In this post we will look at my current Macros, and their evolution since when I started paying attention to them one year ago. Before looking at the numbers, let’s cover the procedure I followed to compute the targets values for said Macros.
The reference point when it comes to Nutrition remains “Ripped Body” .com, through the two guides which I listed in the Links section. Starting from those two guides, this is the procedure I followed to set-up my target Macros.
The things to consider are, in order:
The first step here is to calculate the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which is the level of calories needed to maintain current weight, when taking into account the level of daily activities usually performed. The TDEE is computed starting from the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), and then using a corrective factor catering for the level of daily activities performed:
TDEE = BMR x (activity multiplier)
Feel free to go and look at Ripped Body for more details on how to compute the individual parameters. The accuracy of this initial step if very rough, since the computation of the parameters supporting the equation is based on some general finger-in-the-air assumptions, and as such you get an initial idea, but don’t expect the number to be exactly right. Considering that every human body is different, and considering that the assumptions behind the “activity multiplier” cannot be precise because we all do slightly different activities/movements even when on paper we have the same daily routine, as such finding a simple equation which works accurately for everyone is just not possible.
The way I did was the following: I fixed an initial caloric target which was not too high, and I started tracking the evolution of my body weight over the course of two weeks. I was weighting myself every single morning, after going to the toilet and before eating anything, keeping track of the day-to-day weight and of the average weekly weight (day-to-day oscillations are normal, and this is why I was looking at the evolutions of both parameters).
My body weight remained constant in those initial two weeks, but my abs where getting more defined, meaning that I was losing fat, and hence I was in a situation of caloric deficit! I was already at 10% body fat, and since I was not interested in cutting but rather in bulking, I increased my Daily Caloric Intake Target (DCIT) by 250 kCal.
This is just to show that, after setting the initial DCIT, it’s essential for you to keep track of your body weight and body fat %, to understand whether the calories you are eating are enough to support muscle growth, or on the contrary not enough/too many. In such a way, you can make the necessary refinements along the way.
My first caloric increase was fairly big, since I was often hungry during those initial days. More normal caloric increments would be in steps of 100-200 kCal/day.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on computing the Protein target level, and I decided to follow the Ripped Body method for the initial calculation. As with all the other Macros we will cover here, it’s a matter of identifying an acceptable range of values rather than a single number, and when it comes to Protein, the range is identified starting from the Lean Body Mass:
Protein min [g] = 1.6 x g/kg LBM (~0.8 g/lb LBM)
Protein max [g] = 2.2 x g/kg LBM (~1.0 g/lb LBM)
LBM = (body weight) x (1 – (body fat %))
In order to have an idea of your body fat %, you can search for “body fat percentages of men” in your browser: you will find reference guides, usually showing a collage of nine images going from body builders at 3-4% body fat (pretty disgusting tbh) to obese levels, and comparing you to those pictures you can have an idea of your own body fat %.
Since the range I got using the Ripped Body method seemed a bit “low” to me, I went with a target Protein value of 180g/day.
Target Protein = 180g
Just for your info, one year ago when I started all this I weighted 65kg/145lbs at 10% body fat: I’m not saying this level of Protein is what I recommended to you, this is just what I did!
The caloric intake coming from Fat is to be between 20% and 30% of the DCIT, and this criterion defines the target range for Fat. Considering that 1 gram of Fat has 9 kCal associated to it, the range and its average value (at 25%) are computed as:
Fat min [g] = DCIT x 0.2 / 9
Fat max [g] = DCIT x 0.3 / 9
Fat avg. [g] = DCIT x 0.25 / 9
Carbs take whatever caloric level is left towards the DCIT, after considering the calories coming from Protein and Fat. We already know the value of the DCIT, and we know that 1 gram of Fat has 9 kCal associated to it. When it comes to Protein and Carbs, they each have 4 kCal/g associated to them, hence:
kCal Protein = Target Protein [g] x 4 kCal/g
kCal Fat min = Fat min [g] x 9 kCal/g
kCal Fat max = Fat max [g] x 9 kCal/g
kCal Fat avg. = Fat avg. [g] x 9 kCal/g
kCal Carbs min = TDCI – kCal Protein – kCal Fat max
kCal Carbs max = TDCI – kCal Protein – kCal Fat min
kCal Carbs avg. = TDCI – kCal Protein – kCal Fat avg.
Carbs min [g] = kCal Carbs min / 4 kCal/g
Carbs max [g] = kCal Carbs max / 4 kCal/g
Carbs avg. [g] = kCal Carbs avg. / 4 kCal/g
Looking at my notes from the time, it seems that the ideal range for Fibres is:
Fibres min [g] = 22g
Fibres max [g] = 0.2 x (Carbs avg. [g])
It’s only normal to eat more on training days and less on rest days. These are some of the guidelines I found to differentiate between training days and rest days:
● On training days, significantly more carbs should be consumed
● On training days, significantly less fat should be consumed
● On training days, aim for 10% less protein
While preparing my Diet Plan, I ignored the last guideline for simplicity, while I kept in mind the first two.
Let’s look at my Macros now, remembering that this is what my week looks like in terms of training days (4x) and rest days (3x):
● Mon = Upper Body A
● Tue = Lower Body A
● Wed = rest
● Thu = Upper Body B
● Fri = Lower Body B
● Sat = rest
● Sun = rest
As you can see, I’ve gone through eight iterations in one year. When I started, I was coming from five months of forced rest from sport, during which I was walking on crutches (shit happens). I lost 10% of my body weight during that period, including all of the lower-body and most of the upper-body muscles, and I was paying attention to eating low level of calories in order not to gain any fat along the way. This explain the initial low DCIT of iteration A.
I took it very slowly in terms of increasing calories, having chosen “slow bulking” over “relaxed bulking”, and remaining in each of the progressive steps for a minimum of two weeks, in order to have a clear idea whether the DCIT was ok or still too low. Excluding the Christmas break, within eight weeks I increased the average daily caloric intake from 2400 kCal to 2900 kCal.
After an additional five weeks, I increased it to 3000 kCal, and I remained around that level ever since.
As you can see looking at the “training days” and “rest days”, from the very beginning I applied the two guidelines we saw earlier on, namely much more Carbs on training days, and much more Fat on rest days. From iteration B, I also introduced a significant “caloric delta” between training days and rest days, which makes sense considering that when I train, I consume a hell of a lot more calories.
Starting from iteration E, the situation has remained fairly stable until now, excluding a few refinements I made along the way. In iteration F, I tried increasing the average weekly caloric intake by increasing the Carbs on training days: very simple to execute, since it was just a matter of adding some more rice in the pot, but I was always feeling too full on training days, and I was actually struggling to finish eating what I had to eat. Hence, from iteration G, I moved training-day Carbs back to the previous level, and I increased rest-day Carbs instead, since previously I was slightly hungry on rest days.
My body weight has increased by 6kg during this one year, I am now at 22 BMI, and my body fat level has moved from 10% to 12% in the process. I’m not going to win Mr Olympia any time soon, but I look better than ever right now, especially considering that I am of light build to start with. My plan for the future is to keep the Macros at this level, while keep increasing weights at the gym as feasible, because I don’t want to go to higher body fat levels, and I prefer to focus any extra effort somewhere else.
TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure
BMR = Basal Metabolic Rate
LBM = Lean Body Mass
DCIT = Daily Caloric Intake Target