Everything You Need to Know About Low Calorie Diets

low calorie diet

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People that have been reading my writings or watching my YouTube Videos for some time now know very well that I promote this idea of not being in an absolute rush to get lean.

It’s important that we learn to accept ourselves right now, enjoy the process, and make our nutrition habits rewarding and something that we can continue with ease.

When you are able to finally enjoy the process and see weekly progress, it truly is beautiful.

Yet, for most people, this rarely ever happens.

Working out, dieting, fitness – it’s all become somewhat of an obsession.

A practice that is all about how hard you kill yourself, how strict your diet is and of course, how many hours you train each week.

It has turned into a competition of extremism and people still struggle to make results.

They still complain about stubborn body fat, stalled strength and difficulty gaining muscle.

People will pour in so much effort and energy because they have fantasized about this idea of having a ‘great body’, but they have nothing to show for it!

This Is The Power Of Enjoying Your Diet

My philosophy is simple – if you’re not enjoying each and everyday to your goals, then the journey is quite simply, meaningless.

Creating a breathtaking physique and maintaining it for life, is a matter of making weekly progress while fully enjoying the process.

If you’re not enjoying the process, eventually all that will power will wear thin, and you’ll cave in, shooting right back up to the starting point.

Now, that’s not to say it’s all rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes you have to push through discomfort – but in the end, you should be able to feel complete.

You should be able to feel fulfilled, knowing full well that you’re experiencing joy and satisfaction along the way, instead of salivating over the thought of some future goal.

What Does This Have to Do With A Low Calorie DIET?

Well, by projecting this message to the Kinobody Community, I have left some people with the idea that fat loss should happen very slowly.

For some people, yes, they’ll want to take fat loss slowly and eat at a smaller deficit. This is the case for people that are burnt out from low calorie diets, and eating low calories for them is a miserable experience.

That being said, some people are very well suited for low calorie diets. In fact, they do better on a lower calorie protocol, because when they decide they are fully committed, they stick to it and the faster results keeps them more engaged.

My cousin Shea is a great example of this. He has no issues on a lower calorie plan, in fact, he loves them. Last year he dropped about 45 lbs in 4 months on my Aggressive Fat Loss Program. He also gained considerable strength and a little muscle in the process.

Shea-

*Your results may vary. Testimonials and examples used are exceptional results and are not intended to guarantee, promise, represent and/or assure that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.

So the point is this – make fitness and nutrition something that enriches your life, not consumes it.

If going on a low calorie diet makes you think about food all day, if it makes you miserable and requires a ton of will power to follow through – then a low calorie diet is the last thing you should do!

Do Low Calorie Diets Hurt Your Muscle & Metabolism?

The combination of calorie restriction and resistance training has been shown to maintain muscle mass and resting metabolic rate. Now you have to take the study with a grain of salt – it was performed on overweight newbie lifters.

When you have more fat to lose it’s easier to maintain muscle mass, because you have so much available fat stores to burn off. Further, when you’re new to lifting you can actually gain strength and muscle mass, while losing body fat, quite easily.

That said, the study participants were eating an extremely low calorie diet, lower than I would ever recommend, at just 800 calories per day. This is what I would call a crash diet. And nothing you will ever see me promote.

Now if I was to take someone with years of lifting experience, throw them on an aggressive diet that has them dropping 1.5-2 lbs of fat per week combined with intermittent fasting, a couple big meals per day with a good mix of protein, fat and carbs and three low volume, reverse pyramid training workouts per week…

Well, I guarantee they would at the very least, maintain every bit of muscle and probably see some strength gains. Hell you’ve seen the case studies on my site and my courses!

This Is The Only Viable Concern For Low Calorie Diets

The only concern you should have with low calorie diets is if it’s something you can actually stick to and handle. Funny enough, I was actually able to gain strength when I did an aggressive cut. Now not necessarily absolute strength, but rather relative strength.

Relative strength is how strong you are proportionate to your bodyweight. If you’re following any of my courses, you’ll see that all of the strength standards are based on your bodyweight and lifting a proportion of your bodyweight for 5 reps.

