My Formula For Getting Lean:
To be “ripped”, you first need high muscle mass. So work hard and often in the gym to inflate those muscles.
Second, you need to figure out your BMR (basal metabolic rate). These will be the number of calories you need to maintain your weight.
I prefer the Katch-McArdle Formula for BMR:
where LBM is lean body mass in kg.
So to give you a rough estimate, my lean body mass is about 141 lbs (~64 kg) so my BMR is roughly 1750 calories.
Using a free online program like FitDay.com (or if you’re lucky to own an iPhone, Tap & Track Calories) I can tally up the foods I eat in a day to equal ~1700 calories.
This would maintain my current weight.
To lose fat, I’d need less than this amount.
Start with a conservative deficit. I aim for a 500 calorie deficit, which enables me to still eat 1200 calories a day. With this method I lose an average of 2 pounds per week.
Keep in mind you may lose more weight than this in the beginning, but not all of it is fat mass (a lot of it is water).
*I don’t factor in exercise because I consider it a “bonus”. Also, if you are very sedentary one day, then your BMR will make up all of your calorie requirements. And exercise burns fewer calories than we think. So consider exercise like icing on a cake (but count calories if you’re eating cake).
*I also assume the food I’m eating has more calories than what’s listed. There’s so much variability and estimates especially when it comes to organic food that it’s smart to overestimate the amount of calories in one serving. For example, if I’m having an apple, I will just look up one “large apple”. That way it totals as a higher calorie amount, rather than lower. This is also important because overripe fruit has more calories than under-ripe fruit.
*I weigh my foods on a digital food scale, especially produce. This is the most accurate tool you can use, and it works well.