Your Basal Metabolic Rate – How it Applies to Rapid Fat Loss

October 29, 2009

Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns, not including calories burned from daily activity. I realize that calorie counting and knowing your BMR may seem like an “old school” approach to dropping body fat, but an understanding of these numbers will help if you are stuck. I want to discuss your BMR and why many people simply eat too many calories per day when trying to lose weight. We will also discuss the fact that people overestimate the effect that adding muscle has on increasing the BMR.

basal metabolic rate and fat loss

[I wasn’t planning on throwing in another Halloween photo, but this picture was too good to pass up.]

Understanding BMR Is Going to Help You Get Lean Quickly

The total calories you burn in a day are a sum of your BMR plus any calories burned through activity. The biggest number in this equation is your basal metabolic rate…the amount of calories you burn in addition to this is much smaller in comparison. A common mistake I see made on a regular basis is that people simply overestimate how many calories they burn through activity. Also…many people believe the regular rules don’t apply to them.

Most People Think They are the “Exception to the Rule”

Many people by nature think that the rules apply to everyone except for them…and that is probably in every area of life. I realize that metabolisms do vary, but we aren’t as different as people might expect. Over the years I have worked alongside hundreds of people and probably at least 75% were overweight. Almost every single last one of those people claimed to have a slow metabolism and believed they couldn’t drop that weight no matter what. The problem was that many of these people ate a day’s worth of calories by lunch time.

People Overestimate How Many Calories They Burn In a Day

Many of the fitness publications and personal trainers greatly overestimate how many calories a person burns in a day.

Total Calories Burned = BMR + Calories Burned from Activity

The BMR is somewhat constant. It goes down a bit as you lose weight, but for the most part it is a constant that is based on age, weight, and height (those are the variables used to predict BMR and they are somewhat accurate). The part of the equation that people exaggerate is the “Calories Burned from Activity”. It has been my experience that people grossly overestimate how many additional calories they burn in a day.

Muscle Does Not Contribute Much to Calories Burned per Day

I have said this for years…gaining muscle is a poor strategy if you want to lose body fat. It helps a little, but is greatly exaggerated by the mainstream fitness magazines. Many fitness magazines claim that muscle burns an extra 50 calories per day per pound of muscle. This is false! It is closer to the 5-10 calorie per pound range. So if you gain an extra 10 pounds of pure muscle, then you will burn 50-100 calories per day (depending upon which scientific literature you are citing). It will help long term, but you shouldn’t consider it in your short term fat loss equation.

False Belief that Big Muscular People Need to Eat a Lot More

Many muscular guys and girls believe they have to eat quite a few more calories than a smaller person of the same height, which is why so many bigger guys and girls have a tough time getting lean. There will be a slight difference, but not to the extent that many people believe.

An Online Recording That Will Create a Paradigm Shift

John Barban is a low key guy who isn’t as well-known as many of the fitness experts…but he just might be one of the most knowledgeable. Let me rephrase that…he is one of the most knowledgeable! He just finished a free recording talking about BMR and Weight Loss. This recording is going to stir up some debate!

How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight

[I HIGHLY suggest that you head on over to his site and listen while you surf the Internet.]

Some Highlights

1. People should aim to eat 400-500 below their BMR when losing weight.
2. Since BMR accounts for 80% of calories burned, use that as your baseline.
3. Consider calories burned from activity as a bonus.
4. Very few men need to eat over 2,000 calories per day even maintaining (will shock many people and he explains why).
5. He is 217 pounds, is eating 1,200-1,500 calories per day to lose 2 pounds per week.
6. Bottom line…people have been mislead when it comes to how many calories to eat per day.

John Barban is a low key guy who is also the scientific editor behind a few well-known health and fitness information products. I read and listen to everything this guy publishes. In the past he didn’t put out too much free info, but that is changing. Seriously…listen to this recording while you are online tonight (two thumbs up, five stars, 9.5 out of 10, etc.)

How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight

Note: I would love to hear what you guys think of that recording. It is controversial…which is why it will make for a great discussion and debate. Love these types of posts!

