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Exactly How to Eat for Simultaneous Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

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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.

First, we need to establish one very important fact:

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.

Got it?

Great.

Of course, that begs the question: why bother writing about it, then?

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

Determining Your Maintenance Calories

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.

 

Energy Needs

Current Body Fat

Caloric Intake

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.

Determining Your Body Recomp 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).

One important thing I stress with all of my clients: for body re-composition, it is most effective to eat for your desired body.

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:

Non-Workout Days

Macronutrient

Amount (Grams)

Calories

Protein 225 900
Carbs 82 330
Fat 75 675

Total Calories

1905

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.

Workout Days

Macronutrient

Amount (Grams)

Calories

Protein 265 1060
Carbs 160 640
Fat

Total Calories: 

100

2600

900 

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.

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • Hugh Mevius

    my business was looking for a form earlier today and used a company that has 6 million forms . If you need to fill out it as well , here’s a http://goo.gl/ZNdOyQ

  • Doug Collins

    Hey John. I know this is an older article, but as the calorie ranges go, wouldn’t it be best to up the percentages of body fat like 8-10% when pertaining to women (ex: 6-12% for men becomes 14-20% for women)? Seems like a more reasonable calorie number would come up since women are naturally higher in body fat than men. Just wondering your thoughts! Thanks.

  • I’ve had a few friends use these formulas. One thing they are noticing is that things get really screwy (negative fat calories) if the maintenance calories and LBM are really low. Try anything below about 90 pounds of LBM and body fat from 22.1 and up. What’s the solution to this? Change the protein and carb ratios? Decrease the rest day deficit?

    • Changethe deficit from LBM – 500 to LBM minus% — should clear it up

  • Justin

    You did a great job John. I picked up your book on Kindle. Great read. All of the math makes sense to me. Where I run into trouble, is that I am a male at 5’4” 130lbs About 18%Bf. The calories can be an issue especially since I my body only ever gets hungry once a day maybe two. I eat once usually at noon and am full the rest of the day. I have to force myself to eat again around 6 or 7. It’s also hard to fit all of the macronutrients in a day. Any advice?

  • Deric TANEGA

    How do I calculate my daily caloric needs if i’m trying to gain muscle and lose that stubborn fat on my lower stomach? Should I be more focused on being at a caloric surplus or deficit?

  • Amber

    Define non workout days because on the days I don’t lift I play tennis or basketball (extremely hard) for about 2 hours and do sprint work. Would I still cut carbs and total calories that low? If goal is still to gain lean mass while cutting body fat percent.

  • Summer

    Very nice Roman. How would the numbers change for an athlete who is practicing a power and endurance sport (sand doubles volleyball) 2 hours/day 4-5 days per week and lifting weights for about 30 minutes on those days as well? Thanks!

  • Cindy

    Thanks Roman for the great, funny but very informative post. I have never read anyone changing up the ratios so explicitly for training days and non training days but it all makes so much sense. Even though you didn’t reveal your “hair secrets” I think this is one of the best posts I have read and enjoyed of yours, and that’s saying something as I love them all. Great job and all written without any offensive language. Your humour engages me so much more especially teamed with your impressive intellect. Thanks and have a great day.

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  • Cesar

    How do you determine your body fat percentage ? I am 5’7″ and weight 167 lbs. Other than that with info your calculation method looks sound and simple to follow.

  • googie

    According to your formula I would be eating 1260 calories a day. That is my basal metabolic rate. I don’t see body recomp on those numbers. That would be for a crash diet, not trying to build muscle. Is there a different formula for females?

  • Savannah

    Are these guilinesthe same for females as well ? I’m 21 years old and weigh 108. My body fat is around 19 which people put me at 1250 which seems rather low. What would you recommend if I am trying to gain muscle?

  • margarita

    some people count the veggies in their carbs total, should we do or shouldnt using this calculations? Count only starchy carbs or also veggies?

  • Sam

    I’m curious as to why you set carbohydrates so low? All RDs and clinical nutrionists I have spoke with always have carbohydrates making up a greater portion of the diet than protein (whether the goal is fat loss or muscle gain). I am not saying they are right/wrong, but especially for someone who is partaking in high-intensity workouts a few times per week, is it not necessary to make sure they have more carbohydrate to fuel their workouts ?

  • belfastbiker

    Hi! Thanks for the Alpha book, currently making my notes from it – the only concern I have is how you work out maintenance calories – I use the much respected BMR etc calculator from fat2fit, and a few others, and your figurs seem way low compared to what i’m used to – I weigh 275lbs at 40% BF, so LBM of 165lbs. 165×13 = 2145 calories. Surely there’s not a chance that’s a maintenance calories level for me? That’s only a hair above my lowest BMR possible using any of the calculators. I’d not last a few days on 2145 calories.

  • chris

    Im 215 pound 6ft 3 inches 26 years old ive tried calorie ranges from 2200 cals up to about 4000 I either get really bloated and fat or lean out enough to see top 4 abs then my body just stops and then my libido dissapears!!!!
    I got veins all over my body but cant seem to rid myself of the lower belly n back fat I did keto before, if, 6 meals a day I eat on average 300 gs of protein and carbs and under 100 fats.

    Some guidance would be awesome

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  • Gavin

    Hey John,

    How do you track progress on a recomp? Two days ago I weighed myself and I was 84.8 kg and today I was 83 kg. That’s 4lb lost in 2 days.

    You think this is too fast? My strength is still increasing though so I’m puzzled.

    Thanks!

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  • Virginia

    I know this is an old post, but I’m curious. I’m 90 lbs (I’m 4′ 10” very petite), and I’m around 23-25 % body fat. According to this formula I should be eating under 900 cals a day. o.O for real, dude? I’m not trying to lose weight, just a couple pounds of fat and gaininga bit of  muscle would be nice too (so I can eat more, lol).

  • Daydreamer

    Hey John !
    I’ve got a question for you !

