Every guy trying to cut calories has the same concern — losing gains. It’s a fact, the more calories you consume while dieting down the less muscle you will lose. Bringing your bodyfat down to lower than normal levels is not easy, you will always be hungry, have less energy to train, have difficulties getting a good pump and you might experience hormonal problems.
This five-step system will be your guide to optimize your metabolism with a higher intake of calories. Following through with this system will allow you to diet on more calories, allow your body to handle more nutrients, retain more muscle and even get you leaner. Lets dive right in.
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Step 1: Find Your Caloric Baseline
Before we begin trying to repair and build your metabolism, we have to find a starting point. If you aren’t already, you should be tracking your calories. Calorie tracking gives you feedback on what your body needs in terms of gaining and losing weight. Not tracking your calories is like trying to drive cross-country without a gps. In order to determine your baseline calories I recommend tracking and logging all the calories you consume for three days.
Be as honest as you can when doing this, make sure to log everything. Once you have a few days worth of data, divide the total number by three, that will give you the average calories consumed — there’s your baseline.
Protein Requirements (These are the recommended grams of protein you need per day.)
.8 – 1.5 Grams Per Pound of bodyweight daily
1.5 Grams per pound of bodyweight (If you have a SLOW metabolism)
1.25 Grams per pound of bodyweight (If you have an AVERAGE metabolism)
1 Gram per pound of bodyweight (If you have a FAST metabolism)
30% Of daily calories (If you have a SLOW metabolism)
25% Of daily calories (If you have an AVERAGE metabolism)
20% Of Daily calories (If you have a FAST metabolism)
The remainder of your calories will consist of carbohydrates, it is important to keep carbohydrate intake as high as possible to build up your metabolic capacity.
A 200-pound person with a slow metabolism has a baseline of 2400 calories per day. Here’s what they should take in.
Protein: 250 Grams
Fats: 67 Grams
Carbohydrates: 200 Grams
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Step 3: Stay Consistent
It’s important to allow your body to adjust to your new calorie level. You need to spend anywhere from two to four weeks at your new calorie level.
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Step 4: Increase Calories Slowly
This is the key component of maximizing your metabolic potential. This is the part where we build up the metabolism. You want to make small incremental changes every two to four weeks, essentially, you’re going to add calories in small doses. I recommend adding in a maximum of 10 grams of carbs or five grams of fat each time. After adding in those macros, you need to wait and see how your body adjusts. If you jump up and gain weight hold those macronutrients until your body either loses weight or maintains that weight for more than one week. You can be more aggressive with it if you want, but I have found that going slowly is more effective.
It’s important to monitor your body because you will eventually get to the point where you will need to make changes every 4 weeks or more. It’s important to slow down adding calories in when you notice bodyfat coming on. Even though a little bodyfat gain is ok. After a few weeks and months of doing this you should notice that you are consuming a good amount of calories. You may even be to the point where you do not feel hungry and it almost feels like a chore to eat. It is important to slow down your calorie increases at that point but do not stop, even if you have to add only a few calories every other week that is still a step in the right direction. The more calories you can consume without gaining fat the more your metabolism is priming up.
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Step 5: Control Your Cut
This is the key with maximizing your metabolism, when your dieting you need to take your time. Rushing a fat loss phase will definitely result in a loss of muscle mass. Now that we have spent ample time building up your metabolism there is no reason to jump into low calories so fast, the next step is to transition to a fat loss phase. You want to begin your fat loss phase by taking your calories that you ended your “maximized metabolism prime stage” with and minus 500 from that number. This will be your starting point for your dieting phase.
Example: A 200-pound individual builds his metabolism from consuming 2400 calories to 4000 calories. This person should begin the dieting phase by subtracting 500 calories from their total calories, that would leave them with a “cutting” intake of 3500. Redo the macronutrient formula from Step 2.
Similar to the way we built up your metabolism to handle more calories is the same way we need to diet, slow and steady changes over time will result in more muscle retained and more calories consumed.
This is all pretty straightforward advice, the takeaway here is that a slow consistent approach in both increasing and decreasing calories over the long term will result in a higher tolerance of calories during a dieting phase. You’ll look great and you’ll feel even better!