Nutrition

The Smoothie Diet for Weight Loss or Muscle Gain

While everyone is a bit different – with different activity levels, insulin sensitivity, gut flora health, etc. – we can make some general assumptions based on what works for most lifters and athletes.

There are a lot of fancy formulas out there, but they all just give you a ballpark range of calorie intake for fat loss or muscle gain. If we look at all the formulas and advice of the smart nutrition experts who work out, we can do a sort of “meta-study” and come up with a pretty solid number: about 300 calories, give or take 50-ish. That means…

  • For Fat Loss: Consume about 300 fewer calories than your maintenance intake.
  • For Muscle Gain: Consume about 300 calories over your maintenance intake.

This sane and moderate change translates into fat loss without muscle loss for the dieter, and muscle gain without excess fat gain for the bulker.

You can tweak the number for your individual needs based on your weekly results: add or subtract 100 calories or so, see what happens, adjust again.

Wait, What’s My Maintenance Intake?

Again, there are formulas available, but the number you get is approximate no matter how complex they are. Here’s a simple, real-world way to figure it out.

Ask yourself: Have I been maintaining my current level of body fat for several months? No need to bust out the scale and calipers. Just look in the mirror. About the same? Slowly getting leaner? Slowly getting fatter? Take a close look.

Most people default to eating roughly the same number of calories per month. Notice that’s not “per day.” We always fluctuate by the day – both in caloric intake and output – but it usually averages out over several weeks. A couple of low days, a very high day, several days at maintenance, etc.

We “accidentally” settle into a certain intake level over time. For some, this leads to slow fat gain. For others, that default amount keeps them on the scrawny side. Both are maintaining their current state. Both could gain or lose, whatever their goal, with roughly a 300 calorie deficit or surplus per day.

So don’t sweat the exact number. What you’re naturally doing, day in and day out, probably has you at about maintenance level unless you’re actively getting fatter, losing weight quickly, or building tons of muscle every month.

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