I am frequently asked…
“how do I create the perfect diet to help me …insert goal here…”
The individual, lets call him Hardeep, will then ask what macros should I consume or what foods are best for me to achieve ‘X’.
While there are hundreds of calculations you can use to estimate a ball park figure to aim for when counting calories, these formulas can be way off your requirements.
Let us take a popular formula for estimating calories, the Harris Benedict formula.
The formula first works out your basal metabolic rate, the amount of energy you need to survive before taking into account your activity levels.
BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kilos) + (5 X height in cm) - (6.8 X age in years)
32 years old
5 feet 4 inches tall (162.5 cm)
pounds (84 kilos)
BMR is 655 + (806) + (291) - (150) = 1602 calories
Hardeep also trains 3 times a week and does lots of cardio despite having a sedentary office job. So we estimate his activity levels will be take his calories to around 1.4-.1.6x his BMR.
So that is around 2403 calories for him to consume each day to maintain weight.
So his calorie deficit could be as little as a 10% reduction each day, around 2,162.
Excellent, so now Hardeep has a ball park figure to work from.
But there are few elements to this equation that have not been accounted for!
So, I thought you and Hardeep may find these next 10 points to consider when setting up a nutrition plan, extremely valuable.
The obvious one. If Hardeep is relatively lean, holds a little bit of what he calls skinny fat weight around his love handles and lower stomach but wants to put on muscle tissue… what should he do?
Sometimes it is best to stay in a maintainance calorie range. This is the first time he is tracking calories, so he may benefit from finding his maintainance, increasing his overall protein intake and assessing how his body responds!
Hardeep has been eating utter rubbish for the past 3 years since he got married. For him his first point of call does not necessarily need to be a perfect macronutrient balance, he may benefit from eating the same level of calories he has been but increasing the quality of his intake, along with a little structure around his gym routine, he will start to see great results.
What foods should Hardeep be eating?
Ideally the ones that make him feel good, energetic and fulfilled. If Hardeep hasn’t been tracking how he feels after he eats then that is the first point of call! Adding a lot of protein sources to his diet, if he is currently struggling to break down protein based foods is not going to be sustainable for him.
What macros should Hardeep be consuming?
Well Hardeep has been utter junk for 3 years. Does he need to be told the exact amount of carbs he needs pre, intra or post workout?
He may benefit more from a portion controlled diet initially. Once he has settled with this, found foods he enjoys to eat regularly and is feeling better about his journey, he may wish to push on with counting calories and optimising his performance, but right now, he isn’t there!
84kg on one man can look completely different to 84kg on another. The amount of muscle Hardeep holds will play a key role in determining where his calories should start from. If he is low on muscle tissue, he isn’t going to warrant a lot of food!
Hardeep trains 3 times a week and does some cardio…
How hard he trains, with what efficiency and effectiveness he works, we do not know… His cardio may range from playing 5 a side one week to walking his dog the next. Until these details are understood, the effectiveness of his plan will be compromised!
Is Hardeep training in the morning, afternoon or evening?
Do his training times vary dramatically due to the night shifts he works?
It is important to consider how Hardeep is going to feel going into training session after a night shift, will he be eating first, sleeping first or what is likely to give him the least gastro intestinal distress whilst eating/ sleeping?
Did Hardeep spend the last 7 days tracking his fasted blood glucose or review his post prandial blood glucose readings?
Were they in a healthy range or were they wildly up? Was this down to his poor controlled carbohydrate heavy diet or was there something else going on?
Does this warrant a slightly lower carbohydrate diet or will reducing his carbs cause him to give up quickly?
If it isn’t sustainable and you don’t know why you are doing what youre doing, then it is not going to be effective!
Is Hardeep in the habit of drinking 6-7 cups of tea with full fat milk and 3 sugars?
What habits can Hardeep maintain in his journey and what needs to be optimised?
The truth is that 6-7 cups of tea with milk and sugar isn’t inherently healthy or unhealthy, but if it is not in line with his goal, is causing him to consume way over his calorie requirements and is holding back progress, then it is a habit worth addressing!
Is Hardeep desperately working right now to achieve an incredible body shape for his cousin sisters wedding?
Or does he have 5 wedding events over the next 5 weekends that need to be factored in?
Is it possible for him to enjoy these occasions, have fun and still get great results?
Yes it is, but it needs to be accounted for and that is why I came up with the WAVE approach, that allows you to plan in the exact occasions you want to enjoy in advance and still make incredible progress!
But that is another article… for another time!
In fact, its actually part of my Performance membership site launching in July! The only membership site catered specifically for you as an Indian to achieve incredible, lasting results!
If you want to be part of the inaugural membership or find out more about it, drop me a message (HERE) with the word Academy in and I will send some information out!