Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fasting and Food Part II - Calories and Macros

This post is a continuation of Fasting and Food, Part 1 which you can read here.

CALCULATING CALORIES AND MACROS
You use energy no matter what you're doing, even when sleeping. The BMR Calculator will calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); the number of calories you'd burn if you stayed in bed all day.

You may have noticed that every year of your life it becomes harder to eat whatever you want and stay slim. You've also learned that your BMR decreases as you age. Likewise, depriving yourself of food in hopes of losing weight may also decrease your BMR, a foil to your intentions. However, a regular routine of cardiovascular and strength exercises can increase your BMR, improving your health and fitness when your body's ability to burn energy gradually slows down. Find your BMR here: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
Unless you are sick or just get too busy on occasion, NEVER eat below your BMR. Now, once you know your BMR, you can calculate your Daily Calorie Needs based on your activity level using the Harris Benedict Equation. This is also referred to as TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) � the calories you need on a normal day, taking into account activity from your job and fitness program. The best site I�ve found yet to help you with this is https://www.tdeecalculator.net.

This program will not only give you a good estimate of your daily caloric needs, it will also show a split of three different patterns of eating � Low Carb, Moderate Carb and High Carb. I use the high carb numbers on strength-training days and the Low Carb numbers on rest days. Every 4-6 weeks, I will have a big meal where I don�t count anything (a reefed). Notice I said a meal, not a day. We are not guys. We cannot pig out for an entire day without bloating and gas and general yuck.

Counting Macros
I have a good deal of info in the NOOB Primer on macronutrients (see the files section of the private all female Fierce Fit Fearless 2.0 Facebook group), so I�m not getting into details today. There are three (3) macros we are concerned with: Protein, Carbs, Fat. Manipulating these macros, particularly carbs and fat, can mean the difference between amazing results and no results.

The TDEE calculator above does a fantastic job of offering up three different macro splits you can use. I highly recommend all newcomers to IF and strength training tries this for a minimum of 30 days and let me know how it works out.


Quick Example:
A 5'6", 25-year old female, weighing 135 lbs, has a BMR of 1374 calories per day. In comparison, a 45-year old female of the same height and weight has a BMR of 1274 calories per day, 100 calories less than her younger counterpart. Why does this matter? Because 100 extra calories a day for a year is 36,500 calories or 10.4 additional pounds!


It's been my experience, that women over 40 are struggling the most with unwanted fat gain, so let's stick with the 45-year old example. Taking exercise completely out of the equation since, let's face it, we all think we burn more calories than we actually do working out, our example could begin her fat loss journey with Sedentary calculations (from tdeecalculator.net). I always start calculations with protein requirements because protein is hard for the body to turn to fat and will most likely be used for either muscle repair/building and or energy needs as it is converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis.

Using a goal bodyweight of 125 pounds, I recommend our example eat approximately 125g of protein per day, totaling 500 of her 1529 calories.

If you're into carb cycling, which can be quite effective but is more of a pain in the ass, her split could look something like the following:

Training Day: 30%p / 50%c /20%f  = 125gP / 191gC / 30gF
Rest Day: 35%p / 25%c / 45% fat  = 125gP / 95gC /  76gF

(I also may lower the calories by a couple hundred on rest days OR increase on training days according to hunger.) I do well on a similar plan based on my height and weight, but each individual may require more fat and fewer carbs or vice-versa. Regardless of whether you are low carb, low fat, keto, a purple dinosaur, it doesn't really matter for fat loss. As long as you keep your calories within a deficit, you will lose weight. As long as you strength train 2-3 days per week, you will lose more fat and keep your beautiful, sculpted muscles you have worked so hard to earn.

Make a plan and stick with it for a month before you will know if it will work for you. The purpose of these macros, as I follow them, is to lose body fat and add a little lean mass. If you want more of a bulk, increase your protein requirements and subtract from carbs and fat respectively. Leangains-style of IF is more of a body re-composition program.
 

Stay tuned for the Part III of this series: Strength Training and why you must lift heavy things.

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