The Ultimate Fat Burning, Muscle Building Meal Plan

 February 29, 2024|  Lauren

Step 1: Determine Your Exact Calorie Needs

When it comes to understanding the amount of calories you need, it ultimately is determined by your goals.  If you want to burn off extra fat you will need to create an energy deficit of at least 500 calories per day via exercise and eating less.  If you want to gain muscle, then you will need to eat more!  The exact amount you need is ultimately determined by just how much you burn off throughout and how much extra weight you’re carrying.

As a reference, consider using this simple calculation to determine your basic calorie needs.  If you’re looking to lose weight take your current weight in pounds and multiply it by 10 to 12, looking to maintain your weight multiply your current weight by 12 to 15, want to gain weight by multiplying by 15 to 18 times.  This will give you a basic understanding of how many calories you need to eat throughout the day.

Step 2: Macronutrients – Muscle Gain or Fat Loss

Selection of food for macronutrients

Once you understand how many calories you need, you can break those calories down into the right macronutrients based on your goals.  While all macronutrients are essential, protein is really the most important and will make up the majority of your diet regardless if your goal is to burn off fat or build muscle.  Protein not only helps with the development and maintenance of muscle, it also helps stimulate thermogenesis, and can even help control appetite.

Carbs, on the other hand, is the one macronutrient that can ultimately determine how you look.  If you’re looking to burn off extra fat the best way to do that is by lowering your carbohydrate intake, forcing your body to access fat preferential since no carbs are readily available.  Fat is also important, but can make up the remaining of your calories once you determine the other two.

Consider building your meal plan using the following parameters:

KCAL <1100 kcal 40% P, 20% C, 40% F Weight Loss – Slow Metabolism
1101< KCAL < 1300 kcal SAME AS ABOVE Weight Loss/Weight Maintenance
1301 <K CAL< 1800 kcal 40% P, 30% C, 30% F Weight Maintenance
KCAL > 1801 40% P, 40% C, 20% F Weight Maintenance/Gain


Step 3: Choose Your Food

Preparing meals with sufficient macronutrients

Determining the calories you need for each is as simple as the following; from your calories, multiply by the % you need for each, and then divide that percentage by 4 cal/g for both protein and carbs and 9 cal/g for fat.  This will tell you the exact gram amounts of each macronutrient you need for the day.  Then take that gram amount and divided it out into the number of meals you will eat throughout the day.

Most people prefer to eat 3 to 6 meals each day depending on their schedule, needs and just how much food they need to consume.  Eating more frequently won’t do a thing for your metabolism but it will help keep your blood glucose levels balanced, which means less cravings and hunger throughout the day.  From the Fuel-Up menu, you can select from a list of proteins, vegetables and carbs to build your meals from.

Consider the Following:


Juicy, grilled chicken breast for protein

Choose from lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry and even dairy. Don’t eliminate fatty proteins like steak, whole eggs and salmon that provide saturated fat and a source of cholesterol that can help stimulate hormones including testosterone and growth hormones.

Choose from:

Beef Tenderloin
Whole Eggs
Whey Protein
Greek Yoghurt


Baked sweet potato wedges

Choose from a variety of both fibrous carbs and simple carbs.  Complex carbs are perfect for throughout the day, while simple carbs are best used post-workout to help stimulate the anabolic process including insulin release, which can help facilitate nutrient delivery to the muscles.

Choose from:

Brown Rice
White Rice
Sweet Potato
White Potato
Whole Wheat Pasta


Avocado toast for fats and carbs

Eating a diet higher in protein and fat has been shown to lead to a better body composition – leaner, more muscular and less body fat.  Eating a higher fat diet can lead to not only higher testosterone levels in men, but smaller waistlines!

Include some of the following in your meal plan:

Coconut Oil
Whole Eggs
Flax Oil
Chia Seeds
Olive Oil
Pumpkin Seeds

Step 4:  Build your plan

Now that you have selected your food, build your meal plan using Fuel Up or do it on your own.  Just remember, if you decide to build it yourself, it will require more time spent prepping, cooking and portioning!  Not to mention shopping.  Let Fuel Up do it for you.  Simply build your own meal plan by selecting your proteins, vegetables and carbs or choose from set meals if you’re not sure what to choose.

 February 29, 2024 | Lauren

About the Author

Lauren Jacobsen is the Director of Nutrition for Kcal Brands and the Head of Fuel Up. Lauren has over 15 years of experience in nutrition and supplementation focused on physique athlete development. Lauren is also a former IFBB competitive figure athlete, and long time contributor to fitness magazines worldwide.

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