The Basics of Body Recomposition: Macronutrient Calculations to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

The Basics of Body Recomposition: Macronutrient Calculations to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

John Romaniello
by John Romaniello
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The Basics of Body Recomposition: Macronutrient Calculations to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

In my last article, I introduced the topic of body recomposition: the ability to burn fat and gain (lean) muscle at the same time.

While body recomposition is difficult, it can be done. In fact, with the right approach, it’s actually pretty simple. That said, as you delve more deeply into any process, you will need to following new steps in order to progress. Taking these next steps, of course, leads to better results.

Part 1 of this series focused on approaching body recomposition through calorie cycling. While that is undoubtedly a great start, we’re going to take the next step and teach you how to cycle your macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein) to make the entire process more effective.

A Quick Refresher

For body recomposition, the single most important aspect of your overall fitness plan is nutrition. Exercise is certainly an important factor, but nutrition is at least 75% of the equation. So, we need to get your diet in order.

When structuring nutrition for recomposition, you need to focus on cycling. In the context of dieting, “cycling” means that you modify your nutrition based on your activity. Simply put, you need to eat more on days that you train (“training days”), and less on days that you do not (“rest days”). The primary reason for this is energy utilization and recovery.

Note that for the purposes of our discussion, the term “training day” only refers to a day in which you perform weight training for at least 30 minutes.

The first fundamental key of recomposition is to match energy demand with energy intake. Energy intake is critical—calories come first. So, before going any further, please go back to Part 1 of this series, and calculate your caloric intake for both training and rest days.

Determining Macronutrient Intake for Recomposition

Now that you’ve determined your caloric intake, you need to figure out where that energy ought to come from—for instance, what types of foods and how much of each. This means we need to figure out your macronutrient breakdown. As with calories, there’s a simple formula for this.

Before we can get into it though, it’s important to realize what macronutrients are. Simply put, macronutrients, or macros, are the three main categories of foods: carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

Each of these play different roles in the body and consequently have different effects. If you want a more complete discussion of macros, check out MyFitnessPal’s Nutrition 101 series. With regard to recomposition, just know that eating more protein and carbs is crucial on training days, while on rest days, carbohydrates are much less important. Simple and easy.

All macronutrients are measured in grams. The calorie content of each of these grams varies a bit among the macronutrients: protein and carbohydrates each have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram. That will be important for the formula we’ll be using. Speaking of which…

To Determine Training Day Calories:

  • First, determine your protein intake in both grams and calories. Multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 (this is the total grams of protein you eat). Multiply your result by 4 (this is the total number of calories that will come from those grams of protein).
  • Second, determine your carbohydrate intake in both grams and calories. Multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 (this is the total grams of carbs you eat). Multiply your result by 4 (this is the total number of calories that will come from those grams of carbs).
  • Third, determine how many calories remain. Add the calories from your protein and carbs together. Subtract that number from your total training day calorie intake.
  • Fourth, determine your fat intake in grams. Take your remaining calories, and divide that number by 9. The result is your fat intake in grams.

Just like that, you’ve got your macro breakdown for training days. Now, let’s move on to rest days…

To Determine Rest Day Calories:

  • First, determine your protein intake in both grams and calories. Multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 (this is the total grams of protein you eat). Multiply your result by 4 (this is the total number of calories that will come from those grams of protein).
  • Second, determine your carbohydrate intake in both grams and calories. Multiply your bodyweight by 0.35 (this is the total grams of carbs you eat). Multiply your result by 4 (this is the total number of calories that will come from those grams of carbs).
  • Third, determine how many calories remain. Add the calories from your protein and carbs together. Subtract that number from your total rest day calorie intake.
  • Fourth, determine your fat intake in grams. Take your remaining calories, and divide that number by 9. The result is your fat intake in grams.

And just like that, you’ve got your macros for your rest days.

To help drive this home, here is an example; I’m once again offering myself up as a guinea pig. Based on the formula to determine calorie intake (again, see Part 1), I’m starting with these numbers:

  • Training day calories: 2,932.5. This is the number of calories I will eat on days I train with weights.
  • Rest day calories: 2,295. This is how many calories I need to eat on days during which I do not train with weights.

These numbers are based on my current stats: 197 pounds, 5’8″, and 10% body fat.

With that covered, let’s determine my training day macro breakdown.

  • Protein: 197 x 1.5 = 295.5 grams. Represented in calories, this is 1,170 (295.5 x 4).
  • Carbohydrates: 197 x 1.5 = 295.5 grams. Represented in calories, this is 1,170.
  • Next, I add those two up, giving me 2,340 calories. I subtract this from my training day calories and see I have 592.5 calories remaining.
  • Fat: I divide my remaining calories by 9 and get 65.83—that’s how many grams of fat I need.

All told, my macronutrient breakdown for training days looks like this: 295.5g P/295.5g C/65.83g Fat.

Next, we determine rest day macros.

  • Protein: 197 x 1.5 = 295.5 grams. Represented in calories, this is 1,170 (295.5 x 4).
  • Carbohydrates: 197 x .35 = 68.95 grams. Represented in calories, this is 275.8.
  • Next, I add those two up, giving me 1,450.8 calories. I subtract this from my rest day calories and see I have 849.2 calories remaining.
  • Fat: I divide my remaining calories by 9 and get 94.35—that’s how many grams of fat I need.

All told, my macronutrient breakdown for rest days looks like this: 295.5g P/68.95g C/94.35g Fat.

Closing Thoughts & Next Steps

Okay, okay—it’s a bit more math than most of us would like, but thankfully, you only have to do it once. After that, you’ve got your macros, and you won’t be changing them for a while. Figuring this stuff out may take a few minutes, but it is absolutely the most effective way to structure your nutrition for recomposition.

While the process of getting in shape is never easy, it can be made simple with formulas like these. There are a few other ways to eat for recomposition, but this intermediate formula is a great step on your journey to simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain.

Your Turn

Now, it’s your turn. Give it a shot and post your result in the comments section. We’ll be around to check in on you, and offer some advice and guidance.

About the Author

John Romaniello
John Romaniello

John Romaniello is an angel investor, author and ranks between journeyman and expert in fields ranging from fitness to writing to marketing. He is the author of hundreds of articles, dozens of e-products, and one New York Times bestselling book.


190 responses to “The Basics of Body Recomposition: Macronutrient Calculations to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle”

  1. Avatar Indunna says:

    Girl here. 150 lbs need to net 1600 cals to maintain. I burn 200-ish marginal cals in a 45 min weight session. By your math I would need to eat a 50/ 50 mix of protien and carbs on training days with 0 grams of fat. Sounds like BS to me. I think you are overprescribing protien.

    • Avatar Thom says:

      Ignore what this bro says. He’s completely wrong on a great many things.

      • Avatar stacy says:

        Oh is he? are YOU guys (who liked this comment) the ones that have recomped many, many bodies and been successful as a personal trainer? No. You’re still fat for a reason.

      • Avatar Ty C says:

        NYT bestselling author, respected fitness coach and advisor with endless results using these methods. So wrong…/s

      • Avatar Kristian Lazarov says:

        An assertion without any argument backing it is quite useless. Please explain what’s wrong with this particular article.

