Mastering Your Macros: Part 2
For Part 1 of this article Click HERE.
In Mastering your Macros Part 1, we established what macros were. How much energy each gram of protein, carbohydrates, and fat provides, and that in order to work towards the goals of gaining, maintaining, and losing weight, we must either have a caloric surplus, balance, or deficit.
In order to find out what percentage of each macro we need and establish the target amounts for each of the goals, we first need to find out what your estimated caloric baseline is. This will be different for each person, but there are guidelines we can follow. The first step is finding your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This will give you an estimate of how many calories you would consume in a day to maintain your current weight and provide energy for your training and life needs.
For the purpose of finding your TDEE and caloric baseline, we will be using the “Activity Level Multiplier” equation from Dr. Layne Norton’s Flexible Dieting. Take your current weight in pounds, and multiply it by your appropriate activity level number. This number will change as your activity level, job, injury status, etc. may change.
- Sedentary – No training. Illness, injury, recovery from surgery, whatever the case may be, you do not partake in any strenuous activity at all.
- <5 hours of training per week. If you train for an hour a day, 5 days a week, or are a moderately active individual, this is your multiplier.
- 5-10 hours of training per week. If you train 5 days a week, for an hour or more, and also stay active on weekends, this is your multiplier.
- 10-15 hours of training per week. This is for those who train longer sessions during the week, usually 5-6 days. Suitable for bodybuilding athletes.
- 15-20 hours of training per week. In-season competitive athletes, prepping for a competition or meet, multiple workouts per day, 5-6 days a week. Competitive powerlifters, Crossfit athletes, Olympic lifters, are categorized here.
- >20 hours of training per week . Elite endurance, performance, strength athletes and Olympians fall under this category.
*If your job keeps you active, and you find you burn a lot of calories, but don’t think going up a full category multiplier is warranted, feel free to add a .5 to the above multipliers.*
For the purpose of this article, we are going use the example of Mr. Kombat, a 200lb male who lifts weights for an hour 3 days a week, and takes Muay Thai Classes for an hour 3 days a week. As well as 20 minutes of cardio every morning. Based on the above definitions Mr. Kombat would fall into the Activity Level Multiplier of 13.
Mr. Kombat’s body weight in pounds is 200lbs. Multiply that by his Activity level multiplier (13) and we have his baseline maintenance caloric intake of 2600 calories per day.
Mr. Kombat wants to lose weight, so based on the calculation above, he has 2 options. First, he can verify that this is a true maintenance level by staying at this caloric intake for 2 weeks and see the results of either gaining or losing weight. If he loses, his baseline is slightly higher than our calculation, if he gains, either he wasn’t being honest in his self-reporting or he needs to lower his caloric intake a bit to accommodate the surplus.
In Part 3 of this article, Mr. Kombat is going to finally find out how many grams of each macro he needs in order to reach his target calories for each day. He will also discover that patience is key and being honest with himself and listening to his body are essential for him to attain his goal.
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