    I’ve been forced to take some time off from lifting due to some cortisol levels problems (too low)
    I’m not at the end of my second week off, and was trying to eat at
    maintenance calories as I’m not very active. I’m 18, 5″11′, 139 lbs, so
    quiet lightweight, and was at 8% bodyfat DEXA tested.
    I’ve been eating anywhere from 2100 to 2250 cals a day.

    Could you explain to me why I actually lost a bit of weight, around 1
    lbs during these weeks of no training ? Is it muscle ? Fat ? Water
    weight ? Glycogen ? Should I be worried about muscle loss if my strength
    seems to be right in place or even better than before ? (my muscles
    don’t feel as hard as they were but I guess it’s normal, I don’t want
    them to be shrinking as I’m already quite small)Thank you for your blog and your help !

  • Charlie

    Hello Roman,

    I am trying to gain lean mass. I have est. I am about 14-15%BF and am on the Paleo Diet. My main goal is to continue to gain strength, but also to 'shape up' a bit. I weigh about 160lbs and I am 5'9″.

    I would like to hear your recommendations for my caloric consumption on training and non-training days. I train 3x a week(Deadlifts, Bench, and Squats RPT style).

    I obviously am not afraid of gaining weight, but I don't want to put on too much fat. Getting in the single digits first, then staying there while gaining weight would be ideal.

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on Fitness/Nutrition, and I REALLY look forward to hearing back!

  • Preston

    Hey John, great post!

    Question,

    If I were looking to gain size (with minimal fat gain) how many cals should I add to workout days and what should the non-workout days look like?

    thanks!

  • Debbies21

    I think you should use a woman as an example too because even though I read everything I'm not sure how much to eat. If you're not eating enough won't you lose weight quicker.

  • Dianne

    OK…..on the calorie thing. I struggle with getting it all right. I think I have a pretty good handle on it but sometimes I think my phobias get in the way a bit.

    Anyway…..50years old (yikes!!), female, 122lbs, approx 18%?? bodyfat. I'm only guessing ….i am very lean and fit. 3 years ago competed and was at approx 9%. Haven't really drastically changed but definitely got back up to a reasonable BF….could be less than 18.

    So , saying I am at 18%, my maint would be around 1400…If I want to drop a bit of BF and lean out a little more, I really don't think I could drop down below 1000 on nonworkout days (which actually doesn't happen a lot). And only 1500 on workout days?

    I train 6 days a week…..3 are weight training with a bit of cardio/ plyometrics, 2 are running a 90 min class consisting of weights, and plyometrics, jump squats, burpees that kind of thing. It is non stop , boot camp style. Then one day is a 20 – 30 min interval style workout rarely using weights, then I might just ride a bike for 30 min then next day or not at all.

    So basically I do workout hard (probably too much) but I do love it and get a rush from it. But I guess I struggle with making sure I am getting enough calories and macronutrients . I do eat pretty low carb, high prot and mod fat.

    Here's a sample:

    am: 1 egg/ 2 egg white veggie omelette, 1 ezekiel bread with about 1 tsp almond butter, approx 3/4 C berries with 1/3C plain greek yogurt and a few nuts. Sometimes with throw in some oatmeal and exclude the bread

    postworkout: protein shake with almond milk. Some sort of fruit usually banana and possibly a a half of protein waffle that I make.

    lunch: Large salad with all kinds of veggies, raw and roasted, some sort of protein , probably 4-5oz, some kind of fat usually avocado maybe some nuts, balsamic vinegar. A piece of fruit…plum or apple.

    snack: cottage cheese with salsa or piece of chicken in a lettuce wrap with hummus, or hummus and veggies something like that,

    dinner: protein and 2 veggies and rarely some brown rice or sweet pot or something.

    snack: sometimes…..cottage cheese and some fat, my version of ice cream: blended mix of cottage cheese, almond milk, protein powder, almond butter, stevia then frozen.

    I rarely go off this type of diet. I definitely almost never have cheat days…that's where some of my phobia is along with starchy carbs.

    When I journal I come out with approx 1500 or so cals, prob 40% protein, 30% or less carbs and 25% fat. Am I consuming too much, not enough, what???? I think actually not enough based on my workout schedule. Maybe I'm wrong,

    Any comments, suggestions greatly appreciated…..off to my workout!

  • Fede

    Hi John!! Great article!!

    I just wanted your help with something (so that I can fully understand)

    Lets say I weight 200 lbs and I have a 17% BF.

    There may be two different things I would like to accomplish.

    First: decrease body fat to, lets say, 10-12% while weighing the exact same 200 lbs.

    Second: Decrease body fat to the same 10-12% BUT also weight 195 lbs.

    How should I calculate my caloric intake for body re compositioning in these two cases?

    I hope you clear my doubts.

    Thanks a lot

    Fede from Argentina

  • Justin

    Hey John, is it possible to have more calories coming from fat that from carbs on Non-workout days?? That is how my numbers turned out.

  • Matt Somero

    John, a trainer friend measures my BF from time to time using the Durnin/Womersley method. Yesterday this measurement put me at 6.7% BF. I was at 10.5% 4-5 weeks ago. I do believe this is consistent and that I've lost ~4% BF using FPFL; however, given that my abs are definitely not popping, I'm wary of the 6.7% calculation. I specifically feel that the suprailiac measurement masks the belly fat and love handles that are my very real problem areas. That said, is the jackson/pollock 7 or parrillo caliper method more accurate? It would seem to me that the greater # of points, the greater accuracy. My end goal is 5-6% and FPFL is definitely working well thus far to get me there! Although the eye is the true final judge, I would like to have a better idea of where I am mathematically. Thanks again for everything!

    Matt Somero

  • Chuck

    @Matty –

    Hi,

    I basically wanted to ask the same question :)

    And since I also got DEFL and I'm just wondering if it's a good idea to follow that pattern while using both programs.

    Thanks for you time, Roman.

  • Matty

    Hey John i got a question.

    Can i apply these calorie formulations to final phase fat loss?

    for example. on density training and strength days increase calories and the others decrease calories? and then like every 2 weeks add in a cheat day and do CYWT for a week? just curious.

