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

By | February 26, 2004

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.

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! The calculator has a lower limit of not less than 8x your body weight in calories - this is what I use with my clients.

Enter your weight:  Select zig-zag method:
Pounds Simple
 extremefat loss


 fat loss11x  maintain
 gain17x  extremegain

More Calculators

How This Works

There are two methods: simple
and complex. Simple has smaller variations in calories throughout the week. Complex has much bigger jumps in daily calories.

Both methods will have equal weekly calories.

Calorie calculations are based on body weight whereby pounds is multiplied by the factor listed (8x to 20x) There will be exceptions and these only serve as starting points.

Made by GarciniaCambogia.fit

Made by GarciniaCambogia.fit

What's the Scoop on Zig-Zagging?

zig zag methodZig-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." The typical dieting approach (calories at a set level) will usually lead to a plateau. This is because 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!

This is a method I use extensively when I design custom nutrition guides for my personal training clients.

How to Zig-zag Your Food Intake

Oone 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 possibility.

Taking It Further

If you wish to learn more about how to construct a nutrition program, get a copy of the best seller Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle . It has an enormous nutrition section that covers everything from the glycemic index and glycemic load to post-workout shakes and zig-zagging your calories.

14 thoughts on “Zig-Zag Calculator for Fat Loss and/or Muscle Gain

  1. Heather

    Do I eat any of my exercise calories on top of the above set calories?

    1. Ted

      Hey Heather, no in this case that would be the total number of calories you would consume even taking into account exercise. I’ve just taken over the site and it looks like this calc. is more geared towards men. Here’s another one that may better suit your needs. http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm, All the best !

  2. Lancia

    I have been dropping weight, slowly but surely, about 25 lbs now. I have a question. I typically recalculate my calories on Sunday, and put in a pound or two below what I’m weighting or predict I will weigh on Monday, because I usually have a high-cal meal on Saturday.

    Am I supposed to do it that way? Am I being too optimistic with the one or two pounds I shave off the current weight to arrive at my cals for the week to get my new daily numbers?

    1. Nate

      I was in the same situation as you before I switched from weighing on Monday to Friday. This will prevent you from throwing off the scale from your high calorie meal on Saturday (especially if it’s a high carb or high salt meal which can really throw off the scale from the possible retained water).

  3. Diane

    The zigzag calculator is not working on this link.

    1. Ted

      Thanks for letting us know. we’ll take a look at it. Sorry for the inconvenience .

  4. Mina

    Thank you so much for the calculator
    I have been looking for that for a while.

    I was wondering… if i stop doing the Zig Zag diet, am i going to gain back weight after a while?

    Thank you

    1. Ted

      Not if you keep your overall calories and portion size in check as well as keeping up with exercise. 🙂

  5. AJ

    Hey cool website 🙂

    If it says I should eat 1800 calories in a day and I eat it all, then I decide to go and burn 500 calories, would I then have too eat my 500 calories back?

    What do you recommend, following the calorie count and not exercising or do exercising combined with the calorie count? – It’s because if we combine exercising with it 1800 – 500 = 1300. Which is low for me (male). Or would this be fine? I’m in a plateau atm you see 🙁

    AJ :)!

    1. Ted

      Hi AJ, Adding in exercise would change your calorie requirements. You could add the 500 calories back in or for faster weight loss exercise but keep your calorie levels the same.

      1. Ash

        I am confused… for the first response you mentioned calories wouldnt need to be added back in to account for exercise, but here you mention that would be beneficial. I am considering doing the zig zag method but dont know what I should do. I do insanity along with kickboxing/muay thai 2-3 times a week as well. 1300 calories would be fine if I wasnt exercising but take out 300-500 calories and I am 800 calories for the day.

  6. Wesley

    Just want to say…I used this method and lost 40 pounds. Easiest diet I have ever tried.

  7. Fatbee

    How long does it take for your body to show your fat loss? Any way to make ist faster?

  8. Meow

    How much weight should you lose before recalculating the daily calories?

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