How Many Carbs Should I Eat in a Day?

Posted April 2, 2008 in Diet 148 Comments »

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Everyone eats carbohydrates. You pretty much can’t get around it. We need carbs for energy after all.

But the questions still remain: how many carbs should I eat in a day?

Are there drawbacks from eat too little or too many carbs?

What are the side effects of eating carbs or abstaining from eating carbs?

Well once again, as with protein, it depends on what you do on a daily basis. Furthermore, ingestion of carbs should be focused more around the question:

WHEN should I eat carbs during the day?

As with how much fat to eat in a day and how much protein to eat in a day, it all depends on a couple factors:
High Carb Snacks

  • job
  • insulin resistance
  • activity level
  • target body weight
  • exercise goals
  • lifestyle

The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as stated by the Department of Health and Human Services, suggest that roughly 50% of your daily calories come from carbs. Thus, a person who eats approximately 2,500 calories per day should take in about about 300 grams of carbs. This number is not altogether bad for the average American, but we have to take into consideration the sources of those carbs.

These are the kinds of carbs to avoid at all costs:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

  • sugary snacks and pastries
  • sugar-sweetened soft drinks or fruit juice
  • candy
  • cookies
  • regular fried greasy chips
  • processed, packaged snack foods
  • high sugar kids cereals
  • processed white flour products such as white bread and pasta

These foods offer virtually no nutritional value, and they contain far too many calories. Some of these foods also contain saturated and trans-fats that are bad for your heart, and sugary foods can lead to such maladies as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Specifically if you are already insulin resistant, you should avoid these bad carbs as they will just ruin your day by making you tired, slow, dumb, and hungry.

Instead choose these kinds of carbs:
Fruits and Veggies

  • fresh fruit
  • vegetables
  • whole wheat and whole grain products
  • beans, nuts, and other legumes

When Do I Need More Carbs?

People that exercise with high intensity or with prolonged endurance, can benefit from a high carbohydrate intake before exercise. It is feasible to consume a high carbohydrate meal before a marathon, or a moderately high carbohydrate meal before lifting weights or martial arts training. It is not a good idea to consume too many carbs in one sitting, but 50 grams is not out of the question if you are preparing for a physically draining event.

During and after exercise is also a key time to consume carbs. In fact this is the only time it is recommended to consume sugary carbs. I tend to sip on Gatorade during a workout and my post-workout drink contains about 40 grams of carbs in the form of dextrose. If allowed to choose, I would choose Biotest Surge as my post-workout drink of choice. This is a product that is specially formulated to replenish lost glycogen stores and restart protein synthesis after a demanding workout.

When Do I Need Fewer Carbs?

There is no need to eat carbohydrates at night. Ever. Some folks believe in consuming a high-carb meal the night before an event like a marathon, but I just don’t see it. I would say eat that meal in the morning if the event is in the late morning or early afternoon. The best time for a high carbohydrate meal is in the morning, when your body is prepared to uptake glycogen for energy for the day. Lunch should be a moderate carb meal as you don’t want to get that ‘bonk’ feeling in the middle of the afternoon. Also consider that if you don’t plan to exercise during the day then there’s really no need to gulp down many carbs at any point in the day.

Carbs and Fat Loss

If you are on a fat loss diet, then there’s definitely no need to eat more than 100 grams of carbs in any one day. I don’t necessarily support Atkins, but there are valid points to that diet. When I am in the middle of a hardcore cutting phase, trying to get as lean as possible in a given time frame, I will only consume 20-30 grams of low glycemic index carbs for breakfast.

For lunch I will try to avoid most carbs, opting for whole grain bread or a salad if necessary. My pre-workout drink is typically 1/2 a serving of Biotest Surge, I sip on Gatorade during the workout, then finish off with 1 serving of Biotest Surge after the workout. On non-workout days, I skip all of that and choose a protein bar, cheese, or a meat snack instead.

Dinner is always low carb during a diet. Soup, meat and vegetables, and salad are all great choices for low carb dinners. Appropriate snacks are meats, cheeses, protein bars or shakes, veggies, and other super-low carb foods. Typically in the midst of a diet phase, I eat around 75 grams of carbs on a non-workout day, and maybe 120-140 grams of carbs on a workout day.

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In conclusion, I recommend that if you are moderately active, you should derive maybe 30% of your daily calories from carbs. Sure, my opinion differs from specialist government agencies, but that’s only because I have seen low carb diets work. I have also seen Americans grow obese and suffer from a long list of carbohydrate induced diseases.

A 200 lb man on a 2500 calorie diet would probably eat maybe 180 grams of carbs in a day, all from unprocessed whole food sources. A 140 lb woman on a 1500 calorie diet might only eat 100 grams of carbs in a day.

Someone on a strict diet might limit themselves to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day regardless of sex or weight. Just remember to avoid those nasty sugary processed carbs so that you can stay healthy, avoiding energy crashes and adult-onset type II diabetes.

See also:
How many grams of fat should I eat?
How many grams of protein should I eat?

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148 Responses to “How Many Carbs Should I Eat in a Day?”

  1. I like your post “How Many Carbs Should I Eat in a Day?”, but had a question that your post didn’t cover. I do my weight lifting somewhere around 8:00 or 9:00 at night. When I am done I eat Greek Yogurt that comes with blueberries or peaches. I am concerned about the 20g of carbs that late at night. On your post you mentioned that there is no reason to eat any carbs at night, so wasn’t sure how my situation fits into that. I do cardio interval workouts M/W/F in the morning 30mins & weights T/Th/S at night 30mins. I can not stand the taste of protein drinks and I have tried a few different brands. Anyway, based on this information will the Greek Yogurt be a problem or not? I am over 200lbs and trying to lose weight. I eat all natural foods as much as possible. Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  2. Hi. I needed to drop you a fast note to express my thanks. Ive been following your blog for a month or so and have picked up plenty of fine info and enjoyed the manner youve structured your site. I’m trying to run my own blog however I assume its too general and I wish to focus on a lot of smaller topics. Being all things to all people is not all that its cracked up to be

  3. Hi there, thanks so much for this information, it was everything that I was looking for all in one article. Very helpful!!

  4. Normally I don’t take the time to post on these things, but I just wanted to say that your article was awesome. It was concise and to the point, contained common sense tips that will work with fat loss (particularly using HIT) and you seemed pretty polite and patient with all the people asking you for customized diet plans (work it out yourself from the article people!!) 😉

  5. Hey, i am struggling to produce a diet that is high calories/low carbs for putting on bulk. I am 18, 5″6 and 58kg and am hitting the gym about 4 times a week. I have a high metabalism which has meant i’ve always struggled to gain weight (was same height and around 53kg at start of year) however recently been trying to eat as much as possible. Now my problem is keeping the calories high while the carbs low, especially as over the next month im trying to increase calories and bulk. The last few days my food diary has me at 4000ish calories and around 500 carbs, what are some ways to cut this down without losing too many calories. One thing that is providing a lot of my carbs is chocolate milk, as it is a proven beneficial drink post workout, contains 1400 calories per 2 litre bottle however has 188 carbs per 2 litres.

  6. ok, well im 14 years old, and i dont know many varieties of food i can eat, but what kinds of food do you suggest i eat for a meal for losing fat? I weight about 115 and have about 9% body fat, i want about 6 or 7% so my 6 pac shows?

  7. hi steve,
    im a bodybuilder i weigh 250 pounds decent offseason condition . how many carbs should i have a day . it goes without saying i want to put on size.
    thnaks mate

    • How many carbs should you eat to gain weight? At least 200 grams I would say… since you weight 250 you should probably aim for 300 grams of carbs a day including most complex carbs, with some simple carbs for quick energy and post-workout nutrition.

