How to simplify macro counting for your diet

Purposefully Simplified Macro-Counting Rules for Long-Term Success

The reason that this diet system is so effective for fat loss & muscle growth is because we count macronutrients (macros): Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat.  We’re not doing a simple calorie restriction diet where you can eat anything as long as you eat less calories than you burn. This can be a fast way to lose muscle also.

Yes, you could call this a more detailed way of counting calories, which you would think makes it more complicated, right? Well, not exactly. We can vastly simplify the counting of the macros using a few simple rules.

You have a couple of options for hitting your macros in this diet,

  1. Hit your macronutrient targets exactly and calculate everything. (Not recommended.)
  2. Hit your macronutrient targets roughly using some simplified rules. (Good idea.)

The former will be very difficult to sustain in the long-term. You will perhaps achieve the body you want temporarily, some day, you may crack and it’ll all fall apart. I know there are many of you out there that have OCD and will try this anyway. But I just want to let you know that you don’t have to.

The latter will give you stress-free success in the short-term and enable you to keep your physique in the long-term.

If you can make it simple and have success on the simplified system you can continue it in the long term. If you start counting the calories and get anal then you will lose in the long term and it is all pointless.

Simplified Rules

What follows is a small part of the “macros and simplified rules” mail that I create for all clients. While the full article is for clients is around 3000 words I think looking at the ideas presented here you should be able to get a good idea for yourself to help you create your own.

Do not be fooled by these simplified rules. Excluding athletes, and in-season bodybuilder clients whom require a great deal more attention when shredding the last 2%, these rules have given the majority of clients the success they were looking for, yet with a much more relaxed approach in the kitchen. I recommend you make your life easy and follow some kind of simplified rules, even if they are not my own.

  • 100g of Raw Meat/Fish is 20g of protein. (A conservative number.)
  • Green vegetables don’t have any carbs. – Eat plenty to slow digestion.
  • 140g of un-cooked Rice/Pasta is 100g of carbs.
  • Sauces do have carbs/fat but aren’t generally worth counting. Count the number of spoons of sauce you use (don’t go mayo crazy here) and keep it consistent.
  • Cook your food for the fastest results.
  • Use a small electronic kitchen scale to weigh the meat/fish/pasta/rice. It takes seconds and you will become very good at guessing weights within 2 months. This is a skill that will help you for the rest of your life, especially in restaurant eating*. (*More tips on this later.)

So using these rules, if you had to eat 50% of your daily macros after a workout, and they were 100g of protein, 200g of carbs, & keep it ‘low’ fat. That could be as simple as eating 500g of chicken on 280g of rice, with green veggies and a couple of spoons of BBQ sauce. -That’s just a simple example from a lazy cook, the variety is as wide as your imagination though really.

Rules for Eating Out or One-Off Meals

When you stray from the simple meat/fish & rice/pasta & green veg. meal combinations, don’t stress, just try these rules.

  • When eating out in restaurants keep it simple
    • If it’s a Training-Day then eat lots of carbs with lean meat and vegetables and try to keep it low fat.
    • If it’s a Rest-Day then eat lots of vegetables, skip the carbs and go with fattier cuts of meat.
  • Anything you eat regularly, even fruit, is worth counting. You only have to do it once. Write down the macros and put them up in your kitchen. Here’s a good nutritional calculator.
  • Similarly, eat the same meals often. This way you only have to calculate the macros once.
  • When you eat something that’s not on your regular* meal plans (*meaning a meal you’ve already calculated the macros for) and will not be eaten regularly, it’s ok to guess the macros. In time you will get pretty good at this.
  • Unless you eat a lot of fruit, don’t bother to count it against your carb number.

Last point

I made these ‘rules’ to simplify things, however there is no escaping the science. I know there are people that will look at rules and abuse them in whatever way they can Remember you’re only screwing yourself by doing this. 

  • Don’t be the client that ate ‘unlimited salad because it has no carbs’ yet smothered it in mayonnaise for two months and blame me for no progress. (A true and frustrating story).
  • Don’t be the man that abused the alcohol guide to justify drinking everyday and then wonder why things are moving so slowly.

I am not knocking calculating & weighing all food exactly (or trying to). However these rules may be just the thing you need to simplify your diet plan. If it works, it works! End of story.

Thanks for reading and Good luck!

This entry was posted in Diet & Nutrition, Diet Fundamentals and tagged , , , by Andy Morgan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Andy Morgan

I'm an online nutritional coach and trainer. After seeing one too many people get ripped off by supplement and training industry lies I decided to try and do something about it. The site you see here is the result of a lot of Starbucks-fuelled, two-fingered typing. It's had a lot of love poured into it, and I hope you find the guides to the diet and training methods I use on this site useful. When I'm not helping clients you'll likely find me crashing down a mountain on a snowboard, riding a motorbike, or staring at watches I can't afford.

387 thoughts on “How to simplify macro counting for your diet

  1. HI! Great info! Just wondering though, how come it is stated that greens don’t have carbs? Shouldn’t green veggies like spinach and kale be counted toward your daily carbs?

    • Hi Julie. Some food that are green have such little energy bioavailability that is makes them not worth counting. See the section in the FAQ on fibre, and then check out the link to Lyle McDonald’s article there.

  2. Hello!
    I’m looking to get toned. My workout regimen is really good. On Sun and Thurs I work on my lower body. Monday and Friday I workout my upper body. Rest in Wednesday and I perform HIIT on Tuesday and LISS on Sat. I think my issue is diet. I don’t think I’m eating enough or very little of the right portions on my macros. Does this work for women? And to break it down even further should I just eat more protein and alternate my carbs and fat on the days I’m doing lite and heavy workouts?
    Thank you

  3. Hi Andy

    Don’t know if you would know the answer to this.

    When tracking/counting fat macros with regards to fattier cuts of meat on rest days, are the macro numbers on packaging including the big rind of fat on the side of the cut of meat, like a sirloin or gammon steak?

    I never eat fat on the sides of cuts of meat, would this mean that I am including fat macros in my allocation that I am not consuming by not eat big strips of fat?

  4. Andy,

    As a previous client, You mentioned that fruits count – but reading this post you say only count fruit if you eat a lot of fruit? “A lot” is a pretty subjective, could you possibly clarify which is it? Should I count medium sized fruits or not?

    -Nathaniel

    • Hi Nathaniel. Information in any mails that I have sent out must always take precedence over articles on the site. Especially ones years old like this, as there will be conflicts.

  5. Hi Andy,

    With regards to simplified macro counting, you say eat as much vegetables as you want. This is really effective in keeping me satiated on low carb days but it seems to be causing a little bloating and constipation (pellet like stools) which you have mentioned. I take about 400-600g of cauliflower a day.

    Also, in your email you mentioned that potatoes have about 15-20g carbs but there are lots of different sweet potatoes, copper skin w/ orange flesh or purple skin w/ yellow flesh or even purple skin w/ purple flesh which all taste alot different. However there doesnt seem to be much information about the carb count in the different sweet potatoes.Some day 25g some day 20g and all that makes alot of difference if I eat up to a kilo of em on high carb days.How should I count them?

    Thanks

    • Hi Chris.
      “Unlimited vegetables” within the context of the fibre guidelines. That explains your bloating.
      The ones that are near 20, count as 20. The types that are nearer 25, count as 25. You only have to look it up once and then make a simple memo on a piece of paper.

      • Hi Andy,
        It is mentioned that the maximum amount of fiber is 20% of total carb intake, which means only 10g of fibre on low carb days?
        Also I know that you said do not count protein in carb source but if 2 slices of bread has 20g carbs and 5g protein, it seems quite significant so should I count it?
        Thanks

        • Hi Chris.
          1. Good question. The 20% rule you read in the FAQ applies to training days, and diet methodologies where the carb intake doesn’t fluctuate.
          2. Up to you, doesn’t matter, as long as you keep it consistent.

          • Hi Andy, so how much fibre should I take since those rules do not apply to our carb cycling programme?

            • 25g ideally, though it can be less if you don’t have any problems with shitting. Don’t forget, my advice is to not worry about counting unless you actually have an issue with your bowel movements.

            • Hey Andy,
              We don’t count vegetables against our carb numbers but do we count them against our protein or fat numbers?
              Also just a lifestyle Qn, how do u keep your food fresh if you cook em at 6am and are supposed to have them at 7pm outside? That’s like 13 hours of stale food in a container and I don’t have a microwave where I study.

              Thanks

            • Hi Chris. The fat/protein in vegetables isn’t going to add up to anything significant so we’ll ignore it. Please refer to that very detailed set of rules I gave you in the macros mail and try not to overcomplicate things bud. Seriously. Consistency is key, which again, is written in that mail. – See the detailed FAQ section, specifically “Should I could the macros in ‘X’?
              Anything cooked food can be eaten cold. It won’t go stale inside a 13 hour period.

  6. Hi Andy! My girlfriend and I are trying out some of your great advice! We’re getting into week 2 of our cut. I’m wondering about the effect of green vegetables. You say, “◾Green vegetables don’t have any carbs. – Eat plenty to slow digestion.” What is the benefit of slowing digestion?

  7. Hi Andy,

    Sorry if you answered this question somewhere and I missed it. I know you said it’s better to hit your macros roughly, but I was wondering:

    If you are under in one area and over in another does it balance out (ex. under by 10 in carbs, over by 10 in protein)?

    Just trying to understand this as best I can before I begin.

    Thanks!

    Karrie

  8. Hi Andy,

    I’m doing the 3-day RPT training and i wonder one thing about diet:
    I calculated my bmr, which is 2000 kcals. Then multiplied for 1.375>>> 2750 kcals.
    I think i’m around 15% bf (first pair of abs visible, second pair softly visible), and my aim is to cut and be more ripped. According to this, i’m supposed to assume 3000kcal on training days (almost 10% plus) and 1800 on rest days (almost 30% less). Am I right or missing something?

    Thank you SO much. Your blog is awesome.

    p.s.: I just applied for your coaching and I’m really excited, but i was wondering..how much do you cost? :D

  9. Hi, Mr. Andy

    I would like to know if a whole roasted chicken is enough to cover my current protein requirements

    The are two sizes for the whole roasted chicken I buy at a restaurant

    1.25 kg (cooked weight) – according to the weighing scale, around 25% is bone weight. That leaves around 900 grams of meat and skin

    1 kg (cooked weight) – according to the weighing scale, around 20% is bone weight. That leaves around 800 grams of meat and skin

    Do you know the estimated protein content and fat content of those ?

    I’m 5’10″, currently weighs at 176 lbs and around 25% body fat

    Thanks

  10. Hi Andy.

    I’m on cut at the moment. What is your advice for person who workingout two days per week? How does macro counting on training days and rest days?
    What is your opinion regarding cortisone blockers whether it makes sense supplementation or not?

    • Please ask me questions either here in the comments or on the Facebook page, but not both. I answered earlier on the Facebook page, but I wasted 5 minutes just trying to figure out why this question was so familiar given that I thought I had answered it.

  11. Hey Andy,

    Question about Simplified Macro Counting if you will; I really want to use your simplified rules for counting but I am confused. If I plug 500gr of Chicken Breast and 285gr of Rice into an online calculator for example, (Fitday, Fat Secret) I get crazy high calorie counts that wont fit my Macro calculations set out above in your guide. You do say that your 20gr of protein per 100gr of meat is conservative but where do I go from here? I am working on a Cut at -35 + 10, but with the need for 172gr of protein would call for 850gr of Chicken Breast (simplified rules) but the online calculator calls that 1600+ calories, 65+gr of fat, and 250+gr of protein. But, at your calculation of 4kcal per gram of protein the same 850gr of Chicken to reach 170gr of protein only yeilds 680 calories. Any thoughts.

