My Favorite Cutting Diet Part 1 – Sample Carb Cycling Meal Plan and Calculator for Weight Loss

Carb Cycling Diet For Faster Fat LossHey there, it's Mario. Been a few busy days and I finally got time to write for you guys.

As you probably don't know I've been on a cutting diet for more than 1 week now while preparing for a photo shoot.

During these couple of years I've tried different approaches to fat loss and it took me a while to find the ideal one.

Some of the more popular diets I've tried and wasn't happy with: low carb/high fat, high carb/low fat and cycling ketogenic diet.

Picking a wrong diet was very frustrating, I was shocked to see how fast my muscles go away when I was reaching single digit body fat levels.

Biggest Muscle loss problems seem to come from arms and shoulders, a year of shoulder training and intense workouts and you lose most of the size in just 4 weeks with a bad diet and if you are lucky you'll lose some of the stubborn fat on lower abs area.

Stubborn fat is the hardest to lose, in the end I had a feeling that for every gram of fat I lost 1cm on my arms. The numbers didn't look good. 🙂 Luckily for me it didn't take long and a lot of mistakes to find what works for me.

As you could read above my biggest challenge when dieting for fat loss was to minimize muscle loss while still burning some fat. When it comes to keeping muscles genetics aren't my strongest point and to make this work I had to eat a lot more carbs.

Realizing that my body responds well to higher carb intake raises the question why didn't I just go with the high carb / low fat diet.

Unfortunately constant carb intake kept my insulin levels high all the time thus my fat burning capacity was very bad. I was forced to search for other options and thankfully I found the right one. The diet I'm referring to is called carb cycling.

Composing the Carb Cycling Diet Plan

Core concept of this diet is switching between low, medium and high carbohydrate intake each day so in the end you get less muscle loss and high energy on some days and increase fat burning on other.

Typical carb cycling diet consists of 3 low carb, 2 medium and 2 high carb days.

Fitness and muscle models usually choose to do 2 top priority muscle groups workouts on the days with higher carb intake to prevent muscle loss while utilizing the 3 low carb days for increased fat burn like on the picture :).

General rule of all diets is that we have to expand more energy from food than we intake, it's not much different with carb cycling except that calorie intake may vary each day which can prevent weight loss plateaus and will help retain muscle mass.

First step – BMR

Figure out your BMR, you can do that with excel document which contains the calculator integrated with the Sample carb cycling diet plan linked in the bottom of this article or click here.

For now as an example let's say our BMR is 2040 kcal.

Second step – Add activity level and goal

Add activity to BMR. Most of you guys who are doing 1-2h of training each day need to multiply BMR x 1.6 to get your daily expenditure. If you are inactive with a desk job use 1.2 multiplier, if you have a physical job multiply by 1.8-2.0.

BMR x 1.6 = 3264 kcal. So if you consume 3264 kcal your weight will remain the same.

For weight loss we need to consume 20% less calories. 3264 kcal – 652 = 2612 kcal.

Third step – Defining Macro nutrients on medium carb days


First we define protein intake. I generally recommend you eat 1.5g of protein per lbs of bodyweight. This amount remains the same on all days.

Example: 200 pound individual would ingest 300g of protein each day. (1200 kcal)


For fat loss on medium carb days I recommend 1.25g of carbs per lbs of bodyweight.

Example: 200 pounds individual would ingest 250g of carbs on moderate days. (1000 kcal)

1200 kcal (protein) + 1000 kcal (carbs) = 2200kcal

Since our fat loss calorie intake goal is 2612kcal we have 412 kcal left, those will be from fat.


412 kcal from fat is 45g of fat. This will be our fat intake for every day. So on medium carb day we consume:

  • 300g – Protein
  • 250g – Carbohydrates
  • 45g -Fat

Fourth Step – Define carb intake for other days

So our base carb intake is 250g in our example. On high carb days you will consume 125% of that value and on low days it will be 75% of that value. That gives us 312g carbs on high days and 187g of carbs on low carb days. Let us recap.

High carb day:

  • 300g – Protein
  • 312g – Carbohydrates
  • 45g – Fat
Low carb day:
  • 300g – Protein
  • 187g – Carbohydrates
  • 45g – Fat
That's all there is. Now you have defined your daily goals and it's just a matter of spreading it out in meals and adjusting as the diet goes along. The diet works best if you eat calories from clean foods.

Check out an example of some of my meals packed in plastic containers on the picture below. I usually bring these to work with me, and ye it tastes even better than it looks 🙂

Each container is packed with:

  • Steamed chicken breast
  • Green biza and beans
  • Brown rice
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber

Healthy Carb Cycling Meals Packed For Work

Sample Carb Cycling Meal Plan and Calculator for Weight Loss

I've composed a Microsoft Excel file with a calculator inside to help you determine your daily calorie intake goals and make it much easier for you to plan meals. You can download it on the link below.