  8. I’m a 32 yr old female, 5ft 2in & weigh 134lbs. I work out 2x’s a week with weights & 3x’s a week cardio.. A total of 5 days/1hr of doing something! I have lost a total of 8lbs in 4 months. I keep a low calorie diet of approx 1200-1400 a day. I’m not always good about eating the best stuff, but I don’t ever exceed my calorie intake even if I only get to eat 2 meals a day. Is that bad because I can’t seem to loose my stomache/belly fat? How often should I be eating to loose my belly fat? What should my carb intake be daily?

  9. Steve, I am a 5’4 woman weighing in at 135 lbs. I’m small framed, hour glass shape and I wish to maintain that shape. However, I want to get down to around 115lbs in a healthy way. I love protein and have no difficulty in sticking to a diet. I have had eating disorders in the past and as a result, when I served in the Army, I fractured my leg and after it healed, I started getting stress fractures from the running. I am thinking of switching to elliptical training 5 times a week to start getting rid of what I call surface fat to look lean. Any tips?

  10. ….oh and ideally I’d like to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 110 or at least fit in those jeans 🙂

  11. Hi Steve,

    I posted a few months back and appreciated your feedback so much! I am back with another question. I have continued to work out 6x a week with high impact aerobics/weight training and spinning. I have the working out part down. It is the eating that I can’t quite figure out. My quads are bigger than the last time I posted. The only thing I have done differently is probably eaten more carbs. If I trim down on carbs and continue with the my work outs, will my body (especially quads) be leaner -or- should I not do as much spinning and squats? I really enjoy my work outs, but want to be as lean as possible. Currently, I am 5′ 2″ 117lbs and 32. Thank you!

  12. Steve,

    I am a 20 yr old female weighing 148lbs and I’m 5 foot. I want to get back down to 120. I do 40 mins of cardio 6 days per week and do 20 mins of weight training with small 10 lb weights. How can I get rid of these 28 pounds ? I was thinking about reducing my carb intake to 100 per day. Any suggestions? I really need to get this weight off..


  13. One last question. I am 45 220lbs 24% body fat. I am starting the
    Full Body Fat loss for men routine. My goal is to get to 190lbs and 12-14% body fat and put some muscle on. Here is my diet: 2300 cal 136g carbs 220g protien and 87g fat, 56g of the fat comes from 4 tbl spoons of flax seed oil thru out the day to get my calories up, a total of 5 meals plus the cell tech creatine mix after my work outs. Will this work?
    Your input would be very appreciated.

    • Sounds good to me. Consider taking the creatine before your workout and a post workout recovery shake like Biotest Surge Recovery after your workout.

        • 70 carbs on non-workout days, 120 carbs on workout days, with most of them coming after the workout. One day a week you should bump it up to 200 carbs but keep it clean. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains! NO SUGAR!

  14. Hi Steve.

    when counting carbs and calories, do you include those that are in creatine or other supplements as part of your dailey intake?



  15. Dear Steve,

    I appreciated all the tips. I am starting to use them in my routine. Although i have one specific question that i am hoping gets a really detailed and specific answer. I do not know what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner that will be under 100g of carbs when im not exercising and 130g of carbs when i am exercising. Could you please give me a detailed list of specific foods like for example egg whites and almonds. What im trying to say is can you help me set up a daily-weekly food menu/schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I would really appreciate your help. I understand that avoiding junk food is good but i would like to know what the “ideal” food is that i should be eating when im on a serious fat loss diet and workout. Thank you steve and i hope to hear from you.

    – Will

    • Sorry Will, but I really can’t do that. I am not a licensed nutritionist so I can’t legally write you a meal plan. Just stick with low carb foods like lean meat, eggs, cheese, and nuts. Also choose foods full of complex carbs like beans, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. You can use a post-workout recovery drink like Biotest Surge Recovery, which does have some carbs. If you really want to do this right, you will keep a food log and write down what you eat, serving size, calories, protein, fat, and carbs; and keep track of your progress.

  16. Hi Steve i really am happy to know there is someone out there that can actually help people by suggesting stuff reflecting their individual stories. My situation goes like this and i would really appreciate your help.

    – 18 years of age
    – 195lbs

    My goal set in mind is losing 40lbs. i personally have no clue how to do that. What i’ve been doing so far is running on the treadmill everyday for 30minutes losing 400 calories. My diet plan consists of eating only positive carbs such as whole wheat breads, egg whites, fruits, vegetables. I have no clue if what im doing as of now is even potentially the “right” workout and diet but if you could read over this i would really appreciate if you could tell me what you think about what i’ve been doing and please if you have suggestions feel completely free to state them i really do want to lose the 40lbs before july of 2010.

    Thank you


    • 40 lbs is a lot to lose at 5’11, but you can probably lose at least 30 lbs by July if you exercise and eat right. I am going to give my recommendations based on the assumption that you are healthy, have no medical issues, and no injuries. If you do have any of those, please talk to your doc first.

      First you should get on a weight training program like full body fat loss for men.

      Next you should calculate your daily calorie requirements, which should start with your goal bodyweight x 12, so 155 x 12 = 1860 calories in a day. That number could increase or decrease based on your fat loss. If you are losing more than 3 pounds a week after the second week, then consider adding 100 calories to your daily routine. If you are losing 1 pound or less, subtract 100 calories and go from there.
      Make sure you’re getting 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal body weight, so about 155 grams a day.
      Keep your carbs under 100 grams on days when you are not working out, and under 130 grams on days when you are working out.
      Keep eating those healthy foods and try to drink a gallon of water a day.
      You should keep a food log too. Write down what you eat, the serving size; and the number of calories, grams of protein, grams of carbs, and grams of fat in each meal. This will help you better track your calorie consumption, and I promise the knowledge you gain will stick with you for the rest of your life… at some point you will just know the calorie and macronutrient content in most of your favorites foods and you will be able to guage your daily intake in your head.

  17. Hey Steve,

    I’m 30 yrs old 5’6″weigh between 145-150 lbs. Very athletic and been lifting regularly for 10 + yrs. I have around 10-11% body fat which I am aware is low. My question is to maintain my weight range and possibly gain a little more muscle (0r keep growing)and still be cutting fat I changed my food intake and was wondering if it sounds like it will produce for me. I eat between 1800-2200 calories a day( average usually between 55-70 grams of fat,120-135 carbs,165-190 protein, and about 40-50 sugar) Carbs come from veggies,wheat/grain products,fruits and some from protein bars/meal or breakfast bars in mornings: Most of the fat is from 3 sources: roasted/unsalted almonds,either almond butter or peanut butter and then obviously the Protein bars.(By the way not to get off the subject but i started eating Naturally More peanut Butter with omega 3&6 and flax in it and haven’t gone back to old brands since-great stuff..)Anyways I lift M-F: Monday: Chest,back,legs-circut training, Tuesday:bi,tri,shoulders-circut,Wed:Jump Rope intervals and ab training,Thu:Chest,back,legs-circut and Fri:bi,tri, sat/sun..Do you think I need to change anything? I should add that the circuts are completely different: ie: Monday(C,B,L)is 3 movements for each body part ususally a 3-5 for strength,8-10 3 set and a 2 set 12-15 rep. Thurs:(C,B,L)2 movements per body part consisting of 8rep-4 sets for one and 10 rep 3 set for the 2nd movement..

    Any imput will help..thanks

    • Your maintenance calorie level is about 2000 calories a day. If you eat more than that, you will gain weight. If you eat less than that, you will lose weight. The amount of protein is good, but to gain muscle consider eating closer to 200 grams of carbs each day. Also be sure you are using a post-workout shake like Biotest Surge Recovery.