    • You’re probably looking at cooked chicken there rather then raw. Also, the fat content will vary depending on the cooking method.
      Please feel free to make your own simplified rules Trevor based on any amounts you’ve seen in a calculator, that’s the idea behind them.

  12. Hello Andy,

    I am a regular visitor to your blog.

    I have read all of your articles. I dont think i have missed any :)..

    Anyway i wanted to ask you something about the IF i started 6 months ago.

    My Training has been Advanced Cross-Fit For Over 1 year but the last 2 months i have moved to thailand(Previously Lived in Greece) and i am training at home. I have followed your advice and stoped doing cardio and HITT training and concentrating on weight lifting more . Also i have dedicated 1 day a week only to ab workout with weights.

    My Diet is this:

    I do I.F. so i eat everyday at 6-10. So i fast 20 hours. Only Balck Coffee and Tons of Water 2-3 liters.

    Everyday i eat chicken breast around 400-500g, greek salad and omelete from 4 whole eggs and 100g ham.

    The only thing i change is instead of chicken i eat pork or i eat 250g of chicken and i add 1-2 cans of tuna with some mayo.

    My problem is that the first 4 months of doing this i was starting to take fat off, now i have come to a point that i see nothing happening for the last 3 months.

    As you can see i dont consume any carbs as i thought that the salad would count as carbs.

    I would really appreciate your advice as i want to get ripped and my six pack to come out.

    Thank you very very much for all the good advice you already have on your blog.

    Anticipating to hear from you soon…

  13. thx andy for those great tips. is there a way to buy the whole list, because i`m working with the lean gains concept for a while now and would like to add your tips to my protocole.
    cheers from germany

  14. Andy, your rules 100% make things easier.
    with xmas coming up and over the horizon, I’m finding it hard to to keep on this diet.

    eating out at pubs/ general resturants is generally easy, sticking to salads, vegetables, meat etc on rest days.

    however my low carb days are mon/wed/fr/sunday and at 40g of carbs, unfortunatey work nights are on these days and we are booked in italian and indian on 2 seperate days

    do I just keep to the routine 90% of the time and may flip training days for xmas?

    just wondering your thoughts

    cheers mate

    g

  15. Wow. Awesome article, Andy! I follow almost the same principle in counting my calorie intake. I have a list of food and their protein and carb counterparts so I just mix and match everything to break the food monotony.

    Would you my mind checking though if my current meal plan is effective?
    I am on 1200 calorie consumption everyday divided into 5 small meals taken every 3 hours. (I normally start munching around 6AM everyday and everything follows every 3 hours)
    30g protein and 30g carbs.

    And FYI, Gym time 3x a week, 1 hour every session.

    • Hi Christian. My first piece of advice is to follow the plan as written, start with The Step by Step Guide. No point in coming to me doing something completely different (high meal frequency, very low calories) and then asking me to critique it.

  16. Andy,

    Fell ill for the first time since I began my training, and I’m wondering how this should affect my macros. Although I knocked out a workout this week, at this point I’m fatigued with a sore throat, achey, experiencing headhaches and the like and it might be best to take a few days away from the gym (1 or 2 sessions, I’d estimate). In this case, should I eat in accordance with my rest days at a deficit? Or should I eat at maintenance?

    From my reading it seems that I should not be at a deficit, for my body needs all it can get nutrient wise to recover, but perhaps with IF it’s different? I’m not sure, so I figured I’d go ahead and ask. Thanks for your help.

    • Sounds like you’re sick Nathan. Take time off the gym till you feel better. Consider a diet break or eating “average macros” until then.

  17. Hi there just starting the ripped body diet!!

    Im 280lbs 33% bodyfat ive worked out my rest day macros using the very helpfull guide, am i rite in thinking because im classed as obese will this calorie deficit be ok for both days training and rest????

    got my calories to 1800 thats with the 30% calorie deficit 200g protein 80g fat 70g carbs

    40% protein 40% fat 20% carbs!!!!! Roughly

    Thanks and look forward to your response

    ANDY JONES

    • Andy, thanks for the comment. Unless you’ve very tall and also have considerable training experience it’s highly unlikely that at 280lbs you’re only 33% body fat. Perhaps reconsider. As per the macros post comment in red, I’m not going to do the calculations for you or comment on them though.

  18. Hey Andy,

    So I started the IF program exactly 2 weeks ago and I’m losing weight at an abnormal rate. I started at 215 and to this day I’m 200. Am I doing something with my diet?

  19. Andy, thanks for your work! Something has come to mind- calories for cooked food. Ie: if I want 80g of rice (i’m working on recipes once off to make menus so that I can pick from) that roughly equates 375 calories, but is that 80g raw because I would actually weigh the food once cooked? I don’t want to overthink it with calorie counting but some assistance would be great! Thanks!

  20. Hi Andy

    Many thanks for this site. It’s brilliant and helped me a lot. Especially when finding out that how I intuitively wanted to diet perfectly fits the things you’re talking about…it’s actually a relief to know that we can rely on that inner voice. I couldn’t find an answer to the following two questions which seem rather important to me – perhpas I also overlooked it, so apologies where due:
    i) How do you manage your cortisone levels when dieting, if you don’t spike your insulin in the morning? Or do you find that it’s ok to use a protein shake in the morning on an empty stomach and that’s it (the morning being the most crucial part, as we want to prolong that fasted state)? Because even only a few grams of protein will influence you GH levels, so I’m not sure how the drawbacks compare to the advantages. From what I’ve seen, it’s not really an issue to take the shake.
    ii) What do you think of taking a spoon of coconut oil as an energy booster, no matter on what day (either carb on or off)? It seems to me that using coconut oil as an energy source could turn out to be less problematic for my diet than any other snack with carbs (no insulin peak, stable release into my bloodstream, high percentage of MCT). And it’s still very nice to eat:-).

    Thanks a lot for you time!
    Best,
    Fabrizio

    • Hey Fabrizio,

      I’m lookin forward to Andy’s answer as well, but I find what works for me is to have Coconut Oil in the morning. From my understanding Fats are processed in a way that maintain most of the benefits of fasting.
      In my experience when I started having protein in the morning my progress slowed down; just fats (Coconut Oil and MCT Oil in tea or coffee) has been great and I’m back to just about linear progress.

      • Hi

        Sounds intriguing! Thanks for the advice. I just came across an article today saying that micellar casein won’t spike your insulin as whey does. So this might be another way of fasting in the morning without compromising! (The more I look into micellar casein, the more I find it to be superior to whey. Yes, it won’t boost protein synthesis right away, but over a period of e.g. 8 hours, there’s no drawback…)

        • Casein and Whey are both great proteins and have their uses, but remember we were talking about the effects of Proteins versus Fats on fasting. Technically anything you put in your mouth is breaking your fast, but what I was telling you is when I added Protein in the morning I noticed a slow down in my Progress. Fats are metabolized through a different process and when I used just fats, my progress continued well.
          I would get used to not having anything before your feeding window, but if you have to have something – just fats (Coconut Oil, MCT Oil).

    • Fabrizio, thanks for the comment, glad you’re finding the guides helpful.
      i) I don’t seek specifically to manage cortisol, or try and directly manipulate any hormones.
      ii) Completely unnecessary. This idea is sparked from your trying to avoid an insulin spike and thus not interrupt the fast… or something like that right? If you need a temporary energy boost, drink a coffee. If your energy levels are always low then increase calories or swap out food items to see what you may do better on.

      I think you’d find the article, “If it ain’t broken…” helpful.

      • i) ok, so I’ll definitely won’t vex myself with that anymore.
        ii) Indeed, that was the idea behind. But I see your point, one should just focus more on doing and see what works rather then on fiddling around with theoretical concepts.

        Again, thanks a lot!

        Oh, by the way: Ever thought of putting a “donate” button on your page? I feel rather odd posting here and not being able to make amends for your counseling.

  21. Pingback: When is Cardio a Valid Tool for Fat Loss with Intermittent Fasting? | RippedBody.jp

  22. Hey Andy. I normally buy my meats from a farm, grass fed style. I know the macros vary. Would you use the bodybuilding.com site and just assume its the same as regular beef or is there another site which offers better info on macros and calories with respect to grass fed beef. Thanks as always.

    • In the context of a well balanced diet grass-fed beef has little benefit other than taste. So buy it only if you can afford it and buy it only based on your like of the taste (or animal sympathy). In terms of macronutrients then they’ll be the same cut for cut. There are several calculators out there, if in doubt then take an average.

  23. What are green vegetables? Why not vegetables in general (excluding starchy ones), like tomatoes, onions, eggplant, etc.?

  24. Hey Andy, just a thought regarding diet breaks:
    Lyle McDonald recommends increasing carbohydrates to at least 100-150g per day whilst increasing total caloric intake to 10% under current maintenance ( to account for metabolic slow down).
    My question is this; what is your approach to the diet break? Do you endorse a strategic increase of macros to minimise body fat gains? On the other hand, do you advise a complete break, I.e: no tracking of macros.
    Kind regards, Zane.

  25. What’s up Andy,

    Thanks in advance for your answer to my question and all of the other info I’ve gotten from your site.
    As far as Fat Grams in our Macro breakdown: I understand it’s important to watch Fat intake on Training Days, and from what I’ve read on Martin’s site it’s because that day is High in Carbs and any excess calories maybe directly stored as fat.
    My question is if I am still within a caloric deficit is it okay to up fats a little bit. For example if it’s a Training Day and I have say 500 calories left to eat is it okay to have those calories in whatever form I want (Fat, Carbs or Proteins), or is their a science behind staying under my Fat Macros for that day?
    Your answer may allow me to enjoy a little more :).
    Cheers Mate and Best Regards

      • Thanks for the reply Andy, but it missed my point.
        I read your post before I asked the question, because I really dont want to be one of those that asks questions already answered.
        The post assumes that I have a calorie surplus on training days; although, I don’t.
        I am on -10% on Training Days and -30% on Rest Days (Is that wrong by the way or extreme, because you assumed I was surplusing?).

        So if I am on a Training Day and have say 500 Calories left before I hit my TDEE -10%, can I have those from whichever Macros I prefer (Fat)?

        Cheers

        • Possibly, but that will depend on the individual (see latest post).
          It is a mistake to rule out carbs as having no value as is fashionable nowadays it seems by certain crowds. They are important for recovery and growth (in the right circumstances).
          Also, read this.

  26. Hi Andy. I’m 27 now but at the age of 22 I injured my knee. Multiple misdiagnoses, operations and years later, I’ve been playing competitive table tennis for the past 9 months. I play for around 3 hours an evening, 4 evenings per week (plus around 2 hours extra during lunch at work).

    For the first time in my life I look decidedly out of shape. I’ve been starting to diet, then a weightlifting friend recommended your site. However I’m not sure how I’d fit in that amount of table tennis with the IF approach. Each session probably only burns 400 calories or so on average (some evenings, like matchplay or busy days, there’s a lot of sitting around) so it’s nothing like an hour of weightlifting.