    Matty

  • Dave

    Hi John

    I am currently using your Final phase together with CYWT. My calories calculated for CYWT range from 1.3k-1.5k( small guy 141lbs 15%bf). Should I pump it up a little higher if i am using Final phase since from what I heard the higher the intensity the more calories it burn and I am worried about losing muscles in the process

    Thanks

  • @Max – Thanks for the kind words!

    I actually just finished re-writing/fleshing out the manual and added about 10 pages to part 7. I'm wrapping it up soon and will send it out.

    For Final Phase, I recommend going just below maintenance (250 cals) on all days, since the primary goal is fat loss.

    You can absolutely substitute complexes for one of the HIIT days, definitely a nice change of pace.

    After the 6 weeks, take a 1-2 week layoff where you'd use heavy training–either the strength workouts from FPFL or something like 5×5.

    Let me know what else you need!

  • Max

    Hey Roman

    Just got your Final Phase program. Congratulations it is an awesome product.

    You should totally put this post in Part 7 of your next edition of Final Phase.. seriously..

    Anyway I have three questions for ya:

    1. Part 7 does not really go into this sort of cycling, it just shows us how to calculate baseline. So, if we are following Final Phase, do we stick with maintenance all seven days – or do we do surplus on lifting days and 500 cals under on the non-lifting days.

    2. I read your Complexes 2.0 article on T-Nation – can we sub this for one of the cardio sessions while on the Final Phase program?

    3. After you are done with the six weeks of Final Phase – let's say I am starting in the 15% body fat range… chances are I am not going to reach my 8% goal in six weeks – how long a lay off after the six weeks do I need before I can tackle Final Phase again?

    3a. In the interim time between 6 week Final Phase blocks what kind of training do you recommend?

    Thanks again and your program rocks !

    -max

  • @maria – That does seem a bit low. That's the problem with those scales–they give you such iffy numbers that you can't even really come up with a good dietary starting point.

    I'd say bump it to 1350 and see how you feel. Let's start there and work our way up or down depending.

  • maria

    PS- I meant-5 different readings- of body fat.

  • maria

    John,

    You're right about the body fat scales! While I was waiting for the FPFL to come out, I went out and bought one so I would have an idea what I truly was, and since then I've gotten 5 different reasons. And the instructions say that women will vary, etc. Anyway, I'm kind of surprised by the reading for my 5'5, 142#, but my current calculations come in at 1200 cals. I just am concerned with the not eating enough with intense workouts– these are great workouts! I want to be successful though. ANy thoughts? Thanks! Looks like an awesome program!! :)

  • Hey Matt,

    I'm happy to help. The place you're getting stuck is the calorie content of each macronutrient. A gram of protein has 4 calories, as does a gram of carbohydrate. Fat has 9 calories per gram.

    So looking at your non-workout days, you're getting 876 calories from protein (219×4) and 304 calories from carbs (76×4) which gives you a total of 1,180. You've already figured out that you need 2100 on non-workout days, so we subtract 1,180 from that and get 920.

    As I mentioned, fat has 9 calories per gram so just divide 920 by 9 and come up with 102 grams.

    Follow the same process for workout days. Pretty simple!

  • Matt

    Hi John,

    I just came across your website after a friend sent me a link to download “Why You've Stopped Losing Fat”…fantastic info! Very eye opening.

    Just wanted to check with you to see if my math is correct (humor me, will ya?!?): I'm at 182# with a BF% of about 13% so LBM of 158. I would like gain an even 5 on my LBM so I should consume 2686 calories for maintenance, about 2100 during a recomp phase on non-workout days and 2786 on workout days, right so far?

    So on non-workout days I need: 219g/protein, 76g carbs but how much fat??? I'm not sure how you determined the calorie breakdown of each.

    Then my workout days would be 243g/protein, 158g/carbs, and I'm lost on the fat amount again.

    I'm sure you're flooded with tedious and ridiculous math questions, but you're input would be awesome.

    Thanks a lot,

    Matt

    Cincinnati, OH

  • Dave

    Thanks for the response! Ah my thoughts were that I will drop calories lower(-800) while keeping protein higher then before if I want to do the liquid diet.. haha seems like there is a risk of losing muscle.. I think I will just go with the normal solid food.

    19th feb! Looking forward to it.. Or maybe tml if lucky enough haha

  • Hey Dave,

    Thanks for posting;

    I would say to keep the Calories the same, not drop them further, particularly if you're doing shakes on that day. Dropping further could lead to muscle loss.

    Thanks for the support in terms of FPFL; I'm pumped for you to try it

  • Dave

    Hi! I was just wondering if its a good idea to further reduce the calories on non work out days. I work out 4 times a week and on the other 3 days I am thinking of doing a liquid diet ( Shakes + fats + fibre). Do you think this is a good idea?

    Btw looking forward to your Final Phase Fat Loss!! Sounds like the next new thing in town

  • Hey Kit,

    Thanks for dropping by and posting. I appreciate the kind words. But I'm definitely telling Joel that your here more than his blog. Ha!

    Anyway, yes, it's absolutely appropriate to pair BCB with the above recommendations.

    As to the other question–I'd say to use BCB for 4-6 weeks, then take 4 weeks and do a different style of training, maybe dedicated heavy training.

    After that you can go back to BodyComp Blitz or even Final Phase Fat Loss.

    Regarding Canada, I may be planning a trip up North =) We'll see.

  • Kit

    Hey John,

    Been reading your site for over an hour (yeah, my boss really loves me now). Anyways, just need to say, I am totally impress with the no b.s. approach– better than some other no B.S. approach out there, so far !

    I got your “hybrid bodycomp blitz” from Joel's transformation domination, and I am reading your blog more than his (shhh… don't tell Joel!). I am going to implement your hybrid B-comp blitz starting today, and will apply your calorie calculations here for the diet aspects of it since it is not in that 6-wk prog.

    Is that advisable?

    Also, in the hybrid blitz you seem to suggest that it can be done for a short time and a short time only. how long after the 1st 6 weeks must I stay away before i can repeat it again? And what do I need to do in the meantime?

