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The Pyramid Of Importance For Weight Management

I am not here to rip off other people's work so... First things first, this is my interpretation and understanding Eric Helms’ nutrition pyramid for muscle and strength, it translate and evolves for all types of training and facets of fitness, be that endurance, strength, body composition or purely weight management. Check out his work at www.muscleandstrengthpyramids.com

The following is all about the order of what you need to ensure is in place for successful weight management, whether that is to increase or decrease total mass, or increase and decreases body fat or muscle mass (well that’s just a silly idea! Unless you are becoming an endurance athlete, I laugh to myself but one day...).

The final words before we delve into this is that as a Personal Trainer I can give you nutritional guidance however I cannot prescribe diets to you or tell you exactly what to eat. I can guide you to the suggestions and guidelines of my qualification.

The first vital bit of information that you need to take on board is that this is a pyramid, without its foundational pieces it is likely to crumble, much like your progress in terms of weight management. There is little to no point in researching the best supplements to take with your diet if you are out on the weekend getting so messed up you cant even see straight then next day!

If you are worrying that eating late (carbs past 6pm) is what is making your fat… think again! You are consuming too much food it’s not that you ate carbs with your dinner at 8pm last night. Nutrient timing comes way after how you live your life, how much you eat and move then the balance of your nutrients.

Let’s take a look in further detail at each part of the pyramid;

Behaviour and Lifestyle:

Are your daily actions and routine aligned to the results you want to get? Do you adhere to your training plan? Do you have a basic understanding of food and have adherence to not over indulging? Do you get enough sleep (often neglected)? Do you manage stress? Do you live a sedentary life or find time to be active outside of the gym? Do you spend your weeks with your diet and training on point and then spend the weekend half cut for three days!? If all of these aspects aren’t in place then it is most likely that the following steps will either be irrelevant, ineffective or not even being considered.

For example if you havent got to grips with your behaviour and lifestyle it is likely that your energy balance will be sporadic and inconsistent. I would almost suggest that behaviour and lifestyle is all encompassing of this pyramid, almost like scaffolding and extra support as everything else is being built.

Energy Balance:

A calorie is just a calorie. A calorie is a measurement just as a meter is a meter. A calorie is a unit of measuring energy. If your energy in equals you energy out your energy is balanced and weight stays the same. If your energy in is less than your energy out then your mass reduces, if your energy in is more than energy out then it has to be stored and you gain mass.

Energy In = Energy Out = No Change In Mass

Energy In < Energy Out = Mass Decrease

Energy In > Energy Out = Mass Increase

For all those different diets than claim to put you in ketosis, make you eat only specific foods, not eat a nutrient (ha, life without carbs) or burn fat whilst you sleep etc. ultimately the reason they work in reducing body weight is because you are eating less food so the amount of energy in is less than the amount you expend therefore mass reduces.

The whole a calories is NOT a calorie argument is completely misinterpreted. A calorie is just a calorie because it is a measurement of a foods energy. 100kcals of donut is the same amount of energy as 100kcals of broccoli. What those who say a calorie is not a calorie are saying is that the nutrients you intake from each is different, the nutrient profile you have in broccoli is going to be much more beneficial for health than that of a donut, however if you have 100kcals of both then that is exactly what you are getting. 100kcals. Someone would lose mass if their energy output was 2500kcals and they consumed 2000kcals of nothing but donuts every day, they just wouldn’t be healthy, probably get diabetes and probably look like a bag of...

How to calculate and estimate your energy expenditure;

I could give you the equations but just google ‘calculate my TDEE’ much easier. This would be a good estimate. Another more accurate way to do this would be to track your food for four weeks, track your body weight for four weeks. Workout your average calorie consumption per day and week. Compare this to any weight gain, reduction or maintenance to figure out your average calorie output.

If your weight stays the same over the four weeks then you are going to be consuming a maintenance amount of calories. If your weight reduces you can figure out how much of a calorie deficit you are in. similarly you can figure out your calorie surplus if you gain weight. From there you can adjust accordingly.


So once your lifestyle is congruent with your desired goal and you are managing to create the correct energy balance you need to make sure that your macronutrients are optimally set for you to achieve your goal. The grams of fats, carbohydrates and protein will be different depending on your goal;

General Guidelines:

  • 1-1.5g of protein per 1lbs of body mass e.g. 180lbs = 180g protein per day

  • Carbohydrates and Fats can be split to whichever you prefer and works best for you.

