In principle, losing weight and shedding fat will occur when you expend more calories than you consume.
This is a scientific fact, however the reality of applying this in day-to-day life is, of course, much more complex.
So how do you reach your specific goal? Everyone is different and whether you want to lose fat, improve performance, build muscle or just improve functional performance, these principles are important for you to understand and apply.
Structuring a Diet
TIP: The first 2 points are the most important and will account for 75 – 80% of your success.
Make sure that you dial these in before thinking about the other aspects of your nutrition. These are calorie balance and macronutrients. Notice on the chart below how these factors measure up against the others to construct your overall nutrition in terms of importance.
1. Calorie Balance
Calorie balance is the ratio between calories taken in and calories expended in any one individual at any given time. It is a good idea to measure this out over the course of a week to cancel out most fluctuations, such as drinking more water.
TIP: When measuring fat loss (or muscle gain) over time, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Measure your weight 2-3 times per week and record all results. This will give you a clear and consistent record of your progress.
There are 3 states of calorie balance:
- Negative calorie balance (hypocaloric diet)
- Calorie balance (eucaloric diet)
- Positive Calorie balance (hypercaloric diet)
It is impossible to be in more than one of these states at any one time.
- A negative calorie balance will always result in weight loss. “Even though body water alterations may occasionally mask this loss of tissue, it is always going to occur, with ZERO exceptions so far discovered.”
- A eucalorie balance means that the athlete will not gain or lose weight because they expend as many calories as they consume.
- A positive calorie balance means that the individual is consuming more calories than they are using.
In order to maximize your chances for muscle gain or fat loss, you must know when and how to enter a hypo, hyper, or eucaloric state.
This can be dauting at first, but help is always on hand when you want to learn more. If a diet is truly hypocaloric, it will ALWAYS result in weight loss over the medium and long term. This links back to the primary principle of weight loss that we outlined above.
To put it simply, if your weight is steadily rising, you’re hypercaloric. If your weight is stable, you’re eucaloric, and if your weight is steadily falling, you’re in a hypocaloric state.