    I am trying to aim for my best summer to date!

    thanks for your input–

    and AWESOME SITE!!!

    Kit from Canada , yeah. thaaat Canada!

    we're having the winter olympics here now!

    come visit! I'll show you my 'hood.

  • Phil

    Hi John

    Great Site, Im interested in giving your 6 week bodycomp blitz ago, how do I find the program?

    Phil

  • Ann

    @John Romaniello – Thanks John. I have been sugar-free for many years. How do I access your BodyComp Blitz program? I can't seem to find a link for it. Ann

  • Ann

    @John Romaniello – Thanks John. I have been sugar-free for many years. How do I access your BodyComp Blitz program? I can't seem to find a link for it. Ann

  • Hey Cindy,

    thanks for stopping by the blog.

    Figuring lean body mass is a matter of subtracting the amount of fat on your body from your total weight.

    The only thing you really need to know is your body fat percentage and your weight.

    I'll use myself as an example. I'm currently 192 pounds at 5% bodyfat. So, to determine my fat mass, I multiply my weight by the percentage: 192 x .05 = 9.6.

    I then subtract my fat mass (9.6) from my weight (192): 192 – 9.6 = 182.4.

    The result is my lean body mass. So in my case, I have 182.4 pounds of LBM, and I base my maintenance energy needs and caloric intake on that number.

    Hope that helps!

  • Cindy

    I am just starting out, how do I figure out my body fat and lean body mass?

  • Originally Posted By AnnJohn, I am new to your work. Question: what workouts are you basing your calculations on? Is it one of your programs? If so, could you please direct me? I am a former elite runner with a big weight problem now due to years of injuries. I tend to gain muscle easily. Fat too LOL. I do have blood sugar issues, so have to be careful when my metabolism ramps up because I can crash quickly. So I need to take things a little more slowly. Any direction you can provide will be most appreciated. Thanks! Ann

    Hey Ann,

    Welcome to the blog. To answer your question, the above calculations are what I use generally, but more specifically they are designed to go with my program BodyComp Blitz, which is a 4 week program intended to reduce bodyfat while gaining some muscle.

    I understand your issues completely. I would say in your case, even while keeping overall carbs low, make sure you keep sugar exceptionally low as well.

  • Thanks John!

    Recomposition is good, and of course more muscle would increase my LBM as well as put a higher energy load on my body, so adding some muscle is fine by me. I recently had to stay up all night with my 6 month old while my wife had an emergency appendectomy in the middle of the night. I ate a little bit more (probably around 600-800 calories) since I was awake, and I lost 15lbs in two days. Most of it was LBM. My protein intake at the time (without the extra calories) was about 190-210g/day. I've built some of it back, but have felt like if a month or two of effort can be dashed like that – that maybe a lot of bulk for my body type isn't worth fighting for. Not as much as having a reasonable amount of mass, plenty of strength, and low body fat.

    Aesthetics are a wonderful byproduct of my desire to be extremely healthy. I quit smoking and began this journey after a 32 hour drive straight through to be with my dad after his quadruple bypass surgery. A quick survey of other family and family history told me I had better figure it out now, before I'm trying to reverse years of abuse on my body. 4-5% bf was never an original goal – just one that came out of a desire to prove to myself that I was master over my body, and could achieve any goal or overcome any obstacle.

    That being said, if I put the mass on and it eats my body fat then normalizes somewhere down the line, I'm happy with that as well. Judging from your free document on the 5 plateaus, I've got a hormone imbalance. There's damn near zero fat everywhere except for my low belly/love handles and pecs. Neither is unsightly at this point, just happens to be where I'm holding on to the last of it. Any further thoughts on training or supplementation are welcome. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my last message.

    Best,

    Tyler

  • Ann

    John, I am new to your work. Question: what workouts are you basing your calculations on? Is it one of your programs? If so, could you please direct me? I am a former elite runner with a big weight problem now due to years of injuries. I tend to gain muscle easily. Fat too LOL. I do have blood sugar issues, so have to be careful when my metabolism ramps up because I can crash quickly. So I need to take things a little more slowly. Any direction you can provide will be most appreciated. Thanks! Ann

  • Originally Posted By KyleI've been dutifully following your recommendations mentioned above; thank you for them. Real quick question: How many meals do you recommend an average, busy person split his calories into throughout the day? Due to my LBM goal, I am consuming on average 60-65 grams of protein per meal, all whole food, throughout four meals. That part's the only hard part, fat and carbs are a breeze. Not much time for more meals…not enough of an appetite for stomaching bigger meals less frequently. Unless you say otherwise.

    Anywhere between 4 and 8 is really fine. I think 4 is a bit small, and if you could squeeze in 5 in might be better. I'm not sure how to quantify specifically the increase in results you'd see.

    I will say, though, that you're probably fine as is. If it's working for you so far, don't change it until it stops working.

  • Originally Posted By TylerI began my weight loss journey Late August '09. From 165 lb @ 18% body fat to my current 135lbs @ 6.5%. Fatloss slowed from about 2lb/wk down to varying amounts about 1.5 months ago. I want to hit 4-5% once in my life, then would be happy to float somewhere between 6 and 8, unless someone I trusted told me it were possible to be happy and satiated and stay lower.

    In any case, my current calories float right at 2048/day with a 30/20/50 (P/F/C) ratio. I got here using more of a 50/20/30 ratio. Maybe that's my clue.

    Your ratios, if I got them right, have me at about 39/47/14 @ 1820 calories on non-workout days and 43/52/28 @ 2242 calories on workout days. That's a TON on freaking fat (which I'm not opposed to, if it leads me to my goals ;)), it just seems wrong. My nutrient ratios come out much different than your example.

    Do you feel the ratios I came up with by using your formulas would be better for my goals?

    PS – I had the best results losing the last few % points while doing Nick Nilsson's M.S. program, but my mood swung so terribly when I got to the lowfat highprotein moderately high carb phase (in round 1) that I immediately returned to my previous nutrition.

    Well, on of the things I always try to tell people is that things generally change as they get leaner–it's one of the biggest factors of my new book.

