If you’re worried about macronutrient ratios, you should first make sure you’ve got the bare essentials of your training and nutrition plan sorted! When you have these basics in place, you can start worrying about fine tuning your macronutrient ratios to achieve your goal physique!
1. Gym Is Your First Priority!
If you are just starting out, devoting time to the gym and learning how to lift weights correctly should be your main concern. If you keep your diet the same and work out 3-4 times a week, you will see improvements in strength and fitness just due to the increase in physical activity. Of course if your pair weight training with good nutrition, you will see better results more quickly.
Your weight training regime should remain fairly constant regardless of your goals. What really determines your results is the quality of your gym training and nutrition.
2. Monitor Caloric Intake
Before you can decide what proportions of macronutrients you should be eating, you should work out how many calories you should be putting into your body. You can use our nutrition calculator to work this out easily! The calculator allows you to select fat loss, maintenance or muscle gain as a goal, and the caloric intake output will reflect this.
When you know how much food you should be eating, you then need a way of tracking your diet so that you can stick to it. The easiest way to do this is with a smartphone app. There are many apps available for this, and I would highly recommend My Fitness Pal. Stick to your recommended caloric intake for a period of 1-2 weeks and track any changes in your weight.
If you aren’t seeing the results you want, then you can adjust your caloric intake accordingly. Increase or decrease your caloric intake by 100 calories per week until you achieve the level of weight loss or weight gain that you want. As you progress you can start to optimise your macronutrient ratios and you will get better at tweaking your diet as you learn what your body needs!
3. Work Out The Best Ratio of Macronutrients for You
The easiest way to decide on macronutrient ratios is to use our nutrition calculator. This will do all the hard work for you! It will work out how much protein you need to eat, and then decide how the rest should be split between carbs and fats based on your goals, body type and activity level.
Whether your goal is to build muscle or lose fat, your required protein intake will not change significantly. You should aim to consume 0.6-0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, so if you weigh 180lbs, you need roughly 135g of protein per day.
Lets say protein accounts for 30% of your daily calories, you will then need to split the remaining 70% of your daily calories between carbs and fats. Carbs and fats are both energy sources which our bodies can make use of, and the important thing is that they come from clean, healthy sources.
4. Get Your Macronutrients From Good Sources
Choose lean sources of protein to reduce your intake of saturated fats:
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- All fish
- Lean red meat
- Egg whites
Get your carbs from good-quality, healthy, natural sources:
- Sweet potato
- All vegetables
Get your fats from good-quality, unprocessed, natural sources:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Whole milk
- Nut butters
- Raw nuts
- Fish oils
- Egg yolks
For more information on the best food sources, read our article on Foods to Eat and Avoid.
Before you start to worry about macronutrients, first make sure you are hitting the gym regularly. The next stage is to monitor your caloric intake and get good at tracking your nutrition. As you become more advanced and set yourself specific goals, you can tweak your macronutrient ratios to get the results you want.