Calorie Deficit Vs Calorie Surplus
When dieting or wanting to lose fat your body requires you to be in a caloric deficit so that it uses stored energy (fat) for fuel. This causes your body to break down your fat tissue and use that energy resulting in a loss of fat.
When you’re looking to build muscle the opposite is true, it requires you to eat in a caloric surplus to that your body has the nutrients it requires to repair the damaged tissue from training and build muscle.
Unfortunately, taking an extreme approach to either of these goals has its down sides. If you’re looking to lose fat and you dump your calories extremely low, there is a high chance that you won’t be able to adhere to your diet and you’ll binge. The cravings will become strong as your body is desperate for energy and you won’t be able to stay in the deficit.
Eating more doesn’t mean you will build more muscle either. Generally, if everything is going well (training hard, eating enough protein, resting properly) you will be looking to gain just under 1kg of lean tissue a month. As your body adapts to your training stimulus and you become more proficient in the gym this will slow down. There are always exceptions to this rule, new lifters and enhanced lifters will build more muscle faster but their gains will begin to slow down at some point.
This means that if your surplus is too high you will be storing that extra energy as fat. The goal is to grow as much lean tissue (muscle) as you can while minimising your fat storage. Otherwise, after your gaining phase you will have to do a really long dieting phase to lose the extra fat, which isn’t fun.
Once you have calculated your maintenance calories (Basal Metabolic Rate + Physical Activity Level) you will know how many calories your body needs just to maintain the muscle & fat you already have and not lose or gain any weight. This means you need to adjust your calories to suit your goals (fat loss or muscle gain).
We like to start either way with a conservative number, around 250-300 cals (depending on the individual) and adjust each week as necessary. This gives you a chance to see any changes in the body without gaining too much fat or losing any muscle in the process.
If you would like to calculate your macros and maintenance levels head to www.regencoaching.com.au to download our FREE macros calculator or flick us msg and we’ll send you a link!