    The above formulas are for body recomposition–trying to gain a bit of muscle while losing a little fat. If you're goal is strictly fat loss I would have a different formula.

    But to answer your question most directly, the formula I gave is the one I use most often and the one I trust.

    Having said that, it IS a lot of fat! I just try to get the majority of mine from liquid fish oil, almond butters, and avacado. I've found the formula to be extremely effective for myself and my clients, so I recommend you give it a shot.

    Congrats on the fat loss so far, and let me know what else you need!

  • Kyle

    I've been dutifully following your recommendations mentioned above; thank you for them. Real quick question: How many meals do you recommend an average, busy person split his calories into throughout the day? Due to my LBM goal, I am consuming on average 60-65 grams of protein per meal, all whole food, throughout four meals. That part's the only hard part, fat and carbs are a breeze. Not much time for more meals…not enough of an appetite for stomaching bigger meals less frequently. Unless you say otherwise.

  • I began my weight loss journey Late August '09. From 165 lb @ 18% body fat to my current 135lbs @ 6.5%. Fatloss slowed from about 2lb/wk down to varying amounts about 1.5 months ago. I want to hit 4-5% once in my life, then would be happy to float somewhere between 6 and 8, unless someone I trusted told me it were possible to be happy and satiated and stay lower.

    In any case, my current calories float right at 2048/day with a 30/20/50 (P/F/C) ratio. I got here using more of a 50/20/30 ratio. Maybe that's my clue.

    Your ratios, if I got them right, have me at about 39/47/14 @ 1820 calories on non-workout days and 43/52/28 @ 2242 calories on workout days. That's a TON on freaking fat (which I'm not opposed to, if it leads me to my goals ;)), it just seems wrong. My nutrient ratios come out much different than your example.

    Do you feel the ratios I came up with by using your formulas would be better for my goals?

    PS – I had the best results losing the last few % points while doing Nick Nilsson's M.S. program, but my mood swung so terribly when I got to the lowfat highprotein moderately high carb phase (in round 1) that I immediately returned to my previous nutrition.

  • Originally Posted By Ed DucoteOoh, I am interested in the answer to Marjorie's question.

    Supplements: If using BCB, how does something like Hot-Rox fit? Or does it? If we are dissecting down and applying the surplus/deficit of energy to specific days based on workload, would using a fat burner on deficit, cardio or rest days be beneficial? In addition, would the Carbolin-19 in Hot-Rox also aid in promote the growth of LBM, etc. on the other days?

    Ed

    p.s. – first time poster.

    Hey Ed, welcome to the board.

    I'll just say that I think Hot-Rox is an awesome supplement, and you can get benefit from it by using it ever day through the recomp period.

    On off days, the compound might push fat loss over the top a bit, plus help you retain mass.

    On workout days where you're eating a surplus, it would have a nutrient partitioning effect in addition, as you mentioned.

    I'd say you could add it in!

  • Originally Posted By MarjorieHello Roman,

    Thank you for the informative post. One question that may not be relevant for intense fat loss but more for maintenance: how do you account for the alcohol calories within the macronutrient allowance? If I have a glass of wine I can take the carbs that are in it out of my carb “allowance” for the day, but what do I do with the alcohol calories? If I just reduce the total remaining maintenance calories by that amount, how do I adjust the remaining allowances for the protein, carbs, and fat?

    Thanks!

    Great question–it's hard to say exactly. Alcohol has calories itself, not just those coming from the sugar.

    As a general rule, I have all of my clients count wine, beer, etc as DOUBLE the listed calorie content. So if a glass has 90 calories, you count it as 180. It's on the high side, but it's an effective system.

    And yes, simply subtract from your remaining macros.

  • Hey Ali,

    Yup, the formula does work for women, of course–but 900 does seem awfully low.

    Keep in mind that I do believe all calories formulas are, at best, a jumping off point. I would say that in your case, you can probably keep it at just over 1000 or even 1100 and still see results. Even for a very small person, 900 seems low.

    Hope that helps!

    -Roman

  • Ali

    Hi Roman,

    Thank you for this, very helpful!

    I have just a question though…does this work for women?

    Because, if my calculations are right, it means my calory maintenance level is c.1125 cals (i'm 117 lbs and 26% body fat). Meaning I would need to consume a max of 900 calories on non workout days, which does not seem much….

    Thanks!

    Ali

  • Ed Ducote

    Ooh, I am interested in the answer to Marjorie's question.

    Supplements: If using BCB, how does something like Hot-Rox fit? Or does it? If we are dissecting down and applying the surplus/deficit of energy to specific days based on workload, would using a fat burner on deficit, cardio or rest days be beneficial? In addition, would the Carbolin-19 in Hot-Rox also aid in promote the growth of LBM, etc. on the other days?

    Ed

    p.s. – first time poster.

  • Marjorie

    Hello Roman,

    Thank you for the informative post. One question that may not be relevant for intense fat loss but more for maintenance: how do you account for the alcohol calories within the macronutrient allowance? If I have a glass of wine I can take the carbs that are in it out of my carb “allowance” for the day, but what do I do with the alcohol calories? If I just reduce the total remaining maintenance calories by that amount, how do I adjust the remaining allowances for the protein, carbs, and fat?

    Thanks!

  • Bart

    Hello Roman,

    I am new to your site and excited about the content. I got your program Bodycomp blitz thx to transformation domination. Currently i am 175 with around 12-13 body fat. I was 180 after i completed the Muscle Explosion program but somehow i went down during last 3 weeks. (I had small varicose veins surgery and i am not working out now – 1month break) Strange that i lost weight with less activity. Will it be possible to gain back some muscles during those 6 weeks. How should be the eating to promote some musle gains? Assuming i want to be 180 pound with 9-10% fat would below work would your formula work?

    thx

  • Meg

    thanks john. also did you get to the 5% bodyfat during the holidays season? I thankful that I stayed the same LMB & BF for this holiday

    and happy new year!

