Getting Lean Is Easy
Summer’s coming (or is it here already?) and if you’re into your fitness chances are you want to spend the summer months as lean as possible. There’s a million and one ways to do this and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for getting lean… or is there?
Something I’ve witnessed in the gym is that incredible percentage of our members who have zero idea how many calories they eat in a day. They train hard, they make healthy choices, they make sure they get good sleep, they ask about fat burners but they have no idea how much food they are actually eating. If you’re looking for the one easiest way to start getting lean, then prioritising your calorie balance is key; that is how many calories you consume vs. how many you burn.
People always want to find the easiest and quickest way to get lean, and with the immense marketing that goes into selling fat-loss products it’s no wonder that people think that these are the first priority. Supplements are there icing on the cake, the 5% extra that is only really going to help you if all the other aspects of your diet are on point. You can take the world’s most expensive supplements, but if you’re still over-consuming calories then that fat is going no where.
Flip it on it’s head however, and you can consume no supplements whatsoever (and save enough money to go on an extra summer holiday) and get your calorie balance in check and lose an incredible amount of weight.
To keep this as short and as simple as possible you can use the following to workout what your calorie intake should be. Everyone has a maintenance calorie intake that they need to support daily activity and their body mass. To calculate this simply take your body weight in lbs and multiple it by 14 if your female or 15 if your male. (Before anyone says it, I’m aware this is hugely simplifying things, but sometimes people need a very simple starting point).
For example a bloke, Alan, who weighs 90kg is 198lbs. This would make his maintenance calories 2970 a day. This means if Alan consumes roughly 2970 calories every day, he will remain 198lbs. To begin to lose weight, I would recommend reducing your maintenance calories by 15%, in this case that is 445 calories a day less. Alan now wants to be consuming 2525 calories a day. If Alan can be constant at consuming these reduced calories, he should lose weight.
After you’ve calculated the calories you want to be eating, it’s time to use a food tracking up, such as My Fitness Pal to check that you’re actually eating the right amount of food. If you’re heavier than you want to be, chances are you will need to track in order to stay within your calorie allowance.
As the weeks go by and you lose weight, you might want to recalculate your maintenance calories and adjust: Alan is now 4 weeks into his food tracking (note I didn’t call this a diet) and he’s lost 12lbs). Note that initially a faster rate of weight loss is quite common, but this does slow down. As a coach I would generally look for my clients to be losing 1-2lbs a week maximum. Alan’s recalculated his calorie intake and now his maintenance is 2790 calories and his 15% reduction brings him down to 2372. Now he can adjust his intake to reflect his new weight and continue to see great results.
After a while you can then begin to look at the next step in the process which is your macronutrients, that is the amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat you eat to hit your calorie intake. We’ll cover this in more detail another day!