Diet for “Get Lean for Summer Program”

Hi, Coach. Quick question: what dietary protocol would you follow for the new get lean program? Especially as a type 3? I do enjoy carbs but understand if I wanna see drastic changes I might have to greatly cut those, I’m thinking less than 100 carbs on conditioning days? Appreciate anything insight.

You don’t need to drastically cut carbs.

Well, let me rephrase that. You do need to reduce overall caloric intake, which likely means that carbs will go down (because you don’t want to decrease protein). But you don’t need to go “low carbs”, especially as a type 3.

Here’s something that might help:

While you can find complex formulas to evaluate how much calories you need to ingest per day, I believe that it’s enough to be in the right ballpark because you’ll still need to adjust your intake weekly or bi-weekly and even the most precise scientific formula will, at best be an estimation that can’t account for individual differences and every daily energy expenditure.

Step.1 Basic caloric level

The first thing to do is use a multiplier to determine your basic caloric intake.

We will start with a multiplier of 16 if your main goal is muscle growth and of 12 if it is fat loss. Body recomposition (losing fat and building muscle at the same time) is a much more complex issue, that I rarely recommend as it’s very hard and inefficient to do and should be reserved to those who already have a achieved a physique that is very close to their ultimate goal.

What you do is take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by the multiplier. For example if you are 200lbs and your goal is muscle growth your initial caloric level is 200 x 16 = 3200 kcals/day.

Step 2. Adjust based on activity level

Now we will adjust your base caloric intake to account for daily physical activity. I do this a bit differently than some as I do not fact in the training session. What interests me is how physically active you are throughout your days, on average.

For example, if you work a desk job and use a car or public transport for most of your travels, you would have a low level of physical activity.

If you have a job/occupation that includes some physical activity and that you do walk more throughout the day you would have a moderate level of physical activity.

If you have a physical job and or walk all day long, then you would have a high level of physical activity.

Basically, the more you move, the greater your physical activity level is.

When you have decided where you stand, use the proper multiplier.

Low level = 1.0
Moderate level = 1.2
High level = 1.4

And apply this multiplier to the caloric intake you found on step one.

In our example we found a intake of 3200 kcals/day. Let’s say that your activity level is moderate, you would go up to: 3200 x 1.2 = 3840 kcals

Step 3. Account for previous dieting “mode”

Another thing that influences where your starting calories should be is how much you’ve been eating previously.

If you haven’t measured your intake what I recommend doing is eating like your normally do for 3 days, write down everything you eat (portions included) and calculate your average daily caloric intake over those 3 days. It is important that you keep eating exactly like you normally would, don’t make an effort to eat better or less than usual otherwise it defeats the purpose.

If you’ve been consuming a deficit for a decent amount of time, your body has likely adjusted and lowered its energy expenditure. The longer and stricter you’ve been dieting, the less calories you should start with.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have been consuming a large surplus your body has probably also adapted and sped up its metabolic rate a bit. So you might need more calories.

What I recommend doing is looking at the number you got from step 2 (3840 kcals in our example) and compare that to your daily average.

If your average is a lot lower (1000 kcals less or more) your multiplier is 0.8
If your average is a bit lower (200 – 900 kcals less) your multiplier is 0.9
If your average is about the same (100 kcals less up to 200 kcals more) your multiplier is 1.0
If your average is a bit higher (200 – 900 kcals more) your multiplier is 1.1
If your average is a lot higher (1000 kcals or more) your multiplier is 1.2

So. let’s say that you’ve been dieting for a while and your intake is a lot lower than your step 2 recommendation. Your multiplier is 0.8, and in our example the daily intake would be: 3840 x 0.8 = 3072 kcals/day.

The caloric intake you get at the end of this step is where you should start.


Step 1. How much protein to ingest.

Now that we have the amount of calories you should consume daily, we will find out how much protein you need.

This is the simplest part of the diet and also the only one that doesn’t change significantly during (unless you gain 10lbs+ of muscle, we’ll get to that later).

We will simply use a number of grams per pound of body weight.

If you are a man, it should range between 1.0 and 1.25g per pound of body weight. Women would be between 0.8 and 1.0g.

