Monitor Your Rate of Loss or Gain
Now that we have determined your caloric needs, you will want to pay attention to your rate of loss/gain.
According to The National Athletic Trainers Association, the recommended rate of loss that a person should aim for is 0.5% to 1.5% of your total body weight per week. Which, pretty much works out to the maximum rate the human body can oxidize/burn fat. The more body fat a person has, the more fat & less lean body mass (muscle) they will lose. A leaner individual (doesn’t hold a lot body-fat) will lose weight/fat at a slower pace while potentially losing a greater percentage of their hard-earned muscle (L. McDonald, 'Determining the Maximum Dietary Deficit for Fat Loss').
So for our 150-pound buddy, this works out to a loss of 0.75 to 2.25 pounds week. The more body fat you have, the more you want to err on the higher end of the scale for your rate of loss per week. If you are on the leaner side, you will want to err towards the lower end of the scale for your rate of loss. If after a few weeks you notice that your fat-loss has ceased, then you will want to either make an adjustment to your calories or cardio.
Before switching gears to cover the rate of gain for muscle, I do want to make a note that for female clients I also like to aim at the lower end of the rate of loss scale. The reason for this is due to the fact that women will see greater fluctuations in weight (due to their menstrual cycle), so it is highly possible that a female may very well be losing fat even though the scale isn’t showing it due to her menstrual cycle. What this means is that we will have to wait an extra week or two before deciding if weight/fat-loss has indeed plateaued. To put things in rough numbers, I like to see female clients to lose around ~ 0.5 to 1 pound a week max (this will enable her to lose weight in an efficient manner and still maintain a suitable quality of life while in a deficit).
**note if in contest prep with a deadline the rate of loss rules change…But with that said I like to have someone ready ahead of time so I recommend 4-6 months to get ready for a competition.
If working towards gaining muscle, a natural male who has their training & diet nailed down, can gain about 0.5 pounds of muscle a week. Women gain about half as much as that (L. McDonald, 'General Philosophies of Mass Muscle Gain'). What I recommend is for you to aim to gain around 0.25 to 1 pound a week. This is mostly just to ensure that you are in a caloric surplus. Gaining more than 1 pound a week will most likely fat. Gaining muscle is a slower process than losing fat.
For women, I recommend an even slower rate of gain (around 0.25 to 0.5 pounds a week). The reason for this is that women have a fraction of the testosterone levels that a male has, thus a woman’s body can only synthesize so much muscle. Chasing the scale and gaining too much weight per week will only result in excess body fat being gained (same goes for males , with regards to chasing the scale). Do not chase the scale, be patient.
How To Figure Out Your Macronutrient Needs
The three macronutrients you want to pay attention to are:
The following example below will be for a 150-pound person whose maintenance is 2000 calories -
*Everyone's macronutrient set-up will look different, this will depend on what their goals are, what food sources they prefer to eat & feel comfortable eating. With that said that can all change as well depending on how they respond and feel on a certain macronutrient set-up.
**In order to avoid being neurotic with hitting your macronutrient goals on the dot, I recommend for you to just aim to be to be +/- 5 grams of each macronutrient and you should be fine.
To wrap things up, you want to do the following in order to get your nutritional intake setup:
If you're feeling stuck on anything, or need me to clarify anything, feel free to reach out and I'll be more than happy to help you out!
- D. of DNav Fitness