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It seems everyone has an answer to the question how should I eat to drop body fat? Or. How should I eat to build muscle mass? The problem is that everyone has a different opinion making it a bit difficult to filter through the BS. The thing most people cannot argue with is calories in vs calories out.


What do we mean by Calories in vs calories out?

Well your body burns calories every day for energy and daily bodily functions. The number of calories you burn depends on a number of things including:

  • Metabolic rate
  • Exercise and activity
  • Age and gender
  • Your body composition (Fat-Muscle %)

The number of calories you burn each day would be your baseline calories, meaning if you ate this many calories per day you would maintain your body weight.

  • Consume a calorie deficit (under your baseline), you will lose weight.
  • Consume a calorie surplus (over your baseline), you will gain weight.

Simple stuff right? And this is the first thing you need to determine. Your baseline calories.

How to work out your baseline calories:

Follow this simple equation to find out your estimated baseline calories:

Step 1: Body Weight

Find your body weight in lbs
e.g. 60kg x 2.2 = 132lbs

Step 2: Basel Metabolic Rate

What is your estimated Body fat %. Use the guide, take the number and multiply by your weight.

30%> = 9
25-29% = 10
20-24% = 11
15-19% = 12
10-14% = 13
<10% = 14

40%> = 9
33-39% = 10
28-32% = 11
21-27% = 12
16-20% = 13
<16% = 14

e.g. Female: 132lb (28% body fat = 11)
132 x 11 = 1452

Basel Metabolic Rate = 1452 Cals

Step 3: Activity Level

What is your activity level on a scale of 1.1 – 1.9 (1.1 being zero movement or activity, 1.9 being extremely active)

Basel Metabolic Rate x Activity Level = Total Daily Energy Expenditure (baseline)

1452 x 1.4 = 2032

2032 would be this clients baseline meaning if they continued with their current activity level they would theoretically maintain their body weight.

Step 4: Fat Loss or Weight Gain

To start a fat loss programme you would take your baseline calories and take 10-20% off.
(2032/100) x 80/90 = {1626}–{1828} Calories per day

Training days = 1828 Cals

Non-Training days = 1626 Cals

To start a weight gain programme you would take your baseline calories and add 5-10% on.
(2032/100) x 105/110 = {2133}–{2235} Calories per day

Training days = 2235 Cals

Non-Training days = 2133 Cals

This being said, this is just an estimated baseline calorie calculation but it should bring you in around the right region. If you monitor your weight for 14 days you can see whether you gain, lose or maintain and adjust from there.

Women and Calories

Many women who struggle with their weight tend to be a little scared of these numbers. The sad truth is the old 1200 calorie diet has been drilled into so many of us.

If you are eating so far below your baseline you will initially lose weight, but this would not be sustainable. Consuming such a drop from your baseline would put your metabolism under pressure and it would become damaged. This basically means your body would lower your metabolic rate and stop burning as many calories. Your body does this to try and lower energy expenditure to protect itself from running out of fuel and shutting down.

You will feel cravings, hunger and loss of energy – especially if your daily activity has increased too. Inevitably you will fail and when you consume more calories (e.g. weekend binge) your body will store this then as body fat. Still with a slowed metabolism you now store more fat when you eat and burn less. This cycle will continue so you will actually gain all your weight back plus more!

If you feel you are in this cycle – break out! Aim to hit your baseline calories for 14 days – Eat a balanced diet of healthy whole foods and you will begin to feel awesome again. Train hard, with the extra fuel you now have your performance will improve. From there you can then work slowly to decrease calories again by just 20%.

How to log calories?

Check out this app which you can download and play with. You can set your target and log all foods you consume here. It will give you its calorie and macro breakdown:

My Fitness Pal

So that’s all for today kids, so much left to talk about on the subject so we will save that for future posts.
Feedback is greatly appreciated, so feel free to share and comment and if you have any questions please just ask.

Coach Ashley. Done!

Smart Fitness

Author Smart Fitness

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