Muscle for life

How to Safely and Healthily Lose Weight Fast: Part 1

How to Safely and Healthily Lose Weight Fast: Part 1

If you want to know how to lose weight fast without sacrificing your muscle, metabolism, or health, then you want to read this article.


I was a bit loath to write this series of articles because I despise most things connected with the idea of “rapid weight loss.”









Wild promises of losing upwards of 1 pound per day, and the extreme weight loss measures that go with them, are a big reason why many people ultimately fail to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals.

The reality is you have to look at getting and staying fit as a LIFESTYLE change, not a quick fix.

Chasing quick fixes leads to yo-yo dieting, which doesn’t necessarily physically impair future weight loss efforts, but sure is psychologically defeating.

Proper weight loss, however, is slow and steady, never leaves you feeling starved or run down, and even allows for building muscle and strength. This is, by far, the best way to go about losing weight.

So, with that said, let’s get to why I am writing this article series.

I’m writing these articles to help people that are desperately seeking rapid weight loss, and are willing to just about do anything to get there.

Common reasons for this are things like…

  • Weddings and other celebrations
  • Reunions
  • Impending dietary doomsdays (holidays and vacations usually)
  • Post-binge moments of self-loathing

Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight fast, in this three-part article series, you’re going to learn how to safely, healthily, and rapidly lose weight…up to 15-20 pounds in one month…WITHOUT sacrificing a bunch of muscle or your metabolism, or any other aspect of your health.

By following the strategies in these articles, you will lose weight quickly, but there are downsides:

  • If you lift weights or engage in resistance training, your performance is going to suffer.
  • You may find your energy levels low at certain time in the day, and may feel a bit grumpy.
  • You may have to deal with mild issues of hunger and cravings.

Nothing too extreme in terms of “side effects,” but they can be annoying nonetheless. Fortunately, you can rest easy that you won’t be harming your body.

How long you use the strategies in this article are up to you, and should be based on how you feel.

If you feel great, then keep it up for as long as you desire. If you really don’t like how you feel, then use them to kickstart your weight loss efforts, and then follow a more “relaxed” approach such as those I espouse in my books.

Alright then, enough intro. Let’s start losing some weight, beginning with the nutritional side of safe, healthy, rapid weight loss.

The Best “Diet” for Rapid Weight Loss

how to lose weight fast at home









In order to lose fat, you need to give your body less energy (food) than it burns every day, as measured in calories.

This is known is creating a “calorie deficit.” No calorie deficit, no losing fat, period.

Now, many “rapid weight loss” solutions call for severe calorie restrictions (eating very little every day). This is not the way to go, and can lead to metabolic damage, excessive muscle loss, extreme irritableness, and more.

Instead, you want to put your body in a mild calorie deficit.

Specifically, you want to feed it about 20% less calories than it burns every day. By doing this, along with the other strategies in these articles, you should be able to lose upwards of 2-3 pounds per week while preserving your metabolic health, energy levels, mental balance, and mood.

Doing this effectively requires a few steps.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

Step 1:
Determine How Many Calories You Should Be Eating Every Day

how to lose weight fast and easy

Use the following calculator to determine how much energy your body burns every day.









The resulting number will be a fairly accurate measurement of the total amount of energy your body is burning every day, generally known as your total daily energy expenditure or  TDEE.

In case you’re wondering how this works, it uses the Katch McArdle formula to determine your basal metabolic rate and then multiplies it based on your activity level.

And in case you’re wondering why the activity multipliers are slightly lower than the standard ones, it’s because the standard multipliers are simply too high. Unless you have an abnormally fast metabolism, your TDEE will come out high using the standard multipliers and you’ll wonder why you can’t lose weight.

Now, to create the mild calorie deficit, you’re going to simply eat 20% LESS than that number every day. Calculate this by multiplying your TDEE by .8.

For example, I’m 6’2, 29 years old, and I weigh 192 at 7-8% body fat, and I exercise about 6 hours per week. Using the Katch McArdle formula, my TDEE is about 2,900 calories per day.

2900 * .8 = 2,320, which I would just round down to 2,300.

Okay then, you now have your “daily calorie deficit” number.

The next step is to work out how this translates into grams of protein, carbs, and fats every day, because the ratios that you will eat are important when you’re trying to maximize weight loss and muscle preservation.

Step 2:
Convert Your Daily Calories Into Macronutrient Needs

lose 10 pounds fast

In case you don’t know what a “macronutrient” is, it’s defined as follows:

A macronutrient is 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.

An important part of rapid weight loss is manipulating the amounts of protein, carbs, and fats you’re eating. To facilitate losing weight quickly and healthily, your diet is going to be high in protein, relatively low in carbohydrate, and moderate with fats.


Because while low-carb diets aren’t by any means necessary for weight loss, research has shown that they can result in more rapid short-term weight loss. This is mainly due to shedding water, but hey, it makes you look leaner, so we’ll take it.

So, this is how we’re going to set up your daily macronutrient intake:

  • 45% of your calories from protein
  • 20% of your calories from carbohydrate
  • 35% of your calories from fat

The math on this is very simple to work out. A gram of protein and carbohydrate contains about 4 calories, and a gram of fat about 9, so…

  1. Multiply your “daily calorie deficit” number by .45, and then divide this by 4. This is the number of grams of protein you should eat daily.
  2. Multiply your “daily calorie deficit” number by .20, and then divide this by 4. This is the number of grams of carbohydrate you should eat daily.
  3. Multiply your “daily calorie deficit” number by .35, and then divide this by 9. This is the number of grams of fat you should eat daily.

For example, if your “daily calorie deficit” number is 2,000, then…

  • 2000 * .45 / 4 = 225 grams of protein
  • 2000 * .20 / 4 = 100 grams of carbs
  • 2000 * .35 / 9 = 77 grams of fat (which you could simply round down to 75)

Okay, so now you know how you’re supposed to get your calories in. Let’s move on to the next step.

Step 3:
Create a Precise Meal Plan to Follow

how to lose weight fast without exercise


The biggest mistake many people make in trying to lose weight is they don’t create and follow a proper meal plan.

That is, they don’t plan or track what they eat, and almost always err on the side of eating too much, not too little.

Fortunately, doing it right is very simple:

  1. Open up Excel or an equivalent
  2. Open up www.calorieking.com
  3. Start looking up the macronutrients and calories of various foods you like to eat.
  4. Build meals one food at a time, and include EVERY substance with calories (sauces, creamers, condiments, etc.)
  5. Play with both meal composition and timing as desired–focus on eating healthy foods you like, and on a schedule you like
  6. Tweak everything until you’re happy with the foods and meal timing, and are within 100 calories of your target
  7. Follow the meal plan every day

Honestly, that’s all it takes.

As you’ll see, you won’t have much room in your numbers for junk food. You want to stick to healthy, low-calorie foods that give a lot of volume for the calories (which helps you feel fuller).

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean red meat
  • Veggies and fruits, especially fibrous ones
  • Low-fat dairy like cottage cheese and Greek yogurt
  • Oils such as olive or coconut oil
  • Nuts
  • Grains like rice and quinoa










When I’m dieting to lose weight, I always include a generous serving of fibrous veggies with my lunches and dinners, and often include fibrous fruit likes apples with snacks.

That said, don’t think that you have to restrict everything you like to eat for fear of it not being a “good carb” or otherwise “approved” by some other dietary method you’ve read or followed in the past.

So long as you hit your daily numbers, WHAT you eat doesn’t matter when it comes to weight loss: HOW MUCH is the key. (Read my article on flexible dieting if you want to know more about this.)

If you want a little indulgence, like some chocolate after dinner or some cheese with your dinner or what have you, simply work it into your numbers.

Meal timing and frequency is completely up to you. Eating more or fewer meals per day isn’t going to help or hinder your weight loss.

Here are a few examples of meal plans we make for people as a part of my custom meal plan service. They should help you:


If you get hung up on the meal planning and would rather just have a plan created for you, tailored to your food preferences and schedule, we would be happy to help you.

Step 4:
Stick to the Meal Plan Every Day

how to lose weight fast naturally

I already stated this above (point #7), but I’m going to give it special emphasis…

You ONLY eat what’s on your meal plan–nothing more, nothing less. No having a few extra bites of every meal, no spontaneously adding some oil for cooking your veggies or butter on your toast, no doubling up on the cream in your coffee.

These “little” on-the-fly modifications add up over the day and can SIGNIFICANTLY impair fat loss.

Another point is “cheat” or “free” meals–meals wherein you eat more or less anything you want.

While you’re trying to maximize weight loss, do not have any “cheat” or “free” meals. They are nice psychological boosts, but they DO slow things down, even if only by a little (and they only become necessary when you’re lean, working on getting really lean).

In the Next Article:
Using Exercise to Maximize Weight Loss

how to lose weight fast with exercise

Okay then, that wraps the nutrition side of the equation, and part 1 of this three-part series.

In the next article in this series, we’re going to talk about how to use exercise and supplementation to help you get the most out this “rapid weight loss diet.”

 Click here to view part 2 of this article series

What do you think about the advice in this article? 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.

If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more.


If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here's a little sneak peek of what you'll learn inside...

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.
  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body" without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

My book will show you how. Get it today and let’s build a body you can be proud of.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

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Leave a Comment!
  • Elmert Y. Pitis

    Hi Mike

    First of all, I want to thank you for you AWESOME advice. Youre knowledge in fitness, has helped me tremendously and thanks again. Now, if someone wants to follow this and they average about 70+hrs at work (refinery/construction) should they increase theyre carb and protein intake? Since the hard work at work and at the gym.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you!!

      Yeah, your TDEE will be higher for sure. I would start with 1.5 – 1.6 and see how your body responds.

  • Pedro Rugeles

    Hey Mike. When I cut I use your BLS book numbers. That is 1.2 grams or protein per pound, 1 gram of CH per pound and .2 grams of fat per pound. That means 1570 calories per day while with 173 gr protein, 147 gr CH and 20 gr fat.

    But If I use the numbers on this article I would have tu eat 1736 calories per day with just 86 grams of Carbs!!!! and 67 grams of fat. That numbers are pretty different with the ones I learned in your book and at the moment had worked to me.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for commenting!

      Yeah, I don’t recommend low-carb dieting in BLS because it really does compromise your training, and it messes with your mood and energy levels.

      Remember this article is for losing weight as quickly as possible at the expense of crappy workouts and probably not feeling so hot (but NOT at the expense of your health).

      • Pedro

        Oh yeah, that makes sense. I think that maybe doing one week of low carb during a fat loss plateau may also help, but that definitelly sucks for more time.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah, you can use it to try to break through plateaus. There are other things you can do too though:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-break-through-weight-loss-plateaus/

  • Gilberto Gil

    Excellent information as usual. 1, 2, 3…check. 4…working on it. But, I am getting way better and having healthy (and TASTY) meals goes a long way to help. Recipe of the week is always an inspiration!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Haha nice, keep up the good work!

  • Jesse

    Hey mike,

    Awesome article man it’s really that simple I’ve been following your advice and articles for the better part of a year and it’s all top stuff. My main question is how do I motivate my friends and family to stick to their plan, I know body decomposition is so simple in theory but that motivation side of just DOING it is what I’m finding hard to convince people of haha. Cheers mate keep up the good work your stuff is gospel to me haha.


  • Mike

    Maybe there is an in between road, say 40 protein, 30 carbs & 30 fat..worth a try to get the fastest results without feeling as tired or effecting performance. Thanks for the great information Mike.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, 40/30/30 is okay as well, but if you really want to drop weight fast, the lower the carbs the better…

  • Ashley Spencer

    Nice article…will have to give it a try for 2 weeks for my birthday. Love the way you clarify the math, makes it super easy!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Let me know how it goes!

  • JoJaeLee

    Hi I dont know my body fat %, do you know where I can I can find it? Im going to google it but it would help if you could give me a recommendation as to where to look.

  • Manish Arya

    Brilliant article Mike once again, i have a question though, suppose i have to go for a dinner and that would include drinks and other calorie dense foods and i dont wanna miss out on that. So, if i refrain myself from eating too much during the day or lets say skip couple of meals so that i can eat in dinner but remain within my numbers, Will that effect my metabolism and effect my weight loss goals?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you!

      Very good question and yep, that’s exactly what you do–you “save up” macros for the meal. Kind of an “advanced” dietary principle but you got it.

      Keep in mind however that restaurant food is usually ridiculously high in calories, particularly in fat…

  • Jason

    Hey Mike!

    First question, your energy multipliers are lower than those from the Katch-McArdle formula. Is this because by your experience those numbers are too high?

    Secondly, is it normal on a cut to be below my bmr?


    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, the standard Katch numbers are just too high for most people. They only work if you have an abnormally fast metab.

      Good question. I generally stop reducing calories once I hit my BMR, or maaaybe 10% below. You don’t want to tank your metab.

      You stay there and get as much fat loss as you can, and then slowly increase your calories back to your TDEE level, and then you can begin cutting again.

      This is how you prevent metab damage and excessive muscle loss.

  • Toni

    I felt a 20% deficit was almost too aggressive considering my TDEE is barely 1800. Slashing my calories that much wasn’t an option. I did TDEE minus -15% and had good results albeit slower.

    • Michael Matthews

      Perfect. As long as you figured it out and were able to make progress, that’s all that matters.

  • Fernando

    Great article. Looking forward to part 2.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Coming tomorrow! 🙂

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  • Leandro Miguel Pucci

    I need to try customize a plan where I eat two main meals and small snacks during the day… I don’t eat to be even close to my caloric needs and yet to lose fat is very difficult for me and yet I have plenty of muscle mass…

  • Joel

    Hey Mike. I have been struggling a little with the numbers. Maybe you can clarify. When I calculate the numbers based on your formula I am at 1900 calories to consume per day. When I compare it to My Fitness Pal its telling me to consume 1,600 calories per day. I followed my fitness pal with no weight loss. Can the 300 calories per day really make a difference? Also I have noticed that my muscle gain has not been effective. Could this be because of the calorie difference. My goal is to lose 25 pounds fat loss and gain muscle mass. Great BLS book. Still getting into Shredded Chef.

    • Michael Matthews

      Ignore MFP–its stock recommendations suck. Set your own custom macros on the website.

      Thanks on the books! Let me know how you like TSC!

    • Michael Matthews

      Ignore MFP–its stock recommendations suck. Set your own custom macros on the website.

      Thanks on the books! Let me know how you like TSC!

  • Ben Hunt

    Mike, I’d love for you to have a printable copy button.

    • Michael Matthews

      Good idea! I’m going to have on installed.

      • Ben Hunt

        Thank you. Love the continuing education aspect of printing and going back quickly and easily to specific information.

