3 Macro Breakdowns to Help Build That Body
In the strength training world, we often say “know your macros.” The reason behind this is that if you have a pretty good idea of what you’re putting in your mouth then you’ll be able to build muscle or burn fat far better than just winging it.
By macros I’m referring to our three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. A macronutrient split is just breaking down your diet with simple math. Now you know how much of what you’re consuming. Since I have to stand out from everyone else, I like to organize my macros by fat, carbs, and then protein (which is a different order than most). For example, a 2,000 diet that is 20/50/30 looks like this:
2,000 calories 44 grams of Fat (20%) 250 grams of Carbs (50%) 150 grams of Protein (30%)
The reason for all this neurotic calorie counting is that you can add or subtract certain foods to elicit a response. Someone who wants to pack on muscle mass will have to add carbs, while someone trying to lose fat may cut some carbs or add in protein. Is it a bit of work at first? Yep. Is it an exact science? Nope. But it does work, and for someone who wants to try to get exactly to a certain point (i.e. I want to lose 15 pounds of bodyfat) it does work. Where you run into problems is following the wrong split. Or you get someone who doesn’t know how to measure food. As a personal trainer, I use this stuff for only my most dedicated clients.
Here are some popular macro splits you can use to change your body.
The 40/40/20 Split
John Meadows has recommended this before, as it helps him figure out how someone responds to carbs. Meadow’s isn’t as neurotic as others when it comes to carbs, as people who say that “I don’t respond well to carbs” usually get their nutrition from a bag of pretzels. So you can start here and cut some carbs out if things aren’t looking all that great. Otherwise it’s a great place to start for building muscle.
The 33/33/33 Split
Controversial body expert Dan Duchaine came up with his isocaloric diet; which requires a 1/3 split from each macronutrient. He actually developed this a long time ago, as he was advocating a higher fat intake and dropping carbs long before it became all the rage. Honestly, it’s not a difficult diet to follow and you can achieve a pretty good level of leanness by doing it.
The 50/20/30 Split
For those who do fear carbs, you can follow this breakdown, in which 50% of your calories come from fat and just a measly 20% from carbohydrates. The protein intake is high enough to ensure that you won’t lose muscle mass while shedding some fat. However, you do want to eat carbs at some point, so following this diet for too long would be counterproductive.
If you’re really clever, you’ll see that the splits are organized in a way that you could follow for maximal fat loss. Start with the highest intake of carbs and then work your way down. Is it slightly time consuming to do all that number munching? Yep, and certainly it’s not for everyone. But it does work. Is crunching some numbers worth it to you to get in shape?