T Nation

Is this a Sh**ty Plan?


I am trying to get my nutrition fixed. I've dicked around with it enough but never got really serious about watching my macros. Needless to say I haven't progressed as much as I would like to. My goal is to gain size and strength. Currently I'm at 205, 15%. My daily macro goals are:

Training Days

3000 Cal

P 263g 35%
F 111g 30%
C 263g 35%

Off Days

2800 Cal

P 245g 35%
F 109g 35%
C 210g 30%

My main reason for keeping protein at 35% is that if I get higher than 300 grams I tend to get headaches and somewhat dizzy, this gives me some wiggle room to avoid going over.


Is the headaches from lack of carbs to get protein that high or from the protein intake itself?

Either way, you are getting enough if comes from quality sources. More important is that the food sources of your diet are high quality. Veggies, fruit, healthy fats, and animal protein should make up as much of the diet as possible with starchy carbs added to round out carb intake.

What is you exercise plan like for volume and duration?


You're 205lbs, male, and you think you'll gain off 3k calories? and 2800 on off days? C'mon man--if you want to gain weight, you're going to have to start pounding some cals.


As far as I know the headaches come from the protein. I haven't really gone low carb, I was just focusing on a shit load of protein and noticed I started feeling shittier the higher the protein got. Everything I get is good in quality, protein powder accounts for about 70 of my calories only. Other than that it's eggs, chicken, turkey, dairy. Carbs are Steel cut oats, bread on training days, tons of veggies, some fruit, honey and other incidental ones. Fat is nuts, nut butter, fish oil, and from milk.

My exercise plan is Onus Wunsler's version of Starting Strength with 2 assistance moves added to the end of each workout. I may add in some additional treadmill walking, but that is nothing I do regularly, typically just when I need a little time to get out of the house.


3k is about 300 over maintenance for me and the scale does trend upward around this level. However if I increase the total calories should I get those additional calories from carbs and fat? I'm about at my ceiling for protein at 300 grams, after that I feel terrible.


I wouldn't worry about protein too much. Your intake looks fine, the other foods seem good too. The percentage of diet where people won't utilize protein is around 35-45% of maintenance and could be a bit lower in some cases. The metabolism of amino acids within both the body and the brain vary between individuals, and there has been cases reported in medical literature and on this forum of side effects of BCAA doses in some people due to competition for amino acid transporters of large neutral amino acids.

As for the fats vs. carbs, it think you should try both and a mix for two weeks each and see. The options that would work best are bumping training days up 500-1000 Kcal and leaving off days be, or you could try carbs after training and morning after and fats for most of the rest. If you have a good base diet that works, stick to that and make one change at a time to gauge the effects. After a couple months of trying a few different manipulations, you will have a much better idea of what works for you. Keep a food diary if you do not already.


High protein diets can be extremely diuretic if they are also low carb, so dehydration may be the source of your headaches on extremely high protein days.

As far as macro splits go, yours look fine, but here are some general thoughts. Fats are on the high end of a pretty decent range. If you want to add more calories at any point, I would probably add them through carb sources. I think it might be beneficial to drop them down to 100 or lower, but a lot of the game is finding your personal preferences.

You don't need to move protein any higher than it is. I think you could even drop it down some, but this depends on how hard/long you are working out.

I like that you didn't go overboard on you caloric surplus. Start small and then adjust upward if you need to. But be realistic and if you need to adjust upward, do it!


What does your training look like? If you're gaining with 3k cals, I might almost be concerned that you're not gaining the right kind of weight because you're not training hard enough. Not trying to accuse or be a jerk or anything, but I'm just curious.

Also, just to echo something I remember listening to Lonnie Lowrey talk about on Iron Radio, the whole "300-500 over maintenance" thing is sort of BS. To paraphrase his point, the body is such a dynamic system that if you shoot for "300 surplus" or something like that, it's more often than not going to end up being insufficient. Just my .02. The average college-aged male has a BMR of right around 3k cals even when not physically active. It would be pretty amazing if your BMR were truly that much lower, given that you train.


Just also wanted to agree with this point too^. I eat a ton of protein every day and eat low carb, and I drink so much water that I'm honestly sort of embarrassed to write about it on here. Like, crazy amounts of water.


Carb cycling would work like a charm.


Thanks for the great feedback. If I'm understanding correctly then in your opinion I should not go any higher on fats, maybe even reduce it down to around 100g, and should play with carbs a little based on results. So maybe like:

P: 250 grams
F: 100 grams
C: 250 grams on up

I know of course there is no magic number here and this is all based on experimentation and results.


Training is roughly 1 hour, 3 days a week. I'm doing Starting Strength with 2 assistance exercises thrown in at the end which I rotate between body parts. I've only been on Starting Strength for 2 weeks and so far enjoy it very much, I was always been a fan of full body training. Also a few times a week I might walk on the treadmill for 15 mins after lifting.


Nice generalization, considering you don't know his metabolism or height or activity level.