If you want to lose fat most effectively, then you’ll want to learn how to calculate the calories necessary to hit your fat-loss goals. However, counting calories is one piece of the puzzle. I am a big proponent of the IIFYM movement. If It Fits Your Macros. I believe that you can enjoy life and eat just about whatever you want as long as you don't over eat and as long as you make sure you eat the right amounts of certain nutrients that will enable you to reach your goals. In this post you will learn the exact method that I have used to help many clients (and myself) learn how to calculate macros in order to lose unwanted fat.
So what are macronutrients? Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. By definition, according to Dictionary.com,
Nutrition. any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, fat, and the macrominerals.
Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients:
Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.
Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
Fat provides 9 calories per gram.
So if you are reading a nutrition label and it says that there are 15 grams of carbohydrates in one serving, you know that means that that one serving provides 60 calories by multip[lying the number of grams by 4 calories per gram. Easy, right?
So how do we get this to work for us. Well, first of all if you don't want to stay on top of this yourself, it helps to have a dedicated trainer to keep everything dialed in for you. That way, as your body composition changes and your requirements change, you won't miss a beat.
Step 1 – Calculate Your BMR and create a Calorie Deficit for fat loss.
Your Total Daily Energy Expendature (TDEE) is basically your BMR with the calories expended doing your Daily activities included.
Step 2 – Calculate Your Protein Requirement For Fat-Loss
In calculating your macros to lose fat, the first macronutrient we should focus on is protein. We do this because we want to make sure that we eat enough protein to not only conserve muscle while we are losing fat but also to build.
The easiest way to determine your protein requirement if you don’t have a way to measure your body fat percentage is to consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight. If you are overweight or obese, it’s a better idea to consume 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass. This requires you to measure your body fat percentage.
30% is a good start as a baseline, which you can adjust later. For accelerated fat-loss or those who are already lean and training intensely, you may benefit by consuming about 35% of calories in protein because it has been shown to be the most satiating of all macronutrients, which can be helpful when you’re in a calorie-restricted diet to keep you feeling fuller. Protein is also takes more energy to digest. This is called the thermic effect. Your body has to work harder and will use a lot more calories to digest and absorb the protein relative to carbohydrates and fats.
Step 3 – Calculate Your Fat Intake For Fat-Loss
The next substrate we want to focus on is fat consumption. A good starting point is to target a range between 20-25% of your calories coming from fats. 1g of fat contains nine calories. on a 2,000 calorie diet that means that 400-500 calories would be from fats which equals 44-56 grams of fat per day.
Step 4 – Calculate how many carbs you need next
CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY! They are the central nervous system's preferred source of energy. Your body stores carbs as muscle glycogen so you can workout. In addition, many vitamins come from carbs.
So, the last macronutrient we are going to consider is carbohydrates. How many of our daily calories should come from carbs? You should try to keep your protein intake pretty consistent and only change it as your lean tissue changes. Carbs and fats, on the other hand can be manipulated to fit your goals and your needs like type of training, training intensity, and your overall goals. oto be taken into consideration. This is not rocket science but it is science just the same. Once you and your trainer figure it out the fun will begin.
Using myself as an example, I am a bigger guy and because of my workout style and my goals I have been playing around with a little more protein. I eat about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass on my body. I weigh (at the time of this post) 236 lbs and have a 15% body fat. That's 35 lbs of fat. Subtracting that from my total weight, I get 201 pounds of lean tissue (muscle, bone, organs, etc.). So 201 - 302 grams of protein per day. Yep. It's a lot. a serious commitment. So If my total daily calorie intake is say... 3,000. I take away my protein calories first. (201 X 4 + 804 calories) then I multiply 3,000 X 20% for fat calories (3,000 X 20% = 600 calories) 600 calories plus 804 calories = 1,404 calories. That leaves 1,596 calories from carbs. How many grams is that? EASY - Just divide by 4 (4 calories per gram in carbs, remember?) 399 grams of carbs. Now that may seem like quite a bit of food. But I am actually tryiing to build. So... Like I said it's a commitment. (I actually get tired of eating.)
Step 5 – Finding what works best and being consistent
For the average person, a good starting point for fat loss is a macronutrient breakdown of 45% carbs, 30% protein and 25% fat. But remember this. I say it all the time. "What gets measured moves." The fact that you are paying attention to it is going to cause some changes to occur. It’s best to test what works best for you. Depending on how you respond, or the type of workouts you do you could require more carbs and even less fat or visa-versa. Believe it or not. You can trade calories for calories between fat and carbs pretty successfully. JUST REMEMBER that that doesn't mean you can trade gram for gram. Fat has more than twice the calories per gram than carbs (9 calories per gram vs 4... remember?) There are a lot of personal trainers and bodybuilders that have a standard like a 40/40/20 breakdown (carbs, protein, fat). This is the split that Arnold Schwarzenegger recommends in his book "The Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding."
Bottom line. Improving your body composition is about getting a good grasp on how your body responds to how and what you eat. Figure it out and be consistent. Everyone is different. So if one thing doesn't seem to be working, tweak it until it does. Don't get frustrated and give up or fire your trainer. Also remember that this is not an overnight process. your body needs time to adjust. It's not like the TV Show Biggest Loser where everyone loses 10-12 pounds from week to week. That is unrealistic and in most cases dangerous. ALSO - They have a team of doctors that monitor them continuously and they work out for most of the day. As well as having meals planned out to the "T". most people have this thing called LIFE that makes that type of training impossible. What's worse in my opinion is that many of those people lose weight so quickly that I would be interested to find out how long it lasts. Not because what they lost is superficial. But because they didn't really have long enough to develop a lifestyle of change.
Anyway, no shade thrown on them or the show. i appreciate any time people have the success that they are able to experience on these shows.
Have fun with this and enjoy the process. Be sure to let me know if this helps by commenting below.
(Go Back to Step 1) (Go Back to to Step 2)