A lot of people are trying new diet fads every week, looking to find that “secret” equation that will produce instant results and progress.
Unfortunately, there is no secret equation. The human body works on simple terms of thermodynamics. Basically, your body burns a certain number of calories each day. If your caloric intake matches or is above what you burn, you will maintain or gain weight. If your caloric intake is below your daily expenditure, you will lose weight AND if done correctly, burn fat.
To keep things simple, just know this: actively working out each day and being mobile will increase the amount of calories you burn throughout the day. That can allow you to potentially eat a little extra food, HOWEVER exercise alone will never be able to make up for a poor diet when it comes to fat loss and leaning out.
Most people have trouble tracking their calories correctly, and that's why they fail to see progress. Likewise, a lot of peoples ratio's of calories (carbs, fats, and protein) is not ideal as well, and that can influence the quality of the weight lost and the overall results.
A good rule of thumb for a basic diet plan is to keep things balanced- that means not too high or low of anything, but moderate numbers. Since protein is the building block for muscle and helps vastly with recovery, we know that it is one of the most important macronutrients when we are on any kind of fitness program. When trying to lean out, generally 1 gram per pound of body weight is a good starting point for MOST people. So if you are 175 lbs, shoot for 175 grams of protein a day, divided into 4 or 5 meals.
From here, a simple way to ensure you put yourself into a caloric deficit is to match your protein intake with carbohydrate intake for the day. So again, for the 175 lb individual, 175 grams of carbohydrates for the day should be adequate in terms of fueling your body and giving you enough energy to still perform your workouts.
Fat is still an important macronutrient, and too little can effect hormone production and other metabolic pathways. Fat is also extremely easy to overeat, as it is a calorically dense food (ie peanut butter) A good basic protocol for calculating your fat intake is to multiply your body weight by 1/3. That's .33 in a calculator, and using the same example as before, a 175 person would multiply their weight by .33 and end up with 57.75 grams of fat. From there we can round up or down to 55 or 60, anywhere in that range should be adequate intake.
This would put a 175 lb person looking to lose fat at 175 grams of protein, 175 grams of carbohydrates, and 60 grams of fat for a daily goal to hit. That's 1,940 calories a day, which should result in a deficit FOR MOST people. Depending on how active or advanced you are, these numbers may vary a bit. And that's why a lot of more experienced guys hire coaches to help make those final adjustments to ensure they are optimizing their nutrition plans.
It is extremely important to actually track your food at first when setting up a diet plan. Many times people overeat on portions without ever realizing it, and then wonder why their progress has halted. Being just a small percentage off for every meal can easily sway your daily intake a couple of hundred calories, which can be enough to pull you out of that deficit that you need to actually burn fat and lose weight.
Supplements and fat burners can absolutely help speed this process up, but without the fundamentals of a basic diet plan you are throwing money out of the window until you can adhere to a basic and consistent plan.
This example plan is easy to calculate for most beginners, and should put most at a small caloric deficit that will help you get going in the right direction. Remember however, that as you lose weight, you will need to refine the plans numbers as it is based off of your current body weight. So if one drops down to 170 lbs, all of those totals will change slightly and have to be reduced!
Don't try to outwork a bad diet! If you want results in the shortest amount of time, a consistent plan yo hold yourself accountable too is one of the most important tools for your success. While this plan is simple and straight to the point, it should allow you to calculate your basic caloric goals for a cut and then go from there!