      I think I get the gist of your workout. It seems to be tailored to gaining muscle and minimizing fat gain, but I’m not sure why you have two days devoted to arms and shoulders. I would change that aspect of it so something more like:

      Mon – Chest, Shoulder, Tris, Abs
      Tues – Legs, Back, Bis, Calves
      Weds – HIIT and Abs
      Thurs – Chest, Shoulder, Tris, Abs
      Fri – Legs, Back, Bis, Calves
      Sat, Sun – Off

  18. Steve, I have lost over 50 lbs, but am stuck for the last two months with the next 10 lbs. Goal is a total of 100, so I am 1/2 way there. I was OK for the first 50. I walk 3 miles a day and now have started 6 miles 3 X week. I’m no longer diabetic. Yeah! I am confused as to how much carb and protein intake. Could this be a problem with this plateau in that I’m not doing it right after all????

    • Congrats on your weight loss to date. Consider adding strength training to your routine, 3 times a week, for 45 minutes a session. You can use a women’s full body routine for fat loss or make up some HIRT routines of your own. Protein should be .8 grams per pound of goal body weight. Carbs should be somewhere between 70-150 grams a day, although 70 is very low and should be used only on days when you are not exercising. You can do it, but it might be time to step up the intensity a bit. However, please don’t do anything that your doctor tells you not to do.

  19. Hi Steve,
    I’m 19 Yrs. old I’m 5’10 and 230lbs I would like to get down to around 190 what do you recommend? Weights or Gyms are not an option?

    • Justin: You will have to cut your calories down, eat tiny meals quite often, and do as many body weight workouts as you can, with HIIT and other cardio workouts included when possible.

  20. hi steve, i am 16 years and I maintain a weight between 135-140Ibs i am about 5.8″ .. I used to weigh 117 and I felt more healthy with that weight but lately i feel like i am over eating. I run 20 minutes everyday and exercise on the wii fit and other things but all exercising seems to do is make me eat more.. i feel like its impossible to losee those 10-15 pounds. hellppp! Is there any food that i can eat that will fill me up but not make me gain weight? Thanks …

    • That’s a good question. Drink more water, eat more fruits and veggies. Also try to eat more lean protein to fill yourself up. Try low calorie foods like Jello and light popcorn. Avoid calorie dense foods like peanut butter and whole milk. Don’t eat junk food. Start lifting weights in addition to your running and WII Fit stuff.

  21. Steve,

    II have gained about 20 lbs since quitting smoking in Nov. 09 and I am trying desperately to get it off. I am weight training and am on the treadmill for 30-45 a day. How many carbs should I be eating per day to drop this stubborn belly weight?

    I have started a regiment last week so advise if I should be doing something different,

    6AM 2 scoops of whey,1 banana, 1c.skim milk and ice cubes.
    9am. can of tuna with 7 whole wheat crackers
    noon 6-8 oz of lean protein with 15 grams of wheat rice/pasta or hummus
    3pm 2oz hummus with 7 wheat crackers
    6pm same as noon.
    9 more hummus.

    It seems like a good regiment but I am taking in alot of carbs. 70-100 or so.

    Please advise.



    • Hummus rocks. Consider replacing your 9 pm hummus with cottage cheese. 70-100 grams of carbs is not alot. That is how much I recommend when on a pretty strict fat loss diet. Healthy carbohydrate intake can be upwards of 150-200 grams a day for a normal healthy diet. I think you are doing good and should stick to your plan for a month, but try to change up the foods a bit so you don’t get bored and totally sick of your diet plan – especially after the first 3 weeks. Also consider occasionally replacing your endurance cardio with HIIT and HIRT routines.

  22. Hi, My name is sarah and I’m 19 5’5 and I weigh 153 and I have about 3 months to lose as much weight as possible my goal is 20. Is that a good amount?And how should I go about it?

  23. I am 39yrs old, 6’2″ and 225lbs. I am interested in lifting weights and building muscle as well as losing some weight. Mainly the “belly fat”. Can you please tell me what kind of calorie, carb, and protein intake is best. Thank you for your help.

    • Joe: You are going to have to read the articles buddy. I can’t write a custom program for everyone. Lift heavy, do cardio, eat 12 x your goal bodyweight in calories and 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal bodyweight. Any other questions, you’ll have to read the articles.

  24. Thanks so much. I’m unsure as to what would be good foods to eat tho. Could you recommend a nutrition book I could check out or something?

  25. Hey, I’m really new to being healthy, and could use some tips. I’m 15, 5 ‘5, 150 lbs. Grew up eating however and whenever I wanted. A lot of pop and trash. But when I finally reliezed that I was overwieght, I really wanted to change. Have been struggling with it as my parents don’t really care about being healthy. I’m fairly big in frame naturally, but I want more muscle and to not be overwieght. I do at home workouts like jumping jacks, pushups, crunches, streaches, walks, and leg workouts. What kind of workouts should I focus on, and what should my calorie intake be? I’ve tried to figure it out, but I’m confused, there are so many ways.

    • Esther: Get a gym membership. Do a full body workout routine 3 days a week and HIIT cardio 2 days a week. Do any extra calisthenics and stretching on your own time. I am assuming you are female and your goal weight is probably about 120-130 lbs, since you are 5’5. That being said, I think you should start with 1550 calories a day and 120 grams of protein. Keep the carbs under 150 grams a day and avoid sugar. As you lose fat you should adjust your calories based on your progress. Losing more than 3 lbs a week after the first couple weeks is not that good because you are likely sacrificing muscle mass, so make sure you are eating enough protein and calories. Losing less than 2 lbs a week is not that efficient either, so make sure you are eating few enough calories to lose fat.

  26. I am a 46 y/o female, 5’2″ and 215lbs. and I am not active at all. Oh I walk the dog occasionally but I would love to lose this and get down to my normal size which is around 110. I don’t understand this carbs and protiens and stuff. How much carbs, protein, fat, calories should I eat daily?

    • Nancy: You’d need to eat about 100-120 grams of protein, 100-150 grams of carbs, and 40-70 grams of fat (depending on the protein and carbs you eat). Aim for 1440 calories a day to start, and adjust that number based on your progress.

  27. hey steve my names andre i weight 265 im trying to lose about 50 ibs i workout four times a week with weight and i wondering if eating 300 grams of carbs is to much for me and if i can eat more than a 100 grams if good fats too

    • 300 grams of carbs is quite a bit for a fat loss diet, even at a bodyweight of 265. Good fats are important, but when you add up your protein, carb, and fat intake, it should be less than the product of your goal bodyweight * 12. If your goal is a 220 lb bodyweight, you should eat no more than 2600 calories a day – and even that might be on the high side.

  28. And if it helps this would be an average day i guess:

    6 AM: Bowl of Wheaties
    615-7 AM: Lift
    7 AM: Whey Protein Shake (2 servings) with 2 cups of milk. 2 pieces of whole wheat bread toasted with egg beaters
    12 PM: Nuts, Almonds, Cashews roughly 600 cals worth. Salad w/ tomatoes and sunflower seeds.
    5 PM: Venison (Deer meat, it’s lean) or Tuna or Grilled Chicken or Meatloaf, something of the sort.
    Water supply throughout the day.
    I’m also taking a 100 mg of Zinc a day to help boost testosterone for lifting and for defining my “man boobs”.

