T Nation

What the ---- is so Hard about Writing a Basic Diet?!!!


I had reservation about making this post. But at this point I can't help myself.

Keep in mind that I'm not writing this in arrogance, to ridicule or call out people, or in some desperate attempt to make myself appear as some know-it-all. (I DON'T know it all!)

Moving forward...

It seems that in the past few weeks there have been posts by people asking for help with stuff like this:
1) Here's my diet. Is it OK?
2) Here's my diet. I've made alright progress with it for (insert whatever goal here). Should I stick with it? Is there any changes I should make?

Then there's the talk of absolute noobs about protein sparing modified fasts (of a friggin' day's duration); pricey supplements; comparison of the minutia of ingredients in supplements (this carbohydrate versus that carbohydrate powder); rates of digestion of proteins (as if anyone, let alone a noob should give a shit about this other than for mental masturbation or just for the sake of it considering all proteins except whey are slow digesting); nutrient timing (carb cutoffs); and all sorts of other shit that I don't care to or have the patience to get into here.

Keep in mind that what I speak of here doesn't apply to obese or overweight beginners.

Wanna know how to make a fucking diet when you're a noob? Here's how! Do the same sort of shit most successful lifters followed when they first started out or what most lifters in general do!

So what do/did most do? Well, let's use a typical diet consisting 1.25 grams protein per lb (conservative amount), 20% fat, and the rest carbs.

So let's use a buck-sixty noob as an example.

We'll start him off with a measly 2,500 calories. (Can be increased if needed; you don't need to start out "eating big".)

1.25 x 160 = 200

So that's 200 grams of protein, providing 800 calories. That's 32% of the diet.

Let's do the fat.

0.20 x 2,500 = 500 calories.

500 / 9 = 56

So we need 56 grams of fat, providing 500 calories and 20% of the diet.

The rest is from carbs, which will come out to 48% of the diet. So that's 300 grams of cars, providing 1,200 calories (too lazy to do another equation).

So we have 300 grams of carbs, 200 grams of protein, and 56 grams of fat to eat each day.

Make things simple: spread the macronutrients out over, say, four meals, considering this isn't a lot of food.

That comes out to 75 grams of carbs, 50 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat for each meal.

Here's what to do if you're not gaining. Raise the calories and do these calculations again.

Here's what to do if you're not losing weight. Lower the calories and do these calculations again.

This is complete noob nutrition, and YES, there is far more complicated shit out there that can be used and is even sometimes NEEDED. Why the far more complicated shit and mental masturbation is usually a result of:
1) lack of nutrition education (very apparent considering the limitless inquiries on here despite THOUSANDS of articles on this site)
2) short attention spans
3) ineptitude in applying information
4) laziness
5) being such a cheapskate that someone can't shell out some dough for a nutrition professional despite being able to purchase pricey supplements, gym memberships, I Pods, and god knows what else
6) self-defeatism and -destruction (a lot on here are adept at these, or appear to be)
7) analysis paralysis
8) lack of confidence
9) a feeling that in lifting, nutrition, and life, there's a ticket - something that can be done with guaranteed results - a smooth sailing ride with no mistakes made.

Now tell me:
1) what the fuck is so hard about this
2) why the need for constant approval and hand holding when there is so much useful information around
3) why noobs even think about carb loading, one-day PSMFs, the Anabolic Diet, ketogenic diets, and so on, and so on

All the shit I show above has been beaten to death in every basic nutrition book and tons of articles on this site right here.


Paleo all the way. Commence chant, PALEO..PALEO..PALEO


Looks good, i agree people need to stop having to have people hold their hands through things like trying to gain muscle or "bulking". I mean, if your trying to get bigger muscles it requires more calories.

2500 calories is a great starting point if you are a light weight and are pretty sedentary. IMO a lot of people can get to 200lbs at average height without having to go over 3500 calories a day. Now i'm not talking super lean but you will able to tell that person lifts for sure.

