line…been using, and continue to use, this knowledge to systematically and routinely reduce and increase body fat levels?

And why do new brands of “calorie denying” come and go every year, failing to gain acceptance in the weight loss literature?

The bottom line is a century of metabolic research has proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that energy balance, operating according to the first law of thermodynamics, is the basic mechanism that regulates fat storage and reduction.

Macronutrient Balance

Next on the diet pyramid is macronutrient balance, and this is second in importance to energy balance.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, the dictionary defines macronutrient as “any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, fat, and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.”

You’ve probably heard that “a calorie is a calorie,” and while that’s true for matters relating purely to energy balance and weight loss and gain, a calorie is not a calorie when we’re talking body composition.

Don’t believe me?

Well, Professor Mark Haub lost 27 pounds on a diet of protein shakes, Twinkies, Doritos, Oreos, and Little Debbie snacks, and you could do exactly the same if you wanted to (not that you should though–more on this soon).

We don’t want to just gain and lose weight, though. Our goal is more specific: we want to gain more muscle than fat and we want to lose fat, not muscle. And with those goals, we have to watch more than just calories. We have to watch our macronutrient intake too.

If you want to go beyond “weight loss” and learn to optimize your body composition, the macronutrient you have to watch most closely is protein. Your carbohydrate and dietary fat intakes can be all over the place without derailing you, but eating too little protein is the cardinal sin of dieting for us fitness folk.

This is why “weight loss” isn’t enough–lose muscle and you lose weight, but you’re going backward in your quest to build an impressive physique.

  • Eat too little protein while eating a surplus of calories to maximize muscle growth and you’ll build less muscle.

This is one of the reasons “bulking” has a bad rap. When done improperly, it packs on way more fat than muscle and is just counter-productive in the long run.

What is too little protein, you ask? Here’s what it boils down to for people that exercise regularly:

If you’re relatively lean and aren’t dieting for fat loss, you should set your protein intake at 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.

If you’re relatively lean and are dieting for fat loss, you should increase your intake slightly to 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. (Research shows the leaner you are, the more protein your body will need to preserve muscle while in a calorie deficit for fat loss.)

If you’re overweight or obese, your first priority should be fat loss, and your protein intake should be set at 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of lean mass per day.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “aren’t high-protein diets unhealthy?”

The mainstream media has been buzzing with anti-protein propaganda over the last few years with claims like a high-protein diet can cause damage to the kidneys and increase the risk of cancer and osteoporosis, but these claims simply aren’t supported by sound scientific research.

Research shows that people with pre-existing kidney damage or dysfunction should restrict protein intake, but a high-protein diet has never been shown to cause kidney damage.

Ironically, a high-protein diet has been shown to both lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose control in diabetics, which would decrease the risk of kidney disease, not increase it.

Claims that a high-protein diet increases the risk of osteoporosis are even stranger, as research directly demonstrates that it helps prevent the condition.

Another rather disturbing claim that has recently made the rounds is that a high-protein diet increases the risk of cancer and eating meat and cheese regularly is as unhealthy as smoking.

Well, while such sensationalism works wonders for website hits, it’s misleading and scientifically bankrupt. To quote Dr. Spencer Nadolsky from Examine.com:

“To even suggest that eating protein is as bad as smoking is pure sensationalism…

“A more accurate headline for this study would have been ‘High protein for those between 50 years to 65 years old who have poor diet and lifestyle habits may be associated with increased cancer risk.’”

The bottom line is if you’re physically active, a high-protein diet is, without question, going to help you improve your health, body composition, and performance (this applies to endurance athletes as well).

And while sedentary people don’t need as much protein as those that exercise regularly, research shows that the current RDI of 0.8 grams per kg of bodyweight simply isn’t enough to maintain lean mass and bone health as they age.

Before we move on, I’d like to take a minute to discuss low-carbohydrate dieting because it’s all the weight loss rage these days.

Like most diet fads that come and go, low-carb dieting simply can’t live up to its reputation.

There are about 20 studies that low-carb proponents bandy about as definitive proof of the superiority of low-carb dieting for weight loss. If you read the abstracts of these studies, low-carb dieting definitely seems more effective, and this type of glib “research” is what most low-carbers base their beliefs on.

