Aug. 3, 2021

How To: Find Your Calorie Needs, Your Macro Breakdown, and Tips to Get It Done Without Losing Your Sh*t

How To: Find Your Calorie Needs, Your Macro Breakdown, and Tips to Get It Done Without Losing Your Sh*t

Teaser Audio

Hello Everybody and welcome to the show. So I haven't done really anything as far as putting this show out there because I wanted to get a few episodes out before I started directing people here. However, the few people I have told have shared this, told friends, and I'm already seeing more and more people every episode. If you are one of those people I want to sincerely thank you. If you are here for the first time and could leave a review on Apple or share this I would really appreciate it. I also want to start picking people that share or review and buy them coffee for the day. Hopefully want to do this once or twice per week from now on. So, if you have a second, it would mean the world. 

Let's get right into why you're here. Calories in vs calories out is the theme of fitness. Then, the problem becomes, how many calories should you eat as an individual and then, how do we execute it? We also want to look at macros, everybody is talking about them, but how do they fit into all of this and what do each of them do? 


Calorie intake will be affected by so many things such as previous chronic dieting, body fat percentage, how much you move in a day, and how much muscle mass you have. Reaching out to a qualified nutrition coach is your best bet to take all of these factors into account and that's why my job exists. If you have a lot of extenuating circumstances that take you out of the general advice category, you may need to reach out to a nutritionist or dietician that knows how to factor those things in. For today's purposes, we're going to assume you don't have alien parents or some crazy shit and generally have normal circumstances going on. 

Let's start with maintenance. We should be spending more time at maintenance than anywhere else. Miantenance calories are what it takes to maintain your weight. We're not losing weight, we're not gaining weight, we're chillin. Maintenance isn't going to be an exact number. Some days you'll move more than other days, some days you'll require a bit more or a bit less, this is a ballpark and a reminder that you don't have to take everything so seriously. I even made a whole show about it. So, maintenance is where I suggest starting out. 

To figure out your maintenance calories, you can totally use a calorie calculator, I like Precision Nutrition’s calculator and it’s free. There are ways to get a little bit more precise, but we're going to assume we're brand new here for just a second and keep it simple. 

Start with this intake and record your weight for a month or so. Don’t change it up too quickly, give your body time and pay no attention to daily fluctuations. If you're going to be an emotional basket case about a pound up or down, you should have somebody else monitor this for you and talk you off the ledge when you forget to take a shit before you weigh yourself and proceed to lose yours - you know?

After that, take the average weight of each week. If the average weight is going down, you may need to eat more to find your maintenance. If it is going up, you may need to eat a bit less. Keep it simple and don't add a bunch of unnecessary shit or questions. 

Start with 200-400 calories in either direction. If your weight stayed mostly the same, you’ve found your maintenance, congratulations boo. 

So, most people aren't here to stay exactly the same weight. We'll get into macros in a second, but we're going to talk about how to adjust for fat loss or muscle gain phases. 

Before we do, I want to give my personal input here because it's my show and I can do whatever the fuck I want. In my experience, most people do not need to be doing cutting and bulking phases. 

Most people with a normal background maybe need a bit of a fat loss phase, and then to take a shit ton of time to master maintaining that progress they made. 

They will slowly gain more muscle and lose more fat this way, it's just a lot less exciting than seeing constant scale drops. Bodybuilders, weight-class athletes, or other competitors will likely utilize cuts and bulks throughout their seasons, but for it to work like most people think it does you need an incredible level of compliance that most people that have other shit going on don't have the bandwith.

** If you never learn how to maintain the progress you made, and you can't eat in a deficit forever, how do you expect to keep your results? The answer is, you're not going to unless you put the effort in to learn how. **

So, now that we know most people need a bit of a fat loss or muscle gaining phase to start, how do you adjust for those goals?

Not like an absolute psycho, that's how.

Do not find your maintenance and eat half those calories. You're going to feel like shit and you're going to promptly stop dieting the second life happens because it's not realistic. 

Something like 95% of dieters gain back all of their weight or even more. What I just heard is that 95% of dieters were a little fucking overzealous don't you think? Again, xanax and patience. 

