By Thoren Bradley
Carbohydrates, proteins and fat. In short, by counting our protein and carbs (4 calories per gram) and our fat (9 calories per gram) we are essentially also tracking our calories. Why not just count calories? In a nutshell, each macronutrient serves a vital purpose for building tissues, providing quality energy, hormone balance and even the simple preservation of proteins in the body that have already been created. If we aren’t at least aware of the general ratios of macronutrients in our daily intake, it’s going to be a whole hell of a lot harder to preserve lean body mass during a cut. I’m guessing your goal isn’t just to watch the number on the scale drop, but also have some lean muscle left as well.
Look, it’s tough in this day and age to stay the course when it comes to weight loss. Every day a new diet that promises results by excluding an entire food group or maybe an entire macronutrient. But let’s air this out now, we are both equipped and setup physiologically to handle a wide variety of foods. Setting yourself up to ignore an entire food group is a dead end at best. Carbs exist, they are all around us (thank the heavens), and setting ourselves up to perform with them as a part of our daily intake will only serve you fruitfully (pun not intended) in the long term. Don’t let the modern era of carb fears steer you from using them to fuel better workouts and a leaner physique. Unless someone is completely sedentary, I always keep healthy and clean carbs in the picture during a weight loss journey. The presence of carbs fuel higher intensity workout sessions and are likely the most underrated tool for recovery. Carbs also do a great job in sparing those precious grams of protein we need, to maintain the tissue we already have.
If it fits your macros, you’re all good? Maybe not. You need micronutrients too! How? Just like you were told all through your childhood, you’ll want to eat your veggies and fruits (and the occasional mollusk). So much so, that I’ll tell people to not even bother counting it in their macros for the day if it’s a leafy green vegetable. I’ve seen people feel and even notice major differences in their performance by simply incorporating more micronutrient dense foods. Hormone production, digestive efficiency and fluid balance are just a few things that we notice improve with the incorporation of these nutrient dense foods. So…don’t skimp on the veggies!
Now what? Finding your own way
So, you lost the weight. Now you feel awesome, but you want to start growing some more muscle again. You’ll need to find your New basal metabolic rate and your new caloric needs. Once you know your new caloric goal, you’ll start your macronutrient guidelines by finding how much protein to eat.
Finding your protein requirement needs to be based on your Lean Body Mass, not your total weight. Around 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of LEAN body mass.
So, if you weigh 95 kgs with 15 percent body fat you have around 80 kg of Lean Body Mass (95x.85= 80) Take that LBM number and multiply it by that magic number 2.2. Which lands you at around 175 grams of protein a day (or 700 calories). Fill in the rest of your macros to reach your caloric needs for the day. And if you’re lost, remember that 40-40-20 rule to start. Adjust your carbs and fats until you find a zone where you feel your best, but try to keep protein relatively steady.