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! Really glad you’re liking everything. 🙂

  • Kirstie

    hi, I have read Leaner fitter stronger, but would like to use this method prior to my holiday in December (we are going to USA). I am currently 71kg and 35% body fat. I calculate in need 155g protein,70g card abd 55g fat. I eat the same food during the day:
    living shake 1gfat 10gcarb 11g prot 90cal Semi skimmed milk 400ml 7.2g fat 20g carb 14.4gprot 200cal greek yog 0g fat 8g carb 20g prot 114cal mushroom soup 0.8g fat 3g carb 16.9gprot 93cal raspberries 0g fat 4gcarb 0g prot 18 cal peanut butter 15gfat 7.5g carb 3.75gprot 120 cal celery 0000. I like variety in my evening meak and this leaves me enough carb/fat/cal for then. (I train in the morning) however I am really struggling with 150g protein. I would need 4 steaks to hit this – any ideas?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for writing!

      Hmm my favorite sources of protein are:

      Red meat

      Chicken & turkey




      Grains like quinoa

      Protein powder

      How would any of those work for you?

      • Kirstie

        Thanks. I like all of those, it just seems like a lot. I’m still 60g after my evening meal (stirfry with chicken pork beef and prawns) I will have to rely more on powders I think. I have recommended your site to my little brother who is looking for advice on gym nutrition

        • Michael Matthews

          Oh okay cool. Well yeah, if you just include a bit more protein in your current meals or add 2 scoops of powder, you’ll be good to go.

          You might find this article helpful:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com /the-best-protein-powder-for-women/

          And thanks for spreading the word! You rock. 🙂

  • Glenn Cook

    Great article. Can’t wait to read the second and third posts. I have a question (forgive me if this has already been asked and answered.) As I’m working on this plan do I need to readjust my numbers as I lose weight? If so, how often should this be done?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Glenn!

      You may or may not need to adjust. It depends on how much weight you lose and on your metab (some people’s metabs slow down less than others’).

      The simple way to know is if you get to a point where your weight loss has stalled for 7-10 days, you probably need to change something (move more or eat less, or both).

  • Ted

    Question… In your example of calculating your own TDEE, you ended up with 2900 calories and subtracted ~20%, resulting in 2300 calories. Because the number of hours you spend exercising was factored into calculating this number, I assume that you don’t need to adjust/add anything additional for the amount of calories you spend Lifting Weights. But, what about any additional cardio you may do? If, in addition to the 5-6 hours I spend lifting weights over a week, I burn an additional 500 calories or so 3 times a week, should I eat those calories back? I guess a related question would be, are the activity level multipliers dependent in any way on whether your activity is weightlifing or cardio?

    • Michael Matthews

      Nope, I don’t like the method of BMR + addition and subtraction based on activity. It makes it unnecessarily complicated.

      I don’t do extra cardio really but if I did, like let’s say I played some football with friends, I COULD add a couple hundred calories in but probably wouldn’t.

      I just go with hours of total exercise because you’ll burn a bit less calories while lifting than doing most cardio, but more in the “afterburn.” It more or less evens out and you always use your body’s progress as the final say.

      • Ted

        Cool, thanks!

        • Michael Matthews

          YW 🙂

    • John

      I’ve been thinking about this lately, too. My BMR is roughly 1700. If I do cardio of say 300 calories should I just add that giving a total of 2,000.
      If I did no cardio (or weights), just stick to my BMR?

      • Michael Matthews

        TDEE is a bit higher than BMR even without exercises because we do inevitably move around a bit. BMR x 1.1-1.15 usually gives a good idea of TDEE if we’re more or less sedentary throughout the day.

        So in your cases, TDEE + 300 calories of cardio would probably be around 2,200 calories for the day. And 1,900 when you don’t do cardio.

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  • Matthew Mitchell

    Hi mike, currently reading (and really enjoying) bigger strong leaner, I’m 163 lb and my macronutrients breakdown for cutting is 195 protein, 163 carbs and 33 fat but the method above comes out at 202 protein, 90 carbs and 70 fat – quite a difference in fat and carbs daily allowance – which method should I follow?
    Many thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Matt! Remember this article is a lower carb approach, which I actually don’t recommend unless you need to drop weight as quickly as possible. Low carb means your workouts will suffer.

      So, IMO, start with the BLS formula and let’s see how your body responds.

      • Matthew Mitchell

        Thanks mike for replying will stick with book and let you know how I get on!

        • Michael Matthews

          Great, sounds good! Talk soon!

      • Daisey Cavenger

        Hi Michael (or Mike ;), would you advise to adopt a low calorie diet? You know, cutting as many calories as possible to lose weight quickly? I was reading about it on a page(http://wlzine.com/ways-how-to-lose-weight-fast/ ) and they recommended it but I’m in doubt if it’s really all that safe to do. What would you recommend?

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      Hi guys i’m so damn happy..I lost 23 pounds in 21 days and I want to show you how I did it..This is very exciting stuff
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  • Hank

    Hey Mike,
    thanks for those articles, you’re doing a great job and actually I am under the impression that you are one of just a few 😉
    Your recommendations really helped, though there is one further question I would like to ask:

    so far, I do 3 times cardio und 4 times weight lifting per week. You once mentioned that meal timing would be up to us, but do you support some experts saying you shouldn’t eat 2 hours after training? Is that good advise or also one of those myths?
    Thanks in advance and all the best to you.
    Greetings from Germany 😉

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Hank! I really appreciate it.

      Your schedule sounds good and I believe you SHOULD eat within 2 hours of lifting. I eat within 1 hour. I talk about why here:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /guide-to-post-workout-nutrition/

      The claims about not eating after training to maintain high levels of GH are completely irrelevant.

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  • John

    Mike, in this Quick Fat Loss, how much muscle would you expect to lose in relation to fat?

    • Michael Matthews

      If you’re lifting 3-5x per week, and training properly, little to none.

  • Kt

    This was so helpful…. It was broken down so I could understand it and figure out everything… Thank you! I look fwd to the newsletters!

    • Michael Matthews

      You’re welcome! Thanks!

  • Matt B

    Great read, very easy to understand and informative.


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Matt!

  • Raydiance

    Hello, I bought the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and have my nutrition plan set up. It was very well laid out and easy to understand. Thank you! I use a polar heart rate monitor when I work out. I’d like to know if I can eat the extra calories I burn if I ate my limit for the day but am still hungry? If so, how should the macros look?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks on the book! I’m really glad you liked it.

      No, you don’t want to eat any more. You want to stick to the macros in the book;

      The key to keeping your diet in is creating a proper meal plan that you stick to every day–that is, one that meets your daily numbers and lets you eat foods you like.

      Here are a few examples of meal plans we make for people. They should help you:


      Hope this helps! Let me know!

  • Samuel Sander

    Hey Michael, thanks for the article! :Got me thinking on a couple of things. Perhaps you can shed some light on them :))

    1) Should I progress with weights when cutting? Or only try to progress in weights when bulking? I’m assuming this depends on how long one has weight trained as well?
    2) Weekly calories > Daily Calories? For example, if my TDEE-10% is 2000 kCal – is it ok if on for example on Monday I eat 2200 kCal and on Tuesday 1800 kCal? This also reminds me of the leangains protocol where one would eat more on a training day and less on a rest day. Not sure if it would make any difference.

    Many thanks in forward!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Sam! Glad you liked it.

      1. Yup always try to progress. Many people on my program get stronger through a cut. Personally I only see my strength plateau when I’m cutting to get really lean (5-6%) and after the first 3-4 weeks.

      2. Don’t like this. It just doesn’t work well in terms of real word results.

      • Samuel Sander

        Thanks for the reply! :)) I’ll keep that in mind and try to add more weights on the bar when cutting. So basically, unless you’re an advanced weightlifter – you’ll still be able to gain muscle even if you’re on a calorie deficit (as long as you get enough protein and weight-train properly – heavy, compound movements in the 4-6 rep range)
        Your bodies ability to create muscle proteins isn’t what it would be if bulking, but then again you’re losing fat, so it’s a win-win.

        Regarding bulking and cutting, this is the ideal way, right?
        Bulk (TDEE+10%) ==> When bodyfat get’s up to 15%, start cutting ==> Cut (TDEE-10%~20%) ==> When bodyfat drops to 10-12%, start bulking ==> Rinse and repeat until you’re absolutely satisfied with overall size and then cut below 10%.

        Thanks again for all the great information!! Really appreciate it!

        • Michael Matthews


          You can build muscle while losing fat if you’re still in the “newbie gains” phase. On my program, this seems to be the first 6-8 months. After that, the goal is simply to maintain muscle and strength while cutting.

          Yup, that’s the exact plan. Bulk can be TDEE+20% for people with faster metabolisms, but most do really well with +10%.

          • Samuel Sander

            Awesome, thanks again man! :))

          • Michael Matthews

            YW! 🙂

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  • Jordan

    Sweet article! Question on Cutting though as I see a fairly big discrepency. In your book you mention that you’ve got to be pretty dang strict and stick to your macro’s and calorie targets. Here is what I calculate for myself using BLS @ 235 lbs:

    282 g protein (1.2 g protein per lb)
    235 g carb (1 g carb per lb)
    47 g fat (.2 g fat per lb)

    Here is what I calculate using the Katch-Mcardle formula above with 26% body fat:

    BMR of 2,037 x 1.35 (will be working out 5 days a week) = BMR 2,700
    2,700 x .8 = 2,200 calories/day

    245 g protein (45% of 2,200 @ 4 kcal per g)
    110 g carb (20% of 2,200 @ 4 kcal per g)
    85 g fat (35% of 2,200 @ 9 kcal per g)

    Those are drastically different numbers! Where did I go wrong and what should I follow?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Jordan!

      Yes remember this article is a low-carb approach for maximum weight loss at the expense of some performance.

      I’d recommend something in the middle for you:

      200 g pro
      200 g carb
      60 g fat

      Per day.

      • Jordan

        I didn’t catch that it was a low carb approach, thanks for the clarification…

        I recently got tested in the bod pod and it came out at 26%. The technician was shocked and said that something must be wrong and tested me again. It came out at 26.2%. I went home and told my wife that I was technically obese and she started laughing and said maybe I’m a little overweight, but not obese. At my physical last week I told the doc that I was bod pod tested at 26% and she said “no way” and pulled out her hand held device. She said, “I do this everyday and I’m going to guess you’re about 19%”. Her device came in a 18.9%. Is there that much descrepency in methods?

        That said, I’m not so much concerned with performance right now… I just want to strip off fat and pounds. I’m only 6’1” and would love to be in the 190’s but am currently 235. Is the low carb approach the best for me or should I stick with the middle road 200/200/60?

        Thanks Mike!

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure.

          Wow odd on the measurement. AFAIK the Bod Pod is quite accurate but that machine might have been on the fritz.

          Have you seen this article of mine?

          https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-measure-body-fat-percentage/

          Try the BLS formula first. You’ll do great on it and have good workouts…

          • Jordan

            I’ll take read… thanks for the help!

          • Michael Matthews


  • Enriq

    Hi Mike! One question:
    Q:When calculating macros and having already our final diet, shall we also remain protein grams from carb and fat sources like rice, sweet potato, oats, almonds, broccoli….? Or must we only count our proteins from sources like meat, whey, milk, cheese, fish? I think that since those proteins also have kcals we should remain them, but I don’t know if there must be a ratio between protein types in order to obtain better protein quality. Thanxs!!!

    • Michael Matthews

      You can count protein from all sources. It adds up! I personally don’t worry about ratios of types of proteins because your protein intake will be high enough for it to just not be an issue.

  • HoldensGirl

    Hi Mike! I absolutely loved this article! I’ve got a few concerns and hope you can advise me. After about 5 years of being overweight due to health problems I was able to start losing weight effectively last year, and went from 245 lbs to 204 lbs right now. I’m female, 5″6, 37% body fat, and I work out at least 4 times a week. I’ve changed my eating habits significantly and have been using a weight loss app that puts me at 1,434 calories per day in order to lose 2 lbs a week, the calorie budget the app has had me on since I began last year has of course changed whenever I’ve lost weight and it really worked for the first 35 lbs or so, the weight just fell off every single week. But since hitting those 35 lbs I’ve been losing about 2-3 per month as opposed to per week, and I’m not sure why. All that to say, I calculated everything as instructed in your article, and at the end it’s put me at a 1,700 calorie deficit. Considering that I’m struggling to lose weight with 1,434 cals, it makes me nervous to add even more calories to my daily budget, it seems like eating more calories would just set me back. I’m hoping you can give me some advice on this? I would love to follow what’s stated in your article, I’m just worried it wouldn’t work considering what’s already been going on with my weight loss journey.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much!

      Great job on the weight loss.

      This is a metabolic issue and I will actually be talking about it in a video I’m uploading to YT!

      We will want to change your training and eating a little. Keep an eye out for the video and let me know what you think…

      • HoldensGirl

        Thank you, will do!!

        • Michael Matthews


  • HW

    Hi Mike! I absolutely loved this article! I’ve got a few concerns and hope you can advise me. After about 5 years of being overweight due to health problems I was able to start losing weight effectively last year, and went from 245 lbs to 204 lbs right now. I’m female, 5″6, 37% body fat, and I work out at least 4 times a week. I’ve changed my eating habits significantly and have been using a weight loss app that puts me at 1,434 calories per day in order to lose 2 lbs a week, the calorie budget the app has had me on since I began last year has of course changed whenever I’ve lost weight and it really worked for the first 35 lbs or so, the weight just fell off every single week. But since hitting those 35 lbs I’ve been losing about 2-3 per month as opposed to per week, and I’m not sure why. All that to say, I calculated everything as instructed in your article, and at the end it’s put me at a 1,700 calorie deficit. Considering that I’m struggling to lose weight with 1,434 cals, it makes me nervous to add even more calories to my daily budget, it seems like eating more calories would just set me back. I’m hoping you can give me some advice on this? I would love to follow what’s stated in your article, I’m just worried it wouldn’t work considering what’s already been going on with my weight loss journey.

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  • smsazzy

    If you find yourself at the end of the day below your calorie target, due to missing a meal or snack or something, is it better to eat something before bed, or just skip the calories that day? Should you make them up the following day to avoid metabolic damage?

    • Michael Matthews

      Up to you. Being too low for one day won’t do anything good or bad. Personally I would just eat a snack unless I was really full from my last meal.

  • Tony Rivera

    Hey mike I enjoyed reading your books and also this great article, but I still have some trouble finding what’s good to eat, how many Calories should I put in my body and how to work out the right way. I want to feel good and be healthy. I want to be lean and fit and also be prepared for boot camp because I would like to join the military. To make it all clear I’m afraid to start out wrong, any advice?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Tony! I appreciate it.

