1) Establish your daily needs
Ė how much protein, carbohydrate and fat are necessary?
Iím assuming most of you reading this have established your daily requirement for protein/fat/carbohydrate, and that having experimented for a while, you know how you respond to each.
Anyone that hasnít worked out what they should be eating should pick a goal, 200lbs at 10% bodyfat, for example. Work out the maintenance calories required for that goal, regardless of whether you need to gain or lose to reach it, i.e., work out what a 200lbs and 10% bodyfat version of you would need to eat to stay at that weight and condition.
So for anyone thinking of calculating that, there are a few equations that require you to just plug in the numbers, and you can find them on-line.
Be sure to use formulae that use not just your resting metabolic rate but also thermogenesis through exercise and non-exercise related activity as well!
Remember that all of these equations are based on an assumption that you are Ďaverageí, so you may need to adjust the figure after a couple of weeks. If you need to put on weight to reach your goal and youíre not, increase the calories by 250kcal and monitor for two weeks. Similarly, reduce by 250kcal if you need to lose weight and youíre not progressing by following your initial assumption.