So you want to lose fat START HERE PART 2

Fitness Revolution RowlettDisclaimer: This blog is intended for the beginner, NOT the advanced gym rat or seasoned fitness buff. When you have several years of successful dieting under your belt you think differently because your circumstances (athletic performance, could be one) are different. This is step one of many to get a beginner to where you are at now. We are just trying to master one thing at a time.

First off, if you have not read Part 1, I HIGHLY recommend you do so first before stepping into this blog. Otherwise you could be confused by things, and of course I want this to be as simple as possible.

I should add a fair warning though, this blog involves… MATH <== Damn I know

As we summarized in the last blog one of the biggest components to diet success is calories. With a goal of losing fat, you will have to eat less calories than your body needs. If your goal is to GAIN weight, then you need to eat MORE. In PART 1 we talked about how to find YOUR calorie number.

Now that we got the BIG calorie equation out of the way we now need to talk about what’s next.

Pretty much, what do you eat NOW? I mean if you know that you need to be eating 1800 calories how much comes from protein? What about carbs? Fats? Is alcohol a carb? What the hell is a macro… is that short for macaroni and cheese?

Yet again, all the so called interwebz “nutrition gods” have confused the hell out of everyone, so let me make this as simple as I can.


Let’s Talk About Macros.

In a weight loss or body comp plan macros (macronutrients) typically come in three forms:

-Protein

-Carbs

-Fats

Side Note: yes alcohol has its own macro for all you seasoned dieters but we are NOT talking about that in this blog, I’ll save that for another.

What I’m going to tell you is a culmination of science, literature and years personal observation for the sole purpose of helping the beginner design a meal plan for body composition for THEIR GOALS. Everything I’m going to tell you is, again, for the purpose of helping a beginner design their meal plan. This is not a debate on what diet is better.

 

Protein:

For body comp purposes protein is the MOST IMPORTANT macro nutrition when designing a meal plan because it’s absolutely necessary to gain or keep the muscle that you have; for the purposes of this blog we don’t want to lose muscle mass.

 

Carbs:

Carbs are NOT the enemy! Say it with me, “carbs are NOT the enemy.”  I’ve heard way too many people talk about how if you cut carbs you’ll lose weight or if you cut carbs after 6pm you’ll lose weight, if you cut sugars you’ll lose weight, blah blah blah..

Yes if you did all of that you’ll lose weight but NOT because you cut carbs, but because you cut calories.

You will want to have carbs in your diet, especially for those trying to maximize body composition (this includes fat loss and muscle maintenance) and carbs help with:

-CNS function (think of your brain)

-Energy for workouts, ever tried to workout on zero carbs… no bueno

-Motivation to workout. See line above.

-Insulin which helps shuttle nutrients to the rest the body

Basically this can make losing body fat MUCH MUCH easier when you have carbs.

 

Fats:

I hope you don’t think that fats makes you fat.

No.

Too much food makes you fat.

Fats help with certain hormonal functions that just make life easier. There are enough people with hormonal problems (think low testosterone in men and teenage girls… oh and you know who else I’m talking about) we don’t need anymore people with hormone misalignments so we always need to make sure that we never exclude fats from our diets.

Now that we covered the basics next comes the BIG BIG question…

 

How much of my diet should be protein, carbs, and fats?

Ahhhh… this is the one that everyone wants to know. How many grams, what’s the percentages, etc…

For the beginner just starting out you may wonder how many grams or how much you should eat of each macronutrient

Well this involves a bit of self analysis.

You may have heard about the body types example below and a lot of people preach about it, that’s because it works! It is great for those JUST STARTING out and it’s helped me design meal guidelines for those that are wondering what to do.

 

Body Type One:

(Ectomorph)
You are naturally lean (I hate you) and tend to drop fat pretty easily (I really don’t like you); you have a faster metabolism and if anything, you struggle to keep weight on (seriously go away, why are you reading this lol)

You know who you are and typically these people do not struggle with losing weight, not to say that weight cannot be an issue because it most certainly can! But… not as likely.