      In terms of foods to eat, check out these articles:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /guide-to-vitamins-and-minerals/

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /how-to-eat-healthy-foods-on-a-budget/

      In terms of how to work out, what do you think about starting my BLS program?

      • Tony Rivera

        Thanks mike for the articles and I tried to do the math but really I don’t know my fat percent, also I sometimes don’t know how much I weight I should lift and how to properly handle them

        • Michael Matthews


          Oh okay well it sounds like you might want to look into my custom meal plan service and custom workout plan service (coming soon).

          Then my team and I could really dig into your circumstances and find what works best.

          • Tony Rivera

            Thanks so much mike! Really hope I put effort to my goals, I thimk I’ll start out by writing out why I want to look the way I want to be and for what perpose just like what your books said. If I came across another question I’m sure I’ll stop by to ask.

          • Michael Matthews

            YW! Awesome please do keep me posted on how it goes!

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  • buffinmyfluff

    I just read this article. I actually understand what you are saying so I ordered the book- looking forward to being a
    thinner,leaner stronger female, and gaining more knowledge to take
    control of my body. I just gave up group body pump classes to started weights/hiit on my own last week. I need more instruction-especially with figuring out calorie/macro control. 5 mo. ago I joined a gym lost 10lbs,with not knowing much about what I am doing.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much! Let me know how you like the book! It will definitely show you exactly what you need to do…

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  • rasha

    Quick question are we talking total carbs or net carbs, imtrying to add in my protien bars and they have 25 carbs each but the package says only 4 net carbs. Which should i follow? Thanks in advance!

    • Michael Matthews

      I stay away from bars but in that case net carbs is what you count. The rest are not processed by the body, like fiber.

  • António

    I go to the gym 5 days a week and spend around 1h every time, does this mean that my multiplier would be 1.35?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, start there.

  • Erica Lancaster

    Thank you for this!!! I just created my first meal plan woohoo! It takes some work but I can tell this is what I need and then to just follow it! Thanks again! I’m still working on your book! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Awesome! Let me know how it goes!

  • Erica Lancaster

    Thank you for telling me about this!!! I’ve got my first daily meal plan finished and I think this will be the perfect finish to my low carb diet! I was getting results but I was definitely eating waaay too much fats (nuts, avacodo…) Now I have a clear plan of what I need each day and how much! It does take work to plan these out but the efforts will be greatly rewarded I can tell! This is awesome and I’m still working on your book! Thanks again! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      YW and perfect, let me know how it goes! I hate low-carb dieting. It’s totally unnecessary.

      Keep me posted on how everything goes!

      • Erica Lancaster

        lol I thought I would hate it too but surprisingly I feel great 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          You’ll like the carbs for lifting. 🙂

  • Alex

    Hi Mike, I wanna cut my belly fat, I have around 25% of fat in my body. So can you please help me in workouts. I do exercises for 5 days in a week in a local gym. I weigh 160 pounds, height 5’8″. There is some financial problem also with me which restricts me in using fat burner or any other such supplement. I have controlled my diet and now consume less fatty food. I’ll be grateful if you can suggest me some good exercises for it.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah you should just follow my advice in this article series! It will be perfect for you…

  • Molly A.

    Hi Mike,

    I’m a 19 year old female, 5’1 and currently 111 Ib. I’ve lost about 27 pounds in 10 months by eating 1000-1200 calories a day and now I need to eat more as my doctor said I’m underweight. I want to gain muscle weight and not fat so I’ve started doing body pump 3 times a week and I do cardio 2-3 times a week also. I want to start doing iifym but I keep getting different numbers from different sites. What do you recommend I eat so I can put on lean muscle mass?


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  • Christine Sutherland

    Mike I think that issues like (for example) leptin resistance also come into play. I’m 5′ 2″ and cannot lose weight on 1000 calories a day, even though I do martial arts (each time with a challenging cardio and core workout for 30 minutes before the 1-hour training session) 6 times each week. I don’t eat junk of any kind (not from deprivation – I hate the stuff) and meals consist of lean meat with salad and no dressings. Snacks are an apple or 6 blanched almonds.

    I am currently 10 kg overweight, and can reduce only by going down to 750 calories a day, which I achieve by using protein shakes (210 calories) as a meal replacement for breakfast and lunch, and having a small evening meal. I am certainly experiencing some mild hunger, as well as tiredness and grumpyness, but at least I am finally seeing reasonably consistent weight loss week to week, of 0.5 to 1 kg.

    My theory is that once I’ve been able to shed fat, my body should have a chance to move into better functioning, and I should be able to eat normally once that’s achieved.

    I guess I don’t have a lot of faith in the mathematics of weight loss, given my own experience.

  • Hoan tran

    Hello sir. This article is full of useful information. Thank you so much. I was introduced to this article by my personal trainer. I’ve been working on the new diet every day. However, i have a few questions related to this diet: (by the way here are my numbers: protein 139 g, fat 47 g and carbs 62 g)
    1) can i consume a bit more than what i am supposed to consume every day, for exampl instead of consuming 62 g of carbs, can i do 65? does it always have to be exact or approximate around those numbers?
    2) doing this diet helps me realize that my body is not used to it, and it causes me hungry and headaches sometimes. is that a bad thing? sometimes i cheat by eating an apple or a banana, once in while though? when can we have a cheat day?
    3) I am a group exercise instructor and im also following a workout routine set out by my personal trainer. i go the gym pretty much everyday, and i would say that im very highly active. does the diet give me enough calories and energy to conduct such high activity level?

    Thank you,

    • Michael Matthews


      1. So long as you’re within 100 calories or so you’re fine.

      2. Your calories are too low. How much do you weigh?

  • Paul Fisher

    Awesome article! Mike , I suck at Excel, do you have your meal plan template available? Or know where to get an Excel template like this? thanks

  • marsa

    hi again
    I calculate your TDEE for test.I input 192 for your weight and 7%-8% for your fat percentage .it was 2119.46.then multiply it by 1.5.it was 3179.19 not 2900.am I wrong?

    • Michael Matthews

      I never use 1.5. That’s too high.

  • marsa

    another question! isn’t dangerous to eat under 1500 calories a day? and fat shouldn’t be more limited than carbs? thanks a lot.

    • Michael Matthews

      No, not necessarily. Some people are very small. A 100-pound girl won’t really ever need more than 1,500 cals per day unless she wants to bulk and really push her metab as high as it can go.

      Elaborate on the fat vs. carbs question?

  • Dan


    I’ve been on your BLS plan for about 2 1/2 Months. So far, I’ve gone from 195lbs to 185. However, for about the last month, I’ve been stuck at 185 lbs and a 37″ waist, and I don’t know what to do? I’ve have had strength gain on all muscle groups during the last month. Does this mean I’ve lost fat equal to the muscle I’ve gained? And is it possible that all the fat that I’ve lost this month has come from other parts of my body (i.e. Thighs, Butt, Chest, Arms)?

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow, great job!

      Yes, it’s possible that you’ve built muscle while losing fat, and yes it’s definitely taking from those parts before your lower abs. 🙂

      Are you looking leaner? If not, it sounds like we just need to adjust your diet or have you move more.

      • Dan

        I do feel more muscular, especially in my legs. When I go intense on the bike during my 25 minute-HIIT sessions (5 x a week), my heartrate is 165-175 bpm, and I’m eating 38g fat, 190g carbs, 228g protein. What changes do you recommend I make?

        • Michael Matthews

          That’s good. Let’s drop to this:

          200 pro
          170 carb
          40 fat

          (per day)

          Let me know how this goes.

          • Dan

            Thanks Mike. Is there any other reason that you can think of that would explain how my muscular strength is increasing without any increase in total body weight?

          • Michael Matthews

            Muscles can “learn” to contract harder, thus increasing strength. That only goes so far though–eventually more fibers are needed.

  • marsa

    Thanks mike.yes I want to know specially about fat’s role in a dietary habits. I used to think it must be completely limited.

  • marsa

    thanks again mike.I ask a lot.it’s kind of u to answer my questions.

    • Michael Matthews

      My pleasure. 🙂

  • Carl Leek

    Hi mike, loved your book just a quick one I’m 168 lbs and around 20 % body fat (a bit flabby) would you recommend me to start bulking before i cut or should i start cutting right away? Thanks in advance.

  • Ginny

    I think you are the BEST nutritional info center of the world I have found to date! So thank you!!! I’m trying to gain weight… muscle. Without getting fat lol so I’ve read your books I read your emails and I’m implementing this into my life to see if I can add/gain some muscle !!

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

      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.

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  • Working on this as we speak…I wanted to give a shout out to your cook book. It makes the process a lot easier to plan meals…plus the food is really good…making the jalapeno lime chicken today. Great stuff

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man! I’m glad you’re liking the book.

  • Melanie Hill

    Thankyou for sharing how to do this you make everything so easy to follow! My husband and I have been trying to work out our macros as we are new to this. This helped us a lot!

    • Michael Matthews

      My pleasure! LMK how it goes!

  • dana

    I’m obese i weight 75 kilos and my height is 155 cm. I am also a teenage girl. Shouldn’t i follow the extreme fat loss to lose weight rather the normal fat loss according to my calorie calculator?

  • Kay Russell

    Hey Mike.
    I’ve read many of your articles and I just ordered your book Thinner Leaner Stronger from Amazon. I look forward to reading it. In the meantime, I have a problem. I tried using the Katch McArdle BMR calculator and I’m getting what I feel is an unrealistic number, and I don’t know why.
    For some reason, the actual calculator is not working for me on my computer. It says “loading…” and then never loads anything. I can handle some math so I just decided to do that math myself given the formula on the calculator website. Here’s my math (in case that’s what I’m doing wrong):
    I weigh 177 lbs (in Google’s conversion table that’s 80.3 kg)
    Last time I checked it using a scale (I know they’re not the most accurate but it’s what I have), my BF% was around 41%. I know this is no longer accurate because I have put on some muscle but it’s the only calculation I have and it should be relatively close.

    Okay, so Lean Body Mass = (80.3 x (100-41))/100 = 47.38 kg
    Given that, BMR = 370 + (21.6 x 47.38) = 1393 calories

    That just seems really low to me. If my body at rest only burns 1393 calories per day, I would have to eat around 1115 calories to maintain a 20% deficit to lose weight. I realize this doesn’t even bring exercise into play as far as negative calories but still, that amount of calorie intake would put my body into starvation mode. Am I doing my math wrong?


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Kay! I really appreciate it.

      That sounds about right on the BMR. Lean mass is really what drives it up and you don’t have much muscle, that’s all.

      Most women are surprised to learn how little their bodies actually burn.

      You wouldn’t eat 20% less than BMR–you eat 20% less than TDEE. Check this out:


      • Kay Russell

        Thanks! I misread it. I’m currently using MyFitnessPal and after calculating my TDEE and then 80% of that, the app is pretty close. I’ve been going to the gym 3-5 times/week consistently for 2 months and I know my BF% has to have changed, I just don’t know by how much. My weight has not gone down but I’ve lost 10 inches overall so far, and I feel much stronger!

        • Michael Matthews

          MFP’s macros suck. Don’t use them. Work out yours using the article I linked and set custom goals on the site.

          Wow great job! That rocks!

          • Kay Russell

            Hey thanks! If you go on the MFP website there’s a way to customize your goals including the percentages of your macros so that’s what I did. Currently my macros are set to 40/40/20 (Carbs/Protein/Fat). I set them after reading one of your articles so it should be correct (I think?). I got your book in the mail today while I was at work so I plan to go home and flip through it after the gym! 🙂

          • Michael Matthews

            Perfect! That’s correct. Let me know how you like the book!

  • dalia

    Hello I was so frustrated by not getting the body you want.

    It was not until I found this video that finally body conditioning, and
    helped me get started with the training, and the results shocked me, I totally
    changed my body and my life.

    After doing the program I realized that before I was doing almost
    everything wrong and was too complicated.

    I am fit and best of my life. I’m so happy, I’ve never been

    I leave the video here: http://tinyurl.com/kxpwhlp

  • Sly

    Hey Mike, so unless I’m doing something wrong, Mcardle reckons my daily clorie requirements are 4500 calories, that got me head scscratching and I’ll review later. I currently consume 2300, weigh 184.6 with 10.2% BF and my goal is circa 8% bf at 46, I achieved 9 doing just what this article covers and gained it back and then some so I’m doing 1lb a week sometimes less. What do u think about cycling Creatine whilst cutting?? Great book and site by the way, wish I found it last year 😉

  • Akshay Ahlawat

    Hey Mike, around a little over 2 months ago I started taking a very low calorie diet to lose more weight. I succeeded in doing so and lost around 11-13kgs. But after reading this article, I realised that I had probably lost muscle and maybe damaged my metabolic rate. So I decided to follow the suggestions you’ve given on this article. Calculated my BMR, TDEE, daily calorie deficit and everything. But now I find I’ve gained 2 kgs in around 3-4 days. Is that normal? Should I continue with this diet for a week or two and see where it gets me or am I doing something wrong?

    • Michael Matthews

      No worries we can fix you up. You want to start with a reverse diet:


      • Akshay Ahlawat

        Wow, I couldn’t get a definite answer from anyone for my problem. Thanks a lot for this. It would seem like you have the answers to every problem one could face while trying to get into shape. Reading your articles really helped in removing many misconceptions I had about exercising and keeping fit.

        • Michael Matthews

          My pleasure man! I’m glad I can help!

        • partha

          Yes akshay. Mr. matthews is indeed doing an excellent job.

          • Michael Matthews

            Thanks 🙂

  • dalia

    Hello I was looking for a program to lose body fat and get a good
    result. I found your website your ebook. Before starting the program I weighed
    80 kilos and my waist was 42 inches. After 11 weeks I still weigh about 80kg
    but my waist size is now 35 inches. 7 inch loss in 11 weeks! Since my weight
    stayed about the same, that means I gained muscle while losing 7 inches of fat
    from the waist!

    I am truly excited after starting your program. After reading
    through all your information, I can not believe how many things I was missing…..

    Here you can download the book: http://tinyurl.com/nlg7xcd

  • Melissa

    Another fantastic article! Thank you! I was in denial I think (as I love my nut butter and almonds) but I now realise I really am eating too much fat (even though it’s all good fats.. It’s still too much) and this is probably one thing hindering the loss of my absolute stubborn belly fat. Thank you! I have left another comment after another article regarding my concern about eating very low carb. However, I eat around the same amount as this calculator has worked out for me (70g). I do still have the concern that this is too low for an every day lifestyle.. Although I know it does work for my body so maybe I just need to accept that instead of listening to all the skeptics about low carb diets? Thanks again

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  • Sean D.