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob October 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I agree that the mainstream fitness magazines are wrong in their assertion that “crazy amounts of muscle” are needed to burn fat. But, some muscle certainly is needed. I think Mark Sisson has really hit the nail on the head with his approach to TOTAL overall health. The fitness magazines are not going to get people where they want to be and chronic cardio isn’t going to either. That’s why people need to find that perfect balance between some high intense exercise (maybe once a week) and lifting something heavy (bodyweight or weights) once or twice a week. When it come to fitness and being in great shape, less really is more but, resistance, in some form is absolutely necessary. Diet is 90% of the weight loss and calorie burning equation and people continue to disregard this, hence why most people DO feel that they are “the exception to the rule.” Bottom line: workout smarter (and harder but infrequently and intermittently) and eat like a caveman. If people followed this, we all would look like Daniel Craig and Brad Pitt. Personally, I like looking like myself but…, I’m just sayin’.

Greg October 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Agree with this completely. Most people hyper-focus on a single activity, which usually leads to muscle imbalances and problems later on. Toss in the challenges of everyday life (kids, family, house, job) and its easy for fitness to take a back seat.

flowerd October 29, 2009 at 9:34 pm

wow what john said on his post was so eye opening and so true!Thankyou Rusty for writing this post!It was amazing!You so rock!!! Also I did the kettlebell workout on your page on the bottom and could only do 2 sets then did HITT for 15mn after on the it!!

JC October 29, 2009 at 9:35 pm

I am pleased that you wrote about the fact that adding muscle is a piss poor way to boost the metabolism. That myth has been aronud forever and it’s about time for it to lay to rest.

There are some things I disagree with. Some large people burn tremendous amounts of calories. Take my best friend who played college football and is about 220lbs. he easily maintains on about 3500-4000 kcals per day. He is not nearly as active as he was and he could hardly keep his weight up during the season. I say this to make a point because he is not that active anymore. I just know if dropped his kcals to 2000 he would blow away, have no energy and likely be miserable.

I know of guys who weigh about 175lbs that need 4000 kcals per day to gain weight at a snails pace.

then again you have the desk jockey’s whose BMR is almost their total kcals burned for the day because they don’t do jack all day long!

take care, Rusty.


Aditya October 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Totally agree with this. I have seen some of my friends who keep on working on that treadmill for hours and still fail to get a lean mean look. All they think is even if they have that Pizza in the evening all they have to do is run on the treadmill for an hour or two the next day. Like you said BMR is the base. I actually went through a lot of articles over the net for the same a few months back and all I had concluded is that the calories burnt through normal activities like running and walking are negligible compared to BMR. After reading your posts so regularly and reading and following approaches like ESE or Warrior Diet all I have come to know is that a Calorie is a Calorie and no matter what we will lose weight if we eat lesser Calories than we burn (BMR and activities together). Now all I do is eat lesser calories and I eat everything. If I have to eat that Pizza loaded with 800 calories I would just follow it up with a fast and bang those calories are balanced. Its a very simple concept and I believe all of us can look like a GQ Model (Hehe a litte exaggeration but thats how it is). Atleast I got down to 9% from 18% in 5 months even without removing the Beer or the Pizza from my diet. We dont have to follow any strict diet at all, we dont have to avoid Pizzas and Beer at all, if we know this concept of eating lesser calories and fasting.


Michael - Fat Loss Tips October 29, 2009 at 10:55 pm

So so true.

There’s too much press about exercise and calories burned. If weight loss is your primary goal then monitoring your caloric intake is much more important. I also like the suggestion of taking 400-500 of your BMR. This could really expedite one’s weight loss progress.

BTW, nice pic!

Sensei October 30, 2009 at 1:23 am

HI Rusty
Great post as ever. It’s amazing how many “facts” is untrue, just becasue some people want to earn money.
I have a question for you.
I’m working out 2 times a week in the gym (don’t have the option of doing it 3 times), doing martial arts 3 times a week.
And I’m researching/experimenting with some home bodyweight exercise sundays.