  29. I lift 7 days a week, but different muscle groups. I eat around 1800-2200 calories a day, usually about 300 before workout, 600 after, and about 1000 over the rest of the day. My lifting is short and compact, my chest exercise for example is usually like 3 sets of dumbell bench, flies, and push-ups and then same type of thing for abs afterwords. Workout usually takes about 40 minutes. I do that for chest, biceps, triceps, abs, and legs. I my goal is to be ripped, cut, toned, whatever you want to call it. I am in the best shape of my life right now for sure in terms of body-fat percentage, I’m just wondering if you think I can have success over the long haul following that approach. I want to gain muscle as fast as possible without gaining any fat and preferably losing a little more fat that is “stubborn fat”.



    • Mike: If you want to maintain the way you look and function now, which as you say is “the best shape of my life “, then keep doing what you are doing. However, if you want to gain muscle faster, stop doing things like ‘flies’ and push ups. Push ups can be useful but only if they are plyometric, clapping, one-arm, or some other type of explosive push up. Start using the very best compound exercises and consider using 3-4, 45 minute, full body workouts each week. When you start to gain the extra muscle, your metabolism will be elevated, and you will ultimately lose ‘a little more fat that is “stubborn fat”’. Also, 7 days a week of training is too much. You should at least take one full day off each week, preferably 2.

      Also, if you really want to gain muscle start incorporating a small protein dense meal later in the day. You say your last meal is at 5pm, but you could probably toss back a protein shake or eat some cottage cheese around 8-9pm or before you go to bed.

      Furthermore, I’ve been reading lots of studies and expert opinions that say carbs + protein before a workout is best for muscle gain and fat loss. Therefore, consider adding something with a bit more protein to your Wheaties. Consider some egg whites, a piece of meat, or a 15-20 gram protein shake. Milk has protein, but not very much of it.

  30. Mike: It sounds like you will maintain low body fat and probably make OK training progress following that kind of diet. You probably need to consider eating more carbs if you want to really gain muscle fast, plus I have no idea what your total calories look like, or anything else really about your diet or training plan. I can only offer that suggestion with such limited knowledge.

  31. Steve,

    I am a big fan of your article. Here is my nutrition story:
    I am 18 years old and about 6 foot 2 inches. Last February I got up to an out-of-shape 210 pounds. Raw fat, very little muscle, so I went on a low-carb diet, consuming roughly 30-40 carbs a day. In 6 months I got down to 165 pounds, now a fat skinny with almost no muscle. SO I started to lift and eat a full protein and carb diet, but as I did that I gained a lot of fat back initally in the process. Recently Ive trimmed back down while lifting. I have gotten stronger and am up to 180 pounds. I consume carbs in the morning before I lift and after along with a protein shake. The rest of the day is little to no carbs. Is that a good idea? Can I expect to get stronger doing that? I’m consuming about 100-120 carbs a day at this point, all whole grains before and after workout. I fill lunch and dinner with various meats and nuts and drink a lot of water.



  32. Hey Steve,

    I’m 20, 5’5 and 114lbs, for the last year or so, my calorie allowance has fluctuated, I usually try to keep to 1200…but lately i’ve been encouraged by close friends to aim for atleast 1700. I’ve started going to the gym twice a week..unfortunatly more than what I was previously doing. I was worrying about this 1700-2000 causing unwanted weight gain, it seems so much! It’s an irrational fear but i’d love to eat normal again, is 1700 a good place to stay without gaining?

    • Kowski: To maintain 114 lbs, you probably can eat around 1550-1600 calories a day, maybe even a little more. 1700 may not be pushing it too much but that’s probably the upper limit. I recommend going to the gym 3 times a week for either full body resistance training, HIRT training, HIIT training, or a mixture of all three.

  33. Melanie: without knowing anything else about you, I calculate your maintenance calories at about 1625 a day. 1700 shouldn’t be a problem, and NO it certainly won’t make you fat.

  34. Amy: I suggest either modifying your diet decrease calories – or – decrease carbs and increase protein – or – start exercising differently, perhaps adding a HIRT or HIIT routine into your weekly schedule – or – all of the above.

  35. Adam: I think you are on point for bulking. When cutting, you will probably switch at least one strength training day to a HIRT routine and add in at least one HIIT session each week.

  36. Oh, and Steve one more question…

    Do you suggest that I use any supplements? I’m asking because a friend of mine suggested I start taking “NITRIC OXIDE”, what do you think?

    “THANK YOU!!!”

    • Again, I like the NO supplements. Not all the time, but once in a while it gives the workout a nice boost. Still, I don’t recommend it at all for fat loss.

  37. Hey Steve, I’m a female that weighs 140lbs and I’m 5 Ft. 1/2 in. tall. I want to tone/sculpture my body (all definition). I don’t really have a weight goal, however I do want to lose the bulk. I just started working out two days ago by running four blocks (3x’s total of 12 blocks) resting 10 min. in between each run (starting off small as a beginner). I don’t eat meat, nor do I have a problem sticking to certain diets.

    I want to know if you can give me some pointers on how I can get my body very tight and lean (all definition), I don’t use weights ’cause my body bulk up really fast.

    What exercise should I do? How many calories, total fat, carbs, and protein should I consume daily?


    • JWA: I think you should start to use weights, but use high reps and light weights to start off. Moreso, I think you should focus on HIIT and HIRT training to melt the fat rather than heavy lifting to build muscle or strength. Read this article on HIIT and this article on HIRT, which I hope to update soon… possibly today. Also remember that diet is responsible for 80% of your progress. Furthermore, there is no need for you to use any NO supplements. Nitric Oxide will not be necessary for your fat loss plan.

  38. Also Steve, when cutting should i keep my weight training to fatique as it is now, but add in cardio as well (if so how often and for how long). At the moment trying to bulk i doing little if any cardio. Thanks again. Adam

  39. hi steve, im 150lbs, 26, 5’8 (so rather thin)and want to bulk, i have my training sorted on mon,wed,fri. Reading your info i have decided on this. 200g protein, 400-450g carbs, 60g fat, 3000 cals (as a starting point). Does this sound ok or would you make adjustments? Would you keep the units the same on workout and none workout days? When i do eventually come to cut, you outine great adjustments to the ratios, over what period of time on average would a cutting diet be? GREAT SITE BY THE WAY MATE. Cheers, Adam

  40. I am a 14 year old girl who is about 132 and I’m 5’4. I want to weigh at least 120. I’ve been doing pretty good on a low carbs, low sugar diet. So far I’ve lost 16 pounds, but recently I’ve come to a stopping point, and can no longer lose weight, no matter how hard I try. It’s pretty stressful, can you help me?

  41. I notice you said that a person looking to lose fat should not eat more than 100 grams of carbs per day. According to Nutrition Facts labels that about 2 apples a day. Am I missing something here?

    • Marty: one apple has about 20 grams of carbs, so you could eat 5 apples in a day. The point of eating low carbs to lose fat is that you avoid sugary carbs altogether and only take in a minimal amount of other carbs. The focus of a low carb fat loss diet is to eat higher protein and healthy fats instead of carbs.

  42. Hi I am a 27 year old female. My weight is 125lbs and I am 5.8 in height. I have recently started doign some weight training in order to tone my body. I have been bringing up my protein intake to approx. 110grams a day. I try not to eat too many carbs. I guess when I think about it, I consume about 1700 calories a day. Is this going to make me fat??

  43. Hello i have a problem.. i want to make my own diet and i cant i dosnt now how calories i need per day and carbs and protein i want to gain muscle y have 200 pounds weight and 24% fat, 5 ft 09in hight.
    plase i need your help tanks!!

  44. Steve,
    I am 59 yr old(F)weigh 175.Would like to see
    145-150.My main form of exercise is walking and I hope to return to swimming 2-3 times per week.I work nights and seem my life is just eat,sleep,work.I tried reducing carbs for a quick start and after 2days felt horrible.(20GM)My kcals were under 1000 for a day.One l#/wk of weight loss is labourious.
    I’d like a quick start and a eating plan that won’t destroy my metabolism any further.

