My Diet: A Complete Guide To What And How I Eat… And Why

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years writing stuff designed to help you put together the diet and workout that is going to work best for you and your goals.

However, one question that keeps coming up over and over again regardless of the topic I’m writing about is… “okay, but what do YOU do?

As in, what does my own diet look like? How do I put everything together? What do I eat? What don’t I eat? How much do I eat? When, why and how do I eat it? And on and on and on.

Today I’m going to answer all of those questions and more by giving you a full breakdown of every single relevant aspect of my diet that I can think of.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

My Calorie And Macronutrient Intake

Hmmm, let’s see, how shall I put this? Okay… I got it:

Above all else, I eat the right total amount of calories, protein, fat and carbs each day for my body and my goals, and every other thing you see in this article is either a minor detail in comparison or an important detail that has been adjusted specifically towards best allowing me to meet these daily calorie and macronutrient needs.

Take a second and read that sentence again before going any further.

Do it? Cool. Because that one-sentence description of my diet should be the one-sentence description of your diet, too.

Now let’s get slightly more specific. How many calories do I eat?

Shorter answer: a lot. Like, a scary amount. Seriously. My calorie needs have always been way above-average regardless of how skinny, fat, lean or muscular I’ve been over the last 15 years, and I’ve never met a maintenance calculator that has ever been accurate for me. I’ve also never met a friend/family member/girl/waiter/waitress/random-person-I-happen-to-be-eating-with who hasn’t looked at me in disbelief upon observing the amount of food I easily eat in a single meal and/or over the course of a day. It’s… just… not… normal. I blame NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).

Longer answer: it depends. Just like you and every other human, my daily calorie intake depends on a bunch of factors specific to me (age, height, weight, activity level, NEAT, genetics, current goals, the use or non-use of a calorie cycling approach, etc.). And while most of these factors remain fairly consistent, others (like my goals… fat loss, muscle growth or maintenance) change and thus my calorie intake changes with it.

So, rather than just pick one random amount of calories I might eat on some random day at some random point in my life (it could be 2000… it could be 4000), I think it’s easier to just tell you that:

  • If my goal is maintenance, I eat at maintenance. Didn’t see that coming, did ya?
  • If my goal is fat loss (without losing muscle), I create a small to moderate deficit, typically somewhere between 10-25% below maintenance depending on how lean/fat I am at the time, how lean I want to get, and how aggressive I want to be in getting there. I get much more specific about this in Superior Fat Loss.
  • If my goal is muscle growth (without gaining excess body fat), I create a small surplus in line with the “Group D” surplus recommendations I lay out in Superior Muscle Growth.

As for macronutrients, my protein, fat and carb intake are all in line with the protein, fat and carb intake recommendations I’ve given 1000 times before (like here and here). So, that means…

  • Protein typically in the 0.8-1.3g per pound range.
  • Fat typically averaging 20-30% of my total daily calorie intake.
  • Carbs filling in the rest (with fat and carbs being cycled using the “Deficit + Surplus” approach from Superior Muscle Growth, or using the 3 day calorie cycling approach from Superior Fat Loss).

Chances are you’re not surprised by any of this (more info here: How To Calculate Your Macros). But that’s probably a good thing.

My Calorie/Nutrient Cycling

Another thing you probably won’t be surprised by (even if you ignore the fact that I just kinda mentioned it) is that I use a calorie and nutrient cycling approach within my diet… which of course involves eating more calories and certain macronutrients on certain days (training days), and less calories and certain macronutrients on others (rest days). This is something I’ve consistently mentioned being a big fan of over the years.

Why is this? Among a handful of reasons, primarily for the small yet meaningful positive effect I’ve seen it have on calorie partitioning (more muscle, less fat) and thus body composition as well.

So… how do I do it exactly?

  • When I’m in a surplus for the purpose of building muscle while remaining as lean as realistically possible, I use the “Deficit + Surplus” approach explained in Superior Muscle Growth (page 176 for the SMG readers playing along at home).
  • When I’m in a deficit for the purpose of losing fat while maintaining as much muscle and strength as realistically possible, I use the 3 day calorie cycling approach explained in Superior Fat Loss (starting on page 219).

My Meal Frequency

Ah yes, meal frequency. As I’ve lovingly alluded to before, I’ve spent some time experimenting with eating as few as 2 meals per day to as many as 8 meals per day. And literally everything in between.

And the conclusion that I (and every other unbiased, evidence based person… as well as science itself) has come to is that, with all else being equal, it makes virtually no difference whatsoever how many meals you eat per day in terms of the direct effect it has on fat loss, fat gain, muscle loss, muscle gain, or anything similar. Additional details here.

Which means, a person’s meal frequency should be dictated entirely by what’s most preferable, enjoyable, convenient and sustainable for them (which, by the way, are four words that I just now discovered become the acronym PECS).

So… what is most PECS for me specifically? (I sooo want this to catch on… #PECS)

I would say I typically eat between 3-5 meals per day depending on the day and other outside factors (weekend? weekday? training day? rest day? holiday or special occasion? home all day? out all day? alone? with someone? extra busy? etc.).

Narrowing that down a bit, my typical training days usually involve eating 5 meals per day (one of which is a post-workout shake). This is partially because I have an above-average calorie intake as it is, and partially because that aforementioned calorie cycling approach I use entails putting more calories on my training days than my rest days. For both of these reasons, I find that trying to get all of my calories in with anything less than 5 meals is pretty damn hard/uncomfortable/just plain ugh. So, 5 meals just ends up being most PECS for me on these days.

On my typical rest days, I will usually end up eating 3 meals. This is again partially due to the fact that the calorie cycling approach I’m using has me eating fewer calories on my rest days than my training days, so it’s easier for me to meet my daily calorie needs in fewer meals on those days. And it’s also partially because it’s just more PECS for me (getting tired of it yet?) to spend less time eating more meals, and more time doing whatever the hell else I’d like to be doing on those days.

Technically, I feel this way on my training days as well, however those days require me to eat more meals to avoid… you know… exploding due to trying to cram scary amounts of calories into just 3 meals.

Which of course is all why I adjust my meal frequency on a day-to-day basis depending on what’s most PECS for me on a given day due to any number of possible circumstances that may or may not arise within it. PECS, PECS, PECS. 😉

My Meal Timing/Scheduling

Like meal frequency, I have experimented with eating earlier, later, spread out evenly over the course of the day, breakfast, no breakfast, and on and on and on only to discover what every other unbiased, evidence based person has also discovered… which is that with all else being equal, it makes virtually no difference whatsoever when you eat or don’t eat in terms of fat loss, fat gain, muscle loss, muscle gain, or anything similar.

The only (borderline) exceptions to that statement would be the pre and post workout meals, and even then we’re not talking about any kind of ultra significant, make-or-break difference. More just a minor beneficial difference worth adjusting for once you’ve already gotten the major stuff right.

So… what is most PECS for me when it comes to the timing and scheduling of my meals each day?

Well, similar to meal frequency, it varies a bit based on what day it is and what the circumstances of that day are.

But on my most typical training days, I will eat my first meal of the day (which is also my pre-workout meal) between 8:30-9:00am and then leave for the gym 60-90 minutes later. This would of course be “Protocol #1” from SMG (page 207), which is then followed by my own 2-part version of The Post Workout Protocol (page 214).