    I could probably add a day of weightlifting in to the equation, but I doubt I’d manage two – my weekends are spent away with the girlfriend.

    On a TT day, what ratio of fat/carbs should I opt for? Am I allowing myself enough rest time? I can’t really afford to play less.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Great resource you have here.

    • Hi Duncan, glad you’ve found the site helpful. My macros guide is here. I cannot give specific recommendations for macros in the comments. If you can’t afford to play less then whether you are allowing yourself enough recovery time is a redundant question. However, as you are used to playing at that level and for such an amount of time each week you it is unlikely to amount to a buildup of systematic stress so shouldn’t be an issue.

  27. Dear Andy,
    I hope that you are doing well. I have been feeling weak for a while now with very, very low libido. I perhaps think that this could be chalked up to assuming that 100g of chicken breast is 5g of fat and 20g of protein. Could potential overestimations of fat content in food result in inadequate total fat intake, resulting in lower testosterone level?
    I also feeling really lousy regarding energy (week 11 of the diet at the moment) and my legs were sore for 3 days after squats, not normally sore. Everything else is on point, my life is going very well, perfect sleep, plenty of fibrous veggies with my 2 meals, fruit on my training days. I know I’m getting my micros as I’m taking a multi-vitamin as well.
    Would love to hear your take on my situation
    Kind regards, Zane.

    • “Could potential overestimations of fat content in food result in inadequate total fat intake, resulting in lower testosterone level?”
      Fat intake is one of the things that affects testosterone, so yes. Sounds like taking a diet break could be a good idea.

      Above is general advice. I do not make decisions without the information at the update for clients as there are too many things to consider so please wait a week.

      • Dear Andy, Thank You for the reply. I have no intention of going against the plan that you have already designed for me.

        Kind regards, Zane.

  28. Hey Andy

    You recently made a change to your fat recommendations. I was wondering how this would play out to “simplified rules”?

  29. Hi Andy,

    I have worked out my macros for both training and rest days and found the training day was fine (P-150g F-50g C-296g), but found changing the carbs for the rest day to meet the total kcals dropped them significantly (P-150g F-70g C-18g).

    Will doing this be detrimental to the cause?

    Also considing that will be breaking up my 2 meals at a 60:40 ration will give me roughly 15g rice/noodles and 10g rice/noodles, is it worth getting such smaller amounts of carbs from another source, as it really isnt work cooking 25g of rice for the day…

  30. Hi Andy!!
    I am currently on the slow bulk and I am enjoying it so much!
    For the first time thanks to your advices I can see clearly cause-effect patterns in my training and stats and I feel completely in control of my bodycomposition which is great!
    I will update you with pics soon… :)
    One quick question:
    Have you got simplified rules for cooking with oil?
    For example -> 5 eggs boiled 25gr fat, 30 gr. proteins
    5 eggs homelet with the pan a little oiled ->30 gr. proteins, fat??

    Thanks
    Lorenzo

  31. Hey Andy, was just curious about something in the client guide. It says we dont count fat or protein in bread/pasta/ rice but another portion says “count the fat in everything”. Im just confused so we do or dont count fat. I understand not counting protein but just confused on fat. Another question is i use lavash pita bread a lot and it has 8g protein in a pita which is a lot, do i count this or ignore it? Thanks buddy

    • 1.Count the fat in everything please. Note however that pasta and rice doesn’t really have any significant amount of fat worth worrying about though. Make life easy for yourself and simplify things where possible.
      2. Count or ignore. Note the points on consistency in the macros mail specialist FAQ 12-15.

  32. Dear Andy,
    Hope you are okay. Just a quick question, I haven’t eaten any fatty meats during the cut at all. I’ve been making up my fats with foods like olives, walnuts, butter, cream cheese etc. HOWEVER, I fancy a change and would like to start eating some mince lamb/beef. I understand the fat content is much higher than chicken breast and it is difficult to estimate the amount of fat in minced meat especially if the product is freshly prepared with no nutritional info on the pack. I can only refer to a nutritional information database. However, my point is, do you advise against the inclusion of fatty meats this far into my cut ( week 6 with you) or should I stick to what I have been doing in the prior weeks instead of changing things around too much?

      • Thanks for the reply Andy,
        I’m certainly not bored as I enjoy chicken breast and my training day protein cake (80c/40p/6f) and my protein ice cream ( 25c, 40p, 0f).

    • Hi Andy

      Been cooking full chickens (one everyday) with the skin removed before cooking and i remove all the meat and split it into for my two meals.wondering have you ever cooked a full chicken with the skin of as trying to workout the fat content?.
      Is it a fatty meat cause its not grilled?,what is your guess as my energy is poor and put it down to lack of fats as on training day no added fat just whatever i get from the meat and on rest days i add 8 eggs.

  33. Hey Andy, its one week until our 1st scheduled Progress Check. Things are going OK, stomach is finally getting used to the postworkout volume of carbs! Had a quick question. I have been using lean ground beef and turkey (93/7) for my fatty protein sources on nonworkout days. Using your sources provided and simplified macro rules, I estimate 100g raw beef/turkey to be 20g protein and around 8g fat. I used a George Foreman grill to cook my meat, and its obvious that alot of the fat cooks out of the meat. How should I account for this on my macros? keep the same? Estimate a small decrease? Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks man!!!

  34. Hi Andy! i know you said you dont need to count green veggies but i’m hearing from a lot of people that you should count them because calories are calories. Should i be counting veggies because i tend to eat a lot of it and it can add up.

    • The point is this:
      If you are consistent with not counting them, it doesn’t matter in the long run as you will have a baseline from which to adjust the other things that you do count. There is no need to know the actual macro numbers that you consume.

  35. Hello,

    I am just wondering if someone has any experience with counting macros for frozen chicken breasts. Basically, the breasts are ice-glazed and “enhanced” with up to 15% chicken broth. It’s a lot more convenient for me to weigh these frozen. I assumed about 800 grams of frozen chicken was about 500g of raw chicken. Does these seem like an unreal assumption (under or over-estimate?)

    Thanks,
    -Martin

  36. Hey Andy,

    Just wondering how important macro ratios and calorie cycling are in terms of actual muscle gain/ fat loss? I know you advocate cycling calories and macro nutrients on rest and workout days (ie more calories and carbs on workout days, less calories and more fat on rest days), but how important is this if I’m getting the right amount of protein every day?

    Cheers,
    Zi.

  37. Hi Andrew, had a couple of weekends pigging out, I need to find a way of sticking to my goals on weekends otherwise im gonna keep on screwing up the week’s progress. These are not easy times but that’s no excuse.

    I came across this website and was wondering if it would be good to use to recalculate my macros in the long run:

    http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/

    I wanted to ask you given that I tried it out and the macros it suggested are different from the ones you had given me so I’m wondering if I should just discard the idea of using it.

    Thanks Andy! :)

  38. I’m very confused by your simplified rule that says “Green veggies don’t have any carbs.”
    Do you literally mean they don’t have any carbs or this is the mentality to take on when calculating macros?
    Thanks

    • It’s a simplified rule Mike to make counting easier, based on the principle that if you consistently count wrong, (systematic error) you just then adjust from the baseline.

  39. Sorry if I was vague. I understand to count fat in everything. I was wondering about counting trace protein and carbs in almonds and other nut butters. I havent been. just been counting fats. Thanks

  40. In simplified macro counting you say “we don’t count trace macros.” Does this go for the carbs in almonds? I.e., do we only count the fats in almonds? Because I have been using almonds/nut butters for my fat sources, and they contain trace carbs, so I just wanted to make sure I have been right by just counting the fat in them. Thanks Progress is coming along nicely.

    • I think not counting carbs/protein in almond butter should be alright only if you are consuming 1 or 2 tbsp…If you are consuming like more than 5 tbsp then the carbs might add up..just my opinion..

    • What you’re reading above is a basic outline of those rules for readers of the site. What you have in your inbox is the extended version of that. Have a good re-read. The answer is that we* (*you and I and the rules under which I have set things for you) are going to count all fats in everything. Note the paragraph on consistency however. Apply this as you see fit within that framework and context.

  41. Hey, I am here because a friend told me about this website i wanted to ask a question about rest days, is it ok to eat sausages and bacon EVERY day on a rest day? (If it fits macros) I know you said dont look past fat, but i dont understand the trans/poly stuff – i assumed it was ok to eat 3 sausages and 3 pieces of bacon a day? (on rest days) could you provide any more info and tell me if its something i need to change?

    • I think it should be ok if it fits your calories..if cooked at home with good oil, you dont have to worry abt trans fat..animal fat has sat+mono+poly which is a good combo

    • That’s a loaded question Ryan. In the right context then it’s fine. But I’m not just going to give you a blanket “yes” cause that’s not the case. Keep reading.

      • I don’t really understand what you’ve said.. purely because, I literally eat 3x sausages, 3x bacon 4 times a week on my rest days for my breakfast, I have read everything, but I’m trying to look past the fact its fat and wondering if its TOO much of a wrong fat or something? My point is, is this going to affect me long term and should I reduce the sausages/bacon I eat in your opinion?

      • And all my fat on a rest day comes from, peanut butter, bacon, sausages, eggs (sometimes), and a Almond Nut bar that I eat.

        Sorry for the two responses, couldn’t edit the last, I’m just starting to “worry” now which is why I ask you if you’d advise me changing some of the fats I eat, as it stands with my 4 rest days, I am consuming 12 rashers of bacon and 12 sausages a week..

          • By blood work you mean specifically what? Cholesterol or what? Never had anything like that done in my life so unsure :)

            • Ryan, yes – get in touch with your doctor and arrange for blood test and tell him you are looking for chol/triglyc level..he will get that for you..very simple. I get this done every yr as part of my annual for my insurance company

  42. I have a lot of weight/fat to lose. I’ve been doing IF for the past 10 days or so…and I find that even after fasting 18-22 hours a day, I am not very hungry and I am usually fine by eating 300-500 cals. If i’m hungry, i eat more, but i dont want to force myself to eat. My macros are kinda silly, since it’s so little food and they’ve been about 40% protein-30% carbs-30% fat.
    I do Crossfit with a strenght bias and short 7-12 min metcons, 4-6 times a week. Any advise would be really helpful. thank you

  43. Hi guys,

    A quick question. Been on the leangains for a while now, and for that occasional rest day where I go over my 25C macro, what is the easiest way to counteract it. On rest days i’m eating 25c and 70f, so I figured I can take out of F to balance it, but how much F should I take out if I go over say 10C.

    Thanks,
    Jamie

  44. Hey Andy. I have been on a cyclic carb diet for awhile and am coming from the Warrior Diet to try out Leangains (Simply because my co-workers tend to bring in garbage foods during the day and eating all my food in the evening created temptation during the day). I usually only go over 100g of carbs twice a week (One on the day I have a cheat meal), and it’s mainly paleo (except the legumes and quinoa). How will my progress be different on a 10/35/55 and 15/35/60 ratio? Even on heavy weight days I’ve never gone over 200g. How will progress differ?

  45. I train early morning fasted. My first meal is 1:00 2nd at 8:00. I prefer to split my calories 30% first meal 70% second. Is this optimal????

    • Michael, I am not Andy, but if I were you, I will have 70% cal at 1 pm and then 30% at 8 pm..maximum calories should come right after the workout (first meal after workout) because thats the time your body can handle high calories with high carbs in them. as the day progresses the tolerance decreases.

      if its a social thing, do atleast 50% in meal 1 and 50% in meal 2??? but I would leave that to Andy..