      • Avatar Joey Beall says:

        She’s absolutely right. This equation does not work based on body weight alone. By these standards, her diet would have zero room for fats, and as anyone would know, if they have the first idea about what they are talking about, fats are absolutely necessary for the health of your brain, and the general production and maintenance of hormones and internal organs. She would hit 1800kcals just based on the protein and carbs equation, and that’s without fats included. With consideration given to her BMR of roughly 1600 and her exercise regime of burning on average 200kcals per day. This article is ludicrous. It would have been a better representation to work as percentages of BMR vs. percentages of BMR + caloric expenditure on training days. For this, you would prescribe something more like 15% fats, 45% carbs, and 40% protein on training days @training day kcals. Then, something like 25% fat, 35% carbs, 40% protein on rest days. But that’s just what I do, because I like to always have a relatively even split of energy and muscle food on rest days, and slightly more energy(carbs) on workout days, just in case readily available sources(the blood) get depleted at the gym.(only applicable if you workout in beast mode for 1+ hours straight). Different strokes for different folks, but I would never suggest dropping under 25% carbs, 10% fats, or 30% protein, as just a sort of baseline, and I would never suggest dropping below BMR, no matter how quickly you want to try to lose fat. Anything less than balanced nutrition and a minimum of BMR calories will pretty much guaranteeing that you’ll also lose muscle, and maybe some brain cells lol.

        • Avatar Joey Beall says:

          Also, source… I weighed 323 LB when I decided to start losing weight. I was at 47% bodyfat at the time, with a lean body mass of just a hair over 171 LB. In 7 months of strict, no nonsense diet of the type that I mention above(7 months!), at a strict BMR base eating pattern, based not on my body weight, but on the weight that I desired to be(210 LB), with roughly an hour of serious exercise(weight training) 5-7 days per week, and up to two hours of cardio per day(riding my bike everywhere, which I got so accustomed to that I did not count it as exercise). I went (in 7 months!), down to 213 lb @ 14.6% bodyfat. I would call that effective recomposition. I genuinely believe that I am a credible source for at least macro based diet information, which is the simplest and most basic of diet control.(which is why it’s such a shock that so many people get so much wrong about it…

          • Avatar Joey Beall says:

            Also, fast forward, Same diet… kcals adjusted to BMR + Expenditure, + 10%, 9+ months of working out at this diet, overall bodyweight is up 10%, muscle is up 11ish%. Bodyfat is essentially stable at 14% 😉 If I wanted to drop bodyfat(which I don’t care to because I like my easy gains and my 201 LB lean body mass), I would just maintain the same exercise, and drop my kcal intake to BMR again, and just slowly melt the fat off.

          • Avatar Joey Beall says:

            I looked up this guy’s book. For the record, I have… Lost 30 LB in a two week span, increased my bench from 115lb, to 245 in a 6 month span, and, well… well the last two things that his book promises, I can’t really do, I don’t know how to make people smarter, except by having them read books… and the sex life thing… I don’t know how increased libido and performance equate to a better sex life lol… you can have it all, but if the ladies scatter when you ty to start a conversation… I don’t think his book has enough pages to cover all of that XD Also, I can’t find your “New York Times Best Seller” accreditation. Is that an outright lie?

          • Avatar Marie Perrow says:

            Hey do you have an email or something so that I can get more info on what you did, or explain here. What is BMR how do I find mine? I am very impressed with your progress and would to do it myself.

        • Avatar ijaz ali says:

          if your body fat is 30% do you still need Carbs in diet

    • Avatar Ty C says:

      You can also calculate protein requirements using your LBM instead if you know your bodyfat%.

      • Avatar Ashley Patrick says:

        I know my body fat%, would you be able to post the formula please? and can you use it for other things like calories and carbs? also what is LBM? sorry to ask so many questions but i’m new at this

  2. Avatar Melanie Marko Hitchings says:

    I got the same result for 0 grams of fat on training days. Doesn’t seem right.

  3. Avatar Ascalonian says:

    Above for carbs, it says your weight times 1.5 but then later says 0.35. Please correct it so it is consistent 🙂

    • Avatar mandy says:

      Because your carb intake is recommended to be different on those two types of days. Not an error on the author’s part.

  4. Avatar Sheriff says:

    I am also confused. I at 153 lbs and need 1640 calories to maintain. I would only have 50 calories of fat left on training days = 9 grams. Is that correct?

  5. Avatar jenny86753o9 says:

    That’s a lot of protein. I like to determine my protein from my LBM.

    • As do I. That’s a most advanced model and will be covered in the next article!

      • Avatar BeefSwollington says:

        Thanks for this and the first article. I’m trying to find the next article you mentioned that you are going to write, the advanced recomp model. Any help would be appreciated.

      • Avatar Marie Nurse Esthetician says:

        Great Article! Useful information and a good place to start with some adjustments to fit each person’s body type and goal.

      • Avatar Ben Stevens says:

        Hi John!

        Great article – thanks for sharing your knowledge. That is a hell of a lot of protein! What does your diet look like on a training day? Or a rest day for that matter? I’m imaging raw eggs and steak all day long, and I’m also imagining I’m wrong!



  6. Avatar Cheryl says:

    I am currently 5’9″ 169 lbs with a body fat of 36 my calorie intake is 1790 with a goal weight of 150. If I do carb cycling since I’m trying to lose weight and fat with diet and exercise I am assuming my maintenance weight is the 150 lb goal and it is that number that I would use to figure out my carb cycling numbers and my macros is that correct?

  7. Avatar Glamazon says:

    I read the article, and did the calculations. Sorry, but this doesn’t sound right at all.

    • Avatar Anthony says:

      Why doesn’t it sound right? Have you tried it at all? Or did you simply look at the numbers and say it’s not right? I would say unless you gave a shot at this for 1-2 weeks how can you determine if the numbers are wrong? Best of luck

      • Avatar Glamazon says:

        Listen Anthony, I read the article with an open mind, and I appreciate good info as much as the next person, I also enjoy math. But like I said, I did the calculations and immediately saw that this calculation is unrealistic, and certainly not scalable to all body weights. Which is why I said it didn’t seem right.

        For instance, according to MFP profile, a 275 pound person has maintenance calories of 2,560 calories per day. Training Day Calories are 2944 (MC+15%) and Rest Day Calories are 2304 (MC-10%) according to the part 1 article.

        Therefore, the calculations in this part 2 article, yield the following:

        “First, determine your protein intake”: 1.5 ratio x 275 lbs = 412.5 total grams of protein a day. Already I know this calculation is whack. Multiplying that by 4 leads to 1650 calories coming from those grams of protein.

        “Second, determine your carbohydrate intake”: Same formula, so again, 1650 calories coming from those grams of carbs. Um??

        “Third, determine how many calories remain”: None remain, the number is actually Negative. 2,560 minus 3300 equals -356 calories remaining.

        “Fourth, determine your fat intake”: Divided by 9, the number is also Negative. -40 is result for fat intake in grams.

        There isn’t much point in going on, the calculation has already proved fallible. My point.

        • Avatar Ty C says:

          At 275lbs your maintenance calories would be much higher. However at 275lbs you probably shouldn’t be eating to recomp but rather cut and therefore this article won’t help you.

        • Avatar zack says:

          The problem here is your initial MC – if you read part 1 JR = 197 pounds and am 5’8’’ tall with 10% body fat. According to my
          MyFitnessPal diet profile, my MC is set to 2,550. For a guy my size,
          that sounds about right.

          how is it that you’r slapping on 80lbs extra and have only 10more calories/day?

        • Avatar Mohamad Azzam says:

          you have to calculate to your body lean mass not including fat
          impossible to be 275Ibs without fat

  8. Avatar Lee Evans says:

    I’m confused too, most people are on MFP to lose weight, some admittedly to gain. So if I’m trying to lose weight do I concentrate on losing fat and then once at my goal weight start to build muscle again?

    Or can I still follow this program and just use my target weight to do the calculation above. Otherwise at 202Ibs and 29% fat I’m going to be getting through a hell of a lot of calories on both training and rest days (yah!).

    I’ve been following the first part and simply adding a 15% Cardiovascular exercise for weight training around 180 calories on training days and have been doing this mainly from protein. I guess this is sort of the same thing.

    • At 29% body fat, I would not recommend recomposition. You’d want to focus on fat loss until you’re below 20%, and then reassess from there.

      hope that helps!