    Hey Mike, I just started reading BLS and am slowing trying to get a 3-day weight lifting regiment going. I am 6’2″ and weigh 240 lb. I would like to get down to at least 200 before I start thinking about bulking. What macros would you recommend for the cut. Besides working out I run 2-3 days a week ( mainly for cardiovascular reasons, former smoker) and usually do a 2-hour strenuous hike on the weekends. Thanks in advance.

  • Bekka Taylor

    why am I already below BMR plus 20% and not losing weight (gaining fat actually)
    Eat totally clean btw

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  • Konstantina

    For the past year I have developed a bigger passion for the gym and manage to go about 5-6 times a week for about an hour. I haven’t seen much change in my body though especially concerning food intake. I am only 1.54 m tall and weigh around 46kg…but I feel my best at about 44. Usually at this weight I don’t eat a lot so I decided to see if I could calculate how many calories I should be eating based on your model. From the pictures I would guess my body fat percentage is around 25% (my body seems to store a lot of fat around my belly and doesn’t want to get rid of it). As I go to the gym about 4-6 hrs a day my TDEE is 1,505kcal. So to loose fat I should be eating 1,204kcal/day. That seems a lot though, and from following your articles I should have to do the program to increase my metabolic rate but I’m afraid I will just gain weight. How would you recommend I go about beginning a program to gain muscle without me putting on weight in terms of calorie intake and exercises at gym?
    I appreciate your help!

  • Justin

    Thanks for info excellent

    • Michael Matthews


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  • Bl4st2

    Hello. Last day I saw a formula that you had in one of your posts where I just needed that formula, my weight, height and age to calculate my bmr. I can’t find it now, Can you please give it to me? Thanks you!

    • Michael Matthews
      • Bl4st2

        In that post, you give us the Katch McArdel formula, but I think I saw another formula in one of your posts where I didn’t need my body fat to calculate my BMR. What was necessary was my age, my weight and my height. I just can’t find that.

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Katch is what I recommend for calculating BMR.

          • Bl4st2

            Thank you anyway for the help 🙂

          • Michael Matthews

            YW 🙂

          • Anna

            If you look at the body fat pics Mike provided and figure out your body fat range from that, and then use the Katch McArdel formula at the low and high end of the range, you’ll find that BMR doesn’t vary that much. So don’t feel like you need an exact estimate to get there. Good luck!

  • Tiani

    Hi There, thanks for another fantastic article. I’m lacto-ovo vegetarian and really struggle to eat enough protein without too much fat, following your macronutrients guide I should be getting about 170g of proten and 50g of fat per day. Any suggestions on foods I can eat that will get me enough protein with little fat?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yeah that’s tough but doable. Egg whites, low-fat diary, protein powder, and fish are great.

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  • BulletproofTinMan

    Loved the article sounds really smart and something im going to test drive thanks matt!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! LMK how it goes!

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  • David

    Hello Mike
    I am 182 cm tall and my weight is 101 Kilos , I lost 14 kilos with a 1700 kcal diet.
    I have decided now to try your method.
    isn’t 200 gr of protein per day too much? that means I should eat 2 tuna cans and two chicken breasts a day? that’s a lot….
    am I missing something? please help.


  • Jessica

    Hi Mike!

    I’ve been following this plan for almost a week for my cut at 1600cals (80g carbs, 160g protein, 70g fat) but the problem I’m having is being way too full from all the protein and by the end of the day I’ve reached my protein target but my calories are only at 1300 (haven’t met either fat or carb targets). Is this going to be a problem for my metabolism? (My BMR is 1500cal). I only just finished reverse dieting and I don’t want to screw my metabolism all over again. I can always add more healthy fats like olive oil etc to up calories, do you think it would be important to do this?

    Thanks so much! You’re so helpful 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm I wouldn’t drop 200 cal below BMR. Let’s make sure you get your macros in . 🙂

      My pleasure! Thanks!

      • Jessica

        Thanks for your help! 🙂

        • Michael Matthews


  • Pingback: How Much Vegetables For Weight Loss | All Documents()

  • karl

    Hey Mike

    I have been following bls training program from October 2014 . I have read both bls and bbls and have read every article throughout mfl and continue doing so.  

    Starting weight – 172 pounds

    Starting Body fat % – 13.5 %

    Current weight – 147 pounds

    Current body fat % – roughly 8

    I started this with a 20% defecit which lasted about 4 -5 weeks of fat loss before i reduced my daily calories by 100 cals . Which then lasted roughly 3-4 weeks. I repeated this as my fat loss stalled and then continued to see fat loss. I also incorporated a re – feed day once i got to about 9% bf. Which worked wonders resulting in further fat loss.

    I have a question. 

    Is this the correct way to cut. 

    Start with a good defecit of 20 – 25 %

    Then when fat loss stalls reduce by 100 – 150 cals until stalls again. And repeat


    Start with a defecit of 20 – 25% 

    Then when fat loss stalls calculate your tdee with your current Weight and use the 20 – 25 % defecit again . Until fat loss stalls. 

    I would really appreciate a answer. 

    Thank you so much for the knowledge you spread mike. 


    • Michael Matthews

      Great, thanks Karl! And awesome job!

      I do what you did–start with a good deficit and max exercise (5 x lifting and 4 x cardio per week) and then reduce cals when weight loss stops. Nothing much to it.

      You may find this helpful too:


      And last but not least I’d love to feature you on the site! What do you think?

      • karl

        Thank you so much for the quick reply. Yeah this is what i thought from reading bls and bbls. Everything worked great on my cut.
        Thanks Mike.

        & yeah i would love to get featured on MFL. I’ve estimated to start my reverse diet on 9th feb. So i would take some pics then. How do i go about this feature

        Thanks again Mike.
        Always so helpful.

        • Michael Matthews


          Yup–it’s that easy. And it actually gets faster/easier the longer you stay lean and more times you do it. It’s interesting.

          Great let’s do it. Shoot me an email [email protected]

  • Paul

    Hi Mike,

    The macro split you’re suggesting in this article (P:40, F:35, C:20) differs form the one in The Definitive Guide to Effective Meal Planning (40/20/40). Is the first one geared towards a faster fat loss or it’s just a matter of preference? Calorie intake will be the same after all…Thanks, appreciate all you’re doing.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey Paul,

      Yeah this lower carb option is geared toward people that are quite overweight and probably have insulin sensitivity issues, but if that’s not you, you can go with the 40/40/20 approach.

  • Michael Matthews

    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:


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

  • Michael Matthews

    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:


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

  • dan

    Hi, im confused as to which model i should follow. Im just starting out on my weightloss challenge and am wondering is it better just to calculate and stick to the calorie count or to stick to the protein, carb and fat (macro) breakdown??? Help pls.

  • Dhings

    I just calculated my TDEE and less 20%

    Does 630 cals per day sound right? I do squat challenge and also 2 hours cardio per day incline 6 steadily going up and speed 4 kph going up I have also ordered ur menu ….. Very worried

    I am not sure if it work

    • No no that’s definitely not right. If you’ve ordered a meal plan we’ll take care of you.

  • TOG565

    Hi Mike,

    As usual, great article. Everyone do yourselve’s a favor and check-out the meal plan offered by Mike. Its cheap and clearifies what you should be doing. Sam is also great at answering emails and helping with progress. That being said, it looks as if the program is designed around 3 main meals, snacks, and pre-post recommendations. For someone looking to maximize fat And maintain gains would u recommend the meal plan or should someone take a look at something like the Lean Gains plan? I have enjoyed IF and just combined some meals together in the plan to ensure I get it all in. I started this after recognizing that I had a straight up addiction to food and the mandated/scheduled fasting helped me break the cycle.
    Just throwin this out there and I know you did a great article on IF. Just wondering what your 1st choice would be for a client who needs to shed before they shred.

    Thx man,

  • Kevin Clark

    What do you think about using white kidney bean extract as a supplement to lose weight?

  • Kelly

    Hi mike, I’m at about day 10 of following your women’s program trying to cut. I feel great! i feel stronger and healthier already, i swear i can already tell a difference in my muscles, i am following the meal plan, drinking a ton of water, all is good… except i weighed today and haven’t lost a single pound in 10 days! that was very deflating! is that normal or am i messing up somewhere i don’t know and need to restrict calories more? (i’m at 0.8 of tdee now).

    also, reading on supplements, currently taking vitamins, green tea extract, and magnesium (for foot cramps). should i be adding caffeine, yohimbine, fish oil, vit d, and spirulina? how many do i really need to accelerate fat loss?

    in general, i train with weights at 4:00 am. I have been consuming a quest protein bar at 3:30 am since i don’t normally eat after dinner (6:00 pm) the night before. should i not be doing that to train in a fasted state? should i be taking a pre-workout drink instead?

    any advice would be appreciated. thanks.

    • Great! I’m glad to hear it!

      Has your waist gotten smaller? If so, you’re losing fat.

      Two things to keep in mind:

      1. Women have to deal with water retention issues a lot more than men:


      2. If you’re new to weightlifting you’re going to gain weight from that (not fat though–water and glycogen in your muscles), which can offset fat lost.

      You don’t have to train fasted.

      LMK what you think.

  • Katy1493

    Thanks for article! The word ‘diet’ means ‘way of living” and “regular (daily) work”, so if you decided to keep your diet you must keep your way of living. I was convinced that the main goal of every high protein diet is not only to help lose weight fast, but to save muscles. But losing extra pounds is a long and hard process. I follow the rules, these are the most vital for me – drink a lot of water every day, eat healthy organic food, do exercises 2-3 times a week. I think if you want to lose extra pounds, you should start with this and like keeping healthy lifestyle. And sleep well, too.

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  • Kim Mazzucchelli

    Hey Mike, got a question for you concerning my goals. I’ve read your book TLS & following your articles here, i made huge gains thanks to this so couldn’t be more happier, big thanks and thumbs up!

    It’s going very well, these are my results after 2 months (I’m 5.4 ft high): 128 lbs -> 119 lbs, dody fat dropped 2,2% and gained 1,5% muscle.

    Now my issue is that i’m starting to feel and look really thin (i really need xs clothing and i come from medium), on my chest you’re seeing my bones and so I don’t really want to “slim” down any more but my problem is that I still have stubborn belly fat (although my waist has slimmed down a lot) and fat on my thighs which i would want to convert in muscle and so look ripped and strong! Don’t get me wrong i’m getting muscular, my arms are really toned but my belly and thighs are just not yet how i want them to look!

    I’m currently following your recommandations here and of your book TLS. I’m around 1400 kcal/day with 155g protein, 128g carbs, 26g fat, heavy lifting 4x/week + HIIT cardio 3x/week. I’m wondering if i should do so something else, change my calorie deficit or macros to achieve these goals? Or maybe some clean bulking (but i’m really “scared” to put on fat as I still need to lose that stubborn belly fat, also is bulking something women really do/need?) Or should I just continue this way and will I get that flat muscular tummy eventually (and this is just taking longer because it’s stubborn fat)? would be really great if you could help me out with this issue!!!

    • Kim Mazzucchelli

      Oh yeah some extra info, i train fasted, use pwo (so caffeine), green tea sups and cla (following your guidelines to lose stubborn fat)

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Glad to hear you’re doing well! That’s awesome. I’d love to feature you on the site once you reach your goals. What do you think?

      Haha yeah this is pretty common actually. It takes a fair amount of upper body muscle to be lean enough to have the lower body you want without looking kind of…starved. 😉

      Do you know your approximate body fat percentage?


      This is something you should know as well:


      • Kim Mazzucchelli

        Thanks for your quick reply, i’ll certainly consider it once i’ve reached my goals 😉 but as to getting there, i believe my bf would be around 21%. But it’s exactly as you’re saying when you see my upper body I look kind of “starved” whilst my lower body is slimming but still having stubborn fat!

        Not sure what you mean with the article as I believe for now my metabolism is doing great (i’m even shocked sometimes when i measure myself each week). So you recommand keep doing what i’m doing (calories & macros) and as i’m slowly building muscle and lose fat the “starved” look will go away and my muscles in my belly and thighs will eventually show too? Thx in advance!!

        • YW! Cool let’s do it. 🙂

          It sounds like you’re doing fine then. Let’s keep the fat coming off and worry about adding muscle after…

  • Linda Ford

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  • Jillian Newlin

    Hi Mike, I have just recently started the thinner, leaner, stronger program. I still want to lose about 5% body fat before I focus on bulking or maybe just maintaining so that’s why I am following this 3 part article on weight loss, however in Ch.14 of the book you go over the proper macros for weight loss, maintenance and bulking but you say you already figured in the exercise calories in the formulas and the calorie totals when I calculate them for my weight come out very low. Lower even than the numbers I come up with when I calculate my TDEE and multiply that by 1.35 like you recommend doing in this article for weight loss. According to the book at 114 lbs to maintain I should be only eating 1544 calories, but according to the formula in this article with exercise incorporated, I should be eating 1587.50 calories to lose weight. I’m just trying to figure out what I should do once I reach my body fat % goal in order to maintain and build lean muscle slowly as to not gain as much fat back. Thank you in advance and sorry this is so long!

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it.

      Let’s go with the TDEE approach and start you at 1600 per day 40/40/20 split and see how your body responds.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Jillian Newlin

        Thanks for the response Mike! I’m sticking to around 1600 right now and am losing, once I hit my body fat % goal, should I take my TDEE (which is 1984 cals including exercise) and add a moderate 5-10% surplus calorie to that number for bulking?

  • Alex Greenwood

    Hey mike so I was reading your article and I do want to try to get stronger and leaner. But I’m still just 13 so I don’t know if weight loss is the right thing for me. I’m 127 pounds and 5’8 and I play a lot of sports. But I also don’t get to choose my meals. I eat cereal for breakfast and then school lunch and then my parents choose what to eat for dinner. I exercise about 6 hours a week though. Also my body fat percentage was 15% and I want to try to lower it to get look stronger so what should I do? Please reply soon thanks.

    • Hey man!

      You shouldn’t be restricting calories at your age and trying to get “shredded.” It’s not good for your body’s development.

      Instead, you want to do what you’re doing: play a lot of sports, eat plenty of nutritious foods, and let your body develop. If you want to get a “head start” on building some muscle, you can start doing a bodyweight routine.


  • Tiago Gomes

    Hi Mike, here you are advocating that 45% of the calorie intake should come from Protein, 20% from Carbs and 35% from Fat. But on http://www.muscleforlife.com/healthy-meal-planning-tips/, the ratios are very different (40% for Protein, 40% for Carbs and 20% for Fat). Which one should I follow?

  • tori

    hi mike! im trying to set up my meal plan, my calories come out to 1,440 a day. (protein- 162, carbs- 72, fats- 56) but i barely eat 50g of protein in a day as of now so i’m not sure if i can get myself to eat 162 g.. seems like a lot. and i would have to drop my carbs a lot also which im doubting bieng healthy. (my BMR is 1,332 and i workout 4-6 hours a week). I just want to lose weight by the summer, please help!

