T Nation

Beginner's Diet For Females


I’m wanting your help with formulating a diet plan for my girlfriend. A few things to bear in mind: She is of the school of high carb low fat diets which have never really worked for her. She has recently started training with me. I thought I would ease her into the lifestyle by getting her to train with me and to slowly start eating healthier. She has embraced this and now has 3 weight sessions a week and 3 or 4 cardio sessions - she has also reduced her carb intake and begun using a protein powder to increase protein intake. She has expressed an interest now in taking her diet to the next level. I am wanting to put her on a t-dawg 2.0 style diet

I have written a sample diet plan and I was wondering if you would mind critiquing it. Ideally I would like to not include the oats and substitute something like an egg white omellette in meal 1, but I don’t want to do too much too soon and discourage her. I would have liked to include more solid proteins as well, but bear in mind that she is revamping her whole lifestyle (that of the cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, big midafternoon snack and then big dinner)

I have made use of lots of protein shakes so as to make it easy for her - at this stage she does not like the idea of eating solid foods at each meal (not used to eating 6 times a day in the first place). I am hoping to accomodate her and when she starts seeing results try and implement more solid foods.

Meal 1:

? cup oats with 2 scoops protein

Meal 2:

25 g almonds
1 scoop protein powder

Meal 3:

7 fish oil tabs

Meal 4 (if not training):

Same as meal 2

Meal 4: (if training - Post Workout)

30 g Gatorade
30 g protein
10 jellybeans (30 g carbs)

Meal 5:

Chicken breast/Mince/Steak (250 g)
Green Vegetables
5 fish oil tabs

If my calculations are correct this works out to:

Non Training Days - P - 151 g, C -74 g, F - 60 g; 1440 calories

Training Days - P - 205 g, C - 135 g, F - 61 g. 1770 calories.

I know that the jellybeans post workout are not ideal, but I am trying to accomodate her sweet tooth (which is rather viscious!)

She currently weighs 150 lbs with a goal weight of 120 lbs. Is this caloric intake too high, bearing in mind that she has a fair amount of fat mass?

Is this, coupled with a good weights and cardio program a good starting point?

Any advice or tips would be most appreciated.

Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing your response.

Hey… I wouldnt worry about the oatmeal in Meal 1. In my experiences with T-Dawg, 1/2 cup of oatmeal in the morning was fine.

As for the Protein powder, I would buy two different types. Buy something with a higher concentration of casein protein (Low-Carb Grow! is an option) and buy Whey protein for post workout (usually cheaper). Have her use the casein for meals and incorporate the whey for PW. The whey is faster disolving, thus ideal for PW.

I like to use a low-carb casein based shake as the last meal b4 I go to bed to prevent muscle loss while sleeping.

I think its great that you and your girl go to the gym together. I to am lucky to have my girl go with me. The meal plan looks great in that your easing her into eating more often and using protein powders to aid this method. I can’t tell you how hard it is to make someone eat more often that the usualy three time a day or less. I agree with Pistons137 with using the casein based protein powder, especially befor bed. It takes the body longer to break down the casein protein and hence stays with you longer that Whey isolate. A couple of JB’s articles might help with macronutrient ratios are his Solving the post work out Puzzle I and II. You could also try using some protien bars, every now then, that has chocholate in it. My Girl like these alot, because she is a carb queen.

The diet looks great and seems like it will be easy to follow and consume.

Not to jack this thread but, you guys are so lucky that you can get your girls to lift/work out with you. I have been trying to get my wife to lift and eat properly with me. Her idea of vegetables is corn and she will not even try a protein shake! Anyone have and women’s performance photos that show progress over time which may help convince her to get her to lift with me?


Yeah, I was thinking of including a chocolate protein bar twice a week after workouts. This isn’t ideal for muscle mass/ recovery but I feel that it will decrease the need for chocolate which she loves! As far as the different protein powders are concerned, i have already thought of this. I’ll have her on a protein blend the whole day and then a WPI after workouts.


On the diet mentioned above my friend lost 1 lbs in the course of 3 weeks. I removed the oats in the morning and she lost another 8 lbs over the course of 4 weeks.

She is currently 140 lbs with 35 % bf and her ultimate goal is to be 120. Weight loss has stalled for the past 3 weeks.

As per your recommendations, I have attempted to put her on a diet comprising 160 g protein, 40 g fat, 70 g carbs. This equates to about 1300 calories.

I have revised the original diet.

the revised version is outlined below:

meal 1:

40 g protein shake P - 40 g
5 fish oil tabs F - 5 g

meal 2:

100 g chicken breast P - 30g, F - 8g
portion of green beans C - 10 g
5 fish oil caps F - 5 g

meal 3:

1 can tuna P-25 g, F-3 g

huge portion of salad C - 20 g
5 fish oil caps F - 5 g

meal 4:

20 g protein shake P - 20 g
5 fish oil caps F - 5 g

meal 5:

As she still lives at home she is forced to have whatever supper her mum has cooked. Her mum knows she is is on diet and has accomodated her. this would usually be a 150 g piece of chicken/meat with a large salad.

meal 3 Typically:

45 g P
15 g C
12 g F

My first question is this - does this look like a good place to start? I know that solid foods would be better then protein powder, but this is not possible at this stage - i am more concerned about keeping her protein levels up.

my second question is that 3 times a week she will be doing weights training. She is not able to afford Surge and it it is not available in this country anyway. I have made a homemade PWO" concoction of 40g jellybeans and 30 g protein. I know this is not perfect but I hope it will
do the job AND satisfy the sweet cravings she is apt to get. So as to lose maximum weight in the shortest amount of time would it be wise to have a second PWO meal, as per your recommendations - or is it better to leave it out if maximum weight loss in a female is desired?

