Reduction – where to start?
What will you learn from this article?
- The definition of reduction;
- BMR, TMR and dietary needs;
- Macronutrient distribution;
- Purpose – implementation over a prolonged period of time.
Reduction - the word is usually not associated with anything pleasant, but with the right approach, the attitude to weight loss can change dramatically. But what is this reduction we have mentioned? This is nothing else but just fat loss - as much as possible, but with relatively low muscle loss. And it should be emphasized right away - the reduction is not based mainly on weight loss. It all depends on our figure - that is, how high is our BF (Body Fat) and what our percentage of muscle is. The word "deficit" goes hand in hand with the word "reduction". What is the deficit then? It is nothing more than spending more energy than delivering it to the body. Then we can say that the reduction occurs - when our body goes into the deficit phase.
However, in order for this to happen, it is necessary to approximate (because as you know, no calculator will show us the ideal amount of calories that we should consume to enter this deficit) to determine your so-called zero calories (i.e. the amount of kcal we should provide to maintain weight) and subtract 200-300 kcal from this value, depending on our predispositions, the amount of fat to lose, lifestyle, etc. The principle of subtracting calories on non-workout days is often used, leaving caloric zero on training days. However, this is an option for people with relatively low BF, compared to people with excessive amounts of fat. The Internet offers us a lot of alternatives to calorie calculators - but remember that each calculation is burdened with an error. Here, the key will be to observe your own body over a prolonged period. When calculating the demand, it is necessary to take into account the lifestyle, work, classes, activities and training. NEAT is also important - Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, also colloquially called spontaneous activity of everyday life, can help with increasing the rate of change and help reduction.
The key to good reduction is awareness of your calories intake. Very often, after calculating the demand, it turns out that we overeat calories by snacking or using high-calorie products, etc. An electronic scale will be both helpful and necessary with that step. It is also vital to realize that the fat loss process is a long-term one. You should not use low-nutrition diets in excess – they may end up with too large of a deficit and thus become a burden on the body. If we hesitate as to the number of calories we should cut off - always choose the preferred option, i.e. leave more food on your plate. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The right match between training and diet is the key to weight loss. If we are more ambitious, we can - based on the available formulas – calculate our energy demand. In short, we start by calculating BMR (basal metabolic rate) based on the Harris-Benedict formula:
BMR[kcal] = 665,09 + (9,56 x weight in kg) + (1,85 x height in cm) - (4,67 x age)
BMR[kcal] = 66,47 + (13,75 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) - (6,75 x age)
The next step is to set the activity coefficient according to the following:
- 1,2-1,3 – a sick person lying in bed;
- 1,4 – low physical activity;
- 1,6 – moderate physical activity;
- 1,75 – moderate physical activity;
- 2 – very high physical activity;
- 2,2-2,4 – competitive sportsmanship.
Finally, we can calculate our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE):
TDEE = BMR x coefficient
TDEE allows us to define our so-called zero caloric. Multiplying the result by e.g. 80% (TDEE x 80%) we get the calorie reduction diet. As you can see, the activity coefficient is one of the key aspects in the case of reduction.
Once we have our caloric zero calculated and subtract the right amount of calories (to enter the aforementioned deficit), another important aspect is to learn about macronutrients and their proper distribution in the menu. The concept is based on the distribution of calories between proteins, carbohydrates and fats - the latter is quite important for the proper functioning of the hormonal economy. Reduction diets are distinguished by the amount of protein (it is much higher here than the standard protein intake) and oscillate in the amount of about 2 g per 1 kg body weight (as an approximate - bodybuilders supply it much more, but amounts below 2 g are also acceptable for an average person).
To put it simply - the more intense the training is and the more we reduce the diet (the issue of distribution of reduction over time) - the more protein we should consume. Fats should fit within 20-25% (women 25-30%) of the total caloric content of the diet, with the rest being carbohydrates. Thus, having the set number of calories in the reduction diet, we calculate the demand for protein and fat according to the above (1g protein = 4 kcal, 1g fat – 9 kcal). The rest of the remaining calories are used for carbohydrates, remembering that 1 g of carbohydrates = 4 kcal. Using rotation, i.e. a different distribution of calories on non-training days, the distribution of macronutrients is more flexible with an emphasis on a day of more carbohydrate supply and a day of lower carbohydrate supply (as part of increased fat supply).
During the reduction, you can easily change the menu and distribution of the above macroelements - you can increase the supply of protein, reduce the number of carbohydrates and fats - the latter within reason, especially in the case of the female sex, as long as you stick to the overall idea of reduction nutrition. In addition to calculations, macronutrient distribution, appropriate activity, and supplements - the key is the approach and awareness of your own body. The reduction should not be exhaustive; it should be properly distributed in time. After all, fat does not accumulate in just one day and is not burned for one day! Patience is the basis for perseverance during the deficit period, but also for change (not only temporary but also changes in the general approach to food and the overall relationship with food) - for the better.
Let's try to implement changes gradually, let our body adapt to changes and enjoy the implementation as well as the final effects.