For these people I recommend a diet composed of: 55% Carbs, 25% Protein, 20% Fats

The above numbers mean that out of ALL the calories they eat 55% of those calories will come from carbohydrates, 25% will come form proteins and the remainder will come from fats (below I’ll give an example on HOW to break this down)

 

Body Type Two

(Mesomorph)

You are in the middle, a bit of an athletic build and carry some muscle well in some ways; you tend to neither lose weight nor gain weight easily but sit in the middle.

This is the person that I see that needs to lose SOME weight but nothing extreme, they are the average in some cases.

For these people I recommend a diet composed of: 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fats.

 

Body Type Three

(Endomorph)

*usually the most common for people that need to drop a lot of weight*

You are thicker and fuller bodied. You tend to have a slower metabolism and can gain fat pretty quickly. Also your parents have crappy genetics in the metabolism department because you look at a carb and you gain weight. <=== seriously, that sucks.

For these people I recommend a diet composed of: 25% Carbs, 35% Protein, 40% Fats

 

WARNING

 

Below is math for those that really want to figure some of this stuff up because you have an inner nerd that nutrition math is just porn for you, if that is you, that is cool, read on and maybe keep a few tissues handy (ewwww…). If you just don’t give a damn (which is totally cool, I’m like that with a lot of things) then just enter those percentages in your calorie tracking app and over the course of time you’ll know what you have to eat to hit those percentages.

Example for the curious.

Lets say that you have found out that your ideal calories for your body is 1900 a day and you are a TYPE 3 body; meaning for your particular goals you need to consume 1900 cal a day with a break down of 25% Carbs, 35% Protein, 40% Fats

So here is how this works <=== crap, math time

  • Carbs = 1900 calories x 25% (carbs) = 475 calories from carbs (wait wait I’ll break it down further in a bit hang on)
  • Protein = 1900 calories x 35% (protein) = 665 calories from protein
  • Fats = 1900 calories x 40% (fats) = 760 calories from fat

Ok, with that said you’re probably wondering…. “well how many grams is that because I don’t want to have to figure all of that up.”

Be patient grasshoppa.

Here is a bit more math you’ll have to do

Without going all nerdy on you, you will need to remember these numbers:

  • Carbs have 4 calories for every 1 gram of carbohydrate
  • Proteins have 4 calories for every 1 gram of protein
  • Fats have 9 calories for ever 1 gram of fat

Let me break this down even further for those that think in terms of grams

Take the numbers for our example above

475 carbohydrate calories is 474/4 = 119g of carbs (remember 4 calories for every 1 gram of carb)

665 protein calories is 665/4 = 166g of protein

760 fat calories is 760/9 = 84g of fat

So for the example above of a Type 3 Body that has a calorie number of 1900 will need to break that down (ideally) to 119g of carbs, 166g of protein, and 84g of fat.

 

What about skinny fat people?

First off if your not sure what a “skinny fat” person is they are people that are typically smaller than average built, but still carry more than average body fat.

Think of people that you look at them and they don’t need to lose weight, compared to the majority of America, but they are still very “soft”.

Side Note: I had someone ask me what causes people to look skinny fat? There really aren’t any studies to specifically say why, but from personal observation some common traits that I’ve seen were: frequent alcohol consumption, little food intake (not enough to cause weight gain) but majority of what they do eat is processed, and very little physical activity.

When I have these people walk in our doors I will put them on a Body Type 2 macro plan. They are not lean by any means but they are not overweight either; most of these people I focus on getting some muscle on their frame and taking them off all processed carbs and after some time they end up looking more like a type one.

 

What if you’re just not sure what your body type is?

If you think that you could fall in-between two of the body types then your safe bet is to always lean more towards Body Type 2, remember in the end it is the calories that matter not the exact portions.

 


Can you change your macros daily?

You sure can! BUT… unless that is something you are really ready for don’t mess with it until you’ve been on a solid plan for a period of time. Again wait until this becomes a routine or habit before we start talking about calories, carb and macro cycling.