Just as you would adjust with maintenance, 200-400 calories in either direction is a great start to avoid rebound. If you are a really really big or really really small person, take that into account. Common sense here people. 

If we go too high too quickly, we may gain more fat than intended. 

If we go too low too quickly, we can disrupt our body and end up rebounding into overeating. 

It’s important to stick to 1-2 fat loss phases per year for a maximum of 12-16 weeks at a time. 

More than this and we can begin to down-regulate our metabolism too severely.. This will make it harder to lose fat in the future. Sure, you can lose weight quickly on a 1200 calorie diet, but are you prepared to have to maintain your weight at 1200 calories forever? I hope you're not because that sounds like shit. Eat as much as you can while still reaching your goals, don't eat as few calories as you can bear or watch yourself become part of that 95% real quick ok. 

So, now you have a number of calories that you should be getting in, wonderful. Unfortunately, you log into instagram and see that this shit gets even more complex. Fitness may be annoying but it's also worth paying attention to. I tracked macros for almost 7 years with very little time off during that span. I'll talk about it more in another episode, but clearly I believe it works. 


Macronutrients or macros are the protein, carbs, and fats that make up the food we eat. 

Whether you are tracking them or not, we are all eating macros. Just because it doesn't show up in my fitness pal doesn't mean they don't exist. 

Fat has nine calories per gram, while protein and carbohydrate have 4 calories per gram. 

Protein is all the rage and for good reason. Let's head down the fun-fact path of convincing you that this is important. 

Protein helps us build muscle DUH, but also stay satiated, and improve our body composition. This means a good ratio of muscle to fat mass within our weight gained or lost. 

Women aren't going to use protein quite as efficiently as males will, so unfortunately we gotta really stay on top of it. Protein makes up a HUGE percentage of our body - only second to water! 

 The cells in our muscles, tissues, bones, blood, etc. Most of the neurotransmitters in our brain are made of protein building blocks (amino acids!) They help with sleep, regulating our metabolism, how much energy you have, control adrenaline production, digestion, and boosts our immunity! Don't skip your protein okay?

A good place to start is eating 1g of protein per body weight in pounds. I'm 135 lbs, I need at least 135g of protein. More if you're a crazy fitness person. less if you couch surf for sport. 

Moving on. 

The crowd favorite and our favorite villain. Carbohydrates taste great, fuel workouts, help us recover, and aid in digestion with their fiber content. Carbohydrates are also vital in female hormonal balance and support our menstrual cycles. Carbohydrate intake is massively variant depending on activity level. If you feel like you are hitting a wall in your workouts or not recovering, you may need to increase your intake.

We use em, or we store em. Ideally, our body has enough available if we're getting exercisey. It's the fastest energy available and your body likes fast and easy. 

Men, carbs, you know. 

As exercise intensity increases, carbohydrate metabolism takes over. It is more efficient than fat metabolism but has limited energy stores - which is why we have to eat so many carbs. This stored carbohydrate (glycogen) can fuel about 2 hours of moderate to high-level exercise. After that, glycogen depletion occurs (stored carbohydrates are used up) and if that fuel isn't replaced athletes may hit the wall or "bonk." 

if you don't take in enough carbohydrates, you will be forced to reduce your intensity and tap back into fat metabolism to fuel activity. 

Glycogen replenishes over 36-72 hours, which is why we don't reduce calories on rest days - your body needs it so you have energy stores to tap into the day after rest day! It's critical to recovery and performance!

 A good rule of thumb is 30-40% of your daily calories coming from carbohydrates. This will increase in extremely active people or competitive athletes. 

Now, the misunderstood cousin. Say it with me, fat will not make me fat. Now, repeat that to yourself everytime you want to buy the low fat version of something that is just injected with extra sugar to make up for the loss of taste. 

Go ahead, Ask rob about the time he bought low-fat pasta sauce. This poor man deals with a lot of involuntary nutrition lectures so please pray for him. 

Fat metabolism is a much less efficient way to create ATP for crossfit or high intensity, which is why we need carbs! Buuuuut Fat is a great fuel for endurance events, so if you're a biker, you can get out of my way on your way to get some avocados.

