View Full Version : Clarity on calories in vs. calories out.

07-18-2007, 03:56 PM
Hey guys,

I'm new to this forum, first I just want to say hello.

I've been doing some basic dieting and lifting for about two years, dropped from 280 (who knows BF) down to 180 (BF 23%), I'm now at 210 (BF 19%). I've really gotten serious about weight training over the last three or four months, instead of some basic easy lifting, I've been hitting it pretty hard. It's taken me from 23% down to 19% and now I'm at a stand still, not really worried, but my goal is 10% so I have to really buckle down and tighten up my diet.

I am a little unsure on the calorie counting I'm getting into. My maintenance (if figured right) is 3,200 calories. So, to lose some pounds, I need to eat about 2,700 calories.

Now, this is where I'm unsure about. Say I eat 2,700 calories, now I am 500 below so I should start dropping some weight, but I also lift weights pretty vigorously over my lunch break (gym is next door). Say I use 500 calories there. Now, I go running with my wife at about 8:30p.m. Say I use 500 calories there too. Is that still counted as a 500 calorie deficit because I at 2,700, or would that be a 1,500 deficit because of the 500 deficit, the 500 weight training, and the 500 cardio? That would only put me at about 1,700.

I'm sorry if this was covered in the other topics, but I wasn't sure what to call this for the search so I didn't get anything directly related and I didn't find anything about counting that in some of the article I have read.

Thanks for the help.

Bako Lifter
07-18-2007, 04:17 PM
That's a good question. I've always wondered about that too.

You said you found your maintenace calories right? I'm assuming you did this by tracking what you ate over a period of time and checking averages.

Well if you did this while performing your daily routine of lifting/running, then that would mean 3,200 is your maintenance while on that routine. So maybe your real mainenance is 2,200?

I hope you kind of get what I mean, but hopefully somebody else can chime in and give a "scientific" answer.


07-18-2007, 08:31 PM
You said you found your maintenace calories right? I'm assuming you did this by tracking what you ate over a period of time and checking averages.

Well if you did this while performing your daily routine of lifting/running, then that would mean 3,200 is your maintenance while on that routine. So maybe your real mainenance is 2,200?

I hope you kind of get what I mean, but hopefully somebody else can chime in and give a "scientific" answer.

You explained it pretty good.

OP: If you are running, weight lifting right now and eating 3200cals and not loseing weight. This would be your maintenance. So it would only be a 500cal deficit (2700).

BUT if you are not running currently and just weighlifting then only drop the cals 250 and follow your wightloss per week. You want 1-2lbs per week nothing more.

Also i would suggest you and your wife look into HIIT (search here) and add that in two day's per week.


07-19-2007, 08:33 AM
I brought my notebook today, after using a BMR equation, my caloric needs for my current weight (210) my current hight (6'1") and my current age (25) and sex (male) comes out to be 3,791 calories a day.

From what I understand from BMR equations, that's what my body uses just to sit and stare blankly at my computer. That's what it takes to keep me breathing, heart beating, and lazy.

So, to put on muscle, I would actually need 4,291. To lose weight I need 3,291. Now I've been trying to eat around 3,291 for the last three months. Progress is slow, I've stayed around 210 for the last three months.

Like I said, I'm not worried too much because I'm putting on muscle, but my body fat hasn't changed either, so I am a bit confused. However, it is just a cheap Tanita scale, I have calipers and have no idea how to use them. My book only gives me one reading point, I don't feel that's enough to be accurate either. My scale puts me at about 20-22% body fat every time, the calipers (one location) alwasy puts me at 17%. No change in four months.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic here, what I'm getting at is if I need 3,291 to cut, do I just try to eat that every day without counting calories burned? Or do I count calories burned and have to make that up as well to hit 3,291?

I find this very hard to explain, I hope it makes sence.


07-19-2007, 10:29 AM
This just got me thinking of something too.

When using a BMR equation to figure out caloire needs, they say "Enter Weight, Enter Hight, Etc." Now, when you go to enter weight I of course put 210. But that weight includes about 20% or so of fat. Am I supposed to put only lean body mass? That would totally change the equation because that would put me at about 170 or so.