Would it be of any benefit for me to split my workout in the gym up so I’m doing Back, Chest, abs one day and Shoulders, Triceps, and Biceps the other day?

Right now I’m doing an overall program both days in the gym – following the way you describe in your article: a-sensible-way-to-build-muscle-mass


JBT October 30, 2009 at 1:31 am


I’ve been asked by one of my friends to help her loose some weight (she knows I’m reading alot about that kind of stuff;)
She don’t want to go to the gym.

She is already walking alot, so I’ll tell her to keep that up.
I’ll tell her to begin following the “Eat, stop Eat” princip with 2 maby 3 fasting days.
And then I’m wondering if she has to do some other kind of training. Thinking about saying that, she should do the “crazy 8 bodyweight cardio curcuit” 3 days a week.

Do you think that would work for her?

Wazzup October 30, 2009 at 2:56 am

> Very few men need to eat over 2,000 calories per day even maintaining

Damn, I must be “special” requiring 3000+ to maintain. (2000 is my BMR)

Denmark October 30, 2009 at 3:51 am

Amen Aditya! Exactly my words.. Did the same thing here, I still eat what I want when I want as long as it’s not too often, I have my two fast days a week, plus my workouts.
Ex. This weekend I have a Haloween party tonight, a breakfast tomorrow morning and a wedding annivarsary tomorrow night. Do you realize how much eating is going to be happening for me this weekend? 😀 But I threw in an extra fast day this week, have been eating extremely clean and will probably fast Sunday as well… There you go, it almost balances out 😉

I must admit, I am at the point were I am starting to want to gain muscle… It just seems so weird working for this on a restricted diet.. It just sounds wrong, compared to what you read else where and hear other people talk about..
Rusty, I have faith that you are right and will give it a shot.. Let’s see what happens.

Ps. Don’t you hate people with a high BMR?? *LOL* Personaly, I have to be careful not to breath too much if I don’t want to gain!

kyle October 30, 2009 at 10:03 am

In your young vs old metabolism article you attribute weight gain in your older years due to your metabolism slowing down because you lose muscle but in this article you say gaining muscle burns very few extra calories and to try and gain it has very little affect on your metabolism seems contradictory and would mean when getting old muscle loss can’t be the main reason for weight gain must be other factors

tim October 30, 2009 at 10:40 am

So if your a guy who is 6 ft 169 and does ese 1-2 times a week what should you have you calories at during the normal eating days?

Keith October 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

wow i think this isnt very true, for alot of guys 2000 is to lose fat at about 1 pound a week and 2500 is maintenance. I can maintain at about 2500 calories and im 19 years old, 158lbs,6ft tall, and have 7% bodyfat

Joanna Marple October 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

it is true for me. I am 5’6 around 132lbs and 20%BF and i have to drop cals to around 900-1000 cals per day to lose weight. My maintenance is around 1600 cals per day, if i exercise daily (sedentary job)

Studio Element Personal Training October 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I believe that so many people (including many of my personal training clients) use the excuse of “I raked leaves or swept the driveway off and that was my exercise” I say that these are activities of daily life and contrary to 100 years ago, we don’t have as many of these in our lives as we once did. That is why we must incorporate an exercise program into our lives outside of these daily living activities.

JKO October 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I agree with Kyle. It was the first thing I thought of while reading this post. Your rebutal of the Time article seemed to say that building muscle was the key. And that post was only a couple of days ago. Rusty, please explain further.

Cindy October 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I have an off topic question. Say you eat a meal equaling 400 calories of mainly carbs…let’s use roughly 100g of carbohydrates. How do you burn off those carbs in exercise? For example : if I go to the gym and burn 400 calories would I subsequently have burned off the carbs from that meal ??? Or is it harder to use up carbs during a workout.

