How To Calculate Your Leangains Macros

Important Update (March 5th, 2014)

Welcome. Having being read over 750,000 times now this guide by far the most popular post on the site and continues to be, despite it being over two years since the original publication.

Though I’ve updated the guide here over the years, I’ve progressed massively as a coach since, and using those client experiences as well as the feedback and questions I’ve received (on this post, over 1000 comments) I’ve put together a much more complete version for you, the series of articles The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance for Fat Loss and Muscle Growth. It requires more reading, but it’s got pretty much everything you need to be successful. Go make yourself a cup of tea, get a pen and notepad, and take your time over it.

Other updates to this article:

  • BMR calculations and Activity Multiplier info. – Oct. 29th 2013
  • Reformatted and Imperial system calculations added – Oct. 1st 2013
  • Fat intake guidelines - Apr. 29th 2013

Calculating your Leangains Macros

This is just my interpretation of how a person may go about calculating their macros according to the principles written for us by Martin on Leangains.com. The only person that knows how Martin calculates things for his clients is Martin himself. Real-world experience, study, passion for what he does and really hard work are what make the results he gets for clients so seemingly magical.

While the method for calculating the macros and fine tuning them can be a little complex, the implementation of the diet once have your macros is very simple. Don’t be put off by the maths below.

Firstly, the calculations I have outlined below will work best if you follow the simplified macro-counting rules that I used to achieve this 7 week transformation. It’s a short article, please read them.

Secondly, the guide below will set you going in the right direction, however it will be up to you to monitor your progress objectively, and then fiddle with your macro ratios and overall macro intake to get your physique to the level you want.

Thirdly,  I cannot possibly write everything down in one article, there are too many variants to consider, physical, hormonal and otherwise. There can never be a “one formula fit’s all” (which is why I’m not a fan of online spreadsheet macro calculators).

If you do not want to, or don’t feel you can do it then I offer you two options:

  1. Try the Basic Set-Up of the diet. If you’re new to leangains it will work, you will get leaner but probably not to the point of abs lean. At that point you will be much more in tune with your body and more motivated to give this a go yourself, so come back then. It can be fun and rewarding to try.
  2. Hire me, or better still hire Martin (if you can get your hands on him) for a consultation.

The Steps

Click to expand:

Step 1. Calculate your Base Metabolic Rate

I like to call BMR your ‘coma calories’. – The energy intake you need, should you fall into a coma, to maintain your body weight.

Some people go by simply taking their bodyweight and multiplying by 10. Though I’m a fan of simplification, that’s a little too far for my linking so we’ll stick with the following two formulas:

Harris-Benedict BMR Formula (Revised by Roza and Shizgal in 1984)

METRIC:

Men BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) - (5.677 x age in years)
Women BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) - (4.330 x age in years)

IMPERIAL:

Men BMR = 88.362 + (6.251 x weight in lbs) + (12.189 x height in inches) - (5.677 x age in years)
Women BMR = 447.593 + (4.203 x weight in lbs) + (7.869 x height in inches) - (4.330 x age in years)

If you’re obese then the above formula will overestimate your BMR, and if you are very lean then the above formula will underestimate your BMR. If you have an idea of your body fat percentage then you’re best using the Katch-McArdle BMR Formula.

Katch-McArdle BMR Formula

Men & Women BMR = 370 + (21.6 x lean mass in kg)
Men & Women BMR = 370 + (9.8 x lean mass in lbs)

Step 2. Adjust for Activity

The following table enables calculation of an individual's recommended daily kilocalorie intake to maintain current weight. Identify yourself from the table below.

Little to no exercise Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (4–5 days per week) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.9

A few notes to help:

  1. Activity multipliers often screw people into setting calories way too high. I see it everyday on forums. People often over estimate their category.
  2. Also, most people over-estimate the calories burned for exercise.
  3. By tracking progress and keeping the diet consistent, it is easy to make modifications after a month if things are not  going in the right direction so don't stress the initial choice too much.
  4. Use of my simplified rules tend to underestimate things by 20~30%. So if you are then try taking x0.2-0.3 off. If you would like a reason of why I use the rules and why there are underestimations then the article is here.

Choose one. Evaluate progress over 4-6 weeks. Adjust as necessary.

Step 3. Choose to ‘Cut’, ‘Slow-Bulk’ or gradual ‘Body-Recomposition’

The calories and thus macros you choose will depend on your goals.

