By now you have browsed through the contents of Laying the Foundation Part 1 and you have committed the basic rules of eating healthy to memory. If not, go ahead and do that now because “knowing is half the battle”. You must be ready to understand the basics of nutrition before getting started. Once you get in the habit, it should be easy as pie. A fat-free pie of course. For a quick refresher, let me summarize:
OK, so are we ready to put this all together? Here we go.
Firstly, if you want to lose weight then calories in must be less than calories out. Now we will set up a basic calorie chart that you can use to gauge your daily intake. Go grab a piece of paper, a pen, and a calculator; or open up a spreadsheet on your computer. Start with your bodyweight in pounds. My example will use a 200 lb man.
Either go get your body fat percentage measured by a doctor or a personal trainer, or go here: Body Mass Index calculator and get your BMI number. Subtract 24 from your BMI and if you’re a female multiply that number by 2.5. If you’re a male multiply that number by 2. Use this new number as a proxy body fat percentage. It will probably be a little off, but it will be an acceptable substitute if you have an aversion to participating in body fat measurement procedures, which usually involve someone else pinching your bare flabby skin. We’ll say our 200 lb man has a body fat percentage of 20%.
Multiply your body fat percentage by your total weight to get your total body fat.
Body fat = 200 lbs x 20% = 40 lbs
Subtract your total body fat from your total weight to get your lean body mass (LBM) also called fat free mass.
LBM = 200 lbs Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 40 lbs = 160 lbs
Categorize your body type to obtain your body type constant (BTC).
If you feel strongly that you are a mixture of two of the three times, then please use a midrange value for your BTC (example: an endo-mesomorph would be 9.5). Body type descriptions come from http://www.wikipedia.com.
Endomorph: The endomorphic body type is centered on the digestive system and is easily overweight. The endomorphic person also has a visceral temperament, which means that they are tolerant, love comfort and luxury, and are extrovertedÃ¢â‚¬â€in short he or she loves food and people.
Endomorph Stereotype: The “jolly fat person.” BTC = 9
Mesomorph: The mesomorphic body type is centered around muscle and the circulatory system and has well developed muscles. The mesomorphic person has a somatotonic temperament, and is courageous, energetic, active, dynamic, assertive, aggressive, competitive, and often a risk taker.
Stereotype: The “jock” or “GI Joe.” BTC = 10
Ectomorph: The ectomorphic body type is centered around the brain and nerves. These people are slim and possibly underweight. The ectomorphic person has a cerebrotonic temperament, and is artistic, sensitive, apprehensive and highly self-aware. Another way to put it is that he or she is introverted and socially restrained.
Stereotype: “effeminate artist” or “awkward nerd.” BTC = 11
Multiply your BTC by your LBM to calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
Your RMR indicates an estimate of the number of calories that you burn throughout the day, while not engaged in physical or stressful situations. We will assume that our 200 lb man is an endo-mesomorph with BTC = 9.5.
RMR = 160 lbs x 9.5 = 1520 calories per day
Estimate your average daily activity to arrive at an activity constant.
Your activity constant will allow you to account for the difference in job type from, for example, a construction worker, who burns possibly 1000 calories a day more than a computer programmer or secretary. This will take some guesswork on your part, and honesty is the best policy. Your activity constant has nothing to do with your workouts, so please do not consider that factor into this number.
If you sit at a desk all day choose 1.1. If you are a physical laborer choose 2.0. If you do something in between just adjust the number accordingly. We will assume that our subject does some desk work, but also travels around by foot possibly to meet with clients or pick up merchandise. His activity constant will be 1.35.
Multiply your RMR by your activity constant to arrive at your average daily cost of activity.
Cost of activity = 1520 calories x 1.35 = 2052 calories per day
Estimate your average daily exercise to arrive at an exercise constant and a time constant relative to exercise.