      • Adi, thanks for the comment but there is absolutely no need to put 70% of your calories in your first meal of the day for a person doing fasted training. That’s a quick way to send you to kill productivity for an afternoon and sent you into a slumber at your desk. (Fired > divorced > depressed > doctor prescribed drugs… Wait Adi, are you a pharmaceutical company stooge?!)

  46. Hi Andy,

    Just FYI, I have sent you a request for consultation on 1/13 and I got the automated email reply. I guess I should wait for your next reply and not do anything until then..

    In the mean time I have a question if you can help me out..I eat just 2 meals between 2pm to 10pm
    Meal 1 – 2 pm – 100 gm of protein and rest fat and veggies
    workout at 7 pm – 8 pm
    meal 2 – 8 pm – 100 gm of protein and rest carbs and little fat

    I feel very sleepy after my 2 pm meal of protein and fat (my protein source is grilled chiken or fish). why is it so? am I spiking my insulin so much that I feel lazy and sleepy? is it detrimental to fat loss? what can I do abt it? any ideas?

    I have 5-6 hrs of gap between first meal and workout. do I have to take BCAA before workout? or 100 gm of protein is enough for my 5 hrs gap for amino supply?

    any help/suggestion is greatly appreciated

    • Hi Adi. 1. Could be you’re not eating enough on the previous day. Usually it’s carbs that are the culprits for making people sleepy in some cases.
      2. 100g of protein will be fine.

      • Hi Andy, thanks for the reply.. I do stuff my self after workout the day before.
        I am 158 Lbs and after workout I eat 1500 K cal with clean sources of food.
        280 gm of carbs, 100 gm of pro, rest fat..for my small frame do you think 1500 K cal after workout in the night before is not sufficient? If you think answering this is beyond the comment section thats fine..but any insight will be helpful.

        One more think I would like some insight is, I am not progressing on my weights (I understand generally it is tough to progress on weights when you are eating for fat loss) and at the same time I am not losing a great deal of strength too (may be a little bit)..But I do feel like I dont have energy before workout. I am thinking the reason is because I dont eat any carbs before workout (I read that this type of training will force the body to tap into fat stores effectively). am I right? do you think I should continue like this or include some carbs in pre workout meal? thnx buddy

        • Adi there are too many variables to be considered here mate. I think you’re looking at it from the wrong angle though with your latter point. Likely calorie intake in general, inflated expectations or incorrect programming.

  47. So I had a family birthday event for my hardcore Italian grandmother, you can imagine how we like to eat at get togethers :P . It was a rest day last night but my carbs consumed were very high. Today is a workout day. My question is, should I act like nothing happend and continue with my scheduled refeed or cut back some carbs after today’s exercise session. Thanks Andy.

    -Vince

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  49. Hey Andy, when following the simplified rules what amount of veggies would be an “extraordinary” amount that would hinder results? For example, I normally just throw broccoli into the steamer but this time I decided to weigh it just to see what I normally put in there. It came out to ~450g. So that’s 900g of broccoli per day. Too much?

  50. Hey Andy, I have just about two weeks until our next assessment but I had a curiousity regarding cravings. Could Intense carb cravings be a sign of a need, for an increase in carbs on refeeds? Or could it be a sign that maybe my volume of training is a bit much. I’m lifting RPT on the big 4 with 4-6-8 reps. I don’t plan on tweaking the diet until our re assessment but I was just curious. Thanks!

    • Yes that is possible. Your body tells you instinctively what it needs, though it takes a while to learn to know your body enough to interpret that and simply eat freely.

  51. Hi Andy, I eat catfish(origin vietnam) and your simplified macros said takes white fish as ~20g per 100g .I went to the market today and saw a packet of catfish, picked it up and nutrition facts state 100g is 14.25 protein. So I went back online and found this article about catfish that are reared in Vietnam.

    http://www.pangasius-vietnam.com/Daily-News/443_3415/Sutchi-catfish-Pangasius-hypophthalmus-fillets-from-Vietnam-Nutritional-quality-and-safety-aspects.htm

    Should i use a ~15 for catfish or continue using ~20?

    Hasif

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  53. HI Andy, not sure if this question was asked already. I use a food scale to measure for my food, but when I compare the macro’s in meat raw and cooked there’s a differences in calories and protein, cooked seems to have more of both,which should I go by?

    Thanks

    • From a mail I send to clients:
      11. Do you have any cooked weight estimations?
      No, none. It’s impossible to be accurate in this way:
      A “well done” steak will weigh less than a “medium-rare” steak… but have the same protein content.
      Soft gooey rice or pasta will weigh more than harder, less cooked pasta… but have the same carb content.
      Thus I recommend you weigh everything before you cook it.
      If you’re going to cook things in advance then you will need to separate them into different tupperware containers in the fridge.

      • OH OK, Thanks for the the speedy reply! I try not to go crazy counting macros, I try to keep it real simple. Right now I’m on a cutting phase and use Fatsecret.com to figure out the macros and noticed the difference between the raw and cooked value of meat. I was going by the cooked value before I noticed the difference between the two, going by the raw value means i would have to eat more to reach my macros for the day for calories and protein..

  54. Pingback: Why Training Hard, Rather Than Smart, Will Keep You Fat This New Year. | RippedBody.jp

  55. Hi Andy,
    Just finished up week 2 and have noticed things going slightly in the opposite direction as I expected and would love your opinion. 3-4 lbs of weight gain and some waist increase. Here is some background on me: Before starting this program, I had been super low carb for the last year and had done IF for last 6 months. I had lost over 20 lbs and felt great just was stalling with weight loss. No rice, potatoes, wheat, corn or starchy carbs of any type for the last 12 months. Just paleo stuff – fresh veggies and meat and definitely no fear of saturated fat.

    So now on work out days I am ingesting 10x the amount my body has been used to having (250g – like 5 cups of rice/4-5 cups of potatoes, etc). It’s been cool to going back to eating some starchy carbs but man I feel so bloated and knew without even stepping on a scale or doing measurements that I was gaining.

    I am thinking this is a bit different than your other clients who move from a standard american diet where 50% of their daily calories are from carbs and this approach is actually a reduction in daily carb intake.

    Paul Jaminet mentioned on the Fat Burning Man Podcast this week that people who have eliminated carbs for a long time and then suddenly bring them back can have problems since their body isn’t used to having so many so quick.

    Have you seen this with other clients moving from this same direction or am I an outlier? Just curious if I should have moved in a bit slower on bringing carbs back in a such a massive amount and let my body get used to it or is weight gain expected for odd-balls like me? If so for how long should I expect things to go left before they go right? What would be the drawback in dropping back from 250g/day on work out days to something closer to 100g/day.

    As a side note – I am lifting a lot more so the additional protein seems to be helping out
    Bench 110 to 115
    Deadlift 140 to 225!
    Squat 110 to 160!

    Thanks Andy!

  56. Hi again Andy!

    Have another question if you dont mind..

    I am using your simplified rules (brilliant by the way!) however as student I’m struggling to get in enough protein. Have you got any ideas on cheap sources of protein? Is counting trace macros (just for protein) a good option??

    Thanks again buddy!

      • Thats cool.

        What do you think about counting trace proteins to reach my protein goals though? Obviously nothing too low (like under 5g for example). I haven’t been doing it, but would this be worth doing?

        I roughly counted the trace proteins today just to see (excluding veggies and bread), and it added up to an extra 60g

        Cheers :)

        • Anything that enables you to simplify things you should do. Thus if you can afford it then don’t count them and keep that consistent. If you’re broke then counting traces can make the shopping bill more affordable, the downside is of course it’s more of a pain in the arse to do and thus long term diet adherence aka success is more difficult.

  57. Pingback: The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting | The Art of Becoming Better

  58. Hi Andy,

    My favorite thing about websites like yours and Berkham’s is the amount of passion in every article.

    Because of Leangains, r/Fitness, GymPact for iOS, and you I haven’t missed a week of 3x barbell exercises since 2012 Jan 01. (Except for the week of Hurricane Sandy, my gym lost power.)

    My questions:
    I’m new to cooking. How did you learn to cut, cook, heat, and really prepare meats and vegetables? My goal for 2013 is to learn basic kitchen skills to be able to make a variety of dishes that fit my macros and give me more variety.

    I like to go grocery shopping once a week. So I try to buy in amounts that are fit 4x Rest Days and 3x Training Days. What are some foods you buy on a regular/weekly basis?

    • Thank you for the compliment Miguel/ I’m truly glad that you find the information on this site useful and helpful.
      1. Men all think they can operate a BBQ and don’t let women do it when camping, yet we don’t want to cook in the kitchen. To me it’s no different. Pretend your frying pan and gas stove is a BBQ. if in doubt ask mum or use Youtube.
      2. I buy everything daily. But that’s just the reality in Japan.

  59. Thanks for a greate website Andy!
    My biggest challenge when it comes to nutrition is potatochips.
    When is the best time to eat it? I know that the best thing would be to avoid it, but i just cant seem to not having it with my beer.

    Frantz

  60. If anyone wants to know how to put on 5 pounds in a week while on a cut I can tell you…just really miscalculate your macros :o) I don’t know how I screwed up so bad but it was way off…

    Andy, I am hoping I have this right this time but before I pack on an another 5 can you let me know if this looks right to you:

    I’m 48, weigh 212 with a 24% body fat. (DEXA scan). My BMR is calculated at around 2,000 (1,971). I subtracted 35% on REST day calories and added 10% on TRAINING days. I used 1.3 as an activity multiplier. I’m going to take your advice and do a “Cut” first.

    My macros came out to this
    REST:
    Protein 182g (43%)
    Fat 60g (32%)
    Carbs 100g (24%)

    TRAIN
    Protein 182g (26%)
    Fat 30g (10%)
    Carbs 454g (64%)

    Does that seem in the ballpark?

  61. Can I eat to little in my 8 hour window? It says that i should be eating nearlly a kilo of chicken in the 8 hour window for my 2400 macro i need but i dont think i can eat this much every day does it matter if i only eat like 500g of chicken

    • If you don’t eat enough you will lose weight faster. If you lose weight too fast then that can cause hormonal complications. If you don’t get enough protein while on a heavy deficit then the risk of muscle catabolism is high.

  62. Wanted to get your feedback on how much protein is too much in one meal? Obviously, only eating 3 times a day and needing 165g of protein will equal 55+ grams at a meal. I sometimes find myself in a position of needing a quick PWO shake due to schedule conflicts and tend to have mixed protein of 50-80g at this meal with 100+ carbs…..my buddies tell me this is just a waste of macros but this isn’t a “traditional” program either. What do you think?

    • “Wanted to get your feedback on how much protein is too much in one meal?”
      - There isn’t, your body is smarter than that. Splitting your protein evenly is perfectly fine. What your buddies say is irrelevant in the face of the science.

  63. Pingback: Patience: A Key Tool for Diet Success | RippedBody.jp

  64. Hi Andy, I’m slightly confused on how much % should be adding for activity. I work a fulltime Renovation job and play hockey 1-3 times a week. Any suggestions to get an fairly accuarte BMR based on my activity level.

    Love the website btw , keep up the good work :)

    • Either see my macros post or google “calculating your multiplier. Choose one figure and don’t stress it. Why? Because you’re going to track your progress and adjust accordingly anyway.

