Estimated reading time: 7mins
First point of call is diet
When it comes to dropping fat and shaping your physique your first point of call should always be diet.
Too often I hear, “I eat healthy food, why can’t I lose weight?”.
Eating healthy, nutritious food has many benefits but if your goal is to lose weight it’s all about how much food (healthy or unhealthy) you’re putting in your body.
Calories in vs calories out, that’s all it is!
In my opinion, no foods are unhealthy unless you abuse them. I am a strong believer in moderation and flexible eating and I think eating fish and chips or a big pizza with the kids or friends is a great way to socialise and can be used as a reward to adhering to your diet every other day.
With all this in mind, let’s get started…
Step 1: Calculate your maintenance calories
In order to start losing weight you need to be eating in a caloric deficit
In order to determine your maintenance calories, you need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to survive and this can be determined using the Mifflin St. Jeor equation:
Men: BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height(cm) – 5 x age(y) + 5
Women: BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height(cm) – 5 x age(y) – 161
Ben is 80kg, 185cm tall and 23 years old.
BMR = 10 x weight(80kg) + 6.25 x height(185cm) – 5 x age(23) + 5= 1846 calories.
Once you have worked out your BMR, you need to work out your level of activity which is calculated using the Harris Benedict equation.
Determine how active you are each day
Pick the category that suits your activity level per week…
- Sedentary: 15 minutes or less of daily exercise (anything goes) with a desk job =12
- Lightly Active: 1-2 hours of weights and/or cardio exercise per week =13.5
- Moderately Active: 3-5 hours of weights and/or cardio exercise per week =15
- Very Active: 6-7 hours of weights and/or cardio exercise per week =16.5
- Extremely Active: 7+ hours of weights and/or cardio exercise per week =17+
Once you have this number simply multiply your body weight in kg by the category you picked.
For example, Ben is an 80kg male he goes to the gym for 1 hour, 4 times a week. He fits into the moderately active category. Multiply 80kg by 15= 1200 calories.
Once you have this number you can determine your maintenance calories by simply adding it to your BMR. Ben’s BMR is 1846 calories +1200= 3046 is Ben’s maintenance calories.
Step 2: Setting a calorie deficit for weight loss
Now we know your body’s basic calorie needs with the BMR and we have worked out how much it needs to maintain weight with exercise, it’s time to find a deficit to help you lose weight.
Basically we start cutting into this number, a good place to start is by cutting 300 calories per day from your maintenance level. It is important not to be greedy and slash heaps of calories straight away as this is a quick fix and is not sustainable. In short, be patient the results will come.
3046 is Ben’s maintenance calories, 3046-300 calories= 2746 calories
2750 calories is a good starting point, stick with this calorie deficit until your weight stalls consistently for a week.
Step 3: Adjusting when your weight loss stalls
At some stage during your weight loss journey you’ll notice your weight loss stalling and again you have to adjust your calories.
Once your weight stalls you have two options:
- Add additional cardiovascular work
- Reduce your calories through food
I personally like to add in cardio as I am a foodie.
Get outdoors and do cardio you enjoy whether it’s tennis, soccer or walking the dog.
Note: Always choose the stairs and not the escalator!
Step 4: Setting your ideal macronutrient breakdown
So what exactly should you be eating? Well now you need to break down your calories into the three macronutrients to ensure the best recovery, stamina and energy. These are the three macronutrients…
- Protein (4 calories per gram)
- Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram)
- Fat (9 calories per gram)
Protein is a key macronutrient and the driver for muscle growth.
Helms states “The minimum recommendation for an individual while in a caloric deficit is 2.3 g/kg”.
So for example:
80kg x 2.3= 184 grams of protein required per day.
Calories for protein 136x (4 calories) = 736 calories per day required.
A good starting point for fat is between 0.15-0.25 of your daily calorie goal. Whether you want to be at 0.15 or 0.25 is personal preference.
Being in a fat loss diet I would go for a lower range, as you want a good amount of carbs to fuel your workouts!
Let’s go in the middle here at 0.20 of daily calorie goal.
2750 calories divided by 5 = 550 calories.
As there are 9 calories in 1g of fat:
550 calories divided by 9 = 61g of fat per day.
Carbohydrates often get a bad rap, but when putting on muscle this macronutrient is essential as it’s the body’s optimal energy source.
Your daily intake of carbs can be found by adding the number of calories required from fats and protein. Protein (736 calories) + fats (550 calories)= 1286
From here you subtract the above number from 2750 (your calories required to lose weight).
Here’s how it’s done…
2750-1286 = 1464 calories required from carbohydrates. 1464 divided by 4= 366 grams of carbohydrates required each day.
Staggered by this number? Many people don’t realise that carbohydrates are your body’s number one source of energy and keeping your carbohydrate intake this high will make it a lot easier when the time comes to lose weight.
If you’re sensitive to carbohydrates you can raise your fats and or protein, but experiment with this number first and adjust where necessary. Just make sure these carbohydrates are mostly coming from complex sources such as rice, oats, sweet potato and vegetables.
Final Macronutrients for Ben:
- 184g protein
- 61g fat
- 366g carbohydrates
Step 5: Track your progress
Am I just spinning my wheels backwards or am I making progress?
Taking photos, evaluating how your clothes feel, taking measurements, monitoring body weight on a scale and body composition are all great ways to check if you’re making progress.
For more detailed information on tracking your progress, take a look at my earlier blog post on how to track your progress.
Step 6: Use products from Bulk Nutrients to reach your macro goals
If you like me and don’t have much time meal prep - or even sit down and eat a proper meal - supplements are a great option to help you stay on track.
An easy meal on the go is a smoothie. Throw in some protein powder, carbs such as fruit and oats as well as your fats (peanut butter is great). I also use amino acids to keep the body hydrated and fuelled with protein.
Once all these steps are in place, you will be well on your way to looking great this summer and starting the New Year off in the best shape of your life!
Struggle when eating out? Check out our guide to eating out at a restaurant without sacrificing your fitness goals.