Formulas for Effecting Body Composition Change

Optimize your nutrient ratios for accelerated results!

DO NOT count calories. Count macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) since they make up total calories. The primary function of carbohydrates is to assist in body functions and fuel the body with energy. The primary function of protein is to build, maintain, and repair tissues. And the primary function of fat is to assist in body functions and promote satiety. Keep the following math computations in mind: One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories. One gram of protein yields 4 calories. And one gram of fat yields 9 calories.

Macronutrient

 

Recommendation range percent of total calories

Carbohydrates

 

50-70%

Protein

 

15-30%

Fat

 

10-30%

Eat frequently throughout the day

Eat 4 to 6 small frequent meals throughout the day. There is no compromising on this. Even though the body may not need the extra calories on non-training days it may in fact need them for the recovery and recuperation process that lasts 48 to 72 hours under normal circumstances. Based on an individual's recuperative ability, it may take less or longer. A muscle can only fully recover if it has been fed the proper nutrition on a daily basis because you may never know when the body may need the nutrition for assisting muscular growth or effecting body composition change.

A preliminary orientation to computing formulas

Consuming 175 grams of protein the total calories from protein is: 700 (175 x 4).  Consuming 350 grams of carbs the total calories from carbohydrates is: 1400 (350 x 4).  Consuming 80 grams of fat the total calories from fat is: 720 (80 x 9).  Total calories: 2820.  Now percentages.  Protein: 700 / 2820 = 25%.  Carbohydrates: 1400 / 2820 = 50%.  Fat: 720 / 2820 = 25%.  25% + 50% + 25% = 100%.  If you decide to cut back on fat, then it would best to increase carbohydrates. This would give you a better overall percentage.  “Play around” with a ratio that best suits you to meet your goals.

Maintaining muscle and fat

To maintain muscle and fat a sedentary individual weighing 180 pounds would require at least 0.6 grams of protein (108 grams or 432 calories), 1.5 grams of carbohydrates (270 grams or 1,080 calories), and 0.2 grams of fat (36 grams or 324 calories) per pound of body weight. Total calories: 1,836. Ratios: 24% protein / 59% carbohydrates / 18% fat.

Decreasing fat and maintaining muscle

To decrease fat and maintain muscle a physically active person weighing 200 pounds with 14% body fat should eat 0.9 grams of protein per pound of muscle weight, 1.8 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, and 0.3 grams of fat per pound of body weight. The macronutrient consumption would look like this: 155 grams of protein, 360 grams of carbohydrates, and 60 grams of fat. This would be 620 calories from protein (155 x 4 = 620), 1,440 calories from carbohydrates (360 x 4 = 1,440), and 540 calories from fat (60 x 9 = 540). Total calories consumed: 2,600 (assuming this caloric intake is 300-500 below maintenance calories). Now for the ratios: 620 divided by 2,600 = 24% (protein); 1,440 divided by 2,600 = 55% (carbs); 540 divided by 2,600 = 21% (fat). 24% protein / 55% carbohydrate / 21% fat. This is an excellent ratio for most individuals.

Building muscle and decreasing fat

To build muscle and decrease fat a recreational bodybuilder (a person who engages in bodybuilding fitness training, but doesn’t compete, like myself) weighing 200 pounds with 14% body fat should eat 1 gram of protein per pound of muscle weight, 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, and 0.2 grams of fat per pound of body weight. This would consist of 172 grams of protein (688 calories), 400 grams of carbohydrates (1600 calories) and 40 grams of fat (360 calories) totaling 2,648 calories. The ratio would look like this: 26% protein / 60% carbohydrate / 14% fat.

Building muscle and maintaining fat (1)

To build muscle and maintain fat a recreational bodybuilder weighing 180 pounds with 6% body fat should eat 1 gram of protein per pound of muscle weight at 169 grams (676 calories). 20 to 40 grams of protein must be consumed per meal 4 to 6 times a day. Carbohydrates should be 2.5 grams per pound of body weight at 450 grams (1,800 calories). 60-80 grams of carbs must be consumed per meal 4 to 6 times a day. Fat should be 0.4 grams per pound of body weight at 72 grams (648 calories). 7-10 grams of fat must be consumed per meal 4 to 6 times a day. Total calories: 3,124. Ratios: 22% protein / 57% carbohydrates / 21% fat. Fat intake around 20-25% of total calories consumed is good for making muscular gains. It is not recommended you decrease your fat intake below 10% or increase your protein above 30% of total calories, that is, unless you are training for a bodybuilding competition.

