Determining the right caloric deficit for your client

By Manny Laris

Caloric deficit

 If your client’s goal is to lose weight and achieve an epic transformation, do you think it should be a quick or slow process? If you believe it should be the latter, you might be surprised to know it can sometimes be detrimental to the long-term success of your client. Hear me out. 

At Clean Health Fitness Institute, we want two things out of a transformation: 

1.    Epic results 

2.    Fast results. 

Now you may be asking yourself; but isn’t rapid fat loss unsafe? It can be, but it can also be safe and effective if you know how to determine the right calorie deficit for your client. 

Getting a Fast and Epic Result 

Before we go any further, it is important that you first understand the rationale behind a rapid fat loss program and why we believe at Clean Health Fitness Institute it is the best way to achieve long term success for your clients. 

You see, the faster the client sees results, the more likely they are to comply over the long term. The more they comply over the long term, the more epic the transformation. 

Typically, we like to design 12-week transformation programs at Clean Health Fitness Institute. Why 12? Because you can get some impressive results in this time, but it is not an overly long time. Win-win! You have a satisfied client who has achieved epic results as promised and you look like the expert that you are! 

Why the Clean Health Fitness Institute Plan Works 

Now during a traditional cut phase, many coaches will put their clients on a 20% deficit. Roughly speaking, you can expect a 0.5% drop in body fat per week. If you are 12% and getting ready for a show or a photo shoot, this is not a bad approach. 

At the end of 12 weeks, you will have lost 6% body fat and landed at a 6% result. The problem is that this equation does not scale. The average client coming in at 35% body fat on the same caloric deficit is only going to get down to 29% body fat. The visual difference between 12% and 6% is tremendous! However the visual difference between 35% and 29% is more like a rounding error. This lack of a significant visible difference is going to completely derail your client’s hopes of a result. 

They will see no real change in the mirror! They will give up on your plan and fall back into old habits. You are not going to change a client’s life with a 6% decrease in body fat, and we are in the business of changing lives when it comes to general population clients. 

The difference in the mirror between 12% body fat and 6% body fat is huge, but not so much for 35% and 29%. 

Do not Give A One-Size-Fits-All Approach! 

Once you have a clear picture of your client’s current condition and training history, we can begin to work on their individualised caloric deficit for the best possible result. 

For men at 30% body fat and below, we set their caloric deficit at their body fat percentage plus 5%. So, if they are 15%, we set the deficit at 20%. Body fat at 25%? The deficit should be 30%. 
 
Remember, our baseline of 20% yields about a half of a percent reduction per week, so as our starting point increases, so too does the deficit. 

This means that we would expect our 15% body fat male to lose 6% over the 12 weeks and get down to 9% while our 25% male should lose closer to 9% getting down to 16%. The higher the starting body fat, the harder we need to push to get a visually significant result. 

When body fat exceeds 30% we take a different approach by first assessing the client’s training history. Based on this information, we will either increase his deficit or put them on fixed calories consisting of protein, fats, and veggies. 

If you would like to learn more on this topic and improve your nutrition programming skills, be sure to check out our specialist nutrition coaching courses. 

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