Their are exceptions to both sides, some gain fat easily and some people burn through calories like it's nothing. I'm talking average everyday joe who doesn't have a labor intensive job and only other activity is weight lifting, minus random volleyball, basketball, and backyard football with the guys.

I'm pretty new, but when i realized more food and intensity in the gym made my muscles bigger i didn't look back.


Is it hard? Of course not. Does it take a little bit of work to sit down and crunch a few numbers, look up a few values, and figure out the proper placement of specific nutrients for optimal performance? Sure, and apparently it's more than some people can handle.

That's perfectly okay with me though. I've got very limited time to train clients during the week after my 'real' 9 - 5 job, so I've been making some pretty nice $ just writing up diet plans for people who can't do it for themselves (and the price went up after I became a "pro" -lol)

Some people just feel better about trusting someone else though. How many people with personal trainers don't even want to know why they're doing what they're doing? I had one of my clients last week describe working with me as being similar to taking a college class (guess I'm doing my job then!)

Sadly, people who forgo doing their own work will never feel the power of trusting themselves with their physique goals, and will constantly be questioning everything they do (you'll see the same themed posts on here every couple of weeks).



its evan easier now with the net . us older guys started with " calorie counting books" .with all the info at your fingertips now if you cant sort out a basic diet yourself . give up n go train spottin


I love your avatars, they are sexy yet humble at the same time.


What's wrong with a little masturbation?



Literally speaking, a lot of masturbation is "evolutionary sin" in that it lowers a man's drive to chase women.

In regards to mental masturbation, a lot of it causes the problems I went over here.


I'm glad you like them.


Hate to say it, but a "how to eat" topic was probably a good idea.

Does this mean it's okay to eat a banana? In other words, x2.


Brick For real, i could have used this 6 years ago. LOL


I like the layout, but again nobody's gonna read it. Later today or maybe tomorrow someone is gonna post the typical and ask questions that have been answered 1,000s of times.

Also, I'd like to see more fat, less carbs and most coming 2 hrs before, during, and after training. Good post though.



Dude, I put out a macronutrient percentage that MOST bodybuilders use for most of their careers and/or when they started weight training.

I thank you for the compliment. However, I don't write for this website. So it's not like I'm going to write calculations for 40c/30p/30f, ketogenic stuff (60-70%f/30-40%p), 60/30/10, 40/40/20, or whatever else comes to mind. Individual macronutrient combos are beyond this post, and I highly doubt that any skinny noob is going to have much more success with minor changes in protein sparing nutrients.

I almost held back on writing this post because what I present here is already in HUNDREDS of the articles on this site and in THOUSANDS of books in stores and god knows how many articles on the net!


I'm glad you have a training and nutrition biz on the side.

Very good post.


And also, it would save many men LOADS of time, energy, and STRESS, if they simply made up their minds and are realistic with themselves from the get-go.

Like, at one time, I really wanted to compete. And my efforts in nutrition and the gym paid off because of hard work. However, and as I've said too many times on this board, I'm not, and my life's not, cut out to compete!

My brother recently lost 40 pounds from a five week stint on the RFL diet with two full body sessions and a subsequent three months of a lifestyle, 3000 calorie diet with the Starting Strength Program. I wrote both of his diets.

I'm now VERY weak compared to what I used to be, and he asks me, "How come you're not putting up what you used to?" My reply: "I'm weaker because I train less and because of running, other activities, and muscle loss. That is, I choose not to be a hardcore lifter anymore - choose not to put up big numbers anymore."

He also said at a restaurant, "You used to be a big eater; what happened?" My response: "I don't care to get big anymore, so I don't eat big, nor am I doing enough activity that warrants huge intake."

So right now, I rely on portion control, much of which comes out of Lyle McDonald's Guide to Flexible Dieting, an awesome book. I was already doing much of what he writes about, but it was awesome to see it in written form in a good book for everyone to read.

If people on here simply came to grips with themselves and their situation, they'd know what to do from the outset without getting burned out.