On my most typical rest days, I’ll usually eat my first meal of the day around 12:00-1:00pm. No, this isn’t me intentionally doing any form on intermittent fasting. That’s purely coincidental. This is just me doing what’s most PECS for me on these days… which revolves entirely around the fact that A) I’m most productive during this earlier part of the day, B) this is when I actually want to get the most stuff done, and C) this is when I’m best at actually getting it done.

So, that’s what I do.

And the next thing I know, hours have passed and I’m getting hungry… and so that’s when I eat. And that just happens to happen sometime around 12:00-1:00pm. There’s absolutely nothing magical about this from a body composition standpoint… it’s simply what suits me best on those days.

The timing of my last meal of the day (aka dinner) varies a bit depending on whether it’s a training day or a rest day (plus other factors specific to my needs/preferences on each individual day itself). So, this could really be anywhere between 7pm-10:00pm.

(Side note: Yeah, that’s right. I sometimes eat dinner as late as 10pm. I’ve done this for years and years. And it’s always a meal that contains a nice amount of carbs, thus meaning I eat a bunch of carbs between 7pm-10pm on a daily basis. Now, if you’re still living in a world where eating anything – especially carbs – at night like this is some scary thing that is guaranteed to instantly cause your muscles to fall off and be replaced with body fat, please allow me to bring you into the reality of this world and tell you that’s all horseshit. The one and only thing I’ve experienced as a result of eating carbs at night is an improvement in sleep quality. Well, that and more enjoyable dinners.)

Beyond that, all of the meals in between my first meal and my last meal are basically just spaced out in whatever the hell way is most PECS for me on that day. Simple as that. #PECS

My Food Choices

Alright, so now you have some idea of how much I eat, how often I eat, and when I eat. Now let me give you an idea of what I eat.

I guess the first thing you should know is that I am the world’s most basic and boring eater. I’m also the world’s pickiest eater. There are also a few very common/popular foods that I avoid strictly due to having digestive issues with them. Quite the combination there, huh?

So um, if you’re expecting me to dazzle you with “delicious recipes,” or “new and interesting foods,” or “fun meal ideas,” or maybe just make you jealous of the awe-inspiring amount of variety in my diet… you’re probably going to want to step out of the room for a minute.

Or, just stay right here and prepare to be extremely disappointed.

Basically, there is a handful of very basic foods that I like (and I almost always prefer them in their most basic, non-fancy form), and I just eat them over and over. And over. Every day. Often repeating certain foods multiple times over the course of the day. In similar combinations. As part of similar meals. Consistently. Forever. And I legitimately like it that way.

Getting a little more specific, here’s what I eat categorized by macronutrient:

  • Protein:
    My most common protein sources are chicken, turkey, eggs and whey protein powder. Fish and beef from time to time, but less so.
  • Fat:
    My most common fat sources are nuts (especially almonds) and olive oil, with fish oil providing my omega-3’s.
  • Carbs:
    My most common carb sources are white rice (here’s why I prefer white rice over brown rice) and white potatoes, as well as fruits and vegetables.

No, these are not the ONLY foods I EVER eat. They are however the foods I eat most often (by far) on a day-to-day basis (e.g. eggs are a part of my breakfast every day without fail, I eat chicken/white rice/broccoli most days, shitloads of white potatoes on most training days, etc.). Why? Because these are the foods that A) I like best, B) I have no issues digesting, C) provide what I need, and D) are most PECS for me.

And guess what else? Your food choices should be based on the exact same criteria. You know, in place of the more typical criteria of “some idiot used a combination of pseudoscience and their own personal biases to create a list of foods (or a list of “superfoods”) everyone supposedly either MUST eat or MUST avoid… and I’ve somehow decided to blindly go along with this despite that fact that I don’t really love it and/or am not entirely convinced it’s truly necessary to do so.”

Fun times.

My Avoided Foods/Food Groups

No breakdown of a person’s diet would be complete without a list of foods and food groups they avoid. And my diet is no different, as there are actually not one but TWO entire food groups that I avoid!

Although, they’re probably ever-so-slightly different from the usual “food groups” you might be expecting to see:

  • Group 1: Foods I don’t like.
    I hate cheese (I don’t even want it on the same table as the food I’m eating). I also hate milk (I was the kid who ate his Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles in a bowl with no milk, or just bypassed the stupid bowl altogether and took handfuls right out of the box). Sweet potatoes are a lovely food, but I think they taste like white potatoes that have something very wrong with them. Oatmeal is a fine carb source, but I don’t enjoy eating a food that looks and feels like it has already been eaten. For similar reasons, I like every fruit except bananas (basically, if you can describe a food by using the word “mushy,” keep that shit away from me). So despite the fact that every food I just mentioned can potentially be a “high quality” part of a person’s diet, I don’t ever eat a single one of them due to the fact that I just don’t want to. Simple as that.
  • Group 2: Foods I don’t digest well.
    Not only do I hate cheese and milk, but I also don’t digest them (or dairy in general) well. So, even if I did like them, I’d still avoid them for this reason alone. Same with oats. Wheat products and brown rice are somewhere in the middle for me, as I don’t purposely go out of my way to avoid them entirely like I do with dairy and oats, but I definitely do go out of my way to significantly limit them/avoid them the vast majority of the time. I find I physically feel better when I do. So, I do. Simple… as… that.

Guess what else? Your diet should also be designed around avoiding both of these “food groups.” Just, you know, fill in each “group” with whatever foods meet that criteria for you and you alone.

Additional details here: The 5 Worst Foods You Should Never Eat

My Dietary Variety

So, I kinda covered this already, but I want to address it directly because people specifically asked me to.

I guess I’ll just state what should be pretty damn obvious at this point, which is that my diet has very little variety in it.

It’s largely the same handful of foods that I like the most and digest the best (at rest, or with zest, and then brush my teeth with Crest) eaten over and over and over again. I often eat the same breakfast and lunch every single day, with dinner being the most likely meal of mine to change from one day to the next.

Really, the primary form of “variety” in my diet comes via the quantities being eaten. As in… more of this, less of that, bigger servings here, smaller servings there. Why? Because I eat more on training days and less on rest days. I also eat more when I’m in a surplus for the purpose of building muscle than I do when I’m in a deficit for the purpose of losing fat.

So, while the foods that comprise my diet don’t really change much at all, the amounts of those foods being eaten will vary depending on my goals and my approach to reaching them.

Is there anything “bad” about eating like this? Is my lack of dietary variety physically (or perhaps mentally) unhealthy in some way? Um… no. At least, not for me. For me… it’s totally PECS.

For you? That could be a very different story.

See, this lack of variety in my diet suits me. It’s easy and simple and convenient (which is nice), and it’s also just what naturally happens as a result of my (happily preferred) basic and boring style of eating. So for me, it’s awesome.

And if you’re like me, it will probably be just as awesome for you, too.

However, if you’re NOT like me… if you’re someone who loves/craves variety within your diet… who’d want to shoot themselves in the face if they ate the same handful of foods over and over again like I do… repeating the same meals over and over again like I do… day after day after day like I do… then it would be the complete opposite of awesome AND the complete opposite of what you should be doing.

Which is all to say that dietary variety is dependent on the person. Want it? Have it. Don’t want it? Don’t have it. Simple… as… that. (#SAT)

My “Bad Foods”

Please note the quotes around the term “bad foods.” I have included them to imply sarcasm.

So what do I mean by “bad foods,” you ask? Cheat foods. Treat foods. Junk foods. Processed foods. Low quality foods. Dirty foods. Unhealthy foods. Call it whatever you want. I think if we’re going to place a label on this category of foods, my preference would be to use “bad foods” with sarcastic quotes around it. But that’s just me.