  45. Hi Steve,

    I am still trying to get in shape and rid of the last 3 stubborn lbs from pregnancy. I train high-impact aerobics & spinning a combination of 6x a week. I am wondering how many carbs I should be eating to get rid of the last few lbs with out losing the energy I need for my work outs. I am 5’2″/ 114 lbs.

    Thank you!


    • Lynn: I would keep my carbs under 100 grams a day, but would eat at least half of them before my workout, so that I would have energy during the workout. For you I might suggest 20 grams for breakfast, 20 grams for lunch, 20 grams before your workout, and 20 grams after your workout. Keep to eating complex carbs, including an apple before the workout, oatmeal for breakfast, and whole grain breads during the day. Just some ideas for you. Let me know what you think.

  46. Hi Steve, I weight 180lbs at 5’10” and my goal is to reach 140-150. I just started walking about 45 minutes a day at a very fast pace. High impact exercise is not an option.

    At this point I am not thinking really about building muscle, I just want to lose my beer gut (I rarely drink any more).

    What do you suggest my goals should be? TIA

  47. I wanted to know about how much protein my 14 year old should be having. He is playing football and weightlifting at school.(Freshman).He is 5’8 and 112 lbs. He wants to add some weight and muscle but we heard that you should not give your teen protein because they will start to grow outward instead of heightwise. What do you recommend?

    • Hi Jim.
      Excellent that your son wants to get into lifting at such an early age. Your fear about you son growing outward instead of heightwise because of a high protein diet, however, is not evidence-based. Our height is determined by the closure of the epiphyseal growth plates found near the epiphysis of long-bones (the ends) in our legs approximately 2-3 years after the start of puberty (when the sex hormones start to be produced again). That’s why you see those “early bloomers” shoot up in heighth but then fall to the “late bloomers” later in the adolescent years. I would recommend a high protein diet (see the suggestions in this article) with large amounts of hydration. The biggest fear we worry about with large protein intake is: 1) dehydration, because the body requires water to break down polypeptides (protein) and 2) the kidneys…the kidneys don’t particularly like to see high loads of proteins and you will hear of some people talk about the rise in creatinine (not creatine) which is a sign of acute renal failure. Just make sure to stay adequately hydrated! Good luck with your son’s workout routine, and hopefully next time we talk, the 112 lbs freshmen will be about 130-140. Take care!

      UIC Medical Student, 4th Year

  48. Steve
    I have a 79 year old sister and probaby myself including are borderline diabetics can you tell me on an 1800 calorie diet how many grams of carbohydrates should I be eating and what about grams of sugar? I know carbs turn into sugar but when reading label how many grams of carbs and sugar should I be counting.

    thank you

    • Mary: I would suggest eating minimal sugar at all times. Keep your carbs complex. You should really ask your doctor or a nutritionist for answers to these questions, but as a former nutritionist, I would say you should be eating between 100-150 grams of carbs a day, spread out throughout the day, avoiding sugar when possible. If you test your blood sugar regularly, you will know if you need to up the carbs, for instance if your blood sugar drops too low for any reason.

  49. this is a very bad diet example , there is hardly any carbs needed to help get you through the day the avergae calories is 2500 for men , and 2000 for woman.

    • Oh OK FiTnEsSkNoWiTaLl, we’ll just put all men on 2500 calorie diets and all women on 2000 calorie diets regardless of their age, weight, height, and goals. I always wanted to have a group of fat women clients who just get fatter and a group of male clients who can’t gain muscle because their calories are too low. Brilliant!

  50. What powder do you recomend for me 140 lbl woman that is trying to maintain my weight. Have you tried ProEnergy line of products? they seem so good to the ear but I cant find any public reviews. Thanks

    • i say just eat the stuff you dont feel guilty eating and go for an hour walk a day,, eat …Accually eat in the morning like a good sized breakfeast… medium lunch and a nice yogurt bannana or salad for supper with fruit snacks in between… GO ahead, eat bacon and eggs for breakfeast… if u wanna loose weight either way…but just walk for an hour, waybe 10 mins on the treadmill in front off the tv… bounce on a trampoline…

  51. As a girl insulin resistant with PCOS, I thank you for this list/information, it’s good to know. C:

  52. Hi Steve,

    I’m a 17 year old male. I’m 5’9″ and wiegh 190. I’ve started doing an hour of tae-bo with Billy Blanks (not sure if you’ve heard of it), and i was just wondering if that is a good enough excercise every day. It’s said to help you lose wieght and gain muscle at the same time, which you say is pretty much impossible.

    And also, how many carbs/calories do you recommend i have a day?

    • Moe: I know about Tae-Bo and Billy Blanks. You can do Tae-Bo to lose weight, and I’m sure you will, but you won’t gain all that much muscle. Fat loss and muscle gain will both probably be slower than if you mixed high intensity cardio with weight training.

      As far as gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time, it can be done, but not efficiently. If you focus on one or the other, you will be able to double or triple your progress in either direction. The ultimate realistic goals are to lose fat and maintain muscle mass, or to add muscle mass and maintain body fat, but they can happen simultaneously, just in smaller increments. I recommend 2100 calories a day or less to lose fat, and between 70-120 grams of carbs a day, but NO white carbs or sugars.

  53. I am 43 5’10, 158lb female. I am trying to get back down to 135-140lb. I do a lot of yoga. Treadmill at a fast walk w/ incline. Running is not an option..short power walk, 1min intervals. I do for 30-45min. 3-4 days a week. I try to watch my eating habits but would like some advice on what my intake should be to loose weight since I am not loosing anything.
    Thanks Cheryl

    • Cheryl:
      Are you lifting weights? If not, get on a 3 day weight training split. Try the generic full body workout plan.

      If your goal is to weight 140 lbs, you should be eating no more than 1700 calories a day, probably more like 1600. Remember that your diet is responsible for 80% of your progress.

  54. Some people really dont know what theyre talking about and should not give advice cause they are idiots….so many people are instructed to take in way too many grams of protein when they want to build muscle….the rda for protein is .9 g/kg of body weight…if you want to build muscle no more than 1.5-2 per kg of body weight….FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE GIVING ADVICE THAT DONT KNOW WHAT YOURE TALKING ABOUT…STOP!

    • Hey Mike, I’m not quite sure what you are so angry about. 1.5-2 grams of protein per kg of body weight is about right. That’s 150-200 grams per day for a 100 kg/220 lb athlete. 150 grams is a bit low, but 200 grams sounds about right for gaining muscle. I’d say 180-220 grams would be about right for a 220 lb athlete who trains 4-5 times a week.

  55. Hi ime 22 years old 6 foot 2,about 4 months ago i weighed in at 220 pounds.i have since lost 30 pouns and my body fat went from 26% to know do i gain more muscle?

    • Kruger:
      Increase protein intake, train with heavier weights, swap endurance cardio for HIIT. That’s the best I can do when I know nothing about you. Let me know if you have more questions.

  56. Steve:
    Im new to your website but desperately seeking some advice. I have been working out for over six years, Im 33. Im am 5’4 and about six months ago weighed 112, now Im at 118. I have NOT changed my good eating habits of between 1200-1500 calories per day and I work out five days a week. I do 25 minutes of cardio and 25 minutes of weight training. Im wondering why the sudden change in my weight. Is it just time to change my work outs or is it simply more muscle since I have been adding weights and do less reps. I do get muscle quickly and my butt does seem much bigger, but not fat…its muscly.

    • Amy:
      Your story sounds great to me. It sounds like you are eating well and training well, and you’ve added some muscle to your frame for all your efforts. If you want to trim down the muscle you should increase your reps, but I bet you look great with the added buff.

