RNT Back To Basics Series, Part One: Fat Loss

Even if you do consider yourself an expert, it’s always good to refresh and tweak for optimal results.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 14 Jan 2019

Nutrition Beginner
7 Mins

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Education is at the heart of everything we do at RNT. We know that the information we surround ourselves with in our own environments will dictate how we act, ‘think’ and feel. Which is why in this information overload world we live in, we aim to provide content that is objective, rooted in science, and based on practicality and context (the often missing piece of the puzzle).

When embarking on any form of journey, we believe it’s important that you understand the process you’re on, even if it’s at the most basic level. Due to the sheer amount of information available laced in bias and minimal context, we spend considerable time and effort educating and correcting a lot of the myths and misconceptions put out there by different media.

Which is why we’re launching the ‘RNT Back to Basics’ series, where we’re simplifying and stripping off the fluff behind key concepts so that you can understand the why behind what you’re doing.

In any field of work, there will be set principles that you must abide by to get a certain result. To achieve this, there will be various methods of getting to the end goal, providing the method uses the principle.

This is the same in the body transformation world. Whether your goal is muscle gain and fat loss, you will need to abide to key principles that’ll form the core of this ‘Back to Basics’ series.

We’ll be splitting this into four parts:

1)   The Energy Balance Equation – Fat Loss
2)   All About Muscle Building
3)   Media Driven Myths
4)   Common Mindset & Attitude Pitfalls

Each section will be a combination of written and video content, and the aim will be to arm you with the knowledge to make smart decisions along the journey towards your transformation goal.

Part 1: The Energy Balance Equation- Fat Loss


Here’s the basic premise of the energy balance equation.




Credit for the image here.


Let’s dig a little deeper…

Energy Expenditure


The 3 main contributors to energy expended are:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)– This is based on the amount of energy your body uses per day to stay alive. It’ll be significantly different between people of different height and weight; for example, smaller individuals weighing 50kg will have significantly less energy demands compared to those who are 100kg.

Changing this and trying to ‘increase your metabolic rate’ is very difficult in relation to fat loss and should be dismissed as a focus point (stay tuned for part 3 as to why this is a myth). One example commonly thrown around is the idea that if you’re gaining muscle, you’ll then be allowed to eat more food. While perhaps true that adding 10lbs muscle may add up to 500 extra calories per day, this is solid muscle that may take 2 to 3 years to build! That’s why you’re better off letting this be a by-product, and worrying about the next two areas.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)– This refers to the amount of energy taken to digest, use and store the food that you eat on a daily basis. This is higher in proteins, and could be up to 20-30% of protein calories consumed to help with process of usage and storage. Carbohydrates and fats are typically around 5-6% and 2-3%, respectively.

Physical Activity– This is separated into two categories: NEAT and EAT.

EAT – Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is the calculation of all the energy burnt during scheduled exercise like weight training, cardio, etc.

NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. These are all things that we don’t consider exercise like walking upstairs, fidgeting, cooking your food, facial expressions and moving during the day for work related tasks. It can often be hard to define, but can make up anywhere from 15-50% of total energy expenditure (which is why we recommend daily step targets, as explained here).

Energy Intake


Food & Drink– This is the only thing on this side of the scales. It refers to the amount of energy ingested via food which contains calories, and drinks (apart from water and calorie free drinks).

The Energy Balance Trade Off 


With a balancing scale like this, if we tip the scales in any direction, we’ll see a change. If we tip it above maintaining balance with more food and drink, we’ll see an increase in fat storage and excess energy, and vice versa.

What’s also worth nothing is there’s also a gradient effect, whereby the more out of balance we get in this equation, the more dramatic the changes.

How To Make The Energy Balance Work For Fat Loss


With this equation in mind, we only have two ways to ensure the right side of the scale is tipping towards a calorie deficit.

1. We can increase the factors on the right side by increasing physical activity, and ensuring that we’re reaching a protein target (around 0.8-1g/lb) for the benefit of TEF.

2. We can lighten the load from energy intake on the left side of the scales by eating and drinking less energy.

What’s The Best Way?


While we’ve covered the basics of what’s needed to drive a calorie deficit for fat loss, we didn’t touch on what we consider to be the ‘best way’.

There’s a very good reason for this, because there is none.

There’s no ‘best’ diet or training plan. Only what works for your psychological profile, and what fits in practically and sustainably with your lifestyle. The ‘best’ plan means nothing without adherence, and that’s why once you’ve created a calorie deficit (along with a protein target to protect and build muscle mass), the most important contributor to your success will be your adherence.

Adherence comes from building a plan that works around your lifestyle, and not the other way around. As soon as you try to conform your life into a diet, you’ll set yourself up for future failure. Which is why at RNT we don’t believe in any specific diet or training plan, or pigeonholing you into any one method. Instead, we’re paradoxically original by being flexible, and using key principles to mould the plan around you.
Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-sellilng book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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