How to Reach Your Goals: Weight gain vs. Fat loss vs. Maintenance
Hi my loves! Welcome back to the Booty Blog.
This blog is for you. I am basing the topics of this blog based off of the questions I get on my social media, from clients and by YOU! So make sure to comment or write in with fitness/life/motivation questions you would like me to write about via social media (all platforms @kalinatesa) or email at email@example.com.
Today, as requested by you guys on Instagram, I am going to write about the difference in the training methods and calorie allowances to accomplish different goals!
Calories in vs. out is always the main focus of goal specific training and nutrition. This simply means how many calories you take in should be more, less or equal to what you put out depending on what goal you’re trying to reach.
That being said, the vast majority of people are so focused on “calories in” meaning how much they eat but don’t recognize the areas they can change in their “calories out” aka their training intensity and activity level to help control that ratio. SO, we will go over some of those training strategies below.
So let’s talk.
How to maintain your weight?
Getting to a maintenance stage is exciting because you officially don’t have to try so hard all the time! Even though this is exciting it still takes work and consciousness to recognize what you are doing in and out of the gym. Maintenance means to maintain your current body composition. When it comes to how you should be training in the gym my advice is to maintain whatever training style, or a similar one that you use to get to your current body composition. What does that mean?
For example, if you suddenly switch from normal weight training to cross-fit you will most likely see changes in your body due to switching up the types of muscles and intensity being recruited, which you will see below is a method to stimulate fat loss/muscle gain. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you need to be stuck doing the same thing forever just avoid drastic change in style/weight/intensity because those are the number one methods to challenge and change your body to accomplish body change goals!
All of that being said, calories in vs. out is still very important even in a maintenance stage. When you’re looking to maintain you still need to have some focus on how you’re fueling your body. If you change your activity level to LESS activity when looking to maintain you will have to eat differently depending on what goal you’re coming out of, same thing if you increase your activity and are looking to maintain your body as is.
Let’s use me as an example. My maintenance calories on my current “Bikini Booty Build” challenge are 1959 calories. On this plan we train 4/5 days a week. If I were looking to lose 1 pound of fat every week I would deficit myself 500 calories, meaning I would be eating 1459 calories at this specific activity level at my current weight. Let’s say 5 weeks pass and I lose the 5lbs and I am happy. I loved the challenge and will be continuing on with the same workout plan for another 5 weeks, however this time I am looking to maintain. To accomplish this I will need to recalculate my new maintenance calories based off of my new weight and the same workout schedule. With my new stats, my new maintenance calories would be 1926 calories rather than 1959 calories. If instead of staying with the 4/5 day a week plan I decided to work out twice a week during maintenance I would calculate my new calories for that activity level with my new weight stats which come up to 1580 calories. My calories are lower because I need less to support my weight and composition at that lower activity level. 1959 calories to 1580 calories is basically an entire small meal! This is why being conscious of your activity level is so important, it’s very easy to accidentally eat too much or too little if you don’t think of all of the factors!
Now, let’s look at the opposite scenario. If my maintenance is 1959 calories and I was bulking during the challenge with a goal to gain 1lb per week I would surplus myself 500 calories per day. This means I would be eating 2459 calories daily during the challenge to gain 5lbs by the end of the 5 weeks. If at the end of the challenge I am happy with my weight gain but want to continue the challenge for another 5 weeks while maintain my current new weight, I would need to calculate my maintenance calories to support the extra 5lbs my body is holding. This would come to 1992 calories rather than 1959 calories which would’ve been required to maintain my weight prior to gaining 5lbs. If I wanted to maintain my weight but decided to train 2 days a week rather than 5 I would only need to eat 1629 calories to support that new 5 lbs. If I didn’t recalculate I would still be in a surplus of over 300 calories per day and if I continued eating as I was during the bulk at this new activity level I would be in a 800 calorie surplus which means I would continue to drastically gain.
So, to sum up maintenance nutrition, the main thing to consider when looking to maintain is to decide what activity level you will be maintaining during that stage and make adjustments to old numbers as your weight changes. To do this you must eat in maintenance calories that are based off of your activity level NOT your BMR maintenance calories.
How to lose fat?
Fat loss goals are great because your training style doesn’t need to change too much to see a change in your fat composition! Fat loss is entirely dependent on calories in vs. out. When it comes to changing your training style for a fat loss goal we focus on changing INTENSITY to affect the "calories out" part of the ratio not necessarily what you’re specifically doing i.e. you’re not going to stop squatting for example because you’re looking to lose fat. Manipulating your training style and intensity may help you avoid needing to change the amount you’re eating as drastically as you may think you need to, to reach your goal. Let me explain.
Why is intensity important for fat loss? Like I said above, calories in vs out is what you need to be conscious of when trying to reach a fat loss goal. Everyone is always so focused on calories IN but entirely forget the second part of the equation: CALORIES OUT! And there’s no better way to use up calories than to increase your training intensity!
Manipulate your training intensity rather than limiting your "calories in", aka how much you're eating, too drastically! What most people forget about is that as you limit your "calories in" you are ALSO limiting your nutrition. You shouldn’t be starving yourself of proper nutrition to reach your fat loss goal, you should be converting your calories into energy and using it rather than sitting on it.
So, let’s go through some of the best ways to increase your training intensity!
- More training days- the more days you are training to full intensity the more calories you will burn weekly! Adding extra days to your training is the easiest way to increase your weekly deficit without changing your calories in too much.
- Supersets- supersets are when you have no rest between two different exercises! This increases the intensity by keeping your heart rate higher for longer!
