Ask a PT & Nutritionist Anything


I cant thank you enough, this makes perfect sense.

I have asked all sorts of people this question including other PT’s, my GP and a dietition

No one wants to commit to an answer or give an answer that makes sense, they have always contradicted each other!!!

On this basis I will aim for 2100 calories and continue with my cycling and circuit training.

Initially I will cycle 3 times a week for the next fornight and see where that takes me, then I will start adding circuits in.

Thanks again



awomse, sound like a plan… test it out an adjust accordingly.

Yep, it’s unfortunate that most PT’s & people in the fitness & diet industry either:

  1. don’t actually know what they’re doing,

or 2. will flat out lie to you to make it seem so confusing that you have to pay them to perform their ‘miracle’ solution.

I prefer to liberate people, and put them in a position to be able to coach themselves.

GP’s don’t know anything about basic training & nutrition btw


Just did my TDEE - based upon my stats, a sedentary lifestyle and exercising ‘moderatley’ (described as pushing hard and breathing hard) for an hour 3 times per week it says I have a TDEE of 2319.

confused again :frowning:


What resource did you use?

My TDEE at 5’6, 160lbs and 10% bodyfat is 2300 (also sedentry during the day)


Hi @maxnas. By using your formula, I weigh 207lbs x 14= 2898…rounded to 2900 calories for maintenance. Sounds like maybe I should be consuming 2200-2400 calories/day. It appears that I’ve made the mistake of starting out too low at 1600. myfitnesspal gave me that number when I was at 220. I’ve been consuming 1600 since middle of January.
Exactly as you describe, I lost weight nicely for the first month and a half or so and then plateaued. I’ve been around the same weight for six weeks. What would you suggest I do to fix this? Try increasing my calories?



I used


ok cool, so I’ve just plugged your stats into a few different calculators and they’re ranging between 2500-2800 (the IFFYM one came out much lower than the rest).

this just goes to show that there’s no perfect calculation to find your accurate TDEE, it’s just a case of picking a starting point & testing it out.

Here’s Eric Helm’s tools for calculating a starting point (Eric Helms is one of the top tier sports nutrition scientists on the planet)

Bodyweight in lbs x10

Then use the below activity multiplier

Sedentary Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.3 – 1.6
Lightly Active Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.5 – 1.8
Active Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.7 – 2.0
Very Active Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.9 – 2.2

so if I was coaching you & the various calculations are coming out at 2500-2800

I’d say, ok lets just assume your TDEE is in the middle (26-2700) lets use the lower end to be on the safeside, 2600

2600 - 500 = 2100

So I’d have you use that as a starting point, & have you test that out for a week or preferably two & then track the metrics & adjust accordingly.

But yep, there’s no 100% accurate way to know what your starting set point (maintenance) is, it’s a case of trying & testing :blush:



hey mate,

ok cool… so here’s the problem, since you’ve been on such low calories for so long, your metabolism almost certainly would have adapted downwards, so you’re maintenance will be lower than if you we’re coming from higher calories.

just for a quick example, I’d times your bodyweight x 12 for your estimated TDEE

about 2500.

now here’s what I’d do… id raise your calories by 200-300 each week over the next few weeks until you get to about 2400-2500

now, at first you’ll see a big scale increase due to excess water weight (ignore this, it’s not fat, you’re still in a deficit and it’s impossible for you to gain fat in a deficit)

after the first week or two, your weight will start to stablize pretty welll…

Once it does stablize, stay at those calories for 2 weeks straight & track them, if your weight stays pretty much the same, great you’re at your maintenance & you will have raised your matabolic rate back up quite a bit (remember, the law of adaptive thermogenesis)

now you can start going back the other way, losing weight, but will a higher caloric intake :blush:

PS - myfitnesspal’s algorithms for calculating caloric needs are known to be TERRIBLE… I’d advice to just use it to track, but not to use their calculations.


Thanks @maxnas. I’m glad I asked. I was going to jump right up to 2000 or more right away. Your 200-300/week approach makes much more sense.
I’ve asked on here, more than once, what others thought of my 1600/day and never have gotten a response. I wish I had been more persistent. I would have gotten off to a proper start. I’ve been thinking that the lower I can keep my calories, the faster I will lose my weight…and that was that.


You could jump straight to 2000 calories, even higher if you want… as long as you’re still in a defict, it’s impossible to gain fat, although an increase in carb intake will result in increased water weight… (1g of carb pulls 3g of water into the muscle cells)

so the scale will probably go up & this seems to scare people, which Is why I suggested doing it in increments. Also, since we don’t actually know where your maintenance is, you could overshoot & go into a surplus if you jack them up too high.

But, I think you’d be more than fine to jump them up to 2000, and then keep increasing from there until you find your maintenance (remember, you can’t gain fat if your in a caloric deficit)


That’s what I’ll do. It’s scary for me, but I’m going to do it. lol


lol, just be aware that your scale weight will go up, but it’s just water, not fat.


One thing that is very interesting regarding TDEE calculators. If I use the total weight formula (6’, 180 lbs) my TDEE is 1,829. If I use fat percentage formula (18.3% fat) my TDEE is 2,185.

