So you want to lose fat, huh?
You’re in the right place.
You see, I wrote this quick, simple, but damn effective guide because working out Calories and macros for cutting is one of the most common things I get asked about.
So here’s what to do:
[*EDIT – I’ve also added a couple of sentences at the end of this post on how to work out Calories/macros for muscle gain.]
Step 1. Work out your Calorie needs
Eat fewer Calories (energy) than you burn and you’ll drop fat. That is regardless of what you eat, when you eat, and how many times you eat.
- So plug in your stats (age, weight, height etc) here. It will work out an estimate of your maintenance Calorie needs (ie: the number of Calories you need to eat on a daily basis to maintain your current weight).
- Then multiply your maintenance Calorie needs by 0.8. This will create a 20% Calorie deficit*.
Step 2. Work out your macros
The macronutrients (macros) you eat are what provide the Calories. They are: protein, carbs and fat (FYI alcohol is also one of the macros).
Protein and carbs are 4 Calories per gram, whereas fat is 9 Calories per gram (alcohol is 7). So a slice of bread with 15g of carbs, 3g of protein, and 1g of fat adds up to 81 Calories.
The maths for the above slice of bread: (15 x 4)+(3 x 4)+(1 x 9)
= 81 Calories
To work out your macros for fat loss, do the following:
- Protein (g) = multiply your bodyweight in kg by 2.
- Fat (g) = multiply your bodyweight in kg by 1.
- Carbs (g) = the rest of your Calories. To work this out, multiply your protein target by 4 and your fat target by 9. Add these two numbers together and then subtract the sum from your Calorie target. Divide the number you get by 4. This final number is your carb target in grams.
Yeah, ok; that last bit got a little confusing. So here’s an example for an 80 kg dude:
Let’s say that we’ve worked out his Calorie needs for cutting are 2500 per day.
Using the equations above, his macros are as follows.
Protein: 160 g
Fat: 80 g
Carbs: see the math below
(160 x 4) + (80 x 9) = 1360
2500 – 1360 = 1140
1140 / 4 = 285
So his carb target is 285 g
Simple as that.
Now all you need to do is download the My Fitness Pal app, plug in your numbers and track your food intake.
A few quick pointers on tracking:
- Aim to be within +/- 100 Calories of your Calorie target, +/- 20g of your carb and protein targets, and +/- 10g of your fat target each day.
- Plan ahead and pre-enter your food, especially to begin with.
- Eat like an adult and get your fruit and veg in. But don’t feel you have to cut out all ‘unhealthy’ food either; if it fits your Calories/macros, it won’t stop you shedding fat.
Got all that?
The above should lead to roughly 0.5 – 1% weight loss per week. However, if after 2 or more weeks your weight hasn’t changed, obviously something needs to change. So drop Calories by 10% (from a reduction in carbs and/or fat) if this is the case.
Now just stay consistent with the above and you’ll drop the pounds.
It really doesn’t need to get any more complicated than that.
And if you do what I’ve said, you WILL shed fat. I promise.
Then fire them over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.
*If you want to gain muscle/strength, multiply your maintenance requirements by 1.1 (not 0.8) as you need a surplus of Calories to maximise gains. Then follow all other steps exactly the same as for fat loss.