T Nation

Calories: How Low Can You Go?


with aggressive fat loss in mind and based on your own experiences;

how few calories do you guys take in before you see strength, muscle and performance take a dive?

...assuming a "moderate" level of androgen use.


Depends absolutely on metabolic rate - so LBM and lifestyle are fundamental to even a guess.


Do you just want to hear what other people do or do you want advice that you can use for yourself?

If the latter, than give us some more details. What you currently eat, how low you go when training naturally (if you diet naturally), cycle experience and what different food protocols have done for you on (more) specific AAS amounts.

The reason why different peoples' experiences may not be so helpful is because information from a 180lb guy will be a lot different than from a 260lb guy. IMO a question like yours is very specific to the individual.

And just to provide some input to your question; sorry, can't help as I've never attempted to lose weight yet.


sorry, i should have been a little more specific in terms of what i was asking for...

(of course someone who is 180lbs will require more overall calories than someone who is 260lbs)

i was thinking more in terms of calories per pound.


Very generally speaking it starts at 10kcal/lb of lean body mass.

The standard basic equation to calculate BMR is:


655 + [4.36 x weight (lbs)] + [4.32 x height (in)] - (4.7 x age) = BMR


66 + [6.22 x weight (lbs)] + [12.7 x height (in)] - (6.8 x age) = BMR

So as you can see with this being the basic method of calculating BMR - asking for something as basic as you are is asking a bit much.

As i said, 10xLBM is a decent estimate. Try it yourself comparing the more accurate equation and the simple one.

(when giving free advice i tenmd to use the 10xBMR one, when charging i use the more complex one! ;p)


Thanks! Interesting that you go as low as 10cals per lean lb, as opposed to just total.

In any case, the results of the simple and complex calcs are virtually the same... so I know where to set my baseline.

Thanks again Brook


If you study the reply, i didn't say you can go as low as 10kcal/lb LBM as a caloric intake.. i said it was an approximation of one's BMR.

BMR and AMR are two different things.. for a low end AMR i have read of 13lcal/lb being thrown around - and it sounds about right.

It is NOT how you should calculate your diet.

Also - the calculation being based on LBM is really just common sense really - as fat mass is significantly less metabolic than muscle.. so needs very few calories to 'exist' or maintain.