Meal Plan Advice for Cutting Body Weight

muscular abs

Date: Jan 14, 2016


Hello Blake,

My name is Dave and I would just like to say that your website has helped me tremendously.

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I went from a 260 pound mess down to about 220 with some definition and muscle mass at times but became pretty weak and lost some motivation due to what I think was poor nutrition. I was on a low carb diet which is great for losing weight fast but as I realize now that it's not so good for weight training. The last 5 months I've cut my gym time in half and went off the diet basically because I felt like I got to skinny, believe it or not. I'm now up to like 240 but almost a mess again. I have reinvested myself and am trying to educate myself better with nutrition thru your website.

I saw a story on your site of a man that has to workout at like 5am in the morning. This is the same thing I have to do because of my schedule. I can work out for at least 2 hours 4 to 5 days a week. I love working out but I know that I am falling short on my nutrition. I followed your pre and post workout shake recipe today that you told this man to have in the article. They were delicious!!! Post workout shake downed it at 7:30am right after working out. I also read that you should eat every 2-3 hrs throughout the day. So I made your salmon sandwich recipe brought that to work ate that about 10:30am then had a protein bar and potato at 1-1:30pm that's where I start to get lost. Is this even close to right? Is there possibly a sample plan that you can give me to try? I need to know roughly what I should eat that is good for what I'm trying to accomplish which is at least a 36 waist I'm 38 now and build muscle mass and get leaner. I'm realistic I don't need 8 pack abs but I'd like a nice developed upper body. I'm naturally broad up top, I just want to grow and possibly reach my potential. I need the proper nutritional guidance. I know I'll have to see what works for me but I don't even know where to start. I also printed out your nutrition calculator but I based it on 4 meals a day should it be based on 6? I'm 38 yrs old and I sit for work and exercise. I have been able to do your advanced routines for quite some time now. My question in a nut shell is what I should basically eat on workout days from the post workout shake all the way till I go to sleep. And on non-workout rest days will it differ at all?

Thank you for your time Blake.

P.S. The new website design looks Awesome!!!


Hi Dave,

Thanks for the email and comments about the new site design.

I think what we should do is find a starting point. I’m in the process of developing a body fat calculator which will provide a target weight value for those interested in either fat loss or weight gain. I’m pretty excited to give it a try since it will be a very handy tool especially for folks in your situation. However, I’m going to provide a manual calculation for you in order to provide you a target weight goal.

First off, let’s calculate your current body fat levels using your current weight and waist measurement. This isn’t 100% accurate but it’ll give a good roundabout figure for you to start:

Body Weight: 240 Pounds

Waist: 38 Inches

Step 1:

240 pounds X 1.082 + 94.42 = 354.1

Step 2:

Waist (38 Inches) X 4.15 = 157.7

Lean Body Weight is equal to 354.1 – 157.7 = 196.4 Pounds

Step 3:

Current body weight (240 pounds) – lean body weight (196.4 pounds) = 43.6

43.6 X 100 / 240 pounds = 18.16

Rough body fat percentage is 18.16%

We now know that at your current body weight and waist measurement, you have roughly 18.16% body fat which isn’t too bad (It’s an average body fat %). With this information, we can estimate how much body fat you need to lose in order to reach a 36 inch waist. Let’s figure this out.

Step 1:

220 pounds X 1.082 + 94.42 = 332.46

Step 2:

Waist (36 Inches) X 4.15 = 149.4

Lean Body Weight is equal to – 149.4 = 183.06 Pounds

Step 3:

Goal body weight (220 pounds) – lean body weight (183.06 pounds) = 36.94

35.3 X 100 / 220 pounds = 16%

To reach a 36 inch waist, you will need to get your body fat levels to around 16%.

Step 4:

100 – 16 (Ideal body fat level) = 84

Lean body weight (183.06) / 84 = 2.17

2.17 X 100 = 217 Pounds

We now know that to reach your goal of a 36 inch waist you need to:

1) Lose 240 – 217 = 23 pounds of fat

2) Lose 18 – 16 = 2% more body fat

With this information, we can now put together a meal plan that will help you attain your goals. Instead of me trying to break this down into formulas, let’s use our calorie calculator to find out how many calories, meals, protein, fat, and carbohydrates you’ll need to achieve your goals.

