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Trying to Get Diet Right: Typical Day


My results in the gym have been lackluster and I’m noticing that my diet has always been weak. I’m trying to fix that. For instance, before I rarely hit the 1g protein per lb. From now on I’m going to make sure I’m getting in a good amount of protein.

Below is what I’ve started to eat on a typical day. Before, I was eating something similar, but I was getting in less protein, like 110-125 g a day. Now I’m getting in around 155g, which is same as my weight. I’m also eating less carbs now.

9:00 am: Breakfast Burrito
1 whole egg
1/3 c egg whites
1/3 dry pressed cottage cheese
1 Ancient Grain Tortilla Wrap (10 in)
A bit of avocado/salsa
1/4 c cheddar cheese

Calories: 484, Fat: 22g, Carbs: 36g, Protein: 40g

12:00 pm: Skyr Snack
1 c Skyr
1/4 c Raw Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
Handful of Berries

Calories: 384, Fat: 17g, Carbs: 20g, Protein: 40g

4:00 pm: Blueberry Protein Smoothie
1 c blueberries
1 banana
2 c chopped kale
1 c milk
1 scoop protein powder
1/4 avocado
1 tbsp chia seeds

Calories: 612, Fat: 18g, Carbs: 79g, Protein: 42g

7:00 pm: Workout

8:30 pm: Tempeh Stir-Fry
1 1/2 c brown rice
125g Tempeh
1 c Veggie Stirfry

Calories: 627, Fat: 12g, Carbs: 97g, Protein: 36g

Total Macros:
Calories: 2210, Fat: 69g (29%), Carbs: 231g (42%), Protein: 157g (29%)

I’m currently fluctuating around 155 lbs at 5’6". I’ve been at this weight for a while now, but I believe I’ve shifted more of into muscle and less fat, but that’s been a slow process and not happy with the pace it’s going at. I think I’m around 14% body fat, but that’s a guess.

My first milestone would be to get to 160 lbs with the same body fat percentage. Is the above diet okay? What should I do to hit my first milestone of 160 lbs with same body fat.


Are you a vegetarian?

(it’s fine if you are, just asking, because that’ll be important to guide whatever advice you’re given…I am guessing that you are by the absence of meat and the presence of tempeh)


I’m semi-vegetarian. I eat meat on occasion. I didn’t include it, because it’s not typically what I eat on any given day. When I do eat meat, it’s usually tuna or sardines. I plan to start eating scallops. When I go out to eat I usually order something with meat in it.

On Wednesdays I do a semi-fast. I don’t eat anything after noon time until the next day.

I’ve been at my current weight for a long time. I did get up to around 160 lbs about six months ago, but I felt it was more fat than muscle, so I dieted back down to 155 lbs. Since then I’ve undergone a bit of a body recomposition. My waist has gotten smaller and my lifts have gone up a bit. However, progress just goes too slowly doing a body recomp.

I don’t seem to know how to increase my body weight without adding too much fat (I’m guessing this is a common problem). That’s the part I can’t figure out. My guess is that I ate too many carbs in the past and not enough protein. I’m trying to correct that and get some feedback on what I’m doing wrong.


Looks like you are on the right track to me in regard to increasing the protein. Maybe even getting a little more meat in, even if its just some tuna every second day. I would try your new eating plan for 2-3 weeks and then re-asses, but I would be considering bumping up the calories a little more.

What is your training program like?

At 160 lbs, I probably would not advocate fasting. Do you fast for health reasons?

Uncle Bird.



In terms of training, I’m doing 5/3/1.

I just weighed myself this morning and I’m actually closer to 150 lbs at the moment. The past month and a bit I’ve stopped with the junk food and it’s causing me to lose a lot of weight, but a lot of it was fat anyways. On the plus side, my strength has stayed about the same and even a increased a bit.

The fasting is part of a Buddhist practice. Once a week I take a certain set of precepts and one of them involves not eating after noon on that particular day.

I know I need to up my calories. I’m just wondering with what. I plan to eat more sweet potatos and yes, I could incorporate some more meat, I suppose.


