T Nation

Diet and muscle mass

Ok t-crowd, I’m sure this one’s been popped before, but exactly what is the most efficient meal plan to maintain muscle mass? Like % of carbs % of protien % of fat. Yeh, I’ve heard about the old 40p/30c/30f deal. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of variations to this depending on how your own individual body works, but in general would you guys think? I’m kinda on a diet right now and I don’t want to lose too much muscle because I’m trying to restrict my calorie consumption a bit and exercise. Any advice? Thank you.

Joe: The ONLY place you will get a GENERAL concensus is that you should first and formost set your daily protein reqirement, divide it up over 5-7 or so meals (not neccessarily equally) and take it from there. You will see ranges from 0.5 grams per pound of LBM (rough) to 3 grams per pound of LBM (I lean toward the higher end).

The macro perentages become a BIT more controversial, contentious and people tend to be in “camps”. That being said, I have TENDED to see some common RANGES: FAT: 15% or greater is seen a lot both for adequate hormonal function and to insure that we can get in adequate Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s): PROTEIN: 30-50% of calories and CARBS: (The Lion ducks on this one!) Anywhere from 20-50% of cals.

Again, I think that others can give their input, but I think that THESE numbers will give you a general idea of accepted ranges and at least a place to start. (I go for about 2/lb. of LBM; 40P/40C/20F and (I'm still "teaking" these numbers); results for me are good). Hope this helps!

It depends on where you are at in your training and your weight. Personally, I use two different rules. When trying to shred fat, I use the 55p/25c/20p rule with 1protein=1lbs weight which usually is around 2,300 cals.

When I’m trying to grow and not so concerned about being shredded, I use the 40p/40c/20p rule with 1protein=.5lbs LEAN WEIGHT which is usually around 3,250 cals.

By the sounds of what you wrote, I wouldn't worry too much about which rule works for you just restict your Carb and Fat intakes to the point you are happy with. Whatever you do, make sure you write all the things you eat down and figure out the percentages at the end of the night. Make sure you get enough protein and not TOO MANY carbs. If your diet is over 50% carbs, you won't lose the weight and your muscles will not grow in most cases.

Mark: I like those “shredding” percentages. (A lot of times you will see people cutting the fat WAY too low; the old “80’s” craze of “no fat” diets). So is the 40/40/20 sort of your “maintenance” or “everyday” diet also?

Mark: One other thing…those “shredding” macros (with 55% protein and 20% fat) shouldn’t be too shabby for putting on some mass while you shed fat. What’s been your experience?

yeah those %'s look good for maintaining or even putting on some mass while cutting up a little bit. Personally I go 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbs…about the same

Mufasa, when I’m in my shredding phase, I don’t see much gains in mass (I don’t lose much either though) but that’s also because I tend to add more cardio and drop my calories. I also have to get off of Creatine (35g per serving) during this phase to meet those percentages (which is good to cycle anyways). My shredding phase is more to drop the body fat and shake things up a bit (I’ve tried other percentages but 55/25/20 seems to work best for me). When I’m happy with my body, I switch things back to the 40/40/20 rule to pack on the muscle. I guess you could call that my maintain formula too because that cycle is much longer than the shred cycle.

Remember, every body is different! Find a formula that works with your body and use it.