CALORIE INTAKE and MACROS/MICROS
First memorize this:
1g of protein = 4 calories
1g of carbs = 4 calories
1g of fats = 9 calories
MACROS = Macronutrients which are your Proteins, Fats, and Carbs
MICROS = Micronutrients which are you Vitamins and Minerals. (You know, the stuff alot of people generally neglect)
1. You need to find out what your caloric maintenance is each and every day in a 24 HOUR PERIOD. You can find this information out in different ways. The easy way is to go out and purchase either a Bodybugg or a Bodymedia FIT. They are ranging in price from $50-$200 or so depending on which one you get. These devices are better than HRM's in my opinion because they don't just calculate/monitor your heart rate, they go beyond it with skin/body temperature and some of these devices also monitor calories while you sleep. It's a great investment. They are roughly 90-95% accurate. You need to wear these bands for atleast 2-3 weeks for it to get accustomed to your body and give you more accurate readings.
The other ways you can find your calorie maintenance is either by following a formula on one of many sites out there (use google search), or eat normally for 2-3 weeks or so and track your calories each day. See if you maintain your bodyweight over the course of 2-3 weeks and find out your maintenance that way.
2. Once you have what you burn in a 24 hour period then you figure out what you need to eat per day depending on what your goals are.
If you want to lose weight - Eat at a calorie deficit at 500-1000 calories below your maintenance. This will cause you to lose a safe 1-2lbs per week.
If you want to gain weight (bodybuilders) - Eat at a calorie surplus of no more than 20% above your maintenance to build muscle and minimize fat gain.
Remember: You don't just burn calories in the gym. You burn calories walking, sleeping, eating, taking a shower, having an arguement with your husband/wife, everything you do. You HAVE to take ALL of this into consideration when calculating how much you burn in a day.
3. Once you have your caloric maintenance and your goal on losing or gaining weight, then you calculate your macro intake.
Rules of thumb:
Consume 1 to 1.5g of PROTEIN per lb of bodyweight for both people that are somewhat lean and bodybuilders.
Consume 1 to 1.5g of PROTEIN per lb of LBM (Lean Body Mass) for people that are overweight or obese.
Consume between .35g to .75g of FAT per lb of bodyweight for ALL people, obese, bodybuilders, lean folks, everyone.
Consume the rest of your intake with carbs, additional proteins, and/or additional fats.
Let's take a 5'8, 200lb man that is trying to lose weight as an example. This man also does some weight training and he just wants to lose weight, become leaner and look decent when he takes his shirt off at the beach. Based on my experience someone that is 5'8 and 200lb's most likely has a bodyfat % of about 20-21%. (This may not be 100% accurate, and just using as an example.) This man burns 3500 calories per day including the time he's at the gym, his day at work, his sleeping, and anything else he does during that day.
In order to find out what someone's LBM (Lean Body Mass) is we do the math:
200lbs * 20% or 0.20 = 40 then you subtract 200-40 which gives us 160. This means that 160lbs of this man is muscle and the rest is fat. So our LBM is 160. So this man should consume a minimum of 160g of protein per day.
Since he's 200lbs he should consume at minimum 70g of fat but no more than 150g per day.
The rest he can put into carbs based on his goals. So let's break down his macros for each day to include his caloric intake in order to lose weight. He wants to lose 2lbs per week and since he burns 3500 calories per day, he needs to consume 2500 calories each and every day.
200g of PROTEIN = 800 calories (Taking the middle of the road with the protein intake)
100g of FAT = 900 calories (Taking the middle of the road with the fat intake)
200g of CARB = 800 calories (I put the rest of the calorie intake into carbs for energy for his workouts)
This equals 2500 calories. Even with his high carb intake he will STILL lose weight effectively at 2lbs per week. He can also play around with the numbers, add more fats and lower his carb intake if he's carb cycling, etc. Just depends.
Again, this is not a set in standard kind of plan. Ladies, you obviously will have a different macro breakdown then a man would unless you're the next Miss Universe. This is JUST an example of how to break down your daily macros to coincide with your calorie intake depending on your goals. Once you have your macro breakdown, then you build a menu of foods and track it using MFP to incorporate your meals each day.
IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) then EAT IT!
You don't have to eat super clean to lose weight and burn fat or build muscle and look good. As long as you hit your macros and calorie intake each day, you will achieve your goals. There may be an exception to this for people that have hypothyroidism but thats really it.
I want you guys to put this into your head until it stays there:
Eating 40g of protein, 30g of fat, and 80g of carbs in a slice of pepperoni pizza
IS THE SAME AS
Eating 40g of protein, 30g of fat, and 80g of carbs in a 6oz skinless/boneless chicken breast, 2 cups of brown rice, and 1 cup of veggies.
Your body does NOT understand the difference between eating a grilled chicken breast and brown frice versus eating a slice of pizza for losing weight. It understands calorie intake, and macronutrients/micronutrients.
Now remember, this is to LOSE WEIGHT and BURN FAT. For GENERAL HEALTH, obviously this may not be ideal. You can make sure you are getting all your micronutrients for general health through your multivitamin that you take. Make sure you are taking a GOOD multivitamin each day. I personally take Orange Triad by Controlled Labs. Animal Pak is also really good although people might get turned off by the amount of pills you have to take in the packet.
1. Don't shy away from fat.
2. Don't undereat.
3. Don't force yourself to eat 5-6 meals a day.
4. If you skimp on breakfast it's not the end of the world.
5. You can eat a slice of pizza or two as long as you incorporate it into your daily macros and cal intake.
6. Train very hard everyday in the gym.
7. Take a good multivitamin and fish oil each day.
8. If you can't get your protein intake from foods, you can get it from protein powders.
9. Don't start taking crash diets or HCG drops. If you are looking for the easy way out, then you will have the easy way back in to weight gain and fat.
10. Take this thread for what it's worth.
If you have any questions, let me know. Here are some more links for you to read.