Jason G October 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I think the BMR calculator is the most important tool when losing weight. Most men should never eat over two thousand calories is also a great rule of thumb for saying lean. However I would eat a little more when I was trying to build muscle using methods that stimulate more aggressive muscle growth. There are a few people who are stating exceptions to the BMR principle. Let me be the first to say that there are no exceptions. People who can eat 3000 to 5000 calories and maintain weight are either heavy individuals or they burn a lot of calories. Most likely these people over estimate their calorie intake. My girlfriend is lean and it appears that she can eat a crazy amount at dinner time. However she has a two hundred calorie breakfast and a four hundred calorie lunch. Her brother is super lean and he states proudly that he has a fast metabolism and can eat as much as he wants. Every time that he eats dinner with us he eats about half of what I eat. My point is that the BMR is science, and people with faster metabolisms have been shown to only burn an extra fifty calories or less a day.

Since body weight mass increases your BMR-muscle does increase your metabolism. You could argue in either direction whether or not it is by a substantial amount. Since many people who read this site eat less and do fasting I think Rusty is right that many of his readers should not count on their muscle gains increasing their metabolism substantially. Many or Rusty’s readers have more catabolism than anabolism in a given year so they are lucky to get more than five pounds of new lean muscle mass per year. In a two year period they might be lucky to gain ten pounds of muscle which would not boost their metabolism substantially. However a person who sets out a program that is more focused on creating sarcoplasmic hypertrophy could gain twenty four pounds of muscle in a two year period and this would increase their BMR by an extra 100 calories. If this person kept his diet the same he could lose an extra pound of body fat every 35 days. Since it is relatively easy to cut 100 calories out of a person’s diet you could even argue that this 100 calorie boost is not substantial.

John October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm

A formula (Harris and Benedict Formula) can be used to estimate BMR using height, weight, age and sex. There are calculators on-line.

Your BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate) is your energy expenditure taken by very precise scientific measurement. The subject is resting in an environment where the temperature is comfortable and he’s been in a fasting state for 12 hours (which means the digestive system is at rest). Another term for it is Resting Energy Expenditure.

But humans don’t spend the day like this. We get up, watch TV, walk, eat, have sex, climb stairs, walk in the grocery store and move around. We call this the Daily Activity Requirement.

If you are SEDENTARY, you’ll probably need 20% on top of the BMR. MODRATELY active, you’ll need 50% more and a person who is EXTRMELY ACTIVE (like an athlete) may need twice as much as the BMR . . . or more.

Combining the BMR and Daily Activity Requirement gives you a total daily need. Another name for this is the TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). If you eat TDEE, you maintain your current weight. Safe weight loss is 20-30% under the TDEE.

Now, suppose you decide to eat 20% under the BMR. Let’s see what that does.

Suppose your BMR is 2000 cal/day. And based on how much you move around and exercise, you are MODERATELY active . . . so you need another 1000 cal/day . . . total of 3000 cal/day TDEE . . . or what you need TO MAINTAIN YOUR CURRENT WEIGHT.

But you decide to eat 20-25% less than BMR. (400-500 cal/day). So now you’re eating 1500 cla/day or 50% of your TDEE.

Health experts will tell you that 50% under daily need is unhealthy . . . that it’s a crash diet . . . and that you’ll probably gain it all back.

Each of us is different so eating 50% of TDEE might work for you. But generally speaking . . . it doesn’t work. The only people that I’ve seen it work with are people who are obese or very obese. What happens there is that moving all that bulk uses up considerable calories so their TDEE is much higher than they think.

The only thing I did like about this information is that he stressed that people tend to OVER-ESTIMATE. They do. They OVER-ESTIMATE how much they need . . . how much they burn . . . and how much will-power they have! LOL

Big people who become small people and remain small people do it by allowing themselves plenty of time. They make small reductions at first and as they settle into new patterns they decrease calories more and more. One great technique is to start with a low carb diet. That will quash your appetite after about 2-3 weeks. From there you can add more carbs and just focus on a low calorie diet.

Sue October 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I think what Rusty was saying is that having greater muscle mass does burn extra calories but not as much as people believe.

Jason the Caveman October 31, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Hey Rusty,

Hope you had a good halloween!! I am thinking about loosing muscle, I think I am little too big for my height. I want to loose muscle on my whole body except my abs.

