The key to all fat loss while not turning into a shrew is to be in a calorie deficit while hitting the right protein levels for your weight. To get your exact levels, use a calorie calculator.
I aimed to get 1,800 during the week during the cut, but would normally hit 2-4k calories of booze on top of that. This inhibits progress, but it doesn’t mean you won’t lose weight. With a food intake that low, you will be in deficit for the week anyway.
The easiest way to get the protein levels is to eat fish at every meal. I pretty much just eat mackarel, salmon (which are both high fat fish) and then cod if I’m losing weight. I’d also say you can only afford to eat red meat once a week. I used to eat beef all the time and thought I’d miss it, but I don’t really any more. Birds are pretty lean really so you can eat those.
I recommend weighing in kg – it’s much easier to track. If you weigh 80kg, that’s approximately 170lb – you then need to consume 170g of protein a day to maintain muscle. I also aim to get very low carbs, which can lead to a thing called ‘ketosis’… best Google that of read this article. I don’t really think the carb thing makes a huge difference, particularly on your workout days.
My macros will go something like this:
- 50g carbs
- 80g fat
- 170g protein
There are 4 calories in each gram of carbs or protein, so that would work out
- 200 carb calories
- 720 fat calories
- 680 protein calories
- = 1,600 calories overall
That’s a low target – but the reality is it’ll give you a bit of leeway and there are lots of hidden calories (e.g cooking oil / butter / milk in coffee) that seem largely pointless to track. Either use the calories in this sheet, or use your own by finding what they are from MyFitnessPal.
Seared tuna on a bag of stir fry vegetables. High protein, low carbs: the kind of thing you need for dinner. Also takes about ten minutes to make.
The enemies of weight loss
- Cakes and donuts
- Lager… craft beer is often much worse
- Pasta with creamy sauce
If you don’t want to cut this radically, up your carbs. It’s acceptable to do more like:
- 200g carbs
- 85kg fat
- 170g protein
Which is 2,200 calories a day. You won’t be hungry, and will still be able to eat pasta / rice. Best carb is sweet potato, I believe. Note: these are calories for men – women is lower, use a calorie calculator to work it out.
The calories counting is a pain in the arse to begin with, but download this sheet and just copy entries from the nutrition bit. Each ingredient = a portion in a meal. If you don’t know what to cook, it’s worth getting Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 – The Shift Plan: 15 Minute Meals and Workouts to Keep You Lean and Healthy, as the recipes are simple and taste pretty nice.
A workout should either be cardio (say 20-30 minutes jogging = 450 calories burned) or based around 2-3 compound lifting exercises (which are the top six on the weights sheet). It’s important to track what you’re doing and if you want to lift heavier, go up very slowly by 2.5kg increments (this progress becomes more difficult the less you eat though). I’m assuming your goal is not to turn into Arnie, so I wouldn’t worry about this.
With cardio, you just need to do something intensely for 20-30 minutes. Trying to beat your 5km PB every time is an easy way to do it.
One really good cardio method is to get on a rower, get to 150m as fast as you can. Have 30 seconds rest then 10x. I try and do this after every weights session… it’s not easy.
I highly recommend buying some Huel, a 5kg bag of whey protein from MyProtein (3-4 scoops a day = 60-80g protein) and some creatine (you only need 1 scoop a day). This will cost about £100 to start with.
If you follow this, you will lose fat and get stronger. I’d assume about 0.5kg a week is a steady target.