I stole this from Dr Tom Bilella, featured on Joe DeFranco’s industrial strength show podcast.

It’s easy to use, and strangely accurate. Simply put it’s an easy way to find a base caloric figure to start from. If you use it a few times, then you will be able to work out an awful lot with just a phone and some quick thinking!

We simply start with your body weight in pounds and three numbers…

12, 15 or 17.

You will rate your metabolism by these numbers.

  • 12 would be an untrained or a slow metabolism, or possibly an underactive thyroid. If you are unsure of how to judge yourself then go through this with both 12 and 15. If you find that the number that comes up is way higher or lower than the number you consume on a daily basis, then you probably need to reset the numbers with the other choice.
  • 15 is a relatively fit and able trained individual who exercises and is in good shape.
  • 17 is all of the above, but in a higher stress environment (whether that’s physical or mental).

A good example would be me. I work long days, and I’m always on my feet and moving around demonstrating movements and exercises all day. Plus, I have a fast metabolism and carry a good amount of muscle.

Also, age will affect these numbers in a positive or negative manner. The older we are, the slower our metabolism will become. But this is supposed to remain a quick article, and it’s for us working out a baseline on the fly so we can get that client a starting point for either weight gain or loss.

Doing the Maths 


So then we have a number (12/15/17) and we have our body weight in pounds.

Multiply the body weight in pounds by the selected number (for example 55kg x 15 = 121lb x 15 = 1815).

So this is our (rough, and crude) effective baseline start point!

This is an approximation of the client’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Which are the calories that the client would burn if they woke up, lay in bed all day and did nothing, then returned to sleep.

Then we adjust to fit. If the client wants to go into a deficit, we can work in 300-500 calorie reductions. This would be for a client to lose weight (usually we want the client to lose body fat). Or we can go for 300-500 calorie increase. This is for if the client is looking to add lean body mass.

As you can see, it’s really simplistic, but it will work. With our model client, we have her dropping 300 calories from her basal metabolic rate which is 1815 – 300 = 1515.

This has put her in a deficit, and she will start to move the needle.

With a combination of lower intake and more output, both in exercise and N.E.A.T (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) – in other words being less lazy and more active.

Still keeping this short to keep you reading. Let’s look at how you would then split the macros up into percentages of your total calories.

So we go with one of my favourites for people over 40 – 30/30/30 (obviously 33% but you feel my jelly?) Know what I call this one? The balanced diet. Shocking, right?

So 30% of the calories will come from Protein, 30% from Fats and 30% from Carbohydrates.

That will give you 500 calories of each.

  • So that will be 125 grams of protein (4 calories per gram).
  • 125 grams of Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram).
  • And roughly 55 grams of Fat (9 calories per gram).

Divide that across your day in a way that suits the client (remember it just depends on their lifestyle, there are no rules) and you are away.

Now I’m not saying it’s an exact science, but we have to start somewhere. People need start lines and you need to be able to show them that it doesn’t need to be hard!

Stay strong,

Coach Fletch.

Author - Fletcher Dalrymple - Personal Trainer & Mentor

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