Some of my info – BF about 7%, 148 pounds, 5’8, 19 yrs old

My approach to this – I am planning to go to the gym 2~3 times a week and only do planks and some other ab exercises then follow up with SFP using treadmill and elliptical(25~40mins).

Diet – eating less but it’s hard, sometimes I can’t control myself

One thing I am really concerned about is that loosing my leanness and definitions all over my body except for my abs(since that’s the only part of my body I am doing resistance training on)

leon October 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I have a query that is not relervant to this post. What exactly are you meant to do once you have joined this site on google friend connect? I joined but can what you are meant to use it for.

drewB October 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Its true.It works. And if its hard to do at first, try writing down everything you eat, every minute of exercise, and every calorie burned past your bmr. It seems tedious and annoying but it worked for my fat-ass, and now I dont have to write it down anymore. I just know when I am over my bmr.
p.s. im not fat anymore.

ali October 31, 2009 at 4:08 pm

hay rusty im following this for 3 weeks and ive lost around 7 pounds im eating 600 calories 100grams protein but im really confused i dont know what to do can u tell me if i have ideal muscle or not ill be really thankful if u cna help me

ali October 31, 2009 at 4:17 pm

mate i m on 600 to 800 cal diet and im 172 pounds 6 feet tal and im enjoying every bit of my diet im lovng it and im losing 2.5lbs per week im loving it im doing cardio 3 times a week and weight lifting 4 times a week i think one should enjoy eating less my life is great now 4 weeks a go i was eating junk food everyday i m loving my new routine once i hit my ideal wait then i will more focus on eating 1200 cal with eat stop eat i cant just wait for rusty,s(commander rusty):P answer to my question so i can kick my butt in gym according to his instructions 😀

Jason G November 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

The problem with using total daily energy expenditure as a starting point is its practically unmeasurable and it varies day to day for most people. Moreover it varies for people with similar height, weight, and age so any recommendations on any sites will not be accurate for most people. If maintaining your weight is your goal you are far better off using your BMR as a starting point and adding calories slowly to see what amount of calories you can eat while maintaining weight. An average individual can not find an estimate for his total daily energy expenditure without using his BMR as a starting point. Using estimates like “I probably burn a thousand calories on top of my BMR” or “50 percent of my BMR” is silly since over estimating by a 100 calories can almost result in a pound of weight gain a month. Similarly overestimating your TDEE by even five percent will result in most people gaining over a pound a month as well. I think that fitness professionals and doctors should also not use terms like moderately active when making calorie recommendations, because one “moderately active” individual might burn three hundred or more calories than another “moderately active” individual. In this case if these two people are eating the same calories than one “moderately active” individual will be gaining about 2.5 pounds of body fat a month if they eat the same amount of calories. TDEE if accurately measured would be a valuable number for most people trying to lose weight or maintain weight, but the problem is it can not be accurately measured. The BMR is the starting point for deciding caloric needs.

Jason G November 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Sorry John I just wanted to clarify this statement:

“Each of us is different so eating 50% of TDEE might work for you. But generally speaking . . . it doesn’t work.”

If calories consumed are less than calories burned- you will lose weight. So eating 50% of TDEE would not only work for weight loss, but it would fabulously. Sure it’s a crash diet. Some people will lose some muscle. Most people who don’t have daily long term willpower will gain it back. BUT IT WILL WORK. I lost sixty pounds in five months by eating well under my BMR. I have maintained weight over the last six months. It works. IT WORKS WELL. From here on out I will use a more gentle approach for my weight loss needs, but crash diets provide a valuable resource:confidence. When a person successfully loses twenty or more pounds in a short period of time they learn that they can lose weight. They learn that it all comes down to what they eat. Many will not go back to their former selves if they can make it far enough to see a lean muscular body. Similarly I don’t give Rusty a hard time for promoting info on low calorie dieting to people who are already thin, because many of them will be able to reach their goals quickly and then retreat to the realm of maintaining their desired weight. Eating 50% of TDEE is unhealthy over long periods of time, but most people can not do this because they will reach their goals quickly.