I personally recommend going toward the higher end when you are trying to lose fat and toward the lower end when trying to build muscle. It might sound contradictory, but the fact is that being in a caloric surplus is protein-sparring. Which means that you won’t be using protein for fuel and more of it will be used to build muscle. When you are dieting there is a greater than of using some of the protein you consume and turn it into glucose for energy. So you need to consume a bit more.

If you are using anabolics, your body has an enhanced capacity to use protein to build muscle so you can go up to 1.5g/pound.

Step 2. Establishing the caloric intake coming from protein

Once you selected your protein amount you calculate how many calories it gives you.

Let’s keep out example from above, our 200lbs individual, on a masse gaining phase ingesting 3072 kcals/day.

Let’s set his protein intake at 200g/day.

200g of protein is 800 kcals.


Step 1. Calculate the caloric intake to be attributed to carbs and fats

Ok, now we have the following information:

  1. Total daily caloric intake
  2. Daily protein intake
  3. Daily caloric intake from protein

Our next step is to calculate how many calories we have left in the form of carbs and fats. This is very simple since we simply subtract the protein calories from the total calories.

Let’s use our example of a 3072 kcals intake per day with 800 kcals coming from protein.

3072 – 800 -= 2272 kcals per day in the form of carbs or fats.

Step 2. Select the proportion of carbs and fats

The “energetic dominance” of the diet will depends on two main factors:

  1. Main goal
  2. Stress level

The more muscle-growth focused you are, the more carbs-dominant you want your diet to be. The reason is that a higher carbohydrate intake favors muscle growth by:

• Lowering cortisol levels (a catabolic hormone)
• Increasing mTOR levels (which increase protein synthesis)
• Increasing IGF-1 levels (an anabolic hormone)
• Increasing insulin levels (an anabolic hormone)

If you are more focused on fat loss you could move more toward a fat-dominant energy intake.

The higher your stress levels are, the more carbs you will want in your diet. That’s because carbs help lower cortisol, the main stress hormone. Furthermore, you will want more carbs post-workout and, in the evening, to lower cortisol and adrenaline when you want to relax your brain.

The less stress you have in your life, the more you can afford to cut carbs.

My recommendations are as follow:

Note: the percentages are of the remaining caloric intake (when protein calories are removed from the total intake).

Main goal is muscle gain with a high stress level: 80% carbs / 20% fats
Main goal is muscle gain with a low stress level: 70% carbs / 30% fats
Main goal is fat loss with a high stress level: 50% carbs / 50% fats
Main goal is fat loss with a low stress level: 20-30% carbs / 70-80% fats

Note: I sometimes use a keto phase in some specific circumstances. But it is not normally my favored approach.

Let’s say that in our example, our 200lbs dude’s main goal is muscle growth and he has a high stress level.

That will give him a 80/20 carbs/fat ratio.

Step 3. Calculating carbs and fats

Now that we have the proportion of carbs and fats we can calculate how many calories and grams you should get from carbs and fats.

You simple multiply the caloric intake from carbs and fat (step 1) by the percentage for each nutriment based on the approach you selected.

Let’s use our example again.

Our friend has 2272 kcals to allocate to carbs and fats.

80% of those calories are from carbs and 20% from fats.

2272 x 80% = 1817 kcals from carbs
2272 x 20% = 455 kcals from fats

Since 1g of carbs = 4 kcals and 1g of fat = 9 kcals we can now calculate how much gram of each we want.

Kcals from carbs / 4 = grams of carbs
Kcals from fats / 9 = grams of fat

In our example…

1817 / 4 = 454g of carbs per day
455 / 9 = 50g of fats per day


And then the key becomes adjusting caloric intake weekly based on progression:


The key to reaching your body composition goal is not starting with the proper diet but the weekly adjustments that you make.

If you start with a diet that has too many or too few calories to start with, that will not cause a big issue as long as protein level is adequate and that you do make weekly assessment to see if you need to increase, lower or maintain food intake.

Let’s look at some examples.

You are on a fat loss phase and select a diet that is a tad too low in calories. As a result, you lose “too much” weight; you lose 5lbs in the first week. If you keep that pace, you will quickly begin to lose muscle, have zero energy, sleep poorly and have huge cravings. But in one week none of that will happen and there will be no harm done provided that you adjust your caloric intake to reach a more sustainable loss of 2-3lbs per week.

