If you want to get the best results in any endeavour, measuring what you are doing is always the best way to do it. When you effectively measure what you are doing, making adjustments is far easier and progress is guaranteed to come far quicker. In this guide, we will go over a very simple way to identify your calorie requirements, macronutrients, and how often to adjust for the best results.
Part 1: Identifying your calorie needs
This is the first thing we need to get right. It is the MOST important variable and the rest of your results depend on this. One thing to be aware of is there are many different ways to calculate this (using basal metabolic rate, total daily energy expenditure and many others) but they are ALL just estimates and do not take into account inter-person variability. Using a guess and test approach allows for error room and over a period of time a far more accurate measure that works for you. Here are the calculations we use:
Fat Loss: Bodyweight in kilograms x 30.
Maintenance: Bodyweight in kilograms x 30.
Muscle Gain: Bodyweight in kilograms x 30.
This is a very simple calculation to do and gives you a fantastic starting point to work from. Here are the numbers for a 80kg person.
Fat Loss: 2400 Calories
Maintenance: 2800 Calories
Muscle Gain: 3200
Now all we need to do is adjust our calorie allotment based on the movement of the scale. If we are losing weight at a slow rate, subtract 250 calories. If we are not gaining weight, add 250 calories. From here you can work out whatever calorie allotment you need based on your desired goal.
Part 2: Making Your Macros Work
Protein: This is the most important macronutrient so need to get this right. We have 2 simple rules for protein, simply pick one based on your goals, or your personal preference.
Fat Loss: 3 grams per kg of bodyweight. This is because in a caloric deficit, there is a possibility of muscle gain which we want to avoid.
Muscle Gain: 2 grams per kg of bodyweight. This is so we can eat more carbs which have excellent muscle building usefulness.
Protein contains 4 calories per gram. Knowing this we can work out what we need. Let’s use this 80kg person who wants to burn fat.
80 x 3 = 240 grams of protein per day – 960 calories.
From here we can workout carbohydrates. We have two simple rules for carbohydrate intake. Remember carbs have 4 calories per gram.
Muscle Gain: 4-6 grams of carb per kg of bodyweight. Start on the lower end of the scale and work up.
Fat Loss: 2-4 Grams of carb per kg of bodyweight. Start on the higher end and work down.
We use the end of the ranges that sallow us the most flexibility to keep moving in the direction we want to go in.
So using our calculations:
80 x 4 = 320 grams of carbs per day – 1280 calories
Now with fats, all we need to do is work out how many calories we have left. This is where we place fat. Fat has 9 calories per gram.
Calories Remaining – 160 calories.
160/9 = 17 grams of fat.
With this particular approach, it allows you to maintain the benefits of a higher carbohydrate diet for muscle retention and for performance. If you want to have more fat in your diet, all you have to do is substitute as necessary.
Part 3: Making the Adjustments.
This is the fun part: making progress! We base our adjustments on our rate of progress. Here are optimal rates of progress.
Fat Loss – 1% of bodyweight per week.
Muscle Gain – 0.25-0.5% of weight gained per week.
These are realistic estimates that account for both the maintenance of muscle on a fat loss diet and the minimisation of fat gain on a muscle gaining diet. To adjust our diet either way:
Muscle gain – add 250 calories per day from carbs until at 6grams per kg of bodyweight, then add 250 calories from fat.
Fat Loss: – Subtract 250 calories from carbs until at 2x bodyweight in kilograms and then subtract fats. Do not go beneath 15 grams of fat a day.
Of course if you are smaller, smaller adjustments are perfectly fine. 125 calories is also great if you want to start there.
If you follow the steps listed above and track diligently, you will achieve success. Any questions please ask us here or on any of our many social media channels!