07-19-2007, 10:41 AM
Welcome fellow Utahian.

Your going about it al wrong. Formulas don't work. What you need to do is simply track you calories in and your weight. Keep you lifting and activities the same. If you are eating 3200 calories and maintaining including your exercise then your maintence level is 3200 calories. To create a deficit you can cut calories, or increase activity. Formulas simply do not work. They might give you a general range, but you need to track to find out.

07-19-2007, 02:32 PM
I do track my calories using Fitday, unfortunatly, I just barely got my computer back up at home so it's very hit and miss.


The thing is, I'm sick of this extra weigth, I've lost so much, my chest looks good, my back looks good, I'm getting bigger, yet, dispite all my progress, I still cannot see my abs. It's driving me crazy.

I hear so many people cutting out carbs (which I'm going to give a try), figuring out their macronutrient and calorie content precisely, and so forth.

The thing is, if I drop my calories to low, my metabolism practically comes to a stand still. Too high, I put on weight like I've got a hole in my side and I'm just sticking fat into it as fast as possible.

My breakfast I feel has become pretty solid: 1 Egg, 3 Whites, 2 Turkey Bacon, .5 Cup Oatmeal with Strawberries, 8oz of Skim Milk.

However, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack.

Those are still undetermined about what works best for me, and without being able to figure out a good idea on what my calories should be, I am unable to construct a strong meal plan.

I have come to the conclusion I eat way to much bread though, so I'm going to cut the majority of that out. However, the bread also makes up much of my calories for the day (any comments on bread substitues?).

Unreal: It is good to finally meet someone online from Utah and fairly close to me as well. All the people at my gym have huge egos and you can't talk to them. Hit me up on an instant messenger some time.

07-19-2007, 03:22 PM
There are a few of us here.

Low carb works for me pretty damn good. Not keto low, but <100g a day. The key to keeping your metabolism from crashing is not to cut too much, and to keep protein/fat high enough to preserve LBM.

07-19-2007, 03:32 PM
Well, maybe instead of trying to figure out my diet to the macronutrient, maybe I'll just try to construct a balanced meal plan that utilizes around 3,000 calories a day, then I'll add or subtract from there.

You have definatly given me a new way to look at this. Before it was just to get the weight off; now it's off, it's to look good; now I feel totally lost again. I totally feel like I've started over because everything is so different. Before, it was eat better; that's easy. Now it's eat right; that's hard.


07-19-2007, 03:40 PM
The new plan sounds good. If you don't lose weight eating 3000cals keep dropping it ~200cals till you see 1-2lbs of weight loss per week.

07-19-2007, 04:36 PM
How long would it take to see a drop? Say I dropped it on Monday, would I expect the next monday to have lost a pound or two, or would it most likely be the monday after that?

07-19-2007, 06:10 PM
I would do a week at a time. If you haven't lost any weight in a week, then drop it a bit more, stay there for a week, then continue.

07-19-2007, 07:07 PM
Mimic - what Unreal said is what I do as well.

Mr. D
07-19-2007, 07:29 PM
I do the same on non-WO days, keep carbs under 100g. On workout days I keep all my carbs around the workouts.

07-20-2007, 08:05 AM
Thanks for all the replies.

I'll try to get me a meal plan together based on the information here trying to target around 3,000 a day to start. Maybe after it's constructed, I'll have you guys critique it.


07-21-2007, 11:20 AM
Couple of things.

if you lost 100 pounds and was still 23% at 180 I would be shocked. According to some reverse engineering you'd have to be 50% bodyfat. I'm pretty F wording fat right now and I'm about 28% or so. I don't think you were as fat as you thought meaning at 180 you weren't 23%.

That would have you with only 140 ish pounds of LBM at 6'1, you'd be scrawny as hell... like Ethiopian style.

Congratulations on losing as much as you did man, thats an amazing loss.

Basically you want to eat about 1 g of protein per pound of lean body mass, keep carbs about 80-120g and eat 60g of good fats. Thats a pretty decent starting point for most people.

As others have mentioned, formulas don't work worth ****. Everyone isn't the same, metabolisms very greatly. My brother could eat 4000 a day and not gain weight and he's a little twerpy twig man. I would gain at 4000 a day and I'm half a foot taller, carry more LBM then he does total body mass and weigh almost 100 pounds more. Track to find your maintaince, it can't be calculated.