Relative strength is the best predictor of athleticism and aesthetics. An easy way to improve your relative strength is by dropping down to a low body fat. In fact, when I dropped down to 7% body fat, I was able to do 2 one arm chin ups and incline bench press 1.5x my bodyweight for 5 reps, easily.

Although, on that aggressive cut experiment, I was only working out once per week. I maintained most of my strength, during those few weeks, but I did lose size from the sheer drop in training volume. But had I been training 3 days, as I usually recommend, it would have been a different story.

This Is My Experience With Low Calorie Diets

Interestingly enough, I thought my days of lower calorie diets were long gone. You see, I had done the super low calorie intake (1400-1700 cals per day), and gawd damn, that was miserable. It was an awful experience and my sex drive was shot and I could never fully stick with it long enough to see tangible results.

That said, I found an ‘aggressive deficit’ (not extreme deficit) to be much, much, more manageable. Paired with a balanced intake of macros to best support sex drive and training.

Intermittent fasting, strategic black coffee, a couple servings of fruit to stave off hunger between meals, and two big satisfying meals per day. And bam! Eating at an aggressive deficit was a walk in the park.

In fact, this is why I decided to write the Aggressive Fat Loss Program 2.0. It’s a really incredible routine if you want to make leaning down fast (6-9 pounds of fat loss per month), pretty damn enjoyable while maintaining muscle.

And certainly all the reviews, emails, and testimonials I’ve been sent have reflected that. You can read about them here or keep up on my Instagram account where people are commenting on my pictures daily, sharing their results.

*Your results may vary. Testimonials and examples used are exceptional results and are not intended to guarantee, promise, represent and/or assure that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.

Now sure, you’re not going to be eating as much as you will in the Warrior Shredding Program, and you probably won’t experience the same level of strength gains and improvements in muscle development. Although, if your main goal is to lean down fast and enjoy it, the Aggressive Fat Loss Program is freaking fantastic.

If you wanted to lean down slower (4-5 pounds of fat loss per month), while progressing on your lifts in the process, then my Warrior Shredding Program is more up your alley.

*Your results may vary. Testimonials and examples used are exceptional results and are not intended to guarantee, promise, represent and/or assure that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.

Being Very Lean Is The Key To Looking Great

Since we’re on the thread of low calorie diets, I should probably mention – if you want to look fantastic, you will need to get very lean.

And sometimes that might mean going lower in calories at times.

As long as you’re not doing anything extreme, as long as you’re continuing to strength train and you’re consuming a balance of proteins, fats and carbs, you will be fine. In fact, you will be better than fine.

The easiest way to dramatically improve your appearance is by dropping fat and leaning down.

When you strip off the extra fat, your muscles will appear harder and more defined. They’ll have more shape and your body will have much better proportion.

In my programs, I provide measurement standards to build up to. And they’re all based on ratio’s – getting your arms, chest and shoulders to a certain proportion of your waist. So, by leaning down and slimming your waist, will automatically improve your ratio’s considerably.

Just take a look below!

Just by shedding about 10 pounds of fat, my appearance dramatically improved.

This was taking my waist from about 33″ to around 31.5″. So stop worry about your muscle mass and metabolism, it will be just fine.

The ratio of my chest, shoulders and arms improved dramatically. For example, at a 33″ waist, if I wanted to have a chest measurement that was 1.4x my waist (ideal for superhero proportions), I would need a 46.2″ chest.

But with a slim 31.5″ chest, I would only need a 44″ chest! So the key to building awesome proportions is to get your waist very lean. Ideally about 44-45% of your height.

What Is The Best Amount Of Fat Loss Per Week?

How much fat should you try to lose each week?

For moderate fat loss I recommend setting calories and macros for about 1 lbs of fat loss per week. For faster, aggressive fat loss, I recommend going for about 1.5-2 lbs per week.

Trying to lose anything more than 2 lbs of fat per week, is generally, a horrible idea.