  65. Hi Andy.
    When i was your client your last macro was carbs down to Xg on T-days. I´ve been following that since then. I still won´t cut as much as i would have wanted.
    1- is it ok to go down to X-40g C on T-day and maybe even as low as X-90g after a while of stalling?
    Or will this be far too low and mess up my cut?

    Best regards

    • Hi Kenneth, this will likely be too low. It’s likely that you’re just playing the patience game and losing at the moment. Recall the quote from Martin in that first mail I sent you.

      “Getting that lean was the easiest diet I ever experienced. It was only testing in terms of patience; but even though the diet was easy, I longed for it to be over so I could try something, anything, else. It was a waiting game, but not a fight against hunger. Many clients have told me the same. If they don’t tell it to me straight, I notice it when discussing what to do after the diet.

      “Sure, I got the usual neurotic thoughts once in a while. More frequently towards the end. Most do. “Am I really losing now or have I stalled?”, etc. Water retention tends to screw with your head and you’ll sometimes see that your weight isn’t moving for 10-14 days. That’s when people are very likely to do something stupid. That’s when it becomes very hard to resist cutting calories and adding extra cardio. So most people, including coaches, do that and it backfires.

      “They lose strength or just get ravenous, whatever, something happens and they break their diet, binge for a day or two, attempt to get back to where they were by doing another stupid thing once again, and then they are stuck doing that. Or they just give up. It’s like domino bricks falling one after another after a tiny little wind dust moved the first piece. It gets a lot easier when you have someone else, a coach, giving you orders, of course.” – Martin Berkhan.

      The other thing that you may want to try is a diet break. Did I give you instructions on that before?

      • Hi Andy and thanks for your reply my friend.

        Yes, i´ve had 2 diet breaks now, every 12 weeks. Maybe do them more often like every 6 weeks to shock the body more?
        Yes that was my fear with cutting even more would make me weaker and maybe even hungry. Thanks again for your answer Andy.
        I will win this patience game :-)

  66. Take it from someone who went it alone for 2 months and then hired Andy:

    USE THE SIMPLIFIED RULES.

    Lost more fat in the last two weeks then I did in the last month before switching over.

  67. HI Andy, question on vegetables. Currently I am getting most of my carbs from veg so PWO would include 4c of frozen stirfry veg along with a huge salad of spring mix with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and balsamic vin. Would you suggest I count only the stir fry veg into my carb allotment and not the salad even tho my salad adds approx 20g of carbs after adding pure balsamic vin to it? I eat alot of vegetables, easily 4c of broccoli with my protein at dinner, probably shouldn’t disregard those carbs right?

  68. Great blog Andy, nice and easy to follow. I do have a rather daft sounding question. I’m doing the leangains morning training protocol, drip feeding BCAAS until my feeding window of 12-8pm. My question is whether the timing of my training affects what I should be considering my training days to be. I train at around 5am, is my training day actually the day before or the current day seeing as my body’s probably using yesterday’s nutrients? I hope this makes sense!

  69. HI thanks for the great post.
    I’d appreciate your advice on two quick questions.
    1) I’ve been hitting my macro goals, but I am under my calorie #..
    2) Somedays I hit my prot/carb but low on fat.. viceversa.

    I heard that eating too little calories even on rest days can hurt your gains.
    Can you help?
    Thanks!

  70. Andy,

    How would one adjust if, for whatever reason, they wanted to do a wholly low carb diet on both training and rest days? Would you increase fat or protein on training days to make up for the reduced carb amounts? What would be the effect of this on the process? Thanks!

  71. Hi Andy,

    I apologise if you have covered this topic before.

    I’m on a cut, and following your macronutrient counting rules; I calculated the gram requirements of Carbs, Proteins and Fats for my bodyweight (147 pounds) and started applying foods to hit this target. According to the a Carb gram is 4 calories, Protein gram is 4 calories, Fat gram is 9 calories I calculated I would be eating 2300 calories on training days, and 1350 calories on rest days. (a surplus and deficit like you recommend). However, what I found was when I applied foods to hit these targets; when calculating (out of sheer curiosity) the calories of the foods I was eating, i was hitting 2800 calories a day and around 1550 calories on rest days (But was hitting my macronutrient targets almost exactly). I am just curious to why this is the case and if this will adversely effect my cut? Should I continue to hit my macronutrient targets I initially calculated, or do they need to be lower to accommodate those mysterious extra calories?

    Any help would be appreciated. This has bugged me for a long time.

    Thanks Andy.

  72. Hi Andy,
    Another question amigo.

    With Thanksgiving soon upon us in Canada, I’m already stressing about the TG feast. I know this is counter to the entire LG philosophy, so I want to ensure I’m on track. To reiterate from an above post, would it be advised either to:

    a) maintain the training schedule and workouts through the week, then on Saturday (feast day), have one meal, forget about PCF and focus on staying within your daily maintenance calories?

    –OR–

    b) shuffle your weekday workouts around so that a huge workout (say squats or deadlifts) is on the morning on the feast day, re-structure (if need be) to take in BCAAs as you’re training in the fasted state and go hard at dinner time giving the bird to any hint of macros / calorie considerations?

    I know it’s one day, but I’d rather err on the side of caution. Being dedicated to the process and so early in the game, I don’t want to start slipping at this point. Once ripped and more comfortable with what can or can’t be done, I think I’ll be more relaxed come familial dinner obligations and the odd indulgence meal.

    Could you advise as to your best recommendation here? Lastly, what’s the best way to calculate maintenence? BMR x 10 for a quick one day simplified equation? (Assuming I won’t be working out TG day – no activity factor unless you have one for fork to mouth and a saunter to the couch).

    Cheers man.
    M

  73. It’s important to realize that diet is going to be ultra personal. As an example, I am 6ft1, 225lbs. and 22%bf. My 5 rep weights are bench: 235, deadlift: 325, squat: 260. I started with the 1.375 activity multiplier and gained 4 lbs. Then I went to 1.2 and sort of stayed at the weight I had grown to. Then I just went to my flat BMR maintenance level (2089cal) and after two weeks I lost 1 lb. I am now starting a 1600 cal. (40/40/20) diet which comes to two meals of 80g protein, 80g carbs and 18g fat and I’m hoping that will finally get me to start losing weight and get to 219 and below. My point is that calories needed to cut / bulk will possibly be mych different than what any sort of calculator online will tell you. The calcs are good to get started but then it’s up to you to lower or raise the calories as you go along and you just might end up somewhere you never thought you would.

    I thought 1600 calories would starve me to death but based on all the 2600-3500 calorie calculations but nah, it is hopefully going to be just want I need to finally cut up.

    • Sorry for the typos, it was a long day. I also should add that I went to 1600 every day rather than cycling calories for training and rest days. The average daily calorie intake when I was cycling was 1775 so I went from 1775 to 1600, not 2089 to 1600. 2089 calories was the amount I was taking in on training days. I’m still getting stronger every workout too, we’ll see how long it lasts but my priority is getting to a 10-12% body fat level for now.

  74. Hey Andy –
    What a goldmine you’ve put together. Thanks a ton for all of your work. I’ve spent the last week consolidating info between your site, Martin’s site and the leangains FAQ as well as other forums etc. Rather than stress about numbers I took averages of multiple BMR calculations as well as LBM calculations to give myself as well rounded of a ballpark as I could. At first when I looked at your macros short cuts, I thought ‘no way’ I’ll be counting calories as I have been doing, but having graphed all my info and re-read your short cut guide, it really does make sense. Freeing oneself of the OCD counting would be a great weight off. Anyway, one question… you write: “That could be as simple as eating 500g of chicken…” My post-workout protein macros has worked out to 120g. If 4 oz (113g) of chicken breast is 20g of protein, that’s 24 oz (app. 680g) of chicken – or (4) 6oz breasts. Does this not seem high? Thanks Andy -

  75. Hi Andy,

    I must say you are giving out too much for free, lolz .. Anyway i am new to IF, having an eating window of 3-11 pm ( work restrictions), is it alright if i do my weight training 1-2 pm and eat 3 pm or should i eat right after i finish my workout ?

  76. Hey Andy, I def prefer IF over conventional dieting but only because of convenience and when cutting its easier to have 2 large meals than 3,4, or 5 for satiation issues. I am currently doing 2 full body workouts followed by a refeed at about maintenance(protein at 1g per lb of bodyweight, fat <20g). I PSMF on the other 5 days. In your opinion, would this cause greater/faster fat loss than LG as that is my primary goal along with muscle retention obviously?

    • This is going to lead to muscle losses most likely if continued for an extended length of time, especially once you get under 15% bf. If you are obese then it’s going to be ok for a time as long as you’re careful when coming off the diet into maintenance. If you fail to plan that also then you’ll rebound.

      • I have been doing this for 3 weeks so far and no loss on my top sets, I plan to continue for another 4-5 weeks and then take a 2 week diet break and repeat. I write everything down so I can moniter any muscle loss thru strengh loss, once I do I will add some more calories. Since I’m cutting does it makes sense adding another workout with another refeed or should I just increase calories thru fat/pro and no carbs on a non workout day?

  77. Yo Andy,
    On my 4th week finally hittin my groove I think, meal wise I dont have much guess work to do anymore. I stick to easy foods and im having a blast.

    Sadly I noticed last night that I may have been going about my eating window wrong. I work out at 5 am I have 30g of BCAAs 10gs Pre post and then 2 hours after that. then I eat at 12 afternoon
    then last meal at 8pm
    I realized that I should have my last meal at 7pm to get the 16 hour fast . From now on im going to start eating at 1pm and stop eating at 9pm
    so my question is have I wasted my 4 weeks?
    And am I missing out on any benifts to having my first meal on training days so late after my workout even if I am on BCAA till I break my fast? Thank you !

    • Is I have this straight, you are panicking about having had a 15 hour fast instead of a 16 hour one, in the belief that you have spoiled all your results. Is this correct? If so then read the “nutrition hierarchy of importance” written in this post.

      • Not panicking just really trying to do my best.I went from 290 lb flab to 180 of moderate lean doing it the hard and wrong way . So I stumbled on to your page and am very excited to try this new way of life and transform my body the correct way.I bought the recommended reading materials .. Looking forward to thier arrival . Thanks for response.

  78. Hey Andy!

    I’ve been following it and so far so good! I do however have a question, what would be the consequences of eating no carbs at all on rest days? I was planning on adding fasted cardio + no carbs on my rest days to speed up the fat loss.

    Thanks

  79. Andy, I modified my workouts to 2 times a week. (took an advise from Beyond Brawn book – thanks for a great book recommendation, it was great read) Do you recommend to stick to same setup as with 3 days? High carb on workout days, low on rest days?

  80. Hey andy first of all i would like to thank for the time u spent creating this web site cauz it really helped me out and im sure it also helped thousands of people trying to be fit :)
    I have a question : what is the difference between mesuring raw and cooked ingredients ( cauz im a 16 and my mom cooks most of the meals at home )
    Greetings from egypt :)
    Ayman

  81. I was a FAIL today. I ate my first meal around 1pm (my window is 12-8). I wasn’t able to workout until noon so I was forced to eat at 1pm. I finished it all – a big bowl of rice, chicken breasts and a cup of broccoli thrown in. My second (and final) meal was started at 6:30pm, finished at 7 and I was only able to eat about 1/4 of it. It was a big bowl of sirloin rounds, pasta and a cup of veggies thrown in. It was just too much food. :(

    As a note – the sirloin rounds weighed in at 600g frozen and after grilling I had about 330g. But there is no way I am cooking up more than that if I can’t finish what I made. I’m going to stick with measuring the grams as the meat is when it’s frozen. And no more pasta – that stuff fills me up QUICK.