If you want to compete or look like or be as strong as Modok, Professor X, Steely D, Waylander, Mighty Stu, or any of the other behemoths and adonises on here, then yes, you better start having a VEERY firm grasp on this shit, and might even have to invest in supplements. No skipping meals, no being unprepared because you were away from food too long and didn't prepare in advance, no ineptitude in following friggin' directions from an article or someone verbally, and NO ENDLESS THINKING AND ANALYZING!

However, if you come to grips and say to yourself, "Hey, I don't think I'm cut out for this hardcore shit and I'm never gonna compete; I just want some muscle and good health and a good appearance but at the same time take this SOMEWHAT seriously," then you have much more flexibility in what you do and DON'T have to worry about the minutia of nutrition and you can save yourself a lot of frustration!

Neither approach is better or worse than the other.

(I could've written and explained this better, but I can't seemt to do it right now.)


And I don't understand the resistance in hiring a professional. Usually the complaint is cost when the person is spending two hundred dollars or more on supplements. Most of my dietetian colleagues charge $150-300 for the initial visit/consult, and 75$-150 for follow-ups. And then there are those and other nutritionists (someone like Shelby Starnes for example) who do package deals with ongoing email and phone consultation for something like $300-500 for twelve months.

That's actually affordable for most middle class people who are into fitness considering they spend so much on gym memberships, food, and supplements. What is the problem with cuttignn back on supplements or whatever else is not even going to make or break someone and saving time and energy (frustration) endlessly inquiring if shit is working or will work or if someone is doign the right thing? I really don't get it!

You wanna do a fuckin' PSMF for cheap. Here's how: buy some cans of chicken, tuna, and salmon and frozen veggies. There's your fast!

Wanna get some fish oil (but not in the magic amount!)? have salmon a few times per week.

Wanna get in PWO nutrition? Have a friggin' glass of chocolate milk or whey and carb powders!

I can hear it already: "But, but, I heard waxy maize and Gatorade powder aren't as good as... " "But, but, eating fish isn't the same as... " "But canned stuff isn't as fresh as.... and it's got ... in it... and it's not grass fed... "

Well, buddy, I'm not saying these more pricey items and more complicated nutrition strategies aren't good, nor am I lobbying against the sales of them because without them, we'd have shit websites to talk shop and buy products from - or we might not have any websites at all without sales.

I'm saying your noob buck-sixty ass isn't going to progress so much more rapidly with what I mention here. So I don't see the problem with hiring nutrition professionals when costs can be cut down elsewhere. And if you have a good professional, you might get a good enough insight into this stuff that you might hardly have to follow up with them, or be in tune with this stuff good enough that you never have to see a professional EVER AGAIN!


I think people should really read that a few times. I don't mean to be pimping nutritional services, and have no reason to as i don't work in nutrition.

But if more people would take 3 months worth of supplements budgeting, spend it on oatmeal, tuna, chicken, and rice.

Then hire a nutritionist such as yourself they would learn a number of things.

1) Getting to a great physique is not as complicated as they think.
2) It is probably on the other hand more difficult then they think, by this i mean simply takes longer, more consistent, harder work in the gym, in the kitchen and on the treadmill then they imagine.
3) They would learn what works for them, and like you said they could be done with the questioning, with the exception of trying to compete at an elite level where having a coach in your corner is almost always best in a subjective sport like bodybuilding (though from what i have seen in regards to the posts that have elicited this thread none of these guys will be at that level anytime soon)

/end thread hijack.

Good post


Very true Brick. If noobs would pony up the initial assessment, learn what to eat, and then go train hard they would actually SAVE money in the long run instead of wasting hundreds on worthless supps.


And the thing is this: If somethign is so important to someone, and they have SOME money, they'll buy it! I don't buy endless electronic gadgets because they're not important to me. I have a few name brand clothing items, but in general, brands aren't important to me.

Good food is important to me; so I buy it! I don't skimp on healthy food, gym memberships, quality gym gear, or anything else having to do with health and fitness. If I needed a pro, I'd hire one immediately, if only for a one shot deal.

Or I'd discipline and educate myself enough to get some shit done on my own!


Ouch Stu, ouch...