And what is basically being referred to here are the typical foods that most of us already know shouldn’t comprise a significant portion of our diets. Think candy, cookies, chips and the wide variety of other foods that taste yummy but provide little to no nutritional value.

I guess the question is… do I ever eat these types of foods?

And the answer is: fuck yes.

I say that with such profane emphasis because I didn’t always. See, back in the day, when I first started paying attention to my diet, I was someone who was under the impression that these types of foods were bad. Not sarcastically “bad.” Legitimately bad. As in, if I ever ate these types of foods – even infrequently and/or in small amounts – it would have some meaningful negative impact on my ability to build muscle, lose fat and be healthy.

So for a bunch of years early on, I avoided this category of foods entirely, often while feeling as though doing so somehow made me better than those who didn’t (a lovely thought I mock in my Clean Eating vs IIFYM comparison).

And then, at some point years later, I came to the realization that none of this was actually true. To quote myself from that article:

What I mean is, the main reason a person chooses to use this stricter “clean” style of eating is because they think that, with all else being equal, there is something superior about it in terms of its effects on body composition (fat loss, muscle growth, preventing fat gain, preventing muscle loss, etc.).

With all else being equal (which for this article will mean the same total calorie, macronutrient and micronutrient intake and the same consistency with which it is consumed), none of this is true.

In fact, it’s flat out false, and there’s more than enough science and real world experience out there to prove it. The Truth About Fat Loss is a good place to start. How To Choose The Best Foods For Your Diet and When And How Often Should You Eat are others.

But the truth is, in terms of your diet, changes in body composition happen as a result of your total calorie, protein, carb and fat intake. They don’t happen as a result of the specific food sources that provide those calories and macronutrients, nor do they happen as a result of the specific manner they are consumed in.

Again, see my Clean Eating vs IIFYM comparison for proper context and additional details.

So getting back to my profane answer… fuck yes I sometimes eat “bad foods.” As someone who spent years never doing so, and followed it with years of (intelligently) doing so, I can conclusively state that I much prefer doing so vs not doing so. And there has been no negative effect whatsoever on my results (not even a little) or my health (other than an improvement in my happiness and overall dietary sanity).

So which “bad foods” do I eat? I like most of the usual stuff (huge fan of cereal, chocolate and chewy/fruity type candy), but above all else I’m a cookie guy. Cookies are by far my primary “bad food” of choice.

Cookies. Cookies. Cookies.

Good lord… cookies.

Wait… where was I? Oh right, in the middle of an article.

Now, do I eat significant amounts of these kinds of foods all the time? Nope. Not at all.

When I do eat them, do I eat them in a manner that puts me over my intended daily/weekly calorie or macronutrient intake? Nope again.

Do I ever let it comprise a significant portion of my overall diet? No I don’t.

Do I simply keep these “bad foods” to a sane yet still enjoyable and sustainable minimum? Bingo.

To quote myself from Superior Fat Loss:

The majority of your calorie and macronutrient intake should always come from higher quality, minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods you enjoy, while the typical junkier foods should be kept to a sane yet still enjoyable and sustainable minimum. A ratio like 90/10 tends to be an ideal balance for most people in terms of both overall health and… you know… life not sucking. But if you happen to prefer 100/0 for whatever reason (and that reason isn’t some kind of baseless disordered obsession with food that is likely to only be detrimental to your heath and sanity), then hey… that’s fine too. Whatever is most ideal for you.

For a while I thought 100/0 was ideal for me. Years of 90/10 has very clearly proven otherwise. So, that’s what I do. Simple as that.

My Supplements

Are any supplements required? No. Are most just useless garbage? Yes. Are there any that are both safe and beneficial in some way? Yup. For me, these are those supplements:

  • Whey Protein Powder (Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey): I like all of the flavors I’ve tried, but I’m one of approximately two people in the world that actually really likes the Tropical Punch flavor.
  • Fish Oil (Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega): I take 4 of these a day for a combined total of 2.2g of EPA/DHA. My mom takes 3. My dad takes 2. True story.
  • Creatine (Optimum Nutrition Creatine): I take 3-5g per day. Full details are sarcastically explained here.
  • Vitamin D (NOW Foods Vitamin D3): I take a total of 2000 IU of vitamin D each day combined between this supplement and other supplements I take which happen to also contain vitamin D (i.e. calcium supplements and multivitamins often contain some meaningful amount of vitamin D).
  • Calcium: The complete lack of dairy in my diet warrants calcium supplementation. I’ve actually been doing this since I was just a weird kid who hated cheese and milk, and still continue doing it as a weird adult who hates cheese and milk.
  • Multivitamin: I will gladly admit that this is largely unnecessary considering the overall quality of my diet, but I take it anyway just for micronutrient peace of mind.

My Calorie/Macronutrient Compensation

Here’s one I probably wouldn’t have thought to include if it wasn’t for the handful of people who made sure to ask me to include it.

And that is basically the question of, what do I personally do if I unintentionally go some degree over or under my intended calorie (and/or macronutrient) intake for the day? Do I make up for it by eating more or less the next day(s) to compensate?

That’s a good question that requires a warning before answering.

See, the “I ate way too much today, so I better eat way less tomorrow to compensate” thought is lovely on paper. I mean, it’s just math. If you went over on Saturday, you can just go equally under on Sunday to make up for it and end up exactly where you were supposed to be at the end of the week. And for many of us (myself included), this is perfectly fine and doable.

For others, however, it’s how eating disorders start. Or relapse. And in those cases, this “compensation mindset” is too close to the “binge and restrict” mindset, and that can be dangerous for certain people for obvious reasons.

Just wanted to put that out there before going any further.

Now let me tell you what I personally do in this type of scenario.

If it’s just a small or even medium amount over or under, I honestly won’t even give the slightest of craps. Back in the day I definitely I did, and I’d do the math and figure out the exact difference and eat that exact amount more or less the next day to make up for it. I did this for a while and it worked out just fine.

But a few years ago I came to the conclusion that, for me at least, it’s simply not worth the effort or attention because there isn’t enough of a difference being made in the short or long term for it to even be a blip on the radar in most cases.

Rather, I found that just ignoring it completely and getting back to normal the next day has worked perfectly for me without a single meaningful negative effect of any kind in terms of body composition. It’s mostly just had positive effects in terms of eliminating dietary stress and worry.

But again, that’s just me. And I spend an entire chapter in Superior Fat Loss explaining why I think this approach is ideal for damn near everyone else, too.

What if I go WAAAY over or under? Then I’d probably try to compensate the next day(s) in some way. Although, the key word there is “probably,” because my calorie intake is so naturally high as it is that it’s damn near impossible for me to ever unintentionally go “WAAAY over” and I can’t remember the last time I ever went “WAAAY under.” So, there.

My Micronutrient Intake

Wanna hear a secret? Beyond the few things that I know my diet lacks (e.g. calcium), I don’t track my micronutrient intake. At all.


So if you asked me how much of whatever vitamin or whatever mineral I ate today, or yesterday, or any day for that matter, I honestly couldn’t tell you.

It’s not that I don’t care about micronutrients. I certainly do. And it’s not that micronutrient intake isn’t important for overall health and function. It certainly is.

It’s just that, one of the wonderful side effects of eating a high quality diet on a daily basis comprised of a good balance of protein, fat and carbs that come primarily via higher quality nutrient-dense foods is that micronutrient intake is all-but-guaranteed to take care of itself.

