Today, we’re going to go over Fat Loss Macros — what’s the ideal macronutrients for fat loss? I’m also going to talk about ideal Muscle Building Macros and Maintenance Macros. We’re going to go around those three scenarios and take some precautions.
First thing’s first. I often say this, we don’t need to be taught new things. We just need to be reminded. The most important thing for weight loss is going to be a DEFICIT. This goes back to the nutritional priorities pyramid. Deficit is the MOST IMPORTANT thing required for weight loss.
You’ve got to have a calorie deficit. You create a deficit in two ways. Number one, you increase activity which is when you increase walks, do workouts, anything that you move in and anything you do activity wise in order to burn calories. It’s not my favorite way to lose weight, but a lot of people do it.
Number two, the better way to do it is to create a deficit by decreasing your intake. This is a much more sustainable and longer term solution, which is why NUTRITION is so important. We need a DEFICIT. I can tell you all about the perfect macronutrient ratios that you need but if you’re not on a deficit, it won’t matter that much.
Now, let’s talk about Fat Loss Macros. The last few weeks, I talked about how to calculate this. I want to give you the macronutrients, the ratios, where you should sit around in order to achieve these goals. How do you lose fat?
If my goal is fat loss, 35% to 50% of my calories are coming from protein, 10% to 30% from carbs and 30% to 40% from fat. There’s a range with all of these for a reason and it’s because not everybody can stick to those tight high protein content. 50% protein is very high.
When I’m in a fat loss phase, I actually like to only be at 40-30-30. That’s where I feel the best. My lifts are still going well, I feel like I have enough energy for my exercises and I’m recovering. For me, I like to sit around 40% protein – 30% carbs – and 30% fat and then I adjust accordingly based on the day.
Maintenance Macros. If you’re doing a maintenance plan, generally 20% to 35% of your calories should be coming from protein (still pretty high), 30% to 50% carbs (notice this could go a little bit higher as a figure on the maintenance phase) and 20% to 35% fat.
I could give you guys examples of what something like that looks like, where there’s a good combination of fats, proteins and carbs. Personally, when I’m on maintenance (meaning I’m not trying to gain weight, not trying to lose weight), 30% of my calories are coming from protein, 40% from carbs and 30% from fat. So, I do a 30-40-30 split maintenance-wise.
Last but not least, Muscle Gaining Macros. Generally, if your goal is to gain muscle, this is where you want to sit between: 25% to 35% protein, 40% to 60% carbs (much higher carbohydrate load and there are a couple of reasons why) 30-50% fats.
So… why the high carbs when you’re trying to build and tone muscle? Well, carbohydrates help you with more energy. When you have more energy, you can lift more, you can do more things and you fill up your muscle glycogen a lot. Your muscles can work a lot harder. That’s why sometimes, when you’re finding yourself stuck in a bit of a ‘plateau’, you start increasing your calories, which I’ll talk about next week.
So, if you go through a phase of muscle gaining– “I want to work hard. I’m going to hit it hard and workout five days a week, start burning calories, workout tons, build muscles…” You could actually have higher carbohydrates and you’re going to want to in order for you to work a little bit harder.
Personally, I like to be at 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates (Here’s where you got to get creative because sometimes, if you’re low in carbs, you got to do things like eat a banana or rice crackers, things like that to bump up your carbohydrates) and 20% fat.
Now, here’s how I would adjust to changing my macros. Number one is ‘compliance’. If you’re having trouble hitting 20% protein in your day to day, don’t try to jump the 50%. You’re not going to go up to a fat loss state phase at 40% right off the bat. You’re not going to be used to it. You’re going to be too full and you’re not going to feel good.
That’s why I always tell people, when you’re starting to track macros and if you’re not hitting the target, don’t force feed yourself because your body needs to get used to digesting all that protein. If you feel your energy levels are going down, you may need more carbohydrates.
I see a lot of people would struggle with this, especially when they do stuff like low carb or keto. They do it and they feel like garbage but they keep doing it. And they just don’t have the energy to keep doing anything else day to day. It’s not going to be long-term.
You need to adjust slowly with the macronutrient ratios in order for you to be able to do this long term. Compliance. If you’re finding trouble sticking to these macros slowly, move yourself into them rather than going full-force. That’s number one.
Number two is ‘health issues’. When I say health issues, the big thing when people start looking at their macros (adjusting things like their protein intake), especially when you start decreasing carbs, is that a lot of people start getting backed up.
When you go into a lower carbohydrate diet (and it’s natural and normal) to get backed up. The reason why you get backed up is because you are just taking less calories than you’re used to. Let’s face it, you guys were eating a ton and that’s how we gained weight in the first place. So, when we go on a meal plan and we start cutting back on calories, less volume in is less volume out.
The second thing to consider if you’re feeling backed up is fiber. Look at your carbohydrate sources and see where you’re getting your fiber. Are there enough fibrous food to help you stay regular and to go regularly? I would also make adjustments based on that. So if you’re finding yourself feeling backed up, you may need more carbohydrates with a little bit more fiber in it to help you be more ready.
Now, I’m going to touch on this one. It’s going to be touchy. Plant-based (eater) versus Omnivore (you eat meat and you eat veggies). Now, whatever reason you go plant-based, there could be some health issues that come into it especially when it comes to getting enough amino acids.
Health issues like that actually creep in on us as well because you’re not going to get B12 without getting any animal proteins. This is where I would look at bumping up some of your micronutrients. Get a good multivitamin supplement that actually gets you some of that B12 and also creatine.
In another presentation, I talked about how creatine is an extremely important micronutrient for performance– and you’re not going to get it from a plant-based diet. You’re going to have to supplement it. These are just some health issues to consider.
Funny story… I just read about this study that came out and talked about ‘red meat’. It talked about how over the years, everybody was saying that ‘red meat’ is linked to cancer risks, whereas another study just came out and said that ‘red meat’ and a Mediterranean diet actually decreases the chances of dying.
There is a lot of conflicting information now about ‘red meat’. My suggestion: moderate intake of everything. You need to make sure that you are fitting in the proper micros to make sure your health is in-balanced and checked to address health issues that arise from adjusting our macronutrients.
Number three is ‘preferences’. I go into preferences based on being vegetarian. So if you’re plant-based and you want to stick to that, that’s where we’ll probably have to make adjustments. It’s going to be very challenging to hit some of our protein targets. You’re going to have to be very creative, especially with getting foods that are higher in protein.
Carb count is generally higher. If we want to keep carbs at 10% and we want to eat protein at 50% (if that’s the ideal macronutrient split for you) it’s sometimes very challenging to do that eating plant-based but it can be done.
That’s why we got to look at things like ‘preferences’. So if you’re on a plant-based diet, we’re going to have to make some adjustments, make things realistic. If you’re going to be pounding nothing but protein shakes in, it’s not going to be very long term.
Number one, compliance. Make sure that you can do it.
Two, Health Issues. If you’re feeling backed up, maybe get more fibrous carbohydrates.
Three, if you have preferences, obviously you’re not going to hit all the ratios all the time, you’re going to have to make some adjustments.
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