If you have training experience unless you have striking abs already, you may wish to go for a cut first, as starting a ‘slow-bulk’ when ‘abs lean’ gives you significant hormonal advantages for gaining muscle with minimal fat. It also means you can eat a lot more when slow-bulking and yet still keep your abs, which is fun. This means that many people reading this should go for a ‘cut’.

The exception to this is very light framed and/or weak people, whom I would recommend choose ‘body-recomposition‘ calories, then increase accordingly. With the implementation of this diet and a barbell training program your first year will give you the most dramatic changes to your physique in your life. You should be excited. You will need calories for this.

If you are adverse to losing size, for sport reasons, or ego reasons, then go for a ‘body-recomposition’. Just remember the results will be slower.

I’ve written in greater depth about this topic in the article,  12 Weeks on Leangains: Identifying Where You Are Now, Setting Realistic Goals, and Your Best Course Of Action.

Step 4. Calculate a Training-Day and Rest-Day Calorie Figure

These calorie figures are just a guide to help you calculate your macros. We’ve already recognized that these calorie numbers may be a little low to be taken literally because of the simplified rules.

‘Body-Recomposition’: Martin himself refers to a +20%kCal and -20%kCal rule for T-Days and R-Days respectively.

So if you came out with 2000kCal from your calculation, then make a T-Day 2400kCal and R-Day 1600kCal.

‘Cutting’: You need to be lower than this so as to create a weekly energy deficit. Even so, you must eat a surplus of calories on a training day in most situations*.

Your numbers might look something like 2200kCal and 1300kCal. (+10%/-30~35%kCal)

(*Obese/Very fat people are at less risk of losing muscle when on a calorie deficit if protein is kept high, so they can get away with a deficit on both days.)

‘Slow-Bulking’: So you are already very lean and looking to do a bulk? (Skip to Step 5 if it’s irrelevant to you, because I go into a little more detail here.)

If you are new to leangains I would highly recommend that you do ‘body-recomposition’ macros (or slightly less) for the month first while you adjust to the system. This way you will keep your abs and have a base-line for increasing your macros after. Once you’ve done that, try the advice below.

If you have already used leangains to get lean then you’re in a perfect situation to try this.

The key to keeping abs with slow bulking is quite simple, make sure you have enough of deficit on your rest-day so that you burn the stored fat* from the training day.

Your numbers might look something like 2800kCal and 1800kCal. (+40%/-10%kCal)

This is a way of putting on quality muscle without the fat, and as such is a slower process than the usual ‘eat everything!” approach some people take to bulking.

Step 5. Calculate your Macro Targets for Training-Days and Rest-Days

Macro Ratios

There is not one perfect macro-ratio. (i.e. 40% Carbs, 40% protein, 20% Fat) It varies from individual to individual. It can still take a few weeks of close monitoring to get a good ratio for a client, and even then, this ratio changes as a person progresses. This is why I monitor the progress of clients, I don’t just give them 3 numbers and send them on their way. You need to do this too.

Protein

Your protein needs to be kept high on both days, for satiety and muscle preservation. Research suggests that with maintenance calories there is little benefit to >2g/kg  lean body-mass (LBM) ~0.9g/lb. On a cut, to preserve muscle mass this may need to be higher, i.e. 2.5g/kg LBM (~1.15g/lb). There is no need to go higher than this. However, for personal preferences you can choose to go higher, and protein will give you the feeling of being fuller for longer so I sometimes go up to 3g per kg of LBM* (~1.35g/lb).

If you are 95kg (209lbs) with a lean-mass of 75kg (174lbs), and love eating meat, then you might put this number around 225g on both days. This can get a bit expensive so there is no harm in going with 2.5g/kg LBM, so go with 190g of protein.

Otherwise you would choose 2-2.5g/kg LBM (0.9-1.15g/lb) on workout-days and 2.5-3g/kg LBM (1.15-1.35g/lb) on rest-days. It is fine to keep protein consumption the same on both days for simplicity for now. I do.

(*Please just guess lean body-mass. Don’t get all worked up over it.)

Fat

Consumption of dietary fat is important for hormonal regulation, especially testosterone production. It should never be eliminated from a diet.