      • Avatar Lee Evans says:

        Many thanks John, that does help! It doesn’t make sense you can do much more than tone up whilst losing a large amount of fat. I’ve shifted nearly 10% fat in 6 months so I guess 20% can only be another 6 months…. well perhaps not. But thanks for your advice, it’s really helped motivate me at the gym.

        • Avatar Erin Mullally Copenhaver says:

          I was also confused about this because I’m trying to lose weight and couldn’t get the calorie calculations to work out. Are there similar calculations for a person in fat loss mode to know what the macro-balance should be on training day vs rest?

      • Avatar Guest says:

        What percentage body fat would you recommend women be at before they focus on recomposition?

      • Avatar Ashley Patrick says:

        but why not both? i’m at 28% body fat but my BMR is so low (1220) that i’m counting on building muscle to help bring that up so i’m not starving to lose the fat

  9. Avatar Rebecca Robinson says:

    This *might* work for serious body builders… but heck, if I ate that many calories I’d gain back the 143 lbs I’ve lost. No doubt about it. Problem with formulas like this, is we don’t all fit some standard mold. My metabolism and body functions a bit differently than yours, and yours is different and so on. It’s like expecting all our cars to get the same gas mileage even if we all own 1954 mustangs! Millage is gonna vary…. formulas don’t work. Heck, if you’ve read recent research, you’ve read that they’ve finally discovered what most of us already knew…..3,500 kcals only = a pound in a vacuum. My body figured this out twenty + years ago when I hit my 30’s. 🙂

  10. Avatar paulsz28 says:

    Almost 300g of protein in a day for a 197lbs guy? Your kidneys won’t like you.

  11. Avatar Luz says:

    These calculations don’t make any sense. Bad advice myfitnesspal!

    • Avatar Anthony says:

      The idea still can make sense – lower carbs in on non training days, higher on weight training days. The article specifies losing fat AND building muscle. If those aren’t your goals it won’t make sense. Best of luck!

  12. Avatar Emma says:

    How about doing 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat? Has made me way fitter effortlessly and I eat 2500 calories at least, even with no exercise, and I don’t gain weight and have a flat stomach 🙂

    • Avatar Jeremy says:

      You really shouldn’t drop lower than 20% fat. Your body needs fat to absorb essential vitamins and you can develop a serious vitamin deficiency without enough of it. 10% protein is the absolute minimum you should take if you are completely inactive. However, you really need some level of activity for your cardiovascular health. You may not be gaining weight and have a flat stomach, but you’re definitely not healthy.

  13. Avatar Michael Mazepa says:

    These calculators always seem way too low. When I was doing Man 2.0 it said I needed 1800 calories a day. I was losing 2 pounds a week eating 2500, i felt like total shit eating less than 2000. Granted everyone is different. But if I’m trying to maintain and I’m working out hardcore 5-6 days a week I can maintain at 3000 calories a day and I’m only 5,9 163 lbs 14% body fat. Love all you do Roman, keep it up!

  14. Avatar Joe Barbagallo says:

    The macro’s are spot on at least for my clients and I. We can argue that the protein is too high or its too many calories or whatever other reason to discredit this information before attempting to try it out. Yes, if you 30% body fat you should lose fat first and this can be obtained many different ways -low calories, low carb , high carb , paleo , wizardry. Some are healthier then others, some help the metobolic process and others damage it. You pick your poison. I hope people take advantage of this valuable information.

    • Avatar Ashley Patrick says:

      Sooo for those of us that are 28% body fat but want to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time we shouldn’t follow this? Also I wish this would take into account people’s BMRs because i’m pretty sure my calorie count for at least rest days is too high, at this rate i’ll never be in a caloric deficit and lose any more fat (p.s. in the past two months i’ve lost 5 pounds of fat and 1 pound of muscle)

  15. Avatar Randy Fisher says:

    You people are without doubt out of your freaking minds. Like it, hate it, do your thing but I will attest that this shit works if you can just let go of the freaking dogma that you’ve become slaves to.

    • Avatar Kristian Lazarov says:

      You’re going to have to clarify.

      • Avatar Randy Fisher says:

        Clarify what exactly? Too many on this forum are quick to throw dirt on anything that doesn’t fit their rigid ideology. It’s possible that not all calories are created equal and that fat loss or muscle gain are more complex than simple energy balance.

        I’ve personally used these principles and had a lot of success but most people won’t even try it, they simply reject it out of hand because it doesn’t fit their worldview. People should take it for what it is, a free resource and tweak it to meet their needs.

      • Avatar Joey Beall says:

        Kristian Lazarov, You’re going to have to clarify. Before Randy’s head explodes.

  16. Avatar Jollygreen says:

    Love what you do Roman. Math makes sense when you follow it and the program seems like a solid way to approach recomposition. Seems many have confused this for a fat loss or maintenance article as opposed to a maintain weight and change composition article. Keep up the good work. Thank you

    • Avatar Elizabeth Nosser says:

      I thought body recomp WAS fat loss and muscle gain , that what the article is about …LOSE FAT AND GAIN MUSCLE

      • Avatar Jollygreen says:

        Hello Elizabeth, There is nothing in my above statement that disagrees with you. It is such and article. I was addressing the people who had responded negatively to Roman’s article because they had a goal that was contrary to the idea of the article. I apologize for an confusion.

  17. Avatar Josie says:

    I’d give it a try, makes some sense – but when might we be able to program different macronutrients into MFP? At the moment it’s not possible, is it?

    • Avatar Ty C says:

      I know that frustration…You can set your own goals in the settings after it gives you the total calorie amount…sadly you can’t set them precisely but rather as percentages. I usually go somewhere relatively close.

  18. Avatar Ty C says:

    Geez people, is it that hard to grasp the concept of cycling or using a calculator? I’ll throw myself into this realm: Male 156lbs 11% bodyfat.

    Maintenance Cals: 2,630cal

    Workout Days:
    Protein: 1.5×156 = 234g x4 = 936cal
    Carbs: 1.5 x 156 = 234 x4 = 936cal
    Fat: 2,630 – 1,872 = 758cal /9 = 84g Fat

    Non-Workout days:
    P: 1.5 x 156 = 234g x4 = 936cal
    C: 0.35 x 156 = 55g x4 = 220cal
    F: 2,630 – (936 + 220) = 1,156cal /9 = 128g

    If that seems high on calories or protein you can definitely use your LBM instead, however we’re talking about recomp and not cutting, 2 big differences. The beauty in this is that you can damn near eat whatever you like, no need for restrictive Paleo/Keto/Wheat Belly fad dieting…just eating and drinking the foods you enjoy!

    And all you have to do is a bit of number crunching. Believe me, this works beautifully, Roman is not just some “bro” who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    • Avatar Anthony says:

      yes! Right on man! Many people getting all bent outta shape over a great article.

    • Avatar Jennifer Krieg Snider says:

      Sorry Ty, I know this post is from 3 months ago. But I was just wondering about if the calculations are the same for women – and for women who run? Please see my post up top. Thank you!

      • Avatar Ty C says:

        No need to apologize! I’m not the expert in this realm, but I’m positive you can use these same calculations wether you are male or female. As far as your running is concerned, I would go ahead and use the same carb numbers for someone who lifts. The lifter needs it for muscle building, the runner needs it for energy.

        Hope that helps!

    • Avatar Sarah Jane Arena says:

      Thanks for this!

      This article seems to be geared more toward people who are already at a healthy weight. I don’t think I would recommend this to someone trying to lose weight.

      Interestingly enough, the Rest Days on this cycling article are essentially Keto eating days.

    • Avatar Brett Findlay says:

      Not sure if I should add the ‘increase my daily calorie goal with exercise’ option on MyFitnessPal app whilst going with recomp macros?

      Any suggestions?