    I’m actually looking forward to my fasting period and a rest day diet tomorrow. I hope I’m doing this right.

  82. Also – am I crazy or is this A LOT of food? It’s tons of rice and like I said – a lot of meat for just one meal. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare and another 30 to eat. I’m all for it if it works, I just want to be sure I’m not losing my mind.

      • Cool, I think I’m doing it right but I just am not used to eating this much food. I’m excited to be started and I kicked ass on Squats today too so it’s an all around good day. My macros are calculated to be:
        T day: Two Meals of 500g meat, 300g rice/pasta, 15g fat
        R day: Two Meals of 500g meat, 110g rice/pasta, 30g fat

        I’m 220lbs. / 22% bodyfat and on a cut.

  83. Andy – I fired up my first meal on this plan and I used 3 1/2 chicken breasts for my 500g of protein. It was 500g frozen and after I cooked it it was 330g. It was still a lot of food and I’m wondering if I should count it as 330g or 500g on this plan. I can see it getting pretty expensive if I still needed more food so I’m just curious. Thanks man.

  84. hi Andy
    I calculated that I need to eat 470g carbs on TD its mean 650g rice,
    is it OK if i will devide it to 3 meals, 30%/ 50%-post workout meal/20% ?

    anyway it looks still like hard task to it that volume: 320g rice and 500g meat + vegetables

  85. Hi Andy,
    First of all, thank you for the great website and a lot of motivation.

    I’m a skinny-fat person. approximately 17% of fat. 186 sm / 74 kg.
    I’m already using IF/LG approach for a couple of month’s but with training pause approximately for a three weeks (because of injury).

    I use body-weight exercises (with additional weight) with according to the 4×8 program instead of GYM, just because I feel that they suits better for me.

    I’m training fasted but without any BCAA supplements,
    And trying to use rules P-High,Card-Fat cycling.

    Just eat additional portion of carbs at training days, or eat some cheese instead on rest days.

    And I’m trying to use those simplified rules, but I think that I hit my calories, but does not hit the macros.

    I feel great, and my strength growing slowly, I do not know if fat reducing?

    I have few questions:
    1. Is so necessary to use BCAA?
    2. I’m afraid of overeating, so, probably, I undereat for some days. I thought that I’ll loose some fat if my calorie intake are in deficit, but I can’t see any visible changes at my composition.
    What could be the problem?

    Thank you again.

      • Thanks, using your rules, I increased food intake twice, to get macros, hope this will cause only lean mass gain.

        However, I re-read “tracking” post, and start following.
        I think, i’ll wait for a 4 weeks, to see progress, and then I’ll start using BCAA if needed

  86. Hi Andy!
    First thank you so much for doing all this, I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom. I am so excited to start this! I have a question, I wont ask you to evaluate my macros, but I want to be cut and my macros came out to

    work out days P-HIGH/ C HIGHER than Protein/ F- Lowest
    Rest days P-HIGH/ C lowered by lil over 50 percent/ F- higher than on train days

    My question is on a cut are my carbs supposed to go super higher than my proteins? I looked everywhere on the site trying to find out the answer before bugging you and I couldn\’t. I just want to make sure I didn\’t screw my calculations up for a cut.
    Thank you!
    P.S
    This is my first week and Its been allot of fun doing this, I am just not used to being so full on a cut, so not sure im doing this correctly. I will become a client if this is a client only question too! (just gotta save some $$)

    Thanks again!

  87. Hi Andy!
    First thank you so much for doing all this, I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom. I am so excited to start this! I have a question, I wont ask you to evaluate my macros, but I want to be cut and my macros came out to

    work out days P-HIGH/ C HIGHER than Protein/ F- Lowest
    Rest days P-HIGH/ C lowered by lil over 50 percent/ F- higher than on train days

    My question is on a cut are my carbs supposed to go super higher than my proteins? I looked everywhere on the site trying to find out the answer before bugging you and I couldn’t. I just want to make sure I didn’t screw my calculations up for a cut.
    Thank you!
    P.S
    This is my first week and Its been allot of fun doing this, I am just not used to being so full on a cut, so not sure im doing this correctly. I will become a client if this is a client only question too! (just gotta save some $$)

    Thanks again!

  88. HI Andy,

    first of all I wanted to thank you – good work, keep it up. Second: According to your simplified rules does meat have fat? Do I have to substract fat from meat?

  89. Hello, I am skinny fat, I don’t know how to do, it’s weight gain first or lose fat first, this is the hardest part me, secondly, by following your micros diet plan, you mentioned 100 carbs is about 140g of uncooked rice and pasta, that was very much you know, I tried to eat it, but finally I’m vomit it out, is it possible to eat such a huge amount of carbs in one time? Would you please help me by answer these? Thanks a lot!

  90. Hey Andy, I’ve been doing my best at following lean gains protocol. Been lifting every other day going from Build day to Burn day meaning 4 days of lifting 4 days of burn days every 8 days. The results have been going well and I feel like I am on the verge of being ripped. My arms and back are ripped, my 4 pack is getting more defined, and in the right lighting I can see the bottom 2. I train fed state because fasted training isn’t for me, Dizzy, throwing up every time I try, feel weak, etc. I however on burn days will sometimes do some light incline tread walking during the 12-16 hour fast window.

    Is it normal for the progress to be really slow? I was pretty lean to begin with and I’ve been dieting for about 6 weeks now. I feel like my metabolism has slowed down.. Any tips on firing up the metabolism? Like maybe a carb load or something going up to 50+ calories past maintenance?

    I am switching over to 3 lift days 4 burn days so this way ill have 2 days a week where I burn fat 2 consecutive days so maybe that will help. I started off as mainly recomp but now I just want to cut the rest and start my slow bulk.

    Sorry for all the chat I guess here are my questions.
    1. Any tips on firing up the metabolism like I meantioned before? Carb upload or something similar? I assume fats should be kept to minimum this day.
    2. Am I trying to rush things? I am seeing results, but it feels like im lowering my calories slowly each week and the results aren’t coming in any faster.
    3. If I train fed state, would it be better to eat a protein only meal? Since after you eat your body mainly uses carbs as an energy source right? Taking only protein / vegetables, small amount of carbs pre workout would still be beneficial right? Or should I not worry about it and just hammer down some carbs for the energy.

    Hope I didn’t annoy you to much, just would like some insight from someone who knows what they are talking about. Thanks.

  91. Hi Andy,

    I just re-read the initial macro template you sent me. It just hit me (9 weeks into the program)…. I have been weighing my protein and carbs cooked, not uncooked as you suggested. My mum and I pre-cook our food in bulk for a big family + in order to do less cooking during the week…..so have I completely f****d up this program? :(

    Shane

    • Apologies Shane, I did put that in capitals. This changes things a great deal. Right, 2 week diet break from now. Count nothing. Eat to your hunger. Then resume the macros as they should be at the last point they were changed. Update me 2 weeks later than you usually would.

      • Hey Andy,

        Its all good I double-checked the measurements. I just panicked, sorry man. I have a zone block chart that I have been following for every food type and they have the protein/carb macros in cooked and uncooked weight. I’m just glad I did the right thing. Phew. 12 week assessment this weekend!

  92. Hi Andy,

    I’m struggling a little bit on nutrition and the macros.

    I was wondering are there alternatives to protein? As I’ve been buying loads of meat and it’s kinda costly (e.g. Pork Shoulder Collar/Butt Collar cost me about USD$7 for 400grams)

    Also, I’m still not able to know what i can fully eat which makes me wonder much. Whenever I walk around in Cold Storage (Super Mart) shopping for meat I keep seeing hams, Sausages etc… making me crave. So far these few days, I’ve only been eating chicken breast, Minced Beef (Lean & frozen), broccoli and green/red/yellow peppers. And are frozen meat bad?

    Lastly, what names of fishes are considered white meat? Which name of fishes are suitable for rest days & which on training days?

    Hope you can help.

    Daryl

    • Hi Daryl,

      I’m not Andy but I had the same question. I came across this and I found it helpful:
      “Average retail food and energy prices, U.S. city average”
      http://www.bls.gov/ro3/apmw.htm

      By going through the U.S. average food costs I saw what kinds of meats and vegetables would make the ‘cut’ as far as my budget was concerned.

      I usually do chicken breast (I’ve found it for $2/lb @ Walmart) on rest and workout days but use eggs, cheese and bacon for extra fat on rest days.

    • Frozen meats aren’t bad, but you’ll want them to be fully thawed before weighing them to guess the protein content.
      Casein protein shakes are a cheap(ish) alternative.

  93. Superb site Andy, outstanding job. I’ve been on IF for approx 14days now (primary goal to drop some kgs for a 10km run mid july, after which then switch to bulking for 12weeks). My feeding window is 1pm-9pm. Question is, for my upcomming run held in the morning – should i break fasting and have a decent meal (bfast) to last the 10km or would my last meal from previous day sufficient enough to keep me going?

    • For endurance events under 2 hours you’re fine. This of course presumes you haven’t been doing purposeful glycogen depletion training and low carbs for several days in the run up to it, which if you’re doing things LG style you won’t have. -Lots of studies on this.

      • Man you rock!! Thanks for that. And no I havent been doing glycogen depletion training. Only looked it up now when you mentioned it. Certainly some interesting studies and debate on the subject. Thanks again.

  94. Great site. Although, if you take in enough protein and the rest of the calories come from fat and carbs, in whatever ratio. You will not lose muscle, like you claim in the beginning of the article. If it’s under maintenance.

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  96. How do you simplify cooking fat? What do you think about just saying no fat on T days and eyeballing 3tbsp coconut/olive oil for cooking? Sauces generally aren’t a big deal for me since I use dry rubs.

  97. Andy!
    I calculated the macro using the simple rules.
    weight 72 kg. I am doing a body recomposition, keeping the protein to 2 grams per kilograms of lean body mass, the calculation is this:

    workout
    G30 P120 C375

    Rest
    G60 P120 C114

    Too many carbon in your opinion?

    thanks for your attention

  98. Hey morgan! I am 3 weeks on IF now and I want to show you my progress plus i have à
    Big question.
    Week1 from 87.9 kg to 87.1
    Week 2 from 87.1 to 84.9.
    I found this à little too fast of weight loss altough i saw big result in THE mirror. So I decided to keep my rest day the Same that means 50 carb moderate fat and 260 protein. This day i get around 1600 kcal and i wanted to up my Carbs with 50 grams on my workout days.
    From 150 to 200 carb low fat and 260 proteïne. I weigh myself every saturday morning and the scale tells me 3 times im still 84.9 kilograms? Is that even possible? I was 11% bf and im going to measure in à sec how much im now but i drain for an explanation. My question is should i go back to 50 Gr. Less or keep it this way for another week? The rpt trainingdays going very well though. I gained Some strength. You told somewhere that the weight loss off the first week was also alot of water weight so i reply to you and hope my case is a familliar one:D Thans for reading bro. Have à Nice weekend

  99. Hi Andy,

    I just started LG and was wondering how important is it to hit my carb macros on rest days and fat macros on workout days?

    e.g. Using the 1percentedge.com calculator, my carb macro for a rest day is 97.5g, but on yesterday’s rest day I only managed to hit 35g.
    Similarly, the calculated fat macro on my workout day is 82g but I only hit 32g on my last workout day.