Training Day Intake: When eating above maintenance calories, the fat we consume is easier to be stored, so it is best to keep fat intake lower on this day. For a cut, the ‘average’ male client will typically have an intake somewhere in the ~40-65g range.

Rest Day Intake: You’ll have a calorie deficit on this day so all dietary fat consumed will be burned off. Increase your fat intake on this day to balance out the lower fat intake on the training days. For a cut, the ‘average’ male client will typically have an intake somewhere in the ~60-95g range.

Notes:

  • Those carrying more body fat will do better with a higher fat intake on training days than leaner individuals. This is to do with insulin sensitivity, which increases when you get leaner.
  • If you eliminate fat from your diet, the most obvious change you will notice is a decrease in sex drive. If this happens, consider increasing your fat intake, or decreasing your overall calorie deficit, or taking a diet break.

Carbs

For your initial calculation think of carbs as just balancing the equation as per your T-Day and R-Day ‘calorie’ targets. Let’s not go into more detail than that.

1g of: P = 4kCal*, C = 4kCal, F = 9kCal

(*Latest research suggests this to be more like 3.2kCal because of the energy required for digestion, however I suggest you keep it simple and call 1g of protein 4kCal.)

Let’s consider a man called Tom, 95kg, 20% body-fat (~75kg LBM), choosing body-recomposition (+20%/-20%) whose BMR calc+multiplier gave him 2000kCal. (Remember what I said earlier, I know the number is a little low.)

So, Training Day Macros:  P = 190g, F = 60g, C = 275g

Calories from Carbs = [T-Day Target calories] – [Protein calories] – [Fat calories] = 2400 – (190 x 4) – (60 x 9) = 2400 – 760 – 540 = 1100 (kCal) Carbs in grams = 1100 / 4 = 275

Rest Day Macros: P = 190g, F = 80g, C = 30g

Calories from Carbs = [R-Day Target calories] – [Protein calories] – [Fat calories] = 1600 – (190 x 4) – (80 x 9) = 1600 – 760 – 720 = 120 (kCal) Carbs in grams = 120 / 4 = 30

Step 6. Make your Menu from these Macros

Really this is up to you. If a food fits your macros for the day then go for it. more on this philosophy in the post, Is Clean Eating a Scam?

Tom’s Training-Day macros are: P190/F60/C275

If a food fits your macros for the day then you can eat it. No exceptions.

Which according to my simplified rules means eating means consuming:

950g of leanish meat/fish, 385g of rice and lots of green vegetables.

Tom's Rest-Day macros are: P190/F80/C30

Which is something like:

475g of fattier meat/fish, 475g of lean meat/fish, 40g of rice, lots of green vegetables.

Simple! You're done!


A Final Note:

Click for the Original Article’s “Foreword for Leangains Friends”

There are endless training forums, Facebook ‘wall’ comments, and ‘Tweets’ all over the internet with people screaming out for help with their macros. I am sure you have seen them, or perhaps even posted one yourself once.

It is my sincere hope that this guide can inspire people to give it a try & help them on their way, and this is just my humble effort to do so. I’ve tried to keep what is a complex topic simple, concise and manageable for the novice, without short-changing those that are more well studied on the method.

I know there are a lot of you out there whose knowledge far exceeds what has been written here. Truth be told, if that’s you then you are probably one of the people that has inspired me on my never ending educational journey into nutrition, through your blog posts, Facebook comments, ‘tweets,’ or forum posts. Thank you.

At the end of the day, if this article encourages more people to try IF, leangains, or just generally helps to make some people happier and healthier, I am sure we can all agree this is a good thing. So if you think sharing this guide or the simplified macro-counting rules will get more people using the system or trying it, then please do so. Your help is appreciated.

Thanks.

-Andy.

I’ve included my own simplifications into this guide which I believe will benefit most people. Any mistakes are my own, and should not reflect negatively on Martin Berkhan or his system in any way. These are merely my ideas, using his system. I have no doubt there are other excellent guides out there and I encourage you to share links to these in the comments below so people can check them out for themselves.

While I have done my best to give you the information you need here, there are certain things that cannot be put into formulas that only come from experience of working with clients. – Sometimes I ‘just know’ what will work.

Good luck and thanks for reading. – Andy.


The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance for Fat Loss and Muscle Growth

Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance Pyramid

Consider this a much more detailed guide to the above.