  19. Avatar Anthony says:

    Great article! See what most people are complaining about is “oh this is too much or too generic – my body’s different!” Yeah maybe your body IS different but this is a solid START and foundation. You can tweak things later but until you’ve actually FOLLOWED his advice and plan, then keep your comments to yourself. This is supposed to be a place for SUPPORT not hating on authors that are genuinely trying to help. Mind = blown. Keep it up Roman!

  20. Avatar Brandi says:

    How do you even get in 295g of protein? Guzzle protein shakes?

    • Avatar Glamazon says:

      Right? Exactly why I said this calculation can’t be right for everyone, and proved it in my comment below.

      • Avatar JustME says:

        I get to 190g protein a day some days as a vegetarian without ANY protein shakes. 295 for a meat eater is nothing?!

    • Well, 6oz. of bison sirloin has 40g protein. I eat 4 of these per day, bringing me to 160 grams of protein. I also have about 60g coming from shakes (2 scoops during training, 1 scoop after). That already brings us to 220.

      From there, a few chicken breasts and eggs and getting to 300g is pretty simple.

      I’m a man with a big appetite.

  21. Avatar newbbie says:

    John, if one needs to lose fat before recompositioning what are the formulas for macro nutrients, especially if bmi is over 35?

  22. Avatar Kristian Lazarov says:

    I am starting a leaning out phase that will take 3-4 months time tomorrow. It’s a coincidence that I stumbled upon this article. Sort of similar to what he is suggesting; I will be cycling calories daily. 1 day maintenance, 1 day deficit. Protein will stay at 300g on the daily, fat will remain at 70g on the daily and only carbs will fluctuate between 300g and 50g.

    As an experienced lifter though, I have noticed that I have a great lifting session if I eat plenty the day BEFORE, not the day OF the training session. This is because the fuel that we put into our bodies breaks down over time. People talk as if macros are like lighter fluid squeezed into a pit of fire; immediate combustion. Therefore I don’t see the problem with having a low-calorie/low-carb day on the day you lift since your glucose stores in your muscles and liver will be replenished from the day before, under the circumstance that you don’t over-do the cardio the day before as well, which will deplete that energy.

  23. Avatar Kristian Lazarov says:

    I am starting a leaning out phase that will take 3-4 months time tomorrow. It’s a coincidence that I stumbled upon this article. Sort of similar to what he is suggesting; I will be cycling calories daily. 1 day maintenance, 1 day deficit. Protein will stay at 300g on the daily, fat will remain at 70g on the daily and only carbs will fluctuate between 300g and 50g.

    As an experienced lifter though, I have noticed that I have a great lifting session if I eat plenty the day BEFORE, not the day OF the training session. This is because the fuel that we put into our bodies breaks down over time. People talk as if macros are like lighter fluid squeezed into a pit of fire; immediate combustion. Therefore I don’t see the problem with having a low-calorie/low-carb day on the day you lift since your glucose stores in your muscles and liver will be replenished from the day before, under the circumstance that you don’t over-do the cardio the day before as well, which will deplete that energy.

  24. Avatar TXpoast says:

    I used to try to calculate everything, and I found it helpful to learn about what makes up the food I eat and how much is ideal to get me where I wanted to be. But lately I switched to just “eating when hungry” and putting the most emphasis each day on protein, then healthy fats, then carbs. Combined with regular cardio and lifting, I’ve gone from fat to fit in the last 11 months and gained a nice amount of muscle while losing that fat. I’m not going to say it was easy because there were times it wasn’t but it’s doable even at 40 :p

  25. Avatar Tony says:

    Protein amount is too high, even with a weight training regime of 75% of your 1RM with compound lifting. Drop the protein down to 1 gram per 1 pound of body weight (1.2 at the very most) and add what you save on to carbs. Your workouts will get a boost with the added carbs too.

  26. Avatar JustME says:

    So much douche in this comment section!

  27. Avatar BuzzPreston says:

    Why would you reduce caloric,(especially protien), intake on rest days when your body is repairing and rebuilding from the previous days’ training?

  28. Avatar Dave says:

    Does your app do this? Or are you posting to convince us to find another app?

  29. Avatar Jeff D says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, if you want win the Arnold Classic, its gonna take hard work and dedication with a strict diet. No doubt about that. And like any diet, you are going to have to do your homework to figure out what works best for your body. Good luck to all.

  30. Avatar Shelby says:

    If anyone else has calca, just copy-paste and tweak slightly.
    Calca = love… Just did it all in one Calcation (lol) on my iPhone.

    maintain = 2330
    weight = 132.4
    training days = maintain * 1.15 => 2,679.5
    rest days = maintain * 0.90 => 2,097
    tpro = 1.5 * weight * grams => 198.6 grams
    tpcal = (tpro * 4)/grams => 794.4
    tcarb = 1.5 * weight * grams => 198.6 grams
    tccal = (tcarb * 4)/grams => 794.4
    lovr = training days – (tpcal + tccal) => 1,090.7
    tfat = (lovr / 9) * grams => 121.1889 grams
    rpro = 1.5 * weight * grams => 198.6 grams
    rpcal = (rpro * 4)/grams => 794.4
    rcarb = 0.35 * weight * grams => 46.34 grams
    rccal = (rcarb * 4)/grams => 185.36
    lovrr = rest days – (rpcal + rccal) => 1,117.24
    rfat = (lovrr / 9) * grams => 124.1378 grams

  31. Avatar beckyml1980 says:

    sorry for my ignorance, if I am doing a mix of cardio and weights, would something like this be worth a try for me???? I would love to give this a try. I would be doing 4 days weights and 2 days cardio. Thanks for your input!

  32. Avatar beckyml1980 says:

    sorry for my ignorance, if I am doing a mix of cardio and weights, would something like this be worth a try for me???? I would love to give this a try. I would be doing 4 days weights and 2 days cardio. Thanks for your input!

  33. Avatar Jin says:

    Only way to get that much protein is through supplements, so prepare to pay up.

  34. Avatar anon says:

    If I’m trying to maintain my weight and body fat levels (20 yr old girl, 166cm tall, 51kg and 11% bf) but build muscle underneath, should I eat at maintenance on rest days and eat more on gym days rather than eat less on rest days?

  35. Avatar anon says:

    If I’m trying to maintain my weight and body fat levels (20 yr old girl, 166cm tall, 51kg and 11% bf) but build muscle underneath, should I eat at maintenance on rest days and eat more on gym days rather than eat less on rest days?

  36. Avatar Mark says:

    Has the high amounts of protein more to do with dietary adherence, or is there also a component of the ability to recover between hard workouts? Especially if you are training 6 times a week with cardio like some of your more aggressive fat loss/recomp programs?

  37. Avatar Graham Allen says:

    Brilliant article, I will certainly look to begin this in the new year after all festivities have passed. I am trying to lose a little belly fat so this may not be the right strategy I need to employ but I am always curious to test new things out.
    Roman, I loved Man 2.0. It was a massively informative book, one request though. With some of the earning’s made from the book could you employ a team to create an app so I can follow the lifting program and measure lifts. I use an app now for all my lifts and workout days but I would definitely buy your app.
    Thanks for the info

  38. Avatar AlliB says:

    Thanks for the explanation! I like doing the numbers myself & seeing where the numbers come from. One question though or two rather. I exercise 6 days a week. I only lift weights 2 days a week & the other 4 days I do cardio with push ups & crunches at the end of the workout. My cardio is 45 – 60 mins long & that is HIIT with Les Mills Combat program. So, would I eat the maintenance calories on the days I do cardio or the rest day calories? I’m thinking the maintenance calories bc I would be starving eating only my rest day calories 6 days a week. Here’s my breakdown. I’m a female, 5 feet 0 inches & 101.5 lbs
    Maintenance Calories = 1740
    Weight Training Days: 2001 calories = 152.2g P / 152.2g C / 87g F
    Rest day calories = 1566; 152.2g P / 36g C / 90.5g F


  39. Avatar clmac10 says:

    ok, so I have done all the math and plugging in the numbers for my goal weight because I am trying to lose 10 -15 lbs right now. This formula has me eating at least 200 more calories on training days than the 15% formula recommends and that is just with the protein and carbs. So I don’t get any fats. What am I doing wrong?