    • Cool on your goal! You’ll want to get in at least 100 grams of protein per day but closer to 130 would be best.

      Check this out:


      • tori

        Thanks! What amount of carbohydrates and fat would you recommend? I workout 4-6 days a week so I don’t want my performance to be hurt too much, so My goal was about 130 g carbs and 56 g of fat, should I change it?

  • Anabolic steroids are usually either taken orally or injected into the muscles, although some are applied to the skin as a cream or gel. Doses taken by abusers may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions.

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  • Marian Boricean

    One of the best articles I ever read! 🙂 seriously. I will refer to this page to anyone asking for “how to loose weight”.
    I have a curiosity though… the Katch-Mcardle formula… I don’t understand one thing: the formula takes only one variable: “lean mass”. So the BMR is the same for two persons with the same lean mass regardless of the age, gender, height?

  • Marian Boricean

    Hey Mike, if I’m not looking to loose weight fast, is there a benefit of having the macros percentage other than 45/20/35? What I want to say, is it OK if I keep this macronutrient percentages even if I’m not looking to loose fat fast? I found that my body deals better with fats than carbs.

    • The low-carb is really just for shedding water faster but it doesn’t affect fat loss. So that’s up to you. Personally I hate low-carb.

  • RJ

    Hey Mike great stuff!

    Question, I started off at 263 lbs, I am 37 yrs old 6ft. I have lost 30 lbs over the last 3 months. I am currently around 24% bf. I bought your book and started using your BLS program a week ago. My calculation to get to 15% bf is 203 lbs or so. My question is should I be trying to make a faster cut using the 45/20/35 approach or should I be using the slower cut 40/40/20 approach? I know you recommended not cutting for a long time and if I keep gong the way I am my cut could take 7 months. Just curious what you felt the best approach would be to continue down to 15%bf. Thanks for everything Mike!

    • Thanks! Great job! I like your plan. Just stick to 40/40/20. This will help you:


      • RJ

        Thanks Mike! Your site is awesome and im sure I can speak for alot of people when I say how much we appreciate the time you put in to responding to us and writing all your articles. Thanks again!

  • Ruby

    1) How long would you suggest following these macros/workout plan for rapid weight loss? I’m 5’1 167 lbs around 34% body fat.
    2) Is it safe to continue until reaching a specific body fat and then gradually increase carbs/lower fat to 40/40/20? I’m going to be following your workout split in your e-book Fit is the New Skinny.

    I calculated my calories and macros would come out to be:
    1573 calories
    177 g protein
    79 g carbs
    61 g fat

    3) I’ve read your responses in other comments that as long as one is losing weight at their set macros they shouldn’t change anything but if there is not weight loss for 7-10 days then decrease. What should I be decreasing protein, carbs, fat?
    Thanks in advance

  • Stefan

    Hi Mike, I just finished your book Bigger, Leaner, Stronger and I’m stuck with a question regarding to macros when cutting. The macros you giving us in this article aren’t similar to the ones you give in your book. The macros in the book are roughly 45/35/20 of protein/carbs/fat based on the calculations given and in this article you give the following macros 45/20/35 of protein/carbs/fat. Which macros do you recommend to follow?

    • Thanks for reading my book and writing! I really appreciate it. Anything you could do to spread the word would rock too! 🙂

      This is a lower-carb approach and is meant for very overweight people. If that’s not you, check this out:


      • Stefan

        That makes sense. Thanks a lot for taking time to answer me. I just saw it was mentioned in the comments as well. I’m not overweight. So I just stick with the higher carb version and plan those carbs around the workout.

  • Erica Mooney

    I did the calculation and it said I should be eating 1700k calories per day to lose weight. That seems far too high. I am eating 1200K to lose weight right now. Can you help me figure this out?

  • Sherril Berry-Wysong

    Hi Mike,
    I have been eating about 1400-1500 (supposed to be 1350) calories and macros keep tweaking. Recently serious Paleo… As you know from my emails. I keep going over these article and based on my calculations my calorie defect is 1604.42. I have adjusted my macros.. am seriously committed to the training including weights, following your book and with that said… I am afraid with 1600. calories a day I will blow up like a balloon!
    Some diet guys say to have the cheat weekend… did that, and I tended to drink 2 drinks friday, saturday and sunday and NOT count my macros.
    I am not gaining fat but I am not losing anything, either.
    So drink nights are out, well maybe friday night 2 gin and sodas? LOL
    I am trusting you, because your advice really hits the mark. I have been researching different diets for the last year. Going from vegan to paleo.. to here.
    I am so close 15 lbs and 15% body fat to go.
    BUT 1600 cal a day!!!! yikes

  • Derrek

    Mike, how many calories does HIIT interval training burn for 30 minutes and 6 min warmup? What about heavy weight lifting for an hour? Thanks! I’m trying to get an accurate number of calories I burn for school. Thanks!

    • Depends what you’re doing but check out some calculators online. They can vary.

      • Derrek

        I use an exercise bike not the recumbent bike. Without the back support. What are the most accurate websites and ones you use?

        • I don’t. I just go with activity multipliers and at this point know my body’s “sweet spots” for losing fat, maintaining, and gaining.


    there is only one thing I don’t get it Mike , according to that calculation , I have to eat
    304 g of protein
    135 g of carb
    105 g of fat
    I mean don’t you think that too much protein ??? that really high ! my
    I calculate several time
    are my missing something ? or should I calculate it on my LEAN BODY mass ?

    thank you

    • Yeah let’s change this up a bit.

      How much do you weigh?

      • INOSSEP

        I’m 6’1 266 28% fat right now

        • Cool let’s do this:

          250 pro
          200 carb
          50 fat

          (Per day)

          • INOSSEP

            ok Mike thanks for this ,
            can I know how you came with this ?

            thank you for your help

          • Based on approximate amount of lean mass.

  • Catie

    Hi Mike, I really appreciate your articles and your advice – thank you for writing them! I am a 5’6, 135-145lb woman (30 years old) and I have weight I just can’t seem to lose through diet or strength training. I work out (ballet-based muscle-building stuff like plies, leg and butt work, arm lifts/push-up type things, etc.) 4-5 days a week for about 1 hour each time, and cut my diet to extremely clean foods (mainly nuts/seeds, fruit, veggies, fermented dairy/low-fat yogurt, healthy fats like coconut oil, real dark cacao/chocolate as treat, etc.) but I can’t seem to shift an ounce of fat – it’s been almost six months now and still no real change. Seriously! What gives? I know I’m building muscle (I can feel it) and energy-wise I feel fine, but… why is my body clinging so stubbornly to this flabby layer on top? Any thoughts? Do you believe in adrenal fatigue (and similar hormone-related reasons?) that explain why some fat is so darn stubborn? I’m starting HIIT this week based on your glowing reviews of it but I’m starting to feel like I’m just not “meant” to be one of these people who are super lean… :/ The only times I’ve been what I would consider really lean (115ish) were totally random – times that I ate lots of crap and didn’t work out at all. No idea what that means or why it happened that way at the time (stress?).

    p.s. I’m so sorry this is long but I just realised I should perhaps also add that I was anorexic from about age 14-18 and had frequent bouts of starvation/malnutrition. Could that still be affecting my metabolism like 15 years later?

    • Thanks!

      No worries we’ll figure it out. Check this out:


      LMK what you think!

      • Catie

        Welp – I feel dumb. Turns out plenty of my “clean/paleo/grain-free blah blah” meals were clocking in at almost 800 calories each thanks all the “healthy” fats in them. No wonder I haven’t lost an ounce! I’m going to stop slathering everything in nut butter, coconut oil and avocado and will count calories/portions a lot more carefully, as you suggest. On the one hand, I really don’t want to be “that person” who counts every gram of food that goes in their mouth (or rather, I don’t want to be that person again – reminds me too much of my ED days), but on the other hand, I DO want to be that person with a killer bod so… if that’s what it takes, here goes haha.

        Will report back in a few weeks – thanks so much, Mike!

  • Trace

    I’m thrown, why is it I’m supposed to eat double the calories I eat now, is it right??? I’m 156lb and about 25% body fat and exercise 3-5hrs a week…wow???

  • Emma Schmid

    Hi Mike! I’m really loving all of your articles. I’m currently 135 pounds, 5’7″ female. I lift weights 4 times per week and do HIIT 3 times per week. I’m trying to lose a little bit of fat. According to IIFYM.com and a couple other resources my macros have been calculated to be 200 carbs, 50 fat, 100 protein. So 1650 cals. My TDEE is about 1900 cals. Do you think this looks okay for now? Thanks for everything! Emma

  • Livo

    I mean more rapid short-term weight loss. Can this low carb diet has negative reboot? Since you lose weight in so short term? shouldnt be losing 1 – 2 pounds per week?

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  • Kevin

    Hi Mike, so I’m trying this out but I just want to make sure the numbers are legit and I don’t starve myself…I’m 6′ 1″, 197lb, 45yrs old and active 6 days a week(burning 500-1000cal each w/o). After entering my weight into the Katch..my #s are 270p-120c-93f…does that sound about right?

  • Kevin

    Was just wondering Mike- you suggest for this ‘lose weight fast’ method to consume 40%p, 20%c, 35%f…though you suggested I be at 230p, 250c, 60f…? That just seems like a lot of carbs…and protien..to lose any fat fast for 197lb male..and contradicts your dietary suggestion. Kinda confused…I’ve never read any weight loss program that suggest that many carbs for weight loss. Thought I had it figured out…somewhat…then this threw me for a loop

    • Yeah low-carb is best for losing WEIGHT fast because you drop water and glycogen but it doesn’t result in faster FAT loss.

      Some people need to cut WEIGHT very quickly so that method is best.

  • Seif Hatem Aly

    Hey Mike. First let me tell you I’m impressed with the amount of replies. Anyways, I’m a 6 foot guy and 17 years of age and following a very strict low calorie low carb high protein diet. I’m a lifter and I’m always consistent with my workouts. The problem here comes that I’m hovering at around 15-16% body fat and summer is closing in and I really want to drop down that number to 10% by a month or a month or a half. If this is possible, cause I know there are plateus and other factors that limit factors, what macros do you suggest to follow for this month? I count every single calorie eaten and all are correct but it doesnt seem like im losing much lately.

    • I’m happy to reply to everyone! 🙂

      You could go from 15% BF to 10% BF in 6-8 weeks depending how strict you are with your diet, if you’re new to lifting, etc. But it is definitely possible!

      If you’ve been counting cals to a point and not losing weight. You just need to lower your cals! To set up the proper cals and macros for a cut, check this out:


      LMK what you think!

  • Gary

    Hi, Mike. I learnt a lot from you and appreciate your work. I have heard that carb, protein and fat have different thematic effect, so 100 cal of protein may end up with less energy than 100 cal of carbs. I was wondering if I need to take this into account with my meal plan?

    • Thanks! No, not if you stick to my general guidelines. They take this into account.

  • Simon Mortimer

    Hi Mike – I’m currently 166lbs, with a body fat of around 8% My ideal would be 170lbs with 6-7% body fat. Can you recommend how I should go about getting to my goal as I don’t want to lose weight but I do want to lose around 1-2% body fat. Any tips or strategies would be welcome.

    • I recommend setting up a clean bulk with 10% surplus so you can build muscle while staying lean.

      You should clean bulk till 175-180 pounds. That way, when you cut to 6-7% you should be around 170.

      To set up your cals for the bulk, check this out:


      LMK what you think!

      • Simon Mortimer

        Just read it – Great article makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

        • YW. Glad you liked it!

          Keep me posted on your progress and LMK if you have any questions!

          • Simon Mortimer

            Hi Mike, one other thing, I’d just like to get your opinion on CLA tablets? Good/bad?


          • I don’t recommend CLA. Fish oil is much better.

  • Katherin Gil

    Hi Mike,
    I wanna lose more fat not weight (muscle)
    Right now, my BF % is 23% I wanna go down to 14%. How long would it take to reach me following this steps? I read thinner, leaner and stronger in December and I do se changes, I was 132 pounds when I started and now 123 with the customized Meal Plan (Cut.) What do I do? 🙁

    • How long it’ll take depends on how well you stick to your diet and get results.

      To reach your goal of BF%, you just need to continue cutting. Your goal should be to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Do that and you WILL reach your goal.

      To set up your cals and macros for your cut, check this out:


  • nathan f

    Hi Mike, over the course of a month where I am using this technique for weight loss should I recalculate each week the calorie intake based on my new weight? What’s the best frequency to recalibrate?

    • Nah. You can keep the cals and macros the same as long as you’re getting results.

      If you stop losing 1-2 pounds a week, you can rework your cals.

  • Hey Mike, Do you recommend 45/20/35 here solely because reducing carb intake will reduce your water retention? I had read somewhere else on here about 40/40/20, which is what I’m doing while cutting with this formula. Mostly because I drag ass during lifting workouts without good carbs.

    • Yeah, I only recommend low-carb if you’re trying to lose weight in a short period of time, and it’s effective because it sheds water weight.

      For a normal cut, I definitely recommend 40/40/20.

      • OK good. Since I’m more interested in moving the actual BF% number I didn’t think low carb would actually do anything to help me there.

  • jrnyk

    Mike im a little confused in LBS you say to calculate 1.2g of Protein, 1.0 Carbs and .4 grams for Fats. I multiply the protein & carbs by 4 and my fats by 9. is the caloric deficit in this article different? I’ve been following LBS should i change my
    numbers to this?

    • It’s actually .2 grams for fat.

      But ya, use the formula in this article. You’ll get more accurate results.

      LMK how it goes.

      • jrnyk

        Thanks i think im under eating not sure. Im 140 im eating im doing 170p, 140 Carbs, 28 Fats. Are those macros ok? thank again i appreciate your work. You’ve already helped me so much

        • It depends on your weight and BF%. Did you use the formula in this article?

          I’m happy to help!

  • Matt

    Mike, I bought your book BLS 4 months ago and I’ve been on cutting diet for the last 3 months & also lifting 4-5X a week, I’m right now around 13-14% BF and planning to continue my current diet plan till I drop to 10%.

    But, one of my colleagues ( who, suggested me to buy your book) recently commented that I shouldn’t be cutting for that long and I should probably be getting back to eating normally and should be lifting/doing HIIT to lose extra fat I’d be gaining coz of consuming more calories. This suggestion has created little bit of confusion as whether I’m stretching my cut rather long & should be I eating more than what I’m doing right now.

    Can you clarify it one for all for me & also could you suggest if there’s any thing called maximum no. of weeks which is advisable for a cut. Also, is it okay for a person to be on a ‘cut” for more than 12-16 weeks at a stretch?