- Shorter rest times- when you decrease the time you rest between sets and exercises, you will keep your heart rate higher than when you rest for longer. When you’re looking to lose fat rest for between 30s-45s and try not to let your heart rate completely drop.
- More cardio/circuit training- cardio in itself isn’t a fat specific burner. Since cardio helps burn additional calories in addition to your weight training it is strategic to add it in to help burn more calories and in turn increase your deficit! Circuit and HIIT training are my favorite fat loss training methods because they include low rest times and keep your heart rate up the entire time due to the very short rest times.
- Higher reps- when you do higher reps you get out of the “muscle building” stages and into “endurance” muscle stages. This helps you burn more calories by increasing the time of your working sets. Doing 6 reps versus 15 reps at the same tempo is going to take very different working times to complete which will help you keep your heart rate up longer which will burn more calories.
- Lift heavier- the heavier you lift the more calories you are burning to fuel your muscles through the movement. A mix between endurance rep ranges and strength rep ranges is very beneficial. I personally plan strength rep ranges in a drop set (next tip) for fat loss clients.
- Dropsets- dropsets are sets where you start with one weight and then slowly fatigue your muscles by dropping the weight and continuing reps without much rest! Like I said above, for a drop set I usually start with a heavy strength weight for 5-8 reps and then drop the weight for another 10-15 reps! This helps you challenge yourself to lift heavy but still keep the overall rep range within endurance ranges.
- More compound exercises, less isolation exercises- compound exercises help you burn more calories by utilizing a compound of muscles working, meaning the same exercise works multiple muscles at the same time. For example a squat is a compound exercise because it works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and back at once. Isolation exercises for example Quad extensions focus on only your quads. Isolation exercises are any exercise that only focuses on 1-2 muscles at a time. Since less muscles are working less calories are being burned.
In my fat loss plans I always plan more training days than I do in my weight gain plans. They have less rest times usually between 30s-45s, 1 min max and they almost always consist of methods like dropsets/supersets, added cardio/circuit training and higher reps than my weight gain plans! This helps me know I am increasing your deficit even if I am not necessarily changing your "calories in". With generalized plans like mine that intensity is essential to plan for you guys. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to eat less than you currently are to see results, it means that from a ratio control stance, my fat loss plans focus on increasing intensity in the “calories out” department. They do come with lots of recipes and tips as well to help you plan your eating deficit.
If you are planning your own workout plan based off of the information you learn today make sure to try each of those tips and see which ones work best for you!
My Client's 3 month transformation
How to gain weight?
Weight/Muscle gain goals are my favorite because this goal has pretty much been my focus for years. This goal also requires focus on the amount of calories taken in vs. out but also relies on pretty specific rep ranges!
Weight gain goals are very similar to fat loss goals in that intensity is very important, but in different ways. For gaining muscle, your muscles must always be facing new challenge physically and you must be eating more than enough calories to support that activity level, meaning you must be in a surplus.
Like the fat loss goal, you can increase your surplus in ways other than eating too much more. Ways you can increase your surplus in the “calories out” department are as follows:
- Have more rest days- when trying to gain you don’t need to train as often! The more rest days you have the less calories you will burn weekly. This will help you gain.
- Have longer rest times between sets and exercises- the opposite of fat gain, this will help bring your heart rate down between sets which will lower the intensity of the workout and allow you to hold on to some calories.
- Lower your rep ranges- not only does this lower intensity, it is also necessary at a muscular level to appropriately rip and challenge your muscles as much as they need to be challenged to grow. Keeping reps between 6-12 reps is where you should aim at for muscle growth. That doesn’t mean to go through 6-12 reps easily, you should be struggling to complete the last rep in each working set to successfully rip your muscles by focusing on your load intensity!
- Shift your intensity focus to your load rather than your heart rate- this means that even though you’re decreasing intensity of the workout by lowering rest times and doing less reps, you should still be having an intense workout. As mentioned above, by challenging your muscles close to failure with the load you use in your sets, you should still be challenged and working hard by the end of them.
- Include isolation exercises in your training- isolation exercises don’t only help shape and target specific muscles but they also take less calories to complete since they are using less muscles than compound exercises do. This doesn’t mean not to do compound exercises… if you want to gain you should 100% do compound exercises because they allow you to lift heavy, have a good balance of both!
In my weight gain plans I focus on lowering rep ranges to the appropriate range, increasing rest times and generally plan workouts for less days of the week! I also cue for weighted load increases throughout workouts and over the plan. Like I said above for the fat loss plans, due to the fact that I don’t plan your individual calories for you, I plan the weight gain plan generally less intense in regards to frequency, rest times, reps etc. to try to help surplus you without necessarily changing your calories for you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat more than you’re used to! You 100% need to eat more if you’re looking to gain, some of these changes can just help you not need to increase your calories TOO much more than your used to, I know that’s hard for some.
My 5 year transformation
I hope this post helps you guys learn some of the ways you can change your diet and training to help reach your goal!
TAKE AWAY POINTS:
- No matter the goal, calories in vs. calories out is always what your program should be based around.
- Eating differently isn’t the ONLY way to surplus/deficit yourself, you can do so by altering parts of your training plan and activity level as well.
- You can deficit yourself for fat loss goals by eating less and/or increasing your training intensity
- You can surplus yourself for weight gain goals by eating more and/or decreasing PARTS of your training intensity.
- For weight gain goals, shift your intensity focus to load (weight) intensity vs. fat loss where you focus on cardio intensity (heart rate).
- Maintenance calories are important to know and follow!
SEE YOU NEXT TIME! Don’t forget to check out my workout plans and start working with me today on your goal specific training! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and requests for future topics!