  40. […] The Basics of Body Recomposition: Macronutrient … – In my last article, I introduced the topic of body recomposition: the ability to burn fat and gain (lean) muscle at the same time. While body recomposition is …… […]

  41. Avatar LoCar says:

    This is just for body recomposition? You should neither lose or gain weight on this formula, just trade fat for muscle, right? If weight is lost then the numbers need to be readjusted. Which means maintenance calories are too low– am I understanding that correctly?

  42. Avatar BBGuy says:

    Awesome article!!! Very good starting point. Try following this principle for 6wks. If u see progress, continue with the same practice. If u are gaining fat, increase protein and reduce carbs. There is no universal or a simple one-size-fits-all recipe but in order to recognize your individual needs, you need to start somehow. Start like this and see what needs changing: training intensity, trainig type, water intake, kcal intake.
    Been reading these comments and can’t believe what I’m hearing. Apparently all of u who r saying bad things have no idea about fitness principles…

  43. Avatar Jennifer Krieg Snider says:

    John Romaniello,

    Are the calculations the same for women? What
    about people who also run? I am just getting back into running after a
    long hiatus due to injury (currently 3 easy short – 30 mins or less –
    runs a week). I do Beachbody’s Body Beast weight lifting program and
    lift HEAVY, to failure/burnout. I am 35, 5’11, currently 167#s, about
    27% BF. I meticulously measure and weigh my food and log it in MFP.

    Thank you so much, in advance, for your prompt response.

  44. Avatar Ben S says:

    Thanks john! Calculations done, & looking good to test it out. Will come back to post results
    135 lbs = 202.5g of P & carbs, 42.22g fat on training days
    Ben S 🙂

  45. Avatar Lothar Claggett says:

    I’ve been overweight for 10 years and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 23 pounds in one month without much exercise and it’s been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  46. Avatar Elizabeth Nosser says:

    I am confused , I multiplied my weight which is 150, (so ashamed) times 1.5 which came to 225g of protein and carbs and 15.5 fat grams…but my MFP for MCW is 1940 and adding the 15% (for training days )comes to a total of 2231.., rest day as I train with weight(body beast)6 days a week,(I just started) is 1746…is that really enough of a deficit to see weight loss and muscle gains , I am only 4’11 maybe 5 foot tall and I am really trying to get this right…Ive been doing 1200 cals per advice to do a shred from P90x while doing body beast(this is a reference) We recommend 1900-2200 calories a day for Men and 1200-1400 calories for Women. Those are the numbers that worked for us and have worked for several of our Team Members as well as many Beachbody coaches we know. You’ll hear many people tell you that those numbers are too low or not safe. If you are taking your Shakeology daily you know you have your nutrition covered. Fill the rest of your calories with healthy foods and lean meats. A good friend of mine is 6’7″ and started at 290lbs and he did the Fat Shredder at 1900 calories for 6 months! He now weighs 208lbs and looks incredible. If he can do it you can He drank Shakeology for his breakfast after his P90X workout and it kept him full until lunch.

    So am I doing this all wrong , Ive got to shed and gain and I want to do it right . PLEASE HELP !!!!

  47. Avatar Elizabeth Nosser says:

    to add ::::my macros are 50% protein 30% carbs 20% fat and I fuel my workouts with a lot of carbs and protein before and after along with creatine , I dont use shakeology, I use MTS Nutrition whey and I use micronized pharmaceutical grade creatine

  48. Avatar Peter says:

    I understand why so many people are confused about the protein calculations here. The author seems to have messed up his figures, i suspect he has confused himself and subsequently all the readers with the multiplication based on pounds instead of kilograms. This has therefore inadvertently exaggerated the figures beyond reasoning. Based on his height, weight and body fat, his own calculated requirements are far above his needs. The picture of him also confirms this.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, as we know in his prime is a whole lot bigger than lean than the Author here. Arnold based his protein intake for training days as 1g/pound or 2.2g/kg. You can read many modern bodybuilding information which have even lower figures than this. Arnold was a huge guy after all. The Author’s are based on 1.5g/pound or 3.3g/kg. Wow! So this is just a case of misinformation and I hope everyone is more clear now after reading this.

  49. Avatar Marie Nurse Esthetician says:

    Very informative. Great Article! Useful information and a good place to start with some adjustments to fit each person’s body type and goal.

  50. Avatar Sarah says:

    I weigh about 110, 5’2.5″, no clue what my body fat percentage is. I calculated my protein and carbs, but I’m not sure about fat. Could you help me?

  51. Avatar Hannah says:

    I’m trying to reset a destroyed metabolism (gained 20 pounds on 900 cals per day whilst still training! !!). Would this work for sorting that out too?

  52. Step 3 threw me off. Please help? Thanks. My numbers are 181.5 5’8 24%

  53. Avatar TaNKeD says:

    So here are the numbers I put together;

    I’m 6’0″, 215 Lbs and 28%BF. MC = 2440 Kcals

    Training Days – 322g P / 322g C / 25g F

    Rest Days – 322g P / 75g C / 67g F

    My issue comes from how can I get that much protein and keep such low carbs? Even consuming protein shakes eats up that small amount on rest days. And you said you also consider rest days any cardio days, so if I’m doing say a Spin class and burning ~600 Kcals I still consume the rest day macros?

  54. Avatar Elmer says:

    Too much protein. Not alot of carbs in my opinion

  55. Avatar Becky Moon says:

    I am usually good with math but something is not adding up here. Is the formula different for females? I am 5’6, female, overweight,
    182 lbs maintenance calories according to mfp is 1870 (sedentary)
    1870 x 1.15 = 2150 calories for strength days
    182×1.5 = 273 g of protein
    273 x 4 = 1092 calories
    1092 x2 (for carbs and protein) = 2184 cal
    That’s more than my total calorie allotment before adding any fat.
    I do intend to do cardio on non “training” days but I sit at a desk all day, hence the sedentary. I want to gain strength and energy before attempting weight loss again.

  56. Avatar Jemima George says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if in my case where I don’t want to maintain weight I need to lose a couple of kilos, should I do this based on my goal weight or based on my current weight or something in-between?

  57. Avatar Jake Wilson says:

    Your muscles recover/rebuild on rest days, so isn’t cutting calories then (cycling) counter productive to gaining muscle mass? If you’re not in a mild calorie surplus during recovery, how do you make gains?

  58. Avatar lani says:

    When you do the calculations based on weight….and you want to lose weight…do you use your current weight or the weight goal you want to achieve?

  59. Avatar SP says:

    .35g of carbs/lb. seems pretty extreme. The brain does require carbs for functioning. I’ve read that basic daily brain function requires in the vicinity of 60g/day. These formulas would put me at 58g/day, and there’s no way in hell I’m doing that. I’m in school taking advanced thermodynamics and physics and I definitely need the brainpower along with my chiseled muscles. I go 1-1.3g/of protein per pound of body weight, slightly less on rest days, and try to keep fat at 30% or less of daily calories. Carbs vary from 100-150 but I try to average 120-130 on training days and rest days alike. I’ve been working out for a year and a half, have excellent development and separation, and am quite shredded with minimal discipline (I.e. I slip and eat junk food very often). A lot of that might be good genetics, but I definitely work my ass off in the gym, no cardio. This goes to show there are many ways to skin a cat. These formulas seem high for protein and training day carbs. A lot of the diet has to do with timing as well, but hey, give it a shot.

