To give us some context for this Part 3 Series on everything Nutrition for Fat Loss & Toning up,

Part 1 we went through the Fundamentals Principles of Nutrition & Everything Calorie Balance.

Part 2 we went learnt what Macronutrients are all about & how we can start losing fat by Strategies I call Level 1 & 2

Which leads us perfectly into this third instalment where I dive into ‘Level 3‘ which is all about working out (roughly) where you need to be with Calorie & Macronutrient intake Targets.

So hopefully after this Blog you’ll leave with Knowledge on;

  • Working out a starting Calorie target to Drop Body fat & Tone Up
  • Macronutrient Targets to Hit (Protein, Carbs & Fats)
  • How to start tracking it all so you’re not guessing


Well, it is in one way because you’re counting Calories and Hitting Macronutrient Targets, but don’t get caught in the trap of ‘I’m not counting calories’ because you think it’s too strict and ‘you want to enjoy life’.

See levels 1 & 2 from BLOG PART 2 will only get you so far…

Level 1 you’re basically ‘tidying’ up your diet

Level 2 you’re judging portion sizes off your hand sizes, but again it’s limited in many ways


Level 2 is also a method that you can ALWAYS come back too, it’s why we love teaching it here at Doc Fitness, because although you might start going deeper into calorie and macronutrient targets, you can always ‘judge’ this back off your hand sizes.

Hopefully you’re not lost, what I mean is, let’s say they weigh out 30 grams of rice which has ‘X’ amount of calories, the next time you go to weigh the same amount of rice – a cupped handful will roughly add up to the same 30 grams anyways – and as long as you’re still making progress, being roughly there or there-abouts is perfectly fine.

So Level 3 is all about working out:

  • What Calories you need to eat daily to tone up & lose body fat
  • What should your Macronutrients be to make sure you’ve things like enough Protein so you’re not risking losing muscle

So let’s take Billy for example and pretend it takes him 2000 Calories daily to lose the body fat and tone up. So once he hits roughly 2000 Calories daily, x7 Days a week, he should be fine as a starting point which we can tweak from there;

So once Billy knows his Calorie & Macronutrient Targets to hit daily, if he ‘tracks’ rigidly for let’s say 2 weeks, after that he might have a solid grasp on what he eats during his daily routine so he won’t have to track as closely. Again, if he’s still making progress that’s perfectly fine.

Billy needs to remember that he’s not some pro-bodybuilder, but a Father of 3 that works long hours that just wants to have a Nice filled out Figure, get Strong, get Fit and feel more confident in himself 🙂


So we do know that 1lb of Adipose Tissue (Fat) = 3,500 k/cal (1)

(Image Courtesy of

So even though it’s NOT perfect by any means (2,3), it at least can give us something to start from for losing body fat.

So 3,500/7days = 500k/cal, which means if we create a Calorie Deficit of 500k/cal daily from Training + Nutrition, we should lose weight.

Again, the only difference here now from Level 2 (Using Your Hand Sizes for Meal/Calorie Control) is that we KNOW the exact calories coming in.

SIDE NOTE: I actually prefer to use %’s rather than using 500k/cal drop for everyone due to Individual differences, current weight, current body fat levels & Training Volume. But again, I just wanted to point this out for the purpose of this blog and WHY you may need to get deeper with your Caloric & Macronutrient Intake.


Once you know the above, your next step is just to get a STARTING POINT with Calorie Intake, this will never be 100% accurate and will need to be tweaked as time goes on and to see how your body responds so don’t take this for gospel, these are ONLY guidelines for the purpose of this Blog.

So for a starting point we can roughly gauge from the below Estimates which I’ve taken from Precision Nutritions Certification Manual (4):

So for example: A 200lb, Moderately Active Male would start by taking in between (200×12) 2400 and (200×14) 2800 k/cal per day.

Now for the record, I don’t work out individuals Calories estimates by this graph, instead I judge off a 2 week period of tracking to see where they’re at currently or use a well-known equation which we’ve tweaked over the years that works damn well.

Again for this Blog, showing you the above is easier. Saying that, from first-hand experience I would say it’s better to aim for the lower end of the bracket here for this 200lb male (200lbx12 = 2400k/cal) simply due to:

  • Leaving more room to play with his calories if he has his off days 😉
  • I’ve found working out calories in this way is just too high for the Individuals I work with mainly ~ Again not everyone is a pro-athlete at the end of the day so this all needs to be kept in mind when dealing with people that just want to tone up, get strong and look better naked.

So if you’re using the above Table, aim for the lower range of the recommendation.

From there it will be a matter of tweaking this as time goes on, it may he too high or too low, but that’s the beauty of the human body & all us little unique snowflakes 😉


Once you know your Calorie Intake, it’s time to get your Macronutrients set so we’ll start by order of Importance first: Protein.

