T Nation

Need Diet Strategy Advice


My goals are currently to improve my muscular endurance and 3 mile run time, and to do that I think I need to get leaner. I'm currently 6'1", 190 lbs, 15% body fat, and would like to cut down to 178 to get to 10% body fat.

Because I will be pushing myself with a running program that will include some form of long distance runs (>3 miles), HIIT for 20-30 minuets, circuits of 200m, 400m or 800m sprints, or a 3 mile run test for 5 days a week, as well as following Chad Waterbury's fat-loss oriented strength program "Big boy basics" which is a 4 day upper/lower split alternating 8X3 and 3X8 set-rep schemes, I'm not sure how aggressive I should be about my calorie deficit each day or if I should do a keto-type diet or go with some sort of carb cycling plan.

My weekly running/lifting program will look something like this:

Monday: upper; 3 mile test
Tuesday: lower; 200m, 400m, or 800m sprints
Wednesday: distance
Thursday: upper; HIIT
Friday: lower; no running
Saturday: distance
Sunday: off

I started today on a borderline-keto diet today. I'm starting the new strength program tomorrow, and my HIIT today (Thursday) was a 2.5 mile run while sprinting the straightaways and jogging the curves.

Here is my diet for today, which would be a low carb day:
Cals/fat (g)/carbs (g)/protein (g)
7 AM: 4 eggs (425/37.6/2.5/18.4) 1 tblspn of Newman's salsa (19/0.1/4.4/1.1) 3 oz of blueberries (48/0.3/12.3/0.6)

10 AM: 1.5 scoops of ON Casein (165/0.8/4.5/36)

1 PM: 200g of grilled chicken breast (391/15.4/0/59.1) 150 grams of broccoli (81/4/10.5/3.5)

5 PM: 175g of ground turkey (261/14.5/0/30.6) 75g of lettuce (11/0.1/2.2/0.7) 1 tblspn of extra virgin olive oil (119/13.5/0/0) 1 tblspn of ketchup (15/0/3.8/0.3) 1 tblspn of relish (19/0.1/5.2/0.1)

8:30 PM: 2 scoops of ON Casein (220/1/6/48) 8 Berkley & Jensen extra strength fish oil caps (100/10/0/0)

Totals: (1874 cal/97.4 fat (g)/51.3 carbs (g)/199.9 protein (g))
(46% fat, 44% protein, 10% carbs)

After strength workouts, I take Gaspari Myofusion and 5g of creatine mono. I also take Xtend as my source of BCAAs before and after runs or some other time on a non-running day, as well as Biotest Superfood (once I get it next Monday) and Spike pre-workout.

I would appreciate thoughts on my low carb diet for today as well as carb cycling or any other suggestions for the rest of the week. Thanks.


It looks really good. I’m at 180 cutting down to 168 (well 174 now), and on lifting days I allow myself 2000kcal and max of 120g carbs, non workout days its 1400/50g. It’s worked wonders–your numbers seem spot on.

I’d say just from what I’ve learned do your lifting before the runs, and run without consuming any calories between the workout and the runs. That should put you in a depleted state and help you burn extra fat of course. A few things other notes:

A) spread your protein and calories throughout the day

B) never “spend” too many calories too early, as its impossible to go to sleep really hungry

C) I personally believe that you need carbs right after your workout. It hasn’t negatively effected my fat loss at all, but I believe you’ll be AMAZED at your energy levels if you’re cutting calories AND carbs that much (especially after the first few days). 20-30 minutes of HIIT with less than 100g of carbs on a given day is really hellish–and your performance WILL suffer (though the Biotest Spike will help).

D) obviously, if you do up your carbs keep them to oats in the morning and something such as surge or a little pasta/rice after some more intense workouts (for me it’s 50g carbs after the 2 hour lifting+HIIT sessions/lactic acid training)

Good luck, hope this was helpful. You seem very well prepared, best of luck.


One little thing I noticed is that you’re taking 8 fish oil caps, which you’ll probably need twice a day. I’d recommend looking at some Flameout. It’s really REALLY concentrated fish oil with some other really good stuff in there, and with the insane amount of usual fish oil that you have to take, you’ll probably end up saving money.

I used to plow through a 150 softgel bottle of fish oil in a little over a week, and it got pricey constantly having to buy it.

I’ll definitely agree that you should lift before you run. I sure can’t lift as well if I do cardio first, and I recall Cosgrove saying that lifting then cardio is the way to go.

I’ve read similar things about Malone’s point C. If I remember correctly, getting some healthy carbs in your system with some protein right after a lift helps elicit an insulin response, and thus helps get the protein around your system faster and more efficiently.

I’ll definitely agree with Malone’s last line - you’re really prepared, and that’s going to help a hell of a lot. Good luck man!


Yesterday I felt fine since it was only the first day of the diet, but now I think it would be a good idea to add some carbs for my first meal and post workout. Maybe 20 grams of oats in the morning and the same amount of brown rice for my first meal after my workout, and stick to this diet on Saturdays (distance only) and Sundays?

I hate low carb diets anyway and prefer having balanced macros, after about 4 days I start feeling hungry and tired all the time. I would be willing to suck it up for the 5-6 weeks it would take for me to cut, but my performance probably would suffer big time and the extra carbs would only take about 200 cals away from my daily deficit. My post workout shake also has about 250 calories of mostly protein.

I definitely know better than to eat between my weight room and running workouts, since my body totally cools off and tightens up once I down my post workout shake, and I’ll try to split up the fish oil to 4 caps mid afternoon and 4 before bed. If you trust the labels, the difference between Flameout and my generic brand of fish oil is marginal and I can get it for dirt cheap at BJ’s.

Thanks for the support.