    Cheers

  100. I’ve never been so precise about tracking. Loving it!
    I also got news that after next week ill be having to go into work at 330am! witch means ill have to be in bed during my recent feeding window :(
    but ill be off at 1200noon.

    so let me know what you think will be best for eating.

    Thanks,
    Jason

  101. This has already come in handy on only the second day of using these rules. Family emergency meant the planned dinner was out of the window, but the simple chart I made let me just pick a couple of items and met target almost exactly.

    Feels good, cheers

  102. Hi, reading differnt things about getting the maint cals. I am using the http://www.1percentedge.com and I don’t know if I should choose teh Mod Active (I fit that description as I exercise most days of the wk) or I have heard they overstate this so maybe Sedetary or Lightly active. I have a desk job so during the day I sit :( Trying to understand if the LG Maint point is with or without current exercise patterns. It will make a difference in my calories when I do the +/- Thanks for the help

  103. Hey Andy, I’m Andy too!

    I am a believer and everything on your site is making sense. Just wanna say amazing finally someone put this out here. All the *right* info out there is scattered and you just did such an amazing job.

    Q: Will a cup of home brewed coffee (from freshly ground beans not those super market types) with frothed milk kill my 16 hrs of fasting? Cause it’s just something I have to have in the morning and I’m concerned about the science you were mentioning. Does it affect the science behind the 16 hr fast?

  104. When you say unless you eat A LOT of fruit, don’t count it against your carbs…what do you mean by a lot of fruit? I eat a good amount of fruit (lots of berries, some melons, etc).

    Also if I want to cut still, should I be counting the fruit in my carb count?

    • There’s no one number that means a lot of fruit. The key is consistency in whichever way you choose to count it. You’ll then track your progress and see.
      If that’s not something you’re happy with then you will want to count everything.

  105. Another question. I know that I’m not that good at chin-ups but if i get any better i don’t have a belt to put weights on it??? is there a substitute or another exercise to replace this

    Thanx a lot for reading. Waiting till you answer.

  106. Hey, Awesome site!

    Got a question
    If I hit my macros on my rest day
    50 carbs
    80 fat
    260 protein
    and workout day
    150 carbs
    260 protein
    and 30 fat (calculators say 260 carbs but sameffect.com suggests to do it this way, what you think about it?)

    AND I eat stuff like sweet potato and meat and I’m on a caloric deficit on my workout days, don’t i break the rule then?
    If I eat clean and get my macros on workout and rest days then i’m on a caloric deficit always?

    Another question bro
    I follow the protocol of 3day workout reverse pyramid training and other then that i don’t do any workout except for saturdays some cardio.
    At work and school Im not that active so..
    What should i think about my activity level?

    Thanx bro for reading

    • Can you please re-write this, it’s not making a lit of sense to me. Bear in mind I don’t comment directly on macro numbers as explained clearly here. <- See the link on that article for the question about activity level as well. Choose, track things, then adjust accordingly.

  107. Hi man! Thought I´d post this here so everyone could benefit:) On some of my training days I find it hard to reach fat number using the simplified rules. What I mean is I reach the protein and carbs number, but I am under 25g of fat, 10-15. Is it a big deal? I dont want to ad any more food because that will mean more carbs and more protein and to much calories. Is it okay to be that low in fat?

    Cheers
    Aksel

  108. I have some questions. I’ve been doing LG for over a month and have not seen as many weight loss results as I would like. I’ve started getting really restrictive on my rest days, counting EVERYTHING – fruits, veggies, to control my intake and see the pounds drop. But this is hard and not fun to sustain – i like fruits and veggies and would like to eat them throughout my feeding period! Your post mentioned not to bother counting fruit towards carb if it is little. Would I do better sticking to a rule like this?

  109. Hey Andy,

    As an added option to the nutritional calculator you mentioned, I also use Wolfram Alpha (computational search engine) to find nutritional info on food on the fly pretty fast. Throw in just about any food and it spits back all the relevant stats (most importantly, carbohydrates, protein and fat) for whatever food you through at it.

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/

    There’s also a (paid) app for iPhone and Androids. I just save the mobile version of the page to my ‘home screen’ and search quickly from there:

    m.wolframalpha.com/

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  111. Hiya Andy,

    I had a quick question about the IF diet. I’ve been doing it for a week or so now and I wanted to know if it’s normal to feel hungry during the morning hours of the fast. Should I feel somewhat hungry, or is it because I am not eating enough during the feeding phase?

    • Could be you’re not eating enough, or it could be that you’re eating the wrong kinds of things. Firstly look at this. Slow digesting foods with the last meal: Real food, green veggies, some good fats, no sugary carbs.

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  114. Ok I have a dinner that I’m going to have soon which is going to be high in fat and protein with some carbs thrown in, basically fatty pork stew and rice. I have no idea what the macros are, however in preparation for it I have eaten a low carb low fat high protein meal as my first meal. Is that the right thing to do? It happens to be my training day.

  115. For the Veg*ns out there, but also for everyone:
    Out of all the healthy carb staples, Rice is among the worst. Compare 100 g of uncooked foods:

    Brown Rice
    Calories (370)
    Protein (8 g)

    Cashews
    Calories (553)
    Protein (18 g)

    Pasta [Source: Box of pasta at home.]
    Calories (400)
    Protein (14 g)

    Quinoa
    Calories (368)
    Protein (14 g)

    Pinto Beans (Similar to Red Beans, Kidney Beans, etc.)
    Calories (347)
    Protein (21 g)

    Red Lentils
    Calories (353)
    Protein (26 g)

    As you can see, always go for Lentils or Beans if you can as the main protein source, then Quinoa, then Pasta. Otherwise, go for noodles. Asian noodles tend to have less protein, however. This will get you guys an extra grams of protein with your carbs, but is really vital information for the Vegetarians or Vegans out there.

    [Source: http://nutritiondata.self.com

  116. Andy,
    A hamburger from Five Guys has the following macros: Fat: 43g Carbs: 39g Protein: 39g.
    My macros for rest day are P: 200g C: 30g F: 50g
    So does this mean I can eat this burger and than eat 800g of chicken breasts (fat free or very low fat) and I will have hit my daily macros? Am I missing out on something because this part of leangains seems too good to be true?

    PS: I am going to eat this everyday or even every week but once every 2-3 weeks because it does have a lot of cholesterol and sodium.

  117. Yo andy – is it possible to eat too many veggies? I know this sounds ridiculous but I have always had an absolutely ridiculous appetite….I could eat a couple heads of broccoli no problem. Should I count the carbs in the veggies? My biggest weak point is my insane appetite…..I don’t feel any urge to eat junk food or anything….I just love to eat, and lots of it. Any tips on how I can satisfy the appetite? Maybe avoid massive quantities of things like broccoli and carrots and go for headings of leafy greens (spinach/lettuce) instead? I have no problem at all during the fast (amazing self control/focus), but once I start eating…..oh man…i go to town on my veggies. Any tips for controlling myself/minimizing damage? Im asking this because Ive noticed that my weight loss has been stalling lately:/

    • The key thing you need to do is to not adjust your vegetable intake according to hunger. Eat the same amounts all the time, and that way you can reduce things accordingly if things stop moving.

      From a small excerpt from the “Vegetables” advice section in a mail I send to clients:

      “Generally it’s very hard to over-eat on veggies*.
      Of course, don’t make the mistake of salad dressings and mayonnaise.
      *Exceptions: Carrots, Peas and Corn (as they are starchy vegetables).”

      • Hi Andy, I have a similar question. I started IF for the past 3 weeks, and following your plan for my food intake. When I was younger I never had the problem with weight, but now is a different story, since now is harder to lose weight. I don’t overeat my veggies, but I have been counting them for my carb macros, and I don’t eat anything else for carbs. Am I underdoing my carbs, since you mention not to count my veggies for my carb calories? I have been feeling great during the day, but I do feel a depletion of energy in my workouts. Should I add just not count the veggies for carbs, and start adding rice, and pasta for carbs to my diet?

        • Hi Daniel. Whether you are “undercounting carbs” by counting veggies against your carb number (when advised not to) while using what I presume to be my macros guide is missing the point – you’re not losing weight. You need to change. The possibilities for that (other than your intake simply being too much) are beyond the scope of a comment box I’m afraid. Have a good read of more of the articles I have written here for ideas.

  118. Hi Andrew. Great site first of all! Easy to read and lots of good info. I’m a bit confused about the rice rule you mention,

    “140g of un-cooked Rice/Pasta is 100g of carbs.”

    I’ve looked on several nutrition sites/calorie counter apps and they all show carbs for that amount of rice as being substantially lower… One site came back at 39 grams of carbs per 140 grams of rice… Not sure if I’m missing something here.

  119. Hi Andy,

    Thx for the great information! :) I am now in my cut, going for that lean look. :)

    I understand that you prefer the simple rules instead of the more secure counting macro’s..

    But how do you think about counting the macro’s fairly precise until the lean fase is reached, and then changing into the simpler to follow rules.. Whenever i hit some invisible calories. (Like diet coke with some splash of calories, or whatever) I am not eating way to much..

    Because, for now i feel better with counting them more precise, getting the hang of it. Learning what everything is worth in macro numbers. And when i am lean and get the hormonal advantages switching to the simplified rules… So when t something isn’t working, i think i can better discover out why..

    I made some menu’s for rest and training days. So i don’t eat the same everyday, so i won’t get bored with the same meals every day.

  120. Hi Andy
    I always fry my rice with olive oil (will change it to coconut). I was told that rice is pretty good at absorbing oil. Is it? When I include it in my macros, 2 tbps of it is usually sufficient for my daily fat requirement. If not, I would have to find another fat source.

    Thanks!

      • For both rest and workout days, so far. I’m not anal about it during workout days, but quite unsure for rest days. I’m on a cut after all. For rest days, I do plan on replacing the rice for broccoli cooked with butter. I guess, since I will only be using butter for cooking, that will allow me to eat a separate source for fat?

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  122. Hey Andy
    As you know im currently a cleint of yours. i wanted to know why when i make 280gr of potato it seems way less then 280gr of pasta/rice/ spaghetti. the quantity of food seems way smaller and it doesnt fill me up as much as pasta/rice would.

  123. Hey Andy,
    I have a question (Kinda Stupid Really) Meat of Poultry do you weigh it before or after cooking? Ive noticed that when id buy raw its said to be 1kg but after cooking, id weigh it and obviously its way less…Looking forward to starting with you on Friday !

    Ivan-

    • Hi Ivan, yes I usually weigh it raw, skinless on training days as I find it easier. Good to see you thinking about these things already. I’ll actually have a lot of information coming your way in e-mails which I imagine will answer 99% of your questions.

      Looking forward to working with you too Ivan!

  124. Hi Andy –

    Question about your simplified macro counting. I know that often times you say fattier meat (beef) for your first meal, leaner meat (chicken) for your second. What if the cut of beef that I have available is extremely lean (chicken breast level of leanness). Should I add fat to my first meal?