The opposite could also happen; you are in a fat loss phase and despite selecting a caloric intake that should represent a deficit, you do not lose any weight, or a minimal amount (1lb or less). You simply have to lower your caloric intake the next week. The only thing you did was have one week where you didn’t lose much fat, but in the grand scheme of things it will not prevent you from achieving your goal if you make the proper adjustments.

The same thing could be said if your goal is muscle growth. If you gain weight too fast, something like 3-4lbs in a week, a significant part of it is likely fat because under normal but ideal circumstances, the average male can build around 0.5lbs of muscle per week which can come with a bit more in term of water and stored glycogen. Normally, a natural individual shooting for maximum muscle growth will have to accept some fat gain while adding muscle so a weekly increase of 1-2lbs is acceptable (a bit less for women) but if you are significantly above that you might need to lower calories a bit.

Just like if your fail to increase your weight, you will have to increase calories if you want to gain optimally.

That’s why it is important to measure your food if you want to have the best chance of reaching your goal: it’s hard to make adjustments to your intake when you don’t know what your intake is!

Not to mention that the caloric intake that worked in the beginning will eventually not work anymore. Why? Two main reasons:

  1. As you lose fat your body has less mass to carry around. Having less mass to carry around diminishes the amount of fuel you need to carry your body. This means a lowered caloric expenditure for the same activity level.

  2. There are metabolic adaptations that adjust your body to a certain level of nutrients intake if it is fairly constant.

And the same can be said about muscle growth: as you put on muscle mass (and maybe some fat along with it) your energy expenditure increases; you need fuel just to support the added muscle mass as well as to carry the added body weight around.

As a result, a caloric intake that might be perfect at the beginning of your plan might become inadequate after a few weeks. Hence the need for monitoring and adjustments.

Important: I highly recommend using a nutrition tracking app or software like MyFitnessPal. You simply need to enter your foods and amounts, and it calculates everything.


Important: When starting a fat loss diet, do not assess and adjust after the first week. It is not unusual to drop a large amount of weight in the first week of a diet, especially if you have been eating poorly beforehand. This is due to dropping a lot of water (either from less glycogen storage, reduction in systemic inflammation, sodium reduction or protein increase). Unless you drop a stupid amount like 10lbs in that first week, wait after the second week to make adjustments. Obviously if you do not drop any weight in the first week, do adjust downward on week 2.

While how much fat you can lose weekly will vary depending on your size and how much fat you are starting with (a 110lbs woman with 15% body fat will have a lot less fat to lose than a 350lbs man with 35% body fat, so she cannot lose as much on a weekly basis) the 2lbs per week is pretty well accepted and adequate for everybody but the outliers.

As such we will consider a weekly loss of 1.5 to 3lbs to be acceptable. If you lose that in your week, maintain the same food intake for the next week.

Let’s look at the table for the proper adjustments:

Body weight changes in the past 7 days Caloric adjustments
Losing more than 4.1lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 2*
Losing 3.1-4lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 1
Losing 1.5 – 3lbs Stay the same
Losing 0 – 1.4lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 1
Gaining 0.1 to 1.5lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 1.5
Gaining more than 1.6lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 2

Important: A “factor of” refers to your bodyweight multiplied by the factor mentioned. For example, if you are 200lbs and need to decrease calories by a factor of 2 it is BODYWEIGHT X 2 or 200.x 2. This would mean lowering your daily caloric intake by 400 calories.

Where should the calories come from?

The most important thing is NOT to lower protein intake.

Since most fat sources also have a significant amount of protein the easiest thing to do is to lower or increase carbs to make adjustments.

You CAN lower (or increase) fats but be careful to adjust protein (by using a pure protein source like whey protein) to compensate for any loss in daily protein.


You can walk a fine line and try to gain a significant amount of muscle with not fat loss, or very little. For most people I honestly do not recommend trying to gain a significant amount of muscle while losing a significant amount of fat at the same time.

This would mean a weekly weight gain of around 0.5 to 0.75lbs for men and 0.3 to 0.5 for women.

