Fat Loss Diet Guidelines

July 30th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

This article is the basic fat loss guidelines for bodybuilders on a traditional fat loss cycle. You may have to slightly tailor it, based on your particular lifestyle, genetics, and goals.

How many calories you should eat for fat loss

You should start off at 15 calories per pound of lean mass if you’re new to dieting. However, if you are a experienced bodybuilder who is currently bulking, just drop your current calorie intake by 400 calories. This should probably be enough of a drop to start losing fat initially. You do not want to drop your calories too much immediately after bulking because your metabolism would slow very fast and you will lose little fat and a lot of muscle instead.

To calculate your lean mass, first find out what your BF% is(or at least estimate it). For example, if your 150 lbs and your BF% is 15%, then 150 X .15 = 22.5 lbs of fat. Simply subtract 22.5 from 150 to get your lean mass, which in this case equals 127lbs. 127 X 15 = 1900 calories, which is what this person would eat per day. We base it on lean mass instead of bodyweight because muscle plays a big role in metabolism and people have a wide range of bodyfat.

During a fat loss diet your calories should be 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30%fat(Mostly good fats).

How to monitor your fat loss progress:

15 times your lean muscle is just a average middle of the road number. Some will find the number too high or too low for their metabolism. What’s important is you start around the 15 number, so you get an idea of where to go from there initially. After the first 2 weeks you should get an idea of what you need to do for adjusting calories(if needed). You will know what to do because you will be monitoring your bodyfat % consistently every week with fat calipers. If you don’t monitor bodyfat%, you wont know what kind of weight (fat vs. muscle) you are losing.

If you are losing weight too quickly and a lot of it is muscle, increase your calories by 200. Rapid muscle loss is a sign that your body feels it is starving and wants to hold onto the fat over muscle. If you are barely losing weight, then decrease calories by another 100-200. Your goal is to be losing a steady amount of weight of about 1 to 2 lbs a week, where the majority of it is fat not muscle. If you are losing half muscle and half fat, your calorie intake is probably too low and you should increase it by 200. Whether your losing the weight fairly slow or fast, as long as it is mostly fat you are losing, that means you are doing great! No one progresses as fast as they want, but if it’s mostly fat, thats what matters. Just make sure you don’t make too many calorie changes too quickly because then you will have a hard time knowing what worked and what didn’t.

Preventing a fat loss plateau:

In order to continually lose fat week after week for months, you will have to adjust your calorie level. Every 2 or 3 weeks you may have to lower your calorie intake slightly to see continued fat loss. Eventually this may not be enough. Long term dieters or those looking for very low bodyfat % may need to incorporate calorie cycling to break through the most stubborn fat loss plateaus. This is done by raising calories for a day or week. This will spike your metabolism and hormones, which were stunted previously. This increased calorie intake and then dropping it back down again should cause renewed fat loss. Don’t think of it as hurting your progress because you are already at a plateau anyways. Think of it as taking 1 step back to go 2 steps forward.

Fat Loss workout recommendations:

Lift heavy 3 times a week and do cardio on 3 of your off days. You can choose either, HIIT or Low-intensity cardio. Take one day off per week from excercise to give your body a rest. On weight training days only, you should have an extra 300-400 calories for the day, preferably in your postworkout meal.