It’s easy for us to say “Eat more to gain muscle” and “Eat less to lose fat.” That still leaves you with a big question: more or less than what? You need a baseline number to start with.

So whip out the calculator, and let’s figure out that magic number.

Step 1:

Your weight in pounds _____ × 11 = _____ Your Basic Calorie Needs This calculation tells you the amount of energy you’d burn without eating or exercising. It reveals your basic calorie needs—the caloric cost of being you.

Step 2:

Your Basic Calorie Needs _____ × caloric cost of your activity level (see chart below) _____% = _____ Your Metabolic Rate

Since you do eat and exercise, the total number of calories your body burns in a day are higher than your basic calorie needs. How much higher depends on your age, the amount of muscle you have, and the intensity at which you make that muscle work. Multiply your basic calorie needs by one of the following percentages to estimate the number of calories you burn metabolically. (Note that these percentages are averages; your actual metabolism may be faster or slower than these typical rates.)

Step 3:

Your Basic Calorie Needs _____ + Your Metabolic Rate _____ = _____ Your Maintenance Total

This sum reveals how many calories you need just to maintain your current body composition, without growing muscle or shedding fat.

Step 4:

Your Maintenance Total _____ + 500 = _____ To Gain Muscle

To build muscle, increase your daily calorie intake by 500 calories.

Step 5:

Your Maintenance Total _____ – 500 = _____ To Lose Fat

To lose weight, subtract 500 calories a day.

The amount of energy in a pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, so in a perfect world, creating a daily surplus or deficit of 500 calories would

allow weight gain or weight loss of 1 pound a week. This equation is most accurate when you try to lose weight. Muscle gain is less predictable than fat loss, because adding calories and moving a heavier body both speed up your metabolism.

Let’s run an example. Say you weigh 165 pounds, you’re under 30, and you’re extremely active, lifting 3 days a week and playing sports or doing some other type of intense exercise on other days. You want to gain some solid muscle mass.

Step 1: 165 × 11 = 1,815

Step 2: 1,815 × 0.5 = 907.5

Step 3: 1,815 + 907.5 = 2,722.5

Step 4: 2,722 + 500 = 3,222.5

In other words, you need to eat more than 3,200 calories a day to gain muscle mass.

Now say you’re a 45-year-old, 230-pound guy who’s mostly sedentary and wants to lose weight aggressively—2 pounds a week.

Step 1: 230 × 11 = 2,530

Step 2: 2,530 × 0.2 = 506

Step 3: 2,530 + 506 = 3,036

Step 4: 3,036 – 1,000 = 2,036

Now its time to get to work!!


May the SHRED be with you,




Written by: Tommy Europe

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