How do I set myself specific calories for fat loss?

How do I set myself specific calories for fat loss?

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Someone emailed this question today, but it’s not as straight forward as some simple maths.


First of all…. what is a calorie?


Calories are tiny creatures that live in your wardrobe and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night……or specifically, a calorie is the amount of energy, or heat, it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius.…… So basically its a unit of measurable energy.


Here is what you need to do to set your specific calorie requirements for fat loss.


Track food for one week (include the weekend)


Find your average amount of calories (Use My fitness Pal to track this)


Example week: 

Monday - 1600 Calories 

Tuesday - 1800 Calories

Wednesday - 1750 Calories

Thursday - 1900 Calories

Friday - 2200 Calories

Saturday - 2500 Calories

Sunday - 2400 Calories


Now this gives us an average of calories, in this case it’s 2021. Ask yourself how you feel on this amount of calories, full, satisfied, normal or hungry?


I imagine most of you would feel satisfied, unless you are already on a fat loss programme or are one of these insane people that ‘forget to eat’!!


If you’re gaining fat by eating this amount of food then it’s obviously too much, there is more fuel going into your body than is actually needed, in this case you’ll need to drop your daily calories by about 200-300 calories (dependant on current size and current intake), then assess changes in body composition and weight.


If you’re maintaining your body fat on this amount, then again it’s likely too much if your goal is to lose fat. You’ll need to drop your daily calories by about 100-200 calories then assess changes in body composition and weight (if the goal is in fact fat loss).


If you’re dropping fat on this amount then it’s about right. Keep doing what you’re doing!


One big thing to consider is how hungry you are, if you are feeling really hungry then you have obviously dropped your calories too far and you need to up them or you will lose muscle tissue along with the fat, this will obviously inhibit your performance and potential in the gym.


Simple Macros - Make sure you have a decent amount of Protein (1.3 grams per kg of body weight or more…..lots more), a respectable amount of healthy Fats and don’t kick the ass out of the Carbohydrates, you’re trying to lose fat not carb loading to run the London marathon.


Also, you can use online calorie calculators to work out your calories, but these base the calculations on your height, weight, age, gender and don’t take into consideration your current muscle tissue or the fact that everyone is different, but they can give us an idea of about how much food we should be eating, it’s a good tool.


Alternatively, sometimes you just need to add in an extra conditioning session to give you that slight caloric deficit your body needs to drop fat.

Here is an example of a quick conditioning workout you can utilise:


Treadmill - 1.5km x 1

Cross Trainer - 4min

Bike - 40 seconds x 4 sets (20 seconds rest between each set)

Rowing machine - 250m x 4 sets (30 seconds rest between each set)



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