 

Starting on Monday

(cause EVERYONE starts on Monday lol)

Make sure you know YOUR calorie number and if you are unsure how to find it read Part 1. Afterwards identify yourself as either a Body Type 1, 2, or 3 and you can either do the math or just input the percentages from above into your calorie tracking app.

When we look at all the factors that contribute to a successful diet the two BIGGEST ones are balancing YOUR calories to YOUR goals and a balanced macro plan. If you follow those, your chance of having a successful diet are MUCH MUCH greater.

 

 

In Health and Awesomeness,

Travis Signature 300x62 Worlds Shortest Blog Post

Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other cool letters behind the name) is the Owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for breaking the formula down to clear steps!

  2. Being the math nerd I am..haha, I wanted to clarify the type 3 %’s. Are they 25% Carbs, 40% Protein, 35% Fats? I noticed in your calculation you used 25% Carbs, 35% Protein, 40% Fats, so just wanted to confirm. Thank you!

  3. Do we have to weigh our food or go by labels etc?

  4. Thanks so much for laying this out in easy terms to understand. This clears up many questions I have had about macros!

  5. The numbers for fats and protein for body type 3 are different in your description versus your math example. Can you please confirm the percentages for the macros? Thanks.

    • FAAAAK!!! Yep, good catch for the Type 3 is would be: 25% Carbs, 35% Protein, 40% Fats I’ll make that correction ASAP

  6. thank you for breaking it down. I’ve always wanted to know what the portions should be! Can’t wait to read more of your blogs! Wish I lived near your gym

  7. I’m completely new to this and this maybe a silly question, but when you figure out how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats you need, do you measure out the food you are eating by grams, or do you count the grams of the foods you are eating by the nutrition label?
    For example, if I eat 1cup of nonfat greek yogurt (with the nutritional value below) does this mean I apply 0grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs, and 24 grams of protein to the total amount of macros i need? or does the 1 cup or 227g apply to the total amount of grams of protein I need(for my macros) since I’m eating protein?

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 1 cup (227g)

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories from Fat 0Calories 140

    % Daily Values*
    Total Fat 0g 0%
    Saturated Fat 0g 0%
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
    Monounsaturated Fat 0g
    Trans Fat 0g
    Cholesterol 10mg 3%
    Sodium 95mg 4%
    Potassium 0mg
    Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%
    Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
    Sugars 7g
    Protein 24g

    • Actually very fair question. You count the NUTRITIONAL vales in grams not the scale weight (that can be confusing because the metric system for Americans). For your yogurt example in macros its 10g of carbs, 24g of protein, 0g of fat don’t worry about weighing it on a sacle. If there is a food label there then use it, only weigh the food if there is NO label or you need more precise numbers. Example sweet potatoes do not have food labels on them so you may have to use a scale to get the precise weight of food THEN you will have a starting point to get your macros. Make sense?

      • yes, thank you! I also have another question. Is it more important to meet your daily needs of macros or calories? What happens if you don’t meet you macro and or daily calorie count? What happens if you go over your macro/calories? All in all, is it better to go under or over your macros/calories per day? If you go over, is better to go over in protein, carbs and/or fats?

  8. I feel like I sit between an Endomorph and a mesomorph. I can drop weight quickly on a low carb diet but can’t mentally stick with it long and I then pack the pounds on fast…just by looking at the word ‘calorie’ or ‘carb’ it feels like. I tend to hold a lot of water weight. However, my child/teen/early 20’s I was more ectomorph leaning toward mesomorph. Now what?!

    • Everyone will drop water weight and glycogen on a low carb diet but I’m curious if you were dropping fat weight or water weight. The best recommendation I can get it go body type 2 so you still have more carbs BUT KEEP YOUR CALORIES IN CHECK for two weeks. After two weeks assess and see where you are at. If you gained then cut by 15%, if you maintained then cut by 10% but if you are losing then you are on the right track.