  60. Avatar Dd's says:

    Three hundred grams of protein?
    Are you retarded?

  61. Avatar Tony Totzke says:

    First, don’t get me wrong, I am not a hater. But, for me, I would have to disagree with your formula. I can see this possibly working for an already established ‘athlete’, because their metabolism is already at its peak, or peaking. But, for me personally [just starting, being sedentary and having type 2 diabetes (T2D)], this formula would literally kill me. Too many carbs and/or protein, spike my insulin/blood sugar (BS). I know when I do exercise/keep moving, it does help to keep my numbers down. Yes, I would love to gain just 20#’s of lean muscle, it would benefit me, immensely. But I am dealing with a double edge sword, here. It’s very aggravating and confusing at the same time. I have to keep my macros in check with my insulin/BS response. It causes me to be a ‘hard gainer’. Again, aggravating and discouraging, in regards to staying consistent with workouts/activities.Not many blogs address the ‘unhealthy’, which, I believe, they should be, at a minimum, considered. Guess I’ve rambled enough. Thanks for reading.

  62. Avatar Rick says:

    Dear writer,

    You forgot to mention wether this article/formula is for maintenance, fat loss or bulking. Could you please clarify this.

    Thank you,

    Rick Tacori.

  63. Avatar Chris Bache says:

    Ive just ran my numbers and just wondered if someone could give them a once over for me before i get right into this.

    183cm /6ft 72.6kg /160lbs 14.2% BF

    Maintain 2780cal
    Training (+15%) 3197cal
    Rest (-10%) 2502cal

    Training days
    Protein = 240g = 960cal
    Carbs = 240g = 960cal
    Fat = 142g = 1277cal

    Rest days
    Protein = 240g = 960cal
    Carbs = 56g = 224cal
    fat = 146.5g = 1318cal

    It would be awesome if someone could just give this a check for me incase I’ve bollocksed up the maths somewhere along the way.
    Thanks to the author for sharing the formulas, i think this will have a massive impact on my training and nutrition.


  64. Avatar Rob says:

    No way ! Formula is incorrect! Write it out in mathematic formula?

  65. Avatar jpow says:

    My questions is this….I’m 210 pounds, 5’10”. Roughly 19-20 percent body fat. Would I then use a weight of say 210x 0.8…0r 168-170 as my starting point? Also…would the workout days correspond to running as well? I lift 2 days a week and run 4….about 25 miles per week.

  66. Avatar jpow says:

    FYI…my goal s weight/fat loss and to be around 185 lbs

  67. Avatar Meredith Goodwin says:

    This is great! Enjoying the blog. Can someone calculate for a 5’8″ woman who weights 140 lbs. The calculations I keep seeing are for men, which is great, but I’d like to see a female example because when I calculate for myself I get low numbers and I’m not sure I’m calculating correctly.

  68. Avatar Neww Mee says:

    Please can someone help me through this because i am lost! (English isn’t my mother tongue) but i am trying ..
    Subtracting the protein+carbs calories from the rest day calories , something is missing here! Is there a special or certain way to calculate the rest/training day calories in myfitnesspal ? Or shall i find that out thru websearching then continue here with the rest of calculations?
    Also, aren’t we suppose to eat less in the training days so to give the body the chance to use its stored fats as a fuel and burn it ? If i am going to eat what i burn , how am i going to lose weight?
    I am not criticizing nor disagreeing, i just try to get the complete picture ! This is the first blog i read on myfitnesspal so i am sorry if i missed any other important infos! I tried clicking on all the links on this article as the 101 link but none of them work giving me “page not found error”
    Please help, thanks x

  69. Avatar Michelle says:

    Training days 120p 120c 63f
    Rest days 120p 22c 83f

    Does this seem right? Rest day carbs seem really low?

  70. Avatar a French Chef says:

    Thank you – I believe this is going to be an important incorporation. Last week of 2015 weight 420#, current 398# goal by the last week of 2016: 280#.

  71. Avatar Jeremy says:

    I think getting in shape should be about becoming an expert with food and with your own body. Take notes, record changes and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Resources like this are very useful. Thank you.

  72. Avatar Nicole says:

    thanks for the clear breakdown. Makes a lot of sense to me. Could I ask how much of a role precisely adhering to the correct macronutrient ratio for each day is? I’m planning to cycle my calories and I would have no problem making my protein requirements each day. But if I just divided up the remaining calories, paying attention to get a fair amount more carbs on training days would I still see some recomposition success?

  73. Avatar iaavl says:

    Great article. But MyFitnessPal does not allow me to adjust my *calories* for training days. I’m able to adjust macro percentages, but not calories per macro. Thus, based on MyFitnessPal’s calculations, my calorie intake goal on training days is 1,889, but based on this article’s recommendations, my goal should be 2,035.

  74. Avatar Gabriella says:

    Hi, So this only states training days reflect 30 mins of weight training. I am a runner; so I run say 4-5 times a week and lift twice a week. So my run days are technically ‘rest’ according to this, and based on the calculation, I am only supposed to eat 46g of carbs on my “rest days”… do you have a post addressing this or do you have a different calculation for people who do active cardio?
    Based on the calculation above my Training Day is 195g pro., 195 g. carb, 43g fat, and Rest Day is 195g pro, 46g carb, 62g fat

  75. Avatar Daniel Ichiyama says:

    curious, with activities like circuit training or HIIT, where working past 30 minutes would be crazy, and in some cases detrimental, can I still follow the 15%+ rule for training days? Also, I’ve read a few other articles about recomps and some suggested larger portions of protein and fat vs carbohydrates. Can anyone speak to these varieties and if they might increase fat loss/decrease strength gains?

  76. Avatar ken says:

    Thanks for an excellent article. It would be great to have information on how to distribute additional calories gained through cardio exercise. On days I am not lifting weights, I do some cardio. Myfitnesspal assigned additional calories I can eat due to this cardio exercise. It would be great to know in % how this should be allocated between Fat, protein and carbohydrates. Thanks

    • Avatar robinbishop34 says:

      You will be perfectly fine with keeping your macro distribution ratios the same on days you’re not lifting. You can of course cycle higher on lift days as the article suggests but no need to micro manage the percentages of each.

      On rest days, I would just make sure to not engage in any strenuous cardio, keeping instead to low intensity, slow and steady routines that won’t impede the recovery from the previous day’s workout.

  77. Avatar Zabrina Shih Yun Liang says:

    This doesn’t work for my training days when my training day calories are lower than the protein and carbs calories I’m supposed to take in, leaving me with no fat calories. My weight is 144lbs.

    Training Days=1610
    Resting Days=1260

    Training Days
    Protein: 216g = 864 calories
    Carbs: 216g = 864 calories
    Total Calories already = 1728 calories
    Fat: -108 calories left

    Resting Days
    Protein: 217g = 868 calories
    Carbs: 50g = 202 calories
    Fat: 21g = 190 calories

    • Avatar robinbishop34 says:

      The man who wrote this article is an obvious bodybuilder, and as such needs to consume a significantly higher proportion of protein to continuously build lean muscle. At his stated weight of 197 pounds, he really only needs about 200-235 grams per day (which is significant), along with progressive overload, to accumulate new muscle growth.

      I good rule of thumb for weight training is between 0.8 and 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. On the lower end for females, and the higher end for males. For most people, this will be a great increase in protein intake and more than enough to satisfy their goals.

  78. Avatar Katie says:

    Your link to Part 1 for calorie calculation is broken.

