YOUR GUIDE TO HOW MANY CALORIES YOU NEED.
These days the fitness industry is full of FADS and miracles promising you a result overnight. Getting the result your after does NOT have to feel like you a suffering and sacrificing all your favourite foods.
To start you off building muscle and burning that unwanted body fat you do not have to starve yourself or miss out on your favorite meals but rather set up the diet plan right for your body. What you will see below is how to set up a plan that will teach you how to get the body you want without having to sacrifice any of your favorite foods.
Lets see what science says about getting the results you are after.
On top of that you will learn how to tailor a plan to suit your training goals.
The result of setting your plan up this way will ensure you feel great, have fewer cravings, you will see great results, your training performance will improve.
How to use the guide below:
Follow the steps in order of importance to set things out.
Step 1: Calorie intake
Fact: If you consume more calories than you burn, you simply will gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than you burn through out the day than you lose weight. Simple right? Lets take a look
Calories are the key to what result you will see so you want to eat the right amount of calories per day aligning with your fitness goals. This will be the foundation of every plan designed to see a result.
So if you are serious about hitting your training goals then calorie counting is a must. Keep in mind that I’m saying calorie counting and NOT restricting your favorite foods.
Calories in and Calories out is exactly the method that works but what calories you put in are the keys to how your body composition will be.
Calculate you requirements in 3 steps:
- BMR (basal metabolic rate) – how many calories you burn each day without exercise
Use the following formula to calculate your BMR:
66.5 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) – (6.755 × age in years)
655.1 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches ) – (4.7 × age in years)
- Adjust your calories to your daily activity
When you exercise your body will burn more calories so it makes sense to say that when you train a few times during the week more calories will be burnt as opposed to not training.
Calculating your daily calorie intake requires you to take into consideration your daily activity rate.
How to calculate:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise and desk job): BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (light activity with light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week): BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderately active with moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week): BMR x 1.55
- Very active (very active or hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
- Extremely active (hard daily exercise or activity and physical work): BMR x 1.9
- Now for the final step is to target your calorie intake to your desired goal.
Lose Body Fat
Men whose body fat is below 15% or Ladies, whose body fat is below 23%, subtract 300 calories.
Men whose body fat is between 16%-25% or Ladies, whose body fat is between 24%-31%, subtract 400 calories.
Men whose body fat is above 25% or Ladies, whose body fat is above 33%, subtract 500 calories.
Expect to lose 0.5%-1% of body fat per week on the right plan
Those of you who have been training under 2 years will add 200 calories.
If you have over 2 years of training experience then add 100.
Take into consideration that these calories should be added with a well designed training plan.
Make changes to your calorie intake every 3-4 weeks or when you can see your results plateauing.
If you fail to reach your calorie intake or miss a day of preparation, don’t let it be a reason to give up your plan and splurge on anything in sight. Just remember things come up in life that at times we cant control so get back on track straight away and keep going.
Step 2. Macronutrients
While your calories determine whether you lose weight or gain weight, macronutrients will determine change in weight will be from Body Fat or Muscle and be the factor in Body Composition.
We will speak about 3 of the 5 macronutrients being Protein, carbohydrates and Fats. Getting in the right ratio of these macros is important and will set your body up to see the result you are after.
Lets take a look at the three macronutrients:
- Protein: 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
- Fats: 9 calories per gram
And just to add one in – Alcohol: 7 calories per gram
Protein, which has he meaning ‘of first importance’, is the most important when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals. Eating enough Protein for your body will ensure you prevent muscle loss and support fat loss.
So everyone has heard that stick to a higher protein diet to drop that unwanted weight. But how?
- Protein for one increases satiety to a grater extent then what fats and carbohydrates do which may help reduce in eating excess calories through out the day.
- Protein increase thermogenesis which increases energy expenditure and in the long term generally means increased fat loss
- Protein is the building block of muscle. Having your body in the environment where it can slowly add muscle it burns more energy naturally. The more muscle you have the more energy you burn, the leaner you are as a very simplistic way of explaining.
- Keeping the protein at the amount your body needs prevents muscle loss and makes it easier to maintain and keep the weight off in the long term.
Setting your Protein intake
Fat Loss: Get between 1.8 to 2.7 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. As an example, if you weigh 75 kilos, get between 135 and 203 grams of protein per day.
This will mean you need to consume between 540 and 812 calories from protein a day.
Gain Weight: Get between 1.8 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilo of body. Example, you’re 75 kilos, you should get between 135 and 165 grams of protein per day.
This will mean you need to consume between 512 and 640 calories from protein a day.
Carbohydrates and Fats
So now you have set your protein intake its time to add carbohydrates and fats into your plan
You want to include your carbohydrates at times of energy expenditure (activity). Get enough carbs in your diet to simply fuel you for your workouts. Getting the right amount of carbs to fuel your workout will ensure your giving your body the fuel needed to train hard.
Fats are important in your diet, as they are crucial for the production of hormones, play a role in almost every bodily function and help with insulin function.
Setting up you daily intake.
This will determine a lot of factors in your life such as, insulin sensitivity, activity level, fitness goals and body type.
Individuals with insulin resistance will normally respond better to higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet.
A decrease in insulin sensitivity can be attributed from a number of reasons, which include excess body fat, aging, diabetes, poor diet, alcohol and ladies with PCOS are known factors.
So once you hit your daily protein intake try to get the remainder of calories coming from both quality carbohydrates and fats according to your training goal.
Experiment with yourself and see what is working best for your body. Try it for 21 days and see how you go.
Step 3. Choice of Food
Ok so you have your calories set out. You have your nutrition app or Journal to record all your food to make sure you hit your daily target but what about now choosing the foods to eat each day.
