Apologies for the shameless click-bait title… still, at least it’s true!
As it’s been a long-old while since my last blog, I’d thought I’d get back into the swing of things with a little case study. Approaching a couple of powerlifting meets in the next month or two, I thought it would be a nice time to trial a different strategy for making weight.
I’m normally not sitting too far above my 66 kg weight class, perhaps 67.5 kg or so. I can comfortably hit weight with a few days of a deficit and some minor glycogen and water depletion. As I’ve not tried to put on weight since my rugby days, and never planned more than a week or so in an energy deficit, it seemed like the time to put science to the test.
Over the past few months since my last competition (start of August) I’d built up to 68.2-68.5 kg and maintaining this on ~2700 kcal/day.
My estimated BMR (Harris-Benedict) at 68.2 kg would be 1650 kcal. A physical activity multiplier of 1.6 (moderate activity) would put me at an estimated maintenance of 2645 kcal.
So, onto the deficit. As a rough rule of thumb (based on Garthe et al., 2011a; 2011b):
- A 30% deficit would be expected to result in 1.0% body mass loss per week.
- A 15% deficit would be expected to result in 0.5% body mass loss per week.
My Plan & Predictions
The plan was to create a daily deficit of 20-25% from my 2700 kcal baseline. This would put me at an intake of 2025-2160 kcal/day. The expectation was that this would result in a 0.7-0.8% rate of body mass loss, equivalent to 0.5-0.6 kg per week. The plan was for a two-week diet, so I was predicting a loss of 1.2 kg. This would put me at a body mass of 67.0 kg.
Here were the estimated numbers I hit:
- Week 1 – Average intake: 2110 kcal (±30 kcal) – 22% deficit
- Week 2 – Average intake: 2145 kcal (±20 kcal) – 21% deficit
As you can see, I kept tried to keep things consistent across the two weeks. Very minimal day-to-day variation.
Besides looking to keep protein above 2 g/kg/day (and well distributed between meals), there weren’t any real macro goals. They stayed fairly consistent across the two weeks, roughly looking as follows:
- Protein – 2.1 g/kg/day (pre diet: 2.2 g/kg/day)
- CHO – 2.8 g/kg/day (pre diet: 3.3 g/kg/day)
- Fat – 1.2 g/kg/day (pre diet: 1.8 g/kg/day)
Obviously it’s impossible to control aspects such as sub-conscious alterations in NEAT, the drop in temperature over the last couple of weeks and so on. However, hydration level has remained constant with pre-diet. Training frequency and intensity have also remained constant. The only real change has been a slight reduction in training volume.
Body Mass Losses
These were the final scores at the end of the two weeks:
- Final body mass: 66.3 kg (predicted: 67.0 kg)
- Final body mass loss: 1.9 kg (predicted: 1.2 kg)
- Percentage drop: 2.8% (predicted: 0.8 kg)
Let’s finish with some take-home messages:
To lose body mass:
- Create an energy deficit
- Sustain an energy deficit
I should really be charging you for that level of insight…