  125. So, I have been on Leangains for 6 weeks. I can notice progress but it is very slow.
    I have a question regarding the sundays and saturdays.
    As you outlined with Leangains we simply eat high carb on working days and low on rest.
    But we all do have lives and families and if we apply above rules to sundays and saturdays our family members will hate us. I have been going low carbs on weekends and my wife is just not happy that I never can eat anything with her. One of those things is a Italian bread that we love so much. Before leangains i was only fasting twice a week and eating anything i wanted. This was a very flexible solution for me, but it did not lead me to become very lean.
    So now, i am on leangains, but i feel like i lost the fredoom of what to eat whenever I want.
    So this idea came to head:
    - do lean gains 5 days a week
    - do moderate or carb and protein on the weekends
    When I say moderate I would allow 2-3 slices of the bread for breakfast, one potato for dinner and some fruits. If one large slice of italian bread is 15g carbs and 1 potato is 25g I would get 70g of carbs plus some veggies and fruits I would go to around 120-150.
    This I guess is moderate carbs.

    So do you think about that approach?
    Would this still work for leangains or it is a violation of the protocol?

    thx

    • How about this, wake up early on your ‘heaviest eating day’ with the family and make that day your squat workout, (or a full-body workout if that is your style) and then make the other day moderate. Sunday morning I woke up, squatted and then proceeded to eat a house, and all the children in it. Actually I think I heard the chef at the ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ crying about the volume of food orders. :)

      • This works if you workout on the weekends.
        I only workout on weekdays cause i don’t have access to gym at home.(only at work) To do squats I need a bar cause I am going heavy.
        I just wonder why eating 2 days a week would be a violation of lean gains?

        • If you can keep your feeding window Bart, it should be fine. You can eat anything on these two days with your family, but as they are rest days, you should be under maintenance calories for the day. Good luck.

  126. Hi Andy,

    I have a question regarding the ~71% carbs forumla (e.g. 140g UNcooked rice => 100g carbs). Pages like myfitnesspal tell me that 100g of COOKED rice just contain ~28g of carbs. I assume to calculate the carb volume by uncooked values. Is my assumption right?

    Thank you very much.

    Edis

    • I personally find weighing before a lot easier than after, because then it’s just a case of dividing the day’s rice into half without weighing it. However if you want to weigh it once cooked, then dividing my 3.5 would give you approximately the correct nutritional value in carbs.

      i.e. 350g of cooked rice is around 100g of carbohydrate I believe.

      Do whatever is easiest for yourself mate.

  127. I love your approach using simplicity. I have been decently lean before (still not where I want) but it was so stressful and when I finally got where I was burnt out. I have tried so many times to get shredded abs and have never gotten quite where I want to be. I think I have finally found the answer with you.

  128. Andy, I always wonder how much it too much of the fruits.
    I love apples and on the training days I eat 3-4 of them. When I don’t train I try to be as low with carbs as I can (not more then 40-80g) So if i eat 4 apples this would add around 80g, Would this screw the way carb cycling works with fasting (i could easily go up 2 200g) and have negative effects on the body composition?

    Also, eating huge dinner is not that easy. I just had 400g of chicken tights (organic) + 4 big potatoes. Wow this was huge meal so I could get 100g of the protein and lots of carbs.
    Now, I can barely move.

    • Yes. Carbs are carbs, whatever source they come from. If you eat fruit regularly, it’s worth having a quick look to see how many carbs your favorites contain so that you can count it against your daily number.

      I felt exactly like that last night!

  129. You mention at one point to not count the carbs from fruit if you’re not eating a lot of it right? How would you suggest counting a mixed berry smoothie? Usually I’m throwing in orange juice, low fat plain yogurt, strawberries, half a banana, raspberries, blueberries and marion berries (basically a frozen berry mix). Some days I use some kiwi or pineapple or peaches that I bought fresh and froze. Should I only be counting the yogurt and orange juice?

    • Orange juice & Bananas have a lot of carbs so it’s worth counting. Furthermore, anything you are going to do on a regular basis is worth counting once. So do it once and be done with it. Sounds delicious too!

  130. Hey Andy — probably doing noodle challenge on Thursday. Current plan is last meal = tonight… lots of fiber with my lean protein. tomorrow (weds) bcaa fast (also have bench day tomorrow), then break fast on Thursday at about 1pm doing noodle challenge. hope this works :) lmk if you have any tips or tweaks

    • Dick thanks for the mail. By tonight you mean Tuesday right? So as discussed briefly before we’re going to include a full day fast and then pick things up as usual on Thursday.

      Talking about the details now, to win the bet and scoff the 5000kCal of noodles & also not screw your diet, your planned schedule is currently:
      Last meal Tuesday night w/ lots of fibre & lean protein.
      Benching Wednesday,
      Thursday 1pm Noodle challenge.
      (Consume 10g of BCAA’s every 4 hours from 1pm Wednesday while awake)

      Correct? If so I suggest the following:

      This is a 40 hr fast, so I don’t recommend you do your bench workout on Wednesday, as you will lose the anabolic ‘window of opportunity’ after your workout. If you can, put your workout on the Thursday before sometime in the morning before the challenge. -That way all the noodles will be packed into the glycogen stores in the muscles and liver.

      Drink a good coffee or two before the workout and take the BCAA’s as per the fasted training protocol.

      Do not bullshit yourself and think that you have an excuse to have a bad workout on the Thursday because of the fast. Studies have shown 40 hour fasting does not affect performance. No excuses. Train hard. Cool?

      (Remember there’s a 16 hr time difference so please use days as it’s easier on my lil brain.)

  131. is 30g of protein per 100g chicken breast right? I’ve tried several different sites ans the macros for chicken breast vary wildly, both in protein and fat content, any rule of thumb?

    • Gilles, it may well be 30g, but I never use this figure as I like to keep things simpler and go with 20g for everything. However I understand that underestimations in protein can push up the food bill. So if you want to go with 30g for chicken breast and 20g for everything else, I don’t see the harm in it.

      UPDATE: If you’re using my macros calculation guide then you’ll need to stick with my purposeful underestimation of the protein content for chicken. Count it as 20g please.

    • Referring to the ‘restaurant-eating rest-day advice’ comment right?

      Yes you’re correct, that’s a wild over-simplification, intended for those that eat out occasionally, rather than many times a week. A more accurate statement would be this:
      You should eat your usual amount of carbs on a rest day if you are good enough at eyeballing it in the restaurant. However the average person will throw down a few glasses of wine in there (or other alcohol) and threaten to push up their calorie number for the day thus resulting in calorie spill-over, which is the last thing we want given the high level of fat consumed on a rest-day.

      Thanks for the comment Vitor.

  132. Would you count fat calories that are in your daily fish oil pills against your fat macro’s for the day? Great article by the way!

    • Rob, if you’re taking a quality fish oil supplement then you don’t need to take enough to make much of a difference. The problem is, many products have a lot of filler content. What you need is around 2g EPA 1.5g DHA /day. If you use this one, that’s just 4 caps a day, and thus isn’t worth counting.
      http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/now/ultra3.html?CJAID=10409943&CJPID=3776926

      So what should you do in the meantime until your current stock of lower quality (if they are) caps run out? -Probably worth counting them against your fat macros if it’s higher than 10g needed.

  133. Can anybody recommend a website that will help me work out my own personal macronutrient targets for training & rest days?

  134. Hey Andy, thanks for the article. I thought I would comment that this is good advice… I can say this because it is essentially what I do now and it works.

    As you know I was a client of Martin’s and I indeed did follow his plan to a sharp T for the first 2-3 months. That time period was totally critical to learn what exactly I’m eating and how to get comfortable eyeballing for macros. To learn the basics. I stuck to the cycle nearly perfectly long enough that it became second nature.
    Which is good because around that time I’ve actually been traveling almost non-stop since then. When you have to rely on restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores with no kitchen to cook in, or worse in some places … the last thing you can do is be OCD about weighing and measuring everything. Despite this I’ve been able to continue my progress. Actually I think the last month or so has been even better than the first few because I’ve gotten a better idea of how to adjust calorie intake based on calorie output on the fly for that specific day. Clearly this is a feasible end-game, long term way to sustain LG as a way of life; it’s not just a ‘diet’ to my mind.

    As a side note – do I even need to mention how much of a benefit IF is when you find yourself living in environments that do not provide quality food (let alone proper macros) whenever you want it?

      • 1. Keep your feeding window.
        2. Find out the kind of rice they eat in this countries and start eating it and weighing it at home. -Then you will be able to eyeball quantities of rice much easier when you’re there.
        3. Do some kind of hotel room/beach workout 3 days a week. (It’ll be up to you to google that.)
        4. Ask for extra meat always.

        • Thanks a ton, Andy. I’ve got all my bases covered.

          1. Done
          2. Jasmine rice – already started.
          3. Made a comprehensive program consisting of working out every 2nd day for 20 minutes. 8 day cycle routine – Legs, Push, Legs, Pull. I’ve even lined up some BCAA’s in Thailand which will make morning hostel workouts a breeze.
          4. Agreed

          Thanks for all your help. I’ve also asked you a question about one of your reddit posts – if you get a chance to reply it would be greatly appreciated.

          • Can you send me a link to the reddit post? Unless it is a comment written directly under a message I have written, I will not see the comment, and I do not have to time to check all threads.

  135. Very helpful – Thanks! As in the rest of life, the key is finding your own balance. Each of us will have to determine what’s too much counting to sustain, what’s too little counting to get results, and what we as individuals find to be “just right”. I found an site called fatSecret.com, but I rarely have to go to the site now, becauae I have the fatSecret iPhone app.

    At first I would check macros with the app everytime I ate, but like Andy suggested, after 2 months I’m starting to know them by heart, so Now I just use the app once in the morning, kind of like a menu, to choose which of my saved meals I’ll be having for the rest of the day.

    • That sounds like a good app. I’ll have to check it out. You’re right about the meals, it kind of becomes automatic after a while, which means it just gets easier as you progress.

      • I have been using fatsecret.com even before I started bodybuilding. There is NOTHING simpler out there. You can add custom food just for yourself so no one elese can tamper with it. And just select them everyday. I am huge fan of Andy and Martin, and IF. These results are awesome. But when it come to tracking nutrition I can’t help but hit all my macros and calories spot on (even counting leaves of lettuce and sprinkles of BCAA). I understand this might be OCD but so far I havn’t cracked yet. I’m too afraid that I might get the best possible result in the least amount of time (whther it be years), if I don’t hit my nutrition perfectly….

    • Hey Andy,Whats your thoughts on eating fats and sugar together as many say the insulin spike forces the fat into the cells.I love honey roasted peanuts and they are just fat and sugar.Does your ”iifym” still apply no matter what the combination?.

      Thanks Vince.

    • hi Andy.

      Have a list wanted to run by you of non starchy veg im eating freely as non starchy veg so not counting them towards my carbs

      asparagus,broccoli.mushrooms,tomatoes,peppers,carrots,cucumbers,onions,spinach,cabbage,kale,sprouts,leaks,garlic,turnip,beets,squash,pumkin,peas.

      Starchy would be corn,parsnips,

      Are my lists right and anything else you can add to them for more varity?

      Thanks.

      • Seems to me like you’re asking me to reward your own laziness here Vince for something you could easily look up in information that which you already have, or can easily find online.

  136. Pingback: The Guide: Using IF / Leangains to Get Ripped | RippedBody.jp

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