Preparing Your Body For Fat Loss This Summer
So all week I’ve been stressing the importance of not just cutting calories because it’s almost summer time and you wanna look good. It’s important to know if your body is PREPARED to cut. If it’s not you’ll leave yourself in an awful state afterwards and you’ll end up in this exact same position you’re in right now: tired, lethargic, low energy and craving all the foods. What it there was a way out of this eternal cycle of chronic fatigue? What if there was a way you’d never have to panic and abruptly cut for summer because you’d know exactly what to do, when to do it and for how long?
I’m here to tell you that there is a way. I’m here to show you that way. You don’t need to panic anymore. This method takes time and it might not make sense at first, but if you’re reading this article, you probably have tried everything else! So with that being said, let’s jump in.
When you’re looking to cut calories there are a few variables that NEED to be in check non-negotiable before you are okay to do so:
- Training & Gym Performance
- Sleep Quality
- Sex Drive
Training & Gym Performance
How are you performing in the gym? Are you progressing in strength? Are you pulling, pushing, squatting and carrying more weight? Are you burning out before your workout is over? Do you feel tired throughout your workout?
If you are not performing well in the gym, plateauing on your lifts or just feel like shit in general at the gym, you’re probably not eating enough. Chances are you need more food. You need to FUEL your body with the stuff it needs to use during your workouts. If you can’t crush your workouts and progress in strength, you WILL NOT build muscle. If you can’t build muscle, you can’t burn fat as effectively. Hello plateaus.
Is your sleep hot garbage? Can you not stay asleep for more than 5 hours? Are you tossing and turning in your sleep often? Do you go to sleep tired and wake up even MORE tired? You may not be eating enough. Sleep is the #1 recovery modality. It is THE most important form of recovery your body needs in order for fat loss to happen. If you don’t sleep well, your fat loss journey WILL hit a brick wall. And a pretty big one at that. When you chronically neglect your sleep your cortisol levels will rise which can lead to more fat gain, a decrease in performance (30-40% in fact), inflammation and a shitty lethargic state 24/7. If you can’t perform in the gym and you feel tired all the time, you’re not going to want to go to the gym, let alone lift heavy. Don’t neglect your sleep, it may be the missing piece to seeing that scale go down.
What’s your hunger like? Are you always craving foods like sweets, pizza, etc? Do you have no appetite at all? Monitor what your hunger levels are like, if they’re super low and you feel no desire to eat at all, that may be a sign of metabolic adaptation where your prolonged under eating has decreased your resting metabolism and your body doesn’t need as much energy to function! If this situation is you, you gotta feed your body.
Do you feel sore as shit, achey or otherwise in pain all the time? Do you feel super stiff and immobile? Joint pain? Your under eating is COMPLETELY contributing to these issues. When you under eat, especially on protein, your muscles and BONES cannot rebuild and recover. Chronic under eating leads to poor recovery and thus your muscles DO NOT grow. If you can’t grow those muscles, hello plateaus and no fat loss.
Do you feel excited to get busy in the gym? Do you feel inspired by your journey? Motivation is DEFINITELY going to fluctuate a lot and I actually don’t like to rely on motivation too much. However, if you always feel unmotivated 24/7, under eating can contribute to this state of being.
Are you stressed out all the time? “Tired and wired”? Under eating, specifically carbs, can contribute to high stress levels. If you’re consistently stressed out, it feeds into impacting all the biofeedback markers heavily which as I said before, can contribute to fat gain. Your under fed body is trying to do all it can to function optimally. If that’s the case you’ll hold onto as much fat as you can to “survive”. I put that in quotes because you’re not going to die obviously. Your body is a very smart, adaptable machine, but it can function SO much better when stress isn’t consistent.
Did you know under eating impacts your mood? Your gut has a large impact on your mood and how you feel. Think about the gut as a second brain in your body and for that to function optimally, you need to feed it adequate amounts of high quality food often. So by under eating or eating sub par food consistently, you can impact your mood. It can actually make your mood quite sporadic. So if you’re constantly moody and feeling differently often, you’re probably under eating. And let’s be real, who wants to walk around in a shitty mood all the time?
For those of you with partners, impotence and sexual dysfunction can be prevalent if you’re under eating. Your sexual drive will decrease should you not feed your body adequately. Well fed peeps perform well in MULTIPLE ways ;). So EAT!
So you have all these different indicators to use to see how your nutrition is fairing for your body. If these are doing well you’re probably eating enough. I like to use a 1-10 scale to rate these areas.
1 would mean shit is just awful. If that’s the case something needs to change.
10 would be this area is EXCELLENT. Everything is going right with this one.
The best way to build these variables up is to track your average daily calorie and macronutrient intake over 3-5 days. Eat as you would normally. Don’t try to eat “healthily” and bias the results. It’s important for your next steps that you understand what your current intake habits are.