    2010 resolution 1: attempt to recreate john's hair style

  • Originally Posted By AashHey John,

    Great to finally read the diet recommendations for BCB. I do have one question, though, is it possible to implement the CYWT program with BCB to still achieve optimal results? Currently i am at 9 % body fat which i want to drop to about 6-7 % while i gain muscle. Is it possible?! If so, how!?

    Thankyou.

    Oh, definitely.

    If you're doing CYWT, just make sure your most challenging BCB workout–in mose cases, the Dynamic Workouts–take place on your Cheat Day. The day after the Cheat Day, do the bodyweight workouts.

    Other than that, everything remains pretty much the same.

    You'll have to tool around with the schedule a bit, but it's very doable and effective.

  • Aash

    Hey John,

    Great to finally read the diet recommendations for BCB. I do have one question, though, is it possible to implement the CYWT program with BCB to still achieve optimal results? Currently i am at 9 % body fat which i want to drop to about 6-7 % while i gain muscle. Is it possible?! If so, how!?

    Thankyou.

  • Originally Posted By MattyHey John,

    I've been waiting for something like this, thanks..

    Does HITT constitute as a workout day or non-workout?

    or do you only eat workout day calories for weight trianing, bodyweight, etc?

    thanks,

    matty

    I don't count cardio days. Not to say I don't think cardio is hard or that such exercise isn't taking in terms of energy/calorie demand–it's just a different animal than weight training days.

    The increased caloric intake on weight days is to help create an environment where the microtrauma you induced during your weight training session will be repaired with the protein, aminos, etc from your surplus. Just overall recovery stuff.

    Arguments can be made both ways, but in my experience, surplus on weight training days is the best way to go.

  • Originally Posted By JoeHey John,

    Just started following you last week and I gotta say I love it.

    My question: what's an accurate accessible way to measure body fat %

    My scale gives me a reading that I believe is way off.

    Thanks

    Joe,

    Welcome to the fold!

    Scales can be iffy. Bio-electrical impedance scales send a tiny, imperceptible electric shock into your body, and then out the other. This is why there are two points of contact on any such device.

    The device calculates your bf% by the time it takes that shock to travel. Based on whatever information you input (be it by typing in your height, or standing on a scale), the computer does all sorts of calculations based on algorithms and sorcery to arrive at an answer.

    The problem with these is that your level of hydration is going to have a radical effect on the reading, because the amount of water in your body is going to increase or decrease your overall conductivity, which is essentially what is being measured.

    Here's something fun: take a measurement on your scale. Drink 3 bottles of water. Wait 10 min. Measure again. Doing just that, I've seen up to a FOUR PERCENT difference in bodyfat reading.

    Instead, I like old-fashioned calipers.

    There are a lot of different ways to do it, but check out this website:

    http://www.linear-software.com/online.html

    by far, my favorite tool. It not only teaches you how to do it, but does the math for ya.

    This is about the best I've found.

    Let me know what you think!

    Welcome once more, I'm excited to have you on board.

    -Roman

  • Originally Posted By JessicaHi all,

    Hope all you northern hemisphere bods are enjoying a great festive season, cosily buried under meters of snow. Its sultry and sweltering over here and someone needs to rescue a morbidly obese man with a white beard who is currently burning his arse off at the beach. And that's burning his arse off in a “I'll take my melanomas malignant, thanks” sense not a “fat blasting my way to some serious Christmas booty” one. So yes the silly season is the double whammy for us southern hemisphere types–a time for stupendous food indulgence coinciding with a climatic need to wear as little as legally allowable. Oh the cruelty!

    As a life-long New Yorker, I find the idea of warm weather during the holidays both intriguing and disturbing. A friend of mine relocated to San Diego and has mentioned Christmas “just feels less substantial” without the changing of the seasons.

    I think I'd like to try it in the warm weather–I would imagine the feasting is probably a bit more contained to holidays themselves, rather than the entirety of the surrounding weeks. Hopefully, anyway.

    So Roman…

    …it seems to me that the word “diet” comes packed with some friggin' powerful mental juju so that even the most resolute and very well informed people struggle.

    I agree completely. Truthfully, I have a great deal of respect for the power of language, and I feel that the naming of things is one of the things that actually binds concepts.

    With specific regard to 'dieting' you're exactly right. Many people, once they put on those imaginary shackles…collapse almost immediately under the weight.

    During my sophomore year of college, I took a writing seminar/workshop with a gentleman who wrote textbooks for a living and comedic one act plays for fun–two things of such disparity that I immediately granted him respect I normally reserve for people who have a few novels under their belt.

    He said that there are two types of writers: those who respond to freedom, and those that respond to pressure. Freedom writers are extremely naturally creative, and writing comes a bit intuitively, even if it is a bit…well, haphazard in form, from time to time. Give them a bit of pressure, be it a deadline, a word limit, or even a subject they find too narrow, and they struggle and often fail.

    Pressure writers have a very difficult time starting the engine; with too much freedom, they simply don't know where to go, and can't get going. For them, boundaries–however strict they become–are oddly freeing, and allows them the be their most creative and effective.

    I feel it's the same for dieting. Some people manage to do it extremely well naturally, but once they are “on a diet” just fuck up automatically.

    Others like the restrictions. The idea of what is specifically “off limits” or knowing exactly how much to eat of what and when puts their mind at ease, and allows them to be more successful.

    The key, obviously, is to identify which of these categories you fall into and try to manipulate your dietary strategies accordingly.

    It's a personal gripe but to me using censorious and punitive words like “failing” and “cheating” just simply isnt helpful in encouraging people to have long term respectful and utterly enjoyable relationships with food/ healthy eating habits.

    Clearly, you fall a bit more into the 'freedom' category =) Chances are you well with some very basic (but flexible) guidelines. My guess would be that anything over two weeks of overly-structured dieting is disastrous for you.