Aditya November 2, 2009 at 5:19 am

I have not calculated my BMR and I have never used any formulae even, but like Jason G said 2000 calories can be taken as the thumb rule.

Although I get down to 800 calories on non fast days 2/3 weeks before any event trying to be as paleo as I can get. On fast days its always an 800 calorie dinner. I am having a tough time getting down to 6% from my present 9% but I think that shouldnt be much of a problem if I stick to this routine, upping the fasts to 3 days from 2 a week.

By the way, Rusty, since you are on maintenance, how much junk do you indulge in, in a week? Do you think having a 1000-1500 calorie junk dish once a week would be detrimental to maintenance guys? Like, for example, a guy who is on a 3 day fasted ESE eats a 2000 calorie junk dish(pure unadulterated awesome junk I mean :D) one day of the week, what would be the problem? Provided he doesnt cross 800 calories at the fast ending diet during the 3 fasts and also provided he doesnt cross 2000 calories on non fast days through the week? Ok I admit I want to try that 😀

Nicole November 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Great post! I never fully understood BMR and how to apply to to my fitness goals…thanks for sharing!

admin November 2, 2009 at 3:52 pm


That kettlebell workout is brutal. I only have done it a few times, but will get back to kettlebells sometime after the new year. I’m doing Adam Steer’s Bodyweight Blueprint right now, which lasts about 90 days.


There are some exceptions to the rule…for sure. I would say John is spot on for most people however. His recording was focused more on rapid weight loss. I am betting he would give slightly different suggestions if it was to gain muscle.


Great points. I like to balance things like pizza and beer with veggies and organic foods. Completely agree with your point about being able to stay lean and still enjoy these types of foods.


If you are just working out 2 days is the gym, you would probably do well to stick with a basic whole body workout. If you were going 3-4 times, then I would recommend a split routine.


She simply has to cut her calories and add in some intense exercise. The crazy 8 routine 3 times per week under a strong calorie deficit, will do the trick for sure.


It certainly depends on a few factors. I’m 6’3″ and 185 and can do fine with 1600-1800’ish. If I average much more than 2000 calories per day, I tend to lose sharpness in my abs. I also like the way eating less makes me feel…more energy and less feeling lethargic. It doesn’t feel like an extreme diet or anything.


If you are really worried about not eating enough to gain mass, you can do much shorter mass gaining cycles and eat a little more during that time. Maybe 6 weeks of muscle gain, then spend the next 6 weeks tightening up in case you gained 4-5 pounds of fat. The main thing is to not bulk up a ton and have to drop 10-20 pounds.


I tried to word that part carefully, because muscle mass does help…”It will help long term, but you shouldn’t consider it in your short term fat loss equation.” So I was saying to not really consider it into the equation for short term fat loss. As you age and over the years muscle mass does help in keeping people lean. It is still exaggerated to a certain extent but does help.


It does depend on a few factors, but off the top of my head…1,200-1,600 per day to lose weight…1,700-2,000 to maintain. Note: This is for if you want to be ripped most of the time. You could get away with eating quite a bit more if that doesn’t matter.


I worded that part carefully, because muscle mass does help in the long term strategy in staying lean…it just shouldn’t be considered into the equation when it comes to short term weight loss.


Whenever you burn calories when exercising it is a mix of carbs and body fat. It is so impossibly hard to predict total calories burned from a workout and the ratio of fat to carbs, etc. What I recommend is to go into your workouts in a fasted state and put in some intense effort for 30-60 minutes…then don’t eat until 1-2 hours after your workout is done. You will burn calories in your workout, calories after your workout, and boost your natural fat burning hormone…HGH.

Jason G,

Good points. Like you said…a lot of guys who eat a ton are the bulkier guys who overestimate how much of their mass is muscle. Many of those guys are carrying around 20-30 extra pounds of fat. Also…the weight gain doesn’t happen overnight. Someone can eat 3,000 calories a day and the weight gain is slow and not noticeable until 9-12 months in…but then that person has 10-15 pounds they need to lose. Also true that most of the readers are my site aren’t trying to gain muscle.


