A weight loss client of mine was asking some questions about what he should be eating. He had lost lots of weight before just cutting calories way down. Unfortunately muscle mass went down as well and his workouts suffered. A better way to go about eating for fat loss is to cut calories (obviously) but not so much that your protein intake is depleted.
Protein is really the key here. Without adequate protein intake we are undermining our efforts in the gym to lose fat. We know to lose fat we’re not wasting our time with ridiculous cardio, but we are using intense resistance training and intervals. This is to maintain and hopefully increase muscle mass which we know promotes fat loss through an increased metabolic demand. And this type of training raises metabolism post workout as all which gives us results far beyond that brisk 25 minutes you did on the elliptical this morning.
So the type of training we are doing to lose fat requires us to eat to promote this type of results. To gain muscle we need adequate protein intake to recover from the training. I’m never one for recommending counting calories, but one number I like to shoot for is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The harder you train, the higher that number needs to be. Athletes are recommended 1.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight, so that’s what I recommend to those that train very frequently and intensely. Bodybuilders need to be closer to 2 grams. This is a lot of protein and takes some effort to get to. A 200 pound male would need to take in 320 grams of protein to get the 1.6 grams of protein they would need if they are training at an intense level.
Let’s see how I did today:
7 eggs- 45.5g protein
Chipotle Double Chicken Burrito Bowl- 71g protein
Protein Shake- 50g protein
Pork Tenderloin- 92g protein
Protein Shake- 32g protein
Total- 290g protein
So I even came up a little short in my efforts today. So it really takes an effort to eat enough protein to maintain and promote muscle mass. That means our calorie cutting needs to come from mostly carbs and some unnecessary fats to make room for the protein.
So good luck getting in all that protein and understand we need to cut from elsewhere, not protein to get the caloric deprivation we need to lose fat.