If you are looking to lose weight and get rid of unwanted fat, then its important that you have a good understanding where you need to be in regards to a calorie deficit to lose weight. Its not enough to just eat less, or just eat healthy…
You want to know your own personal, exact calorie deficit to lose weight so that you can maximize your fat loss.
Would you rather lose that extra 15lbs in 30 days, or would you rather lose that 15lbs pounds of exhausting extra weight in 60 days?
Lets take a look at some of the factors that you need to consider before calculating your “calorie deficit to lose weight”.
Like I had mentioned a moment ago…You cant just determine that you are going to eat less – this is just begging for a binge. While that might be a great starting point if you are severely overweight, I want you to have phenomenal results and I want you to have results quick!
The reason I want you to have quick results, is because in my personal experience, you are going to be way more motivated to continue your weight loss journey when you see immediate results rather than having to wait 30-60 days to see any noticeable differences.
So here are some factors that we are going to consider when calculating your calorie deficit.
All of these factors are going to play a key role in determining the perfect calorie deficit so that you can lose the most weight, in the least amount of time, in the most healthy manner possible.
So lets take a look at how each factor plays its role in your calculated calorie deficit to lose weight.
Having sex is a great way to burn extra calories…
KIDDING! Get your mind out of the gutter 🙂 Im talking about gender sex, not having sex!
Back on track now.
For both men and women, I suggest different levels of minimum calorie intake per day. The reason I cap people’s calorie deficit is because there are a certain amount of calories necessary for proper brain and bodily functions.
For men, you should not go below 1700 calories per day in order to prevent lean muscle loss, support proper brain function, and overall health/energy.
For women, never go below 1200 calories for the same reasons.
Depending on your current weight and body fat %, you are going to want to adjust your daily calorie deficit to lose weight accordingly.
The amount of fat that you have available to lose is a good indicator of how easily you can both gain and lose it.
If you are 60lbs overweight like I was, then its very likely that your body naturally stores fat more easily than someone who is 10lbs overweight, but has the same dietary habits and activity level.
The person who is about 10-15lbs overweight and has trouble gaining much more than that most likely can burn fat very easily and genetically have a higher metabolism than most. Thus if you ran to high of a calorie deficit, you would risk burning muscle tissue for energy rather than available fat stores.
Here is a simple rule of thumb that I follow when setting guidelines for your calories deficit to lose weight (this is not gospel…just a rule of thumb):
25lbs-75lbs of fat to lose = No more than a 1400 calorie deficit.
Less than 25lbs of fat to lose = No more than a 700 calorie deficit.
This is important in determining your next factor which is how many calories you need each day in order to maintain your current weight (maintenance intake).
If you are doing a program like P90X, I can tell you that you are going to burn an average of 600 calories per workout, and this number will be factored into our next equation.
Its important that you know about how many calories you burn in whatever fitness regimen you are doing, so I recommend picking up a decent heart rate monitor that tracks calories burned as a simple solution.
1) Calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) –> RMR = Body Weight x 10 This is how many calories your body needs to breath, pump blood etc.
2) Calculate your Active Burn (AB) –> AB = RMR x 20% This is an average of how many calorie you burn doing normal activities like cooking, cleaning, walking.
3) Next, if you are working out, you need to factor your Exercise Burn (EB) –> EB = 600 calories. This is an example of an average P90X 1 hour workout caloric burn.
4) Calculate your daily Intake (I) to maintain your weight –> I = RMR + AB + EB
Its easy to get caught up in the idea that eating less means more fat loss, but that just isnt true! Here is what happens when your calorie intake is below what your body needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle that promotes fat burning and weight loss.
I hope this post on your calorie deficit to lose weight was helpful, be sure to like and share this with others if you got some value from it. I would also be happy to answer any questions you might have as well! Just fill in the form below and leave me a comment and I will answer your question within 24 hours!
