T Nation

Calorie Deficit and Cardio/Exercise

I’m currently trying to drop a little fat and eating around 500 calorie deficit depending on my training schedule. My question is if I am eating in deficit and burning a couple hundred calories extra from cardio what should I do about the other calories I expend? I ride bike and run most days as well as train 6 days a week which could have me in a 1500-2000 calorie deficit which I imagine is not helping muscle growth. Should I eat some or most of these back to try and maintain the 500 or just go with it?
I’m def at the lower end of where I can maintain this and not be starving/low energy.

Sounds like your deficit might be deeper than 500 calories.

Are you trying to lose fat or gain muscle?

I don’t understand whether you’re caloric deficit is derived from a baseline of
(diet and exercise) - (500 cal)


(diet) - (exercise expenditure) - (500 cals)

So, if you’re at 2000 cals/day and you are in a state of homeostasis (not gaining/losing) and you take away 500 cals. Then you are in a 500 cal. Deficit. If you then begin to exercise (weights, cardio) your deficit will be 500 + (exercise).

But if you’re at a point of homeostasis with diet + exercise and you take away 500 cals, then it’s just a 500 cal. Deficit.

So what is your baseline you are subtracting from? How did you arrive at that?

Thanks for the reply’s. I understand how to create a deficit properly. My question is if I am in a 500 calorie deficit from diet only what should I do about the additional calories I am burning through exercise?

I’m trying to drop a little bit of fat while preserving/building if I can.

I’m in a 500 calorie deficit from my diet choices. My question is what to do about the variable calories that are burnt during exercise? Should I eat all or most of them back so at the end of the day I am at maintinance minus 500 or just have large negatives?

1 Like

Focus on dropping the fat and don’t worry about building. Elitefts just recently released a great article on why attempts to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time are a poor strategy: give it a read (can’t link from here).

1 Like

Ill check it out. Thanks.

You subtract those from the total too.

So you would be in say, a 750 calorie deficit, 250 less than where you wanted to be.

To remedy this, you would add those 250 (or what ever it ends up being to end up at the same deficit (-500 cals).

1 Like