Right. You’re huge now. You followed my advice and didn’t get super fat chowing McD’s every day and you added some solid weight to each of your PRs. Now you decide to cut and shred.
But where do you start?
Calories in < Calories out = Fat loss
For some people, losing fat is a lot easier than gaining it. For myself, I can easily gain a couple kgs in a week but struggle to drop that in a 12-week contest prep. The main factor here is discipline. I find that even for myself, discipline is what is stopping you from losing weight, but more on that later.
The first step now that you have reached your desired weight or size is to now redetermine your maintenance calories. Hire me and I will do that for you, or simply use a calculator online to get a rough estimation of your maintenance and compare it to your current “bulk” diet. What I would suggest is aiming for the number directly in the middle. So say your maintenance is 2500kcal(at your current expenditure, not BMR) and you have been eating 3500kcal, start at 3000 calories. This is still above maintenance yes, but it is far lower than what you’ve been used to. Track your weight for the next two weeks while keeping your calorie expenditure the same. You don’t want to throw yourself into too deep a calorie deficit too soon as this is how you set up for failure. As Rob has always told me, the smallest increments in progress are the most sustainable. From there, if your weight drops, great, keep eating the same. If your weight stays the same, it is time to drop the calories even more and closer to maintenance. Keep doing this until you start dropping at a consistent rate. I like to have the goal of 200-500g per week. This isn’t incredibly drastic, but it allows us to cut calories a lot slower ensuring we don’t plunge and crash diet. It also allows us to experiment a lot more by adding more steps to your day (increasing your NEAT as we talked about before), or by adding a couple cardio sessions.
Where do we cut calories from first?
Right, what is a non-essential macro nutrient? Carbohydrates. This is where carbs get the bad rap, because they are always cut first. The only reason for this is that protein is essential for muscle growth and for prevention of catabolism (when muscle is broken down) and fat is largely essential for various hormone production, healthy blood lipid profiles, cholesterol levels and organ function. Some carbs can be essential for brain function, but we aren’t going keto here so we don’t need to worry about that.
You want to keep your protein intake slightly higher than usual, so I do recommend 1.8-2.4g/kg bodyweight. This will ensure minimal muscle is broken down to provide amino acids for other processes in the body.
As a rule of thumb, I like to keep male fat intake at roughly 20-30% of daily calories and females at at least 25% of their daily calories to ensure optimal hormone function. Obviously this is a bare minimum and the more calories you’re able to get in through the day, the higher your fat intake can be.
Once you have determined your fat and protein intake you can see how many calories you have left for carbohydrates.
What about my macronutrient intake?
So for example, Jeff, a 23 year old, 90kg male wants to get shredded.
He tells me he has been bulking on 3600 calories per day but works quite a strenuous job at Virgin Active Bryanston PUTTING EVERYONES WEIGHTS AWAY. This allows me to determine his TDEE at around 3000kcal (more on Mondays when the boets train chest).
I decide to start him right in between the two totals at 3300.
His macronutrient breakdown would look like this:
Protein (2g/kg bodyweight) - 180g – 720kcal
Fat (30%) - 110g - 990kcal
Carbs (what is left over) – 397.5g - 1590kcal
As you can see these macronutrient intakes are still very high. This allows me more room for adjustment. From here I will monitor the change in his weight. If he keeps his intensity high enough, weight gain will stop as there will be no excess calorie intake. From here, once his weight steadies out and stops fluctuating, I will reduce calories specifically from carbohydrate intake and to a lesser extent fat intake - ensuring that fat intake doesn't go low enough to negatively affect hormone production.
That is all there is to it.
CALORIE. F*CKING. DEFICIT.
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Dublin Strength Rivonia
Facebook- Dev Corke Athletics
076 502 7825