    Anyhoo in terms of adding another tool to the arsenal to help fight the good fight and possibly providing a super easy reference as to how much for example, 640 cal of P-Thag's carbs actually looks like then may I suggest a visual aid in addition to the fist-palm-thumb method? Sorry Roman I'm not sure how this works, I certainly don't want to be recommending something that you might think is total bollocks but this has been one of the single most useful nutrition related books I've ever seen. It's a book called “this=that” put together by an extremely well regarded Oz based nutritionist (Trudy Williams) that carries life-size photos of what the appropriate recommended portion sizes or serves of just about anything you think to put in your mouth (just so we're clear; this is food and drink related ONLY). It's what I reach for every time I need to refresh my awareness regarding what I'm eating and at times has been eye-opening (both shockingly and pleasantly surprising) as to what constitutes a serve of a something. Anyway here's the link (www.foodtalk.com.au) and if it's something that someone might find helpful as part of a rock solid nutrition plan then it looks like they'll ship/post internationally to just about anywhere. Noice.

    I love the idea of visual aids. I actually had heard of the book (through a client from my coaching program who's in Oz), and this is now the second time I'm hearing about it in a two month time frame. I suppose I ought to order it. Thanks for the tip – I'm excited to see if I can work some of this in.

    Right then, I've got to rescue a lemon syrup cake from the oven and thanks to the book, which sits side by side with my cookbooks, I know exactly how much of this rather delectable cake I should, ahem, in theory, be eating as part of my balanced daily calorific requirements

    Ha–freedom eater. Enjoy it!

  • Originally Posted By MegMerry Christmas Roman, love your blogposts.

    I should be consuming 2500+ cals basic. How about does it differ if you train 2x for 6 days weekly, alternating weights/weights and weights/cardio.

    Things can change pretty significantly–it would really depend on what those weight training sessions looked like. While I generally like the idea of training twice per day, it's hard to answer that question without knowing more about the workouts.

    Speaking (very) generally, you would stick with the caloric surplus on the days you do weight twice.

    On the days where you do weights during one workout and cardio during the other, you would probably want to keep the cals at about maintenance, rather than slightly below. Include your workout shakes into this calculation.

    Again, it's hard to say without knowing the program.

    As an aside, I like double weight sessions primarily as a mass-gaining strategy, as I find even for the most well conditioned people it's a bit draining on a fat loss or recomp program.

    So far i followed as you mention in your previous posts, my excess calories i take is in the form of 3 extra protein shakes (390 extra cals) on workout days.

    That looks right!

    Anyhow, i heard that there is such a thing a too little calories too?

    Yes – this is the biggest problem most people have when trying to gain muscle OR trying to lose fat. Try to think of it like construction: whether you're trying to build up or scale down, anything you do is essentially reconstruction. No matter what, you gotta give the mason the right tools.

    How does this apply if i consume 2500 cals a day but burn 1200-1600 extra a day?

    Jump the weight up another 300 calories, with 60% of that coming from protein (45grams). The other 120 calories should be 15g carbs and 7g fat — the extra fat should ALL come from fish oil.

    Guarantee this will break your plateau in less than a month!

    p/s can youtube how you do your hair for us? thanks

    Trade secrets =)

  • D-Wolf

    Body recomp has always been my holy grail. I always wondered how oly-lifters got that muscular and lean (not talking 'bout the SHW of course), while not doing the typical bodybuilder offseason-contest prep thing.

    I realised that, like most of the weightclass-ed athletes, they just watched they bodyweight. When they were a few kgs above their weightclass they cutted until they got back to the desired weight, and so on for the rest of their carreer.

    See what happens there? it's just a lots of mini bulks-cuts!, pure recomposition if you ask me.

    Now what i've been doing is just eat above maintance (+500) on the days i want to gain muscle, and below 500, the days that i want to lose fat, while cutting all the carbs exept from the ones that i got from my workout shake. Since i found that recomp is a long term thing, it had to be done more “livable”. I also try to keep the protein that i ingest the same every day, i just manipulate carbs.

    A nice trick that i have found to track cals, without having to put every gram of everything on fitday (even though, it's an awesome site), is to use your cellphone!.

    Ok, sounds awkward, but let me explain:

    Most cellphones have two things:

    A) The ability to make phone calls (omfg! that's new!)

    B) A calculator (teh key)

    Now , since my protein intake is pretty much the same everyday, and also are the fats (kind of…). I'm eating “nearly” the same foods every day (not really but keep reading), Then i just add the carbs as the “extra cals”.

    Now, about the cellphone thing:

    I just have my meals through the day, and start counting the cals after my first meal. I do that by just simply knowing how many cals my foodstuffs have, then i count the total amount of cals from the meal in the calc, and then i CALL with the cellphone to that number (which is the amount of calls ingested). The call will be registrated, you're ready to go!

    Ok kind of complicated right?, let me put an example:

    For instance, my breakfast consists on 4 eggs + 2 scoops of whey.

    So i know each egg as around 80cal, and a scoop of whey as around 120.

    Doing the math in the calc: (80×4) + (120×2) = 320 + 240 = 560

    Then i call 560 in my cell (make sure that in some part of the day you don't eat exact 911 cals or something like that)

    After that i'll have my second meal, which would consist of 2 cups of lettuce and 400g of steak.

    I know that 100g of steak have around 150cals and i don't count the green veggies, they are kind of a free food.

    So 4×150= 600; then i put in the calc: 560+600= 1160

    Then i call to 1160 in the cell, and so on, no more food for me since i don't wanna get too big and don't wanna lose my hawt abz (sarcasm).

    This is obviusly an aproximation, but don't all of this calorie calculations are? they are meant to give you a notion of “how much are you eating. It had made my calorie counting a shitload more realiable to me, it only requires a cellphone and some knowledge of the amount of calls the foods have.

    Please critique =).

  • Matty

    Hey John,

    I've been waiting for something like this, thanks..

    Does HITT constitute as a workout day or non-workout?

    or do you only eat workout day calories for weight trianing, bodyweight, etc?

    thanks,

    matty

  • Joe

    Hey John,

    Just started following you last week and I gotta say I love it.

    My question: what's an accurate accessible way to measure body fat %

    My scale gives me a reading that I believe is way off.

