If you are looking to gain muscle, or lose fat, you came to the right place. In this blog I will be going over the SUPER SECRET tip that will GUARANTEE you will reach your goals....are you ready for it?!?!?
Its counting your damn calories...
So no matter what diet or way of eating you choose, calories matter. I am not saying that the macronutrient breakdown of your diet is not important ( that is going to be an article for another day) , as they are a massive part of increasing your performance or work output, but what I am saying is that unless you understand exactly where you stand right now, you will not be able to make the weightloss or muscle gains you are looking for.
So with that being said, let us begin shall we?
Each day you are burning calories. Merely sitting here, reading this post, you are burning calories. There are many involuntary actions that take place in your body, that require the use of energy. Yes, you utilize energy and calories merely breathing. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. This is the amount of calories your body burns while at rest. Where is that energy coming from? It is coming from the food you eat and fat and muscle (in extreme cases) that you have in and on your body.
So, whether your goal is to lose weight and get shredded, or bulk up and build muscle, the first step is the same. Figure out your BMR.
So how do you find your BMR and thus unlock the key to your weight loss/gain journey? Well there are two popular ways to do so. The first is to utilize an online BMR calculator. Just a quick Google search of “BMR Calculator” will put you on the right path. Simply put in your age, weight, and a few other personal characteristics about yourself, and it will spit out a rough estimate of your BMR based upon that information. The key with these is to be as accurate with your information. If your activity level is low, but you put it as high, well shit…you will not be given an accurate calorie count, and you will find your pudgy butt getting increasingly pudgier (yeah…not a real word). This again is only an estimate, and should be seen as a starting point and not a concrete number. You will need to try it out for a few weeks and determine how you feel, and what your bodyweight, and performance is like.
The second way of doing it, and my personal favorite, is to track everything that you put into your face for two weeks. Why two weeks? Well you need to determine what you ate for a week and where your weight is, then you need another week of eating, and another bodyweight measurement, to determine if you are moving up or down, based on the calories you have eaten. For example, if on week one you eat 3000 calories a day, and weigh in at 200 Lbs., then during week two you eat 3200 calories a day, and go up to 202, you are obviously eating more calories than your body is burning for that week. The longer you track your intake, and the more accurate you are with your food input, the better understanding you will have about what your body burns on a daily basis.
So after figuring out what your BMR is and the amount of calories you should eat on a daily basis, the next step is simple. If you are looking to lose weight, you will need to put yourself in a slight deficit and likewise for bulking, you will need to eat in a calorie surplus.
How much of a deficit/surplus should you start at? That is the million dollar question. The answer I would give to someone is roughly 20-25% of your total daily calories. This means that if your maintenance calories are 2500 a day, you would be increasing or decreasing your calories by 500-625 calories. This surplus/deficit is going to get you roughly 1 pound of weight loss or weight gain per week. You CAN increase or decrease your calories as much as you want, this is America after all, but in my “professional” (former Fat Guy) opinion, it is better to start out doing the least amount of work while still getting results. Sure you will lose weight faster if you severely cut your calories, but you will be miserable, and you will not stick to it in the long-term. Likewise for gaining weight, if you are adding thousands and thousands of calories a week, you will be gaining pounds and pounds of fat. A slow, steady, and consistent progression is your best bet.
PS. Remember that if you are incorporating cardio into your weight loss ( I suggest that you do) you would factor in those calories burned into your deficit. In other words, if you are looking to do a 500 calorie deficit, you can do 250 in cardio a day, and 250 from food. This way you can eat more food, and get the same effect. Science!!!
Thanks for checking this out. And for those who do not know, or have not yet check out the "LiftLaughLive Podcast" episode 1 is on itunes and Stitcher now! Go check it out, and please subscribe, and give me a 5 star review! Much appreciated!
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Sam Brown CPT (LiftLaughLiveSHB@gmail.com)
Certified Underground Strength Coach