View Full Version : need some help

01-18-2010, 02:29 PM
My goal is to get to 10% bodyfat lower would be great but 10 is good for now. Can someone help me out and tell me how many calories i need to eat to lose weight? I weigh 143lbs and 14% bodyfat this is what my scale at home tells me.

I know i should probally bulk up and then cut down but i really dont like having high bodyfat. I was at 26% bodyfat but i droped it down to what i am now. Long story short i used to be skinny and i bulked up the wrong way just eating everything i can and ate way to many calories and got fat instead of bigger

Help please thank you

My main plan was to drop TO atleast 9-10% bodyfat and then do a nice clean bulk

01-18-2010, 02:38 PM
Check the stickies at the top of the board. There is a lot of info out there.


I also recommend bodyrecomposition.com for some good info


01-18-2010, 02:41 PM
yah i was just reading those but i think i need someone to help me with how many calories my maintnence would be so i can then do 3-500 calories lower than that to cut down

01-18-2010, 02:49 PM
Check out: http://health.discovery.com/tools/calculators/basal/basal.html


01-18-2010, 02:50 PM
Here is a good post by ChacoTom


Calculating your maintenance calories

There are two important concepts here: BMR (basic metabolic rate) and NAMR (normal activity metabolic rate). Your basic metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn calories by just living. This is an important number, because it will account for most of your calorie expenditure. There are many calculators online for BMR, and here is one I use:


Use any one you like; they all have pretty much the same formula, and just because you have your BMR, doesn't mean you're done! The real challenge is to calculate your NAMR, i.e. the calories you expend every day doing what you do normally, without exercise. A lot of calculations take your BMR and use a multiplier for the level of activity you have. A good example of this is the Harris Benedict Equation. The problem is, as you can see if you look at this link, it includes your exercise activity.

What I do is this: I take my BMR and use the "sedentary" multiplier of 1.2. In my case, my BMR is 2,059 calories. Using the multiplier of 1.2, I get 2,471 calories. Since I have a sedentary job, this is just about right for me. However, if you have a job that requires a lot of walking, e.g. a school teacher, you would probably bump up this number a bit. My wife walks around 5 miles a day in her job as a teacher, so I would multiply her BMR by 1.2, and then add another 500 calories to that.

Now we want to get a weekly NAMR, so we multiply 2,471 calories x 7, which is 17,297 calories a week.

Next step: calculating your exercise calories. The best way to do this is with a heart rate monitor. Polar makes one that will also measure your calories, based on your heart rate, for around $80 US. It's much more accurate than the machines. If you can't get an HR monitor, then you'll have to use online tables or the machines. Just keep in mind that machines typically overestimate calorie expenditure, except in the case of heavy interval or HIIT cardio, in which case they typically underestimate it.

The key here is to get your average exercise calorie expenditure per week. For me, a typical week looks like this:
Day 1: HIIT Cardio, 600 calories
Day 2: Weight Training, 550 calories
Day 3: Interval Cardio, 1000 calories
Day 4: rest
Day 5: Weight Training, 550 calories
Day 6: Interval Cardio, 1000 calories
Day 7: HIIT Cardio, 600 calories
Total: 4,300 calories

Now I have my weekly calorie expenditure: 21,597 calories per week.
This gives me a daily maintenance expenditure of 3,085 calories. In other words, if I consume about 3,000 calories a day, and keep exercising the way I do, I won't lose weight and I won't gain weight.

Since I want to lose weight, but not lean muscle mass, I want to set the right calorie deficit level. For this, I use body fat percentage.

Calculating your Body Fat Percentage

I think this is one of the most critical components of your plan. Forget about BMI, which is just a convenient index for insurance companies, and one that will penalize you severely for holding onto your muscle. (I'll give you an example of this later). Short of immersing yourself in a tank of water and paying for a scientific test at a lab, there are many less exact ways to do it.

One way that is a complete waste of time is buying a scale that measures body fat. These scales work by sending a light current through your legs. If you are male, and don't have a lot of fat on your legs, you will appear to be totally ripped. Another way is to get a cheap pair of plastic calipers online, and measure your skinfolds. This works well if you are consistent. I've actually found that the handheld devices give me a fairly accurate reading.

The key here is that you'll have to find a method that works for you, and then stick with it.

Once you know your body fat percentage, you can use it to calculate two important things: your "ideal" calorie deficit, and your target weight.

Currently, my body fat percentage is 25.8%. Not good, I know, but that's what it is. From this, I can get my lean body mass and my fat body mass, using my current weight of 237 lbs.
Lean Body Mass = 237 x (1 - 0.258) = 176 lbs.
Fat Body Mass = 237 * 0.258 = 61 lbs.

My formula for a safe deficit: 10 calories per pound of fat body mass. In my case, this would be 61 x 10, or 610 calories. In other words, if I set my average daily deficit at 610 calories, this will give me a healthy rate of weight loss that does not cut into my lean muscle mass, and one that especially doesn't trigger the "starvation" response in my metabolism.

This formula scales well, too. As you get closer to your target weight, your deficit will have to go down a bit; if you are really obese, it allows you to set a much higher deficit level, at least in the beginning.

Calculating your "Ideal" Weight

As I said, forget about BMI. Instead, use your Lean Body Mass (LBM) and your Target Body Fat Percentage (TBFP). My goal is to get to 12% body fat. (If I were a woman, this would be higher, of course) The reciprocal of this is my Target Lean Mass Percentage (TLMP). In my case, this is 88%. My target weight is my current lean body mass (LBM), divided by TLMP:
LBM/TLMP = 176 lbs. / 88% = 200 lbs.

I think you would agree that a 58 year old, 6 foot, male with 12% body fat would be pretty darned good, right? Well take a look at the BMI for this: it's 27.1, right in the middle of the "overweight" category. This is a good example of how worthless BMI is in setting your goal, and how silly it is for anyone who has any muscle mass whatsoever.

Fine-Tuning As You Progress

One of the reasons I go to all the trouble of getting these calculations is that they're good measures to have as you go along. For example, I change my Normal Activity Metabolic Rate into a rate per pound, which in my case is calculated as:
NAMR / Weight = 2,471 / 237 = 10.4 calories per pound. This is important, because as you lose weight, you have to adjust your NAMR. For example, when I weighed 270 lbs., my NAMR was 2,808 calories per day; when I am at my target weight, my NAMR will be 2,080 calories a day, a difference of 728 calories a day!

This, by the way, is one of the reasons people "plateau." They forget to adjust their NAMR after they've lost 20 or 30 pounds, and the difference of 300 calories a day, which comes to 3 pounds a month, causes them to maintain rather than lose weight.