Diet is a 4-Letter Word

Diet is a 4 letter wordBy Richard King

Dieting is never an option when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Dieting, in my opinion, is just short term hope, for a quick fix. That is why it typically never works. You need to focus on a healthy lifestyle 365 days a year, not “My friend is getting married, so I need to fit into this dress” or “Time to start dieting because spring break is coming.” ALL BAD OPTIONS. Once you understand that it’s a lifestyle and not a quick fix, you will be on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle that doesn’t need quick fix diets while you hope for a better body.

Many often state that you should focus on nutrition. You always hear that nutrition is a big part of living a fit and healthy lifestyle. However, exercising is just as crucial as nutrition. If you’re not exercising and putting in the HARD work than what is the point? If you want to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, you must first understand how many calories are required for your body and activity level to be successful. We’ll discuss exercise and hard work at a later time.

I typically recommend for a basic to intermediate level client to start with the 1-2-3 Nutrition rule of thumb. So let’s start off with breaking down the basics.

What is BMR? Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories you would burn in 24 hours if you stayed in bed but not sleeping. Doing the basic Google search the first few BMR calculators that I have come across are off by almost 1000 calories. To find your BMR you must convert your body weight to kilograms. The following numbers you see are the breakdown for my BMR.

183 pounds / 2.2 = 83.18 kilograms.

Next calculation is Gender: Male 1.0, female 0.9
1.0 x 83.2 x 24 = 1996.8

The next step is determining your lean factor.

Male Body Fat % Female Body Fat %
10 to 14 = 1.0 14 to 18 = 1.0
15 to 20 = .95 19 to 28 = .95
21 to 28 = .90 29 to 38 = .90
Over 28 = .85 Over 38 = .85

I’m working with about 12 % body fat. 1.0 x 1997 = BMR 1997

Diet is a 4 letter wordWhat you don’t see is my height and age in the calculation. The difference of this break down and most basic calculators you find online is the consideration of body fat percentage. With most BMR calculators it’s all about your age and the assumption that you’re getting older and fatter. The more body fat you have the less amount of calories are required. Does everyone lose muscle and gain body fat when they get older? I don’t know about you, but that’s something I’m preventing while I gracefully age and improve my fitness level.

After calculating the BMR we must focus on our activity level. Activity level factors in your daily life, whether you are a white collar or blue collar worker who is or isn’t active in sports or fitness. Your basic white collar couch potato would be a factor of 1.30, while a blue collar worker constantly working hard and on their feet who also hits the gym for some intense training would be a factor of 2.00.

Average Daily Activity Level
1.30 = Very Light 1.55 = Light 1.65 = Moderate 1.80 = Heavy 2.00 = Very Heavy

I would consider my activity level moderate. Taking my BMR and factoring my activity level:

1997 x 1.65 = 3295 calories required Daily with my activity level. Many more calories than what the FDA recommends. In my opinion the FDA recommends 2000 calories because America is getting fatter every year. But we won’t get into that debate. That topic could take a very long time.

3295 calories to live a healthy lifestyle? There is much more to it than just the calories. Now comes the hard part. The part when you need to start doing the math and actually reading the label on the food you purchase. This is when the 1-2-3 Nutrition rule of thumb comes into play. 1 part fat, 2 parts protein, and 3 parts carbohydrates. A nutritional lifestyle that is low in fat, moderate in protein and high in carbohydrates making it easy when purchasing food. Well, it gets easy with time.

We should already know that 1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories; 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories; and 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories. So with my break down I’m looking at 61 grams of fat (1 part), 274 grams of Protein (2 Parts), and 412 grams of Carbohydrates (3 parts) each day. Don’t forget to break it down even farther so that you’re eating 5 meals per day. So you’re looking at about 12 grams of fat, 55 grams of protein, and 82 grams of carbohydrates per meal five times a day.

The 1-2-3 Nutrition rule of thumb is great for basic to intermediate fitness and health leveled person wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. Right now you might be thinking, “I don’t see anything about supplements.” When to eat, supplementation, and carbohydrate cycling for the Advanced athlete are just a few of the many topics to discuss at a later time.


I grew up in Boise, ID and have been living in Southern California since 1999. Growing up I was always smaller than most kids my age. I would do what I could to exercise and try to put muscle on my frame, but it just did not work. When I graduated high school, I only weighed 135 pounds.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994. During my time on Active Duty, I have covered multiple campaigns with combat tours to Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Being a Marine, one tends to stay competitive with their peers; but I needed more of a challenge. I became serious about living a healthy and fit lifestyle in 2009, and started taking courses to truly understand the science behind the human body, resistance training and nutrition. I have earned the title’s International Sports Sciences Association Master Trainer and Elite Trainer.

When the NPC/IFBB establishing a new Division: Men’s Physique, I saw that as a new challenge. I just couldn’t see myself being a Fitness Trainer and not setting the example for my clients, so I began competing in 2013, with a goal to earn an IFBB Pro card, qualify, and compete on the biggest stage as a professional athlete at the Mr. Olympia.