    Also, Thank You so much for all the wonderful stuff you’re putting out daily on your website. It has helped me quite a lot.

    • Thanks for picking up my book!

      I like the goal of 10%. Let’s do it.

      It’s true you shouldn’t be cutting for too long, but if you’re still getting results (losing 1-2 pounds a week) there’s no need to stop.

      If you’re getting close to or at BMR and aren’t losing weight, then you should reverse diet to speed up your metabolism and then continue cutting.

      To calculate your BMR, check this out:


      To reverse diet, look at this:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Saintmunch

    Hi, Mike. I’ve just found your page and am going to subscribe. I’ve lost 17 pounds in the last 20 days, and I know that’s a little quick. Fitbit has been a big motivator, as I hate to lose to other Fitbit users! I’ve had numerous surgeries due to my football and rugby playing days. Two left rotator cups, two left elbow, one left knee, and three on the left foot, which is in a state of rapid deterioration. I do have doctor’s permission to work on a treadmill with special shoes, and I can do SOME light weight exercises. I am age 54, and at 258 pounds as of this morning, and would like to get around 190-200. What exercises should I focus on to get where I need to be, including building body muscle? Also, I have a lot of sagging skin which contains a good bit of excess fat, I’m sure.

  • Mario Micossi

    Hi Mike, i’m from Argentina and this is the first time I can find this kind of information about calorie counting in so simple terms. I have a question for you:

    I’m 23 years old, 1,87 cm tall (6 ft 2 give or take), I weight 90 kg (198.5 pounds) and about 16% – 17% BF). I want to start cutting.

    I do heavy lifting 5 days a week and HIT cardio for half an hour three times a week.

    According to the Katch – Mcardle BMR calculator my BMR is 2002.96

    2002.96 x 1.35 = 2700 aprox.

    2700 x 0.8 = 2160.

    Now i made my meal plan by 2000 calories and I find it to be a damm lot of food.

    Like 3 bananas, 2 apples, an orange 500 ml of skimmed milk, an egg, 50g of oats, 300 gr of chicken breast, 150 gr of sirloin, 200 gr of tomatoes, 200 gr of canned tuna, 30gr of raisins and 10 gr of peanuts for snak. Thats a day of food on this diet.

    Sounds pretty good to me, but for weight loss?

    I don`t know if i’m making the wrong calculations but i actually find it to be quite a bit of food to eat.

    I started on monday, would you suggest that I adjust the numbers as i go? any thoughts on this?

    • Yep, those numbers seem about right!

      Follow the plan for a week or two and see how it goes. You should be losing 1-2 pounds a week. If not, we can adjust it as necessary.

  • Aimie

    hey Mike! Thanks for all of your hard work and knowledge. I was wondering is it important to eat a pre and or post workout meals? I know you said timing doesn’t matter, but how about our pre and post? Thank you!

  • Jonathan Martinez

    Hey Mike,

    I am finishing my first month and I have seen good results so far. However, my macronutrient formula is little bit different and I would like to get your input. I weight 173 pounds and I am eating about 175 – 180gr of protein per day, about 70gr of fat and about 200 – 220gr of carbs per day.

    Should I start cutting on my carb intake?

  • Raj Sharma

    Mike, you often speak of golfing in your podcasts. I have the same interests as you, working out and golf. How do you determine TDEE when golf is part of your weekly routine. I workout for an hour 3 days a week (M, W, F), go for about 1 hour long walks on Tue and Thursday and then hit the driving range for an hour each on Friday and Saturday and play a round of golf on Sunday. Should I multiply with 1.2, 1.35, or 1.5? Thanks for all you do.

    • Cool man. 🙂

      Let’s use the 1.35 multiplier and see how it goes. We can adjust based on results.

      Happy to help!

  • Karen Chavez

    Provide your body with plenty the right energy on exercising days. You want to consume your unhealthy calories about 60 minutes before you start your schedule. Decaduro this doesn’t continually mean that you must eat means an excessive amount of on determine times, however you need to try to eat greater than you are doing on times that you aren’t at the gym.

  • Mandy

    Hey Mike! I’m currently reading your Thinner Leaner Stronger book but I am confused as to which macro formula I should fallow. Your suggestions in the book are a little different than they are on here. I want to lose body fat. I’m at 29% weighing 160lbs. Working out about 4-5 days a week. What formula would you suggest? Thanks!

    • You can use the one from here. The one from the book is workable, but the one here is more accurate.

      LMK how it goes.

  • bill

    Be VERY diligent about your portion sizes. They will probably seem VERY small. Use all the tricks-smaller plate, never eat from the bowl, drink lots of water, and most important- EAT SLOWLY! This will make a small portion just a satisfying as your usual amount. Take small bites and chew thoroughly, mindfully. Put your fork down. Drink some water. Then take another small bite. You’ll be amazed at how satisfied your appetite is with much less food.

  • Harsh Desai

    Hey man i finished reading your book ! Im from india and having trouble calculating calories from food , i eat dal,rice,roti,vegetables,legumes regularly..my cutting calories=1670 ..and i want to avoid meat and whey as i only want a decent healthy body dont mind if only four abs are visible 😛 current bf 17.8(skinny fat i think, but not sure cuz most indians look like me)

    • Thanks for reading the book!

      I like to use calorieking.com for that. Have you tried it?

      • Harsh Desai

        but it doesnt give me idea about regular indian meals plus im a vegetarian only eggs and dairy

        • It won’t have recipes, but you can enter the info for each ingredient individually and calculate your total cals.

  • david

    Firstly, good article with solid advice. I recommend you check the calculator though, It says my TDEE is 2400 when it’s actually 2900 (currently losing 1lb a week at 2400). I wanted to ask about the low carb = better comment, do you have additional sources for this idea? I read the source and its only 63 people, the difference in fat loss was 4%. Sorry, but a 4% difference of 63 people could be anything. Many thanks.

  • Vicky

    Do you have an article explaining how muscle burns fat? like the science behind it? I felt like I read it somewhere but I cant find it now . I’m trying to explain it to a friend and am having trouble remembering . Thanks!

  • Franken Steine

    According to the calculator my deficit should be 1170 cals. Now I eat that many cals a day and work out. Because of that I’m effectively consuming less than the recommended intake, so should I eat back the calories I burn from my workout?

    • Nope, your activity is calculated into your cals.

      Make sure you’re using the correct multiplier for your activity! Check this out:


      • Franken Steine

        Ok, those meal plans help but I rely heavily on my microwave since I’m not at a place where I can really prepare meals. Getting my daily protein intake severely limits my ability to get enough carbs. I’m up to about 80 grams when I should be at 113. I don’t suppose you can recommend some low cal-high protein meals I can cook in the microwave, can you? I appreciate all your help once again.

        • Hmm sorry no I don’t have anything off the top of my head but Google around. I think you should be able to put it together fairly easily because you can nuke just about anything…

  • Thomas Patrick Esch

    Hi Mike, thanks for all the helpful info.
    Your example meal plans contain a macro ratio of 40%-20%-40%/protein-fat-carb ratio but you recommend a 45%-35%-20%/protein-fat-carb ratio? Am I missing something, or the meal plans are not for cutting? Thanks!!


    • Hey man!

      This is a low-carb option meant more for very overweight/obese people, that’s all.

  • Marsha

    Hi am I suppose to be entering the Body fat %, weight and exercise level I want to be at or am currently? At any rate both basically lands me at around 1200 give or take. I was always told 1200 is the minimum you should go. This leads to my main challenge, with the track apps I have found online they subtract the exercise calories from the 1200. This leaves me with a net of less than the 1200 minimum. Should I be eating more?

  • Lauren Schlosser

    Hi Mike,
    I’m 41 yrs old, 5’8″, currently weigh 144lbs, and have 21% bf (shown by a recent dexa scan). 3 mo a dexa scan showed me at 144lbs and 18% bf. I’m rather disappointed in the added fat gain only because I’ve been working harder at the gym and felt like my nutrition has been on point. I will mention that 3 mo ago I was NOT consuming any carbs with the exception of veggies and occasional fruit on the advice of a trainer, but lots of protein and moderate fats. Feeling sluggish and lousy I, in the past 2 months, have started to incorporate about 160g of healthy complex carbs per day and I feel great….with the exception of this added fat gain. This trainer DID NOT recommended I count calories. Now, I just want to get back to my happy zone of about 18% bf but I love my 6 day/wk strength training and don’t want to cut carbs or go into too much of a calorie deficit for an extended time. Help!!

  • Rob Taylor

    Hey Mike ? I have a question Im loosing two pounds a week on your program without doing cardio. If Im correct I should not do cardio until weight loss slows to 0.5 to 1lbs per week. also anything more than 3lbs a week after 1st month is too much because Im loosing muscle. correct.This is what I gather from your book,but some of your post seem contradictory to the book.

    • 2 pounds per week is fine so long as you’re maintaining/gaining strength in the gym and not starving yourself…

      • Rob Taylor

        is it ok to add cardio, or would bumping up to 3lbs a week be too much

  • Elizabeth Abbinante

    I am currently doing your 1year challenge but the macro counts in your book are different then here, should I swap to this to be lower on my carbs? Im at about 25pbf and wanting to get to 18-20%.

    • This is really meant for people that are very overweight or have insulin issues. If that’s not you, you’ll be fine with the book layout.

  • AnnaD

    Hey Mike, just wanted to check with you: I’m female, 132 pounds and around 19% bodyfat. My goal is to put on muscle and increase strength, preferably while reducing the fatty deposits around my butt and hips. I exercise around 6+ hours a week. So using the data in this article, my protein intake should be 132g, fat 40g, and carbs 328g. That seems like a LOT of carbs and to be honest, I’m a little scared of consuming that many. Is that really correct?

  • Basically Bass

    Hey Mike,
    What do you do when you start to loose strength during a cut. First 6 weeks saw strength gains and fat loss? Now gains have stopped. I’m 183lbs at 13% body fat. Time to stop cut? …I wanted to get down to 10%.

  • OKD

    Ive been cutting for two weeks now because I had gained too much weight. I started at 170 pounds and started eating 1900 calories per day. I have lost almost 6 pounds In these first few weeks. I work out 5 times a week for around 45-and hour each time. are my calories too low or is this just water weight lost in the first few weeks? I’m 16 also

    • Good job on the weight you’ve lost so far!

      Great on the 5-day split and time spent in the gym too.

      That kind of weight loss is expected at the beginning due to water weight and glycogen. After the first week or two, the goal is 1-2 pounds a week. However, at your age, I don’t recommend trying to get super lean. You should focus on eating healthy, eating lots of protein and staying active.

      You can worry about getting lean when you’re older…

  • Steve ryker

    Excellent advice, now get your ass moving and succeed!!!!!!

  • Swapnil

    Is it really necessary to fasted training rather than fed training for weight loss…..how much will be the difference between the two at the end of a month. I cant afford for many supplements. I read ur article on fasted training and purchased ScivationXtend to stop muscle loss but it costs heavy on my pocket……I get around 100 gms protien daily from supplement and food……Please suggest me something i need ur help strongly. The least protien for me and minimum supplements ????????? Age 29 Weight 180lbs Height 6 ft

    • Fasted training is not necessary to lose weight. It does accelerate weight loss though.

      It’s tough to say exactly how much the difference will be in a month, but it will help.

      If you want to use the least amount of supps, I don’t recommend training fasted. Just stick to a calorie deficit, and you will get results.

      As for protein, as long as you’re able to hit your daily target of it with whole foods, you’re good! No need to supplement with protein powder.

      To calculate how much protein and the rest of the macros you should be eating, check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon.

  • G Depetta

    Hi Mike, I’m on a -25% cal deficit of 1800 Kcals, 17 days ago i was at 25% BF and 17 days later, I am at 24% BF with no weight loss, I’m I heading in the right direction? I think this means I’m putting on some lean muscle while losing fat, but i still do not want to weigh 192 lbs with a 5″8 frame.

    • Hmm. How are you tracking your BF%?

      Are you looking leaner, clothes fitting looser, etc.?

      Yeah, it sounds like you’re gaining muscle and losing fat. Check this out:


      LMK what you think!

      Oh and I hear you on not wanting to weigh that much at that height. Keep up with the deficit, and eventually the muscle gain will slow down you’ll start losing weight as your BF drops.

  • Christine

    When it comes to your daily carb intake, are you talking about net carbs or carbs before fiber? According to your formulas I should consume,

    Fat- 130

    Carbs- 75

    Protein- 165

    Should I consume 75 carbs before or after fiber?


    • I don’t subtract for fiber because it’s just unnecessary. Soluble fiber has calories as well.

      So just go with total carbs. Keep it simple.

  • Michael Hansen

    Hi Mike
    it is not a wrong calculation you have on the fat and carbs?
    because In you book “Cardio sucks”
    you have another setup
    “Body weight: 190 pounds
    Calorie intake: 2,300

    “230 grams of protein = 920 calories
    40 grams of fat = 360 calories
    255 grams of carbohydrate = 1,020”

    • The macros are different than I usually recommend in this article because it’s specifically for rapid, short-term weight loss.

      Lowering the carbs helps increase the rapid weight loss due mainly to shedding water. That’s all.

      Hope that makes sense! Talk soon.

  • Kal-El

    Mike, couple of questions.

    1) The macro ratios in the article differ from the ones in BLS. Which one should I follow?

    2) Does the total number of hours you excercise in the formula include cardio?

    • NP!

      1. The ratios in this article are for short-term rapid weight loss. If you are just trying to do a standard cut, let’s stick to the breakdown in this article:


      2. Yep, all hours of both weightlifting and cardio should be included in your total.

  • Lea

    Hello, Im 40 yrs old female and after having two babies, now want to undergo a body transformation and reduce weight and increase muscle. I have lots of fat around my midline and legs. I weigh 48 KGS, have 27% fat % fat mass of 12;95 and muscle mass of 33.50. My BMR goal is 1035. However, I want to build muscle and tone up, not necessarily just lose weight. I’m going to the gym 4 X a week, plus 1 intense Hot Anahata yoga. I lift weights but probably not that heavy. I’ve been reading your articles and found them very useful. I would like to know how to start, do I lose weight first via the above article and lift weights at same time.. lots to discussions around weight lifting and increasing calories – very confused and really would like your help. Thank you.

  • Leah

    Hi Mike!
    Huge fan of your book and your program! Since starting in March of 2015, I have gotten so strong and so fit! However, I’m still not quite where I want to be, which brings me to my question. I just had a general question regarding cutting. I’m at 19.7% body fat (was at 26% when I initially started your program) and weigh 157 pounds (was at 165 when I started). I’m hoping to reduce my body fat just a little further before I switch to the maintenance diet. However, I read in your book that calorie deficits can prevent muscle growth if it lasts for too long. So, I wanted to get a sense from you around how long I should cut before switching to the maintenance diet, in general.

