Is a Calorie a Calorie?

Hey Coach,

I just had a few questions as I’m aiming for more of a body recomposition. I am currently 6’0, 188 pounds with about 15-17% body fat. I lift 4-5 days a week mainly with compounds lifts, with a couple cardio sessions in a week. I have lifted a lot before but recently have took some time off. Looking to get back into in I want to gain/maximize strength while also lowering my body fat, and I had some questions.

-What is a good macro split for my goals of lowering body fat while gaining strength
-Do calories matter, and should I count them, or should I be more concerned with nutrient timing and my carb intake. If they do matter how many should I aim for a day?
-If trying to burn fat and maintain or even gain strength, what would be an ideal pre and post workout meal (In terms of macros)
-Should I eat carbs on non training days?
-Are carbs from vegetables the same as carbs from rice and potatoes



To maximize/gain the most strength while on a diet, I personally always recommend a low volume high intensity program done 3-4 times a week. 5/3/1 and it’s variations have worked for me for dieting purposes well in the past but you could also consider the 10x3 for fat loss found on the T-Nation website.

  • For the macro split, you can start with the usual 40P/40C/20F split and go from there. Ideally you should first find your exact TDEE and gradually go down from there.
  • This depends on how your body and you yourself function. If you are prone to eating too much and eating unnecessary shit or gaining fat, then count your calories. Counting is always more accurate.
  • Eating a good meal around 2h before training and taking 10-20g of maltodextrin with your PWO if you use one will work just fine. Post workout just grab a whey shake if you feel the need and eat. Pasta/potatoes/rice + meat + veggies always work fine as a meal.
  • Unless you are on a low-/non-carb diet, you don’t need to worry about eating less carbs on separate days that much. If you want to keep it really simple, just eat the same foods as on training days but skip the pre- and post-workout drinks if you use them on training days.
  • On a basic level, yes. Veggies generally contain a lot more fiber and vitamins than your regular carb-sources and having 100g carbs worth of corn vs having 100g carbs worth of banas or rice prior to your workout most likely have differences on your energy levels. If you are counting calories, count veggies as well into your macros.

Thanks so much! Helps me a lot.