Nutrition for Fat Loss and Muscle Growth
Losing fat while gaining muscle can be tricky, and many people will get their best results alternating between periods explicitly devoted towards losing fat and periods devoted to gaining muscle. That said, it is certainly possible, and if you are 1) new to resistance training, or 2) coming back to resistance training after a prolonged lay-off, or 3) obese - it may be very achievable (although if you are obese, you might wish to start with fat loss as your goal).
The overall objectives of this goal are improvements in body composition, and improvements in nutrient partitioning. I.e. total body weight may remain the same, but calories need to be better distributed to lean tissues vs. fat. To that end, we recommend maintenance levels of calories with relatively high levels of protein. Fats are set at a level to support favorable endocrine functioning, and carbohydrates at a level to effectively replenish muscle glycogen and thereby support resistance training.
It should go without saying, but resistance training will be an absolutely critical component in shifting body composition. Neither resistance training or proper nutrition are likely to yield large dividends without the presence of the other.
Calories: to calculate your necessary daily caloric intake we use the Mifflin St. Jeour equation to determine basal metabolic rate (generally more accurate than the Harris-Benedict formula) , in conjunction with your baseline activity levels and the explicit workouts you log on BodBot.
As far as expected rate of progress, this will depend heavily on lifting experience (novices will typically gain more quickly), age, and other factors. To temper expectations, 1lb of muscle gained every two weeks would be an excellent rate of progress (which would be well over 20lbs of muscle in a single year).
Protein: beyond a baseline level of protein, age and activity level can also increase the demand for dietary protein. Protein ranges between 1.4-2.0g/kg appear to provide a sufficient quantity for training adaptation – and BodBot errs on the high side in your recommendation (2.0g/kg). Note, however, that while higher levels of dietary protein are unlikely to provide additional benefits in terms of muscular hypertrophy , assuming you have healthy kidneys they will not do you any harm .
Fats play a critical role in the body’s endocrine system, and higher fat diets have been shown to help favorably regulate circulating sex hormones – e.g. testosterone in men . For these reasons, dietary fat is recommended in a range of 20-35% of daily calories .
Carbohydrate: carbohydrates play a critical role in the replenishment of muscle glycogen (as well as liver glycogen), and are the primary fuel source for high intensity activities like lifting weights or sprinting . Your optimal carbohydrate intake will depend on the type and quantity of your physical activity, and BodBot will adjust this daily based on your glycogen expenditure. Note that as long as protein and fat have been accomodated, and the composition of the carbohydrates is of a high quality (read: not refined sugars) a relatively wide range of intake is permissible.
Additional nutrients are provided as reference points, however a few nutrients are of additional interest:
Magnesium is critically important to the functioning of mitochondria, and the majority of people in the US are deficient in it. To learn more, click here.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: while the effects are likely marginal, omega-3 fatty acids appear to aid in the preservation of lean body mass in older individuals and populations recovering from trauma, and they may even have body composition benefits in healthy and young adults .