So I'm a 24 M working IT I weigh at 66 Kg , my maintenance calories are 2500 but the thing is before I thought of starting to workout I used to consume around 1200 calories in a day and I didn't used to workout or didn't used to follow any sort of diet (I'm a vegetarian) so I was already in a extreme caloric deficit (I had no idea of all these terms earlier) because of my job and all the other excuses that I can come up with .

Now , when I found out my maintenance calories are 2500 , and I started working out as well and I was consuming 1500 calories per day with 60g of protein , and I realised now that doing this will only lead to muscle loss as I'm consuming way less calories than my maintenance calories.

Currently my body fat percentage is 16 percent and my 2 abs are visible enough specially when I flex . However , I want to go for more . I checked online for body fat calculator and it told me for me to see abs clearly I need to go to 61 Kg and 10 percent body fat .

Now the thing here is which I'm really worried about is that I was unknowingly already in a extreme caloric deficit when I used to consume 1200 calories and now also I'm in caloric deficit because currently I'm consuming 2000 calories out of 2500 maintenance calories (As per my research this won't lead to muscle loss) , But surely because I have increased my caloric intake from 1200 to 2000 now so surely I am going to gain weight (and build muscle) if I keep up with my regular resistance training ,

But now as I'm increasing my weight so I'm going even further far away from my ideal body fat percentage probably (Am I right ? I guess not please help me explain the science behind it ).

One more thing that I'm scared of if I keep consuming 2000 Calories more now which are much greater than 1200 calories which I used to consume earlier so my weight will increase and I will go way far away from my goals of getting shredded abs .

P.S I know because I've just started out so I would be sounding horribly dumb on this topic but please help me out here .

Any suggestion would be incredibly appreciated !

  • 2
    Just as an aside, if your maintenance is 2500 and you were consuming 1200, you would be losing weight. If you were not losing weight, you were eating more calories than you think you were (Which is very common).
    – JohnP
    Aug 1, 2023 at 14:34
  • following the previous comment, the following is also wrong "because I have increased my caloric intake from 1200 to 2000 now so surely I am going to gain weight". If Your maintenance was 2500, you would loose weight on 1200 and also loose weight (slower) on 2000, because that is still below maintenance
    – donde
    Mar 28 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Few points:

  • firstly if you want to build muscle you need to dedicate a larger percentage of your daily calories to protein. Protein helps fat loss due to higher thermic effect but more importantly it is essential for building muscle which leads into my second point.

  • going down to 10% body fat is not necessary. I'm 12-13% body fat but because I have pretty good abs, they are visible. You don't need to decrease body fat that low of you build the muscle.

  • I can't say for certain because I don't know the other necessary information, such as height or activity level, that I would need to calculate your calorie requirements but based on the average male training regularly 2000cal a day will certainly lose you some weight.

For reference, I'm 6'2 and currently 86kg. My maintenance calories is 3500-3600 or around 4000 when I'm bulking. I consume around 3200 when cutting(losing fat). My point is, when you're training regularly, you need plenty of calories, even when trying to lose weight.

The most important things when building muscle are plenty of protein; 1.6-2.0g per kg of bodyweight depending on how hard you're training, and sleep. Sleep is when the majority of muscle recovery and repartition is done - plus, it's important you have the energy for your next gym session.

  • 1.6-2.0g per kg is too much from what I read, with 1.2-1.6g per kg being more to the point and leucine playing an important role. Jun 27, 2023 at 12:54
  • Honestly, it greatly varies with specific needs. I do very intense weight training 4-5 days a week and need 180g protein a day to properly recover and see results at 85kg bodyweight. But of course, if your primary goal is fat loss, you wouldn't need anywhere near that much.
    – Ethan
    Jun 27, 2023 at 14:47

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