How do I know this? A few ways.

For starters, I’ve tracked the crap out of my diet at various points and saw everything added up pretty well from a micronutrient standpoint. And the fact that my diet is boringly consistent in terms of food choices means those numbers are likely consistently being hit on a daily basis just the same.

Plus, I feel pretty good overall. And, as a bonus, blood tests have confirmed that everything is exactly where it should be.

Fun extra proof: my daily bathroom habits confirm that my fiber intake is exactly where it needs to be. (Sorry, was that TMI? So I probably shouldn’t also mention that it’s a lovely shade of brown and comfortably banana shaped? Okay, I won’t. 😉 )

And the few micronutrients I know I’m lacking (namely calcium, vitamin D, EPH/DHA) are taken care of through supplementation. And as a just-in-case backup plan, I throw in a multivitamin as well, thus adding to my peace of mind that all of my micronutrient bases are covered.

My Alcohol And Coffee Consumption

Alright boys and girls, please remain calm. You’re going to want to sit down for this next one.

Hmmm, how shall I begin. Oh, I know. First let me tell you that I’m putting alcohol and coffee in the same section for two reasons. One is that these are two particular… let’s call them… categories of drinks… that people asked me about. No one asked about my water intake. No one asked about my soda intake. No one asked about my [sports drink, tea, seltzer, or whatever the hell else] intake. Alcohol and coffee were the only two mentioned by name.

And the second reason is, I just so happen to consume the exact same amount of both.


Brace yourselves…

I don’t drink either of them.

[pause for people to yell at me through their screens]

Finished yet? No? Okay… I’ll wait.

[additional pause for what I can only assume is a lot of cursing in disbelief]

With me now? Cool.

So yeah… that was not a typo.

I don’t drink coffee at all. Ever. I just don’t like it (same reason why I don’t eat sweet potatoes, basically). And I don’t drink alcohol at all, either.

Now for the first question you might be asking…

WHY?!?!?! DEAR GOD WHY?!?!?!

Good question.

There’s no super special reason, really. Certainly nothing health or body composition related. Neither of them are “bad” in the right context. In fact, there are a variety of positive physical and mental benefits to intelligent caffeine consumption, and sane amounts of alcohol in moderation can be just fine as long as it fits in with your total calorie intake.

I just don’t really like either of them. It’s a boring answer, I know. But it’s true.

With coffee specifically, I can honestly tell you that I’ve never had a full cup of coffee in my life. Not one. I’ve tasted it before, a bunch of times actually. But… I… just… don’t… like… it. Weird, I know.

With alcohol, I’ve done the usual amount of drinking you do as a teen, and I’m not against an occasional drink to celebrate something. But for all intents and purposes, I don’t drink. I don’t really like it, and I’ve just never felt comfortable with the idea of being anything less than 100% aware and present and fully me at all times. Again, weird… I know.

And yes, every single friend and family member I have drinks both. Yet, by some miracle, we still somehow manage to coexist.

And yes, my aversion to coffee and alcohol makes setting up first dates with me just as entertainingly awkward as you can probably imagine…

Me: “So, you wanna hang out some time?”
Girl: “I would love to! I know this great little bar… would you like to meet me there for a drink tonight?”
Me: “Definitely, although I should probably mention that I’m not really much of a drinker.”
Girl: “Oh, that’s cool, no problem! Let’s go out for coffee instead!”
Me: “Yeah… uh… I don’t really drink that either.”
Girl: “WTF bro?!?”
Me: “I know, I’m kinda not normal.”
Girl: “Um, okay. So what’s left? Milk?”
Me: “Well it’s pretty funny you bring that up… I’m actually lactose intolerant and try to avoid dairy.”
Girl: “Please delete my number immediately.”
Me: “Wait! Come back! We can split a protein shake! 2 straws! I have a few different flavors of whey that I digest well! Pick any one you want! It’s a convenient way to help meet your daily protein requirements, which of course is the most crucial macronutrient in terms of overall health and function as well as for building muscle and preserving lean mass in a deficit! Come back! I have numerous studies I can show you that support this statement!”
Girl: [runs even faster]

My Diet Cult

I purposely saved this one for last so the answer would be obvious without me having to say a word.

Of course… I’m going to go ahead and say a word anyway.

Do I follow the paleo diet? Am I a vegetarian? Or vegan? Or an intermittent faster? Is my diet gluten-free? Or low carb? Or low fat? Or low gylcemic? Or clean? Or raw? Or anti sugar? Or anti grain? Or anti wheat? Or whatever the hell else?

Um… no.

My diet is nothing, and there isn’t an official universal term that describes it… other than maybe… I dunno… sane.

Another slightly less condescending choice might be “ideal for me.”

There are no silly extremes. No unproven nonsense. No pseudoscientific bullshit. No unneeded restrictions. No forced biases. No pointless methods. No unnecessary aspects. No blind acceptance. No laughable belief systems.

There is no anything other than the things that truly need to be there… put there in whatever way best suits my personal needs and goals… and is most preferable, enjoyable, convenient and sustainable (PECS!) for me as possible.

Or, to put that another way, my diet revolves strictly around doing A) what actually needs to be done, and B) what I actually want to be doing to meet those needsNothing more, nothing less.

If your diet doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong.

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About Jay
Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers, and diet professionals at every level.

142 thoughts on “My Diet: A Complete Guide To What And How I Eat… And Why”


  1. Glad i’m not the only with the boring diet. It worked for me too for the last 10 years. Useful and entertaining posts, thanks.

  2. Great article!
    How closely do you monitor your calorie intake?
    Do you weigh everything? Or some specific things only?

    • At this point, I don’t really monitor my calorie intake at all. I weigh everything to ensure serving sizes are what I know they need to be for my totals to end up where they need to be, but the consistency/boringness of my diet combined with the fact that I’ve been doing this long enough to have the nutritional content of my meals memorized means I don’t really monitor calories at all in the traditional sense.

  3. I want to know if you drink some standard amount of water. What are your thoughts on whether or not water effects losing fat and gaining muscles. I almost exclusively drink water but maybe tea a couple of days a week if I think about it. Even though I basically drink only water, I do not drink some massive amount. I just drink when I’m thirsty. Sometimes I might only consume 24 oz in a day depending on activity but I do eat a lot of water foods so I assume that’s why my body doesn’t signal me to consume a lot most of the time. I am a 136 lbs female.

  4. Great article!

    One question, how many calories do you actually average? You say it’s a rediculous amount, how crazy?

    Thanks Jay, you are fantastic!

  5. THIS.

    My goal for this year is to create a healthy relationship with food – no stress, stop labeling things “good and bad’ and just enjoy healthy eating and living. I’ve been on this fat loss journey for 4 years and it’s gotten me to a healthier life, but I’ve been stressing about food for my whole life and I realized it’s not normal OR healthy. Taking back the power food had on me is amazing; how freeing it is! Thank you for this reminder to keep going.

  6. I can’t digest dairy stuff either and usually go the plant protein powder route, but it can be a pain to find one I like. The protein powder you use doesn’t mess with your system?

    • I take plant protein too… the best one i´ve tried is the vegan blend chocolate flavoured from my protein… it doesnt taste like chocolate… but it doesnt taste like peas either. I take it with rice milk

    • Nope, this specific brand AND flavor (i.e. tropical punch instead of “extreme milk chocolate” or something similar) has been surprisingly fine for me for years now.

