Step 1: Calculating and understanding your caloric requirements.
We all have different caloric requirements, and they vary based on our age, weight, sex, body fat, muscle mass, physical activity, metabolic capacity and goals. We also NEED calories to live and function, in the same sense that a car needs gas to drive from point A to point B.
Let me give you a breakdown…
All foods have calories; calories are chemical energy we ingest that through a series of metabolic processes is then turned into mechanical energy (i.e. walking, running, breathing, etc.), thermic energy (heat) and electrical energy (transmission of nerve impulses).
Just the mere fact of living expends calories; its what we call BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of energy your body requires in order to sustain life. On top of our BMR we add our daily activities like walking, running, eating, taking a shower, cleaning the house, etc. all these physical activities burn calories and add up to our daily expenditure. The more physically active you are, the more calories you burn.
So the first step to setting up a successful diet is understanding and calculating your own personal caloric requirements. Which is why there’s no such thing as a one size fits all type of diet. And whoever tells you there is, he’s either ignorant or lying to your face.
There are several ways you can go about calculating your daily calories. Heres any easy way…
* Note: If you are over weight, use your goal weight as your guideline.
* For those of you on the metric system, if you want to know your weight in pounds you will simply multiply your weight in kilograms by 2.2.
Knowing your weight in pounds will now allow you to use the chart below to calculate your calories.
The chart above is a somewhat generalized calculation that can serve as a good starting point. But individual differences are difficult to take into account using these calculations, so its unlikely that you will get a perfect number. But also keep in mind that theres no perfect way of calculating your daily calories.
You can also do a quick google search for “calorie calculators” and you’ll come across many free calculators online that can help you find your daily numbers.
Or you can hire us and we will take care of everything!
So now that you have your calories set up, lets move on to the next step…
Step 2: Establish an appropriate set of macronutrients for your goals and preferences
Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats. Alcohol is another macronutrient, but a non-essential one, so we don’t account for it — Sorry!
This is where the calories in food come from… Each macronutrient has a different caloric value:
Protein = 4 calories per gram
Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram
Fats = 9 calories per gram
So for example: 100g of chicken breast has 1.2g of fat, 0g of carbohydrates and 23g of protein. This equates to roughly 103 calories.
1.2g of fat x 9 calories = 10.8
0g of carbs x 4 calories = 0
23g of protein x 4 calories = 92
10.8 + 0 + 92 = 102.8 calories
And if you download a calorie counting app, you can find the nutritional value (calories, macros & micros) of all the foods you eat.
Now lets put this into practice and set up your macro targets:
If you are above 15% body fat (men), 20% (women), use your goal weight to adjust your macros. Or to be more accurate, use your LBM (Lean body mass) if you can.
1g of protein = 4 calories
1g of carbs = 4 calories
1g of fat = 9 calories
First and most important: Protein
Protein requirements may vary according to your current goal. But as a general guideline we use (1g x bodyweight (lbs.)) for active individuals that train on a regular basis. If a person does not workout, protein requirements will be about half that.
Example: A 180 lb. lean male will have a daily intake of 180g of protein. Or a 220 lbs. over weight male with an LBM of 160 lbs. will have a 160g daily intake.
Your body doesn't actually need too much protein to build/maintain muscle optimally. And the values given above are actually higher than what's needed, but rounding it out to 1g per pound makes the math easy. And there's nothing wrong with consuming a bit more protein than needed as long as it does not exceed your caloric requirements.
Fat requirements will be set up between (0.25g - 0.6g x bodyweight (lbs.)). The amount of fat you choose between these guidelines can be based on personal preference for both weight loss or weight gain.
Example: A 150 lb. female can have a fat intake of 37.5g per day (150 x 0.25). This should be the lower end of the spectrum; I wouldn't recommend anything below 20% of your bodyweight in fat grams.
Carbs are what we play with during our fat loss or gaining phases. Generally fats and protein stay relatively the same regardless of the goal. So we manipulate our carb intake based on our calorie requirements for our specific goals. And these carbs fill in the remaining calories that we need.
Now let me sum this up all together to give you a couple of examples of how to set up your calories/macros.
Example 1: Edgar Allan Bro… Get it? Because, bro… Never mind… Lets move on.
Edgar Allan Bro is a 160 lb. moderately active male trying to burn fat at 2,240 calories
160lb x 14 = 2,240 calories
His macros will be the following:
Protein: 1g x 160lb. = 160g
Fat: 0.45g x 160lb. = 72g
This would be the equivalent of 1,288 calories.
(160 x 4 = 640), (72 x 9 = 648)
(640 + 648 = 1,288)
So the 952 calories he has left to hit 2,240 calories should come from carbohydrates, which would be 238g.
(2,240 – 1,288 = 952)
(952/4 = 238)
Macros: Carbs: 238g / Protein: 160g / Fat: 72g
Pretty simple huh?
Now let me give you another example…
Example 2: Marilyn Monbro
Marilyn is a 120 lb. moderately active lean female that wants to put on some muscle mass (weight gain) with 2,160 calories
120lb x 18 = 2,160 calories
Her macros will be the following:
Protein: 1g x 120lb. = 120g
Fat: 0.5g x 120lb. = 60g
This would be the equivalent of 1,020 calories.
(120 x 4 = 480), (60 x 9 = 540)
(480 + 540 = 1,020)
So the 1,140 calories she has left to hit 2,160 calories should come from carbohydrates, which would be 285g.
(2,160 – 1,020 = 1,140)
(1,140/4 = 285)
Macros: Carbs: 285g / Protein: 120g / Fat: 60g
And now you know how to set up your calories and macronutrients! But lets move on to a few things that are also important to take into account…
Step 3: prioritize the consumption of nutrient dense foods, foods that are high in micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc)
An essential part of a healthy diet is consuming HEALTHY foods! And while the calories and macros alone will determine your progress in terms of body composition, its also important to understand that they do not guarantee health and longevity. So you need to pay attention to the nutritional value of the foods you eat!
A simple way of looking at it, and what I recommend to my clients, is following the 80/20 rule.
¿What does this mean?
This means that 80% of the calories you consume should come from nutrient dense foods. Foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
e.g. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, whole grains…
And the other 20% can be whatever you want! This will give you freedom and flexibility to enjoy foods you love, foods that may not be considered “healthy” but help you stay sane while dieting. And trust me, a scoop of ice cream, a piece of cake or a slice of pizza can be the difference between you sticking to the diet or going absolutely crazy! Because completely cutting out the foods we like is an unsustainable approach to dieting. Eventually we all give in to our desires and cravings!
Step 4: Set up a training routine that includes both weight training and cardio to induce fat loss and build/spare muscle mass
Heres a FREE training program on us!! MEPT (Free Version)
Step 5: Be consistent and be patient!
Consistency is everything! You can have the best diet in the world, a training routine created for the most elite athletes, a coach that makes champions, but what good would any of this be if you don't follow the plan? I want you to understand that some sacrifices will have to be made, and creating a cover model physique isn't an easy endeavor, but with proper programming and consistency, it's a goal that anyone can achieve!
And remember my friends… BALANCE & MODERATION can go a long way!
p.s. Have any questions? Leave a comment below!