  57. Hi Steve,

    You have given others such wonderful advice and I was wondering if you could do the same for me. I am a 5’9″ Male weighing approximately 159 right now (use to weigh 168). At 168 i was very muscular but not very lean. My goal has been to drop bodyfat and get ripped. I have been running alot lately but still lifting heavy. I have lost strength but have slimmed down alot as well. I am currently consuming around 1500 calories a day, 100 grams carbs, 170 protein, and 50 fat. My goal is to be shredded or at 7%bodyfat. Am I approaching this the right way. I know diet is 80% of the game.

  58. I am a 29 year old female. I am around 5’8″ and weigh between 175-180lbs. I would LOVE to be at my pre-pregnancy weight (~4 years ago) of 150-155lbs, but I need help on how to get there. I am not one of those who can give up on all of life’s treats(I have a terrible sweet tooth), but I am able to eat in moderation. What should my daily intake look like as far as calories, carbs, etc.



    • Laura: To get down to 150# I would start with 1800 calories a day, 120 g of protein, 100 g of carbs, and 100 g of healthy fats. Keep your carbs complex and your fats high in EFAs. Aim for 25 grams of protein per meal on average, 5 meals a day (that could also look like 40g, 10g, 40g, 10g, 20g, or however you want to do it).

  59. i am 34yrs old just had my third struggling bad with my weight. iam 240lbs!!!
    i started a low carb diet but im wondering differnt people say different things when it comes to how many carbs what is the right number of carbs per day?some say 20 some say thats way to low others say 200 a day.i really need help with this.

  60. Steve,

    My girl friend and I recently started the Atkins diet and so far I am having a lot of trouble with it. I am 28yrs old about 210 lbs and my weight loss goal is 10-15 lbs of fat. I weight train 3-4 days out of the week and do cardio the same. I am also a carpenter so my job and lifestyle in general is a fairly active one. We are about a week in and still at the 0-20g carb phase. I have been eating the 20 grams a day for sure. But no matter how much 0 carb food I’m eating I still feel hungry. Plus I feel like I am eating way more than I usually do. I just have such low energy and can’t eat enough. With the amount of exercise and activity I do should I be eating more than the 20 grams of carbs? It has only been a week and I have not seen much weight loss yet but want to stick with this or some kind of diet. What would you recommend for a daily carb intake for someone like me? Or is there a different diet that you would recommend that would fit me better?


    P.S. I agree with barbz, I’m not sure Sam up there is a dude… anyways thanx again!

    • Travis:
      Atkins is whack. If you absolutely MUST do Atkins, I suggest following it for 2-3 weeks at most to kickstart your diet. Then, SLOWLY work carbs back into the mix.

      When I am eating low carb to lose fat, I still eat 60-80 grams of complex carbs from whole grains and veggies each day on a non-workout day. On workout days I get upwards of 100 grams of carbs, targeted around my training. Eating carbs before training will give you energy to train with maximum intensity, while drinking carbs after training will help you recover sooner by kickstarting protein synthesis, thus moving your body out of a catabolic state.

      Keeping sugary and starchy carbs to a minimum (excluding the post-workout meal) is the component of Atkins that will really help you lose fat quickly. Keeping calories-in lower than calories-burned will also help you lose fat quickly.

      Regarding being on the diet for a week and not seeing results, this is a HUGE mistake people make. It takes 5-7 days to really see the fat loss benefits of low carb and low calorie eating. Normally it takes me about 5 days of following a proper diet before I see a 2-3 lb fat loss.

  61. Hi Steve
    I train 3 times a week weight training doing a heavy workout doing 2 body parts per night total time 1 hr 30 mins im 83 kg and 5-10.I used to do a lot of CV but stopped due to wanting till bulk up a bit im still fit but have that body fat i would like to lose and cut in for shape without losing muscle should i up im protain intake are take more carbs on board. please help ?

    Regards Shane

  62. hi steve,
    i train for 1 hour and 15 min a day ,consisting of 30 min treadmill and 45 min weights . I eat very little carbs and loads of protain , which is working very good for me, i am loosing muscle as well , The question is how can i retain my muscle?

    Regards ivan

  63. hi i am a 44 year old female just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. i am 5’10 i weigh 250 pounds how many calories a day should i be consuming to loose weight i want to get down to 180 pounds. also what kind of exercises do you recommend for weight loss and how many days a week should i do them to loose weight and keep it off my doctor told me if i loose weight i maybe able to come off the diabetes medicine. any help is greatly appreciated thanks cherie

  64. Help!!! I am a 38 year old female. About 5’3 1/2. I normally weigh about 135 pounds. I am now about 155 pounds. I have really been struggling with getting this weight off of me. I am very small framed (boned) so 20 extra pounds looks like 40. In fact, many people ask me when I’m due because my belly looks like I’m carrying a child. I exercise heavily. I do a boot camp and extra cardio and weight training. My instructors keep saying eat to lose, eat to lose. 6 times a day. It’s absolutey not working for me. Too many carbs I feel. The only thing that has worked for me in the past is low carbs? Eggs, meat, protein, cheese, etc. Is this ok to do at first to get lean, and then slowly go back to a more normal diet lifestyle?


  65. Hi Steve,

    Love reading your post replies extremely interesting.

    I am a 42 year old female weighing 205lbs at 5’5′ I powerwalk with 5 minute intervals of intense inclined for 60 minutes a day. My calorie intake is between 1800-2000 with 50-60gms of carbs per day/low glycemic ones. I just started 3 days ago. Do you have any suggestions.

  66. Carol:
    You might be overtraining and/or eating improperly. Read the comments above and see if any of those apply to you. Make adjustments accordingly.

  67. Hilary:
    Don’t follow Atkins. Eat your whole grains and fruits, but skip sugary cereal. If you want to eat cereal you should look for some whole grain varieties. I like Total. Also try sweet potatoes.

    You didn’t mention anything about weight training. I would trade those 35 minute jogs for high intensity cardio (sprints, kickboxing) and resistance training. Working out with weight will help ‘tone’ your arms and legs, but you have to be serious about it. Don’t just plod around with 8 lb pink dumbbells.

    Also try to be sure you don’t have a body image issue. At 5’4 and 114 lbs, I doubt you are anything but thin. Maybe just need to tone the arms and legs a bit with weights. If people in your life hint that you might have an issue with your body image, please have it addressed before you end up with an eating disorder.

    Admitting to having and getting treatment for the deep rooted issues that cause bulimia and anorexia are just as important as going to detox and AA for alcoholism.

  68. Pat:
    Great job. I haven’t heard from you in a couple months, but I hope you are making the progress you want to make.

  69. Z:
    Start by multiplying your goal weight by 12 and eat no more than that number of calories each day. Increase your resistance training in order to add some muscle and speed up metabolism. Lift heavier weights so that you are really pushing yourself: no sets of 20 reps with a weight that you can easily do 25+ with, instead choose a weight that you can’t quite hit 12 reps and when you hit 12 reps add weight. Switch from endurance cardio to high intensity cardio: interval sprints, kickboxing, plyometric circuits, etc… Increase protein slightly and decrease starchy/sugary carbs slightly. Don’t eat any carbs after 6pm. Drink more water. Those are my tips.

  70. Blake:
    Stay away from Atkins. If you go off Atkins and then gorge on chocolate and crisps, then Atkins is not for you. Try a moderate diet approach rather than a hardcore strict diet approach since you are more apt to fall off the wagon, binge, and reverse any progress you might have made.

