Roman's patented calorie calculation formula for body recomposition
One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is, “Roman, how do you get your hair to sweep off to that side like that, making it appear concurrently meticulous and effortless? On a side note, how do you determine caloric intake (especially for body recompositioning)?”
I have no idea why that question is so prevalent in my email, or exactly what those two things have to do with one another. But I have come to expect these things. And I’m here to help.
I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is, I can’t share my hair styling secrets; the world is simply not ready for that truth bomb.
The good news is that I can tell you aaaalll about determining calorie needs.
ALL Calorie formulas—no matter who gives them to you, or how great they look on paper— are ultimately a crapshoot.
That is, while such formulas will be generally applicable, anyone who tries to tell you they know exactly how many calories you need to eat at any time, ever, is either lying or simply doesn’t realize how misinformed they are.
Of course, some formulas are better than others—but even the best ones (and for body recompositioning, this is the best) should pimarily serve as a jumping off point from which you can make changes.
Well, because like I said, I am not telling you my hair secrets, no matter how nicely you ask. On top of that, giving you the best jumping off point is my job.
Calorie formulas come in all shapes and sizes for different goals, and my covering all of them is a bit beyond our purposes here. Instead, I’ll just focus on one of the more esoteric goals: body re-comping.
You see, I have calorie formulas for fat loss and muscle gain. But because I’m generally known for creating programs specifically designed to help people look awesome, I get tons of emails about how to do this in the shortest amount of time.
For that we need to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time—otherwise known as recomposition.
It’s a difficult task, but not an impossible one. And the only way to do it quickly is to make sure you’ve got your diet in check; a diet designed to give you caloric intake high enough to sustain muscle growth, but low enough to allow for fat loss.
Before we do anything else, we need to figure out your maintenance calories, meaning the energy intake that would be required to stay pretty much the way you are.
I use some formulas that I’ve found to be effective as starting points, making some adjustments for bodyfat levels.
In the table below, LBM refers to “lean body mass,”meaning the amount of your body mass that isn’t fat. So if you way 150lb and have 10% body fat, then 15 pounds of your body’s mass is fat, so you have 135lb of LBM.
Current Body Fat
|6%-12%||17cal per pound of LBM|
|12.1%-15%||16cal per pound of LBM|
|15.1%-19%||15cal per pound of LBM|
|19.1%-22%||14cal per pound of LBM|
|22.1% or above||13cal per pound of LBM|
The obvious reason for this structure is rate of fat loss.
The more fat you have on your body, the faster you can lose it, and the more of it you can lose without sacrificing LBM. Therefore, you can consume fewer calories and still have a pretty decent rate of fat loss without really negatively affecting the metabolic processes responsible for fat loss and even muscle gain.
Fat people just need to eat less.
(Groundbreaking science, I know.)
As an example, let’s create an imaginary client that we can work with. We’ll call him Pythagoras, for no reason other than it makes me giggle. Our man Pythagoras is a 2,580 year old male who weighs in at a soft 194.5 and 18% bodyfat—which isn’t bad for a guy his age.
At 194.5 pounds, P-Thag (as the kids call him) has 35 pounds of fat (194.5 x .18 = 35.01), and 159.5 pounds (194.5 – 35) of LBM.
Using my above guidelines, Pythagoras maintains at about 2400 calories.
For body recomp, P-Thag will be eating about 500 below maintenance (1900 calories) on Non-Workout days, and 100 above maintenance on Workout days (2500).
During the course of his training program, our client can hope to gain about 3-5 pounds of muscle. So let’s shoot for the stars and use 5 as a jumping off point. That means we want to structure his protein intake around having 164 pounds of LBM.
On Non-Workout days, I recommend 1.35 grams of protein per pound of goal lean body mass and .5 grams of carbohydrates per pounds of current lean mass. The difference comes from fat.
That would put our client’s protein intake at 222.5g per day. To make math easy, let’s jump that up to 225g, which gives us an even 900 Calories per day coming from protein. We simply divide the current LBM by 2 and arrive at 80—and so Pythagoras will eat that many grams of carbs per day, for about 320 Calories. The other 680 Calories will be coming from fat—about 75 grams.
All told, the diet looks like this:
On Workout days, I recommend about 1.5-1.6 grams of protein per pound of desired LBM (165 x 1.6 = 264), and 1g carbs per pound of current LBM (159), with the difference coming from fat.
Here’s what that would look like for our example.
Going back to what I had said earlier, no matter how you look at it, all Calorie formulas are sort of educated guesswork. However, they provide us with a starting point from which we can really adjust and redirect our efforts.In the vast majority of cases, the above numbers/breakdowns are the best possible starting point for any short term body recomposition program.
In the vast majority of cases, the above numbers/breakdowns are the best possible starting point for any short term body recomposition program.