When it comes to building muscle and losing fat you can work as hard as you like in the gym and still not achieve the best possible results. The number one aspect of it all is diet; you have to be consistent with your diet so your body can reach its full potential. This is something I have found out after many years of trial and error trying to work out the right balance to keep lean year round and build muscle.
When it comes down to it, your calorie intake is broken down and you need to work out your macro nutrients (macros). You need the right balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats in order to build muscle or lose fat. It is almost impossible to build muscle whilst losing fat. You can almost achieve it by eating just over your recommended daily intake of calories. Based on your body type, your calorie intake will differ accordingly. Everyone requires a different calorie intake, as well as their carbs, protein and healthy fats intake in order to build muscle and burn fat.
When dieting you have to be aware that when trying to lose lbs of fat you will in effect lose some muscle mass. The main goals of dieting are to lose fat whilst regaining as much muscle as possible. This is why when it comes to dieting, it has to be controlled and done slowly. If you diet too fast you will lose a great deal of muscle that you have worked so hard to build. The main goals when controlling your diet is to maintain muscle you have built, lose body fat and be able to keep up the consistency and intensity in the gym. Although each goal can contradict each other, as in you need to be in some form of calorie deficit to burn fat, while in a deficit though you can feel less energetic.
Each macro nutrient has their own purpose when dieting. When broken down, protein is key and the most important when it comes to maintaining muscle mass. Carbohydrates meanwhile are more important in trying to determine your fat loss. Although healthy fats can still be stored as body fat, you need some as they contribute to your bodies testosterone production.
My view of when constructing your diet plan, you need to find the right balance. Protein will be your key to maintaining your muscle mass you have built, while having the right amount of carbs to be used for energy and not to be stored. Also have a substantial amount of healthy fats to help with production of testosterone. To start you need to work out your basic calorie intake at a basic metabolic rate , which means working out your calories intake to maintain your current weight.
Once you have worked that out you should subtract 500 and that is you calorie goal, in order to lose around 1-1.5lbs a week, which is a good amount in order to burn fat while maintaining muscle. I believe with your diet, it should all mainly be controlled with your carbs, while protein and fats stay around the same amount while your carbs, can be gradually decreased in order to get lean and maintain muscle. For example each 1-2 weeks your carbohydrates can be decreased down by 25g roughly to a certain point, which allows your body to slowly adapt and will allow you to maintain your energy levels.
While you do decrease your carbs down though, it is important to have a refeed/cheat meal every 6-12 days. This will help your body provide a bit more energy and will also keep up the fat loss hormone leptin. Leptin is the hormone that controls fat loss, the more we go into a calorie deficit and diet, it decreases. After around as little as 3-4 days of dieting it can decrease by up to 75%, that is why a cheat meal can be beneficial as it tricks the body and boosts our leptin levels back up. As you gradually decrease your carbs down daily and you lose body fat down to below 10% a refeed twice a week can be required.
Other keys factors to consider while dieting-
- Increase your water intake.
- Also keep sodium/ salt low as that stores water and adds water weight
- Make sure you consume whole foods, complex carbs, healthy proteins and fats
- Aim to have most of your carbs in around morning and lunch, don’t have carbs late a night
Working out your macros
Mesomorphs – bodyweight x 15.
Ectomorphs – bodyweight x 16-17.
Endomorphs – bodyweight x 13-14.
Once you work out your calories subtract around 500, and that is your calorie goal to lose around 1-1.2lbs per week. Or in my preference once you have your basic calorie intake decrease your carbs weekly.
Working out protein
Grams to body weight
- Mesomorphs – 1.2g/lb – 1.3g/lb.
- Ectomorphs – 1.4g/lb – 1.6g/lb.
- Endomorphs – 1.4g/lb – 1.5g/lb.
each gram of protein equates to 4 calories
Working out fats
- Mesomorphs – 17% – 23% of total calories.
- Ectomophs – 24%-28% of total calories.
- Endomorphs – 23%-28% of total calories
Your fat intake will increase slightly the more carbs decrease.
Each gram of fat equates to 9 calories
Then the rest of your calorie intake is made up of carbohydrates.
Carbs are same as protein, each gram of carbs equates to 4 calories
Eg for myself, 186lbs ectomorph, 186x 16-17= 2976-3162 so around 3050, going with around the middle mark . 3050
Protein – 1.5×186=279 g of protein/ 1116 cals of protein
Fat – 26% of 3050 = 793cals of fat/ 88g of fat
Carbohydrates – 1116+793 (protein plus fat) = 1909 take this away from total cals = 3050-1909= 1141 cals of carbs/ 285g of carbs.
Also for a lean gradual build of muscle you could add 500 cals to your total calorie intake and workout your macros, to gradually build lean muscle.
This is my breakdown and knowledge of dieting. I am not a qualified in nutrition. However, this is just knowledge I have researched and taken in over the years, in order for me to achieve my goals.
This post was brought to you by Alisdair Marshall.