There is a very clear order of priority when setting up your diet. If you don’t understand it, at best you’ll just be wasting money, at worst your time and effort as well.

Unfortunately there is a large amount of confusion and misconceptions over what is important. I see this a lot with the one-on-one nutritional coaching also, and I’m sure you see it around the internet too.

This article is the first of a six-part series teaching you the principles here you’ll feel freer and more in control of your nutrition, regardless of style of diet you follow (paleo, IIFYM, Keto, etc.). We will also cut through any mystery and myth surrounding Intermittent Fasting, explaining where it may fit into your diet success, should you choose to use it.

Read more…


How and When To Manipulate Your Macros

How to manipulate your macros

Your diet progress has slowed or come to a stop for 2-3 weeks, diet adherence has been good, you’re sleeping well and there is no additional stress at home or work. So what do you do to get things started again?

This is where manipulating your macros may come in.

Full guide on how to keep your diet progressing: Learn what the optimal fat loss rate is for your level of body fat, and a the order in which you should make changes to your diet when things don’t reach that target.

Read more…


I cannot answer comments regarding the specifics of your personal macro set up – such questions will from now on be deleted. 15th Feb. 2014

Specific questions welcomed.

Think you might be interested in a personalised coaching?
See
 Personal Consultations: Nutrition and Training for more info.

1,653 thoughts on “How To Calculate Your Leangains Macros

  1. Hey Andy,

    Quick question about the differenc in my kcals calculation between training and non training days. I’m 6’3 215 lbs and 20-25% body fat and looking to “cut” and am using the big 3 program. I kept protein intake at 200g for both days, fat 60g/80g and carbs 470g/133g for training/non. The calorie difference is 1200 between the days. My question, is this too big of a drop off in cals?

  2. I’m not sure if I would be considered obese/fat. I am 29 years old, 5’10″ and 200 lbs.. I would venture to guess my bf is around 23-25%. Should I consider myself in the obese range for figuring out my macros?

  3. Apologies if i asked a question about specific macro goal, just read your comment now.

    Some general advice would be appreciate.

      • Thanks for getting back to me.

        I have read that link and tried to understand what you have put (appreciated btw).

        I like training fasted in the pm i.e. (evening workout) but you said one meal is not good enough. If i am eating a lunch with 35% macros, technically im not training fasted right? In doing so am i having an adverse effect of what leangains is about?

        Or am i justing overthinking it and i should go with what you have put in the evening workout section.

        Thanks again.

        • Seems I answered your question already. Then you asked it again. Then in the same comment you answered it for yourself, forgetting you’d read my answer already in that article Norman. :)
          Good luck!

  4. I’m 6’7″, 248lbs, 18% BF. I’ve read that I have a couple disadvantages when working for a lean mass look (Think Will Smith in Bad Boys 2). I’ve heard that it’s a little more difficult to achieve that “leaned out” look with a larger frame and also that my gains are not nearly as noticeable. While the latter makes perfect sense, it seems that the aforementioned would be easier too due to the fat layer being stretched over a larger frame. However, I continue to hear this isn’t the case. I really need to build up my chest and cut down my waistline. I’m definitely getting stronger and notice my chest gaining SOME mass. I love compound exercises like DLs and Squats. Are there any other movements you’ve seen that have worked well for gaining lean muscle on a larger frame?

  5. Hi Andy,

    I’m looking to implement the leangains approach, however I play football (soccer) twice a week on non training days. How would you suggest I adjust my caloric intake on football days?

    Thanks in advance.

  6. Hi Andy, and thanks for a really informative and good blog :-)

    I want to start doing a cut, and I see from your other post (the one about identifying where you are) that you recommend 3 days of a split-routine when cutting. Problem is, I really WANT to workout more than three times a week, it’s like my freetime I really enjoy. Normally I do weight training 5 times a week, one day of other training like swimming/running/cycling and stretching, and one rest day. If I am going to continue having this workout routine, will it still be ideal with -30-35% calories on the restday and +10% every day I workout? Won’t the total calorie consumation be a little too high for a cut then? (My body fat percent is quite low on my upper body (my abs are visible), but my lower body is another story, so an extra question is if you think a cut will work for me to get some results?)

    My other question is about the calculation of fat. I see you write what an average male on a cut normally should consume, but I find it a little difficult to “adopt” this to my situation since I am a girl… Do I just have to start somewhere and adjust, or what do you recommend?