Fat is crucial for vitamin absorption, hormonal balance and is extremely satiating. If you are eating too little fat, we may see a loss of sex drive in both males and females. 

We also will see a loss of “morning wood” and menstrual cycles if intake is chronically low. We want to keep a solid balance here of “omega 3’s” which are what people refer to as “healthy fats.” 

To keep it simple, if your fat intake comes from oils, peanut butter, and fatty processed food, we are likely not getting enough omega-3. Wild salmon, avocado, almonds, and more “natural” sources of fats are vital to get in daily Fats are essential - no fat means ending your shit. So make friends with healthy fats and enjoy them because they taste amazing. The rest of your calories that we didn't account for yet? Divide it up by 9, that's how many grams of fat you should be eating per day. For most people, this shouldn't really dip below 60g.

Alright, time for action pieces. You have the info, now you have to use it and these are the things that I find coming out of my mouth the most often. These tips are as general as possible so adjust as needed. 

To really clarify. If you are hitting your macros, you are hitting your calories. You don't have to track both. Think of 1 gram of carbs being one dollar. Within that dollar, you already have your four quarters. Each quarter represents a calorie. Four quarters, one dollar, same thing. One carb, 4 calories, same thing. 

First, download a tracking app. I like Cronometer or My Fitness Pal best and they seem to have the best databases. If you're going to use pen and paper be sure to tell fucking everybody that you don't use an app and you are indeed better than them. 

When you are plugging things in, weigh it. Don't use measuring cups, don't eyeball it, weigh it. You have to learn the rules before you can break them. Not being lazy now makes things a hell of a lot easier in the future and puts you in solid habits. I promise if you've never done this before you are absolutely clueless on what 16g looks like.

If you do meal prep, you don’t necessarily have to put them into actual “meals.” Leaving the components separate allows you to choose what you’re in the mood for because it will change daily. 

Cook 1-2 proteins, 1-2 carbs, and 1-2 veggies and buy condiments and spices. You can create a lot of combinations and avoid getting bored this way. 

If you track macros, you will be able to fit in more “fun foods.” However, the higher quality you eat, the less important tracking becomes. 

If you are eating 90%+ veggies, plant foods, meat, and unprocessed foods, tracking becomes less important and you may not have to be as exact. If you are more likely to socially eat, drink, or have a major sweet tooth, it is more important to keep track. 

It is a lot harder to overeat chicken and broccoli than it is to overeat pizza. If you have performance goals or compete more than just recreationally, you need to be eating really well and tracking if you find diet is a big limiter for you. 

Don’t over-complicate things. Keeping it simple is the best way to results. 

Alright listen up for this one. You don’t need a fancy crash diet or any other bullshit the weight-loss industry is trying to sell you. The things that make the biggest difference are free so don't let them sell you garbage.

Sleep, water intake, unprocessed foods, moving around, and the other foundations. 

Yes, you have to pay for some of these things, but you don’t have to pay a single person who claims to have found the “magic pill.” Avoid anything that offers X amount of results in X amount of time or less that seems too good to be true. The unsexy things make the biggest difference. Getting really bored usually means you're doing something right.

Switch to zero calorie versions of any liquids. Your frappaccino-caramel-extra whip large drink from starbucks isn’t doing you any favors with it’s calorie content and won’t keep you full for long at all. 

Alcohol is a big one. If you are a big drinker, you don’t necessarily have to give it up unless you have very extreme goals. Switch to clear liquor and zero calorie mixers. If you tend to eat a bunch after a night of drinking, compromise by having a healthier version ready to go. You are less likely to eat pizza out if you have a healthier version of pizza ready at home.

You will be the “average” of the work you put in. If most of the time you are eating well and training, that will shine through. If most of the time you’re not, that will shine through as well. Adjust this accordingly and remember it’s not all or nothing. Want to be much leaner? That means less treats and skipping workouts. If you want to lose a bit of fat and feel a bit better, you don’t have to be extreme. Make sure your actions are lining up with the intensity of your goals. 

I hope this gave you a solid idea of where to start with these lovely buzzwords. Please share and review this episode or send it to somebody that may find it helpful. I'll start looking through everything and buying some coffees for listeners throughout the weeks. I love you all and thank you so much for listening.

bye guys.