Calorie Calculations for Body Re-Compositioning

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is, “Roman, how do you get your hair to sweep off to that side like that, making it appear concurrently meticulous and effortless? On a side note, how do you determine Caloric intake?”I have no idea why that question is so prevalent in my email, or exactly what those two things have to do with one another.However, this is a pretty boy blog, so I’ve come to expect these things. And I’m here to help.

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is, I can’t share my hair styling secrets; I’m just not ready to drop that bomb on the world yet. Besides, it looks like Pauly D from Jersey Shore has cornered the market on making videos about your hair.

The good news is that I can tell you aaaalll about determining Calorie needs.First, we need to establish one very important fact:

ALL Calorie formulas—no matter who gives them to you, or how great they look on paper— are ultimately a crapshoot. That is, certainly such formulas will be generally applicable, but anyone who tries to tell you they know exactly how many Calories you need to eat at any time, ever, is either lying or simply doesn’t realize how ridiculous they are. Of course, some formulas are better than others—but even the best ones should mainly serve as a jumping off point from which you can make changes.

Got it? Great.

Of course, that begs the question: why bother blogging about it, then?

Well…because like I said, I am not telling you my hair secrets, not matter how nicely you ask. On top of that, giving you the best jumping off point is my job.

Calorie formulas come in all shapes and sizes for different goals, and I covering all of them is a bit beyond our purposes here. Instead, I’ll just focus on one of the more esoteric goals: body re-comping.

Since my super sweet and totally awesome program BodyComp Blitz was released, I get several emails each day asking how to set up a diet while using the program.

First we need to figure out your maintenance calories. I use some formulas that I’ve found to be effective as starting points, making some adjustments for bodyfat levels.

Energy Needs

Current Body Fat Caloric Intake
6%-12% 17Kcal per pound of LBM
12.%-15% 16Kcal per pound of LBM
15.1%-19% 15Kcal per pound of LBM
19.1%-22% 14Kcal per pound of LBM
22.1% or above 13Kcal per pound of LBM

The obvious reason for the structure is rate of fat loss. The more fat you have on your body, the faster you can lose it—and the more of it you can lose without sacrificing LBM, all in that shortened timeframe. Therefore, you can consume fewer calories and still have a pretty decent rate of fat loss without really affecting the metabolic processes responsible for fat loss and even muscle gain. Fat people just need to eat less. Ground breaking science, I know.

For the sake of ease, let’s create an imaginary client that we can work with. We’ll call him Pythagoras, for no reason other than it makes me giggle. Our man Pythagoras is a 2,580 year old male who weighs in at a soft 194.5 and 18% bodyfat—which isn’t bad for a guy his age.

At 194.5 pounds, P-Thag (as the kids call him) has 35 pounds of fat (194.5 x .18 = 35.01), and 159.5 pounds (194.5 – 35) of LBM.

Using my above guidelines, Pythagoras maintains at about 2400 calories. For body recomp, he’ll be eating about 500 below maintenance (1900 calories) on Non-Workout days, and 100 above maintenance on Workout days (2500).One important thing I stress with all of my clients: for body re-composition, it is most effective to eat for your desired body.

During the course of BodyComp Blitz, our client can hope to gain about 3-5 pounds of muscle. So let’s shoot for the stars and use 5 as a jumping off point. That means we want to structure his protein intake around having 164 pounds of LBM.My recommendation for body recomp is 1.35 grams of protein per pound of goal lean body mass on Non-Workout days, and .5 grams of carbohydrates per pounds of current lean mass. The difference comes from fat.

That would put our client’s protein intake at 222.5g per day. To make math easy, let’s jump that up to 225g, which gives us an even 900 Calories per day coming from protein. We simply divide the current LBM by 2 and arrive at 80—and so Pythagoras will eat that many grams of carbs per day, for about 320 Calories. The other 680 Calories will be coming from fat–about 75 grams.

All told, the diet looks like this:

N o n – W o r k o u t D a y s
Macronutrient Amount (Grams) Calories
Protein 225 900
Carbs 82 330
Fat 75 675
Total Calories 1905

On Workout days, I recommend about 1.5-1.6 grams of protein per pound of desired LBM (165 x 1.6 = 264, and 1g carbs per pound of current LBM (159), with the difference coming from fat.

Here’s what that would look like for our example.

W o r k o u t D a y s
Macronutrient Amount (Grams) Calories
Protein 265 1060
Carbs 160 640
Fat 100 900
Total Calories 2600

Going back to what I had said earlier, no matter how you look at it, all Calorie formulas are sort of educated guesswork. However, they provide us with a starting point from which we can really adjust and redirect our efforts. In the vast majority of cases, the above numbers/breakdowns are the best possible starting point for BodyComp Blitz, or any short term body re-compositioning program.

John Romaniello is the founder of Roman Fitness Systems and the creator of theFinal Phase Fat Loss Program.As a trainer, coach, author and model my articles and pictures have appeared in some of the mostrespected health and fitness publications in the world.

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About the Author:


Author, coach, and self-professed pretty-boy John Romaniello runs Roman Fitness Systems with a
tongue-in-cheek approach to fitness–and himself–that shows a genuine love/hate relationship
with both. Equal parts narcissism and self-loathing, Roman writes with passion and humor,
show-casing his belief that training doesn’t need to be the serious, stern, science-laden
monotony that is pervasive in this industry. John is also the creator of a new fat loss
system called Final Phase Fat Loss: the last word on the last 10 pounds!

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