  71. Sorry one more question…I am currently 102 lbs and trying to gain muscle. I work out 5-6 times a week 60 minutes each work out. I split my work outs…one day I will work out my arms/back, next day legs/butt, next day abs…then back to arms/back. I am so obsessed with the scale that I think I am putting on fat if it goes up…how much muscle on avg does a woman put on in a year and on avg hos long does it take?


  72. Hi,

    I would like to know how much calories should a person consume at 5’2 (female) I was told 1200 calories, but that seems very little to me.

    Thank you,

  73. Hello Steve,
    I am a 35 yr male 5’10 and 177 lbs. I have been exercising consistantly and have followed a 7 day diet consisting of 100 grams of carbs for 4 days, 200 grams of carbs for 2 days and 1 cheat day of 600 grams for almost 5 months now.

    I’m not a fan of the gym so all my exercise and workout is from home. It consists of cardio on an elyptical for 20 mins in 5 min intervals, so on Monday I will run for 5 mins, get off do 20 incline pushups, 20 decline pushups, 20 military pushups with one hand elevated on a dumbell then run for 5 mins and get off and do the same pushup regime until my 20 mins is done. Tuesday same thing except I do 15 pull ups instead of pushups, Wed same except reverse pull ups then Thurs start over with Sun being a complete rest day. Each day also consits of aprox 170 grams of protien.

    Ive recently added 35 lbs in a backpack for the pushups and 3 sets of dumbell presses and 3 sets of flys with 50 lb db’s on an exercise ball with the next day only cardio and abs then on the third day adding arm curls with 25 lb db’s along with the reverse pullups. Next day 20 mins cardio and abs. Next day cardio and normal pullups.

    Im so frustrated because I’m seeing minimal gain and still have the stomach and pec flab…. please Help.

  74. Hi Steve,
    I am a 31 year old female trying to lose weight and get toned. i currently weigh 68 kg. I lost 8 kg in the last 2 months. Im doing 5 hours cardio a week and 5 hours circuit/weight/boxing training. Im getting a good mix but am i doing too much? my eating is healthy and small light meals but im not losing any more weight..??
    Please tell me what i am doing wrong..

  75. Hi Steve.

    I am 114 pounds and 5 ‘4’ 18 years old, and I am trying to lose weight altogether. I will not starve myself, and I know you will say, well thats great! why would you try to lose weight? well, I have a naturally flat stomach, but my limbs.. they’re just so flabby and big. My arms are flabby and big.. and my legs are well, short and thick, and fat. I especially hate the fat that sticks out from the sides of my thighs. I have tae kwon do lessons 2 days a week, and I jog for around 35 minutes 4 times a day, but nothing works. Is the low carb diet for me (atkins diet)? I’ve been on it for a week now, and I can never seem to go through with it without BREAD. Whole grains to be precise. I am a health freak, and I miss the taste of whole grain breads and cereals and fruits. Please suggest another option.

    Warm regards,

  76. Hi, I am mid-sixties, 80lbs. overweight. I have been on a diet since 1958. I lost the battle 20 years ago, just fed up with starving/depriving myself. I do understand that I was the author of my own failures by starving myself.
    I have never given up, however, I am not very enthusiastic or optimistic about achieving a healthy goal, but I do give it a try every year or two.
    Recently I tried counting carbs AND calories- At an average of 1000 calories & 120 grams carbs daily, I am not dropping very fast, but this combination insures that I make very healthy choices:
    No bread,crackers, potatoes, cereal, or rice for me! (Never mind dessert!). I leave room for yams, yogourt, berries, cheese, fish, & lots of vegetables.
    I keep a meal diary (truth-time) and give myself a day off every so often.
    Carbs. make me hungry, so this combination approach makes it fairly easy to stay out of the fridge.
    I have dropped a few inches and try to stay off the scale.
    I am doing 17 minutes on the elliptical machine 5x’s a week and small weights in between.
    I have done every diet known & always get back to counting calories, but this combination may be the easiest so far.
    Best regards,
    PS: Weight Watchers used to preach “Weigh & Measure”. I do this to be sure that I am actually getting the ounce or two that I am counting.

  77. Hi Steve,
    Today is my first time reading your website and I really enjoy your blogs, they are full of information.
    Here is my short story
    I am a female, 29 years old, 5 feet. Currently I weight 133 pounds and I calculated to have around 33% body fat. I started to workout about month and a half ago. I have lost 13 pounds since then but I stop losing weight about 3 weeks ago when I hit the 133 pound mark. I’m working out everyday, doing cardio, swimming and some weight lifting.
    My ultimate goal is to lose 15 to 20 pounds more, to be around 15 to 20 % of body fat. I do not want to be skinny, I just want a tight, nicely shape body. I always liked the figure competition look, maybe someday I would be able to accomplish that goal.
    so what I need from you is some help with my dietary intake. I’m not sure what my food ratios should be, what my caloric should be and how much protein, carbs and fat should I have in one sitting. Also if you have any other ideas that can help I would like to know them all 🙂
    Thank you

  78. Hey there, was just wondering if I could ask you a question or two. I’ve recently been on an atkins style diet (for the last year). I had no more then 20g of carbs a day really, however, I’ve since stopped that, and gorged on chocolate, and crisps.

    I’ve put on 4 stone and now weight 255lb. I’m 6ft 3 tall. I want to lose the weight again, what should I do? Back to Atkins? Or will your tailored approach – just carbs for breakfast do?


  79. LaWanda:
    It sounds like you are on the right track. I would say target those 70 calories around your workouts for energy and recovery. Make sure you add some weight training to your workout routine in the form of high (12-15) rep circuit training. Try to increase the intensity of your cardio.

    Start with high intensity interval training by either powerwalking or jogging (whichever you can handle). Start by doing your sprint exercise (the powerwalking or jogging) for 10 seconds, walk for 1 minute, sprint exercise for 10 seconds, walk for 1 minute. Try to increase the sprint time to 30 seconds. Eventually you should be able to try sprinting by running, biking, or any other form of cardio where you can push the intensity to the max for a short (30-60 seconds) period of time.

    High intensity interval cardio training sessions can be as short as 20-30 minutes, since the intensity is so high. Do this 3 times a week and do weight training 3 times a week.

    Oh, and forget about the BMI. This is a bogus indicator of obesity. I’ve been pretty cut at 7% bodyfat with a 6 pack, and my BMI indicates I am obese. Instead, use a combination of weekly weighing, body fat testing, looking in the mirror, and trying on your clothes.

  80. Hi Steve,
    I’m a 31 yr old woman who is trying really hard to lose weight. I started doing a low carb diet 1/5/09 and so far I have lost 8.2 pounds. My question for you is my weight is 222 pounds and I’m 5’1 1/2. I really want to lose about 100 pounds. What would you recommend my carb intak be a day? I’ve been trying to keep it no higher than 70 carbs a day. Right now my BMI is 40.7 and I do cardio about 4-5 days a week.

  81. Sam,

    running in the monring and training at night can cause muscel breakdown from over training.

    Do weights on mondays,wednesday,fridays
    Cardio on Tuesday, Thursday, saturday

    And Look up interval trainging

    Hope this helps

  82. hi sam im not too sure if you are infact a ‘dude’ as you claim? This could be quite debatable with many people. I would maybe question why you are on this website and not outhere in the dudey world doing ‘dude’ things thanks for your time DUDE. goodbye.

    p.s i am not a dude.

  83. Lorenzo:
    Not sure how much you weigh, but 2250 might be a good starting point. You could follow a 40-30-30 (P-C-F) diet if it fits your lifestyle. Read some nutrition and diet articles around this site to learn about my ideas on dieting.

  84. Hey Steve,

    Awesome website with alot of helful tips!

