T Nation

Diet Critique

Posted this over on the Supplements and Nutrition board, but got no replies, figured I’d throw it out here, even though I wouldn’t say I’m a beginner, been lifting six-seven years, lifting smart about four:

Since January I’ve been following this diet just about every single day. Looking to put on muscle, without the fat, but not in a true bulking phase I guess, since my main goal is strength, and an ankle injury is keeping me away from squats and DLs much of the time, both big mass builders. Anyhow, I get five meals a day, once in a while six, very rarely only four. Daily diet looks like this:

Can of tuna fish
Chunk (3 sq. inches or so) of cheddar cheese
Chicken breast (100 grams)
Small bag of vegetables

3 chicken breasts (350-400 grams) or equivalent amount of turkey steak, or occasionally ground beef or steak
2 slices wholemeal or other wheat bread
Pint of milk
Small bag of carrots, beans, or broccoli

Met-Rx shake with banana, pint of milk, some water

100 grams almonds or walnuts

2 scoops Low-Carb Grow! with tablespoon flax seed oil, 2 tablespoons extra virgin oil, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
(Right before bed, post-ZMA)

Sometimes a clean restaurant meal or something else will sub in for the tuna fish meal, but otherwise this stays pretty constant, with just changes to which vegetables or meat is eaten. I also try to drink four liters of water a day (probably get closer to three though). Total breakdown is about:
Calories: 3600
Protein: 310 Grams
Carbs: 195 Grams
Fat: 172.5 Grams

This may seem kind of rigid, but I think I need that, something that makes meal planning and grocery shopping simple, and has a few portable meals (shakes and nuts). I put weight on pretty quickly at first, seems to have slowed a bit though, and that’s not the only goal. I’m tempted to cut back on the milk, but it’s been a quick and cheap protein source for me for years. Think I’m taking in too much fat? I don’t like eggs, and I can’t seem to get cottage cheese where I am now (England). Oh, and I’m 6’, 200, with bodyfat around 12%, maybe a little bit higher. Thoughts, critiques, advice?

I took a quick look at your totals and here’s what might help you.

You’re looking to put on weight-clean weight-but you’re not taking in enough carbs. Maybe tweak your carb/fat totals or just consume the extra calories for a good burst. Get your carbs up to 1.5g/lb and you should see a gain.

And obviously you would gain with a calorie increase of aprox. 400 calories, but I like the idea of you getting those cals from carbs. The good ones! Complex, whole grain, from the Earth.

Use the extra carbs to up the intensity of your workouts. Guaranteed to put on a little clean healthy weight.

Some thoughts:

  1. How has the diet been working? You’ve been on it for 3 months or so, right?
  2. You need more carbs at breakfast for sure.
  3. Better PWO meal - yours isn’t bad, but could be better. Try Surge if you can… if not, add more simple carbs to your current PWO meal.
  4. More carbs at your second meal post-workout.
  5. I see your snack/meal following your PWO meal is nuts and a pear without a protein source… fix that…make it a protein/carb meal, preferably whey at this meal.
  6. Also, take a look at your training program - remember it has to be on track too.
  7. Overall, it looks pretty good though - if you’re not gaining strength and mass add calories and see what happens over the next month.

Hope this helps bro.

Sasquatch, thanks for the advice, I may add a little more in the way of carbs, just two problems:

  1. I’m not in a real bulking phase, as I said, because of the absence/infrequence of squats and deads from my program, which I feel are pretty essential for putting on much muscle. Gonna give front squats a shot tomorrow though for the first time in ages, that might work for me while my back gets figured out.
  2. I’m wary of putting on a ton of a mass in a hurry, not because I’m one of the countless metrosexuals trying to be 175 with a six pack, but because I need to get/be in good cardiovascular shape in the not-too distant future, I’m 200 right now, and at much over 210-215 I’m worried that’ll suffer.

Jeff, thanks for the advice, I see where you’re coming from on most of that stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t really think Surge is an option for me right now, I’m overseas and can afford some Biotest stuff, but forced to choose between Surge and Low-Carb Grow!, I’m gonna go with Grow!, especially since it’s a perfect pre-bed meal. That being said, I’ve never used Surge for any real length of time, and look forward to really giving it a shot in the future.

You think I should be getting in more carbs post-workout, given what I have to work with? By my math I’m getting fifty grams of mostly complex sugars (milk, Met-RX, banana). It’s about equal to the protein there. Could toss in some honey, think that’s smart?

I should try to get more carbs at breakfast, no doubt, and when I can the bigger meal (meat, bread, milk, fruits and veggies) is my first one of the day. On non-training days, the Met-Rx meal is breakfast.

As for the post-post-workout meal, that’s kind of an issue of convenience/necessity. I remember reading Waterbury saying that if you follow the post-workout shake with a meal an hour later, you can gorge yourself on carbs and some protein and nothing but good will come of it. But often, I simply can’t fit in an extra meal in that one hour window, so I tend to just treat it as a regular P + F meal (try to follow Berardi’s guidelines there, more or less). Plus, I generally lift in the early evening, so I’m not too keen on two carb-packed meals at night.

As for training, I just started a 5-4-3-2-1 program based around bench and hopefully squats and DLs eventually, which was something I had a lot of success with about a year ago. About 75-80 minutes to do the workout, not too much isolation stuff, four days a week.

Thanks for the help, and let me know if you have any thoughts on any of this.


Only do the extra carbs on training days. This might save you 4-800c a week. Again, the expectation is you want to gain lbm, this will require extra effort in the gym. This will gain better results given the extra cals.

Perfect for aerobic conditioning as well. I don’t know what you’re training for, but again, the extra cals. especially from complex-clean carbs will be put to great use.


ps…You can still put on some serious muscle without deads and squats. Do what you can,
don’t worry about what you can’t

Yeah, good points, thanks.