      If it wasn’t, I’d go with a whey isolate.

  7. You are not the pickiest person in the world….I am….i can validate that with family and the GF!!

    Great article and thanks again for taking time to write logical and knowledgeable information.

  8. That setting up of the first date – so goddamn familiar! I never understand why they run away when I am in fact the (second) best person to share a protein shake with… Girls….

  9. Hahaha, that bit about texting the girl was comedy gold. I can 100% relate also.
    Keep these awesome articles coming Jay 🙂

  10. Haha this article is so informative and as always, I just love your sense of humour. Haha
    but could you tell me about your tips when eating out?

    Thank you. 🙂

  11. What a good read! You are indeed one of a kind on the ol’ WWW. But damn you! Your dietary picadillos give you such an unfair advantage. Again, damn you! Apparently no cravings, no impulse munching! A few cookies don’t count! My PECS include the beverages you eschew and my spice of life is variety. Don’t you not know that upon reaching the pearly gates you are going to be asked if you tried all that was available to you. If the answer is no you’ll get a return ticket as a lesser life form.
    I’m a Westerner living in Beijing where there is so much good and mostly healthy food choosing to do. I like it all and sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop (when something is so pleasurable) and how to measure it (hundreds of different greens and infinite methods of prepping them). Ok, I know that’s on me.
    I’m on a roll these days (thanks in part to you) with conscious observing what’s at the end of my chopsticks– or more correctly purposely using them to make far fewer trips to the mouth. Returning yet again to the gym has also been good; gaining strength feels great and will be the source of another skill testing question at those gates, I’m sure.
    So maybe I can’t quite relate but you’ve done it again, inspired me to THINK. Sorry for the length of this.
    Bill (aka Lao Bi — with the emphasis on Lao:)

  12. Nice. Quick question though (and quite off topic), in your 16+ years of experience, do you think you are nearing your genetic potential?

      • Great article as always! Just to further jomski’s question, does that mean you would now spend most of your time at maintenance (presumably with shorter periods of overall calorie suplus / deficit from time to time just to keep everything how you’d like it) as there is really not much left to be gained? Also, what happens if you do keep trying for intelligent muscle growth with a calorie surplus if you happen to have already reached your genetic potential?

  13. Thank you Jay for this article and for pointing out the whole “carbs at night” foolery. As a female, when I tell other women that my largest meal of the day is at night and that’s when I eat the most carbs, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. It’s the same look I get when I say I lift heavy and don’t do cardio. I think most people think I’m lying because I’m lean and “everyone knows if women lift heavy weights they get bulky.” Yes, the part in quotations was delivered with a hefty amount of sarcasm. =)

  14. What I learned…I don’t have to eat sweet potatoes and white rice is okay. I don’t like milk, but eat lots of cheese (real cheese not that crap that comes in individual wrap), so I don’t have to take a calcium supplement.

    I don’t consider dark chocolate a junk food…that stuff is better than coffee! And I hate cookies, especially dark chocolate chip cookies. Many times I’ve had to eat them to preserve the health of my family…I’m eating one now.

    Talk to your bartender…they will serve you carbonated water and everyone will think you are having a tonic and vodka – they won’t call you out.

    Great read and the upper body only routine you gave me is working out great! Thanks!

  15. My husband doesn’t like coffee. So I understand you quite well. When people offers him coffee, he said, I am not old enough. hehehehe.

    I laughed with first date story, heheheheh.!!

    I love a nice coffee with light milk.

  16. Nice text, I like how u write. I agree totally with the “if I don´t like it I won´t eat it” idea… no, I won´t eat my fuckin´ kale… I hate it.

    Regarding dairy products and calcium, I still don´t understand how the idea that the only way to have calcium is by drinking milk or eating cheese… it is in fact a very inefficent way to get it and many times counterproductive (lands with most dairy intake have the most bone issues and vice versa). I haven´t had a single piece of cheese or glass of milk for more than 10 years now and I take no calcium supps whatsoever… I have over average calcium levels… you just neet to eat some almonds and some leafy greens… thats all.

    best regards

  17. I’m the same with coffee and alcohol. I’ll slide on coffee if it’s sugary and creamy but i never go out of my way for one. I can realy appreciate how simple your diet is, I think it’s kinda cool in a way. I was more curious about the actual numbers of things, but I see why you wouldn’t. Entertaining as always!

  18. Jay, you are one of a very small few writing about exercise, diet, and nutrition that realizes the vast majority of what’s out there on these topics, including information from the government and various health organizations is the purest form of (I’ll borrow one of your always well-placed and choice words) horseshit. I have been on a ten year nutrition journey and bounced from one “magical” solution to the next, avoiding “bad foods and food groups” and seeking out “superfoods” and “the ONE diet solution”. I’ve tried them all but in the end, sanity (and evidence-based science) prevailed and now I am a much happier and healthier person. People want so desperately to have a one stop solution and it just doesn’t exist. Our “diets” should be as unique as we are. And if they weren’t, our species would have never made it this far. Thanks for helping to bring common sense thinking to an area that is rife with myth, superstition, and fallacy. Keep on writing!!

  19. Thank you for sharing your insight. You are without question the most reasonable, honest, straight-shooting blogger for healthy nutrition, eating and training. I have been a fan for years. Keep it coming! #KIC

  20. Fucking hell Jay, you are one of the funniest boring person I know, (at least over an Internet connection anyway) The text dialog with the girl over drinks had me in stiches, So informative yet full of LOLs. Fucking brilliant piece of writing.

  21. Hi Jay,
    This article came at the perfect time for me. I had purchased The Best Workout Routines somewhere around 3 years ago. With your guidance and with counting calories I was able to lose 30 pounds of fat (and maybe some muscle due to my severe caloric deficit). I fell off after just 6 months and haven’t been back since to the gym or watch my diet in any way. Guess what? I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my 37 years on this planet!
    I’m giving you this so you know why I came back to your site today. So I can take some personal accountability, and to tell you and the rest of the great people who follow the great experience and expertise you provide…
    I have had enough.
    Thank you for valuing yourself and teaching me through your trials.

  22. Man, this article is very much your style, I like it!
    Just curious, did you intentionally omit the daily calories you need for maintaining? I’m wondering if you’re worse than I am, when it comes to the amount of cals required.
    Also, once you meet the protein and calorie goals (ie the only thing left is fat vs carb balance), does it really matter how much of the rest of the calories comes from fat or carbs? I mean, it’s obvious that almost all carb and very little fat (and vice versa) are not good, but is there a metabolic/nutritional/etc basis for the fat amount? I know that fat is required for testosterone, insulin and other functions, but I was wondering if there’s more to it.

    • Fat and carbs definitely matter. It’s just that calories matter most, protein second, then fat, then carbs. It ALL matters for a variety of reasons. My book explains the how’s and why’s of this in much more detail.

  23. Do you realize how many people you helped get over that Hump they are in just by That article!?. Good for you! Thank you and god Bless

  24. And you know I’m glad that eating carbs at night IS TOTAL HORSESHIT!!! as many people including my current trainer, say don’t eat carbs at night. Thank you for that.

  25. What is your take on coconut oil Jay? It has been a while since you post, really hoping you will post more bro. God bless.

  26. That was definitely one of my favourite articles of yours Jay. I received your email when it was released but I finally had some time to read it this morning and it did not disappoint.