“That dude who got yoked”
Hi Todd, I just joined your ripped club and am excited to have you help me reach my goal. I am doing the body beast and just started my first workout today. I did the leg workout. Wow was it tough! I want to say thank you for helping all of us out on this forum. You really seem like you wanna help us out.
Anyway, do we need the extra creatine if we are taking the p90x post workout formula or is there enough in there that we don't have to supplement more?
@heidiadams Hi there! Thanks so much for commenting! I personally DO take creatine even when I am taking the P90X recovery formula. There are better creatine formulas out there (I take musclepharm creatine) that yield better results in my opinion than JUST using the recovery formula. So I use both :)
Great article. Helped quite a bit. I am 5'10, 240 lbs and in week 2 of p90x. Using My fitness Palm I gauged an 1880 a day calorie intake. I used to be very active and in awesome shape. Then life, marriage and kids happened :).
Anyways, love the post. Thanks.
@DavidChristopherGarcia Dang family always shiftin our plans to get RIPPED, lol. How is P90X goin so far man?
I am also shooting for the P/C/F of 50/30/20. I'm usually pretty close give or take 3 to 5 percentage points. Protein shakes are my friend right now as a major protein supplement for a family on a budget.
I've dropped 6 pounds in the first two weeks. I feel a lot healthier already and have a lot more energy. I feel like I am getting back to my old ways of living healthy.
I have been sticking to an 1850 a day calorie diet, which I am hesitant to drop further. Thoughts? Should I increase or decrease?
Generally two scoops in the morning as a breakfast or as a mid morning snack and then 2 scoops to close out my 1850 calories and as a post workout. So about 4 daily. I am a workout at night guy so the 2 scoops come within an hour after.
Generally just the carbs already in the powder. Sometimes I will have a Graham cracker. Should I be taking in a few carbs post workout? My workout is at night, usually an hour after dinner and about two hours before bed.
ya, Here are some guidelines on recovery drink: http://rippedclub.net/supplements/p90x-recovery-formula-alternative/
Todd I am a very active 49 year old that CANNOT lose body fat. I fluctuate between 182 & 188 week to week and it doesn't matter what I do and how much I do. I am very conscious about what goes in my mouth and that doesn't seem to matter either. I don't want my age to be the reason. I have seen ladies older that me change their body type so that's out the window. Just frustrated!
@donnapv Have you ever used something like myfitnesspal to track your nutrition?
Hey coach Todd,
What I want to know is how do you know how many calories your calorie deficit is? You explain how to calculate your calorie intake to maintain weight is but not what you want to drop it down to to lose weight. Do I just pick a number lower than my cmi?
@Vino13 its a bit of trial and error. I talk about how to determine your deficit in the "Current Weight & Body Fat %" Make a choice on your deficit and then stick to it for a week or two. Then after that, measure your progress and adjust accordingly :)
So, I have p90x3, t-25 and a Golds Gym membership. My intention has been to do p90x3 rest for 30 minutes do t25 and go about my day and then after work spend an hour in the gym lifting weights. What is your insight to something like that? Is it overkill? Personally since the two video programs are more cardio based I figured hitting the weights (which I love doing) wouldn't hurt but I have heard a couple people, particularly one of the trainers at the gym blast the idea (of course I didn't care for this guy he seemed dismissive of any at home program). What is your feeling of doing that kind of program? I want to be shirtless shape for the beach and I have a fair bit to go. Any and all assistance is appreciated!
@PhillStricklin I would say that just doing X3 and T25 together would be PLENTY! Adding another hour at the gym wont hurt I suppose, but you are going to want to be sure your calorie intake is increased to give you enough energy. You are also going to want a MINIMUM of 8 hours of sleep per night! What is your calorie intake at now?
@coachtodd @PhillStricklin My caloric intake right now is 2400. That's three meals a day, two snacks a day (once in between meals). At the moment I am not taking any supplements but I planned to begin a program that would include a pre-workout, recovery, etc.
