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Rest Day Nutrition on Best Damn Diet

Hi Coach Thibaudeau,

I’m wanting to run the “Best Damn Diet for Natural Lifters” (https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/the-best-damn-diet-for-natural-lifters) for fat loss.

I wanted to ask what your approach is for nutrition on off days from weight training? Would you change the carb intake or change the carb timing, e.g by removing the peri-workout carbohydrates?

Thank you!

Obviously not Coach but, I think you should plainly omit the peri-workout carbs to have a lower calorie intake on off-days when your goal is fat loss. If carbs help you sleep, then have some carbohydrate intake in the evening.

Don’t be surprised if you end up with a macro-split that day that’s 10-20% carbs, ~30% fat and the rest being protein. Your calories, in relation to your bodyweight for that day, will also be a lesser factor than on the other days.

Now, if you already know what your maintenance is you can cycle your calories. So, let’s say that maintenance is

2700 calories

And you weigh 190 lbs (roughly x14 lbs) and you want a deficit of 3500 calories weekly.

You’re could accomplish that by flat-out taking 500 calories out of every day or take more out of your rest days so you can have more nutrients and fuel on your training days.

Starting at 2700 and applying a 500 calorie deficit (7x500=3500) means that at 190 lbs you’d have to have a daily average intake of ~11.6x lbs

11.6 x 190 = 2204

But that means on average your daily intake should be that much. If you have four training days, and three rest days, you want to find a solution for

4A x 190 + 3B x 190 = 7 x 2200 = 15400

Which is

B≈27.0175 - 1.33333 A

So, if we want to have A=13.5 which yields 13.5 x 190 = 2565 calories on a training day that leaves ~9 x 190 = 1710 calories for rest days.

4 x 13.5 x 190 + 3 x 9 x 190 = 15390

This might seem like a lot of math but if you just flat-out neglect carb intake on rest days you’ll be in a decent ball-park more often than not. In my experience.

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It depends on your goal.

If your priority is fat loss, keep the meals the same but drop the workout nutrition (which will lower carbs and calories)… I’d likely add a scoop of protein to keep protein level up.

If your main goal is gaining muscle and strength, I would add a meal in place of the workout nutrition with similar nutrients distribution but from solid food. Calories and carbs stay the same, energy expenditure goes down which will facilitate recovery.


Thank you for sharing your knowledge