Beach Season is Almost Here!

Now that winter and spring have come and gone, it’s time to begin switching gears to get your body ready for beach season. For most of us, now is the time to start focusing on achieving fat loss. There is a ton of information out there to help assist you with your fat loss goals. Some of it is helpful and some of it is not so helpful. My goal with this blog post is to give you the tools to be able to create an easy to follow, sustainable, and healthy fat loss diet. In this blog, I will teach you how to properly set up your calories and macronutrients to make sure you are successful with your fat loss goals.

Step 1: Calculate your calorie needs for fat loss

When looking at the priorities of fat loss, the number one priority will always be setting an appropriate calorie deficit. The simplest way to calculate a calorie deficit (credit to Alan Aragon and his excellent TEE equation) would be to first calculate your daily total energy expenditure. In order to do this, take your desired body weight in pounds then multiply it by 8-10 for women on 9-11 for men + your weekly training hours. I know what you’re wondering, “what does the 8-10 and the 9-11 mean?” These numbers refer to the intensity of your exercise.

For females:

8: Low intensity training

9: Moderately intense training

10: High intensity training

For males:

9: Low intensity training

10: Moderately intense training

11: High intensity training:

Once you have calculated your daily caloric expenditure, subtract 300-500 calories from that and you have your calorie deficit.

Here are a few examples:


Goal weight of 115 lbs

Trains moderate intensity (weight training, jogging) for a total of 4 hours per week

Daily energy expenditure: 115 x (10 + 4)= 1,610 calories per day

Calorie deficit: 1,610 – 300 = 1,310 calories per day


Goal weight of 185 lbs

Trains at moderate intensity for a total of 5 hours per week

Daily energy expenditure: 185 x (10 +5)= 2,775 calories per day

Calorie deficit: 2,775 – 300= 2,475 calorie per day

A few notes before we move on to the next step. First off, be honest with yourself. Do not exaggerate your intensity level of exercise just to be able to eat more. This will more than likely lead to slow to non existent fat loss. Secondly, I do not recommend dropping lower than 1,200 calories unless absolutely necessary. In my experiences, dropping below 1,200 calories will lead to a higher rate of failure from a long term standpoint. Attempting to sustain a calorie deficit this low is not only challenging from a physiological standpoint, but also a psychological standpoint. Lastly, these numbers are just estimations. Once you calculate your needs, be sure to track your weight and food intake for 1-2 weeks to see if you are trending in the right direction. If you are not losing, simply subtract another 10% from your daily calorie needs.

Step 2: Calculate protein needs

Now that you have a proper calorie deficit in place, the next step is to calculate your protein needs. Protein is one of the most favorable macronutrients when attempting a fat loss diet. Not only does protein assist with satiety (sense of fullness), it also assists with the retention of lean mass (that’s a good thing). In order to calculate protein needs, I suggest taking your desired weight in pounds and then multiplying it by 0.8-1.0 grams. Using the example above, a 115 lb female would need around 90-115 grams per day and a 180 lb male would need around 150-180 grams of protein per day.

Step 3: Calculate fat needs

After you calculate your protein needs, the next step would be to calculate your dietary fat needs. In order to calculate you dietary fat needs, simply multiply your desired weight in pounds by 0.4-0.7. This is subjective. Some people like to have higher fat diets while others prefer higher carbohydrate diets. I typically recommend going on the lower side of that range on training days and then going on the higher side on off days but that’s not crucial. For instance, on training days a 115 lb female would need around 45-50 grams of fat and then on off days would need around 80 grams of fat per day. For males, a 185 lb male would need around 75 grams of fat on training days and 120-125 grams of fat on off days.

Step 4: Calculate carbohydrate needs

The last step is saved for your carbohydrate needs. In order to calculate your carbohydrate needs, take your protein needs and calculate it by 4. That gives you the amount of calories you get per day from protein. For instance, a 115 lb female would get 360-460 calories per day from protein and a 185 lb male would get 600-720 calories per day from protein. Next, take your dietary fat needs and multiply that by 9. A 115 lb female would get 405-720 calories per day from fat while a 185 lb male would get 675-1,125 calories per day from fat. Once you have these two numbers, simply add the two and subtract from your calorie needs and that leaves you with how many calories in carbohydrates you need.

115 lb female:

405 + 360 =765 calories

1,310-765= 545 calories left

185 lb male: 

600 + 675=1,275 calories

2,475- 1,275 = 1,200 calories left

Once you figure out how many calories you have left, divide that number by 4 and you have how many grams of carbohydrate you need.

115 lb female:

545/4= 136 g of carbohydrates

185 lb male:

1,200/4= 300 g of carbohydrates

Wrapping it all up

There you have it, an easy way to set up your calorie and macronutrient needs for your fat loss goals. As you can see, you do not need to dip down as much as what people think. Remember, fat loss is a marathon not a race. Make sure you approach your fat loss goals in a sustainable manner to ensure long term success. For a more personalized nutrition plan, feel free to contact us today!



Written by: Jesus Hernandez RDN, LD

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