Before I begin, I must reiterate that the most important determinant of your appearance and performance is your caloric intake. The Calories In – Calories Used equation matters. Weight accumulates when you eat more than you burn and weight is burned when you eat less than you burn. However, all this talk of macronutrient ratios is a next step once you’ve already shown that you can eat the correct amount of calories towards reaching your goal. If you still struggle with caloric balance, focus your nutritional energy on that before attempting to follow macros.
You can make setting your macros as simple or complex as you’d like. For most people, I suggest beginning simple so that it does not overwhelm you. On MyFitnessPal, compare the average the number of calories you’ve been consuming on a daily basis (averaged over a weekly period) to the TDEE Calculator on EatToPerform.com.
The reason for comparing Baseline to TDEE calculator is because we don’t want to make a drastic change to your caloric intake or else your body will see a large influx of calories and seek to store some. If there’s a large discrepancy between Baseline and TDEE (like your TDEE is calculated at 2600 Cal but you’re eating 1600 Cal without losing weight), you’ll need to incrementally increase your calories to near that TDEE amount before attempting to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
The following is how I set my own macros using excel to do my math. EatToPerform.com can calculate it all for you, but I still prefer to do all the calculations myself.
Step 1: Set Goal and Target Calories
Step 2: Set Protein intake to 0.8-1.2 g/lb (1.0 g/lb is a great place to start).
Step 3: Set Carbohydrates to 40% of caloric intake.
Step 4: Fill the rest of remaining calories with Fat.
The above information represents the total Calories and Macronutrients for the day. From there, we need to divide our totals into our meals for the day. For simplicity, divide the totals equally among 4-5 meals for the day. The goal is to minimize large fluctuations in caloric intake by eating smaller, more frequent meals. The table below shows the quantities I am targeting for each of my 5 meals every day.
Note: This information would be best suited for days when I do train, which is 5-6 days per week. On non-training days, I would suggest reducing caloric intake by 30-40% and carbohydrate intake by 50%. If you do a really long workout and feel totally wrecked after, increase your calories by 10-20% and carb intake by 30%. You aren’t doing intense physical activity, so you haven’t earned your carbs.
For those seeking to further dial in their nutrition, paying special attention to your macros can help you get leaner while holding onto strength and performing well. It takes considerably more work than simply eating, but those that seek those results should know the tools exist. Much of this blog post was written using me as an example. Unless you are very similar to me, eating the same quantities as me is not a great idea. Use the method I laid out and you’ll be able to set your own macros.
~ Coach Chris
Posted on 09/15/2015 at 10:41:00 PM