The number of calories you should be eating on a daily basis is entirely based on your goal weight, in other words, if you currently weigh 70kg, and your goal is to weigh 60kg, you need to consume the number of calories your body would need to maintain your weight at 60kg.
To lose fat, you need to create a caloric deficit. Meaning, you need to be BELOW your calorie maintenance level so that you end up burning more calories than you consume. When that happens, your stored body fat will be burned for energy instead. In other words, by eating the ideal number of calories for your goal weight (which will be less than your current weight), you will create a calorie deficit.
To maintain your current weight, you need to be AT your calorie maintenance level so that you’re consuming and burning the same number of calories. When your primary goal was to lose weight, and you have been consuming the right number of calories daily for your goal weight, once you reach your goal weight, you will stop losing weight, as you will now be at your maintenance level.
To build muscle, you need to create a caloric surplus. Meaning, you need to be ABOVE your calorie maintenance level so that you’re consuming more calories than you burn. When that happens, your body will have the extra calories it needs to create new muscle tissue. To create the ideal calorie surplus for muscle gains without gaining fat, your goal weight must be higher than your current weight, ideally 5kg for women and 10kg for men.
If you set your primary goal on gaining muscle before losing your excess body fat, your muscle will grow in size underneath a layer of fat, making you look even fatter. For this reason, the right approach is to first trim away all excess fat before you shift your goal towards muscle gains.
To ensure that you primarily loose fat and NOT your precious muscle, it is important to achieve the correct macronutrient balance. More on the importance of a healthy balance between protein, fats and carbohydrates (macronutrients) in my next post…