    Thanks

  • Jessica

    Hi all,

    Hope all you northern hemisphere bods are enjoying a great festive season, cosily buried under meters of snow. It’s sultry and sweltering over here and someone needs to rescue a morbidly obese man with a white beard who is currently burning his arse off at the beach. And that’s burning his arse off in a “I’ll take my melanomas malignant, thanks” sense not a “fat blasting my way to some serious Christmas booty” one. So yes the silly season is the double whammy for us southern hemisphere types –a time for stupendous food indulgence coinciding with a climatic need to wear as little as legally allowable. Oh the cruelty!

    So Roman, it was a very interesting and timely post (but naturally) regarding the science and details (dubious as they may be) of individual calorific needs. Having lurked quietly in the background around a number of fitness blogs over the past few months (I am at last “manning up” so to speak to contribute from time to time), articles like this one and the comments that follow intrigue me about the language of nutrition and the relationship people have with food. Don’t worry, I’m utterly on side with the fact that if you have specific weight related or body compositional goals it requires equally focused and precise eating/nutritional plans and posts like this one provide an enormously valuable insight into how to structure those plans. However it seems to me that the word “diet” comes packed with some friggin’ powerful mental juju so that even the most resolute and very well informed people struggle. It’s a personal gripe but to me using censorious and punitive words like “failing” and “cheating” just simply isn’t helpful in encouraging people to have long term respectful and utterly enjoyable relationships with food/ healthy eating habits.

    Anyhoo in terms of adding another tool to the arsenal to help fight the good fight and possibly providing a super easy reference as to how much for example, 640 cal of P-Thag’s carbs actually looks like then may I suggest a visual aid in addition to the fist-palm-thumb method? Sorry Roman I’m not sure how this works, I certainly don’t want to be recommending something that you might think is total bollocks but this has been one of the single most useful nutrition related books I’ve ever seen. It’s a book called “this=that” put together by an extremely well regarded Oz based nutritionist (Trudy Williams) that carries life-size photos of what the appropriate recommended portion sizes or “serves” of just about anything you think to put in your mouth (just so we’re clear – this is food and drink related ONLY). It’s what I reach for every time I need to refresh my awareness regarding what I’m eating and at times has been eye-opening (both shockingly and pleasantly surprising) as to what constitutes a serve of a something. Anyway here’s the link (www.foodtalk.com.au) and if it’s something that someone might find helpful as part of a rock solid nutrition plan then it looks like they’ll ship/post internationally to just about anywhere. Noice.

    Right then, I’ve got to rescue a lemon syrup cake from the oven and thanks to the book, which sits side by side with my cookbooks, I know exactly how much of this rather delectable cake I should, ahem, in theory, be eating as part of my balanced daily calorific requirements…

  • Marcus

    This has nothing to do with your post but…

    I watched Sherlock Holmes tonight. Great movie IMO.

    The whole time I thought that you and Sherlock probably have very similar personalities.

    Of course I haven't met you before but the writing of your posts seemed to resemble some of the lines in the movie.

  • Meg

    Merry Christmas Roman, love your blogposts.

    I should be consuming 2500+ cals basic. How about does it differ if you train 2x for 6 days weekly, alternating weights/weights and weights/cardio.

    So far i followed as you mention in your previous posts, my excess calories i take is in the form of 3 extra protein shakes (390 extra cals) on workout days.

    Anyhow, i heard that there is such a thing a too little calories too? How does this apply if i consume 2500 cals a day but burn 1200-1600 extra a day? stuck at the same LBM & BF for a month now.

    p/s can youtube how you do your hair for us? thanks

  • Hey Ywla,

    I hope your holidays were great =)

    You make a great point. I like the palm-fist-thumb method for basic fat loss, but things just get a bit more complicated and exacting as you get closer to the (pardon the plug) final phase.

    However, I'll make the point that you did: regardless of how effective the employment of adherence to caloric formulas seems in theory, if you cannot make that work in practice, there's no point.

    Now, based on what you said, you seem to stumble in the same place a lot of people do: you're taking a short view of planning.

    Rather than spend 45 minutes per day on FitDay or NutritionData taking care of Calorie stuff, I posit it that instead, you could get it all done in just 2-3 hours per month.

    That is, each time you test your bodyfat and come away with new numbers to plug into your calorie formula, take some time to construct a menu for yourself for the coming weeks. Take the macronutrients and calories, and create 10-15 meals that fit into your diet. Once you've done that, you can pretty much rotate them in and out each day.

    Now, the more you do this, the better you get at it.

    As I said in the posts, Calorie formulas are pretty much a crapshoot anyway. So, once you have the idea of how much you should be eating, measuring food does become a bit of a waste of time.

    That is: after you've been dieting for a while, you pretty much know exactly what 3 ounces of grilled chicken looks like the second you look at it. No need to weigh it.

    To conclude, I think in the early parts of a diet, it's important to use all the tools available to you. The trick is to figure out how to use them specifically for YOU, to make your most successful.

  • Ylwa

    Ha, first in store:). Hope you had a very merry christmas and are up for a kick-ass new year!

    Personally, counting calories is what makes me fail on a diet. For several reasons. One, its timeconsuming spending at least 45 min a day on fitday or someplace else typing in your food log. 45 min that I for one believe could be much better spent. And still be

    very dedicated to your diet.

    Two – Even though I know per say how many calories to consume on a given day, I still have to figure out what to eat, or more accuratly HOW MUCH to eat. How big should a steak be to contain 50 grams of protein? Not knowing the correct portionsizes is directly linked to the third reason why I fail on calorie counting:

    I start to obsess. If it gets bad it alsmot gets to the point where I become fobic and argue “better safe than sorry. I'll do grilled chicken and steamed asparagus three times a day for three weeks”. This usually lasts for about 48 hours. I then get bored, starved or so aggressive that my boyfriend seriously considers force-feeding me a plate of brownies.

    I then started following Joels Cheat Your Way Thin and one of the things I love about the program (besides the brownies) is the “palm-fist-thumb” method for deciding portion sizes. But how accurate is that one for fat loss, or better yet re-composing?

    Secondly, between how many meals do you think your calorie intake should be divied?

    Keep 'em coming pretty boy