    Again..your impeccable way of cutting through the bullshit, bringing clarity to the over complicated food/exercise scene all whilst making it super entertaining is spot on!

    I am very excited for Superior Fat Loss, as it will make up the other side of my training ‘bible’ – SMG has been a major turning point in my own training/eating rituals, with just, awesome results. I cannot thank you enough :D.


  27. Ive been using your Beginner workout for a little over 1 month now. Last week I started seeing the difference in terms of technique. Especially on the squats and Deadlifts. I couldnt bend down and would have terrible form. Now I feel the proper bend of the hips and the back stays straight.

    I haven’t lost any weight whatsoever, but that doesn’t bother me as I have yet to focus on diet. I eat whatever and whenever. However, the fact that Im ” FEELING ” the improvements is what is motivating me right now.

    Nice, simple, clean beginner routine that everyone should try.

    Thanks for the great site

  28. Dudeee, why dont you share this one sooner!!! This literally describe myself, especially the no coffee, no diary, no alcohol part. Except I can’t do the protein shake either, so that girl would probably smash my face with her phone instead of running away 🙂

  29. This may be a weird question, but –dude– who are you? I’ve never seen you, I don’t even know your name. All I know is that I’ve read (I think) EVERY SINGLE article you’ve written. And what’s better, I ran across your website around when I first started lifting and I’m going on three years now. I feel like I got a leg up just by finding this website early on.

    Every thing I’ve read any intelligent lifter say since I started lifting has been in line with an article I’ve read on here. This site is…important. Anyway, thanks stranger.

  30. Hi Jay,
    What if I enjoy a glass of wine sometimes? Should I just add it to my calorie intake for the day or should I completely avoid alcohol? I am a 23 yo tall skinny fat female. Wanting to lose maybe 5 kg of fat and put on some muscle. I want to look like a VERY lean well shaped model. Thank you 🙂

  31. I love the alcohol bit…whilr I drink a little, it’s never to the point of being drunk. My response when asked why is the same as yours. I can’t stand the thought of not being in control of myself at all times. Nice to see I’m not the only one who feels this way

    • As long as your total protein intake for the day is sufficient and comes from (mostly) higher quality sources (i.e. not mostly plant sources), then BCAA supplementation is not needed at all.

  32. I like bro your site a lot!I enjoy every single article or comment that you write and i think that site is a really big source of knowledge that can save a lot news guys on gym from loosing their time on old and not so well working philosophies (like the ridiculous one muscle group per week).
    From when i changed to upper-lower trainings and in general workouts oriented mostly to “frequency” per muscle group and even strength i saw unbelievable fast results! Despite all the errors in the process that i made like not using isolate exercices etc…
    But on that article i have to question you about something.
    How can you cut into 3 meals from 5 in a day that you are not working for example? I mean okay i get it some lower carb on non training days is okay BUT what about protein?I think you kick out a lot important macros like protein.
    I am talking from the perspective of someone who n1 choice is of course mostly aesthetics.

    • It’s easy. For protein specifically, I just eat more of it in each meal. For example, if someone was shooting for 180g of protein for the day… 60g per meal, 3 meals total.

      • Aha! So you support as well the theory that big amounts of protein in one meal can work and get into our system as well with small classic meals of 30g protein on a meal!
        Hm then why not use even on training days 3 meals?!

  33. I like your way of’s just feel like..u talking in front of me. I imagined you making weird faces here and there. lol u really funny. and of course! whole article was without any kind of human shit!
    urgg..u giving detail of fecal matter.. too much…
    p.s-article good enough to make me comment .. freaking awesome!! tbh

  34. I just want to thank you for how eating-disorder-recovery friendly this whole page is. I’m a 22 year old girl who has been lifting for almost a year and a half (did your beginner program for 7 months at first!), and gained about 20 lbs in the last year while recovering and I’m just trying to be cool with it every day. I eyeball my basic macro nutrients and and eat for enjoyment and energy for the gym and my cycling commute. Not trying to lose or gain, but in the gym my lifts go up and up so I eat to that. Peace in mind and peace in body!
    I thought I’d mention that I hit 135 lb (my body weight!) squat 3×8 on my first attempt two days ago!!!! WOWWOW ~**~*~ Thanks for everything!

  35. Post workout shake doesn’t count in the number of meals god dammit! (Rich Piana) 😉 By the way, somehow, Piana still believe number of meals is important… It is surprising that a guy of his level still have this belief.

  36. Hi Jay,

    I consider myself blessed to have been able to come across your website.

    I’ve spent the last several hours reading your articles (and the articles you sometimes link to) and just wanted to both thank you and share my experiences.

    Especially in regards to the starvation myth, my own experiences have lined up nearly perfectly to the things you’ve said.

    A little background: I’m female, 34 years old, and 10 years before, I had managed to (very happily) whip myself into wicked shape… Without knowing why… and then being unable to return to that form or something like it ever again. I am currently between 152-154 pounds at 5’4″ and prior to now, I tried various diets and workout routines with chaotic results.

    That said:

    Regarding the starvation myth and calories in need to be calories out… owing to a medication change (not thyroid or weight related), my appetite also changed…

    Note: (I was never an overeater and like you, I naturally gravitate towards simple and clean, but I ran into unintentional caloric deficits + body overuse + binge eating issues owing to exercise-heavy irregular work hours)

    … and I found myself eating out and eating junk food just to make myself eat on the days I had zero appetite.

    After a month of Starbucks’ iced mocha – whole milk (sorry!), 2 pumps mocha, whipped cream, and venti sized plus one toasted everything bagel… And a steak + salad or a roast beef sandwich + salad when I felt the hunger nag, I went from 158 pounds to 152-154.

    During this same time, though I felt mildly more easily fatigued, I was able to walk about 2-3 miles about 3 to 5 times a week.

    I wasn’t trying to actively lose weight (seriously, I wasn’t; I’ve been recovering from an old Lisfranc injury + nerve damage + CRPS and almost gave up on losing fat that had slowly gained over years), but it happened much to my surprise, and in fear that I had hurt myself (all those myths I heard coming from doctor and nutritionist), I came across your website…

    And realized with a shock that in previous years when I had gotten myself into wicked shape (I had abs and muscle and according to friends, amazing legs), it had been because of all of what you have talked about in your articles.

    I was naturally eating ‘good food’ that I loved (proteins, carbs, some veg, some fat, little sugar-sugar, mostly minimally processed) and with minimal satiation issues, I was naturally on a caloric deficit. This helped me to unintentionally shed puberty pounds that I had put on.

    When I hit the gym for weight training because I’m anemic and have issues with endurance (cardio easily burns me out), I automatically put in more ‘good food’ calories… and I built the muscle… while still losing fat.

    Fast forward in time and over time because of a combination of meds, depression, that unintentional deficit-binge problem, and finally, that injury, the weight slowly packed on.

    I never quite understood how I had achieved the results that I did and when I tried getting help to understand so I could get myself back on track, I received way too much conflicting advice… even from nutritionists and doctors and so the variety of techniques I tried gave me chaotic results.

    I never realized that in essence, it didn’t matter what I put into my body so long as the result was a deficit would equate to weight loss, but because of my unintentional recent results, I know for a fact now that it is true.

    Lattes, bagels, roast beef sandwiches, steaks, salads, occasional slices of pizza making me lose weight?

    Yes, but it’s because of the daily caloric count going below my count needed to maintain. Quite coincidentally, this is also similar to what I ‘cheated’ on when I felt hunger pangs when I was working out.

