Fit and Fine by Kamal Singh CSCS: Expectations vs reality in the gym

There’s a stark difference between the two, which could demotivate you if you’re to reach your fitness goal. Here’s how you can balance the two
If you weigh 90 kilos then 90 x 30 gives 2700 calories per day to maintain current weight (Shutterstock)
If you weigh 90 kilos then 90 x 30 gives 2700 calories per day to maintain current weight (Shutterstock)
Updated on Dec 27, 2021 02:08 PM IST
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ByKamal Singh CSCS

News media constantly bombards us with these fantastical stories of fat loss and muscle gain. We are told how a person transformed his/her physique pretty dramatically in just a few months. But Is this fat loss or muscle gain typical? What should an average person with a busy lifestyle expect when they embark on a journey of building their physique? Let us try and find what to realistically expect before stepping into a gym or starting a diet.

Losing fat

The more obese/overweight a person is, the more fat they can lose. 2-2.5 kg fat loss per week is possible for a person who is just starting a fat loss program and has quite a few kilos to lose. Over the course of the program, this loss could slow down to .5 -.8 kg per week. Anybody expecting to lose 10-15 kg per month consistently is deluding themselves. If you have lots of weight to lose then get ready for the long haul. Also, as you get leaner, it gets harder to strip the fat while preserving the muscle. The sane way is to calculate the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and cut just 500 calories from it to start the process of losing fat.

•Nutritionists use the Harris Benedict equation to calculate the daily energy expenditure. But as a layman, you can multiply your body weight in kilos with the number 30 and get a daily calorie estimate.

•If you weigh 90 kilos then 90 x 30 gives 2700 calories per day to maintain current weight.

•And to start the fat loss, subtract 500 from 2700 to get daily calorie intake..

•Keep the amount of protein intake high. This helps in preserving muscle mass. Aim to get 1.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. Calories can be reduced by cutting carbohydrates.

•Add 2-3 days of strength training and 3-4 days of easy cardio per week. The weight training will do wonders in maintaining the muscle mass.

Gaining muscle

As a beginner, you can expect to gain about 1-1.5 kg of muscle mass in a month. Please read that again – 1-1.5 kg of muscle mass per month when you are starting out journey. That translates to about 12 kgs of muscle in the first year. This will slow down to about 7 kgs per year of muscle weight when you are an intermediate trainee. Anybody claiming to gain massive amounts of muscle are usually lying or using Anabolic Steroids. The process of gaining weight is very similar to losing weight:

•Establish your daily energy expenditure and add about 500-800 calories over that number.

•Get 2 grams of quality protein per kilo bodyweight. If you weigh 70 kgs, then eat 140 grams of quality protein per day.

•Workout with weights 4 times a week.

•Be consistent with the workouts and getting the recommended amount of daily protein.

•Sleep is an underrated recovery aid. When trying to gain muscle, sleep at least 7-8 hours every night.

Something that sounds too good to be true…

Extra-ordinary body transformation stories in the news media should be taken with a pinch of salt. Thinking that you can lose large amounts of weight quickly or gain massive muscles at a fast pace just leads to failure, frustration and then disenchantment with the process of getting fit and healthy. Follow the above the guidelines, which may be on the conservative side, but would a path to success in the long run. Now go and do it.

Kamal Singh is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has been coaching for 15 years

From HT Brunch, December 26, 2021

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022