For this step we will measure our exercise constant in the unit of metabolic equivalent, or METs. The unit MET is defined as the number of calories burned during an activity, per minute, relative to an organism’s basal metabolic rate (BMR). At rest your MET is 1; during light exercise your MET might be 3-4; during moderately intense weight training or cardio your MET value might be 6-7; and during highly intense training like running a 6 minute mile or rock climbing, your MET value could be 12 or higher.
For our subject we will assume he participates in a regular intense weight training routine four days during the week for a total of 90 minutes including warm-ups, cool-downs, and stretching. His exercise constant will be 6 METs and his time constant will be 1.5 hours.
Multiply your LBM by the exercise constant and the time constant to calculate your cost of exercise. Oh, and we have to do a quick conversion of LBM from lbs to kilograms in order to work with METs, which is where the division by 2.2 comes into play.
Cost of exercise = (160 cals / 2.2) x 6 x 1.5 = 818.20
Understanding the thermic effect of food and beverage. There are two basic rules here that we should know about, which will have a minimal impact on our daily caloric equations. Maximizing the use of both of these rules can theoretically increase your calories burned on a daily basis by 100-200.
Calculating your maintenance caloric intake for training days and non-training days.
Add your Cost of Activity (- STEP 7) to your Cost of Exercise (- STEP 9) plus an additional 100-200 calories based on your planned consumption of protein and cold beverages. This will be your training day maintenance calorie target. Our subject will be eating 200 grams of protein per day and drinking eight 8 oz glasses of ice water a day.
Maintenance calories on a training day: 2052 + 818 + 150 = 3020 calories
Your non-training day maintenance calorie target is equal to your cost of activity plus thermic effect of food.
Maintenance calories on a non-training day: 2052 + 150 = 2205 calories
Now take the average of these two numbers to get your average maintenance calorie target.
Total Maintenance Calorie Target = (3020 + 2250) / 2 = 2635 calories
You can use this number to live and eat healthily for the rest of your life, OR you can use the number to periodically calculate specific calorie targets to go along with your current training goals. Just remember to recalculate your numbers on a bi-weekly basis if you are dropping / gaining any fat / muscle.
Based on your goals, adjust your calorie level accordingly. If you wish to put on some additional muscle mass, add 500 calories to your maintenance level and hit the gym hard. If you wish to take off some fat, subtract 500 calories from your maintenance level and hit the gym hard.
Be sure to gauge your progress! In an extreme calorie deficit, your body will begin to break down muscle tissue for energy. If you drop more than 5 pounds in your third week, your calories might be too low unless you are still 100 lbs or more overweight. It’s better to drop fat a little more slowly while maintaining precious muscle tissue, than to take a step backward by losing muscle along with the fat.
Figuring out your macronutrient breakdown because a calorie is STILL not just a calorie.
Our subject wants to drop a little fat, so he is going to start at 2100 calories a day. His macronutrient breakdown is going to look like this:
Quick Tip #1: Keeping a food log can help you to diet instinctively over time. You will quickly learn portion sizes and calories statistics of certain foods as you write them down or check them off day after day.
Quick Tip #2: Use a tape measure to gauge the progress of certain body parts on a weekly basis. Common measurements include waist (bellybutton), chest (nipple), mid thigh, mid upper arm, mid calf, and neck. Take these measurements right before breakfast.
Quick Tip #3: On a weight-lifting day, consume Â¼ of your carbs for breakfast, Â¼ of your carbs before training, and Â½ of your carbs after training. On a cardio only or non-training day, consume Ã‚Â½ of your carbs before lunch and the other Â½ before dinner, but NEVER within 2 hours before a cardio session.
In the next installment I will cover the basics of building a training plan. I will detail the basic rules of weight training, cardiovascular training, stretching, and recovery.
Please send your questions and comments to TheShadow@betterbodyjournal.com The Shadow has been certified twice in his lifetime for sports nutrition and personal training. He has 10 years of experience training strength athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and clients from the general population.