    I would greatly appreciate your input.

    • Happy to hear it Leah!

      Awesome on the results you’ve gotten since starting!

      Cool you want to get leaner, and I understand your concern. What’s your BMR and what is your intake at right now? Are you still losing 1-2 pounds a week?

      To help continue the weight loss, check this out:


      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Leah

        Hi Mike! My BMR is currently 1,609. I eat right around 1,652 calories a day. I’m following your program by the book (currently on week 35…had a couple of missed weeks due to going on my honeymoon), which includes 5 days of strength training and between 3 and 4 HIIT cardio sessions a week. I’m about to start my 4th week of cutting, and I have stuck with cutting daily for the most part (just had one day that I switched to the maintenance diet). I’ve been consistently losing about a pound a week with some fluctuation in there. I just wanted to get a sense of how long it’s recommended to cut. I’m still at 19% BF, and I would like to get down to about 16 or 17% body fat. However, I also realize that training on a calorie deficit is going to prevent some strength gains at the gym. Wanted to get your feedback if I could. 🙂

        And thank you again! Your book has completely changed my life–for the better!

        • Thanks for all the info!

          No worries on the missed weeks. Hope you enjoyed the honeymoon and congrats!

          Great you’ve been losing a pound a week! I recommend you continue cutting until you reach your goal or until you stop getting results (losing 1-2 pounds a week). Once that happens, you should RD and then go back to cutting:


          Hmmm. If you’re planning on focusing on putting on muscle after the cut, I’d start doing that now. There’s no need to get leaner. You’re lean enough to start now.

          What do you think? My pleasure!

          Happy to hear about the book. 🙂 Talk soon.

  • Sharon

    Hi Mike I only do 2.5 hours of exercise per week but it consists of 5 Hiit sessions. Does this affect which activity level I should chose on the calculator?

    TIA, Sharon

    • Yep, it does. All hours of weightlifting and cardio should be counted as hours of activity when calculating your intake.

      • Livo

        Even the rest you take between weightlifting sets shall be counted into the “hours of activity”? Just curious.

  • Dustin

    What up Mike! Love your books and sourced backed information! However, I fear I am an anomaly. Allow me to elaborate.

    I’m currently about 183 lbs with 15% bodyfat (stubborn). I lift 4X per week, compound (heavy as hell). My current objective is to lower my bodyfat to: 8-10%.

    According to your calculator my TDEE is 2300 My BMR is 1900. In order to loose fat I should be -500 from my TDEE. This puts me below my BMR (1800) which is bad. What should I do?

    I tried going down to 1900 cals and lost for a few weeks then froze. I’m was at a stand still at 183 lbs. I recently brought my cals to 1800 and introduced (3 HITT) 15 minute cardio sessions. Is this healthy?

    My understanding is the hodge twins are 200lbs and cut at 1800-1900 cals (excuse the bro science). What gives? I should say I’ve been lifting for years and I’m well beyond “noob gains”.

    Thanks in advance for any information. Cheers -Dustin

    • Thanks Dustin!

      Cool on your stats and goal.

      Let’s start you at 2,000 kcal per day and see how your body responds.

      Ideally, though, you would exercise more (and thus burn more energy). Possible?

  • Rosanne wallcott

    Practical commentary ! For what it’s worth , if people is interested in merging of are interested in merging of , my colleagues discovered a tool here http://goo.gl/HUhTh4.

  • Chaz


    I’m trying your program. I want to loose bodyfat. Your calculator says my TDEE is 2276. My BMR is 1897! So to loose I should eat around 1700 cals. Is it ok to eat below my BMR to loose bodyfat? I’m about 185 lbs and I’m an experienced lifter.


    • Hmm. No, I don’t recommend eating below BMR. It sounds like you need to increase your activity level. What activity multiplier did you use in the calculator?

      • Chaz

        Thanks for getting back. You rock! I use the 3 times a week multiplier. I’m confused. So you think I should do cardio and eat more?


        • Welcome! Alright, are you able to increase your activity level (with weightlifting and/or cardio) so your TDEE is higher hence your cutting cals are higher?


  • I have trouble stopping eating even if I am full. So, I find is more effective to count my calories and net carbs. I know myself, and if I didn’t have to count calories I would eat double the appropriate portions, especially for beef or pork. I find it works pretty well for me to shoot for 1500ish calories on non-exercising days and 1700ish on weightlifting days. I’m not rigid about this but it is my guideline. I always try to stay under 30 net carbs.

    Unfortunately, without fail every 2-6 months I go crazy and gain all the weight back that I had lost. Maybe someday I will learn how to stick to it.

  • Brandon Dedic

    Mike, I have been intermittent fasting which I love.. I’m already pretty lean around 10 maybe 11 percent but really want to get to around 8 .. I’m finding that I’m burning muscle instead of the little bit of stubborn fat I have. I’m getting enough protein fats
    And carbs. What do you think is the problem?

  • Ryan Brain

    Hi Mike. I’m confused about something. In another article – http://www.muscleforlife.com/rapid-weight-loss/#comment-2523295976 – you say that a low carb diet makes no difference to fat loss (you say eat 40% carbs), and yet in the article on this page you suggest to lose fat fast you drop carbs to 20%. So which advice do I follow? Thanks!

    • Hey Ryan! Low-carb dieting doesn’t make a difference in fat-loss. It does make a difference in short-term weight loss, though. This is mainly due to shedding water.

      Hope that makes sense. My pleasure!

      • Ryan Brain

        It does, thank you again for clarifying 🙂

  • Inna

    Hi Mike,

    I was wondering why in this article you suggest a 20% deficit will enable you to lose 2-3 lbs per week, whereas in other articles you say the same deficit for cutting will result in 0.5-1 pound per week lost. What is making up the difference here? Is it the lower carbs, lack of cheat days, etc? Apps such as MyFitnessPal let you optimize for 2 lbs lost per week, but then the calories they suggest are lower than my BMR by about 200 cals. Let me know thoughts. Thanks!

    • Because this is a low-carb diet, which means you’re going to lose quite a bit of water and glycogen as well. But good point!

  • Adam Smith

    How to lose weight fast in a week at home?

  • Lifeless00

    Thanks for the article!
    I’m having trouble with my eating habits,
    as i go to school i usually eat enough for breakfast to get me full (about 500-700kcal on average)
    then a banana for break.
    a ham sandwich(brown bread with salad) for lunch about (300-400kcal)
    but whenever i get home i just get too hungry that sometimes eat double of what i got for breakfast and lunch together which kinda leads to me increasing weight or staying on my original weight.
    can i ask what would be good to do to help me control my hunger so i don’t eat too much for dinner.
    and for some reason i tend to be more hungry and eat more on my non-exercise days and for my exercise days i don’t feel as hungry.
    can you provide any advice on what should i do?
    i tried drinking a lot more water to help make me fuller but it doesn’t help that much.
    thanks :3

  • Yoad J.S.

    Hey Mike. First.. Thanks for the clear and simple article.
    I’ve an question though. I’m nearly underweight.. at about 119lbs measuring 5’11. I don’t want to bulk up or get ripped.. I really just want the v taper and slim as opposed to thin and floppy.. given that my goals are not nearly far fetched as getting full 6pack.. can you suggest a routine that I can use to do this correctly? I’ve not tried this before and rarely went to the gym so I wouldn’t understand your workout slang.. thanks

  • Harry Ashton-Potter

    Hi Mike, recently I have heard a lot of my friends going on about things like juice plus (I know enough to know that these products are pretty much useless when it comes to weight loss) what’s the best way to correct these people and advice them on the proper way to do things?

  • sakib800

    Hey Mike, so i was cutting calories and ran into really low libido problems and stuff so i decided to take a week off and try to eat at maintainence and maybe a little more, but 2 days into the process of eating at maintainennce i swear i dropped some weight that i did not drop when i was cutting. what could this be…? thanks!

  • Héctor Castillejos

    Hello Mike! I just have a doubt. I weigh 167 lbs. My body fat percentage is 20%. Lets say that I lose 1 pound of fat every week. Should I adjust the calorie intake every week or should I stick to the same calorie intake during my cutting cycle. If the cutting cycle is 8 weeks and my deficit is in 1,952 calories. Do I keep eating these calories for the 8 weeks or do i need to adjust them every week or so? I must say that I am fascinated by your articles. I used to be an advocate of the idea that by eating clean you would not gain that much fat. I used to have anorexia and 2 years ago I weighted 115 pounds. When I started out, I believed in frenzy clean eating (the 4,000 calories in a training day style), but I have acquired belly fat. So, I decided to implement your strategies. I have also been doing intermittent fasting 16 hours every day and training in a fasted state. Today I trained my back and my pecs. I could not get the same amount of reps. This is my second day applying the -25 per cent to my TDEE. I was eating around 3,500 calories in a training day and 2,800 calories in a non training day. I always struggled to eat that much. My other question would be: Will it have negative effects on my metabolism that I dropped from 3,500 to 1,952 or I was just overeating and the important thing is that dropped the 25 per cent from my TDEE? Thanks!!

    • Hey Hector, use your starting TDEE as reference through the cutting cycle. When your weight loss stalls, reduce calories based on the original TDEE.

      You won’t have a negative effect dropping from TDEE into a 20-25% deficit, and no negative effects dropping from overeating into the TDEE deficit.

      Keep up the good work training and cutting!

      • Héctor Castillejos

        Thanks a lot Mike! I am sure that you will achieve your goal of helping a million people to be their best version of themselves!

  • Eric Deutsch

    I tried making my own meal plan, and since it sounds like it’s important to cut carbs and calories, I tried focusing on those two while also keeping with foods I enjoy. According to the calculations in this article, I should be eating about 1600 calories per day. With my meal plan, I’m only at a little over 1200. I’m also about 9g over in carbs, 70g under in protein (still getting about 110g), and 20g under in fat (my plan has about 40g right now). Are these numbers okay? I didn’t purposefully try to get so little calories, but I put down what I think is a good amount of food and what will keep me full, but it’s still so little.

    This is my first time during this so I’m still a newbie and not sure what I’m doing.

    • Eric Deutsch

      I also said I work out less than 1 hour per work because that’s what I’m currently doing. But I’m reading Bigger, Leaner, Stronger and hoping to start that soon so I guess those numbers should all go up?

      • You definitely want to meet your protein and fat targets. It’s all about smart food selection. Take a look at some of these easy options to fit into your diet:

        * Lean meat (chicken, lean beef, fish, and so forth)
        * Low-fat dairy
        * Eggs and egg whites
        * Nuts/nut butters
        * Protein supplements

  • sakib800

    Hey Mike do you know anything about weight loss and sunken or hollowed out eyes?

    i feel that since losing weight people are saying look really really thin and i should eat more (even tho i know i have fat in me and trying to lose those last few pounds) but i feel that it is becasue my sunken or hollowed or that sleep deprived eye look

    . Does weight loss have anything to do with this and can i reverse this?

  • Andrew Johnson-Lally

    Hi Mike,
    I am a long time subscriber to your newsletter and recently started listening to you podcast. It’s been a great wealth of information. My question is (like many others I’m sure) about bulking and cutting. I was close to 240lbs at one point and through diet and exercise have gone down to around 180lbs and around 14%- 15% body fat in the course of a year. Having been in a substantial deficit for a while I am looking to add muscle strength and size but also feel losing much more fat to get to that 10% range is giving me an almost gaunt look. Would you recommend going in to a bit of a surplus to add more muscle then cutting again to shed the fat?
    Thank you for any advice.

  • Chris


    Just wanted to say thank you and chime in with some results thus far. I deployed to Qatar in January and got serious with your program by mid late January/mid February using the concepts from BLS and MyFitnessPal.

    I went from 25(?)ish% body fat to somewhere close to 11-13% now, at least that’s what the calipers/waistline measurement ratios are telling me. I lost 36 lbs thus far. I’ve just returned back home stateside (end of July) and had been doing a reverse diet the last several weeks, and continued to lose weight… is it ever fantastic to be losing weight while eating what feels like SO much more food, just while creeping back up towards TDEE!

    My goal right now is to maintain this for a few weeks before I return to my day job, and then begin a lean bulking process when I return to work.

    Photos attached, they show why the wife and family and friends were amazed at how I looked when I came back!

    Again, a special thanks to you and your team – the personal forum responses were always appreciated and made me a lifelong believer in you and your work. It takes serious dedication and commitment and speaks to your passion for this work when you’re still hands-on and interactive with your audience.

    Best regards,


    • Welome home! Wow, nice work…Very impressive! Good call starting on the reverse diet. You’re going to have a blast with the bulk 🙂 Keep it up!

      Thanks for the kind words and support. I really appreciate it man.

  • Cat

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve been a fan of your site for quite a while but this is the first time I’ve seen this particular article and I’m a bit confused—is this article only for really REALLY rapid weight loss or something? Your other articles give a ratio of 40-40-20 for protein, carbs and fat, and I know you are not a fan of low-carb dieting. But for me, this particular article would mean a pretty drastically low-carb diet compared to what I normally eat on your “normal” plan: this article recommends 1350 calories a day, 150 g protein, 68 g carbs, and 45 g (!?!) fat). Am I doing this right? That means a bowl of oatmeal would be almost half my day’s allowance of carbs, but 1/4 cup of butter a day is okay? :/ It’s possible I’m doing the math wrong… Please help! (p.s. I’m a vegetarian so some of my protein sources come paired with pretty big amounts of carbs (e.g., beans)… should I ditch them and just eat buckets of yogurt or whatever?) Thank you for your time! xx

    • Cat, here’s an except from the article:

      “Because while low-carb diets aren’t by any means necessary for weight loss, research has shown that they can result in more rapid short-term weight loss. This is mainly due to shedding water, but hey, it makes you look leaner, so we’ll take it.”

      This is a short term solution, and you’re better off with a higher carb, moderate fat diet for a sustainable dieting solution. That’s right. As long as the macros fit. Again, by no means is this necessary for weight loss.

  • Ruben Nunez

    Hi Mike. Thanks for the excellent article. I’ve been reading your articles and find them hugely informative. I have a few questions I was hoping you can help me with…

    My Stats: 199lb at 26% BF (tested recently with a hydrostatic BF test). 3 months ago (when I started) I was 225lb at 35%, so I’ve managed to lose over 25lbs and 9% BF. My goal is 12%.

    I lost the weight by doing IF fasting twice a week (Brad Pillon’s System), consuming around 1600 calories a day on non-fast days, and 600 calories or so on fast days.. I’m now losing weight really slowly (.5 lb a week if I’m lucky) so I want to try your system.

