T Nation

Calorie Intake Advice



how yaz goin! Been a member for sometime now and this is my first post.

Aint gonna waste ne time. I understand the basics when it comes to nutrition and mass gaining but one question that a friend has asked me which has stumped me;

'if' ur trying to add mass and you train say 4 days a week and your caloric intake is set in a surplus, on your days off should you cut down the calories to suit your Daily Energy Expenditure (DEE) for your day off. OR do you continue in surplus?

Additionally is it the same principle for fat loss? (i.e. Do you reduce your calorie intake based on your minimised energy expenditure?)

Your help is much appreciated peepz. thanks


Any one?


I would initially start off by having my "off" days with lower calories. It just makes sense that you are expending less energy and should be eating less calories. However, the body doesn't necessarily work on a 24 hour clock like we would like it too and may be still expending extra calories on our "off" days for recovery ect...

Personally, I would start with a lowered calorie "off" day and see what happens. If I found it hard to make progress on the scale every month or in the gym I would maybe bump up my off day calories or maybe even just increase my training day calories. Questions like these are the ones with answers like: Trial and error is the best option. Tell your friend to try some stuff and figure it out. Nothing beats actually "knowing" what your body will do when you do a certain dietary approach through experimentation. This will always beat "knowing" what your body will do because you just read stuff off the internet.


Yeah fundamentally you need lots of food both days. So, eat lots. No need to overcomplicate it.



I believe your a big proponent of Lyle McDonald. I'm interested in reading some of his stuff. Is there one 'best book' you'd recommend as oppossed to having to track down multiple titles?

Cheers mate



I'd vote for the Ultimate Diet 2.0, lots of great nutritional information. Honestly, you'll end up reading all of his articles posted on his site afterwards, lol!


When I get back into mass gain I'm planning on keeping calories constant but instead manipulating my macros - just one or two P+C in the morning and the rest P+F meals.


This is just what I've done.

I keep calories constant no matter "on" or "off", but the weekends I don't track calories and would assume that I eat near maintenance.


Depends on whether you're looking to bulk up or cut down. I think the UD 2.0 has lots of great knowledge in it about hormones, glycogen depletion/replenishment, fat and carbohydrate metabolism ect. However, for some reason I like The Guide to Flexible Dieting. Its more of a guideline to how to adjust your dieting behaviors/implement refeeds. If you're into ketogenic diets, then I recommend the Ketogenic Diet. I'm sorry I couldn't be more specific, it really depends on what you're looking for.


All of Lyle's books are great. The only one I haven't read is The Protein Book, but I'm ordering it this week.


How's the stubborn fat loss solution? Seems like yohimbe is the answer for everything in that circumstance...


Thanks peepz for the reply. much appreciated.