So, in the last blog post I explained how eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose fat; in this article, I would like to explore how you determine what calories you need without going in to the specifics of nutrition, each macronutrient and the law of thermodynamics.
So how do I determine the calories I need to lose weight?
Simple, first you calculate your maintenance calories. Your maintenance calories are how much you can eat and still be able to maintain your weight.
For most of us, we would multiply our bodyweight x 14-15 – that is the most accurate calculator without having to take in other factors like height, age and all that other mumbo jumbo…
Once you have your maintenance calories you then subtract according to how much fat each week you ‘wish’ to lose. I say ‘wish’ just because fat loss is never linear – your weight can go up 2lbs one day and down 4Ibs another day.
If you want to slowly lose weight whilst focusing on strength gains then your best option would be to eat slightly below maintenance, a good number would 200-300 below maintenance. This would equal to about half a pound a week.
If you want something slightly more aggressive, then eating 500 calories below maintenance would equal 1lb of fat loss a week, with this approach you can gain strength whilst losing fat.
However, if you hold more than 20lbs of fat and you only want to focus on losing it then I would say eat 700-800 below maintenance. This would equal roughly 1.5 lbs a week.
So what does this look like for the average 180lb male?
So, his maintenance would be 180lbs x 15 = 2700
For a slower cut he should eat around 2400 calories and every 2-3 weeks he should readjust his calories to keep fat loss progressing.
For a slightly aggressive approach, he would eat 2200 calories.
If he wants to lose 1.5-2lbs a week he should eat around 1900 calories.
(These numbers will vary from individual to individual)
So now you have your numbers, what are you waiting for?