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On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m showing you how to create a 500 calorie deficit for weight loss correctly.
I get asked this all the time.
“Brad, how do you eat so much food and still maintain 8% body fat, 365 days per year?”.
Well, I’ll be sharing an example of 3 ways to lose fat, the:
I’ve never been on a “diet” before.
I am also not blessed with awesome genetics.
So how am I able to follow a lifestyle that allows me to eat a lot of food, and still rock abs 365 days a year?
Well, to burn fat you need to be in a caloric deficit.
A caloric deficit is just a fancy word for burning more calories than you’re taking in.
In other words, energy out is greater than energy in.
That’s the simple part.
But did you know there are different ways to create a calorie deficit.
Here’s a simple example.
Meet Joe Smith.
Joe is a research analyst at a major bank.
He made a promise to his wife of 15 years that he is going to lose his unhealthy fat.
To help Joe out, I’m going to show you an example of 3 different ways to get to the same 500 calorie deficit.
As mentioned earlier, this includes creating a calorie deficit the:
Here is strategy A, which I’m referring to as the old school way.
This basically means you are dieting, but you are not exercising.
The line item called “Calories Out: Living” simply takes into account the amount of calories your body burns from just living day to day, without actually exercising.
This is referred to as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
You can calculate your BMR here.
In this example, let’s say Joe does the following:
Since Joe is not working out, he burns zero extra calories over and above his daily BMR.
This means his total calorie burn for the day is 2,100 calories.
In order for Joe to reach his desired 500 calorie deficit per day, he needs to only eat 1,600 calories from food.
This is one way to create a 500 calorie deficit, by simply eating less food.
Now let’s check out strategy B, the traditional way of creating a calorie deficit.
In this approach, Joe is basically dieting and exercising, but his workouts are only comprised of traditional low intensity steady state exercises, such as walking on a treadmill.
This additional activity leads to 250 additional calories being burned.
We’ll keep Joe’s BMR consistent with the previous example, so he’s burning 2,100 calories just from living.
During his low intensity cardio workouts, he’s burning 250 calories.
This means his total calorie burn for the day equals 2,350 calories.
In order for Joe to reach his 500 calorie deficit goal, the amount of calories from foods that he’s going to take in equals 1,850 calories.
This means Joe can eat 250 more calories than if he didn’t workout, and still give him a calorie deficit of 500 calories.
Let’s now check out the final approach, strategy C.
This is right strategy to create a 500 calorie deficit for weight loss correctly.
I refer to it as the Live Lean Nation way.
In this approach, Joe is eating healthy foods and following Live Lean style workouts.
This combination leads to 650 additional calories being burned.
Let’s keep the calorie burn from living consistent at 2,100 calories.
Since Joe is following our Live Lean higher intensity style workouts, he creates an additional 650 calorie burn.
This gives Joe a total calorie burn of 2,750 calories for the day.
To get to the desired 500 calorie deficit, Joe can eat 2,250 calories for the day.
This creates a negative 500 calorie deficit.
So there you go.
Those were three different ways to create a 500 calorie deficit, from eating different amounts of foods and exercising differently.
When you look at each strategy carefully, at the end of the day they are all creating a 500 caloric deficit.
However, the variables to get there are different.
If losing fat was just a numbers game, all three strategies would be equal.
However, healthy and sustainable weight loss is more about science than simply mathematics.
Everything you put in your body, and under some circumstances, what you don’t put in your body, as well as your physical activity, creates a hormonal reaction.
Calorie Deficit Strategy A – The Old School Way: is creating a hormonal reaction, which is slowing your metabolism due to low calorie intake.
This is working against your body to burn fat and Live Lean.
Calorie Deficit Strategy B – The Traditional Way: is creating a slightly better hormonal environment because you are eating more and moving your body a bit more.
But as you probably guessed, here is the correct answer.
Calorie Deficit Strategy C – The Live Lean Nation Way: is the clear winner.
Your body is smarter than you think.
When you drastically decrease the amount of calories you take in, your body gets scared and goes into what we call, survival mode.
The body doesn’t know when it will be fed again, so the body holds on to the fat stores as energy for survival.
When you eat more high protein and healthy fat foods, that are lower in sugar, your body releases the fat storage as energy, as it knows more food is coming in within a few hours.
This is the opposite of starvation mode.
If you are one of those people that’s starving yourself and are a slave to the treadmill for 3 hours a day, you’re essentially becoming a smaller fat person.
In other words, the weight you’re losing is probably muscle, not fat.
This is because your body is holding on to fat for survival, thus leaving your muscle to be burned for energy.
This is not what you want to do, as muscle is the key metabolic driver, and is what keeps your metabolism going.
So how do you create a caloric deficit without starving yourself?
Eat more of the right types of food and workout using more of the right types of exercises.
This is how you torch fat faster.
When you exercise, you increase your metabolism by building more muscle, you burn more calories, and you elevate the amount of fat burning enzymes in your body.
You’re also keeping your body happy by feeding it an adequate amount of calories.
This keeps your body from going into survival fat storage mode, and once again increases your metabolism.
If you want to employ the supercharged Live Lean Nation approach to creating a healthy 500 calorie deficit, while still eating a lot of food, click here to check out my Ultimate Live Lean Superpack.
This superpack is supercharged to help you build lean muscle and torch fat faster.
It’s time to get to work.
The Ultimate Live Lean Superpack includes all of the 1.0 versions of the programs I talked about, for one major discounted bundle price.
