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Fat Loss Planning Pt. 5: Individualizing Your Diet

Fat Loss Planning Pt. 5: Individualizing Your Diet

Create the best diet approach for your goals and lifestyle.

In Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, we discussed the components of fat loss. Now we’ll assemble these parts to cater to your individual needs.

Fat Loss for the Athlete
Let’s say you’re a running back for a D-III football team who needs to cut ten pounds of fat to help your speed. It’s the start of offseason conditioning, so you’ll lift and then run conditioning drills on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for a total of six intense sessions every week from winter until the start of two-a-days. Weights are very early in the morning, conditioning in the late afternoon.

Entering one’s height (for this example, 5’11), and one’s age (for this example, 19) into the BMR and Harris-Benedict equations yields the following:

Basal Metabolic Rate: 2,200 calories/day
Caloric Maintenance (Adjusted for Activity): 3,800 calories/day
Protein Target: 220 grams/day

While training is taken care of by your coaches, your school doesn’t have a nutritional consultant to help with dieting. Having to keep your muscle mass and performance high means you can’t trim calories too much. Eating an average of 3,100 calories a day will have you losing about a pound of fat a week. Thus, stay close to maintenance to keep your performance up on training days, and aim for 2,500 calories on your off days.

Since you’re used to eating frequently, train twice a day at odd hours, and have access to the university dining hall, a bodybuilder-style approach is your best option. Here’s a potential food log for a typical training day:

Note that you don’t have to track the tiny amounts of protein in vegetables and snacks. Another key point is, your lunch is small. This allows you to get through conditioning drills and then eat more in the evening when you’re hungriest. You can make this setup work for non-training days by cutting the cereal, snacks, and/or desserts, or by swapping burgers or eggs with leaner grilled chicken, baked fish, or turkey burgers.

Your training load makes adding exercise tough, so when your weight loss stalls for consecutive weeks, recalculate your maintenance level for training days and cut your off-day intake so that your daily average for the week is about 3,000 calories. Use your vertical jump as a progress monitor to make sure you aren’t losing power. When you hit your fat loss goal, switch to eating at your new maintenance level through the end of the season.

Fat Loss for the Desk Jockey
What if you suit up for a desk job instead of games now? Let’s say you’re still a 220 pound guy, though in this case you’ve finished bulking and it’s time to get down to a lean 190. You lift and jog four days a week in the evening. Here’s your profile, assuming similar stats as our first example:

Basal Metabolic Rate: 2,200 calories/day
Caloric Maintenance (Adjusted for Activity): 3,400 calories/day
Protein Target: 220 grams/day

Here you can set a daily target of 2,600 calories since you aren’t recovering from massive workouts. Let’s say you want to ease into a moderate fasting-based diet plan, which means your food log might look like this:

You’ll skip breakfast (which is probably a usual event if fasting appeals to you) and eat a small lunch two hours later than usual. A pre-workout shake puts protein in your system for workout recovery, and the small dinner is fast enough to eat right when you get home, and also has enough fat and calories to keep you full while your steak grills for your main dinner in the evening. For most people, this would give you an eating window from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM, or about six hours, with the dinner being large enough to keep full on through to bed.

After a few months of dieting, you’ll have to reduce your calories again. You’ll be stricter with your food choices, so you add a weekly cheat meal. If resisting late evening snacking becomes difficult, you can reduce your eating window so that you eat even more during the late afternoon/evening hours. After several rounds of cutting, your progress will slow even as you lower calories below your adjusted BMR. This is an indicator that you should switch to a diet break of several weeks and then return to your plan.

This series has covered many topics of weight loss and fat loss in broad strokes. 1R has tons of info on different diets, food substitutes, workouts, and more. If you have any questions, feel free to post questions below or on my Twitter account @BPSportScience. 

15 / 11 / 2017 1R