But there’s a big problem with many of these studies, and it has to do with protein intake.

The problem is the low-carb diets in these studies invariably contained more protein than the low-fat diets.  Yes, one for one…without fail.

What we’re actually looking at in these studies is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet vs. low-protein, high-fat diet, and the former wins every time. But we can’t ignore the high-protein part and say it’s more effective because of the low-carb element.

In fact, better designed and executed studies prove the opposite: that when protein intake is high, low-carb dieting offers no especial weight loss benefits. 

Why is protein intake so important, exactly? Because, as you now know, adequate protein intake while dieting for fat loss is vital for preserving lean mass, both with sedentary people and especially with athletes.

If you don’t eat enough protein when dieting to lose weight, you can lose quite a bit of muscle, and this in turn hampers your weight loss in several ways:

  1. It causes your basal metabolic rate to drop
  2. It reduces the amount of calories you burn in your workouts
  3. It impairs the metabolism of glucose and lipids

As you can see, when you want to lose fat, your number one goal to preserve lean mass.

Now, let’s turn our attention back to the “low-carb dieting is better” studies mentioned earlier. In many cases, the low-fat groups were given less protein than even the RDI of .8 grams per kg of body weight, which is just woefully inadequate for weight loss purposes.

Research has shown that even double and triple those (RDI) levels of protein intake isn’t enough to fully prevent the loss of lean mass while restricting calories for fat loss.

So, what happens in terms of weight loss when you keep protein intake high and compare high and low levels of carbohydrate intake? Is there even any research available to show us?

Yup.

There are four studies I know of that meet these criteria and gee whiz look at that…when protein intake is high and matched among low-carb and high-carb dieters, there is no significant difference in weight loss.

The bottom line is so long as you maintain a proper calorie deficit and keep your protein intake high, you’re going to maximize fat loss while preserving as much lean mass as possible. Going low-carb as well won’t help you lose more weight.

Let’s move on down the pyramid to food choices, the tier worshipped by most mainstream diet “experts” as the be-all and end-all of dieting.

Food Choices

The cult of “clean eating” is more popular than ever these days,

While I’m all for eating nutritious (“clean”) foods for the purposes of supplying our bodies with essential vitamins and minerals, eating nothing but these foods guarantees nothing in the way of building muscle or losing fat. 

The truth is you can be the cleanest eater in the world and still be weak and skinny fat.

Why?

Because when it comes to body composition (how much muscle and body fat you have), how much you eat is more important than what.

Claiming that one food is “better” than another for losing or gaining weight is misleading because it misses the forest for the trees.

You see, foods don’t have any special properties that make them better or worse for weight loss or gain. What they do have, however, are varying amounts of potential energy as measured in calories and varying types of macronutrient profiles.

These two factors–the calories contained in foods and how those calories break down into protein, carbohydrate, and fat–are what make certain foods more suitable for losing or gaining weight than others.

As Professor Haub showed us earlier, and as the “If It Fits Your Macros” crowd simply won’t shut up about, you can lose fat eating whatever you want so long as you regulate your intake and maintain a state of negative energy balance.

That said, certain foods make it easier or harder to lose and gain weight due to their volume, calorie density, and macronutrient breakdown.

Generally speaking, foods that are “good” for weight loss are those that are relatively low in calories but high in volume (and thus satiating). 

Examples of such foods are lean meats, whole grains, many fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. These types of foods also provide an abundance of micronutrients, which is especially important when your calories are restricted (eat too much junk on a calorie-restricted diet and you can develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies).

Foods conducive to weight gain are the opposite: high in calories and low in volume and satiety.

These foods include the obvious like caloric beverages, candy, and other sugar-laden goodies, but quite a few “healthy” foods fall into this category as well: oils, bacon, butter, low-fiber fruits, and whole fat dairy products, for example. The more we fill our meal plans with calorie-dense, low-satiety foods, the more likely we are to get hungry and overeat.

Think of it this way: you can only “afford” so many calories every day, whether dieting to lose fat or gain muscle, and you have to watch how you “spend” them.