Exactly…it helps but isn’t the magic formula to getting lean that so many personal trainers make it out to be.


You won’t need to worry about losing your sharpness. Here is what will happen…as you drop weight you may temporarily look a little less sharp. Once you reach your new weight, hold that weight while re-introducing low volume resistance training. Gain strength without gaining weight and that sharpness will come back. Shortly after doing this you will most likely be sharper than ever.


Google Friend Connect is still in Beta release. At some point Google plans on making this bigger than Facebook. For now there isn’t a ton you can do. Google has extremely aggressive plans on taking over the entire internet with Google Wave, a new Operating System that will replace Windows, etc. At some point Google Friend Connect is suppose to be extremely functional.


600 calories is pretty darn aggressive…I wouldn’t recommend doing it for more than 2-3 weeks max. So after looking at your picture…you aren’t too far out from getting really lean. You don’t have any visible fat bulges, but not sharp yet. I would recommend eating more than what you are eating, while still keeping a deficit. Your BF% looks around 12-13%. Give yourself 2 months to get to 8-10% then if you have a special event I would tweak it hard for 2-3 weeks and go low-cal like you are doing now. Good job on your progress so far. I can tell you have the discipline to get as lean as you would like to get.


Once you are in maintenance mode you can get away with eating a decent amount of higher calorie meals. What typically happens for me when maintaining is a week or two of loose eating followed by a week or two of being a bit more strict. The whole ESE thing gives you a lot of wiggle room anyway, but if I find I have 2 weeks where I ate out a lot…I will then just tighten up a bit the following weeks. The trick of maintenance is to never let yourself get too far away from your lean state.


Rahim November 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm

This was very educational. I never even knew about BMR. Great post Rusty.

Palidor November 3, 2009 at 8:04 am

Rusty, I completely agree with you and John Barban that cutting calories is the way to lose weight. But Barban’s suggestion to cut 400-500 calories per day just doesn’t work for small people… at least not for me. I’m 107 pounds, and only need 1000-1100 calories a day for maintenance. I simply can’t cut 500 calories every day and not be constantly starving and downright miserable. So, I go more modest, 150-200 by diet, and then make a little bit more a deficit with exercise. It takes me longer to lose, but it’s sustainable.

Joe November 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Didn’t read all the posts above so if this was covered i apologize. I always wondered about how pooping helps regulate body weight. Talking about myself, I have a bowel movement once a day. If I binge I will have 2 or perhaps one large movement. Is it that the excess calories are “wasted” to maintain body weight ie homeostasis? Binging over time, the body does not have time to process all the extras so it stores as fat.

Intermittant Fasting has been discussed at length here and other places and causes the body to lose weight by utilizing the fat as energy source. Also there are alot less bowel movements. His theory is some what like a prolonged controlled fast ie sharp cut back on calories below BMR.

Interesting stuff

Vortex November 4, 2009 at 8:33 am

Hi Rusty

I found your site recently and I am seriously impressed. I’ve been in this field for about 16 years so I thought I knew a lot but I’ve learned a huge amount from you. Thank you.

Question please:

From comparing the articles you wrote in 2008 and those you wrote in 2009, it seems that in 2008 you thought that for fat loss low insulin (what you eat) was king and low cal (how much) was in second place.

However, in 2009 it seems that you now think low cal is king and low insulin is in second place.

Am I correct? Does this reflect a change in your thinking?

I would fascinated to hear your thoughts on this and what changed your mind (assuming I am correctly interpreting what you wrote).



Amy November 4, 2009 at 9:52 am

Hi Rusty,
Thanks for calling attention to the odcast – it is brilliant! You touched a nerve with this topic – again!

ali November 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

thanks rusty ill increase my cal intake and keep on doing cardio ill keep u updated about my progress thanks

ali November 4, 2009 at 11:54 am

rusty i also wanted to ask m a bit confused should i do pavel muscle building workout or just strenth training (i.e stop one rep short of failure, heavy weight, 2 3 min rest in between sets,low volume of sets) what do u think i should do ? should i get really ripped first then focus on pavels workout or can i do it with my stric diet will it give me the same result as strenth training does ( hard muscle)

ali November 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

pardon me for posting again and again but im just soo excited ryt now:D well to give u an idea want to look like this i no its hard but not impossible HARDWORK CONQUERS ALL..

