To lose weight and burn fat you need to supply your body with less energy than it expends each day. This is known as a calorie deficit. In the body-building world this is called Cutting.
When your cutting you need to create an imbalance between energy intake (from food) and energy expenditure so that your body is forced to call on its stored energy (e.g. body fat). This is achieved by reducing your calories by around 500-700 below your daily maintenance calories. Your daily maintenance calories are the amount of calories your body needs a day to maintain its current weight.
The goal when your cutting is to steadily lose fat while trying to maintain your strength and lean body mass. This is easier said than done. However research has shown the key to limiting or preventing the loss of body protein during fat loss is providing it with sufficient dietary protein. This means your protein needs when cutting need to be much higher.
The recommended protein requirements for a weight training individual trying to build muscle is around 0.8-1 gram per pound of bodyweight. So a good place to start is providing your body with around 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Below is a table I have created for you to take all the guess work out of calculating your cutting macronutrients and calories. Simply choose the row closest to your bodyweight in pounds and this will be your starting point:
If your bodyweight is not on this table here is the formula I used to calculate these numbers:
- Eat 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day
- Eat 1 gram of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight per day
- Eat 1 gram of fat per 5 pounds of bodyweight per day
As you get leaner you will have to steadily decrease your calories. The leaner you get the slower your weight loss will become. If your losing any more than 1-2 pounds a week and your strength levels are going down, it could mean your losing more muscle along with the fat. A loss of 5-10% in strength is not uncommon when cutting. A good sign that everything is going right is your trousers should be feeling looser, your sleeping well, your energy levels remain high and your strength doesn’t decrease more than 10%. If your eating too little add an extra 200 calories each day, and if your eating to much decrease your calories by 200 each day.
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