    I’m a 5’6 24 year old male considering myself strong.. But I have alot of fat around my stomach and chest! I train hard and eat lots of protein but all i ever seem to do is bulk up and gain lots of fat.. HELP! I’m just trying to shred down.. How much fat, protein and carbs should i be eating? I was thinking about keeping my calorie intake at 2250 and work out at the same time.. What do you suggest?

    Big thanks


  85. Yavor:
    If you went about eating in the manner you speak of above, you most likely would make little, if any, progress. Take it from experience, and from the hundreds of thousands of professional personal trainers that agree with me.

    The simple fact is that if you try to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, you might have good luck with one goal and bad luck with the other, or you might have mediocre luck with both goals. 99.9% of the people on the Earth will not have success with both goals at the same time.

    It. Is. Not. Efficient.

    Secondly, you do not want to avoid cardio, but you DO want to avoid endurance cardio. The most efficient way for you to lose fat and maintain your muscle and strength, is to cut back on your carbs and total calories, and add some high intensity training to your program.

    Examples of high intensity training include any kind of sprints, 30-60 set complexes with minimal rest between sets, sled dragging, high force output exercise like extreme martial arts, and strongman training.

    One of my most successful fat loss efforts came from adding complex training into my routine. 3 mornings a week I would do 5 or more sets of complexes, consisting of 5 reps each of a deadlift into a hang clean into a push press into a back squat and return the bar to the floor. Rest one minute between sets.

    I hope some of this helps.

  86. hi Steve i know you said that you can not lose weight and gain muscle effectivley at the same time,but what if a person was to cut back on calories one day while in that day doing cardio to lose weight and the next day increase caloric intake and do exersices for improving strenghth,wouldent that be effective. For the past year i have been seriously lifting weights and eating a higher calorie and higher protein diet to build muscle and i am happy with the results.But i have also gained some body fat which i want to lose without weakening my muscles and i have read that cardio will weaken your muscles so i dont know what to do now and i am not sure if that is true.

  87. Sam:
    You should focus on losing fat first, then when you reach an acceptable body composition you should start trying to put on muscle. You CAN NOT do both at the same time effectively.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you are new to training or just getting back into the game, you will probably lose weight and gain a bit of muscle at the same time, but you won’t gain as much as if you focused strictly on gaining muscle. Make fat loss a priority for 3 months while continuing to get STRONGER each and every workout. By the 3 month period you should be much happier with your fat mass, and you will be stronger from the strength training, which will make it easier for you to gain muscle when you decide to focus on it.

    Also, stop drinking heavily or you won’t make any progress in either direction. Moderation is the key to everything.


  88. Hi Steve, I’m a dude, definitely. My goal is gaining some muscle while dropping from the about 20.5 percent body fat I’m at now. I started drinking way too much and it’s bitten me in the ass.

    I’m running in the morning before I eat at 5:30 a.m. I lift at night, but not every night that I run. I take Wednesday’s and SUnday’s off from working out.

    Calculating my BMR I’m suppose to be eating between 1800-2000 calories a day to lose a pound of fat a week. We shall see.

  89. Sam:
    Are you male or female? I can’t quite tell from your posts, but I had originally guessed that you are female. 170 grams of protein is a little high since you are focusing on losing weight. If you were trying to gain muscle, 170 would make more sense.

    I know about Body for Life and Bill Philips and all of that jazz. There’s no reason you can’t eat a small potato once in a while. I wouldn’t have it every night, but then again I don’t like potatoes very much. If there’s one thing I can be sure of, it is this: unless you are preparing for a show or competition of some sort, you can eat anything in moderation. That doesn’t mean to eat a little bit of junk food each day, but it does mean you can have half a potato a couple times a week.

  90. Steve, thank you for the advice!

    I’ve been consuming quite a bit more protein than your suggestion, so maybe I’ll ramp it down? I’ve been getting between 150-170, as I was under the impression you should consume 1 gram of protein for every pound (granted some of my pounds are FAT).

    The carbs I eat are most definitely health. All whole grains and oats.

    … EXCEPT … I do every so often consume half a potato with my dinner. We have an electronic nutrition scale in the kitchen and I weigh the portion and mark down my nutrition information.

    For instance, the other night I ate a 92 calorie portion of potato. It had 22.9 carbs in it, 2.5 protein, .1 fat.

    Should I cut out potatoes completely? In “Body for Life” (not sure if you’ve read it), he recommends a portion-controlled size of potato with a protein source and good veggies.

    Yet other people say avoid starches, which is what a potato really is.

    Any thoughts?

  91. Sam:
    It is true that a 50/30/20 C/P/F diet could work for you. I do hope that you choose healthy carbs for this sort of diet. It is the high carb, low fat diets of the 80’s and 90’s are partially responsible for such a high onset rate of type II diabetes in adults. I would rather see use a 40/30/30 C/P/F breakdown instead, but please do whatever works best for you.

    As far as the protein hurting your kidneys and liver, it’s not going to happen. This is one of those overblown myths along the lines of women being afraid of weight lifting because they will get ‘too bulky’. It’s just not something you need to worry about. At 5’9 I’ll assume your bodyweight goal is somewhere around 130-140, so based on that I’d recommend you eat around 100-120 grams of protein a day. Broken down into 5 meals, that’s only 20-25 grams of protein per meal. Adding a couple eggs, some beef jerky, or a handful of nuts will cover about 15-20 grams of protein. It’s not that hard.

    But again, find out what works for you and stick to it. Just don’t make excuses to eat a ton of carbs if it’s not working for you. Be honest with yourself. Good luck!

  92. Steve, great Web site, I’ll have to visit more often.

    I do have a question, though. Isn’t it possible to drop body fat percentage while on a 50 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat diet?

    I’m 24, 170 pounds, 5’9″ and I have about 20 percent body fat. I got fat drinking booze.

    Now I’m in the process of shedding that fat and all that.

    I’m on a 50/30/20 diet and I’m doing cardio and weight training. I’ve figured out that my BMR + my activity level I should be consuming between 1800-2100 calories per day to put myself in a caloric deficit.

    But I do hear about these law carb dealies. It sounds utterly impossible for me to consume that many calories per day without carbs and without hurting my liver and kidneys from too much protein.

    Your thoughts?

  93. Kristopher:
    You should eat at least 170 grams of protein each day. Keep the carbs moderate, maybe around 200-250 grams a day, and keep fats moderate, maybe around 50-60 grams a day. I figure you should be eating at least 2300 calories a day to maintain (171 * 14 = 2394 calories), which means you might need to bump it up to 2500 or more if you want to gain weight. Ideally you want to gain 2-4 lbs a month in order to maximize muscle gain while minimizing fat gain. Use protein shakes and protein bars.

  94. Hi there. I am a 34 y/o male 5’7 weigh bout 171 lbs & body fat is considered normal. I was wondering how many carbs, protein, and calories can i intake in 1 day? I am trying to build more muscle b/c if u look at me i would be consider a thin guy. I really want to hopefully bulk up to a medium frame guy with some muscles to show off. Can you give me your intake on what i can take? Thanks

  95. Susan:
    I wish to refer this question to your doctor. I am not a trained, licensed, or certified medical practitioner nor am I a physician, so if you take any of my advice, you do so at your own risk.

    That being said, I will give you my opinion. I don’t think there is a certain number you should shoot for, although 40 grams is way too low. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you should avoid carbs altogether. However, you should avoid sugary carbs altogether, especially processed carbs like white bread, white pasta, cereal, and sugary kids snacks.

    I’m not sure how old you are, what your body weight is, or what your body fat is, so I can’t give you specific numbers, but it’s my general feeling that you can certainly eat 100-120 grams of carbs a day as long as you only EAT LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX CARBS.


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