Lets say for example your daily target is 1600 calories, I would assume you would not fill the day full of chips, chocolates, fruit drinks and fast food.
Certain foods are more satiating than others which will be crucial for people wanting to lose body fat.
Another important factor to remember when choosing your foods to eat is the foods with more vitamins and minerals. This will be a big factor in your body shape. Why? When you pick foods that lack certain vitamins and minerals you are setting your body up to create nutrient deficiencies, which will affect your metabolic rate and potentially imbalance your hormones. This then hinders your ability to burn fat.
What to do:
Try to keep you daily food intake at least 90% from non-processed foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, mixed nuts, essential fats and lean quality proteins.
Avoid or drastically reduce the intake of nasty refined sugars and alcohol, which will just cause inflammation in your body, loads of empty calories and provide no real nutritional value whatsoever.
Use oils with a high smoke rate for cooking such as macadamia oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil or even grass fed butter
Step 4. Meal Frequency
Have you ever been confused with how may many meals you should be eating per day? This is one question that commonly gets asked.
Meal frequency does have an effect on your metabolic rate to a certain extent.
Unless your someone who eats two or fewer meals per day your result wont vary greatly at all. You will achieve a similar outcome to your fitness goals considering your calories are calculated correctly. If you are eating a daily calorie count of 1600 calories for argument sake then it wont make a big difference if you get them in 3 meals or 6 meals. As long as you stick to your daily calories with good choices you will see the result.
Another rule of thumb, if you eat 4 meals a day, stick with that amount. Don’t change from three meals per day to six meals then back to four.
Getting your body to adapt to a certain frequency will improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels.
Step 5. Nutrient Timing
At different times of the day your body will require different ratios of macronutrients. As an example your body wont perform optimally if you don’t consume the right amount of carbohydrates pre and post training when you need the fuel and will possibly cause some body fat gain if the carbohydrates were consumed before bed as you don’t need the energy at the time your about sleep.
Getting in the right amount of macronutrients throughout the day will not only have you feeling great in terms of energy but will have you on the right track to achieving your desired body composition. The key to nutrient timing is to get the right hormonal responses meaning your anabolic hormones doing their job properly in your body (Testosterone, insulin, IGF-1 and growth hormone) in terms of muscle growth, recovery and optimal performance and keep the catabolic hormones (Cortisol, glucagon, epinephrine and norepinephrine) behind the scenes to keep your body from breaking down your hard earned muscle.
What to do:
- Pre workout, (60-90minutes)
Have a Protein and Carbohydrate meal. It takes some time for your body to break down nutrients (around 2 – 6 hours). This will ensure you have sufficient amino acids in your bloodstream.
Adding the carbs to your pre workout meal will improve performance.
Adding fats to your pre workout will not have any additional affect for your performance or shape.
- Intra Workout
In a nutshell, your body requires energy to train and some crucial essential amino acids to preserve that hard earned muscle and support new muscle growth. One very effective method to help your body become leaner and recover faster is BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids).
BCAA’s are made up of three amino acids that make up 40% of your daily essential amino acids requirements, which states their importance.
Here are some key benefits worth noting why they are worth using:
Increase Fat oxidation, Supports Healthy Hormone Balance, Prevents muscle loss during long duration workouts, have been shown to have anti aging effects,
Are BCAA’s worth taking?
There are many health benefits related to BCAA’s but for training related reasons I personally rate this product highly due to helping with muscle and energy production during exercise, helping speed up recovery, helping increase motivation when fatigued, increase the formation of mitochondria therefore giving this product anti aging benefits.
I personally am a big fan of this product whilst training
- Post Workout
When you are trying to build muscle and improve you body, working out is just a part of the battle. When you are exercising and breaking down your muscle your post workout nutrition must be on key to get the full benefits of rebuilding your muscle fibers thicker and stronger. The best time to consume is one taken with 20 minutes of exercise, preferably an easily digested Protein and Carbohydrate meal.
Eating the right foods and getting in the right nutrients will recover your body quicker and keep your body progressing and getting the results your after whether its fat loss or more muscle your after.
- Before sleep
Here is a tip to follow if you can’t get a good night sleep.
A diet high in protein is important for a leaner body. Of course you must include certain carbohydrates during the day as I’ve explained earlier but if you’re having trouble falling asleep or wake constantly through the night then one way to increase serotonin is pick a quality whole food carbohydrate to eat 30-60 minutes prior to bed. Make sure the calories in your carbohydrate based meal still remains in your calorie target for the day.
Step 6. Calorie cycling
Cycling your calories is a style of eating where you alternate between higher and lower calorie days. The most common approach to calorie counting is eating higher calories on training days and lower calories on your rest days. This approach is used most commonly for those who have a goal of fat loss.
This approach of calorie cycling can be used with great benefit if you are precise with your calorie counting. I have used this in the past with quite a few athletes getting ready for contests with great success but unless your willing to approach that style of eating with keeping to your calorie count day in day out it wouldn’t be ideal.
If you think its something you want to give a go than be sure not to increase or decrease over 20% past your baseline.
The difference between calorie cycling and carbohydrate cycling is the fact you raise and lower calories in general where as during the carbohydrate cycling its all about the carbohydrate reefed days.
This style of cycling has been shown to work very well with fat loss. This would be my number one method of cycling your calories. Just keep in mind you’re calories per day will stay the same. It’s just switching the carbohydrates and fats that will be cycling during this cycling method.
Hopefully this gives you a better guide on how to set up your diet to achieve your fitness goals. Now its your turn to take action and make it happen. Good Luck