Here is the information you’re going to need:


Age: 38 yrs

Goal Weight: 217

Sex: Male

Activity Level: I work sitting down but don’t do any exercise

We know your age, weight and sex but I don’t know what your height is. So let’s assume your height is 6 feet and from your email, you work sitting down most of the day. You may be wondering why I chose the activity level “I work sitting down but don’t do any exercise”. Since we are trying to figure out your nutritional intake on your goal weight of 217 pounds we don’t need to add any other activity.

Using this information and plugging it into the calorie calculator (located here), we get the following information:

To maintain the goal weight of 217 pounds, you need to consume 2,708 calories per day given the activity level (sitting most of the day).

Under “What are your goals” we need to choose “maintain current body weight” which will tell us how many calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates we need to reach this weight.

According to the calorie calculator, you need:

2,708 calories per day

236 grams protein per day

270 grams carbohydrates per day

105 grams of fat per day

Assuming you can eat 6 meals per day, the calorie calculator tells us that you need the following nutritional intake per meal as follows:

451 calories per meal

39 grams of protein per meal

45 grams of carbohydrates per meal

17 grams of fat per meal

To reach your goal weight of 217 pounds, you need to consume roughly 2,700 calories per day. With this information in hand, you can now choose a menu plan that will best suit your recommended daily calorie consumption.

Let’s round down to 2,500 calories and use the menu plan at:

This is a sample but will give you a general idea of what you should be eating on a daily basis. All you need to do is follow the plan. Try and substitute the shakes as you mentioned in your email before and after your workout. These will count towards your overall caloric intake. Have 1 protein bar as a mid-morning snack and follow the rest of the menu plan as is.

It’s going to take a bit of experimenting so feel free to play around with the meals. You might want to try using some of the recipes at:

Low carb diets and weight training don’t mix. I remember preparing for body building competitions on super low carb menus and I’d almost pass out in the weight room. I felt horrible most of the day and I had absolutely no energy. I don’t know why anyone would want to do this to themselves for any length of time. My girlfriend tried doing the cabbage soup diet about 2 weeks ago. If you’re not familiar with the diet, it’s a lot like other low carb diets but the intake of carbs is super low. About 3 days into it, she was at work and she had a mini seizure. She started to shake uncontrollably and got dizzy. She went to the hospital and they topped up her fluids and she was ok. It’s just that these low carb diets put your body into an unbalanced state which more often than not, have negative consequences. Sure, you’ll lose weight but you’ll probably feel miserable.

Don’t worry about carb intake for the time being and follow the meal plan as suggested (with the morning shakes being the exception). Here is a sample plan based on your workout time.

4:30 AM: Meal 1

  • 1 scoop protein powder (2oz)- 22 grams
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 ½ cup skim milk

5 AM: Workout

6:30 AM: Meal 2

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup low fat strawberry yogurt (fat free)
  • ½ banana
  • 1 scoop (2oz) vanilla whey protein powder- 22 grams protein
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 grams creatine monohydrate (micronized)

9:00 AM: Meal 3

1 Protein Bar

11:30 AM: Meal 4

Salmon Sandwich

  • ½ can salmon
  • 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 2 green onions-chopped
  • 1 tbsp. toasted pecan-chopped
  • Dash of parsley
  • 2 slices whole wheat toast

2:30 AM: Meal 5

Cottage Cheese and Peaches

  • ¾ cup 1% cottage cheese
  • ½ can (4 oz.) sliced peaches
  • 1 English muffin
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter

5:00 AM: Meal 6


  • 2 oz. lean beef
  • 1 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/4 onion- sliced
  • ½ cup mushrooms
  • 1 tsp light margarine

8:00 – 8:30 AM: Meal 7

  • 1 apple
  • 6 whole wheat crackers
  • ½ glass of skim milk

There are roughly 2,600 calories in this menu. It’ll be enough to get you on the right track so feel free to adjust or change the menu based on your tastes.

This menu plan contains the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat and calories you need to help reach your goals. Remember, any imbalances in protein, carbohydrates or fat intake will often have negative consequences (such as low energy with low carb diets) so keep your nutrient intake balanced. We just revamped our charts and diaries. Try using our weekly meal planning diary, and daily food diary. Other charts and logs can be found here.

Also, you shouldn’t be starving yourself. If you find you’re getting ravenous hungry at 10:00 PM, have a serving of carrots and low fat humus (I like the chickpea).

The latest news from Building Muscle 101

Delicious easy to make power oatmeal recipe!

I hope this helps Dave.

All the best,


P.S The body fat and lean body mass calculator is finished! View it here.

As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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