  79. Avatar Becky Moon says:

    I tried to comment on this but it never showed up. The math doesn’t add up for my weight and the maintenance calories that MFP gives me. I am assuming from the comments that it’s because the formula is only for people who aren’t very overweight. While I would like to lose weight, my first priority is to gain strength and energy that I lose in previous dieting attempts. I lost 30 lbs in 2 months doing lots of cardio and low carb eating but then have been very inactive since then and feel tired and weak. I have been trying to gain muscle back for the last month before attempting to cut calories and lose. Is there a good way to gain or at least maintain muscle while losing weight? If not, is there a way to gain muscle without putting on fat at the same time? Even if I am overweight (182 lbs, 5’6, female, 34% – 43% bodyfat depending on calculation method)

    • Avatar robinbishop34 says:

      Your goal should be to ‘cut’ first, then strength train to build lean muscle. Forget endless cardio and ‘low carb’ diets and stick to a sensible restricted calorie diet. You can check my other recent posts for how to calculate your daily caloric intake needs and deficit calculations.

      Because you need to be in a calorie surplus to gain lean muscle mass, there is really no prolonged way to build muscle while burning fat. There is a phenomenon called ‘newbie gains’ that describes a short window of time where doing restricted sets of heavy lifting while in a high protein, slight calorie deficit will yield some gains.

      When I say heavy lifting, I mean engaging in a full body split with weights heavy enough that you will fail to achieve your final reps on the last set. This isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds and I could outline the process, but you would need to probably be under the supervision of a trainer, or someone that knew what they were doing so they could show you proper form.

      • Avatar Becky Moon says:

        Unfortunately, so far, the low carb diet is the only way I have ever been able to lose weight. I am trying to go with a more “balanced” diet now, but even small amounts of “whole grain” foods and fruit set off cravings like crazy. I haven’t given up on trying to find a way to stick to a balanced diet, but I don’t seem to have the will power to beat the cravings caused by eating carbs thus far. If I don’t find some way to handle the cravings soon, I will resort to low carb again. I can’t afford a trainer, but I’ll see what I can do to go heavier on the lifting.

        • Avatar robinbishop34 says:

          Well, if you’re having success cutting out certain foods that trigger cravings then I would continue to do so just as long as your primary goal is overall calorie restriction. Any sensible restriction and exercise routine that yields results, and can be continued permanently is a positive. I would imagine that the high levels of cardio may be contributing to your hunger/cravings. I am much hungrier when I do prolonged cardio vs. weight training which is why I restrict HIIT for the rare indulging day such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. Most ‘cardio’ days for me are low intensity which does not impede workout recovery and optimal for fat (as fuel) loss.

  80. Avatar Ravi says:

    1.5g protein per pound of bodyweight? Whoa!!! 300g if you’re 200lbs? No thanks! I’m looking elsewhere. I’ve read articles where you multiply 1.5 with your weight in kg, not lbs. That’s a better way. Too much protein can be bad.

  81. Avatar Slavcho Tz says:

    The concept is right, but the calculations are very bad. Please fix it. It’s wrong and unhealthy. Almost 300 grams of protein daily will ruin your kidneys and your life…

  82. Avatar Mike says:

    The protein sounds really high. Wouldn’t something like 0.7-1.0 g/lb be more reasonable?

  83. Avatar Maria Sorolis says:

    Based on MFP calculation, even if I am maintaining current weight, I should only eat 1870 calories. Using the calculations above, my baseline is 2030 – just including protein and carbs. So, how do I reconcile? I am 55 yoa.

  84. Avatar angryfatkid says:

    Does this math work only if you want to maintain & not lose weight? I’m female, 5’7, 159lbs w/approx 35% body fat. I’m less concerned about the scale & more interested in losing the fat. However, I’m a fitness newbie & still cling to the logic that lose fat = lose weight. Any advise is appreciated. Thx.

  85. Avatar Bsurian says:

    Can someone tell me what to expect as far as “net weight gain/loss/ might be using this program? (I am 6′ 2”, 195# and about 20% body fat currently). My goal is fat loss and muscle maintenance or perhaps some gain. My fear is losing my mass which has taken a decade to build. (I am 51 yo). Just learning about macros and carb cycling and I love the math and it seems suited for me. Typically I “train” 3 days a week and do cardio 4-6 days a week. Have been having nice weight loss experience (about 1.5# a week starting at 206# 6 weeks ago) but seem to be losing more muscle mass than I would like.

    This is my first blog post ever so be kind!

  86. Avatar Alice Lasco says:

    I need a little clarification. I have triple checked the math but my protein and carb calories EXCEED my training day calorie allowance by 132 calories. Am I correct to assume this means no fat on training days? Also, would it be better to eat more protein than carbs on training days? I have researched diet cycling and would really like to give it a try and see if it helps get me off the plateau I am on.

  87. Avatar Chantel Soirez says:

    Great article and thank you for the breakdown of calculations. I’ve worked with a nutritional coach in the past so I have total caloric values for my training days and off days. Curious, I calculated my macros based off of your calculations and compared them to the ones that I’ve been following from my coach – and not seeing results from, quite honestly – and they were VERY different. If I wanted to keep my caloric intake the same but wanted to change my macro counts to what I calculated using your equations in this article, should I make the changes incrementally or would it be ok to make the change, let’s say, starting tomorrow. Example: My total caloric intake for training days is 1935. The macros my old coach had given me for training days are as follows: 195P, 183C, 47F. Using the equations you provided in this article and using the same caloric intake for training days, I calculated macros as the following: 232P, 232C, 37F. Previous OFF days: 1660kCal total – 180P, 100C, 60F. New calculations: 1660kCal total – 232P, 55C, 60F.

    I feel like my body has plateaued in changing so I’d like to try something new without changing the total caloric intake (at first). Again, would it be best to make weekly changes to my macros to all my body to adjust OR does it really matter because the caloric intake is the same (just varying the macros)?

    Thank you for the guidance!

    -Chantel Soirez
    competitive powerlifter/hybrid athlete

  88. Avatar D.Lo says:

    Great article. It would be great if MyFitnessPal built this into the app though. The best I can do right now is use the “maintain weight” goal, and then adjust manually.

  89. Avatar Joy says:

    Is this different for women? Also, if my ideal weight is less than my current weight, should I use the ideal weight in the calculation?

  90. Avatar GeniusUnleashed says:

    Body weight in kg’s? Because if we’re talking pounds, eating 300 grams of protein in a workout day isn’t gonna happen.

  91. Avatar kk says:

    does the MFP app allow me to customize my macro goals every day the way you can customize calories for each day?

  92. Avatar Shannon Goins says:

    The link to Part 1 of the Series is dead. Please help.

  93. Avatar Wendy says:

    Where is part 1? The link doesn’t work.

  94. Avatar Elizabeth Mangano says:

    So how do I modify this if I’m still trying to lose weight, too?

  95. Avatar Tanya Roebker Marks says:

    I’m pretty sure it should read body weight in kg not pounds. Divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 to get kg, then multiply that number by 1.5 ( though I’d argue that 1.2 is probably top range for an extremely athletic person) that’s pretty much textbook determination of protein needs. As a female, this formula is completely unattainable. I don’t think I could eat that much if I tried.

  96. Avatar kldsatx says:

    I tried clicking on the Part 1 link but it doesn’t work… can you please fix & repost?

  97. Avatar AJ99 says:

    Ok so. I was confused and later realised that u spoke of body weight in terms of pounds and not kilos! That got clarified when I saw ur calculations. Another thing, Dnt you think the body weight we take into account should be LBM, (lean body muscle). In the sense, the weight under consideration should be weight minus body fat. So if I am 70kilos with 15% body fat, my weight for ur calculations should be – 70 minus 0.15*70 , which is – 59.5 kilos

  98. Avatar Carol says:

    So I weight 120 and I figured mine to be 180 g of protein with that being 720 cal also the same for carbs with only 6 g of fat on train days. Then 180 g of protein with 42 g of carbs and 45 g of fat on non train days. Would that be right to eat that much fat on non train days!