    And yes, when I saw what was happening, I counted and rounded high.

    And no, I don’t feel terrible. Actually, I kind of feel better.

    And no, I’m not sick, as far as my doctors can tell.

    It works, it’s real, and after reading all of these articles, I know I finally have a real shot at both rehabbing and shedding those pounds… And regaining at least some of my old muscle mass.

    Keep it ‘good’ (better food as opposed to more junk), keep it ‘real’ (break diet and eat what you want outside of the better stuff), and balance that caloric count according to losing fat or building more muscle.

    Thank you, Jay, so very much, and I apologize for the length of this post.

    Though a part of me secretly hopes that I might still have that so-called muscle memory, I will set my sights on what might be a more realistic level including what I can still achieve with a permanent injury.

    With gratitude,

    • You are quite welcome, Araii. Very happy to hear it! Sometimes hearing the mental progress people are making is more impressive than the physical progress. Although, if you make the first one… the second one will always follow.

      • Hi again, Jay!

        I hope you don’t mind another long comment/letter, but I wanted to give you – and anyone else who might be reading – an update and though I’m usually very internet-shy about divulging personal details, I wanted to share a few details of my story because I think it’s important in terms of perspective.

        I mentioned that I was at around 152-154 at the time of my post in April.

        5 months later, I’m at 140-145.

        It fluctuated a bit (I was stuck in a 5 pound swing) because of a weird work schedule, stress, and the creeping up of the overwork-overdeficit-binge-badckslide monster (don’t worry, I caught it in time and actually came back here to remind myself that I can be more mindful and that I can do this, dammit!)… but now I’m holding on strong.

        I know at this point that if I want leaner-and-faster results, I could deficit more aggressively, but I’m playing it safer because of pre-existing chronic health conditions (old injury less of an issue) and that exact monster I just mentioned. I know I can be less than mindful during stressful times (I forget to eat and then suddenly get ravenous – not good!) and I know I don’t deal with stress too well so I might as well compromise a bit and be willing to take things a little slower while still seeing results.

        You’re going to still cringe, Jay, but that iced mocha latte is still there (still bittersweet, but now half decaf) and has become a staple part of my diet. Interestingly, my food leanings have also stabilized to the point that I automatically just want certain things to eat and almost nothing else… and even more interestingly (or not so, since you’ve mentioned potatoes!), these things include a ‘not so healthy’ item or two.

        Simply cooked meats and fish (very little ‘sauces’) and shellfish, some white rice or semolina wheat pasta or rice noodles or potatoes (I can’t stand brown rice or a ton of fiber and legumes are a huge nope), a bit of dairy (in my latte and the occasional ice cream from the local dairy), the occasional slice of poundcake (I’m completely serious – it tastes fantastic with my latte), and a bit of caloric substitution and rebalancing for large margins of error when I eat out and can’t accurately judge my calories.

        It’s that simple and I say it because now, 5 months later, it really is THAT simple and for what it’s worth, an old GI problem that used to flare up frequently has been greatly tamed, too!

        I’ll take a moment to say that for the other women out there who struggle with balancing their hormones on top of it all and sometimes face food cravings (still sometimes happens with me; this is part of the reason I will indulge in the poundcake)… this is something that has worked for me:

        If you REALLY want it that badly and especially if you’ve been doing so well with managing your calories, just do it but be sensible about it.

        Give in and substitute that ‘not healthy, but I crave it’ thing in for something healthier in your diet OF EQUAL CALORIES and then eat it without guilt or remorse. In fact, eat that dessert FIRST and enjoy it and get it out of the way so you can continue with the rest of your diet feeling satisfied.

        I’m not a sweets person and especially now that I’ve been riding this sweet weight loss curve for a few months now, I REALLY don’t tend to crave sweets of any kind, but sometimes it just hits along with the hormonal stuff and so… I take it.


        I already drink lattes with whole milk and whipped cream (and I calorie count and fat and sugar balance for it aggressively and give it a wide margin because my baristas like me a little too much!) and no, my diabetic risk has NOT increased much less anything else.

        It won’t kill me and if you’re sensible about it (especially if you struggle with sensitive health conditions like I do!), it more than likely won’t kill you, either.

        Misery loves company and if you don’t compromise sometimes, that ‘company’ in the form of uncontrolled and unfulfilled cravings will show itself as the wrong kind of company!

        That said, once I get a better hold of my stress levels, it’ll be time to re-adjust my caloric deficit.

        As for my mental progress… seeing these results – being able to see that SOMETHING I’m doing is steadily working – has made a profound impact on my mental health and that’s actually the bigger reason why I came back here to update.

        I’ve struggled with genetic health-related challenges for all of my life and that includes my ability to reasonably ‘keep up’ with ‘normal and healthy’ people in all senses of the phrase. Coupled with the injury, I was laid out so badly my doctors were telling me that it was finally time to go on disability if I couldn’t recover.

        Pre-existing condition? Not so great. Physical mobility-related disability on top of that condition-causing chronic fatigue? Terrible.

        I have nothing against disability, but to me, I could almost see myself ballooning in weight, becoming even less healthy, triggering all the OTHER health problems my pre-existing condition was/is just waiting to trigger and wasting away and all because of becoming even more depressed than I already was…

        And I was terrified of it and yes, even more depressed to the point I was re-considering suicide.

        When I first started reading these articles, THAT’S where I was.

        Fighting horrible depression of the mood disorder variety and barely holding out by my bootlaces, struggling with horrible migraines, still out of work, and desperate to know if I had lost all hope of regaining the ‘healthier’ body I once had before all hell had broken loose when my health majorly nosedived for the first time.

        Pre-existing health problems kicking me in the ass because a bunch of dominoes fell? Yeah, that happened before with disastrous results which is why I was so terrified of it happening again.

        The accidental weight loss I experienced while struggling with migraines and depression on top of everything sparked a “what if?” and after reading these articles here, my “what if” became a “HELL YEAH, IT HAPPENS AND IT’S GOING TO KEEP HAPPENING!” and just… wow.

        And maybe you’ll have a laugh, Jay, to learn that searching for “latte” and “weight loss” is what led me here.

        In fact, here.

        Somehow, it landed me on an article you wrote about someone who ate nothing but Twinkies (CRINGE) and managed to lose weight because of their caloric deficit… and what you’re hearing about now and back in April is what happened.

        I GOT HERE and though the problems aren’t all gone (working on them and some of them won’t be gone), I at least have hope and the confidence that I WILL get back to the healthier body and at least some of the physical fitness that I once was.

        Why do I call this a blessing?

        Because it is.

        Because it gave me another reason to look at myself in the mirror, look at my medication, look my old ‘failures’ (as an example, I never finished college because of lengthy illness and it’s haunted me and carried into my work), look at my old denim collection, look at my two mis-matched sized post-injury legs, and go, “Yeah, this sucks. Getting to this point sucks. Things might suck for a while longer. But this? I CAN do this because this is REAL and if I can do this, then maybe I can still do/improve on THAT/THOSE other things.”

        It was the no-bullshit it-works-and-this-is-why answer that I desperately needed and when I woke up the next morning, STILL ALIVE, I knew that I could hang on longer and see myself through it.

        That even if I have to go on disability someday that I won’t feel so hopeless and scared – that everything big that I’ve worked for in my life has failed, including all of my bodily health.

        That maybe I won’t even have to go that route if I can take care of myself better, be kinder, and stay leaner for the sake of not making pre-existing conditions worse.

