What you are about to read in this blog post is going to save you months (even years) of frustration with your career in fitness. Get yourself a paper, pencil, and a calculator your going to need it.
This post is going to be broken up into 2 sections:
-Bulking macros and calories
-Cutting macros and calories
I’m going to lay down groundwork first, then go into each section separately into detail.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is how we measure the amount of energy within the food. Its a unit of measure.
To see how fast a car is moving we use Miles Per Hour (at least in America).
To measure the length of something well use inches, yards, and feet (again in America).
And to measure the amount of energy within a given food, we use calories to do this.
Every day your body needs a certain amount of energy – or calories to maintain it’s current weight, keep it’s heart pumping, break down and transport food, and other bodily functions.
Whether intentional or not if someone gives just enough calories to their body to “cover all of its expenses”, it will balance out. That person will not experience its weight increasing or decreasing. His or her weight will remain constant.
That baseline of calories is called Total Daily Energy Expenditure(TDEE) aka your maintenance calories. How many calories do you need every day to keep yourself at the weight that you are at right now?
Use this calculator here to determine that.
Do you have your maintenance calories?
Now let’s take your maintenance calories and go through 3 different scenarios. The first one will be if you bulk and break up those calories into proper macronutrient ratios. The second scenario is for when you cutting and how to break those calories up properly. Lastly my advice for macros for when you maintaining.
But before I get into that fun stuff what are even Macros?
When someone says there “counting their macros”, they’re actually referring to the number of grams of Carbohydrates, Protein, and dietary Fats they’ll consume in a day. Together these big 3 are called Macronutrients. The amount of grams is calculated by a percentage based on the grand total of calories that will be consumed on that day.
Every meal that someone consumes contains carbs, protein, and fats. Healthy wholesome nutritious foods have the optimal combination of the 3. Which is from high protein, moderate carb and low-fat meal. Process foods and junk are on the opposite hand have the worst combination of macros; High Carb, High Fat and little to no protein. Getting your macros right when your bulking is vitally important. Your number one enemy is rapid fat gain. Utilizing the power of lean bulking macros will help minimize the amount of fat someone will gain on a bulk.
The amount of muscle your able to put on per month is small, very trivial. You’re looking at 0.25-0.50 lbs per week. Which translates to 1-2 pounds per month.
It doesn’t matter if you eat at a 1,000 calorie surplus or the highly recommended +400 calories surplus per day, your body is only going to produce 1-2 lbs per month in muscle gain. That’s why when bulking you’re monthly weight gain goal is going to be more than 4lbs. There’s no point of trying to gain 10lbs in 1 month when only 1-2 of that weight gain is going to be converted into muscle.
Alright now that I’ve said that, let’s go into the macros portion of bulking. I’m going to use myself as an example and take my own TDEE which is 2,900 calories per day. Then I’m simply going to add +400 to my maintenance calories which equal 3,400 calories to bulk.
The best macro set-up for a bulk:
“ 45% Carbs/ 30% Protein/ 25% Fat
A couple of reasons why this set up is supreme:
- Just enough carbs to have fun with your diet, but most importantly just the optimal amount to ensure you stay lean
- More than enough protein to build muscle
- That percent of dietary fat will keep your body physiologically healthy
With a 3,400 cal daily diet here’s how you determine that in grams:
1 gram of carb= 4 calories
1 gram of protein=4 calories
and 1 gram of fat= 9 calories
3,400 cal x .45% = 1,530 | 1,530 ÷ 4 (1 g of carb =4 cal) = 383 g/carbs
3,400 cal x .30%= 1,020 | 1,020 ÷ 4 (1 g of protein= 4 cal) = 255 g/protein
and 3,400 cal x .25%= 825 | 825 ÷ 9 (1 g of fat=9 cal) = 92g/fat
That’s how you figure out your grams based on your macro percentage. Multiply the grand total of calories by the macro percentage. Then divide by the number of calories per gram for that specific macronutrient.
Cutting macros and calories is up next.
Is it easier to make more money or spend less money?
I think cutting and bulking is a lot like this analogy here. For me personally, I find cutting a lot smoother than bulking.
Fewer dishes to wash. Barely any cooking. Less time eating. Not having to stress about how I am going to eat all this food today.
Your goal while cutting is summed up in one word:
Preserve your mass, your strength, and your sanity.
You want to lose the smallest amount of muscle possible. A key thing to doing this is to eat enough protein. 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
A high protein diet while cutting will kick your hunger to the curb and most importantly will give your body enough amino acids to keep your body from cannibalizing your muscles and strength.
That’s why I advise a:
“45% carb / 35% protein / 20% fat”
when dieting to shred fat.
Youll dodge all the nasty side effects of entering a caloric deficit for a length of time.
With the two most important facets of nutrition covered, let us talk about macros and calories for when you’re in maintenance mode.
At Lions Of Fitness, we have 3 core values that we preach:
-The Need for Achievement
That’s why I don’t like maintaining for over a certain length of time. Something that puts true fear into my soul is being in the same position that I was in last year. If I’m not getting better, I’m simply going to get worse. Progress is the motto. Always make progress.
But nonetheless, when your maintaining there’s no risk.
When you are bulking you have to keep tabs on your carbohydrate intake so you don’t experience rapid fat gain.
When you’re cutting you run the risk of losing all the strength and muscle progress you earned while you were in your muscle gaining phase. We do 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight or 35% of calories to protein to combat this.
When your maintaining there’s nothing.
Your just coasting and cruising. That why I recommend a:
“50% C/ 25% P /25% F “
Enough carbs to keep you happy. A gram of protein per pound of body weight to maintain your physique. Hitting the top limit of dietary fat so you can have cheat meals easily.
Learning this. Understand this. How macros and calories impact your body makes all the difference in the world.
Do me one favor and share this post to someone you know who could use it. Maybe they’re starting their 1st bulk or they could be well into their cut. I just want this information to reach the right people.
That’s all for today, my man. Be Good!
-Alvin De Leon
Lions Of Fitness