When dieting for fat loss, you want to spend the majority of your calories on foods that allow you to hit your daily macronutrient and micronutrient needs without “overdrafting” your energy balance “account.” (I know, I’m getting carried away with this financial metaphor but bear with me…)

When dieting for muscle growth, you have quite a few more calories to spend every day. This makes it easy to hit both your macronutrient and micronutrient targets with calories to spare, which you can then spend on, well, whatever you want.

Don’t mistake this section as me railing against eating healthy foods. I’m not a fan of the people trying to prove that you can “eat junk and get shredded”–long-term health matters more than getting super lean while eating boxes of Pop Tarts every week.

As a rule of thumb, if you get the majority (~80%) of your calories from relatively unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods, you can fill the remaining 20% with your favorite dietary sins and be healthy, muscular, and lean.

Nutrient Timing

Last on the pyramid, and last in importance, is nutrient timing. And the long story short is how often you eat and when you eat what don’t really matter.

Increasing meal frequency doesn’t speed up your metabolism. Eating carbs at night doesn’t make you fat. The “post-workout anabolic window” is more fiction than fact.

One of the many beauties of our bodies is they are incredibly good at adapting to meet the demands we place on them, and so long as you get the other points of the pyramid right–proper energy balance, good macronutrient breakdown, and smart food choices–you have a lot of leeway here at the top.

You can eat three or thirteen meals per day. You can eat 80% of your carbohydrates at breakfast, dinner, or after your workout. You’re not on the clock after a workout, slowly losing gains until you chug a shake.

That said, I do think it’s worth noting that there is evidence that eating protein in particular after a workout is better for long-term muscle growth. Personally I “play it safe” and eat about 40 grams of protein within an hour of weightlifting, and I’d recommend you do the same.

The Bottom Line on the “Best Diet Plan”

If you’ve struggled to find a diet that actually works…that doesn’t make you a slave to arbitrary rules and restrictions…that is enjoyable enough to be a lifestyle and not an ordeal…you now know the way.

Learn how to manipulate energy balance, keep protein intake high and adjust carbohydrate and fat to meet your needs and preferences, eat a wide variety of nutritious foods “supplemented” with some indulgences, and eat on a schedule you prefer, and you’ll be following the best possible diet plan anyone could give you.

 

What are your thoughts on the best type of diet plan? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

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    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Leon Nan

    Hey Mike,

    Great article as always.
    Out of curiosity… What are your thoughts on diets like the 80/10/10 diet (or similar)?
    Many proponents argue that such high protein intake is unnecessary and eating too much animal protein is bad for your health (ie. risk of heart disease, prostate and breast cancer..) Would love to hear from you.
    Grtz. Leon

  • Pingback: The Great “Best Diet Plan” Hoax | georgeherman205()

  • Stephen Reyes

    Hey Mike,

    If my protein is where it should be while I’m loosing weight, should my lean body mass remain the same or go up? It seems like my lean body mass is decreasing little by little as I loose weight.

    Thanks,
    Stephen Reyes

    • If you’re an experienced lifter your LBM should remain more or less the same. If you’re new, you can gain muscle while losing fat.

      When muscles lose water it registers as losing LBM but it’s not. If you’re maintaining strength while cutting you’re not losing any muscle to speak of.

  • Jordan G

    Hey Leon,

    Eating too much high-fat animal protein can be where the problem lies, however this is mainly for diabetics and those with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Processed red meat in particular has been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. You want high-quality protein to come from a variety of sources including leaner meats like turkey, chicken breast, and most fish. Hope this helps.

    Jordan G

  • Derek John

    Way to flush this out Mike, so straight forward.
    “The “truth about dieting” is rather boring, actually.”
    Agreed! it’s totally boring. It’s also quite comical.
    Lift.
    Hit Your macros.
    Eat foods you like.
    cardio as need.
    done.
    Just not as sexy I guess… Thanks for putting in the time.

  • mat

    Great article!! Biggest pointer I got was don’t get carried away with oil, butter or whole fat dairy. Not giving up my coconut oil though.

  • nullibro

    I cant decide whether or not its placebo effect, but i find i often crush my PRs lifting an hr or so after eating pastries or cakes. Maybe this is because i train most often in a fasted state?

    • Yeah if you usually train fasted you will notice a big improvement by adding carbs before a workout.

  • Debbye S. Sparks

    I’d just like to know then…
    If I’m not hungry, I’m not losing fat? Cause if Im not hungry it means I’m not in a calorie deficit, right?

