Nasi Lemak & Fitness 102: Calorie and Protein Requirement

-continuation from part 1

What’s your Number?

Ready your paper and pen, let’s get nerdy.

Everyone should know their Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

It’s the amount of calories you expend on an average* day.

(*Your monthly Broga hikes, yearly Viper Challenge participation, Zumba marathons every 2 weeks; as hardcore these feel, do almost nothing to your TDEE. Single events that cause spike in TDEE won’t account to much in the long run. Average is what you do regularly.)

Finding your TDEE:

Trust me, you need this.

First, find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):

Body weight (lbs) x 11 (male) or x 10 (female) = Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Then, this magic equation:

BMR x Activity Multiplier = TDEE

Activity Multiplier

  1. Sedentary x 1.15
    You have a desk-bound job with minimal walking (2000-3000 steps daily). You don’t even lift.
  2. Moderately active x 1.25
    You work a sedentary job with minimal walking (4000 to 6000 steps daily). Your work outs consist of joining exercise classes or lifting weights, 2 to 3 times a week.
  3. Active x 1.35
    You have an active career with moderate amount of walking (8000 to 1000 steps daily). You also perform training at a high intensity (weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding).
  4. Athlete x 1.5
    You train to make ends meet. Your day revolves around training (multiple qualities, i.e., endurance and power) or even two training sessions in one day.(This varies tremendously from one sport to another. However, intense, field sports like soccer, basketball, rugby, ultimate frisbee all should fall within this multiplier)

Armed now with your TDEE, let’s move on.


Your TDEE is the amount of energy you consume to maintain at a certain weight.

Therefore, to change your weight, you either need to eat more or less than your TDEE.

Weight gain: Eat at TDEE x 120%

Weight loss: Eat at TDEE x 80%

Recomposition: Eat at TDEE

As mentioned in 101: Your “number” isn’t exact, nor is it constant.

But it’s a good starting point. Chances are you will have to adjust it after monitoring progress for a few weeks.

Rant: Weight loss for 99% of people boils down to creating an energy deficit. But almost 99% of people cannot grasp this logic.

They trust their lives that one miracle ingredient, *cough coconut oil cough gluten free food cough clean food*, will bring them into the magical world of fat loss.

Acts all healthy and shit.jpg

This isn’t Harry Potter, you don’t just run into platform 9 3/4.

You need to eat lesser than what you burn; it’s just simple. Test it out. Over


Daily protein intake should fall between 1.5x to 2x your bodyweight in kg.

Note that 1g of protein has 4 calories. You must deduct the calories of your protein intake from your TDEE.

Why is protein important? It helps maintain and build muscle. Increasing your Muscle: Fat ratio in favor of muscle is ideal.

Protein plays a role in all 3 goals above:

Weight Loss: Maintains muscle in the face of weight loss, so you won’t be flabby or skinny fat.

Weight Gain: Promotes more muscle gain (rather than fat) in weight gain.

Re-composition: Maintains or gains muscle while retaining/ reducing body fat.

(I won’t go into the minutiae of how protein causes muscle growth, it’s pathway in the body, how it is broken down etc. It isn’t my field of expertise, and it doesn’t need to be a huge concern for you ; just know it’s important. Here’s a few links if nerdy stuff like that turn you on: Link 1, Link 2 )

I am 172lbs

With this formulae:

My BMR stands at 1900 calories. With 1.35 activity multiplier, I have a TDEE of 2565 calories.

With the goal of weight loss, my TDEE x 80% = 2000 calories.

M protein intake is 150g (2x 75kg) totals to 600 calories.

2000 kcal-600 kcal = 1400 calories, which is derived from the two remaining macronutrients.

Fats and Carbs

Counting your fats and carbs, on top of protein and calories is doable, but it isn’t easy.

It isn’t something I’ll cover. I could, but it isn’t necessary for most people reading this; most people just want to look and feel good.

Do this instead: Track your protein intake, and let your fats and carbs fill up your caloric goals as the day progresses.

“But bro, isn’t there an optimal amount of carb to fat ratio for maximal gainzzz?”

No, it is overhyped. It doesn’t really matter.*

What do you prefer? More carbs? Go for it. More fats? Finger licking A-Okay. You want to let the chips fall, and eat to your content according to your caloric goal?

That’s The Malaysian Body way man!

2016-08-17 03.08.08 1.jpg
Brad is not OCD about food. Be like Brad.

I love rice. But when there’s fried chicken and I exceed 250 100g of fats for the day, I will taper my carbs accordingly. As long my calories and protein goal are hit, I will lean out and sustain muscle mass.

(*I created this guide for blue collar Malaysians who want to look good without stressing over minutiae. Fact is: carbs to fats ratio does matter. But to an extent so insignificant that doesn’t warrant your ocd-ness.

This doesn’t apply to everyone. Diabetic, pre-diabetic, high-blood sugar patients, athletes, this matters a lot. I am in no position to give you diet advice, please seek help from a licensed dietician.

More on fats: carbs ratio: Link )

Enjoy Responsibly

Download MyFitnessPal. Input your caloric and protein intake based on the calculation, and have fun tracking

Having fun is important, why?

Because I can guarantee that you will screw up.

You will under eat, overeat, you will miss your protein goal, you will have no clue how much calories is in mom’s cooking (will be covered in part 3).

That’s great. Relish the process, learn, experiment, then

fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail…

Johnny Rockets.jpg


Till part 3.

P.s., the links that I have included were websites which I inhaled from top to bottom, at least 3 times. They help build a solid foundation of my understanding of how nutrition affects body composition.

Dilemma. I think extra knowledge is great, but I think there comes a point where extra knowledge provides  extremely diminishing return, and holds almost zero practical value. The reason why this guide must be simple, because I believe you have better priorities to put your heart and mind into. 

“The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of non-essentials”.

Food for thought: Too much food is not good.

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