Now, if I use @maxnas weight X 14 formula then the TDEE is 2,520 :open_mouth:

I used the following site for calculations.


hey @tanks tanks,

well the x14 was a rough working out based on what I know about @Stuffyramirez current stats.

We ended up saying he’d be better off dropping his fat loss cals by a further 200 than what the x 14 equation worked out at, saying that 2600 might be a better starting point, then - 500 for a total of 2100 fat loss calories to start off with. so that’s more like x13

I usually get about 3 or 4 formulas, find the average and go from there

Otherwise, there’s always Eric Helms tried & tested formulas to work with (which are pretty much the same as Lyle Macdonalds

“Sedentary Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.3 – 1.6
Lightly Active Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.5 – 1.8
Active Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.7 – 2.0
Very Active Plus 3-6 Days of exercise 1.9 – 2.2”

Myself for example, 5’6, 10%bf, 160lb, currently losing fat on 2000cals per day,

I’ll post a pic of a client also (I’ve posted his pic before, as he’s a good example of a the borderline average height/weight male)

we started him off on 2800 calories, and by the time we got him shredded (about 8-9%bf) he was still on 2400 calories, at 5’10, 170lbs. (he started at 200lbs)

point being, i’d rather see people starting off with as high a caloric intake as possible, rather than going super low straight away & forcing their metabolism to adapt downward, which only makes things tougher in the long run :blush:


Hi @maxnas I might regret asking this :unamused:

You do state some very in-depth calculations etc but please tell me how is this possible?

This current time in my quest to lose weight and factoring in the fact I am in constant pain (failed back surgery) I decided last November to NOT exercise, not to calorie count, not to eat low fat and not be too strict with myself except JUST watching how many food carbs/sugar I was eating.

Here’s the result so far:

December 2015 - 211 lbs 29.4 BMI

January 2016 - 203.2 lbs 28.3 BMI

February - 201 lbs 28.0 BMI

March - 199.6 lbs 27.8 BMI

April - 194.6 lbs 26.6 BMI

An average day (honest) would be something like ;

Breakfast, two fried sausages and maybe an egg.
Lunch, supermarket hot counter chicken breast and ribs.
Dinner, more meat and large salad.

Drink, two bottles of 13%+ wine with maybe a G&T with slimline drank over 6 hours so off to bed sober. Weekends could see three bottles or ONLY 9 large glasses depending on how you look at it. And yes my liver function test is fine.

Doesn’t that blow out a lot of weight loss myths?

I look forward to your view on this and please be direct as you always have been in the past :grimacing:

BTW, I have two older brothers (ex-boxer/ex-weightlifter) who may look slim but are the most stressed people I know…It’s all about a life balance I’m thinking.


hey mate,

ok so pretty simple answer here, you’ve been in a calorie deficit. (its impossible to lose weight without creating an energy imbalance)

By keeping an eye on/limiting your carbohydrate (sugar is carbohydrate) intake, you’ve effectively put yourself in a caloric deficit & weight loss has occurred as a by product.

Really well done actually, as that’s some pretty good & steady weight loss, especially as it’s based on guess work/hoping for the best etc (I know some people would have you think it’s because of the carbs, but its actually because of the amount of calories in those carbs that you’re no longer consuming)

so in short, you’ve done a great job of putting yourself into a caloric deficit without really knowing that you were doing it :blush: (even whilst enjoying some nice wine)

PS - all those numbers are just good guide posts to start from, leading you to more accuracy as you test.


Great explanation, also gives me a little hope for next week in France. Thanks @maxnas and @BackAttack, great to see other members experiences and outcome.


Brilliant @maxnas I can now explain to my wife how all those empty wine bottles are helping us :wink:

Joking aside, I totally agree that even with my already unhealthy intake by looking at the carbs I’ve made it slightly less unhealthy.

Food with low carbs for me = no crisps, pizza etc
Drink with low carbs for me =no Stella

Seems to be working, for me anyway :slight_smile:


I can now explain to my wife how all those empty wine bottles are helping us

haha! :smile:



Thanks again for all of your help.

I was wondering if you were able to advise me a little on diet.

As discussed yesterday, I am to aim for 2100 calories for the day.

I have been adding everything into MFP to keep a track on calories and have the following:

B’fast: 3 grilled fishfingers, 2 egg scrambled (no milk, oil or butter) (total calories 326)
Lunch: 2 slices of wholemeal toast with sardines (in tomato sauce) (total calories 434)
Snacks: low fat peach yoghurt, one plain rice cake, 137g of cottage cheese and 4 cups of tea (total calories 298)

that leaves me with 1042 calories to find for the rest of the day, i dont know wherre im going to get 1000 calories!!!

FYI current macros look like: 29% carbs (aiming for 68g or 30%), 38% fat (aimimg for 40g or 30%) and 33% protein (aiming for 79g or 40%)

by the way, Im going out on then bike later to which will push any deficit further

How can i find these calories whilst maintaining healthy eating??