    • Ollie

      You should read this article Debbye: http://www.muscleforlife.com/leptin-and-weight-loss/

    • Haha no, you can be in a deficit without being hungry.

    • Buffet

      WHAT ON EARTH would ever give you a preposterous idea like that??

      • Debbye S. Sparks

        Cause being on a calorie deficit usually means being hungry, at least here on planet EARTH

        • Buffet

          You should never really get “hungry” dear. If you are, you’re either not eating enough protein, not eating often enough, or, heaven forbid, both. To rev your metabolism you gotta ‘stoke the furnace’. Best wishes.

          • This isn’t exactly accurate.

            Eating more meals doesn’t speed up/alter metabolism.

            Some people get quite hungry while in a calorie deficit whereas others don’t. The most likely culprits are psychological factors and leptin/ghrelin levels.

            Check this out:

            http://www.muscleforlife.com/leptin-and-weight-loss/

          • Buffet

            Copy that! Wouldn’t you agree however that when one keeps both their protein and fiber levels as high as possible it negates any feelings of hunger??
            It certainly does in my case!
            Honestly man, there’s times, both off season and cutting, that I feel like I can’t choke down another bite!

          • It definitely helps but some people have a lot of hunger issues. It’s strange.

          • Buffet

            How about you personally?
            Sometimes I literally have to force myself to eat again?

          • I never struggle with hunger. I have the insulin and leptin sensitivity of the gods or something…

          • Buffet

            I guess we’re the lucky ones the eh?
            Thanks man. Keep up the good work.

          • Yup. Thanks Obama! Hahah.

  • flyjohny

    Hi Mike,

    Great article as usual. I have one question though (and that regards the protein after workout).

    I provide myself plenty of protein every day from food, but recently I’ve started to supplement some through shakes. I now drink one portion in the evening, before bed (30g of egg whites protein) and one before workout (25g of whey isolate), first thing in the morning, along with some banana. After workout then I eat porridge, with approximately 22g of protein in it. I don’t think I should add more protein to my porridge, as that would mean excessing 200g of protein per day, while I’m only 150lbs and I’m not cutting but bulking and the rest of protein during the day is rather non-transferable, as I like my chicken for lunch and dinner and don’t want to sacrifice the portions…

    So what should I do? Drink that whey shake after workout (and only carbs before)? Or leave everything as is…?

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/signup/

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Mitchell

    *mic drop*

  • God Hand

    http://www.gifsforum.com/images_new/gif/other/grand/9aa585087d18e2f87025d1f9d42a559a.gif

    I find that stop eating is the best solution. Working out is good too. But you can rarely burn enough calories from working out if you have a busy schedule. So the best choice is food control while using work outs as a supplement to that. Maybe to maintain muscle density. Since weight loss often leads to weaker muscles. And then enjoy some kind of hobby on the side to prevent thinking about food so much.

  • Kelly

    Absolutely. I’ve tested every diet approach on myself over the last few years just because, low-carb, paleo, keto, high-fat, low-fat, fruit diet, balanced diet. The one and only factor in fat losses or gains in every single diet I experimented with was energy balance, calories in-calories out. When I calculate my energy intake and output for a one pound loss per week, it proves precise and accurate every single time. Now I can duplicate this on my clients with confidence without wondering myself is there an edge in this or that particular diet approach. No, there is no edge. The facts are simple. It just is what it is and that’s it. The sooner everyone can accept it, the sooner they will be on the road to success. Apply the numbers, do the work, and be patient.

  • Marco Hernández Daly

    Mike, I love your articles man. I have a question for you. Is there any way I can understand my carb sensitivity? For instance I’m at 158 lbs 10ish%BF. If i go for 2600kcal high carb/high prot, low fat (40/40/20) diet I have energy crashes during the day, where as If I drop to 2000 but with the % changed 40% prot, 40% fats and 20% carbs my energy seems to last more, sleep better with even the same type of training…

  • Richard

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for being the voice of reason in an otherwise environment full of fitness “noise”. Your advice is always practical…and just makes sense! It’s very refreshing!!

