Trying to maximise your muscle mass whilst dropping body fat can be challenging but not impossible. To maximise your chances of success you need to calculate two things:
- Your daily calorie goal
- Your daily protein goal
Getting both of these correct will give you the best chance you have at becoming lean without sacrificing your hard earned muscle.
How to calculate your daily calorie goal
The ACSM guidelines for safe and effective fat loss are 0.8kg (2lbs) a week which equals a calorie deficit of 1000cals a day. Anymore than this and it will be highly likely that your body will be metabolising muscle mass to provide your body with the energy it requires. Now obviously we don’t want to lose muscle mass for two reasons 1) it will reduce our metabolism 2) we love our muscle mass because it makes us more superhero 💪
You can use the equations below to workout your goal. If you are aiming for 0.8kg (2lb) loss per week set your deficit as 1000. If you want 0.4kg (1lb) loss per week then set your deficit at 500.
During my own 12 week challenge to get into the best shape of my life at 40 I am aiming at a weekly loss of 0.8kg (1lb). So based on my age, gender, bodyweight, height and activity levels my daily calorie goal is 2256 cals/day.
How to calculate your daily protein goal
Now you can use the table below to calculate your daily protein goal by taking into consideration your activity levels/goal and your bodyweight.
I am currently resistance training 6 days a week. So I have chosen to use the category labelled ‘Adult building muscle mass’. The above example is based on my weight after week 1 of my 12 week challenge. It gives me a protein goal of 129-146kg/day. I will be monitoring this closely, and if I feel that I am losing muscle mass then I will increase that to 2.2g/kg of protein a day (189g protein/day) which is the upper limit.
If you are joining me on your own fitness challenge then I recommend the above guidance. As always it is not an exact science but pretty good and will give you a great starting point.
Stay healthy 😉