Zlaja November 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I am 18 years old and I was reading about protein supplements, and from what i understood, protein supplements are anabolic also, just not steroids. I have not ever taken them out of principals and belief that i can get a good body naturally without taking them. But i have not achieved my goal, while my friends who do take it, have bulked up really fast. Do you think that protein supplements are necessary to achieve a “model body”, or can i get it without them?


Zlaja November 4, 2009 at 9:18 pm

And just for clarification, when i said my friends bulked up, i meant that they have great definition and muscle mass, not like a bodybuilder but more like models. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Vortex November 5, 2009 at 8:09 am

Oh and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the last sentence of this paragraph (which puts forward a seemingly good reason for keeping carbs very low even when using IF:

“In addition to promoting fatty acid metabolism, GH shuts down the uptake of glucose into muscle tissue and stops the conversion of amino acids into glucose (Rabinowitz, Klassen, and Zieler, 1965). The fact that GH shuts down not just carbohydrate metabolism but also protein metabolism is critically important. It means that when one enters the fasted state, your muscle and organs are protected against being consumed to fuel your body (Nørrelund et al., 2006). This clearly illustrates the greatest failing of the high-carbohydrate, calorie-restricted “semi-starvation” diet that Taubes pans: if you maintain high insulin levels but insufficient calories, there’s little to protect the protein in your muscles and vital organs from being consumed while your fat tissue goes untouched.”

Jane November 12, 2009 at 12:43 am

I’m an eighteen year old girl and somehow, about months of low calorie diets and intensive cardio, light weight training and martial arts have managed to make me feel and look healthier. But my thighs still remain ridiculously huge and somehow I think my calves are beginning to get bigger. Do you have any advice on how to lose fats/muscles in these areas?

Marlene January 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I don’t know if i believe John Barban. Im thinking he just needed to stand out from the competition, so he came up with this new way of dieting so he could sell his ebook ?

Dimitri February 9, 2010 at 10:03 am

I know you mention the Basic Metabolic Rate plus any exercise you do, but one thing that is not mentioned is the kind of calculators that also factor in how much exercise you do on average. Example my basic BMR is 1800 and something calories a day, but with my activity levels factored in there the reality was 2700 a day for maintenance. Was wondering your opinion on those because calories on a treadmill are never that accurate, plus walking and moving around etc.

I eat around 1700-2000 cals a day now and have still been losing quite a bit of weight with weight training and interval sprinting afterwards. I always did weight training before but my cardio was infrequent at best. Since I piled on the festive weight I started at the gym again back in mid Jan and am already much trimmer than I was before. Am gunning for the sleek look as well and can already see more definition on my abs, but still reckon I’m atleast 6 months away from having something to really brag about.

One thing I’m not sure if you’ve spoken about is the types of calories you eat. My calorie count was only ever slightly more, but would allow myself thinks like Diet Sodas, and a cheat day each week where I ate whatever I wanted. Everyone is different, but easily found that 1000 calories of say chick peas, chicken, broccoli etc is far better than a pizza which is 1000 calories. I can’t say the healthier option gave me more energy or anything like that, but I’ve cut out junk food completely till I get to my target and the results are already a lot more obvious.

I’d advise forbidding cheat meals or days until you get to your target too.

Rumm Gamon December 8, 2010 at 1:59 am

Hi, it appears that the links are broken.


Fred Flowers February 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

This is very interesting information. I had no idea that basal metabolic rate mattered so much. I thought as long as I kept at it I would drop the weight. A group of people looking for physician jobs did a talk about this at our local gym. It hit on some of the same points that you it on.

Matt Dublin February 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I did know that the metabolic rate was measured this way. I am glad to see learn this much. It will certainly help as a parent to know more about this. It is amazing how the Internet can help us learn. Discerning Church

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