3 Keys To Dialing In Your Macro Nutrient Ratios

weight management Feb 11, 2020

Building? Maintaining? Looking to lose some fat? What you eat is as important as how you work out. Craft your macro-nutrient ratio with these tips!

I often get asked questions like, "What amounts of carbohydrates do you recommend for bulking?" "How much protein do I need during weight loss?" and "Is there an ideal macro ratio for getting rid of unwanted fat?" If you've ever asked someone these questions, you may have also tried a ratio you saw someone touting and found that it definitely didn't work for you. Maybe you felt groggy or exhausted all the time, or you expected gains that never showed up. This is all too common.

The truth is that just like everyone has different goals, everyone has to take a different road to get to their ideal body. Otherwise, building lean mass, shedding unwanted fat, and maintaining your goal weight would be easy—just adjust your calories and you'd be set! Sadly, it's not that simple.

Does this mean we're all doomed to start from scratch and tinker until we find our way? Definitely not. Here are three factors that can help you establish an effective starting point for your journey from "before" to "after."

Factor 1: Fitness Goals

Your first step is to choose what's more important to you: fat loss or lean mass gains. You may ask, "What if I want both?" However, this is one of those situations where you're better off tackling one goal at a time. While lean mass gains can occur alongside fat loss, neither process will occur at its full potential. Why? Higher carbohydrate ratios augment lean mass gains, while lower carbohydrate ratios tend to accelerate fat loss.

There are ways you can move incrementally toward fat and build muscle simultaneously, such as carb-cycling, where you alternate muscle-building phases of higher carbs with periods of lower carbs to encourage fat burning. Some recent research also supports intermittent fasting as a means of achieving both fat loss and mass gains. However, individual results vary in both cases, and neither is an excuse to disregard your macros altogether.

Regardless of what method you choose, you'll see more pronounced mass gains, or more rapid fat loss, if you focus primarily on one main goal at a time. Many pro fitness athletes utilize a "building" phase lasting several weeks or months, followed by a "cutting" phase to achieve a well-developed, yet lean physique. This doesn't have to be extreme or unpleasant in order to work, as long as you stick to these typical macro-nutrient ranges.

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