As I’ve said many times, nutrition is more important than exercise. No matter how hard or how often you work out, you simply cannot OUT-TRAIN a bad diet. This leads to one very simple fat loss formula; calories in must be LESS than calories out.
With that being said, below you’ll find a simple set of guidelines to determining the RIGHT number of calories to help you burn fat fast along with a few suggested ways of cleaning up your diet.
If your current nutritional plan is preventing you from losing fat, then it’s time for you to start working on building better eating habits.
This can be as simple as committing to one small nutritional improvement per day (such as replacing your lunchtime soda with water) and one large change per week (such as setting aside time on a Sunday to shop and prepare for your weekly meals).
Once you have established good nutrition habits, you’ll find yourself making BETTER CHOICES on a daily basis. But you have to work on consistent improvement, and if you mess up, don’t worry about it, just get right back to eating right.
Even if you start making only one change per day you will start to see improvements.
Make this a GOAL that you will start today: to choose one healthier food option per day that will get you one step closer to your lean body. You need to have a plan to make this work, just like you need a plan for your workouts.
Let’s start your meal planning by using Coach Alan Aragon’s “Calorie Calculator” to determine how many calories you should eat each day. According to Aragon, to determine the number of calories you should eat each day, you need this equation:
Daily calories = Goal weight x (workout hours per week + 9.5)
• Protein grams = goal weight in pounds
• Fat grams = half goal weight in pounds
• Carbohydrate grams = [Daily calories – (protein calories + fat calories)]/4
o 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories
o 1 gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories
o 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories
• By the way, Aragon said it doesn’t matter if you eat 6 or 3 meals per day
You are a 160 pound woman who wants to weigh 140 pounds, and you exercise for a total of 3 hours per week:
Daily Calories = 140 x (3+9.5)
Daily Calories = 1750
Protein = 140grams (560 calories)
Fat = 70grams (630 calories)
Carbohydrates = [1750 – (560+630)]/4
Carbohydrates = 140grams
You are a 220 pound man who wants to weigh 180 pounds, and you exercise for a total of 3 hours per week:
Daily Calories = 180 x (3+9.5)
Daily Calories = 2250
Protein = 180grams (720 calories)
Fat = 90grams (810 calories)
Carbohydrates = [2250 – (720+810)]/4
Carbohydrates = 180grams
If you follow these calorie guidelines, along with implementing daily healthy changes to your diet, then you will be well on your way to reaching your fat loss goals.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training