Because of daily fluctuations in body weight it is impractical to assess your progress weekly. Or at least to adjust calories weekly. A 0.5lbs gain in muscle could easily be offset by holding less water or glycogen (among other things).

I still recommend weighing yourself weekly, but only make adjustments if there is something obvious going on (like losing a good amount of weight or gaining way too much).

I recommend making adjustments in caloric intake every 2 weeks. Shooting for a body weight increase of 1 – 1.5lbs every two weeks for men and 0.75 – 1lbs for women.

Body weight changes in the past 14 days Caloric adjustments
Losing more than 1.5lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 3
Losing 0.1 – 1.5lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 2
Gaining 0 – 1lb Increase caloric intake by a factor of 1
Gaining 1.1 – 3lbs Stay the same
Gaining more than 3lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 1

Body weight changes in the past 14 days Caloric adjustments
Losing more than 1.1lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 3
Losing 0.1 – 1lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 2
Gaining 0 – 0.5lb Increase caloric intake by a factor of 1
Gaining 0.51 – 2lbs Stay the same
Gaining more than 2lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 1

Where should the caloric come from?

It is my belief that provided that protein is already sufficient (1 to 1.25g per pound of body weight) the best nutrients to push up to increase caloric intake are carbs.

The reason is that increasing carbs will increase insulin, IGF-1 and mTOR which are all anabolic and play a key role in muscle growth. Increasing fats will give you the caloric increase to add weight but without the same increase in anabolic hormones/enzymes.


Those who want to maximize the amount of muscle they gain will have to accept adding some fat in the process. It is not unusual for natural lifters to have to gain the same amount of muscle and fat in the process.

That’s because consuming more food, especially protein and carbohydrates facilitates muscle growth.

As we saw earlier, eating more carbs leads to a higher level of anabolic hormones which will help you build more muscle.

The side effect of consuming enough food to maximize those hormone naturally is adding some fat because of the high energy surplus.

Everybody who has put on a lot of muscle has gone through this process.

What I recommend if you decide to go that route is to be sure that you will be capable of dieting the fat off afterwards. A lot of people just keep on adding fat and muscle without ever taking some time to drop the fat they added in the process. And while they end up big and strong, it might not fit your physique goal.

Those who engage on that route normally are not as regimented with their diet. They simply make sure that they eat enough protein and food to have their weight go up significantly.
But if you decide to follow a stricter, more structured dietary approach to maximum muscle growth, here is the table to follow for bi-weekly adjustments.

Body weight changes in the past 14 days Caloric adjustments
Losing weight (which should never happen) Increase caloric intake by a factor of 3
Gaining 0.1 – 1lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 2
Gaining 1.1-3lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 1
Gaining 3.1-5lbs Stay the same
Gaining more than 5lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 1

Body weight changes in the past 14 days Caloric adjustments
Losing weight (which should never happen) Increase caloric intake by a factor of 3
Gaining 0.1 – 0.75lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 2
Gaining 1-2lbs Increase caloric intake by a factor of 1
Gaining 2.1-3lbs Stay the same
Gaining more than 3lbs Decrease caloric intake by a factor of 1


This is fantastic. Thank you so much, Coach. I do have a physical job—lots of walking. Was always curious as how to adjust for those days I do work. Wonderful stuff. Truly appreciated.

Maybe stupid question, but would you use one day in week as fasting day during lean mass/MAXIMUM MUSCLE ADJUSTMENTS? For health beneficial (insulin) etc?
Or its better 100% focus for 8-12 weeks for gaining and then 2-4 weeks mini cut, Repeat the process (once a year get ripped).

CT, I’ve always see everyone saying “don’t touch the protein” when adjust calories on a cutting, but what if someone lost like 35 to 40 pounds after a couples of months? The protein intake % would be huge compared to the start, should he adjust it to his current weight or keep it the same until the end of his cutting?

In reality protein intake should really be adjusted to lean body mass. And the amount of protein you ingest has to be adjusted based on your muscle mass. The reason why I (and tons of others) say to not lower protein while dieting down is that if you do your job right you should not lose any muscle while dieting and if you don’t lose muscle, you don’t decrease protein intake.