Thank you very much for your time TT. I look forward to hearing your response.


I forgot to mention that the toal daily calories are:

protein 160 g
carbs 45 g
fat 43 g

This equates to 1200 calories if I am not mistaken.

On days she goes to gym (3 days a week) she will have an extra 40 g carbs and 30 g protein.

this would mean that total calories increase to:

protein 190 g
carbs 85 g
fat 43 g
1480 calories.

[quote]machine514 wrote:
Anyone have and women’s performance photos that show progress over time which may help convince her to get her to lift with me?[/quote]


Jana’s results with HOT-ROX and a T-Nation workout plan were impressive.


I’m sure there are many more female success stories/photos in the archives.


Good info you provided there, canon. You’ve been quite systematic in designing your GF’s diet and in executing and tracking everything.

I’ll crunch the numbers and get back with you a little later today!

[quote]canon wrote:
I know that the jellybeans post workout are not ideal, but I am trying to accomodate her sweet tooth (which is rather viscious!)[/quote]

Anecdotal evidence- I’ve always craved sweet foods, especially things like jellybeans. At one point in time I, too, thought the perfect solution was to have just a few post-workout. The problem is that this can lead to increased cravings for sweet things, and someitmes even an all-out binge on jellybeans, gumdrops, etc. A better option may be to drop the jellybeans and stick to the chocolate protein bars for a treat once in a while. I’ve found that drinking my post-workout carbs in a shake (i.e. Surge, or whey+dextrose) works much better- I get my carbs after lifting and I’m not reminded that there is candy in the world waiting for me to eat it. :o)

All right, canon. Let’s get started. At 140 pounds and 35% BF, she’s got 91 pounds of LBM. That’s the number I’m going to be working with.

I like about 1.5g of protein per pound of LBM, and I arbitrarily pick numbers between .4 and .5g per pound of LBM for fat.

  • Daily protein requirements are 135g.

  • Protein per meal recommendations are between 20g to 25g each and every meal. Hit that number every meal. And that is based on her eating 6 meals/snacks.

  • Daily fat requirements are roughly .5g on non-workout days and .4g on workout days. That works out to 43g on non workout days and 36g on workout days.

  • Carb recommendations are the 70g you’re using on non-workout days and 110g on workout days.

Non-Workout Days
136.5g …Daily Protein Req.
43g …Daily Fat Req.
22.75g …Prot / Meal Req. (6 meals/snacks)
70g …Carb Recommendations
1213…Total Calories

Workout Days
136.5g …Daily Protein Req.
36.4g …Daily Fat Req.
22.75g …Prot / Meal Req. (6 meals/snacks)
110g …Carb Recommendations
1310g …Total Calories

Your old numbers were 1307 calories on non-workout days and 1587 on workout days.

On non-workout days all carbs should be of the green veggie, bean or fruit variety.

On workout days, PWO nutrition needs to be optimized. I’d like to see her get at least 60g of the carb calories in the meal after her workout, and they should be starchy in nature; oatmeal, sweet potatoes, yams, brown rice. There’s a window of opportunity in the hour or two PWO to preferentially refill muscle glycogen stores. The body is primed to handle carbs.

Her calories are already low. And honestly, I just don’t want to take them any lower. Nor do I want to increase activity since she’s doing some cardio already. And three days a week of resistance training is enough, too.

One of the things I might recommend is that she do a walking type of cardio instead of what she’s doing currently, but do it in the morning, right out of bed, with nothing more than a cup of green tea or coffee. It’s going to involve getting up earlier, but it will give her metabolism a nice little boost and clear out the cobwebs. Also, you’re talking about giving her metabolism a little bit of a kick in the butt at a second/different time than when she does her training – assuming she’s training in the late afternoon/evening, after work or school.

Her food choices look excellent. The one thing I would ask is what is she using for a salad dressing on her salad? What is she using for flavor and spice on her chicken breats? Is she getting any red meat or fish? Variety is terribly important. If she doesn’t get some decent tasting food, she won’t be able to last on her diet.

In fact, along those lines I’d recommend that the two of you check out John Berardi’s Gourmet Nutrition DVD. Lots of yummy recipes.

Okay, that should give you some ideas, canon. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. And please do let me know how it goes.

just a quick thank you for that detailed information TT…

I’ve been so busy at work - I’ll reply and ask a few questions as soon as I get a chance.

Thanks once again for the time and effort which you put into the response. I really appreciate it.

Just an update on the diet. Been on it a week now and so far things are looking good for my friend. She’s down another 2 lbs which is excellent and enjoying the different food choices and the inclusion of fruit. Thanks once again TT!