I’m certainly respectful of a desire to remain vegetarian for whatever reasons you may have (although IMO those who insist they’re doing it for health reasons are misguided, and even those who insist on it for ethical or “it’s better for the Earth” reasons are on questionable ground as well). So if adding meat is against your personal compass for any reason, then a different solution will be necessary.

However, the obvious answer after looking at your diet would be adding some quality protein. Not necessarily adding a pound of meat at every meal, but that dinner would look a whole lot better with 4-6 ounces (100-150 grams, I suppose) of good-quality grass fed beef / pasture-raised chicken / wild-caught salmon / whatever meat you find the most palatable.

I also would probably just eat 3 whole eggs in that morning burrito instead of 1 egg and 1/3 cup of egg whites. That’s a pretty minor change, though.


Okay, I’ll try adding in meat on days I workout for a month and see how it goes. Do you think buying organic meat at Costco is a bad idea or should I buy from something more local… Like those stores dedicated to organic food.


Buying directly from a local farmer would probably be best - sometimes you can get really great deals, and you should be able to get reasonable assurances about their farming practices. If that’s not practical, and you can stomach the price, you can order from U.S. Wellness Meats and get meat shipped to your door (frozen on dry ice). They have some pretty good volume discounts. I just place a big order every couple of months and fill my freezer…I’ve been very pleased with their 6oz tri-tip steaks, which could be the perfect portion size for you. Order like 40 of those, put’em in the freezer, and you’ll have your beef for a couple of months.


Thanks for the advice. I’m from Canada and our dollar sucks at the moment. Unfortunately, I’ve stopped ordering stuff from the US for that reason, but when we were close to par I was having a good time doing US shopping.

I’m willing to eat meat for a bit and see how it effects my performance. I might try afterwards for a month to lowering the meat back to my usual levels and see how my performance is, while keeping my protein levels the same. If I perform just as well without the meat, but protein levels are high then I’m probably going to lean more towards the vegetarian diet. We’ll see.

BTW I’m also taking creatine due to the lack of meat in my diet. I think it’s more important for someone like me to take it.


I have a follow up question. I’ve been using one of those food tracker apps and it seems like I’m hitting the 1g/lb pretty easily. However, once I’ve reached my protein goal what do you recommend I fill out the rest of my calories with? Can it just be an equal split between carbs and fat or can it be mostly carbs as long as they are clean sources?


I’m three weeks in and just finished my first cycle of 5/3/1 Hardgainers program. My calories averaged around 2400 for the first two weeks and were around 2500 for the last week. My weight is now 152 lbs, so I’ve lost weight since I posted this a month ago. It seems like I’ve mostly lost fat, since my lifts have been fine and keep going up. However, it is only my first cycle, so it’s not really heavy yet.

I’m thinking of upping the calories to just 2600. If I can stay at my current weight or increase it a bit, but keep the lifts going up I don’t mind that so much. I’d rather wait for my lifts to start stalling before I add a significant increase to my calories (i.e. 250-500 calories). Is this a good approach?


In thr famous words of Dan John: Your goal is to keep your goal the goal. And it’s generally better to be proactive rather than reactive and adjust before you are forced to.


Wise words. Yes, at the current rate my weight isn’t going to move upwards. At least I’ve figured out what my maintenance is. I’ll increase the calories and hopefully the scale starts to move a bit.



In terms of gaining muscle on a semi-vegetarian diet, it can certainly be done. I’ve gone from 135lbs to 170lbs over the past 6 months and I haven’t eaten meat or dairy in years. I do eat eggs on a regular basis, but other than that, I stick to plant-based whole foods (Personal preference. Nothing more, nothing less) – and a lot of it. My wife still laughs and shakes her head when I get up from the dinner table and stumble into the kitchen in agony, only to come back with another full plate of food. I keep a log here on this site. I don’t talk about food there because I don’t want my personal diet to become a gimmick or overshadow what’s important (it’s frustrating how so many non-meat eaters turn their diet views into a creepy sort of religion, where they try and get as many meat eaters as possible to “better themselves” by abandoning meat.), but if you have any questions in that realm, feel free to ask. I’ve posted a few before/after pics in the log and I haven’t gotten fat (at least I don’t think I have, haha).

