Is eating for fat loss an art or a science?
Actually, it’s a bit of both.
Every body reacts differently to food. Food can trigger hormones and neurotransmitters in varying ways for different people. Unfortunately, this means there’s no easy “recipe” that you can follow A to Z to get results. Eating properly means that each individual must experiment to find what works best for him or her.
Some people can’t tolerate carbs (Ryan could tell you some stories about Adam!). Others thrive on them. Cheese and nuts can sabotage even the best dieter’s efforts, but for others they’re not a problem. Knowing which applies to you is the ART of fat loss nutrition.
The other half is plain old science. You must create enough of a caloric deficit to lose fat, but without overdoing it and sacrificing lean muscle mass. Losing muscle is a baaaddd thing. For starters, muscle is what gives your body its shape. If you lose muscle along with the fat, you’re just going to look like a smaller, flabbier version of your current self. Muscle is also metabolically active, and it can help you mop up excess calories over time.
So you have to eat enough to maintain your muscle. But you can’t overshoot on calories or you’ll gain fat — or at worst you won’t lose any.
Jeez, it sounds like a pretty fine line. And it is. That’s why your diets have failed you in the past.
But don’t go kicking your fridge to the curb just yet. There’s hope! On our recent BodyweightCoach epic Florida road trip, we connected with our friend and fat loss wizard John Roman. One of the discussions we had (over a disgustingly indulgent Superbowl feast of chicken wings, pasta, roast beef, and loads of other goodies — and let’s not forget the wide open beer taps) centered around the most effective fat loss strategies that Roman is using right now with his clients. And it turns out that it’s got everything to do with the SCIENCE of fat loss.
Last week on our blog Roman shared an awesome strategy for building a super cool push up workout. This week he’s back with his number one strategy for figuring out EXACTLY how much to eat for YOUR body if you want to lose fat.
As Roman explains in the video, there are many ways to judge your food intake when trying to lose fat. Portion sizes are a great way if you aren’t willing to weigh and measure food. And that can work well for many people.
But if you want to know EXACTLY how much to eat, and if you want to dial in your fat loss and make maximum progress towards your goal, you can use the…
Roman Calorie Calculation Formula
Here’s how he explains it… (make sure you read below — the chart does NOT tell the whole story…)
The obvious reason for the structure is rate of fat loss. Simply put, the more fat you have on your body, the faster you can lose it, and the more of it you can lose without sacrificing LBM (lean body mass).
Therefore, if you’re carrying around significant fat you can consume fewer calories and still have a pretty decent rate of fat loss without really affecting the metabolic processes responsible for fat loss and muscle gain.
On the other hand, if you’re starting out in already (relatively) lean condition and trying to get even leaner, your body is going to necessitate a higher baseline level of incoming energy (calories) simply to maintain your starting muscle mass.
Using the above formula to determine your maintenance Caloric intake, simply subtract a modest amount (200-400 Calories) and you can begin to lose fat without sacrificing muscle.
The Calculations At A glance…
lean mass x value from chart = base caloric intake
base caloric intake – 400 = lower range fat loss intake
base caloric intake – 200 = upper range fat loss intake
If you have any questions about eating for fat loss or about Roman’s calculator, drop them into the comments and we’ll get John over to give his two cents!