How to eat to maintain muscle and current body weight
Based on your test results you will need to tailor your eating to maintain your current body weight. This will enable you to remain at a constant body weight that is healthy based on what your current goals are.
Your goal may be to maintain your current body weight until you have to do a cut later on in the year or you have reached your goal weight and want to keep hold of it.
Whatever your reason you can effectively eat to maintain your current body weight.
When you are eating to maintain, it’s not just a case of eating what you like because you are at a happy weight, the scales will still go up if you do that!
Here’s how to craft your very own maintenance food plan and don’t worry, it’s not that complicated!
Step 1: Work out your bodies calorie needs for maintenance
The best way to start tackling your food plan is by working out how many calories your body needs to maintain its existing weight and muscle mass.
Use the below equations to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR – how many calories your body burns at rest):
BMR= 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
Or approximately 11 calories per pound of body weight.
BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
Or approximately 10 calories per pound of body weight.
Step 2: Eat based on a calorie maintenance levels
Firstly, to begin crafting your food plan to effectively maintain your current body weight you will need to be consuming the correct amount so you don’t lose weight and you don’t gain weight.
This means you need to be bang on target with what you are eating.
If the above equation is too complicated for you, you can work out how many calories you need per day based on this principle by using this awesome free calculator.
This will take into account weight, age, height and how active you are and present you with your daily calorie requirements for maintenance.
Step 3: Sort out your nutrient ratios and daily meals
Ideally, the key is to eat small meals (or regular meals with snacks in between) throughout the day, preferably every 3 hours as you would if you were following a bulking or cutting plan.
The best way to maintain your body weight is to monitor your caloric intake for the day and monitor the total carbohydrates you take in.
To maintain your current body weight effectively and safely based on your goals, your macro nutrient ratio should be broken down in a rough ratio of around:
- 30% protein
- 40% carbohydrates
- 30% healthy fats
These ratios don’t just mean eat whatever you want within these brackets. You will need to keep your choices healthy.
You need to be consuming a balance of lean proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates.
In order to do this effectively you will need to find out what balance of macro-nutrients you require to maintain while keeping body fat at a constant level, the last thing you need is to be spilling over!
One you have the number of calories you need to consume for mass gain (from step 1) you will then need to get your own specific macro nutrient ratios. Once you get these you will be able to plan your meals so you are really nailing your nutrition.
Step 4: Pay attention to the timing of your meals and carbohydrates
You have probably seen all the crazy diet trends advertised in the media every day that come and go. Dieting & maintenance doesn’t have to be hard or stressful.
The best things for weight control are optimizing your metabolism through regular exercise, balancing your meals for proper insulin control, and keeping an eye on the total number of calories you consume for the day based on your own individual needs.
Consume the majority of your carbohydrates before and after training to replenish your glycogen stores.
Step 5: Monitor your weekly progress
Ideally you should be weighing yourself once a week. And you should be staying around a similar weight give or take a few pounds either side.
In order to consume your daily calories required for maintenance, it’s a good idea to keep track of your calorie intake using an app such as Myfitness pal, or any other that will help to keep you on track.
Example Female Maintenance Plan
Starting Weight: 9st 7
Height is 5,46
Daily Calorie requirements for cutting: 1866
Nutrient ratios per meal: 47g Carb/23g Protein/10g Fats
80g oats + 1 scoop of protein + unsweetened almond milk + one teaspoon of peanut butter
1 tin of Tuna with green and leafy veg
50g dry weight basmati rice
One teaspoon of mayo
Pre-workout shake – 1 scoop of whey with water & 80g oats.
11g of Brazil nuts
Post workout Shake – 1 1/4 scoop of diet whey + large banana
100g Salmon or mackerel with 200 grams cooked sweet potato & green leafy veg
1 scoop of whey protein with water
11g Brazil nuts
Example Male Maintenance Plan
Starting Weight: 16st
Height is 5ft 11
Daily Calorie requirements for cutting: 2928
Nutrient ratios per meal: 73.2g carb, 36.6g protein, 16.2g fat
100g oats + 1 1/3 scoop of protein + unsweetened almond milk + one tablespoon of peanut butter
Pre-workout shake – 1 1/3 scoops of whey protein mixed with water. Blend with 100g of oats and one tablespoon of flaxseed.
Post workout Shake – 1 1/4 scoop of whey protein + 50 grams of dextrose and one small banana. Add one tablespoon of flaxseed.
100g Salmon or mackerel, with 100 grams basmati rice and lots of green, leafy vegetables.
1 ¼ scoop of casein protein with water. Add one tablespoon of peanut butter and 100g of ground oats.