  • Charlotte Grøftehauge

    Hi Mike.
    Loved the article. So true – and no bs.. I think that what you write is very applicable. I think that there are individual differences in how well we can use carbs or fat as fuel, and we get the best results and feel our best when we listen to our body and feed it accordingly.
    But even if you know and understand this, getting lean and staying lean is difficulty because we are constantly beeing bombarded with offers of caloriedense food with low nutritional value. And if you don’t know better you might think that it’s normal.
    That’s why I think it is so great that people like you write articles that can enlighten the masses.

  • Nahid

    Well, I gotta say that Paleo is not fad the way you portrayed here. There’s a modified version of Paleo, which follows 80/20 rules. I follow this rules and am improving my body composition.

  • Buffet

    My pre-contest diet is as simple as this: I ingest as much complete protein and raw vegetables as I can manage to stuff down my gullet. Add in a little oatmeal and rice and an ocassional sweet potatoe, and viola!! (Plenty of gear doesn’t hurt either)

    • Haha to be fair most contest preps are more about drug cycles than diet and training routines.

      • Buffet

        A fairly equal (and successful I might add) mixture of all the above. Discipline eventually becomes second nature until one doesn’t know anything else?

  • Aisha

    Hi, I get married in less than two weeks and I’ve worked hard to achieve 20.5% body fat and a low BMI (according the the scales and working off pictures, so appreciate that may not be too accurate). I finally feel happy and this time has been much tougher to lose the fat than before, so there is no way it’s going back on – definitely a lifestyle change now!

    I was one of those sucked into the low carb bandwagon and found it worked, but also found that I have lost more weight after I got so fed up with eating salads, as long as I didn’t eat carbs to excess. I still generally don’t eat whole grains though as my fiance is a celiac and haven’t quite been able to bring myself to eat too many carbs – just a very small amount, as I still can’t quite shake my brainwashing!

    Is there not evidence though that sugars from carbs increase diabetes risks, etc, and speed up the ageing process? That’s still a concern for me.

    Also, what is your view on carbs and bloating? Despite generally having a lean and toned on my stomach, I can suddenly bloat from eating carbs and all my hard work feels for nothing. It’s not limited to things like bread. In this scenario, would you recommend a low carb diet (with enough calories from healthy fats, etc) to stop me feeling bloated for the day itself, or is the problem that my body has got used to not eating many carbs?

  • RL

    Hi Mike,
    While I completely agree with what you have written, I do have one question.
    Is it ever ok/beneficial to do a “detox” of your body?
    I have been told that doing a body detox where it suposedly detoxes your organs, liver, colon,kidneys, bowels, blood, ect. is something that may be beneficial to do a few times a year. If this is something that would be beneficial, is there a way to do it without sacrificing muscle?
    Thank you once again.

    • Unfortunately I don’t know of any good scientific support for detox products and diets.

      We know that drugs and various poisons/toxins can accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body but popping pills and starving yourself doesn’t rid your body of them.

  • Suellen

    Lately I have been taking a fat burner supplement in the morning and one after lunch. I do not eat breakfast normally, and usually have a salad of some sort with protein in it for lunch. I work out after work around 7 P.M. and then have a protein shake for dinner (only about 15 grams of protein in it). I do notice that my workouts can be very difficult at times and my legs and arms seem very weak while I am working out. I am wondering about what I should eat before my workout. I am a little paranoid about eating to many calories and not working out hard enough to burn it off everyday.

  • Michael D

    Damn i love these articles, haha. Have you read the Science Babe? You should check out her article where she is calling out the Food Babe: http://gawker.com/the-food-babe-blogger-is-full-of-shit-1694902226

    On a training note, I finished my cut and am bulking now. I dropped about 12lbs and my body fat percentage went down from 24% to 16% (yes, I know you like us to get it to 15% but most of the fat was in my gut and my arms weren’t real big to begin with and I was getting comments from my weight lifting buddies that I looked too thin, haha).

    I’ll be sure to hit my macros and not gain too quickly as I’m looking forward to some strength here without too much fat gain.

    • Thanks Mike. Haha no I have never heard of her. Thanks for sharing this.

      Awesome man. That rocks. I’d love to feature you on the site. What do you think?

      • Michael D

        Thx for the offer!

        I think I’d like to do a few more bulks/cuts before something like that. I don’t have the 6 pack abs that your other featured people have…yet! Lol.