Anyway, I wouldn’t worry so much about counting calories unless you’re afraid you’re not getting enough. After reading this thread, it seems like you’re counting calories as a way to limit your intake.

My advice: Eat whatever clean, whole foods you enjoy. Use a shovel as a utensil and go to work. Every single day. Especially since you’re doing 5/3/1. Eating big is just as important as the lifting! I promise you won’t wake up one morning and have 12lbs of fat hanging off you that wasn’t there the night before. Let the mirror, your clothes, and/or your performance in the gym tell you if you’re going overboard/underboard with the eating (is underboard a word? If not, it is now).

A few tips that have helped me greatly:

1.) Eat quality, whole foods without limiting yourself.

2.) Sleep like it’s your second job (ie: at least 8 hours).

3.) If you believe in the program, training hard is easy, so find one you believe in and hit it hard. 5/3/1 is what I’ve been using and I’m also currently doing the Hardgainers template. The 5/3/1 principles are incredible.

Hope this helps!



@NCFox, nice to hear that you’ve gotten good results from a non-meat diet. I’m starting to ditch some of the dairy in my diet too. My body is sensitive to it, unless it’s cooked. If it’s cooked then the protein changes and it doesn’t bother me. I might eventually go dairy free too…not sure.

I am curious about what you eat. For instance, where do you get most of your protein from if you’ve eliminated dairy? I get a good chunk of it from that. How much do you rely on protein powders?

I’m tracking my calories, because in the past I’ve done a horrible job getting in the proper macros and eating enough protein. Now that I’m tracking this stuff I’m noticing a big difference in terms of my performance when I work out. Before I’d eat just anything, without much rhyme or reason, at any time and have some rough idea of how many calories I was eating. This approach lead to crappy results.

I’m going to stick to limiting my calories to whatever I have set as my target calorie consumption. So far it’s working well for me in terms of performance when lifting. At some point I’ll probably stop counting the calories, once I’ve gotten a certain eating regime down pact, but I’m actually liking the process of tracking. It’s making me realize how messed up my eating was before. It also helps me control my portion when I do eat something junkie.

I’m on the 5/3/1 Hardgainer program. I think part of the reason I’ve been a hardgainer in the past is due to poor diet and inconsistent sleep. People always say to sleep 8 hours, but that’s not a choice for everyone. My body can’t sleep that much. Whenever I sleep for 8 hours, which is rare, I can’t sleep the next night, because I’m not tired. I’m averaging around 5-6 hours a night, but it hasn’t hurt me so far when I workout.


Re: counting calories, I agree it’s surely a useful tool to establish good eating habits, etc, so what your doing sounds great.

As far as what I eat for protein, I have a scoop of a vegan protein powder after workouts, but that’s just for the convenience of a shake post workout. Otherwise, I eat eggs, tempeh, beans, and lentils just about every day. I like sprouted bread and the brand I buy (Trader Joe’s) has 5 or 6 grams of protein per slice. I toast four of those every night and put as much almond butter on each as I can fit, then add a couple bananas on top of it, and that’s been my nightly meal prior to bed for the past few months.

My diet is really boring and there’s nothing special about it, but keeping it simple has worked for me. I stay away from heavily processed foods and gorge on whole foods as much as possible. When I’m trying to put on mass, I dial up food intake across the board. Trying to separate food into categories such as protein, fat, carbs, then placing those categories into such things as protein=muscle, carbs=fat, etc, unnecessarily complicates the process, in my opinion.


Yeah, I agree with what you’re saying. I’ve had that idea that protein=muscles and carbs=fat stuck in my head and I feel like it’s holding me back. I’ve been afraid to eat more because I’d go over my current carb limit. That being said, I’ve been eating a lot of carbs lately and don’t feel like it’s making me fat. If anything, my waist line has gotten smaller and I notice less fat on my stomach since I’ve started working out intensely.

I’ll probably start upping the carbs/fat, since I’m pretty happy with where my protein is at. I’ll just make sure they’re coming from clean sources.