Note: If you want to get the newer 2.0 versions of these programs, you can buy them separately at the links in this post.
All that’s left, to get shredded abs in one month, is for you to take action and put in the work.
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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.
29 responses to “How To Create A 500 Calorie Deficit For Weight Loss Correctly”
Can you create a deficit that’s higher but not to the point where you have
to starve yourself??
Just wana say I love u and Jess you are such inspirational, I have bn a
hard core gym bunny since I was 18 ( 10yrs ago..depressing *sighs*) I train
5 times a week, and yes I LIFT!!!! I have bn watching u guys for a year and
u always pick me up when I’m havin a rest day that gets me down … Keep it
up guys, u r so important to getting peopl fit and lean xxx big love from
London England xxx
I had to subscribed because you are such a good teacher! Thanks, Brad!!
Hi brad, I normally eat clean but don’t go gym that often. But from know
I’m going to go gym more so that I can intake more calories. Thanks for the
Is this a serious video? So basically you are saying exercise more, burn
more calories, so you can eat a little bit more and still lose weight.
What the fuck man.
By the way Brad I do -one day low carb and one day high carb. Both systems
are in deficit by 500… With a cheat/re-feed on sat and a Sun fast-day. My
high carb low fat day is
143g carbs 40g fat 217g protein – my low carb high fat is:
27g carbs 67g fat 185g protein_
I’m looking to loose about 2 pound a week! Would it be better to stay on
low carb fro 5 days every week rather than alternating?
Brilliant simple explanation Brad!
Cardio is my pet hate…but i like the idea of 20sec sprint and 50 sec jog
or walk…will try that
how do you know how much calories you burn from just living or is it around
2100 for everyone?
Hey Brad, I have been following the principals of ESE (Brad Pilon)mixed
with Intermittent fasting sometimes with carb cycling and sometimes
without…but doing fast days 2-3 days a week as I change it up…
(I’m 37, mom of two, 5’6″ and used to be about 15% body fat – now probably
closer to 20%) . And right when I had finally gotten by body fat where I
wanted and everything, I developed a cough that left me unable to workout
the way I had been (20min HIIT and Circuit sessions in AM and PM 5-6 days a
week) and as a result i lost ALOT of muscle as I was only able to do very
light workouts and yoga to keep my heart rate down or I would have a cough
attack. Now about 1.5yrs later they FINALLY have figured out how to get my
cough under control and I have started back up with my workouts doing at
least one 20min HIIT session a day and a hour of advanced flow hot yoga
about 5-6 days a week. So in my attempt to get my body fat back down and
lean out again I have been doing ESE as I had seen such great results a few
years back. However now it doesn’t seem to be having any effect on my fat
loss or weight loss at all….I was wondering if it is possible for the
body to adapt to it and for it to cease working? I have a horrible
metabolism to start with and when my muscle mass was higher and my body fat
lower I was able to eat more freely (but I still follow a gluten free,
dairy free, soy free, meat free diet due to Hashimotos and Psoriasis and
I was wondering what your thoughts are? I am so desperately wanting to get
back to where I was and feeling so defeated….
So your on a caloric deficit 365 days a year? How is it that you build
muscle? I thought to build muscle and stay lean you had to be ona surplus
and lift heavy weights…
YEAH, working out is a great factor that influences fatloss. But not the only one.
If you want to learn all about all the key factors that will help you LOSE THE FAT, and NEVER GAIN IT BACK, i invite you to click on my name. See you on the other side! You’ll be blown away!
How intense is it for 10-12kph running
Live lean way 😀
This isn’t about the topic your talking about, but i was wondering if you
could help me with this confusion i have. I eat paleo the whole week and
exercise 70 minutes eat day, I’m in good shape, can i afford to treat my
self one day of the weekend to a dessert, dinner like Souvlaki and treat
like whole packet of smith’s chips? please reply! it would help cheers 🙂
I’m 19, 5ft 8 and weigh 73kg, what is my “calories out: Living:”?
so you are 365 days/year on deficit? what about bulking? you can’t still
First, thanks for the great tips as always!
What is the workout schedule like in your program? (Length of each workout, and total days per week). Thanks in advance!
Hi, I went over the top with my diet and went as low as eating 1000
calories for 2 weeks. I can see the results and I’ve lost good amount of
fat but still want lose more. Is it ok for my body to start eating more
again with a 500 cal deficit and training everyday?
I feel like counting calories are unnecessary, as long as you are eating
What if I go lower than 500 cal deficit?
Brad, you mention in the video that the body goes into survival mode, this
holding onto fat if you don’t eat enough calories (sure that’s what you
said!) anyway, so that would suggest intermittent fasting is a big no no,
but I’m sure I’ve seen a vid by you about your thoughts on it and from time
to time it’s ok?
Intermittent Fasting is not starving yourself. It’s eating all your calories in your eating window. I follow the 16/8 plan on lifting days and the 18/6 on active rest days. I’ve made nice gains when I’m trying to put on mass and I’ve been able to cut the fat I’ve put on after a bulk with this way of eating. http://www.leangains.com is great site to learn about intermittent fasting. I will warn you that this may or may not be for you. Try it out for a month and see how you like it. If it works for you, GREAT! If not, no big deal. I have found that IF works for me and it is the only way I eat now
Higher intensity is the better because it creates the afterburner effect!
burning fat outside the gym!
Are you following: A) the old school way B) the traditional way or C) the
supercharged Live Lean Nation way?