To save a tonne of time, if you’re wondering where I pulled this Protein figure from (instead of just blabbing it out like most people do), I’ve gone through it in detail here before:

1: Set Protein at 1g per pound of Bodyweight (The only exception here is that, the more body fat % you carry, you can aim lower 0.8g/lb for example if you’re in the 30%+ Body fat range)

So in this case with our 200lb Individual that’s 200grams of Protein Daily for holding onto/potentially building muscle mass, recovering between training sessions and one of the most psychologically important – feeling full for the day (Satiety).

2: Next up it’s Fat Intake that can range from anywhere from 0.25 g/lb – 0.6g/lb which translates to 15%-25% of total calorie intake, roughly.

This is based off 2 Main things:

  • Preferences (Do you like Fattier Foods or you’re more of a ‘Carbier’ person? )

  • Do you NEED a lower fat intake for more Carbs for Performance in the gym/field for example?

Because the higher you go with fat intake here, the lower your Carbs will be and vice versa, so for the sake of this blog let’s go in between the two recommendations above at 0.45g/lb

So 0.45g/lb x 200 = 90grams of Fat

3: Once you’ve that done you can calculate your Carb intake from what’s left above.

So more Math 😉

  • Protein = 4k/cal per gram so 200 x 4 = 800k/cals
  • Fat = 9k/cal per gram so 90 x 9 = 810k/cals

We know that our starting Calorie intake was 2,400k/cal (From Step 1)

  • 2,400-800-810 = 790k/cals remaining
  • Carbohydrates = 4k/cals per gram so 790/4 = 197.5grams of Carbs

So once all that’s done, now you can start aiming to hit these Targets Daily:


Again, a whole Blog Series can be written on this topic which can be highly individual – so again, for this blog here’s a simple ballpark to range for:

0.5-1% of Body Weight Loss per Week

Again things like:

  • Performance
  • Specific Goals both short and long-term
  • Enjoyment of the process 🙂
  • Current Weight & Body Fat Levels

All come into play here so as a VERY generic recommendation, if you’re already Lean you could aim for 0.5%, if you’re a bit higher on the body fat scale right now, you could aim for 1%. Again, very broad I know but I don’t like given ‘dead-end’ answers as it’s all individual and always depends.


All the above is exactly what I wanted to get across with this Blog Post ~ The level of detail you may need to get into as you dive deeper into your Nutrition & Training, Tracking all this in this day and age is relatively easy once you get the hang of it and there’s a tonne of apps out there, the first 2 I have experience with:

Then ones I’ve seen pop up but have no experience with:

With these Apps, you can enter your Specific Calorie & Macronutrient Targets to hit Daily.

Then you simply enter the food you’re eating by typing it in once you know the weight of the food or by scanning the bar code on the back of the food label,

So YES you will need to get anal about your food here and weigh things out, but again, you’ll learn a boatload about food, Calories & Macronutrients when doing this and you can always relate that back to what you’ve learnt in the last Blog with Level 2 (Your Hand Sizes).

In a future Blog post, we’ll go into more detail for tracking.


If you’re not making progress, you may need to get onto this step. It’s what we do at Doc Fitness personally with each client once they’re ready for this level, but also to make it suit their lifestyle, preferences and goals daily too.

It can be annoying getting started with it, but this is information you keep for life, so to recap rapidly;

  • Work our your Starting Calorie Estimates
  • Work out your Macronutrients
  • Track, Weigh and Hit Targets Daily (Again, there or there-abouts is always fine, the main player here is to keep within the total calories)
  • Tweak as needed to continue making progress 🙂

If you have any specific questions either, don’t be afraid to throw them below in the comments. Or if any of your Friends need to here this, be sure to share it with them too 🙂 


Coming out of College with a Belly, Double Chin & being dropped from my local Sports team (Hurling for my Irish Followers) ~ If I had known what I’ve put in this free video series I would have saved YEARS of getting no where in the gym.

If you want to know where to get started with Training for Toning Up (at home) for life – I’ve put together this free 2-Part Video Series & PDF to show you where you need to start with your training, how to progress and actual coaching videos to get you doing if from home before you commit to a gym. Click the picture below to download it and get it sent to your inbox now:


1: Hall, D, K. (2008) What is the Required Energy Deficit per unit Weight Loss?, International Journal of Obesity (London), 2008, Mar; 32(3): 573–576.

2: Hall, D, K. & Chow C,C. (2013) Why is the 3500 kcal per pound weight loss rule wrong? International Journal of Obesity (London), 2013, Dec; 37(12): 10.1038/ijo.2013.112,

3: Thomas et. al (2013) Can a weight loss of one pound a week be achieved with a 3500-kcal deficit? Commentary on a commonly accepted rule. International Journal of Obesity (London), 2013 Dec;37(12):1611-3.

4: Berardi, J. & Andrews, R. (2013) The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition ~ Second Edition.