I get this question a LOT.
People want an idea of the amount of food they should be eating to achieve two things:
The lifestyle they want to live
The body composition they wish to have
The make-up and composition of that food does come into play, but what you really need to know is how many calories you should be taking in on a daily basis to achieve the two objectives above.
This can be any kind of body composition. It doesn’t have to be lean and athletic, or sturdy and muscular… it can be whatever you WANT it to be. Whatever suits you… but you need to know how much food to be eating to maintain that.
This week, we got this question in specifically:
“I know you’ve probably answered this question a thousand times before (we have), but I’m wondering how do I work out how many calories I should have on a daily basis, and I want to do a calorie deficit…?”
In terms of knowing how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis, we used to offer a formula to help you figure out what your calorie load should be… but we found that many people just didn’t want to do the work to figure it out! So, to eliminate that obstacle, we tried to make this as easy as possible.
What you are best off doing is find an online calorie calculator. Put in your details. That will give you a target number for daily calories. I use www.musclehacking.com
Then you need to figure out where you’ll get those calories FROM. Protein never changes. You need 1 gram per pound of body weight. Stick to that. Carb amounts are based on activity. Someone who works out twice a day can eat more carbs than someone who is very sedentary. Once you figure your proteins and carbs, your ready to set your fats.
This is not complicated. It is literally go to an online calculator and enter in your information. It will tell you the number. The magic really happens after that.
This is really just a starting point. Everyone is different by way of how they handle calories and how much they take in. Everyone is individual around activity as well. But this gives you somewhere to start.
Now, track your progress. I don’t like telling people to jump on the scales…but that is one way to track trends.
More importantly though, is how you FEEL on a daily basis. Do you feel like you are getting the response you want? How are your energy levels?
Progress pictures are another great way to track. Take a picture of yourself every two to three weeks, every Friday morning at the same time, so you can see any changes that are happening.
Finally, measurements are also a great way to track changes.
Just remember, that initial calorie number is JUST a starting point. You WILL need to adjust it a bit based off what is happening to your body composition.
Besides being in a calorie deficit though, get more active! Take 10,000 extra steps a day. Walk inside of driving to work. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park a little further away. Think about ways to add just a little bit more activity in every single day!