A personal diet plan to help you get on track
When it comes to losing body fat, the basic rules are simple: you have to expend more energy than you consume. But putting this into practice isn’t necessarily so simple, unless you have a diet plan tailored to your specific needs. Here we show you how to devise a personal diet plan that will take a way all the worry.
For successful weight loss, the American College of Sports Medicine recommend athletes reduce their calorie intake by approximately 10–20%. This modest calorie drop should produce a weight loss in the region of 0.5 kg per week and avoid the metabolic slowdown that’s associated with more severe calorie reductions.
You can achieve this by cutting fat and, only if necessary, carbohydrate intake by around 10 – 20%. Reducing your carbohydrate consumption further could result in a loss of strength and endurance. Aim to get 20–25% of total calories from fat and 1.2–1.7 g protein / kg body weight daily
How to calculate your calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat requirements
To help guide you through, calculations are shown for a female weighing 60 kg and 168cm tall.
Estimate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) (see box: what is the BMR?)
BMR = 665 + (9.6 x W) + (1.8 x H) – (4.7 x Age) = Daily calorie needs
W = Weight in kg
H = Height in cm
Age = Years
665 + (9.6 x 60) + (1.8 x 168) – (4.7 x 30) 665 + 576 + 302 – 141 = 1402 kcal per day
Multiply your BMR by your physical activity level (PAL)
Your physical activity level is the ratio of your overall daily energy expenditure to your BMR a rough measure of your lifestyle activity.
Daily calorie needs = BMR x PAL
So, the daily energy needs for an active 60kg female would be… 1402 x 1.7 = 2383 kcal
This figure gives you an idea of your daily calorie requirement to maintain your weight. If you eat fewer calories, you will lose weight; if you eat more you will gain weight.
To lose weight: reduce your calorie intake by 15%
To do this, multiply your maintenance calories, as calculated in step 2, by 0.85 (85%).
Example: New total daily calorie intake = 2383 x 85% = 2026 kcal
How to calculate your carbohydrate needs
In a 24-hour period during low or moderate intensity training days you should aim to consume 5-7g carbohydrate/kg of body weight. During moderate to heavy endurance training 7-10g/kg is recommended. However, as your calorie needs decrease by 15%, so should your usual carbohydrate intake.
So, for the 60kg female athlete doing lowmoderate intensity training: Maintenance carbohydrate intake = (60 x 5) to (60 x 7) = 300g to 420g
Carbohydrate intake for weight loss = (85% x 300g) to (85% x 420g) = 255 to 357g
What is the basal metabolic rate (BMR)?
Your BMR is the number of calories you burn at rest to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, to maintain your body temperature, etc. It accounts for 60 – 75% of daily calorie expenditure. Generally, women have a lower BMR than men, due to their smaller body mass.Is there a minimum level of calorie consumption to stay healthy? Overly restricting your calorie consumption may lead to a drop in your performance as well as serious health problems, particularly for women.
According to researchers at Ohio University, US, levels of female sex hormones fall and menstruation may become irregular or stop altogether (amenorrhoea). Studies with female athletes have shown that when calorie intake drops below a threshold of 30 kcal per kg of lean body weight per day, bone health is affected. There is increased bone loss, stress fractures and in younger athletes, failure to achieve their peak bone mass.
Avoid any weight loss methods that promise quick results – you are unlikely to get enough calories or carbohydrate to support intense training and you may end up losing lean tissue as well as fat. Low carbohydrate diets will leave you with depleted muscle glycogen (a form of energy producing carbohydrate) stores, which results in lethargy and poor performance.
How to calculate your protein needs
Endurance athletes require between 1.2 and 1.4 g protein/kg body weight/day. That’s 72 – 84g daily for a 60 kg woman. Strength athletes require 1.4 – 1.7 g/kg body weight/ day, or 84 – 102 g daily.
How to calculate your fat needs
You should aim to achieve a fat intake between 20 and 25% of your daily calorie consumption. Multiply your calorie intake by 20 or 25% and then divide by 9. (That’s because there are 9kcal in 1 g of fat). So, for a female athlete consuming 2026 calories daily: Fat intake = (2026 x 20%) divided by 9 = 45g Fat intake = (2026 x 25%) divided by 9 = 56g i.e. between 45g and 56g fat a day.
Menu providing approximately 2000 calories
Porridge made with 60g oats, 300ml skimmed milk, and 2 tablespoons (40g) raisins
A serving (about 100g) of fresh fruit
Wholemeal roll filled with tuna (50g), mayonnaise (1 tablespoon) and cucumber Two pots (2 x 150g) fruit yoghurt A serving (about 100g) of fresh fruit
Pre-training snack (or afternoon snack)
A small handful (25g) of cashew nuts
500ml fruit juice mixed with 500 ml water
Chicken and vegetable stir-fry (see below) Boiled rice (60g uncooked weight)
1983 kcal 102g protein 48g fat (10g saturates) 305g carbohydrate
Chicken and vegetable stir fry
Makes 4 servings
1 large onion 2 large carrots 150g baby corn 150g mange tout 4 skinless boneless chicken breast fillets 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tsp curry powder 120 ml chicken stock or water 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion. Peel and cut the carrots in half lengthways then cut into thin slices. Halve the baby corn and mange tout.
2 Cut chicken breasts into thin strips.
3 Heat a wok or frying pan over a high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken and curry powder and stir-fry for 2-3min, until the chicken is cooked through.
4 Add the onion and carrot and stir-fry for 2min more. Then add the corn and mange tout and stir-fry for a further 2min.
5 Add the stock and tomato ketchup and simmer for 1-2min. Serve at once with cooked rice or noodles.
Nutrition (per serving):
10g fat (2.0g saturates)