As an 80′s baby, I grew up during what was inarguably the most revolutionary time in modern day history. I mean c’mon, we had the 56k internet, Power Rangers, Pogs and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. How can you argue with that? Answer: You can’t (although I encourage you to try your hardest). The best part of this existence is that we had shows that not only entertained, but also enrolled us in the school of hard knocks. Want to learn about the perils of drug use? Check out just how wild Carlton gets when hopped up on speed. What about the sheer thrill of bungee jumping? Look no further than Trevor’s ill-fated proposal to Hillary. However, intertwined within these sage-like teachings, one of the most important lessons of all in the quest for sexification was lost in all of the hubbub – that of how to maximize your fat loss.
As the Grand Historian of all things 90′s T.V., let me weave a tale for you. Once upon a time not long ago, there was a television show on Nickelodeon that was of great importance to kids who raced home after school, leaving a trail of discarded juice boxes in their wake, to watch it. That show was called Legends of the Hidden Temple. The premise of the show was this: six groups of kids battle it out via physical challenges in order to earn the right to enter the temple and escape with the sacred treasure. In order to progress within the temple, the young adventurers had to solve various puzzles, one of which was responsible for failing more unsuspecting newbs than banana peels and whoopee cushions combined – The Shrine of the Silver Monkey.
In order to proceed to the next room, the monkey had to be assembled in the correct order on the pedestal. It consisted of three pieces: the base, the body and the head. However, due to the lack of functioning retinas or the failure of the American schooling system, more often than not the head or the body ended up going on first, time ran out and the kids went home with nothing but memories of epic failure for their troubles.
(2:20-3:20 is all you need to watch)
Ok, so far I’ve managed to prove two things:
A) The 90′s were awesome.
B) Some kids need to revisit kindergarten.
But Rog Law, how the heck does this relate to fat loss? Lets get to it.
Agony of defeat
One of the most fundamental errors that most people make when looking to drop a few pounds is that they start with a base that isn’t conducive to their goals. For instance, I’m sure we all know at least one person who begins a fat loss program with all the energy and vigor of a 5 year old on a Cookie Crisp high. They hit the gym in the morning. They hit the gym during their lunch break. They hit the gym after work. They hit the gym right before bed time. Hell, they probably hit the gym in their dreams, bench pressing with good ‘ol Freddy Kruger himself giving them a spot! Naturally, after weeks of arduous effort, they hop on the scale with a smile on their face. I mean surely after all this hard work they are destined to be rewarded, right?
Knees meet the floor in horror as the scale greets them with the terrible news: same crap, different day. Without knowing it, they violated the cardinal rule of fat loss – develop a solid nutrition base, or prepare thyself for a lifetime of sailing the blubbery seas. Just like the failed assembly of the Silver Monkey, many people have it all wrong when it comes time to implement their fat loss plan, and as a result often spend months if not years spinning their wheels in frustration.
Can you out train a subpar diet? Sure, but I can think of a few things that are slightly harder, such as slurping dry the Atlantic Ocean with a straw, or body-slamming the Empire State building. Simply put, it’s hard as all get-out to burn a ton of calories through exercise alone unless you’ve built up your physical capacity to the point where you’re able to handle the workload, and even then it’s always easier to eat less food than it is to burn it off after doing so.
So what is the person looking to bring that head image of themselves into reality left to do? Have no fear! As the conductor of the Sexification Express, I take it upon myself to make sure that you are equipped with the requisite knowledge to get the ball rolling on your own fat loss journey, so let’s go through the necessary steps of creating a solid foundation.
In order to stand a chance of getting to where you want to be, you first have to figure out where you are, therefore it is of super duper importance that you determine your maintenance calories. There are a lot of fancy calculators out there, but you don’t need no stinkin’ technology to figure out where you stand – just multiply your current body weight in pounds by 14 if you lean more towards the inactive side of things or 15-16 if you have a higher level of daily movement such as resistance training and moderate intensity cardio.
Remember that this is but a rough estimate and nothing more. That said, it still serves as an effective starting point compared to just pulling random numbers out of thin air. If you find that you’re gaining weight at this calorie level, decrease your starting number by 150 calories and reassess.
I know that there are some folks out there who would rather skip this step for whatever reason, and that is fine with me as long as you are progressing towards your goals. If you’re raring to get going, simply multiply your starting body weight in pounds by 10-12. For those who have jobs that don’t involve much movement at all throughout the day, you may want to start out with the lower number, possibly going as low as 8 calories x body weight in pounds if you’re really, really inactive. Just as a side note, I rarely recommend going down to such a level, especially for more than a week or two, so start with the higher values and stick with those until you have reason to do otherwise.
And no, not achieving your goals within the first few weeks is not a valid reason.
- Maintenance intake = 14-16 x body weight in lbs. The less active you are, the lower the number you start with.
- Fat loss intake = 10-12 x body weight in lbs. The less active you are, the lower the number you start with.
- Muscle gain intake = 18-20 x body weight in lbs. The less active you are, the lower the number you start with.
There you have it, a simple, time effective way to estimate your maintenance, fat loss and muscle gaining calories. If you don’t have this down, you’ve got no business proceeding to the next level, so consider this your homework assignment. Make sure to stay tuned for the next post in this series where we move beyond the base into the belly of the beast – macronutrients and their role in your dieting plan.
What are the greatest barriers that you encounter when trying to lose fat? Also, what are your fondest memories of the 90s? Be sure to drop your answers in the comment section. Don’t worry, if you say Pokemon I won’t hold it against you. In fact, I may very well give you a high five on the down low. Shhhh – don’t tell nooooooooobody!