Carb Cycling Sample Diet And Weight Loss Calculator

Crucial factor for minimizing muscle loss is training with high intensity and heavy work load which is much easier to accomplish with this diet. When I was on low carb and ketogenic diets I had problems maintaining High intensity during workout, the lack of energy was noticeable and my body was suffering.

I'll get more into Carbohydrate Cycling and Workouts in part 2 of this article.

Stay awesome and good luck with your fitness goals.

If you find this article helpful leave a comment below. Thank you 🙂

Part 2 is live. Check it out!

Free Masterclass: The 5 Secrets My Busiest Clients Use to Build a Hollywood Body

Are you're tired of all the cookie-cutter programs, and mainstream quick fixes? I have some good news. I'm hosting a Free Masterclass where I'll reveal how to finally get in the best shape of your life and maintain that shape long-term.
(Backed by Science. No Hype, No BS.)

Click Here to Claim Your Spot
  • Daniel

    Hi Mario,

    my stats:
    29 yo
    BF around 12-15%
    Training = 4 years
    Can count calories? = yes

    I’ve just come back from 4 week holiday where I leaned down enough to see my abbs @ 185LBS. It’s still summer here and I’m starting up my training again. I’m most confused about which diet I should follow.
    My goal for the next 8-12 weeks would be to slowly increase some muscle mass while staying as lean as possible.

    Would you recommend carb cycling while trying effectively to clean bulk?

    Thanks – BTW good site and advice!

    • Hey man,

      Carb cycling is a tough one to follow but it gives great results, I’m currently testing and following lean gains diet with just 3 meals per day and Workout/rest day variations. It’s been great so far and I’m probably gonna write an article about that soon. I feel liberated from having to eat 6-7 meals per day. What I found is that meal frequency doesn’t matter and neither do the food choices, just calories. So to answer your questions for a clean bulk I’d go 150 kcal above maintenance on workout days and maintenance calories on my days off. Keep the protein high like 35% of your kcal. Most important thing in all of this is that you log your progress by watching yourself at mirror, using a caliper(2$ on ebay) and regular weight scale measurements like once a week Monday after toilet in the morning on empty stomach is a good. If you notice that you have been gaining weight and fat then just decrease the calories a bit or add some cardio.

      cheesr, Mario

  • Daniel


    Just a quick follow up if I’m getting 35%Kcal from protein what would you advise the break down for carbs and fat be?

    Also I was too looking at the lean gains diet and love the idea of eating less whilst still keeping the ripped look year round.

    I might very well do that diet instead! Any advice since you started following it?

    Can’t wait for that article, keep up the good work!
    – Dan

    • You can do like 35% carbs and 30% from fat those are good macros.

      I’m doing exactly the same stuff as on site, so as far as advice I can only say that it’s definitely worth trying. I have more time for work and more important stuff than eating. When I get more experiences I’ll write an article on it.

    • Here is my Leangains review 🙂

      Hope you enjoy it man, cheers. – Mario

  • Alexander RSD

    Awesome awesome mate! thank for you this article, cross promoted to everyone!

  • Gross Bro

    Thanks for the info, I think carb cycling is better overall for health (and sanity) over Keto diets.

    1.5 g/lb protein seems excessive. Do you have any links to studies that show that extremely high protein is necessary for muscle retention / building?

    • Check out

      For muscle retention exercise more important than actually high protein intake. I do “very high” intake because for me it seems to work, however if anyone is running into any health problems linked to this (which is highly unlikely to happen) then of course you should decrease the intake.

      Best is to experiment and see how your body reacts to different intakes. For my experience going very high on protein is crucial on cutting under 10% body fat, for building muscle I’d say carbs are more important than protein so you could lower protein and increase carbs.

  • Alix Zimmerman

    Do you have one of these for women?

    • It’s not gender specific, the difference would be only in the amount of calories you intake.

  • Madison Porcelli

    This is very informative! Thank you! But how did you calculate how many calories from the grams of protein/carb/fat??

    • Protein 1g = 4 kcal
      Carb 1g = 4 kcal
      Fat 1g = 9 kcal

      or just use MyFitnessPal to setup and track the whole thing which I would recommend.

  • Joshua Zitting

    Great article! I am a trainer and always looking to guide my clients towards good information. I would love to reference some of your work. Also if you ever want some guest work, I recently wrote this on carb cycling as well – so this article really spoke to me. My clients have amazing results from it. Men and women and I am so happy to see more people talking about it. I look forward to reading more content from you guys. Thank you! – joshua zitting

  • Lee

    The fat seems low, wouldn’t you like to raise the fat on low carb days to keep from going catabolic?

  • Victoria B

    What order do you cycle the carbs? Do you do low carb days in between the high and medium days?