  • Ill go with paleo on this one. Tasty meals, easy to make, even desserts are healthier than most of the food what was normal on my table like 2 months ago. Just grab a decent cookbook like THIS and youre good to go 🙂

  • Pingback: How I Use Calorie Cycling to Build Muscle and Stay Lean | Muscle For Life()

  • Massimo

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve always eaten most of my carbs, as well as kcal, in the first part of the day. It seems to work good for me, but reading your books and articles it seems it doesn’t matter that much in the end.
    I now often have to work out in the evening during the week; would you suggest to reserve plenty of carbs for the post-wo meal, even if it’s just a couple of hours before going to bed?

    P.S.
    Thank you for the great work you’ve done and keep doing.

    • If you like that you can keep it that way but don’t be afraid to change it up. WHEN you eat doesn’t really matter (although it’s a good idea to have some protein before and after training).

      I’d save a lot of carbs for post-w/o yes. It’s enjoyable. 🙂

      Thanks man!

  • Pingback: The Truth About Dieting: A Proven Weight Loss Strategy You Can Sustain - Fitrovert()

  • Denko

    Great information, thanks for share

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  • Jenny Hudson

    good diet. Look here for very quick and easy weight loss. http://www.amazingaus.com/best-foods-to-eat-when-losing-weight/

  • Seamus

    Hey! Great post; very informative.

    I hear that people who haven’t been to the gym in a while should start with strength training to aid the muscular growth once you start stacking muscle. The theory behind it is: Get stronger, lift heavier when the time comes, gain more muscle, burn more fat.

    Any thoughts on this or any advice on what to do?

    I’m currently 20 years old, used to be a V Swimmer so I get in shape very easily. I’, 5’9 – 5’10 190 lbs. 25% BF.

    Goal is to look like Marky Mark from Calvin Klein.

    Thanks man!

  • Eric

    Hi Mike,
    I was wondering how many carbs you can have on this diet of you get them from vegetables and fruits and whole wheat’s?

    • It depends on your weight, BF%, activity level and what you’re trying to do. You can calculate your carb intake here:

      https://legionathletics.com/diet-meal-plans/

      Your carb sources are up to you! I recommend several servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but it’s totally up to you on where you want to get your carbs from.

  • Livo

    I know this, and at the beginning it has been a bit difficult to keep everything balance. I think I have found the way to keep my protein high around 45%, carb 35% and 20% fat. (^.^)

    • Glad you got it down!

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • John Wallace

    Terrific article

  • Tim Johlman

    Mike,
    Helpful article, thanks.
    I’m currently reverse dieting at 2150 cal per day on my way up from a low of 1900. I’m 160 and around 8%BF.
    An issue that I’ve run into is hitting my fat macros. Of course, I could blow those numbers out of the water easily but the staples of my diet that I enjoy don’t have a lot of fat. So towards the end of the day (not all days, just some days), if I’ve hit my protein numbers, most of my carbs, but still have 30-40 grams of fat left, how bad would it be to take up my remaining calories with carbs? Obviously I wouldn’t want to make this a habit for hormonal consequences and other longer term issues, but a coulple of days a week?
    Thanks!

  • Alex

    I dont know if you’ll see this comment or not as ive seen this post is older than 2 years already . I came here because i have a little problem , im 6 feet tall , 165 pounds , 17 yrs old and a BF of around 10.5-11% . Ive been weight training for 1 year already and i dont see that much of results , im doing my training right , i know it because ive had a personal trainer , but what he told me to eat was 3000 calories a day with a high protein income , im pretty lean if i can say so myself , but i wanna get leaner as i gain muscle , while i was eating the 3000 diet i was gaining muscle but a looot of fat even tho i was just eating like eggs , chicken breast , fish , veggies and sometimes fruits + protein powder , creatine and taking preworkout . Now i jumped on a 1500 calories with a high protein intake hoping it will solve the problem , only thing that happened was my abs started showing a lot more but lost chest muscle , and arms size… Im struggling so hard , i red a lot of articles even some of yours that were saying that i have to eat a deficit of about 300 calories , i have recomanded 1800 and 1500 would be what you say and many other articles .. i just dont know , im confused

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