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Quick and (fairly) Basic Guide to Constructing a Cutting Diet



Aug 11, 2010
One of the most common questions is how to correctly structure a diet. now, theres no right and wrong answer to this, its just finding out how your body responds.. but most people need a starting point.. to make sense of what amounts of food to use.. when to eat etc.. and also a little explanation as to how overall calories relate to proteins/carbs/fats...

So if youd like to learn how to get yourself lean.. try startimg with this approach!!

Start off by working out how many calories your eating a day at present...

To do this.. write down everything you eat for 3 days and how many calories are in it (yes its tedious). once you have the total number of calories for each day.. add them all together and didvide this by 3.... this will give your maintenence calories total. i.e. how many calories your body is using per day to stay at the same bodyweight.

for instance... if my 3 daily calorie intakes were:

Day1 = 3000
Day2 = 2000
Day3 = 2500

then my maintenence calories would be:

3000 + 2000 + 2500 = 7500

7500 / 3 = 2500 * this is daily maintenence calories

hope this is making sense so far.

now you need to work out how many grams of protein you should be eating... to do this... you need to work out your LEAN bodyweight.. i.e. what your bodyweight would be without any fat on it. everyone has a different percentage of bodyfat but i find 15% is a good start point... so to work it out you basically take 15% off your bodyweight... (or times it by 0.85 which is the same thing) so if for instance i weighed 175lb i would do the following:

175 * 0.85 = 149 (rounded up) giving a lean body weight of 149lb.

so at 149lb as a start its best to look to eat 1.5g of protein per lb of bodyweight.. so i would be taking in 149*1.5 = 224g (rounded up) of protein per day. just to recap... weve worked out calories per day (2500) and protein per day (224g)... each gram of protein contains 4 calories... so 224g of protein is equal to 896 calories..

next on to carbohydrate.. to keep things simple.. youll notice that the 896 protein calories is roughly 40% of our total calorie requirement... (ok you may not have noticed.. but it is)... so basically lets set our carbohydrates to be 40% too.... again each gram of carbohydrate also has 4 calories... so we should be eating the same amount of carbs (224g) a day too...

so to recap again... we know so far that the diet should be:

Protein = 224g (896 calories)
Carbohydrate = 224g (896 calories)
Fats = ???? (??? calories)

Total Calories needed = 2500

so how do we work out fats?? well we add the calories needed from protein and carbs together:

896 + 896 = 1792

and take the result away from the total calories:

2500 - 1792 = 708

this leaves the total number of calories needed from fats each day as 708... now each gram of fat has 9 calories... so to get how many grams of fat we need we simply divide the number of fat calories by 9:

708/9 = 79g (rounded up)

so now our daily diet totals are:

Protein = 224g (896 calories)
Carbohydrate = 224g (896 calories)
Fats = 79g (708 calories)

Total Calories needed = 2500

next we decide ho many meals we would like to eat a day... its best to eat every 2-3 hours.... as a starting point lets pick 6 meals a day... we then divide our daily amounts by 6.. so each meal is the same...... meaning each meal should end up as:

Protein = 37g
Carbohydrate = 37g
Fats = 13g

what protein carb and fats sources you choose are up to you... but thats the basics of working out a diet! its not simple.... but it WORKS! if you do this and your not losing weight... lower calories by 10%..

hope this all makes sense.. after re-reading it im guessing it may not... and might actually be more useful to some of teh more advanced guys on here...... but try take as much of it in as possible...