  99. Avatar Elton says:

    That’s way to much protein.
    The most you need is 1.8 grams per kg of LBM! Carbs are 5-7 G per kg.
    PubMed all day

  100. Avatar Charlie says:

    The link for the resting and training calorie calculator is no longer available. Anyone know how to work it out, or a link to a similar article?

  101. Avatar Jaedyn Fernández says:

    This formula says I’m supposed to have 102g of fat on training days. And that seems weird because I’m 5″1′ and 110 pounds. It says I’m supposed to have 2,242 calories on my training days. It doesn’t feel right. I just want to make sure I’m doing everything correctly.

  102. Avatar Matty823 says:

    Like many other misleading articles out there, this is just another one that keeps suggesting to count calories. I was doing this for a while until I realized counting doesn’t matter if you eat clean and healthy. And this article suggests consuming way too many carbs. No average person needs 1.5x their BW in carbs. That high is meant for an intense athlete at the competitive level. In fact, your body doesn’t need carbs at all. Healthy fats are a much better source for energy and at these levels of 1.5x BW, you would have to consume very unhealthy processed foods…breads, sugars, pastas, etc. Carbs should only come from vegetables, tubers, fruits, grains (if in your repertoire), etc. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to be eating two bowls of pasta and 10 oreo cookies a day.

    The other issue of “counting calories” is you are probably not fueling what your body needs when you need it. If you are going to consume carbs, they should be eaten first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and/or post workout. When you just look at your “macro” intake, you can fall in the trap of overeating or over consuming certain foods at a time in addition to eating the wrong kind of foods that spike your insulin and trigger your body to store fat. Once you understand the science behind our bodies and how we process food and energy, you will see this macronutrient counting is an outdated way of thinking.

  103. Avatar Kat says:

    I need help!
    I would like to use the macronutrient calculations to lose fat and gain muscle. I’m having a problem with the calculations and need advice.
    I am a 58 yo female who weighs 122 lbs and need to lose 4 lbs – I know it’s not much but the 4 lbs make me feel and look better at 5’2″. I have a sedentary job. In order for me to lose .3 lbs/wk I must eat 1200 calories according to MFP calculations. Using the basic calculations for recomposition this means I can eat 1380 cals on training days for cycling. The above formula equates to 732 cals protein and 732 cals carbs with minus 84 (-84) left for fat. Obviously that doesn’t work! How can I divide my 1380 training day cals to make recomposition work?
    Getting older with a slower metabolism and sedentary job makes it difficult to lose weight. I should add at I’ve been walking between 2.5 and 3 miles 4-5 days a week since the end of June 2016 in case that helps with an answer. I plan to start weight training after the new year begins.

  104. Avatar Michael Stanin says:

    Can you make example calculations in kilograms?

  105. Avatar Lacy says:

    Is this macro breakdown used to maintain weight or lose weight?

  106. Avatar Kim Garrison says:

    I’d like to know your thoughts on a ketogenic diet because I keep hearing that fat is a more efficient source of energy than carbs. I do crossfit 4-5 days a week.

  107. Avatar Seçgin Budak says:

    I’m just done with my calculations and will determine some meal routines to be in line with this ratios. I believe it works as long as I rely on the plan. 🙂

  108. Avatar Nick says:

    I’m at 5’11” at 291 and MFP calculate my maintenace at 2770. That put my training at 3185. When by these calculations my protein on training would be 436 gr. for 1746 calories. Multiple by 2 (since carbs are done the same) and the combined would be more than the total calories. What am I missing? Tkd

  109. Avatar Cristina-Monica Varga says:

    Ok, so how do you think I should do?
    I am currently in a recovery gymnastics plan, and my therapist does not recommend lifting weights for the next 6-12 months ( I am also a sedentary person, that’s why the limitation). She does recommend medium intensity fitness, plus my regular exercises, plus cardio (which, for me, means workout on a Elliptical bicycle).
    Maybe I misunderstood the exercise type you spoke about?


    • Avatar Cristina-Monica Varga says:

      Also I forgot to mention that I am a lil bit fluffy, and this has beome an issue for me, also I am not overweight, so my plan is to “replace” the fluffiness with some healthy muscle :D.

      Thanks in advance!

  110. Avatar Nina Patel says:

    I have calculated my macros needed and it comes out to 160.7g of protein. Don’t you think this is rather a lot? Also I do more cardio than weight training (i do some however).

  111. Avatar kanibalus says:

    is equation correct if we use factor 1,5 to multiply weight (in pounds) to get result in grams (for protein/carbs)?

  112. Avatar pushparaj says:

    Ok , 197 lb, 5’8″ and 10% body fat is ur stats and u have divided the macro nutrition based on ur stats
    My stats is , 214 lb, 6’1″ height and 27% body fat which is 60lb of fat
    How should I divide my macro nutrients in order to reduce my fat? I have 89 lb of skeletal muscle mass , I shouldn’t reduce my skeletal muscle mass in this process .
    I am burning 1000 calories everyday by both workout and by cardio .

  113. Avatar Kae G-m says:

    I put my goals in the MFP app and it says I should be consuming about 1200 calories a day. How do I reconcile that with the instructions above? If I follow the plan above I would be consuming about 2300 on training days and 1800 on rest days.

  114. Avatar Kes says:

    What about cardio on rest/non-weight lifting days? Do I still need to keep my carbs higher to prevent muscle loss caused by cardio?

  115. Avatar Alice says:

    Q: when it says bodyweight is that lbs or kg?

  116. Avatar Jenna Klein says:

    Current Weight: 130
    Maintenance Calories (MC): 2110 Calories

    Calories: MC + 15% = 2427 Calories
    Macronutrient Breakdown
    • Protein
    —130lbs (1.5) = 195 grams / 780 Calories
    • Carbohydrates
    —130lbs (1.5) = 195 grams / 780 Calories
    • Fat
    —867 [calories remaining] / 9 = 96 grams / 867 Calories

    Calories: MC – 10% = 1899 Calories
    Macronutrient Breakdown
    • Protein
    —130lbs (1.5) = 195 grams / 780 Calories
    • Carbohydrates
    —130lbs (0.35) = 45.5 grams / 182 Calories
    • Fat
    —937 [calories remaining] / 9 = 104 grams / 937 Calories

  117. Avatar SC says:

    Can you help me with my macros please. I weight 132 and I am 5’1 trying to gain muscle last time I check my fat % was 23%

  118. Avatar qsefthuko says:

    This doesn’t work to lose weight I don’t think. I think it is probably fine for someone looking to gain an equal amount of muscle as weight lost. Otherwise it would have me eating significantly too many calories per day. The protein calorie, as suggested in the formula, has me maxing out my daily calorie intake. That leaves me nothing for carbs or fat. Man, or in this case woman, cannot live on pure protein alone.

  119. Avatar Scot says:

    No rest day so im assuming its training day cals continuence

  120. Avatar millie says:

    How do you know how many more calories to eat after a weights session? Hard to know how much was burned. Also, for those who swim, bike, and run- do you consider this to be a training day even though the nature of these workouts are mostly cardiovascular?

  121. Avatar Ijaz says:

    How to know daily, How much protein I ate, I mean difficult to weight.
    Any formula for it.

  122. Avatar Kathy says:

    Does this only work if you are maintaining your weight or will it also work if I am trying to loose weight.


  123. Avatar Peter says:

    The glaring mistake in this article is to do with the protein calculations. For body recomposition, you are supposed to take 1.5x your body weight in grams of protein per day. However, OP decided to mix metric and imperial. It’s not 1.5x your weight in lbs, but rather in KG. So in this example, the daily protein intake should be 134g NOT 295.5g. That’s an insane amount of protein, even more than what bodybuilders consume. Really big mistake that completely messes up the purpose of the article and could even lead to health issues. I would hope for a correction.

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