    Regards,
    Anine

    • Hi Anine.
      “I really WANT to workout more than three times a week…”
      Don’t confuse moving your body (what you call ‘working out’) with training. When it comes to training, more is not better, and more can be worse. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If you enjoy swimming or running, then do it. If you’re doing it for fat loss, stop and find another hobby.
      Calculate your fat in the same way as a starting point. Have a good read of the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance articles next.

      • Thank you. Now I’ve also read the articles, but what I still can’t figure out is how to cycle my calories when I have 5 (strength) training days a week. If I am going to have a surplus on my training days and still have a total weekly deficit of around 3500 kcal, I’ll have to starve myself on the restdays/the days I’m just moving my body with running/swimming?

        If my maintenance is 2300 kcal, and I eat about 2700 on my training days, that means +2000 in total, which means I have to be -5500 the rest of the week to get a deficit of 3500 kcal. And basically that means I can eat like 50 kcal the two days without training… Or I am totally lost here?

        • Anine. I do not recommend strength training five days a week. However, in the article, #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling you’ll have seen that I worked out a formula to show people how to do that.

          Now, what you’re asking me to do here is to comment on your calculations, which, with 1638 comments currently on this post, I hope you can understand my position of choosing to not attempt that. This is written in red above. I think you need to recalculate things, or just follow the standard plan as you’re breaking the golden rule.

          • Sorry, I understand that you can’t comment on the calculations.

            I saw the Meal Timing & Frequency post, and used the fomula to figure out my calories on training- and restdays. What confused me is that with strength training five days a week it’s not possible for me to have a surplus of calories on training days, which this post says I should, “Even so, you must eat a surplus of calories on a training day in most situations”.

            To get the total deficit of the week I have to have a deficit every day, simply because if I should have had for example a surplus of +300 kcal on those five training days, that means a total deficit of 5000 kcal the last two days to get my weekly deficit of -3500 kcal, and since 5000/2 is 2500 kcal and over my maintenance-level that wouldn’t work.

            I am NOT asking you to comment the calculations, I just wanted to explain the problem properly. Maybe this is why you don’t recommend 5 strength training days a week :-)

            • Right. This post, is an older post intended for three days a week training. You need to follow the advice in the newer guides and forget about this one.

  7. Hey Andy,

    sorry but i have two other questions about the daily calorie intake.

    1.My BMR multiplied with the active level says i need about 2300 kcal a day. what about the rest days then? do i multiply my BMR with the lowest active level factor then to get my calories for the day i don’t work out? or do i have a calorie need of 2300 kcal every day when i do 4 to 5 times workout a week?

    2. What if i don’t eat a plus of 10% when i do weight training and just have -20% on my rest day? will it have a negative effect on fat loss? right now i maintain strenght and even got a bit stronger (like 2,5kg on deadlift) while i lost 2,5kg of bodyweight.

    Thanks a lot, you woukld really help me with an answer :)

    • No worries Julia. Honestly there are a few too many questions here to cover them in a comment answer.
      1. See the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series, and give it a thorough read through.
      2. See the section on the FAQ about the calorie surplus.
      As a woman that lifts one of the most important things to get out of your head is that the scale weight tells the whole story. See this picture.

      • Hey Andy,

        thanks a lot for your answers!
        I know that picture of the girl and I’m trying not to focus on the scale. I take pictures every week. This is a very good way to track it, on the first one you don’t see abs and now I can see a “four- pack” already :)

  8. Hey Andy,

    I really like your page! I learned a lot more about IF.
    I’m doing IF since two month now, it ´s going very well (even better since I read almost every article on your page), i’m on a cut.
    I do weight training three to four times a week, but on my rest-days i also do trx, like two times a week. What about the calorie intake on the days i do trx (it’s a course over 30-45 mins). Should i still cut calories about 30%?
    I know i don’t have to do extra workout to get results but i like trx :)

    Thanks, regards from germany!

  9. Hi Andy,

    When counting protein macros, does this include what comes from carb sources like pasta? Is there a threshold minimum quantity of lean, complete proteins you recommend we should take within our total protein macro calculation? Thanks!