*This is just a general guideline and more than effective starting point for either weight, loss, maintenance or increase.

To consider sports/gym performance whilst managing weight I would recommend having enough carbohydrates in the diet to help fuel training and/or performances. For example;

  • Protein 1-1.5g per 1lb body mass

  • Fats 20-25% of calories

  • Carbohydrates the rest.

E.g. 180lbs Man of which his height, age, gender, activity levels etc lead to the 2750 kcals maintenance example.

1g of Protein = 4 kcals

1g of Fat = 9 kcals

1g of Carbohydrates = 4 kcals


= 2750 kcals

Protein = 180g = 720 kcals

Fats = 76g (25%) = 684 kcals

Carbohydrates = 336.5g = 1346 kcals

Weight Loss

= 2250 kcals

Protein = 180g = 720 kcals

Fats = 62.5g = 562.5 kcals

Carbohydrates = 241g = 967 kcals

Weight Gain

= 3025 kcals

Protein = 220g = 880 kcals

Fats = 84g = 756 kcals

Carbohydrates = 347g = 1389 kcals

Of course there will be variations on this depending on the % of fats that you go for or the g/bodyweight that suits you best. Also note that this is an example and you should calculate your personal calories using an online calculator.


Your micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals, if we call your macronutrients the building blocks and other house building materials then your vitamins and minerals are the carpenters, builders and labourers. An integral part on your body to function correctly and efficiently.

There may be signs of ether severe or slight deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, to name and identify all the varying symptoms of deficiencies and matching them to each specific micronutrient can take some time, it is always advised to go and seek a medical professional if you believe you may be lacking in any micronutrients or, if you are just curious.

Generally if you have a varied and well balanced diet that includes a range of proteins, carbohydrates and fats from varying sources you are likely to be getting some if not all of the vitamins you need. However this cannot be a guarantee so if you feel it may be best to go and see a medical professional then do so.

Nutrient Timing:

If all of the above are in place you will be managing your weight efficiently, these last two sections are more the cherries on top or the last few %.

To be honest for those who are not elite level athletes a nutrient timing plan isn’t really going to be necessary.

Nutrient Timing is better off seen more as a tool to use for increased performance in the gym, your daily activities or sports performance and recovery.

Instead of going into massive amounts of detail I am going to send you Precision Nutrition to give you a detailed outlook of workout nutrition. https://www.precisionnutrition.com/workout-nutrition-explained

This may seem like I am sending off the work to someone else and you are correct. This will give you a much more detailed explanation of things than I will so there it all is for you, it is where i would have gotten my information for you anyway..

The gist of it is, make sure you have a good well balanced meal 1-2 hours before working out, maybe some simple carbs right before a workout and even during. Followed by a well balanced meal 1-2 hours post workout.


Now this really is the tip of the iceberg! Looking for that fat loss supplement here is two things for you. One if you haven’t done the rest of the above then it probably won’t work, and if you have it either still wont work or you will be making enough progress that you wont need to.

If you are looking for a piece of work that will delve into the depths of steroids etc. then go find another article.

In terms of supplements it would be the last few things to really balance out your diet and make sure you are getting enough macro and micronutrients. You may need to supplement your diet with certain vitamins and minerals if your current diet doesn’t quite supply you with everything you need.

The supplements that are backed by the most research will suggest to go for;

  • Creatine - Increase Creatine Phosphate for The CP Energy System (Short and powerful burst with no oxygen being used)

  • Vitamin D3 - Useful for those who don’t see much sunshine and for most people in general to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.

  • Omega 3 - Reduce inflammation, brain function lower risk of heart disease

These are just a few suggestions but make sure you check with your doctor before using any of the above supplements.


The most important thing you need to take from this is to work from the foundations of the pyramid and up. What you will find as you solve one part of the pyramid you will be halfway to fixing the next. As you sort out your behaviour and lifestyle it is likely that you will be making better choices with your nutrition which will help you get started with sorting out your energy balance. Alongside sorting your energy balance with better food choices you begin to understand the different nutrients and it will only take a few tweaks to get a better balance of macronutrients for the body. With all this at play it is likely that your nutrition is generally ‘healthy’ and you will be taking on more micronutrients that you were at the start, it will just be a case of fine tuning everything.

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