The key to losing weight is in the diet. Your macros (breakdown of fats/proteins/carbs in your total calories) have to be in a ball park and lifting weights helps out greatly.

07-22-2007, 08:10 PM
Sounds pretty good. I've decided to cut my carbs back a ton. All of my carbs will come from vegetables and some fruits. As for bread, pancakes, etc. All of that is now gone.

I get very tired when I eat bread, never knew why. However, this weekend I may have found out why. I always thought it was just lazy and standard fatigue; anyway, I was up and my parents talking to my dad and he was talking about all the allergies my grandmother has to wheat products, he went on to tell me that he has developed them as well. Hell, who knows, maybe that's the reason. I have cut out bread for the last three days or so and feel great, must be something related to their conditions.

As for my bodyfat at 180, I'm not sure what it would be then. I got that reading from this Tanita scale I have, it measures weight, body fat, and total hydration. It's probably pretty flaky. I have some calipers, does anyone have a link on where to take the readings at? The book that came with it gave me one location that puts me at 17%, however, the scale still tells me 22 or so.


07-22-2007, 10:10 PM
Another thing, I already knew about the 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. However, people never talk much about carbs and fat amount. How do you come to figure how much you need?

I've noticed I fair very well with maintenance at around 3,000 calories a day. I try to eat 1-1.5 grams of protein a day. That puts me at about 720 calories to 1080 calories.

If I eat 50 to 100 grams of carbs, that puts me from 200 to 400 calories a day.

Now, as you where saying, if I eat 60 grams of good fats, that puts me at 540 calories.

So, if I add up going from the highest quantities of each along with the 60 grams of fat, that puts me at about 2,020 calories for my day. Where would I get the extra calories? If I at 1.5 Protein, 100 Carbs, I'd have to eat about 168 grams of fat to make up the 3,000 I'd need. Isn't that way too much fat still? I've read Built's "Mmmmm Fat" article, but I didn't see anywhere to figure out how much fat you actually need.

The think is, I'm at 210 right now, the Tanita scale says 22% body fat, my one location calipers says 17%. However, neither of these do me any good. I am working out pretty intense at the gym every day Mon-Fri for 45 minutes, rest Sat-Sun. This is a five day split program. I'm making very good progress on it, my arms are bigger, shoulders, legs, etc. However, I can see my upper and lower abs (somewhat) middle is totally covered by a small layer of fat I cannot get rid of. That's my goal is to see my abs (finally).

My whole problem is getting this meal plan structured. I have not problem spending money on food. In fact, I just got back from the grocery store not too long ago and my freezer is packed with chicken, steak, and turkey. My cupboard is packed with tuna fish, and my fridge full of fresh veggies. But, what good does this all do me if I stay exactly where I have been for quiet a while now? None.

So, I'm just wondering is how you figure out how to calculate all of this. I read a lot of people figuring their macronutrients down to the calorie, but I have no idea where to start. How do you figure out what your body needs? How much fat? How many carbs? Protein, everyone talks about that. It's the only one that makes sense to me.

Overall, I just feel like I'm falling short in the construction of meal plans now. Well, a long (an most likely repetitive) article on how lost I am. Hope I didn't bore too many of you. :)


Mr. D
07-22-2007, 11:20 PM
Fat is 0.5g/lbm or 0.45g/bw(if you dont know your bodyweight).

I would up the fats considerably from 60g. I recommend at least 100.

And honestly you really dont have to cut carbs that much to lose weight. Its just a matter of preference. After you hit your protein and fat minimums, a calorie is a calorie.

But if you choose to press on with that plan, aim for 250g protein, 100g carbs (primarily from vegetables), and yes 177g of fat on non-WO days.On WO days, raise the carbs (around the WO window) and lower the fats. See how your body responds to that for a couple of weeks.

You could also look into buying Lyle McDonalds Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, which is a low carb/low cal (PSMF) diet with scheduled refeeds.

07-23-2007, 09:01 AM
Thanks for all the replies, this has helped a ton!
I'll try to update this thread a bit later to let you guys know how it's going.