  10. Hello Andy. Is it accurate to say that during a cut the primary reason for weight lifting is for muscle and strength preservation and less about glycogen depletion and fat loss? I would think that with the recommended lifting schedule and exercises, that the warm up sets and a total of 3 to 6 work sets does not use a lot of muscle glycogen. The fat loss is due to the total weekly calorie reduction under maintenance. Is that correct? Also, I like using the fasting and calorie/carb zigzagging protocol, but is it necessary? Does it expedite the process? Can the same results be achieved if macros and calories are the same everyday? Appreciate your thoughts and comments and thanks for your time!

  11. HI Andy,
    As far as training and rest days go for this slow bulk, what should I aim for my calorie difference to be between rest/training days? 500/600, more or less?

  12. Hi I’ve been reading your blog for almost 4 hours and I found it really interesting. I all ready got my BMR which is on T Days 2407 and in R Days 1600 and my LBM is 43kg. But I just can’t figure how to apply step 6 which is making my menu.
    Bases on your example :

    Tom’s Training-Day macros are: P190/F60/C275
    Which according to my simplified rules means eating means consuming: (WHAT RULE??)

    950g of leanish meat/fish, 385g of rice and lots of green vegetables.

    I just can’t figure out where did you got this final numbers?

    Hope you can help me !!

    • Hi Stephany.
      “Which according to my simplified rules means eating means consuming: (WHAT RULE??)”
      See link in the section starting with, “Firstly,” in bold.
      Read carefully. – I said that I will delete comments that ask me to do specific macro calculations.
      Don’t write in capitals.

  13. Hi Andy,

    Quick question: What kind of macros would you use on a cut for a day involving some cardio (not for fat loss!)?

    Some background: I play competitive 5-a-side football (soccer) on Monday evenings and normally train tues-thurs-sat. I’m two weeks into a IF cut and all is going well, I’m just slightly concerned about muscle loss. It can be a pretty intense game (somewhat equivalent of 30 mins of HIIT I guess) and up till now I’ve still been treating it as a rest day (mainly because going from -30% kcal to +10% one day a week would cut my fat loss by 1/3).

    For info if needed: I’ve calculated my maintenance as 2750kcal (I’m 6ft3, 200lb,~15% BF), so am aiming for 1750 rest days and 3000 train days (16,000kcal/week – 3250 below maintenance). Train day eating 4 days a week instead of 3 would mean an extra 1250 kcal per week.

    Basically, should I just suck it up and treat football as a training day? This would take me way past my goal of 12 weeks 12lb of fat though, which would be a little demotivating given that it’ll be summer by then.

    Thanks for any help!

    • Quick question: What kind of macros would you use on a cut for a day involving some cardio (not for fat loss!)?
      Hi John. Simplest way is to add in some carbs on that day to make up for the extra activity, and be careful of overestimation.

      • Hi Andy,

        That’s great, thanks.

        Unrelated question out of curiosity. For your cut on the results page, you seemed to lose over 1kg a week. This would seemingly require a deficit of over 7000kcal a week? If you’re willing to share, how did you manage it? Did you keep training days at maintenance and eat, say, 1200kcal on rest days?

        • I think it was likely to do with my being a low NEAT responder and being quite active and on my feet all day that did it. In hindsight I took it too quickly, and likely lost some muscle mass towards the end of that cut and I should have added in more calories towards the end of it to slow down the weight losses. Specific macros aren’t going to help you there, but I do have some specific fat loss guidelines based on body fat percentage in the article, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories.

    • Welcome, make sure you check out the more detailed version in the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance also. I think a lot of people are missing it just because the name isn’t, “Here’s a more awesome macros guide”.

  14. Hi, Im new to all of this only started 2 weeks ago. I have over the last 6months myself got from 103kg to 87kg, Im 5’9 and 42 years of age.

    Looking at the calculations I have a BMR 1861 I go to the gym 4 days a week a only lift weights – no cardio for me, so this puts me on 2885.

    Now Im about 20-22% BF at the moment so want to cut first then bulk.

    Using your calculations I have got this. I have gone for Cut at +10% Tday and -35% Rday.

    TDay- P: 173g F: 50g Carbs: 500g (this seems very high seeing I have only been sitting on about 120g a day) = 3142 near enough to my +10%.

    I guess im looking for an answer to weather I have done this correctly or not?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. Pingback: What Should My Leangains Macronutrient Numbers Be? |

  16. Hi Andy,

    If I take a break from training for a week or two due to visiting, will I be eating my average macros for the week or two and will it affect my recomposition?

