Ah the age old question. With all of the fad diets and supplements it’s no wonder people have overcomplicated things and made it difficult for regular people to figure out what to eat to lose weight. If your goal is to lose weight and put on some lean muscle then it’s not and can’t be about just counting calories. All calories are not created equal and so just trying to stick to a 1500 calorie a day diet without caring about where those calories are coming from is not going to work in the long run.
Here are some basic things you may not know about the different macro-nutrients (protein, fats, carbs):
- Each gram of protein contains 4 calories
- Each gram of carbs contains 4 calories
- Each gram of fat contains 9 calories
So you could really figure out the total calories from a food just by adding and multiplying the macro-nutrients together.
Jen Comas is a contributor on the EliteFTS Q&A section and I really love her take on nutrition. She keeps it simple and makes it easy for people to understand how much they should be eating. She made up a great, simple chart that outlines how much of each macro you should be eating per day depending on whether or not you’re training. Days that you train you can have more carbs because it is important to refuel your body within the two hour window after you work out.
Jen even gave higher and lower amount recommendations. She suggests, and I agree, that you start off with the higher recommendation. Why? Because if you start high and make progress then you’ll have somewhere to go when your progress starts to slow. If you start out a little more conservative you’ll have options when you need them.
|Training day||Non-training/cardio day|
|Lower recommendation||Higher recommendation||Max intake||Lower recommendation||Higher recommendation||Max intake|
|Protein||1g per lb of bw||1.25g per lb of bw||175 grams||1g per lb of bw||1.25g per lb of bw||175 grams|
|Carbohydrate||1g per lb of bw||1.25g per lb of bw||150 grams||.50g per lb of bw||.75g per lb of bw||125 grams|
|Fat||.25g per lb of bw||.50g per lb of bw||50 grams||.50g per lb of bw||.75g per lb of bw||75 grams|
So all you would do to figure out how much you should be eating and of what is take your current body weight and multiply it by each of the three macros and then add the totals up.
So for me I weigh about 132 lbs right now. Using the higher recommendation this means that on days that I train I should be consuming:
- 165 grams of protein (165 x 4 = 660 calories)
- 165 grams of carbs (165 x 4 = 660 calories)
- 66 grams of fat (66 x 9 = 594)
- For a grand total of : 1914 calories a day
Using her chart you should be able to figure out the range that you should be in most days. Remember that different people will react to different things. You may need to tweak these numbers a little bit but her guidelines should work for the majority of people.
Check out Jen’s full article on the EliteFTS website by clicking here.
If you have any questions just write them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer.