How to Adjust Calories and Macros When Exercising for The Best Weight Loss

Are you looking to lose weight, learn how to adjust calories and macros for effective weight loss. Then you’ve come to the right place.

You can look to this article for guidance on exactly how to reduce carbs, fat, and protein when your diet isn’t working.

But as a fitness trainer for over 10 years helping people lose weight, I must tell you that losing weight is the last thing I want to do.

There’s no denying that the amount of weight you can achieve and maintain is partly genetic, but this guide will teach you how to get as slim as possible.

There are two types of assessments and adjustments needed for success. The first involves evaluating and adjusting your initial calorie calculations.

The latter are the ongoing adjustments needed to continue making progress. I have divided these instructions into the release and tightening phases. This article will only focus on the muscle contraction phase.

List of problems to check for fat loss

When I coach people, I don’t have a formal checklist because I’ve been doing it for so long it’s all in my head. However, this is how I tend to think about things. Check out the detailed diagram below

Notes on and list of muscle-tightening adjustments

1. You will find that reducing calories is the last thing to consider. This helps us eat as much as possible for as long as possible, making the diet more sustainable and minimizing the risk of losing muscle mass.

2. If hunger torments you:
– Do not use any other liquid calories and replace them with whole solid foods
– Cut down on sugary foods that are easy to eat
– Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, salads and soups
– Consider reducing the frequency of snacks so that your main meals are more filling and satisfying.

3. To “manage your food environment” means controlling everything around you in a way that makes you think about food a little less (buy healthy food, for example, clean unhealthy food in the fridge, don’t leave junk food on the work table). work….), reduces your eating temptations and makes it easier to make better choices throughout the day. This is a powerful tool that is overlooked by many dieters.

4. “Review Your Reason” That means thinking hard about your motives. Many people don’t pay enough attention to this part and that means when things get tough they give up.

5. Stress is the silent killer of muscle mass. You cannot say to yourself: “Well, stress will cause water retention, but that’s okay, I’ll be fine.” It will also impact the recovery process and therefore your ability to retain muscle mass. Let’s look at some strategies for managing stress. I can’t walk you through the specifics, you’ll need to work it out yourself or get experts to assist you directly.

6. Poor sleep has the same effect as stress. It will aggravate the hunger problem and your training response will be impaired. It’s hard to say how much sleep is too little, but if you wake up tired all the time, you need more sleep. Here are some tips for a better night’s sleep.

7. We are using bodyweight exercises as our main guide And don’t panic if your body measurements don’t change much. Measurements can be prone to error and it is not always possible to spot changes in the short term.

8. If your average daily activity level drops, you may need to reduce. However, I would recommend waiting to see the effect on the rate of weight loss rather than actively trying to adjust because most apps’ calorie burn estimates are mere guesswork and cannot be trusted.

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Many people have gone through a Covid lockdown in 2020 This has barely affected some people’s energy needs but dramatically changed the needs of others. If you’ve enabled step tracking on your phone, you’ll be able to track your steps. This is the application interface that I use:

Walking statistics

You can see from March to May 2020 my daily steps have decreased significantly.

Although I have called it the “First Lockdown”, technically, there was never a blockade in Japan, just “strong urging” from the government to stay at home as much as possible. I did this to the extreme of not meeting anyone. I ate the same but got a little fatter. Realizing how severely my activity levels were affected when I first opened the app, I decided to go for more walks in the park.

In January 2021, a tree suddenly hit me while I was playing sports. I was on crutches for most of that month, which is why my activity level plummeted.

The changes you will see while dieting will not be obvious. But it’s not uncommon to see your step count decrease as a result of increased lethargy

One way to combat this is to set yourself a minimum number of steps for the day when dieting. I set myself a minimum of 5000 steps daily from June onwards, which is lower than the 7500 I got on average before COVID but significantly better than the 2500 steps I got unattended.

When should I do Cardio to lose fat?

There is no rule as to when you should add cardio exercises to address the calorie balance problem rather than reduce your calorie intake even further. But here’s how I think about it.

You may have come this far and wonder why I don’t recommend cardio as an alternative to burning calories. Mainly because doing cardio will not bring about fat loss in the long run. The following charts will help explain what I mean.

Again, we need a deficit of 500 kcal per day to lose 0.5 kg of fat per week.

RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion

Let’s say you need an extra 200 kcal deficit, but you don’t want to eat less. If you weigh 80kg, here is the 25 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio you need to do every day to lose just 0.2kg more per week.

This is unsustainable in the long run and it can interfere with muscle adaptation and strength.

As a rule of thumb, your weekly amount of cardio should be less than half the time you spend lifting weights. So if you do strength training for four hours per week, do no more than two hours of cardio.

It’s best to choose a low-impact method on your knees. Brisk walking on an incline treadmill, swimming, elliptical, or biking is better than jogging on hard surfaces. This is especially true if you are obese or have knee pain.

It’s best to avoid doing high-intensity interval training. The need for recovery is greater and the risk of injury is also slightly higher. Again, if you do HIIT, you must not choose the type of exercise that burns calories. It’s high-intensity interval training so you’ll choose the “moderate” type.

Finally, remember that strengthening your heart won’t solve your hunger problem. If you exercise more, your hunger will also increase.

How to adjust Calories and Macros when exercising to lose weight

Option 1: Repeat the calculation from the article on how to evaluate and correct your original calorie calculations.

This can give a false sense of accuracy, as there will be noise in the data from changes from non-fat mass, so I prefer to follow the option below

Option 2: Reduce total energy consumption by 5-8%.

For most people, this is a 100–200 calorie reduction. This is the appropriate section from the table in the original tuning post.

Things you will notice when you squeeze

In the first week

Your weight may drop much faster than you’re aiming for.

Don’t get too excited because all that weight loss isn’t just fat. This happens mainly due to loss of water, intestinal contents and glycogen. The more you reduce your calorie and carb intake, the greater the reduction. However, if your vegetable intake increases significantly, this will cause more waste in the intestines and have the opposite effect.

Don’t be surprised if your mid- and lower-abdominal measurements drop relatively large and sudden (1.5–2.5 cm). This is due to the lower amount of food in the intestines. It will be difficult to see any trends in the astrometric data during the first few weeks.

You may see an increase in chest and limb measurements if you start a new exercise program. This is due to muscle swelling (aka ‘Pumb’), not muscle gain.

If you think “Oh my gosh my legs are growing so fast I won’t fit any of my jeans at this rate!“Then don’t worry.

You’ve just started training your feet properly. This is not muscle growth. Fat loss will far outweigh any muscle gain, and your legs will look smaller overall.

Hunger is not a problem. You may even feel quite full if you reduce the frequency of your meals and start eating more vegetables. But don’t be complacent and think that dieting is easy. Enjoy this while it’s easy for you.

Energy levels throughout the day will be virtually unaffected. The diet hasn’t started yet. Again, don’t be complacent.

You will probably continue to perform well in the gym. Glycogen reserves have not yet been exhausted. The fatigue hasn’t had time to build up into a noticeable recovery deficit.

Next few weeks

Your weight will continue to fall but more slowly. This is because weight loss is now just fat loss. You will begin to be able to estimate the rate of fat loss.

The reduction in belly measurement will become linear and you will start to see a continuous decrease in waist circumference. As a rough guide, every 2kg of fat loss will manifest as a reduction of 2–2.5 cm on the abdomen from two or more locations.

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In the 10-20% body fat range, fat loss tends to occur from the top to the middle of the abdomen and then to the lower abdomen. At the higher end of the range, you can expect to see more reduction in the upper abdomen than the lower abdomen; As you lean out, you’ll see a greater decrease in the measurement from the navel downwards.

At 10% or less body fat, you’ll see very little change in your mid and upper belly measurements. Your lower belly and waist measurements will change the most as the fat in your lower abdomen and back will decrease at this point. For this reason, visual changes will be difficult to notice from the front, especially when the amount of fat is less than 8%, when the fat in the abdominal muscles is almost completely gone.

At over 20% body fat, measurements seem to decrease fairly evenly across all abdominal measurements. I assume this is because most of the fat lost at this point is visceral fat (the part around your organs) and not subcutaneous fat.

You can expect bust and limb measurements to gradually decrease. Don’t take this to mean muscle loss. If you wrap your right arm around your left armpit and grab your back at chest level, you’ll notice the fat immediately. The same goes for many places on your body. Yes, fat is concentrated in the belly area, but we still see it everywhere on the body.

You may feel that you look worse when you start to lose focus. This is natural and don’t feel sad about it

There will be a gradual change to the feeling of hunger most of the time. Eating will become a pleasure, and food will become more delicious. This is because your body is trying to make you eat more.

People with more fat to lose will see an improvement in blood markers for disease risk.

You’ll start to feel happier with your new look as you get thinner. But you may start to feel smaller.

About the final stage of muscle tightening

You may be the least satisfied with your appearance. The moment just before the abs appear is the hardest part of tightening. You get tired easily, get cranky, feel hungry all the time, and you’ll be at your thinnest without a clear reward.

Remember that nearly everyone you see on the search results page is smaller overall, but being thin can make us look bigger without a shirt.

You may lose sex drive. Hormonal changes occur when the body shuts down non-essential functions like reproduction. Dieting is controlled starvation, and your body doesn’t know that we’re doing it on purpose and aren’t dying of starvation.

Hunger will be your constant companion. A celery stick will start to look good even if it doesn’t taste good. Managing your food environment so that you don’t have easy access to tempting dishes will be important at this time. You can’t just rely on willpower alone to be able to go hungry if food is always in front of you.

Training will start to get harder. You’ll want to change things but don’t. The prolonged diet has taken a toll on your energy levels. You are (relatively) glycogen-depleted. There is also the mechanical inefficiency of being leaner that will affect your lifting power.

How to adjust Calories and Macros when exercising for the best weight loss

What is an acceptable level of hunger and fatigue when dieting?

Hunger level

As long as you can still stick to the diet, it’s really up to you. The key point here is compliance.

You don’t want to fall into a cycle of overeating and then fasting, where the diet is so hard to follow that you end up binge eating.

A common type of diet for many people is that during the week, they eat very carefully, but at the end of the week, they eat indiscriminately. If you find yourself unable to maintain everything, increase your calorie intake for the day and accept a slower rate of weight loss.


As mentioned, your workout can become significantly more challenging at the end of the squeeze. If you’re struggling so much that your stamina drops dramatically, it’s best to increase your calorie intake and accept a slower rate of weight loss.

How do I know if I’m losing muscle mass?

This is an article about dietary modification, must talk about training. But since it’s so important, there are a few things you need to know.

  1. Exercise is arguably the most important tool for preventing muscle loss while dieting, ensuring that we lose weight at a reasonable rate is an integral part of this. Protein intake ranks third after the above two.
  2. You don’t have to change your workout style when you’re tightening, but it will be harder for you to progress. At some point, that process is likely to stop.
  3. On average, people make progress in the first half of their tightening and have to work hard to maintain their progress in the second half.. If they decide to reduce body fat by more than 10% there will usually be some regression. But these are just averages and there are various factors at play.
  4. Some exercises will progress better than others. Rarely do people have the same experience in all exercises. Expect good progress with any new (or unfamiliar) weightlifting as you gain proficiency with your technique, but don’t take this as a sign of muscle growth. People who return to training after a long break can also make significant progress.
  5. Bench press (and push-ups in general) tend to be the most affectedbut it’s a combination of the people who generally have more experience here, as well as the reduction in back and chest fat, which means the bar has to travel further.
  6. The mind has a powerful influence on the body. Keep a positive mindset throughout the process. Interestingly, many people tell themselves that they won’t make any progress in their calorie deficit, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for them, so think positive and self-fulfilling. If you think you can do it, you will be able to do it.
  7. Stress and sleep problems will hinder how well you respond to exercise. Do the best you can to manage these. Take these into account when you evaluate your training.
  8. In the end, everyone is different. I’ve seen some people make progress throughout the cut, and I’ve also seen some hit it earlier than I expected.
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Given the facts then, here’s what I say to the client:

We will diligently follow the rules of training and eating to make the progress we can, but we must accept that it will be harder to achieve.

At some point, progress may stop on certain exercises. When this happens, it is especially important not to get discouraged and let our technique go sloppy because this is where the injury will happen.

Stick to RPE principles. Work hard. Always be patient. The muscle gain will come during the muscle release phase.

Yes, loss of strength can be a sign of muscle loss. But I can’t say I’ve seen this to any significant extent in my ten years of coaching.

If we continue to work out properly, lose weight at the right rate, eat enough protein and consume enough carbs to sustain your workout, then we don’t have to worry about muscle loss.

How to adjust Calories and Macros when exercising for the best weight loss


How do you know when to adjust your macros?

If your rate of weight change isn’t on target, you may need to adjust your macros. However, your weight will fluctuate from day to day and from week to week, so make sure you weigh yourself every morning (after going to the bathroom), note weekly averages, and compare between weeks.

  1. If your dietary adherence is poor, you can’t fairly gauge the effectiveness of your current macros, so make sure you fix that first.
  2. If your sleep quality is poor or you’re under a lot of stress, address those issues first as they can cause water retention, affecting fat loss.

How do I adjust my macros for weight loss?

To adjust your macros for weight loss, for every 0.2kg not lost weekly, subtract 250 calories from your daily food intake. For example, reduce 40g of carbs and 10g of fat.

How should your macros be split?

Protein should be set according to body weight. 1g per 0.5kg body weight is a good goal for most people, but obese people are best advised to set their protein intake to 1g per centimeter of height.

I recommend that 15–25% of your calories come from fat when tightening and 20-30% when maintaining or gaining muscle. The rest should come from carbs. This means that about two-thirds of your remaining calories after taking into account protein, should be divided by carbs, with the remainder being fat.

People who prefer more fat in their diet can eat more, but I generally recommend no more than 25% of calories from fat when dieting (30% when maintaining or gaining muscle). ), as this seems to be the hot spot.

While that’s not my default recommendation, some people seem to do well on a high-fat diet than this.

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