Six X3 and T25 are really geared for cardio and endurance, I figure the Gym would be able to hone my strength building a little better.
Cool man. Are you tracking your macros daily or just calories? A change in macros could have a significant effect on your muscle gains, which is why I ask
Tracking macros daily. Generally I am within 5 percentage points. So fairly close. I had one off day recently where my boss brought salad and pasta for the group, which threw me way off. That said I have stuck to multiple meals and snacks throughout the day, ultimately resulting in a pretty fair p/c/F of 50/30/20 - again, usually within 5 percentage points
I was 214 lbs about a year ago and now I'm down to 180 lbs. My question is I'm trying to get rid of the fat around my midsection and its' just not going anywhere, how should I go about getting this going again? I'm a female, 5'11", as I mentioned 180lbs and not sure my body fat but I would think its between 25-30% body fat and my calorie intake is around 1200-1300. Do you think thats to low or is it about right? I'm a pretty active person as far as working out. Thanks!
@twilso4 1200-1300 sounds a LITTLE low...but if you feel like you have plenty of energy for your workouts and are getting plenty of sleep, then you should be okay. Are you using any type of calorie tracking app/program to keep track of your macros? (proteins/carbs/fats)???
@twilso4 you might consider bumping up your calorie intake to 1800 calories per day. When I plateaued my weightloss, i went from 1900 per day to 2300 per day and I started losing fat again.
I am currently 5'8 145 pounds, used to be 115 when i started weightlifting so i do have some good quality muscle under my fat. My body fat % is 14 my goal is to reach 7-8%. The insanity guide tells me i have to start my calorie intake at 2,800 do you think i should be eating that much? I'm a small guy with a beer gut. In the past i started insanity at 1800 for a month and did not see any results so i stopped half way. can you please help me Todd
HEY TODD Love your info!
im at 249 stocky build but have fat around my belly/back/thighs. due to lack of diet knowledge
i just started p90x and have calculated my calories needs to the T
I have great muscle underneath from years o weight lifting however. Broad shoulders, big arms. wide back . 3,588 is my current calories for maintaining weight. I took away 1000lbs for the fat shredder p90x. My question is should i go lower? im in no REAL rush to loose weight but i hate to see my muscles go. please help!
@danielatl05 you would be good anywhere from 1800-2000 calories per day bud without having to worry about muscle mass decreasing. How is P90X goin for you??? You pretty sore? LOL
but going into week 2 im recovering pretty good. My Issue is just getting 300+ grams of protein a day without going over my calorie limit. I have incorporated tilapia and tuna in place of beef, and I rely heavily on the boneless skinless chicken. any more suggestions?
@coachtodd @danielatl05 this is good. But i guess the more protein you get the more calories you take in. I find it IMPOSSIBLE to get 250g+ of protein while staying under 2000cal/day. i may just shoot for 180-200g protein. at this point id like to just loose fat. i suppose my muscle will have to wait! lol
@coachtodd @danielatl05 I always seem to go over my calories by at least 200(and sometimes more) In every effort to get 200grams plus of Protein. However...I have thoroughly read your information from cover to cover. I am attempting 1800-2000 calories with 208g ofg protein. I would like to get closer to 250 but that just seems impossible staying under 2000cal.
hey todd, my body weight is 180 pounds and i have around 23 percent body fat. i am currently on a diet , consuming around 1500 - 1600 calories a day, i have lost some weight since the last 2 3 weeks of my diet , do u think this is okay or do i need to change my calorie intake for better and quicker results !!
hello there todd, great stuff. just wondering.I started p90x weighting in at 13stone 8 lbs and with 15.8% body fat.
its now the beginning of month 3 and I weight 13stone 8lb ( same weight) but body fat is only 12.3%.
now I was thinking of dropping to a calories intact of 2200, is this a good move? I also do a bit of outside training most days. also I am a bit confused as to calories per gram of protein etc. are most proteins similar in calories then ? thanks a million