    My questions….
    Question 1: The calculator says my TDEE is 2178. A 20% deficit would be 1762, which is a bit lower than my BMR which is 1815. Is this fine? Should I be upping my exercise instead? I do 3x (30 min) weightlifting sessions a week with heavy weights.

    Question 2: If I keep doing IF, should I average my weekly calorie intake, which would result in consuming much more calories than the 20% deficit on non-fast days? Or would you recommend just stopping IF for the duration of this program? I’m still unsure how IF would fit in your system.

    Thanks for you help!

    • Welcome, Ruben! That’s great progress you’ve made so far. To keep the fat loss moving, I recommend that you increase the duration and frequency of your weightlifting and exercise sessions. This will boost your TDEE and also bring that 20% above BMR.

      When weight loss stalls or slows down, it’ll be because you’re not at a deficit or large enough deficit. Check this out:


      You can keep the IF, and fast every day instead of having non-fast days. Hope that helps!

      • Ruben Nunez

        Hi Mike. I’ve feeling stuck after about a month on the plan. Can you help me isolate my issue?

        Starting at about a month ago at 199lb, 26% BF, I’m doing 1940 cal (20% deficit) according to the calculator. Thats about 4 hours of exercise (3hrs of heavy weights, 1 hr of HIIT on a rower a week).

        I’m meticulous about my calories and macros (40 Protein, 40 Calories, 20 Fat), and stay at about 50 cal of the 1940 cal, with no cheat meals.

        The weird thing is that I haven’t lost any weight, this after a month on the plan. Can’t figure out whats up. Measurements haven’t chance significantly either.

        What do you think I should do at this moment? I was thinking I should start drinking more water (I only get around 50-60oz a day currently) and to start supplementing with Fish Oil, but either way I don’t know if it will make much difference. I should also probably start weighting my food raw as well, as I always weight it cooked, so the calories might be off by a bit.

        Should I reverse diet to fix a possible metabolic issue? Or should I cut down on calories?

        Thanks in advance for your advise.

  • sakib800

    Hey mike I have something interesting…
    When i was young, like 12-13 ish i feel that even though i might have been kinda chubby, my face was like…not too fat. and was..well. in proportion with my body..and then.. during my teens when i was like 13-14 i played a lot of football with my friends which make me leaner and skinnier i guess. So ever since i started going to high school and on my way towards college, i notice that i accumulated fat (since i dont really play that much football anymore) and i got it mostly in my face. I feel that my body was still kind of lean since i started weight training and stuff. And then so i started a cutting diet. I wanted to be leaner like my older days and wanted to get rid of this excess face fat which threw my face out of proportion and made me look ugly. And so I am cutting and i lost some face fat, but not as much as i wanted to. But just right now, i came across this acticle and its,


    about how the fatter you grow the more fat cells you make, and even when you lose weight they remain, (but the cells just shrink). So i was wondering maybe from the time i started getting fat i created more “fat cells” in my face and now they are just not shrinking? Or is it just that my thinking is off? Or is it maybe different types of cardio burn fat off from different areas of the body?? Or should i just plain and simply cut more? 🙂

    Lmao i know this is a really weird topic, but i want to like, have a chiseled face and be lean and strong.

    • That’s true you’ll just shrink the fat cells, but ultimately it still comes down to cutting more. Same cutting strategies apply.

  • George

    Cool! Thanks mate. Quick q. In your book you say macros 40/40/20 but above its 45/20/35 – which is best for me and then my wife? She is 23% body fat (I think ) but wants abs 😳 Does all this really matter anyway if the protien is high and the cals are under maintenance ?

    • Hey George,

      The macro split in this article is great for a short term drop in weight–mainly due to loss of water weight. For a more sustainable split and better exercise performance, we recommend a higher carb diet. But, as long as you guys are in a calorie deficit (20-25%) you’ll be losing weight.

  • Chad

    Mike, I’m plateaued at 170. I’m eating 1500 calories or less. Not sure what to do.

  • Red Sanders Jr.

    Mike, I’am thrill to try *ALL* this mind blowing training and dieting, I just got one simple question: how will I cope with loosen and wrinkled skin? Thanks on advance!

  • Megan

    I’m feeling very stuck. I’ve been following TLS for 11 weeks and while I have lost a few inches, the scale hasn’t budged at all. With the calipers you recommended, I’m at 33% BF; 5’3″ 140 lbs.
    I’ve been following a 40/40/20 macro split, 1400 calories a day. It’s confusing in the book because the recommendations for macros are different for my weight than the recommendations for my BF%. I’m working hard and steadily progressing on my lifts, and now incorporating cardio more frequently. It’s just concerning me that the scale just won’t move.
    Would it help to try this macro split?

    • Megan…Mike and co..are the experts…I started to my interval training in the morning…of 30 mins…ie 30 seconds sprint 30 second recover..and since then…my fat loss has exploded…just my 2 cents..

    • Heya Megan! That’s great you’ve been making progress and lost a few inches. Nice work!

      The book gives general guidelines, but doesn’t take into account BF% and activity level–which customizes your targets to you. That being said, as long as you’re in an energy deficit, you’ll lose fat. During a cut, it’s not uncommon to hit a plateau. When this happens, you have to increase physical activity and/or drop cals (but not below BMR)

      This macro split will help you shed water weight, but if it’s the same amount of calories, your energy balance is still the same, so you won’t lose fat.

      Start doing HIIT cardio 25min sessions 3-4x/week and also take a look at this:


  • Will R

    Mike I love your book! When I bought it a few months ago, I was at 15% body fat and now I’m down to 11.5%! My goal was to get down to 8- 10% and then start bulking but now I’ve hit a plateau.

    At this point, should I reverse diet back up to maintenance or should I start bulking and then do another cut further down the line?

  • Imran

    Are there any negative consequences of going up in protein, like doing a 50/20/30 split (with same amount of calories)?

  • sakib800

    I was wondering if you are already fairly lean, but still need to lose some fat, is it safe to cut 500 cals a day to lose a pound a week or should you cut slower?

  • Rebecca

    Question: new to macros.. If I am following my plan and hitting my numbers each day, will I still loose weight even if I am not working out? I am in a calorie deficit, btw… thanks.

    • You will lose weight when on a deficit, but the results won’t be as good as with weight training. Body composition will be completely different, and so will your shape.

  • Carl Stevenson

    Hi Mike/Roger,

    Very good article. The thing that I find though is these deficit calculations are differing from the ones from your book (Bigger Leaner Stronger) and from the macros calculator on other posts. Does it matter as long as I hit high protein and stay with a deficit? For example on your book calculations, I was getting about 180g protein, 155g carbs and 42g of fat. On this I am getting 200g protein, 90g carbs and 70g fat. What’s you advice?


    • Hey Carl!

      Glad you enjoyed the article. This macro split will help you drop water weight, though if you sustain the diet, your exercise performance may drop.

      Far as fat loss goes, as long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose fat.

  • ahmed siddiqi

    Hi mike,
    i’m also on the run of burning fat and gaining muscle program.I want your advice on my workout schedule that weather it will lead me to reach my goals or not. As soon as I hit the gym I start with a cardio session of 20 mins which includes 150-180 jumping jacks and 10 mins Running , followed by heavy weight lifting session of 45-55 mins and then 3-4 exercises for abs. My daily diet includes intake of 120 -130 gm of protein. and 60-65 gm of fat.
    Also weather should i eliminate running from my schedule as many people has suggested me that it will result in muscle loss.

  • Hedley Abnett

    Hi Mike,

    Very informative and eye opening article, I really
    thought I had a good idea of what I was doing. Over the years I’ve tried
    starving over training etc, recently I noticed sometimes after an
    eating binge I noticed I would lose fat and gain muscle, I wasn’t eating
    prroperly or getting enough food. I was as you say moody and gained
    little, I was also below 70kgs.

    This article explains allot and I
    have been following your advice and I am eating allot more, no cravings
    at night and every day a firmer body and I have lost weight also, I was
    85kgs few months ago then started running 4.5km three times a week and
    bought a bench press and dumbells etc, I work out hard and eat allot and
    I dropped to 80 very quickly, had bad body odour etc then after a month
    stopped eating late at night skin cleared up and stayed at 80 but my
    body fat % went from around 27 to 20. Now its probaly 19.

    I have
    printed a calorie list showing estimated calories for all the different
    foods and came up with a diet and its all coming together finally after
    so many years.

    Thanks for the advice its really changed how I do
    things and I never feel hungry or moody, I just feel my body getting
    harder and warmer and my mood is stable, so thanks allot!


    • Fantastic. Glad to hear you got a lot out of the article, and keep up the great work.

  • Hey Mike. I have been trying to weight so long. But thanks to your program i was able to do it fast. Thanks for the share.

  • Devin Michael

    Hey Mike. Thanks for these great articles! I’m a little confused about what I read on this page vs what I read in BLS. I am around 14% body fat and am cutting right now. I did the calculations and my “daily calorie deficit” number ended up being 2,000. I have been tracking everything and am wondering if the 100 g of carbs is too low? In BLS, it says that during cutting you recommend doing 1 g of carbs per pound of body fat, which would put me at 185 g of carbs each day. I just want to make sure that I’m doing it right. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my question and help me.

    • These numbers are different from BLS. If you want to drop water weight fast, this will do the trick. The downside to this is that due to the lower carb intake, your workouts will suffer. For best workout performance, the BLS guidelines are the way to go.

      To simplify the math, use this calculator:


  • sakib800

    Is it normal to feel colder when hitting a deficit? And lmao Idk if I asked this question before but how bad is it if i slide a bit below BMR like 100-220 calories due to over estimating?


  • Borna Houman

    Hey Mike,

    Are we supposed to do the strength weeks on a cut as well? Or only when maintaining/bulking?


  • randi michaelson

    Hi Mike,

    I am very confused! I recently purchased your thinner leaner stronger book, and have read the below comments but still can’t figure out my plan?! I am 163 lbs and 26% body fat. I do HIIT about 4 hours of work a week. I want to CUT.

    Per your guidelines, my BMR is 1547 and my TDEE is 2088. Which do I go off of to track calories? Also per your calculation it says my macros are 195g of protein, 163g of Carbs and 32g of fat. Does that seem right?

    • Hey Randi, that’s great you picked up TLS! Good work with your macros too. TDEE is what will put you at maintenance.

      Here’s what I recommend:
      P 195g
      C 141g
      F 37g

      Your cutting macros puts you at a target of 1678/day.

      Hope that helps!

  • Andrew

    Hey Mike/Roger, thanks for the article!
    If I go on a 20-25% calorie deficit, is it recommended that I slowly decrease my caloric intake over time? If my metabolism will eventually adapt to the deficit, is it worth lowering my intake to match the metabolic adaptation?

    • No problem! When you hit a plateau, first increase your HIIT cardio before dropping cals.

      • Andrew

        Got it. By the way, in a deficit like this (around 25%), how early do you think I can expect to plateau?

  • sean_noonan

    would you say one week of losing less then .5 lbs is enough to take off 100 calories?

    I have some people telling me to wait a few more weeks it just seems like I would spend too much time cutting if I did that

  • Blake

    Hi mike,
    Just wondering if I would be better off following these macros or the bls macros for losing fat. I’m around 14% body fat and want to get below 10.

  • Daphne Mina

    Seriously Mike, after reading so many of your articles on nutrition and training the last couple of years I’m understanding so much more and even almost guessing what your next phrase will be!
    Thank you so much for everything you are passing to us! 12 lbs down, and 8% body fat down ! #TLS & #legion all the way!

    • Wow! Sounds like you’ve made significant progress by educating yourself and working hard, so congrats on that and thank you! If you would like to be a featured success story, feel free to email me: [email protected]

      • Daphne Mina

        I did! The book works perfectly for me! No reason to try to loose weight fast, except if someone lost all of their motivation! But really guys, try to get into a lifestyle and not the mindset of how to loose weight fast!
        OKay will do! I am actually in TLS for 3 months now so maybe in 3 more months I’ll have better before and after pictures 😛
        Currently waiting for my legion goodies! So excited!!! I’ll keep you posted!

  • Audrey kaashaashxáaw

    Other than watching what may clog my arteries I’m all for hitting my numbers. Bought your Thin Lean Stronger book, started reading it, and read this article. I now have that calorie king app installed on my phone and laptop but will be refining entries based on your suggested spreadsheet approach. I’m excited. Mom hust had a triple bypass and I’ve watched my middle sister maintain her morbid obesity state for years. I’m not going to fail my own health status. Thanks for the article and tools. Knowledge is power: it’s my “how” for my “why.”

    • Hey Audrey, thanks for buying my book! Getting educated is the first step. 🙂

      LMK if you have any questions or need help!

      • Audrey kaashaashxáaw

        Thanks! I put it down to read a lesson you sent to my email account and have been using that as a guide for now until I pick up the book again this coming weekend.

  • Chad Kennedy

    When it is time to start cutting, should we gradually decrease the calories until we hit our recommended number or just immediate start at the lower intake? In my case I’m currently at 2,874 cal for a bulk, so cutting would put me at 2,056 cal. From BBLS, when coming off a cut we slowly add calories in each week and I couldn’t find anything on the opposite.


    • I prefer to jump right into the deficit. During a reverse diet after a cut, we’re slowly raising our metabolism back up. We don’t need to do the opposite when cutting 🙂

  • Lily Poudre

    Hello Mike,

    I’ve got some issues figuring things out, it started when I realized I didn’t know what I was doing in the gym, nor with my diet, because I wasn’t getting anywhere and that’s when I “met” you. lol
    So after reading many articles, fantasizing about getting supplements (the shipping to France is a commitment in itself), I decided to get your book and see.

    I took the time to read it through, take notes, get proper knowledge.
    Now, I’m ready and motivated like never before to get “in the best shape of my life” (I even committed to the Legion supplements ah ah), but!
    Yes, I figured out my macros and calories yesterday with the guidelines from the book which are 0,8g of P per lb of BW, 0,6g of C and 0,3g of F.
    Btw, I’m 5’5, 166lbs and my BF is at a nasty 35,8% with a caliper ; so that gave me : 133g of P, 100g of C and 50g of F for a total of 1376kcal (which I would think is not much for working out but I trust you).

    Now those are quite different from the macros I get from this article and therefore I’m very confused! I plan on doing about 4 times heavy weightlifting (:-D) and 2-3 times HIIT (:-O). Of course I want to loose the faster possible, but I mostly want to succeed this time around. It’s about time I do.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hey Lilly! I’m so glad you’ve found the book helpful and want to get in better shape! The formula in the book is definitely workable, but I’d use the macros given from the calculator on my site, as it’s using more information (your specific body fat and activity multiplier). You can double-check your numbers here: https://www.muscleforlife.com/macronutrient-calculator/

      Remember that these numbers are just a rough guideline, and you will need to adjust them based on your real-life results. I hope this helps!

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