  9. Is counting calories & Marcos the same thing? ?? I’ve been counting my calories threw my fitness pal app on my phone. Some guy @ gnc told me that losing weight is about 80% diet & 20% exercise is this true? ? I know I should get a membership at my local gym but I’ve just been losing weight threw diet & walking.

    • Your partily right because in a way it is the same thing, we are just getting more thorough with what KIND of calorie. Look at it this way… you have 100K set aside for retirement and some of your retirement fund is in your 401K, other parts of your retirement funds maybe in stocks or savings BUT they all equal the 100K. Does that help clarify? lol.

      No one really knows the exact percentages of diet and exercise help with weight loss, I do know that it is very difficult not to have both the equation. With that said if you are eating well and walking, walking is exercise, and you losing weight that’s on the matters. When that time comes that’s not enough and you want more then a gym membership is another possible next step.

  10. I’m new to this too… I understand the formula, etc. I have chosen my body type and # of calories I wish to consume and entered those into MFP. However, I am now at the point where I am entering food and struggling to get all of the percentages just right. Seems like one of the macros goes way over and others are way under. Yes…seems like common sense… I understand it’s the types of foods I am entering, but is there some “trick” to this? I feel like once I do get everything lined up just right, I am going to want to eat the exact same thing everyday because it seems so tedious getting everything in line! Haha. Thanks!

    • It’s difficult to get the percentages JUST right, but as long as your with in a few percent you’ll be fine I only see SOME issues when you are CONSISTENTLY going over by about 10%, and this was mostly with carb sensitive people. What did help me was planning it ahead of time and playing with the numbers and food selections that way, yes that does take a bit of time and it’s going to be a learning process and you may not get the exact numbers right each time BUT that’s ok! You’ll still be making progress as long as your in your calorie number.

  11. britttney says:

    So here’s my situation. I am unsure if I’m a 2 or 3. my weight has come on slowly over the years with pregnancy and then maintained and now I can’t seem to get it off. In my efforts recently I average 1100-1300 calories a day and I work out regulary. So in theory I should be at a huge deficit and losing weight but I still maintain. I can’t imagine that I should have to cut any lower. I would like to drop about 17% body fat and 70 lbs for starters. I’m 5’4 and 200lbs my body fat last tested was 37%

    • That’s a tough one because there is a lot more info that I would need before I felt comfortable giving an opinion on this, what I would recommend is finding a registered dietitian in your area in speaking with them; I do know that some insurance plans will cover it. I know it’s not the answer you’re wanting to hear, and I wish your answer could be cut and dry, but it sounds like there’s a little bit more detective work that needs to be done.

  12. Hi Travis – question on IIFYM – I’ve been calorie counting for almost a year. Typically I eat 1700 cals per day and add in extra for my workouts. I’ve pretty much just maintained. When figuring calories to base macros off of do I add in my daily workouts? I’m a runner halfway through half marathon training (including weights and cross training as well). Thank you so much! I LOVE reading your blog and found you through Mama L!

    • It all depends on what you want to do. If you were happy with maintaining that it sounds like you got a GREAT system, if you want to lose some weight I probably wouldn’t add in the extra during the workout. Again, it always comes down to what you were wanting to do.

  13. If we work out, do we need to put a check mark by how active we are or leave it with no activity ? That changes calorie intake.

    • I personally don’t just because its very difficult to determine how many calories you burn during exercise on a tracking app because too many metabolic and hormonal variables come into play.

      Think about it, some workouts were easy to you and on other days that same workout kicked the crap out of you, pretty sure the one that kicked the crap out of you burned more calories but according to the calories tracking app you may have burned the same. Most calorie tracking apps are only ESTIMATES of averages of calories burned during workout.

      So with all of that said, don’t even mess with the exercise portion.

  14. Is it more important to meet your daily needs of macros or calories? What happens if you don’t meet you macro and or daily calorie count? What happens if you go over your macro/calories? All in all, is it better to go under or over your macros/calories per day? If you go over, is better to go over in protein, carbs and/or fats?

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