Whether programming nutrition for muscle gain or fat loss, the client’s goal must be at the center of the planning process.
For example, if the client desires fat loss, how much weight do they want to lose? How fast do they want to lose fat?
As a general rule, for fat loss, we will be working with a caloric deficit. For muscle gain, we will be working with a caloric surplus.
We begin by calculating the daily requirement in calories by determining the client’s total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or maintenance calories.
A baseline DEXA scan is used to calculate lean body mass and fat mass. Then, using the Muller equation, we calculate the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
We use, activity level, and weight to adjust their true TDEE as a starting point. Because metabolisms vary between individuals, we must fine-tune the diet by tracking the changes.
After we know the daily calories, we factor in the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fats). We generally recommend protein at 1.6 g per kilogram of body weight per day.
We then fill in the remaining calories with carbohydrates and fats. Another general rule, for clients with a high energy demand, we recommend more carbs than fats. For folks that prefer the keto diet, we recommend more fats than carbs. There are many ways to design a diet.
The key to success is flexibility, adaptability, and holding the client accountable for their results in a firm but friendly manner.