This is when you simply just don’t have enough room to work with in your diet. You’ll be starving, sex drive will tank and you’ll be counting down the days like a prison inmate! As well, in trained lifters, this is when it becomes increasingly more difficult to hold onto strength and muscle mass.

As well, you’ll mess up your leptin levels. Leptin regulates your metabolism and appetite. When you diet too hard, leptin falls dramatically, making you conserve your energy, while up-regulating your appetite making an extreme diet next to impossible to stick with.

So basically going from an ‘aggressive diet’ to an ‘extreme diet’ will equate to slightly more fat loss, with a decline in training performance and a risk of falling off the diet and regaining the weight.

So remember, going for anything beyond 2 lbs of fat loss per week is a bad idea.

That said, many times, you’ll drop 3-5 lbs of fat for the first week or two on an aggressive diet. This is from a drop in water weight, less food content in the stomach and less glycogen in the muscles.

I hope this article cleared up any questions you had about following a low calorie diet!

Be sure to share your thoughts with us at Kinobody.

About the Author

Greg

I'm Greg O'Gallagher the founder of Kinobody.com

37 responses to “Everything You Need to Know About Low Calorie Diets

  1. Hey Greg. In your opinion, which of your abs workouts is most effective when joined with either the WSP or GGMBP whilst eating in a calorie surplus… Your new cardio abs mobility workout, or the older Kinobody Abs Workout from June 2014? Cheers.

  2. Hey Greg,

    I’m following your AFL 2.0 program, after the WSP didn’t shred it fast enough for me ^^

    Now I’m combining your AFL 2.0 nutrition with your Christian Bale Workout (http://kinobody.com/workouts-and-exercises/christian-bale-american-psycho-workout/) , because the WSP strength training was a little too impractical with all the constant RPT based weight changing(Home-Gym).

    Now I’m doing your Christian Bale Workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the evening.

    Every morning from Monday till Friday I’m doing cardio on an eliptical, following Rusty Moores Visual Impact Cardio strategy.

    On Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning I’m doing an Ab-Workout (3 Excersises) following the cardio.

    And on Tuesday and Thursday morning I’m doing tow sets of Kettlebell swings and Military Presses following the cardio.

    What do you think ? Is this too much and does it interfere with recovery? Or am I fine to continue ?

  3. Hi Greg,

    Do you still I.F on refeed days?

    I love fasting in the morning, but with a 700 caloric gap between my deficit and refeed days, it’s hard to pack in all those extra calories unless I resort to junky foods.

    Since you mainly use intermittent fasting as a weight loss tool, I’m assuming it wouldn’t matter on refeed days?

  4. Hello Greg,

    I have been following your site for a while now and really respect what you do. I have done my own research for years and I agree with most of your principals. I am currently 170 lbs and about 17-18% bf. The gym I currently workout at does not have a rack for bench press, so I am using only dumbbells for all of my lifting. I do a full body workout 3 days a week alternating between incline,flat bench, cable rows/pulldowns, seated press/lateral raises and leg extensions/leg press. Then I also mix in one set ez bar curl or tricep pulldowns. I have a hard time even doing ONE pullup :/ So I am just wondering what you think of my routine and what improvements I could make to be more efficient. I am really happy with the size of my legs and dont want any more mass, and I would like to get down as close as I can to 10% bf. Thanks so much for all you do man.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I have a workout A and workout B. M/W/F. I do RPT 6,8,10 of Flat bench, Cable Rows, Shoulder Press and Leg Extensions for A. And Incline Press, Pull downs, shoulder raises, and leg press on B. Then I throw in one set of 21 bicep curls with a bar on A days and 21 of tricep pull downs on B days. I guess I am wondering if I should stick with this for a couple more months or switch it up now. Ive heard RPT is not good for beginners and that I should do something more like a 5×5. I would like to just get leaner and maybe a little stronger. I was thinking that maybe your warrior shredding program would be good. But as I said before, I can do 0 pull ups and maybe 2-3 chin ups max.

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