by Tony Gjokaj June 18, 2021 5 min read

If you have looked at a few of the Intermittent Fasting protocols and have selected the protocol you want to try, now we can deeper with the setting up our food or macronutrient intake.

When it comes to eating and training like a warrior, you should be cognizant of the nutrition you're getting and how well you perform in and out of the gym. This will include whether or not you're trying to lose body fat or trying to gain muscle mass.

In this post, we will explore setting up your food or caloric intake around Intermittent Fasting.

Let's dive in!

Energy Balance

Before we start exploring how to track calories or food intake, it's important to get into a simple mindset of the process of energy balance.

To start, based on the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, we can determine that energy (or calories) can determine the rate of weight gain or weight loss:

  • If you are eating more calories than you expend, you will store the excess energy (as both body fat and muscle). This is known as a Caloric Surplus.
  • If you are eating less calories than you expend, you will get rid of energy (as both body fat and muscle). This is known as a Caloric Deficit.

In understanding this, you can also see why we might like to limit gaining more body fat than muscle, or losing more muscle instead of fat.

When it comes to energy balance, I like to focus on having the following mindsets for each phase:

If we are training for muscle gain, we want to limit body fat gain. We we want to eat as much as we can to get stronger and limit body fat gain.

If we are training for fat loss, we want to limit muscle loss. We want to eat as much as we can while still losing weight.

Now that we have a fair understanding of energy balance, we can get into the tracking.

Food Journaling

If you’re just getting started with tracking or portion control methods, I would encourage you to start by keeping a Food Journal. A Food Journal is just a way to track how many meals a day you're currently getting, and whether or not you're consuming too much or too little.

A simple 1% change per day is manageable.

If you feel like calorie counting might be overwhelming to start, start by journaling what you eat and monitoring that.

A simple step like this has changed some of my past client's body compositions dramatically.

Just like tracking your monthly expenses, I believe it’s important to know what you eat... and awareness is a huge part of success! 

Meal Tracking App

When it comes to meal tracking, you can write it down, or download a meal tracking app like MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal will help you track foods by searching in their database for the food you eat.

I do this to track my food when I eat out at restaurants too: even if the calories aren’t exact or the meal isn't exact... I have access to a database with a general ball park of how many calories a meal could potentially have.

Another solid app would be MyMacros+.MyMacros focuses more on tracking macronutrients, which we will discuss more in a future post.

Now with that out of the way, we can dive into two Meal Track methods: both of which can be chosen based on your personal preferences.

Meal Track Method One: Portion Control

If you don’t want to track your calories or macronutrients, start by portioning your foods. With this method, we prefer using Precision Nutrition‘s method on portion control, you can use this to size our portions.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Palm = Protein: The palm is used for portioning Protein sources like Chicken, Fish, etc. One palm serving = 1 protein serving.
  • Cupped Handful = Carbohydrates: A cupped handful is used for portioning Carb sources like Rice, Potatoes, and/or Oatmeal. One cupped handful = 1 carb serving.
  • Fist = Veggies: The fist is also used for portioning veggies like Broccoli, Asparagus, and Green Beans.
  • Thumb = Fat: The thumb is used for portions of fat-dense foods like Peanuts or Almonds. One thumb serving = 1 fat serving
  • Adding a Fruit for dessert and/or post-workout is the perfect way to feel satiated/fuller.

Now when it comes to Intermittent Fasting, we might have multiple hand portion servings when it comes to getting enough calories in for energy, performance, and more.

A great way to get a decent ballpark of where you should start is the Precision Nutrition's Calculator, which you can use here.

This will allow you to get an accurate estimation of how many hand portions of food you should get.

As you can see here, this may be a less complicated method of “food tracking” for some.

If you find that after a COUPLE OF WEEKS you are struggling to drop weight, take out 1/2 portion of carbohydrates out in one meal (or take a fruit out) and assess. 

You should expect to see results overtime.

Meal Track Method Two: Calorie Counting

Method two is a more precise and analytical method of tracking calories. The following steps are what I use in getting a more accurate estimation of maintenance calories before I dig into either a “gaining weight” phase or fat loss phase.

This calculation would be best used for people who weight lift and are fairly active.

Alternatively, if you prefer, you can get your caloric goal from the Precision Nutrition Calculator here.

Step One: Get your “Base Calories”.

Take your body weight and multiply it by 10.

This will give you a base calorie intake. 

The base calorie intake is what you technically burn through daily without any sort of physical activity.

Step Two: Find the “Activity Multiplier”. 

The activity multiplier is a generic estimation; you might need to adjust depending on how much energy you expend. This is determined by the following:

  • Very low activity (ie. light cardio): 1.3-1.4
  • Active (ie. weight training 3-5 days weekly): 1.5-1.8
  • Super Active (ie. high intensity; genetic outlier): 1.8-2.2

Step Three: Take your base calories and multiply them by your multiplier to get your “Maintenance Calories”. 

This will determine the calories you can eat to maintain your current physique.

  • Example: Me at 175. 175 x 10 = 1750 (base calories). I am active (1.5), so 1750 x 1.5 = 2625 (maintenance calories)

Step Four: Determine your phase (whether fat loss or gaining), then add/subtract from “maintenance calories”.

If Fat Loss is the goal:

  • Ideally, a 0.5-1% loss of bodyweight per week is easiest to adhere to.
  • The sweet spot would be 300-500 calories subtracted from maintenance.
  • My example: My maintenance calories are 2625. For fat loss, I will subtract 400 calories. 2625-400 = 2225 calories for fat loss

If Weight Gain is the goal:

  • This is determined by years of consistent training experience.
  • If a Beginner (first year of training): add 300-500 calories to maintenance.
  • If Intermediate (2-5 consistent years of training): add 150-300 calories to maintenance.
  • If Advanced (5+ consistent years): add 60-150 calories to maintenance.
  • With weight gain, expect to track progress monthly.

The reason why the calories decrease with training experience is that it becomes harder to build muscle the more advanced you get with exercise.

To Go Even Further Beyond

Now that we have our calories down... we can dive in further and get more precise by introducing Macronutrients and Micronutrients.

If you're ready to set up your macronutrients for Intermittent Fasting, click here.

Until then, if you have any questions or comments, email us at support@reforgedperformance.com or direct message us on Instagram.

Until next time, Reforged Legion!

- Tony

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.



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