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Zig-Zag Calculator for Fat Loss and/or Muscle Gain

Learn what zig-zagging your calories does and compute a sample week of zig-zags. Zig-zagging is a nutrition method for fat loss and muscle gain.

Provided by Natural Physiques.  They explain more about body fat, how to achieve a major physique transformation, and their own story in "Become the Journey: A Transformation Guide."

So what is the scoop on zig-zagging? Many people know that zig-zagging can be one of the most effective methods for dropping fat or adding muscle while keeping fat gains to a minimum. The way it works is simple. Your body is constantly trying to stay the same - a state that scientists refer to as "homeostasis." This means that if you take a typical approach to dieting, and set your calories to a specific level, you may plateau. The reason is that your body will slow down (remember, it is trying to stay the same, not lose or gain weight) to match your calorie intake. Not a good situation!

A huge proponent of zig-zagging calories, and the person who taught me this method originally, is David Greenwalt. David's coaching system was the first system to allow me to reach ultra low body fat, as evidenced by my June 2002 pictures.  If you are looking to take your physique to the next level, then I highly recommend his Leanness Lifestyle . His coaching helped me achieve new levels I never imagined possible. I also recommend his book that goes by a similar title.

By zig-zagging your calories, you ensure that you are targetting your calorie level without remaining there. Zig-zagging can be easy or it can be complex, depending on how you approach it. For example, one easy way to zig-zag is to keep consistent portion sizes and then simply double up on them every other day. It requires no calorie-counting or other consideration to do this. Some people zig-zag by adding a post-workout shake on training days. That is another possiblity.

For those of you who really like to track your calories, we offer this tool. Simply enter your weight, the method of zig-zagging you prefer, and click the button to see what your daily targets should be. There are two methods: simple and complex. Simple takes your target calories either adds or substracts your body weight each day. So, for example, if you wanted to shoot for 1800 calories and weighed 200 pounds, you would zig-zag between 1600 and 2000 calories. Complex loads the calories over all days at various levels.

Since many people like to target their fat loss based on body weight, we offer a grid of 8x through 20x your body weight. 8x is the lowest amount we would even consider for fat loss (and I rarely go that low) while 20x is about the highest I would ever consider for bulking or gaining. There will be exceptions and these only serve as starting points. If you really want to hone in on your weight loss with a tool that adjusts your calories based on your body's responses (in other words, it adapts to the effects of homeostasis) automatically, then I seriously recommend you check out DietPower Nutrition Software. This is the tool I used to lean down for my photo shoots.

If you wish to learn more about how to construct a nutrition program, download my eBook "Become the Journey: A Transformation Guide." I have an enormous nutrition section that covers everything from the glycemic index and glycemic load to post-workout shakes and zig-zagging your calories.

Let me again emphasize, these numbers are generic guidelines. Some people may require much higher calories to drop weight, or much lower calories to gain weight. Every person is different, so we offer various levels as guidelines to allow you to choose what effectively works for you. The calculator will not compute a day with less than 8x your body weight in calories - this is a general lower limit that I use with my clients!

Enter your beginning weight in pounds:  Select zig-zag method:
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