(A high-protein consumption can tax the kidneys, which go into overdrive trying to process and excrete the nitrogen in protein.  There is one way, however, this can be compensated: drink plenty of water! Drinking plenty of water (up to a gallon or 4 liters or more per day) between meals helps in the transportation of important nutrients needed to your muscles quickly, and thus, assists faster muscular growth. - Rule #8 of the 15 Muscle Building Rules.)

Building muscle and maintaining fat (2)

To build muscle and maintain fat a recreational bodybuilder weighing 200 pounds with 14% body fat should eat 1 gram of protein per pound of muscle weight, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, and 0.4 grams of fat per pound of body weight. The macronutrient consumption would look like this: 172 grams of protein, 500 grams of carbohydrates, and 80 grams of fat. This would consist of 688 calories from protein, 2,000 calories from carbohydrates, and 720 from fat. Total calories consumed: 3,408 (assuming this caloric intake is 300-500 above maintenance calories). Nutrient ratios would be: 20% protein, 59% carbohydrates, and 21% fat.

When I lived in Japan and training consistently, I decreased my fat intake as low as 5% of my total calories.  But I didn’t compensate my body for this by increasing my protein and carbohydrate intake to replace my lowered fat intake.  The result was that I lost a great deal of muscle or “fat burning machinery!”

Maintaining muscle

To maintain muscle an endurance athlete weighing 180 pounds with 10% body fat should eat 1 gram of protein per pound of muscle weight at 162 grams of protein (648 calories), 3.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day at 630 grams of carbohydrates (2,520 calories), and 0.3 grams of fat per pound of body weight at 54 grams of fat (486 calories). Total calories: 3,654. Ratios: 18% protein / 69% carbohydrates / 13% fat.

Summary

level of activity

 

Desired Goal

 

Macronutrient/Ratio recommendations

Sedentary

 

Maintain Muscle / Maintain Fat

 

0.6 gms protein per lb muscle, 1.5 gms carbs, & 0.2 gms fat per lb body wt.

Physically active

 

Decrease Fat / Maintain Muscle

 

0.9 gms protein per lb muscle, 1.8 gms carbs, & 0.3 gms fat per lb body wt.

For a physically active female over 35% body fat adjust the carbohydrate intake to 0.9; for a physically active male over 22% body fat adjust it to 1.5

Recreational bodybuilder

 

Increase Muscle / Decrease Fat

 

1 gm protein per lb muscle, 2 gms carbs, & 0.2 gms fat per lb body wt.

Recreational bodybuilder

 

Build Muscle / Maintain Fat

 

1 gm protein per lb muscle, 2.5 gms carbs, & 0.4 gms fat per lb body wt.

Recreational bodybuilder

 

Maintain Muscle / Decrease Fat

 

1 gm protein per lb muscle, 1.7 gms carbs, & 0.2 gms fat per lb body wt.

Competitive bodybuilder

 

Increase Muscle / Maintain Fat

 

1.2 gms protein, 2.5 gms carbs, & 0.25 gms fat per lb body wt.

Competitive bodybuilder

 

Decrease Fat / Maintain Muscle

 

1.5 gms protein, 1.8 gms carbs, & 0.18 gms fat per lb body wt.

Competitive bodybuilding may require extremely more protein and fewer carbohydrates especially if the desired goal is to decrease fat and maintain muscle.

Endurance athlete

 

Maintain Muscle

 

1 gm protein per lb muscle, 3.5 gms carbs, & 0.3 gms fat per lb body wt.

These suggested formulas do not take into consideration of individual gender, age, activity level, basal metabolic rate or BMR (the energy expended by the body at rest to maintain normal function), and body composition.

Remember: a safe and effective lean body mass (muscle) gain should be no more than 2 pounds per month. Fat loss should be no more than 4 pounds per month. Any more would constitute muscle loss. Muscle gains or fat loss will always be greater at the start of an exercise program and level off thereafter. Ideally, nutrition, training, and recuperation must be in balance for you to take control of managing your own weight and your destiny! So, adhere to Muscle Building Rule #9: Optimize your nutrient ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fat for accelerated results!