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Effective fat loss guidelines – Chapter 1: Nutrition

Summer is now around the corner and one common theme that comes up during this time of the year is the desire for the ‘beach body’. Here are some honest and evidence-based guidelines that will help you on your way to burning fat away whilst maintaining lean muscle mass that will give you the look and shape you want your body to have.


First things first, any successful fat loss diet has some form of caloric restriction. A good place to start is multiplying your bodyweight in kgs by 26. This will be your caloric goal to begin with.


Ingesting 2g p/kg of bodyweight will help you on your fat loss journey in many fronts. Firstly it will promote the maintenance of lean muscle, which is crucial in supporting a healthy metabolism allowing one to diet down on more calories. Secondly, studies have demonstrated protein to be the most satiating (filling) of all three macronutrients, making it easier to adhere to the plan.


Prolonged caloric restriction can begin to interfere with these basic bodily functions such as forming cell membranes, assisting in hormonal production and transporting vitamins in our bodies. It is therefore imperative that an intake of healthy fats from olive oils, nuts, fish, avocado is achieved. Just to be safe, shoot for 1g of fat p/kg of bodyweight.


Let’s take an 80kg individual. 80 x 26 = 2080 kcal, 1g = 4 kcal. 80 x 2 = 160g of protein. 160 x 4 = 640 kcal, 1g fat = 9 kcal. 80 x 1 = 80g of fat. 80 x 9 = 720 kcal, 720 + 640 = 1,360 kcal

One minimum protein and fat (160g and 80g, respectively, for said individual) intake has been achieved there are 1,360 kcal. Published meta-analysis has shown that so long as one achieves a caloric deficit and has adequate protein and fat intake, the rest doesn’t seem to matter too much. Adherence has been shown to be much more important for success, so focus on ensuring priorities 1, 2 and 3 are satisfied –the rest is a matter of preference. For those who really want to take it that step further, bias your intake towards healthy fats on less active days and on your really active days include some carbohydrates around your workouts whilst bearing in mind 1g of carbohydrate equates to 4 kcal.

Next up in chapter 2 we will address training for fat loss.

By Will McLintock & Tiago Ribeiro, personal trainers at Matt Roberts Hampstead

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