T Nation

Trying to help a big guy get started

I’m trying to help a friend who wants to get started working out and getting in shape. He’s 6’5", 30 and roughly 350 pounds. The only question I have is regarding caloric intake and P/C/F ratios. About 5 years ago, I was 360 pounds at 6’7". I’m now about 260 with 12% bodyfat. In the beginning, though, I made a lot of mistakes regarding diet. I was lacking knowledge and simply cut calories way too low to drop the pounds and lost plenty of muscle during the first 6 months. It took me quite awhile to get it back and I don’t want to cause my friend to make the same mistake I did with bad advice. What should the caloric intake be for a guy this size? Bodyweight X 12 has got to be too high. (4200 cals). Bodyweight X 10 or bodyweight X 12-500? He’s started doing some basic compound lifts 3 days a week along with 30-40 minutes of light cardio 3-4 days a week, either walking or riding a stationary bike. I’m guessing it’s gonna take at least 3 months before he can handle anymore than that effectively so obviously his caloric intake is going to play a HUGE role here. Any suggestions?

Calculations should not be based on total bodyweight, but rather Lean Body Mass (LBM). There is no reason to include fat mass in the calculation unless you wish to maintain the fat. Simply take the subject’s total weight and multiply it by (1 - BF%) to get his LBM. Below is an example of an individual weighing 300lbs @ 25% bf; the LBM calculation would be:

(300)(.75) = 225

For a moderate diet, I have found the following calculations recommended by Vinch Andrich to be very beneficial for macronutrient breakdown:

Protein: 1.35 x LBM = intake in grams

Carbs: 1 x LBM = intake in grams

Fat: .3 x LBM = intake in grams

For the above 300lb individual @ 25% bf this would yield the following:

Protein: ~300 grams

Carbs: 225 grams

Fat: ~70 grams

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.

I am 6’ 1/2" TALL 235.5 LBS W/ 40% bf

Using your calculations:

235.5 x .6 = 141.3 LBM

Do I use the 141.3 x 16 = 2261 - 500 = 1760

Is 1760 my caloric target to lose 1LB per week?

Right now I am shooting for:

3200 calories 400g Protein 175G Carbs 40G Fat 35g Fiber

Am I way off? your comments and suggestions are greatly appriciated!


I would get the fat a little bit closer to the carbs than Joel suggests and other than that I would have him walking for 30-40 minutes everyday, without exception…Real walking not tread mill walking. Good luck.

Your intake would be:

190 grams of protein (760 calories)

141 grams of carbs (564 calories)

~45 gram of fat (405 calories)

Total calories would be 1729.

Optimal rates of fat loss are 1.5lbs-2lbs a week. If you are losing more, try increasing the fat intake about 22 grams (about 200 calories). If you are not loosing fast enough (I doubt this will be the case) then I would recommend slightly dropping the carb intake, and very slightly dropping the protein intake. These are numbers that I have found to work very well for me in the past; however, it is very important to realize that caloric intake is highly individual, and should be treated as such. You need to find the optimal amount of calories for you to lose fat optimally.

If you havn't already, read the "Foods that make you look great Nekid" article here at T-mag. Food choice plays a major role in caloric consumption.


Thank you for your quick response I have been perusing this site for awhile and I respect your opinions.

I was way off on my caloric target I will re-adjust and see what kind of results I get.

As far as protein intake my average day looks like this.

6:00 am 2 scoops low carb grow (40g)

9:00 am 2 scoops Isopure 0 carb (50g)

12:00 pm 2 scoops isopure 0 carb (50g)

Pre Work Out 2 scoops low carb grow (40g)

Work Out

Post Work Out 3 scoops Surge (40g)

Bed Time 2 scoops 0 carb Isopure(50g)

Am I overdoing the protein? I noticed your recomendation of 140g per day but this seems very low to me.

Also, I have read foods that make you look good nekid as well as almost everything else on this site (I am T-Mag obsessed). And I think I eat a fairly clean diet. check out my public log (thanks LOGHOG) to see my work out/diet/ and supplementation @

www.fitday.com/WebFit/ PublicJournals.html?Owner=kraigy

left click to highlight/right click to copy/right click on address bar to paste.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions!

The bulk of your protein sources should be from whole food sources; you are consuming way too many shakes. Also, my recommendation was 190 grams (not 140) and with only 141 lbs of LBM, that is plenty (1.35 grams/lb LBM).

I have read and read and read about caloric counting and am at a cross roads as to what I believe. Here’s my point, tell me how far off I am. First, he (I, we) has to take in less calories than are spent. That point can’t be argued by atkins, pritikin, sugar busters, protein power, etc, followers. The second is fighting the satiety factor. Lets face it, caloric consumption is a behavioral modification as well as a education issue. Can’t a reasonable level and speed of weight loss be attained by first, finding alternate activities for free time other than eating, along with making better choices along with better bad choices for cheating. This may at first mean consuming foods slower and with massive amounts of water to reach the satiety factor. With good lean choices of protein and water rich, fiber rich, nutrient rich vegetables, about four times a day, with the level of activity that he is doing, won’t the weight literally fall off him? Does anyone really have that voracious of an appetitie to exceed expenditure?? As far as muscle loss, I think that I am fooled by fatty muscle when I try to cut back, and justify that I am losing too much muscle when my strength levels fall, as well as justifying weight gains as muscle when strength levels go up continually with weight gain. With caloric restriction, Heavy weights to maintain strength levels, who cares if some of the loss is muscle, if indeed it is lean tissue loss, not intramuscular fat. If he can maintain strength levels, and lose fat and overall size, when he gets to a desired composition level, he can switch to a lean hypertrophy focus. This point and does anyone really want to be a slave to a scale weighing their food at every meal? Akin to Charles Staley’s “simpler is better” is this too simplistic?

Thanks Joel,

I will adjust my Caloric Intake as well as my Macronutrient Ratios per your Recomendations.

Thanks Again,