So after you track those 3-5 days answer these questions:
How many calories do you eat on average?
How many grams of protein do you eat on average?
How many grams of carbs do you eat on average?
How many grams of fat do you eat on average?
Once you calculate those things you need to see how those numbers stack up to what you need. Here’s how to do that:
If you want to go into a cut without feeling like shit after and ending up in a worse state than before, you need to cut from your calculated maintenance calories. An easy way to calculate your maintenance is to first multiple your bodyweight by 10 as a good starting point. This amount of calories will be your RMR or Resting Metabolic Rate which is the amount of calories your body needs to function optimally. From that point you use an activity multiplier to get to your maintenance calories. Here’s an example:
Say someone weighs 160lbs.
RMR = 160 x 10 = 1600 Calories
Sedentary (little to no exercise) = 1.3
Lightly Active (1-3 times a week of light exercise) = 1.375
Moderately Active (3-5 times a week of moderate exercise) = 1.55
Very Active (6-7 times a week of intense exercise) = 1.725
Extremely Active (6-7 times a week of intense exercise & physically active occupation) = 1.9
Sedentary = 1600 x 1.3 = 2080
Lightly Active = 1600 x 1.375 = 2200
Moderately Active = 1600 x 1.55 = 2480
Very Active = 1600 x 1.725 = 2760
Extremely Active = 1600 x 1.9 = 3040
Again, these are just rough estimates, but they’re great starting points. So if your average calories work out to be your rough estimated maintenance then you can skip reverse dieting up to maintenance because you’re already there!
However, if you are under eating, you need to slowly increase your calories until you hit that maintenance level and then SIT THERE for a few weeks. At least 2. I recommend a month, but with summer around the corner, that’d be hard to do. An easy way to reverse diet is to add 50 -100 calories to your daily intake every week until you hit maintenance. You MAY gain some weight along the way but it will be necessary. Don’t freak out. And honestly I wouldn’t even look at the scale during this process. Unless you have a history of serious metabolic adaptation and you see extreme weight gains (10lbs up or more) you gotta just let the process take hold an dbe in it for the long run. Or you could reach out to me and I can help you :).
Now that you know how many calories you need to eat, how much of each macronutrient do you need to eat?
A great starting point for protein consumption is .8g/lb of bodyweight.
Let’s use our 160lb friend from earlier:
160 x .8 = 128g of protein
Another easy way if you know your body fat % is to subtract that amount of body fat from your BW and use that as your protein intake.
Let’s say our 160lb friend is 20% body fat. That means 80% of the rest of the weight is Lean Body Mass.
160 - 32 (20% of 160) = 128g of protein
Sometimes you’ll get lucky and they both end up being the same. But that doesn’t always happen. In general they’re both pretty viable!
Easy. 25 - 35% of the total calories consumed needs to come from fat. So let’s say our 160lb friend is lightly active and they need 2200 calories for maintenance.
So they would need between 550 - 770 calories to be from fat. That translates to 61 - 86g of fat.
Easy as well: just fill in what’s left.
So let’s use our 160lb friend again with them being lightly active. Here would be the maintenance macros:
Fat: 74g (middle point of range)
You’re probably saying “HOLY SHIT 255G OF CARBS ARE YOU NUTS?”
That’s really what ya need! You can offset some of those carbs by putting more grams into protein. It’s completely okay to eat more protein. But carbs will be the main fluctuator when you’re cutting after sitting at maintenance for a few weeks.
If you follow this, you WILL see changes. Especially if you pair that with an awesome training program, you will see some pretty phenomenal changes in your body. Going back to your biofeedback variables (sleep, performance, recovery, etc) ALL OF THOSE will improve during this process. And it’s important to monitor them throughout.
I like to track these markers weekly with my clients so we can compare two weeks on our bi-weekly calls. You can then correlate decrease in any of these markers with what went on that week. Because you better believe that life events definitely impact these areas of your life. If you lose your job that’s going to impact your stress, mood and maybe even your sleep because you’re worried about finding another job to pay your bills, support your family etc. Learning how to mitigate that stress, especially in periods like that, is incredibly important for preparing yourself for fat loss and managing these markers.
Tracking these things are WAY more important than the scale right now. Build your biofeedback up and THEN the scale will follow when it’s time to cut. You’ll be lifting more weight in the gym, you’ll have more energy, less cravings, better sleep and less stress. You’ll feel amazing at this maintenance intake!
Once you sit at the point for a few weeks, it’ll be time to cut. But that’ll be for the next blog :).
If you’re still looking for more help after this blog, please reach out to me and set up a free 30 minute call and we can strategize how you can implement this guideline! Looking forward to hearing from you!