T Nation

Nutrition Plan Terminology Question

This may seem like a stupid question, but when speaking of macro ratios, are percentages based on grams of protein, carbs, and fats, or calories of each? And is it universal, or do some coaches recommend by grams and some by calories?

By calories.


You could’ve ended that post with /thread. That’s rare

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Not always. Protein usually by grams relative to bodyweight, carbs can go that way as well but less often. Often you’ll see it set as protein relative to bodyweight, fat as a percentage of total calories and carbs filling in whatever is left.

You also need to look at fat intake in respect of healthy body function (hormonal especially) so at lower levels you will need to look at grams of fat instead of percentage of total calories. Let’s say you’re working on fat at 20 per cent of total calories, if you’re at the tail end of a diet and your calories are as low as they’re going to get (10xbw) you might be looking at too little fat intake, especially if you’re a smaller individual. A pretty decent rule of thumb is that you don’t want to go below 50 grams of fat per day regardless of what your total calories are.

I agree with everything you wrote. In fact, that’s almost exactly how I think about macros when I start getting anal about nutrition. But macro ratios to me meant 40:40:20 or similar, in which case “by calories” is the answer. Because if you think about it for a minute, it couldn’t be any other way.

This is my go to article for these things, although the writing style is a bit corny. I believe Paul Carter did a similar one that’s probably less corny.

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I love that article. It’s as good a primer as any you’ll find.

The most useful article to my mind is this Paul Carter one that I think you’re referring to

I like how it gives you a really easy to implement approach that’s geared towards performance. The nutritionist Greg hired uses a very similar approach, because he know anyone on the team wanting to get leaner sure as shit wants to keep performing.

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I’ll try and check that one out later when munchkin naps.

That one was my first intro to macros and nutrition so it’s kinda stuck with me.

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It’s a good article.

While Paul Carter is one of my favourites on T Nation (not that you hear from him nowadays), I struggle with some of the broscience recommendations when it comes to fat loss. In short, these approaches put obese people on calorie deficits for months, even years. Case in point, the example in the article has a 275lbs ‘fatass’ on +4,000 kcals a day, which includes 550g CHO. Why would you ever put someone that size on this diet?

Sometimes it has to be okay to write for the moderately fit T-nation reader rather than the greater audience. The presumption here is, seemingly, at least “lifter”?

Again, I cannot think of why, say, a 275lbs elite powerlifter, who wanted to slim down would need to be on 550 CHO a day? It makes no sense.

Another real life example: Tyson Fury pre-comeback was 28 stones. Using these guidelines, his plan would be as follows (numbers rounded):

Calories - 6,000 (x15 bodyweight)
PRO - 400g (1,200 kcals)
FAT (20%) - 133g (1,200 kcals)
CHO - 900g (3,600 kcals)

These numbers are insane. But when you stick to a set formula this is the type of nonsensical outcome you end up with.

To compound matters, you then taper down (x14 kcals; x13 kcals, etc). Now, again, why would you do this when a pound of fat is worth an estimated 3,600 kcals worth of energy? On the formula above, Fury is going to be waiting a while for his first comeback fight at his desired 18 stone mark (10 stone = 240 lbs. 240 lbs of fat is 864,000 worth of energy. Even at a deficit of 1,000 kcals a day, he is going to burn a modest 2lbs fat a week). At this rate, it will take more than two years to reach his target weight. By which time, his motivation will have waned, his thyroid slowed, his lean mass ebbed, and more. Makes no sense.

Are you a 275lbs elite powerlifter looking to slim down?

No. It was just an example.

I don’t understand why you care what a 275lbs elite powerlifter should do if you aren’t one and you don’t train one?

Edit: can I also point out that the person who recommended this article (@MarkKO) is the closest person on this thread to a 275lbs elite powerlifter.

Edited edit: it also occurs to me that this article was written by a former 275lbs elite powerlifter, who has successfully become lean and is recommended by Greg Panoras team, who undoubtedly know a thing about 275lbs elite powerlifters.

Apologies, I thought this was a discussion forum.

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Apologies, you caught me at a ratty (hungry) moment. I stand by the above points though, the people who are 275lbs elite powerlifters seem to approve of the approach. I wouldn’t want to be the one to disagree with them.

No worries, mate. I appreciate that.

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Right, I totally appreciate where you are coming from, and seeing as what was written after the post I’m replying too I realise this might very well not even be worth typing out but I don’t think your counter-argument is valid if we assume some manner of truth to what I hypothesised to be the target audience of the article.

I’ll concede that I was wrong to not constrain it further than “moderately fit T-nation reader” if to you that includes someone at the elite level. I hate to make the same mistake twice, but I have no interest in writing up something that is iron-clad, so I’ll just throw out that would maybe be the 180-230 pound lifters with enough experience to have muscle to show for it.

Well in my case, and the reason for my initial question, I am probably in the “moderately fit” category. I work a laborious job, and therefore have decent fitness, but in t-nation terms, I am small and not very strong. I have lifted on and off for a few years in addition to my job, but never with great consistency. I have also never once tried to lose any fat and have always been in the range of 12-15 %. I want to cut down to 8% then work on lean gains. I have never tracked my food untill recently and found I eat around 100 grams of fat a day when eating 200 grams of protien. I can modify carb intake easily, but when whole eggs, beef, whole milk greek yogurt, and nuts are my primary sorces of protien, the fat is hard to get around. I guess I need to cut some fat out.