Summer is right around the corner and I'm sure you've heard the words "bikini season" or "shredding season" in abundance from your fitness friends. With the amount of information out there, I know it can be confusing, and often difficult to understand which method or program works best for you. This will be the first of 3 blogs that will help you dial in what is best for you and your journey.
Calories in VS. Calories Out
Whether you are seeking to gain or lose weight, it all comes down to the amount of calories you are consuming per day. Yes, macronutrients, protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and water all play a role but we will touch on this at another time.
For starters, if you want to lose weight you must put your body in a caloric deficit. This means you burn more calories than you consume or consume less calories than your basal metabolic rate burns. How many calories less exactly? The magic number is 500 calories per day burned or consumed less than your basal metabolic rate. This equates to 3500 calories a week and 1lb of healthy fat loss. That's right! 1lb of fat loss is 500 calories less per day or an accumulative of 3500 calories for the week in order to burn 1lb of fat... The healthy way.
Don't get caught up in trendy diet propaganda about losing 30lbs in 30 days. If you were to lose 1lb of fat per week for the next year, at the end of the year you would be down 52lbs. Stop wanting instant gratification when it comes to your health journey, this is a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line. It's not what you can do for a day, week, or month, it's what you can do for years and years that yields results.
How do you determine your basal metabolic rate?
There is a math equation that takes into account your weight, height, and age, but, I would suggest finding a resource that has an "InBody" machine that calculates these numbers for you for best results. Once you know exactly where your metabolism is at in terms of activity, you can put together a proper nutritional program that will achieve the results you seek.
Well, how about gaining weight or muscle?
In order to gain weight and put on muscle you must be in a caloric surplus. Meaning, you have to consume more calories than you burn. How many calories exactly? That number is different from person to person. Our suggestion is to start slow and work up from there. Adding 500-1000 more calories from clean macronutrient sources depending on the amount of physical activity during the day will be your best guide.
Building muscle instead of putting on fat is the key to proper weight gain. "Bulking season" is not an excuse to get fat. Sorry to say it. Putting fat on with excessive eating is not doing you any justice for your heath. Maintaining a lower body fat 10-20% for men in bulking stages is the sweet spot for optimal muscle growth. For women, 20-30% DEPENDING on where your body fat is to start. There is no exact number when it comes to how much body fat is right for everyone, it is person dependent, treat it as such.
If you were to gain 1lb of lean muscle per month over a year's time you would have gained 12lbs of lean muscle mass. Instead of increasing your body fat to high numbers then "cutting" the fat off later, this is a much better method. By the time you cut all the fat off your lean muscle gains will be the same or even less than if you were to take it slow over time.
Again, stop wanting instant gratification. Success takes time. Commit now. Thank yourself later.