        And it means the world to me because it’s another reason to keep living and it’s all REAL and something I CAN do and that’s why I came back to post this.

        Thank you,

        • Honestly? I don’t even know what to say to all of this. I mostly just read it all while thinking “amazing, awesome, congrats, amazing, wow, amazing, good for you, wow, amazing, damn, wow, amazing.” And so on.

          I can’t express enough how happy I am to hear that any of my stuff has had any helpful impact on you and the physical/mental progress you’ve made. Absolutely amazing job.

  37. Oh, and I forgot to add, I lost a whole pant size and then some spare change… and it has stayed off even though my scale (post-morning bathroom things, underwear) has occasionally swung a bit both up and down.

  38. I love your straight up, no bullshit, take it as you see fit articles. It’s this blunt straightforward explanations that I need. I just started your beginners workout and I’m coming along. So keep up the great work. From one non-coffee, non-alcoholic drinker to another. (I always felt like I was the only one in the world). People always looks at me like I’m an alien when I say I don’t like coffee lol

  39. Way way time for me to get some recovery sleep, but I just wanted to say thank you. I’ve probably read dozens of your articles since just yesterday when I stumbled onto your site and I simply adore your “no bull shit” (or rather calling “bull shit”) approach to…all of it. Every thing. I’m proud of my progress these last few months (I’m a dancer – new to lifting, doing great) but I’m also proud to be reading all your stuff and nodding along in agreement. Perhaps I’ve been lucky enough to avoid all the “bro-science”…or maybe I’ve just had a lot of common sense. Either way, high-fives to you and thank you for making me smile. 🙂

  40. Nice read as per usual!
    2 Questions if I may:
    1) Would you now spend most of your time at maintenance (presumably with periods of calorie surplus / deficit from time to time just to keep everything how you’d like it) as you must now be near your genetic limit after lifting for so long?
    2) What happens if you do keep trying for intelligent muscle growth (like in Superior Muscle Growth) with a calorie surplus if you happen to have already reached your genetic potential? Would you then just gain fat because there is no more muscle left to gain?

    • 1. I’ve actually been at maintenance for about a year now, although I do feel there is some progress for me to still make. Which I intend to make. 😉

      2. This is part of why my recommendations in SMG for advanced people near their genetic limit involve extremely small/slow rates of weight gain, as the tiny amount of muscle still left to gain will come so slow that fat gains become much more likely to happen.

  41. I want to echo some of the earlier comments–the section/warning regarding EDs was perfect. It articulated a concern that was subconscious (for me) in an informative non-condescending way, which can often be challenging. I’m currently in “muscle gaining” mode, so I pay a lot more attention to increasing my cals/protein than normal. However, I have been planning and preparing for “fat loss” mode once I’ve optimized my RMR by sticking to the 10% deficiency plan. Knowing that this is the plan for me is what has allowed me to move forward with eating more without relapsing.

    In sum, I love your blog and recommended it to someone on my SnapChat today. 🙂

  42. goal is to get leaner and stronger…(lose 10 of fat) after many years of f*ckarounditis with both my workouts and diet..
    so my question is about water intake..currently drinking around 72-84 oz’s daily.weight is 166…everyone in my gym is carrying around gallon jugs.(even the women)…what’s you take on the subject..


  43. You are just amazing. I am hooked to your site. May God bless you abundantly for sharing your wisdom. It sure takes a lot of time and effort. Thank you so much.

  44. LOL…it’s always been fascinating (and unsurprising) to me how most average to below-average gened lifelong PED-frees end up pretty much in the same place diet-wise.

    AW’s eating “program” is essentially mine too across my forty+ years of PED-free bodybuilding. With a couple minor changes (I don’t drink alcohol, but I do drink coffee…I haven’t drank milk since my early lifting years when I wanted to gain weight, but I do eat other lactose foods…I use whey isolate in those happenstances when I can’t get my usual food, use creatine mono for periods, and use fish oil caps usually; however, I suntan outdoors year round for Vit D, and, I quit using other vitamin/mineral supps years ago, when I decided to see if I experienced any difference and subsequently experienced none since I’m careful to daily use a homemade green drink and to select foods that ensure full-spectrum of nutrients), it’s how I’ve been eating for decades. So, I can vouch that AW’s eating “program” works for at least someone besides himself.

    Agreed, there’s no name for this style of eating. I realize it’s easier for many people to grasp and do an eating program if they have the concrete foundation of a name for it (although omitting discussion here of the fact that concocting a name is what marketeers deliberately do in order to sell the same old eating programs as “the best new diet there is!”). However, the other side of that coin is the unreasonable and dogmatic refusal to ever deviate a morsel from the specifics of a named diet, as in, “Oh, never! THAT food is not eaten on the Paleatkinveggietale Diet!!!!” That diet dogmatism typically ends poorly, because, unlike machines which can function on the exact same kind of fuel indefinitely, the human “machine” is attached to a psyche which inevitably craves more than the same ol’ gallon of gasoline; for most, that dogmatism becomes unsustainable over the reality of years and decades. More effective is allowing for, and better-yet, scheduling for, days and times of eating other than ungarnished tuna-canned-in-water.

    There are various ways to “cheat” and eat “junk”. One option, which has worked well for me, is to schedule “junk eating’ for certain parts of an annual “cycle”. My wife and daughters are amazing pie-and-pasrty bakers. For ten months each year, I refrain from what for me is “junk”, in order to limit calories and maintain my washboard; but, each November and December, I kill two-birds-with-one-fat-accumulating-stone and indulge in their baking. I use those months to help me gain about ten pounds in order to regain muscle that I inevitably dribble away by staying at 10-12% Bodyfat most of the spring and summer months; and, to satisfy my inevitably overwhelming craving for pie and pastry! People vary in their psyches, of course, but, me, I’ve found I can sustain ten months of “no-birthday-cake, thank-you, but-it-looks-yummy” when I know I’ll have two months to gratify my sweet tooth. But, yes, it’s always about self-control — because, when January 1 arrives, one has to be able to kick onesself in the ass and quit the yummies if a washboard and 11% Bodyfat is expected again in March. Point is, allowing for “junk” can be accomplished with various annual schemes besides weekly or monthly “junk days” or similar schemes. By the way, I’m age 60…I’m a 5’8″ ectomorph with 6.625″ wrists and 7.875″ ankles, so those ten added pounds on me but be comparable to twenty on an average-boned 5’10” mesomorph.

  45. Wow- I too like many readers am hooked to your website. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles so eloquently . I am learning so much and also very entertained throughout.

  46. Sup Jay. Haven’t read one of your articles in a while but still love your work!

    How come you can take whey protein if you’re lactose intolerant? I suffer with dairy issues too and have been experimenting with vegan protein powders as whey is pretty hit and miss (mainly hit) with me.


      • Yeah I think I’ve noticed that too with different brands of whey.

        I’ll try experimenting with some isolates. Vegan proteins just don’t have that same flavour 🙁

        Thanks dude!

  47. if you don’t mind my asking, what multivitamin do you take? I try to stick to organic, food-based multis, but just realized the one I currently take (after tons of research) has an ingredient I want to steer clear of (stearic acid). Thanks!

    • It varies based on what aspect of my multivitamin I’m least in the mood to be annoyed by, because I’ve yet to find a multi that gets everything right. So, I’m pretty much always slightly annoyed/unhappy with my choice. Currently it’s GNC’s Mega Man or whatever the hell they call it.

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