When most of us want to make some sort of long-term change to our bodies, we generally look for answers in the medicine cabinet. After all, why would you want to actually work at gaining or losing weight when you can quaff some pills? Of course, few people rely exclusively on pills.
Too bad these ill-conceived, slacker approaches to physique transformation don’t work. If, however, these people put a little bit of thought into their approach to diet, they could achieve results that were satisfying, long lasting, and effective. Well, this is why I bring you this article.
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Before you can adopt an appropriate, individualized diet, you first have to have a pretty good idea about what your body fat percentage is. Since daily calorie requirements depend both on the amount of lean body mass (all bodily constituents except fat) and activity level of an individual, this is a necessary step. This is because of the radically different metabolic processes required to maintain muscle, as opposed to fat. Specifically, muscle requires a great deal of energy to sustain it, while fat basically sits (or hangs) there. As a result, the daily calorie intake should be sufficient to maintain muscle, but not fat. Therefore, the differences in protein and calorie requirements of two men of the same weight one at 10% fat and the other at 20% are astounding.
Once you know what your body fat percentage is, there are only three steps in determining an ideal calorie level: 1) assessing metabolic rate, 2) choosing an appropriate protein intake depending on lean body mass, metabolic rate, and activity level, and 3) selecting a suitable nutrient ratio according to metabolic rate and body composition goals.
The following lines will help you make those determinations.
– Fast, Moderate, and Slow Metabolic Rates
a. Fast: Individuals with a fast metabolic rate exhibit low weight and body fat levels, have trouble gaining muscle, and can generally eat like pigs with no adverse consequences.
b. Moderate: These individuals generally desire to maintain body weight, decrease fat, and slightly increase muscle mass. Excess calorie intake usually results in mild weight increases.
c. Slow: A slow metabolic rate usually equates to a high propensity for weight and fat gain. These individuals generally desire extensive weight loss.
– Protein Requirements as a Function of Lean Body Mass and Activity Level Represented in Grams of Protein Required Per Pound of Lean Body Mass. Now, about the exercise intensity levels:
+ light (3 times a week)
+ strenuous (4-5 time a week)
+ intense (5+ times a week)
– Then you’ll need to know the metabolic rate and the nutrient ratios.
Here is one example on how to adapt an eating pattern accordingly to your body type:
This individual is a 5’9″, 140-pound male with 5% body fat. He exhibits a fast metabolic rate and utilizes intense weight training 4-5 times a week (activity level 4) in an attempt to gain weight. To determine his caloric requirements, he simply calculates lean body mass and chooses an appropriate protein intake and nutrient ratio.
- 140 pounds x 95% lean body mass 133 pounds lean tissue
- This individual would require approximately 1.0 g of protein per pound of lean body mass, or 133 g daily.
- Protein would therefore account for 532 calories (133 g x 4 calories per gram). He would then utilize a nutrient ratio where protein consisted of 17% of his daily calories, such that 532 divided by 17% (0.17) would result in the daily calorie intake.
- 532 / 0.17 = 3129 total calories/day. To determine the amount of carbohydrates and fat, simply multiply this number by their respective percentages. For example, the daily carbohydrate intake would be 1814 calories (3129 x 0.58), or 454 grams (1814 calories / 4 calories per gram). The daily fat intake is 782 calories (3129 x 0.25), or 87 grams (782 calories / 9 calories per gram).
- Optimally, this person should eat 5-6 meals per day. If five meals are consumed, each meal would average approximately 626 calories, in the same ratio of nutrients as described above. Of course, this number will vary, especially since post-workout meals should contain more calories.