    Also, is it alright to split my meals into 10% preworkout at 130, train at 130-230 or 2-3 then 45% pwo and 45% at dinner (6pm or so) because I cant eat between 10-130.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  17. Andy,

    So going from roughly 18% body fat to 7-10% (before hitting stubborn fat) should be able to be accomplished simply by taking it slow, having patience, choosing diet breaks before caloric restriction and then using caloric restriction (only after trying the other options) slowly all the way until the end? It’s really that simple, that you just have to very slowly reduce your calories as you progress and you’ll get all the way down to 7-10% body fat? There’s no other tricks I need to implement to get all the way down to at least 10% before I hit stubborn body fat?

    It’s a mental thing for many of us, because we are taught that we need to suffer, do excessive cardio, etc. to lose fat. So it really is as simple as what I mentioned in the previous paragraph?

    Thanks, brother!

    • 1. Yes.
      2. Yes, pretty much.
      3. Yes, that’s what I keep banging on about on the blog Dean. No secrets, the only people with secrets are those trying to sell you something. Everything is here. Check out any of the two hundred or so testimonial comments on the results page and you’ll see people talking about the simplicity of it.
      4. Jesus, yes. Don’t ask a question 4 times. It’s wasteful to your fingers, my patience, and the eyes of everyone reading. You already know I will give you a straight answer.

  18. Hello Andy, I love the website! It has been a great help to me. I am currently about 167 pounds at 13% body fat and was wondering if I should start to cut or start a body recomposition? Will doing a recomposition help me gain muscle and lose fat? And how much longer would a recomp take compared to a cut to reach about 9% bodyfat? Thanks!

  19. Hey, Andy

    I have a question regarding my macros. My adjusted BMR is 1688 with a 35% deficit on rest days and after I take away 540 kcal for my minimum protein intake it leaves me with almost no room to adjust fat intake in the future if needed and 0 carbs for the day.

    My question is , is it bad to have 0 carbs rest day? And to have so little room to adjust even if assuming I calculated correctly ? I appreciate any thoughts on this. Thank you.

  20. Hi Andy,

    Today I just stumbled across a scientific article, which states that high protein intake increases the risk for cancer and overall mortality for people under 65 years old. The risk is associated with proteins coming from animal products (meat, cheese,…). The results are based on study with population of over 6000 participants. The direct link to the article is http://download.cell.com/cell-metabolism/pdf/PIIS155041311400062X.pdf?intermediate=true. If you do not have the access to the article, please feel free to contact me.
    What do you think of this?

    • Hi Gregor, nonsense. Keep calm, carry on.
      Another correlational study that the media has picked up on, twisted and hyped to sell papers.
      Correlation does not equal causation.

      Background here:

      • I think that the results cannot be put away since they have been published in a well respected peer-reviewed scientific journal. I agree that additional work has to be done to prove the scientists claims, however the statistics and its interpretation does not lie. I try to be open-minded regarding this. Remember when fat intake was the main reason for people being overweight?

          • Andy I did not watch the whole movie, however I see where it goes. You are basially saying all the science is bogus… Since I am myself a scientist/researcher I know what it takes to publish in a journal such as Cell metabolism, which is one of the best in the category. As I said, further research has to be done, however the results cannot be neglected.
            I did not try to question the results you are achieving, I just wanted your opinion regarding the findings of the research…

            • Ok good – just wanted to check or this will make no sense. [That's a hint to anyone reading this conversation to watch the video.]
              So yes of course, no evidence should ever be rejected, it needs to be taken into consideration of the body of evidence we have as a whole. With the limitations noted and applicability.

              Examine.com did a good look at the body of evidence in their article, “High-Protein Diets Linked to Cancer: Should You Be Concerned?” Have a good read.

              For those that inevitably won’t be bothered to click the link and read through, I’ll copy the conclusions here:

              Yes, dietary protein was implicated in mortality. No, it isn’t as harmful as smoking. The number which the comparison was borne from (diabetes-related mortality) does exist in the study and is immediately followed by:

              “We underline that our hazard ratios and confidence intervals may be inflated due to our sample size and the extremely low incidence of diabetes mortality in the low protein group. Overall, there were only 21 diabetes deaths among persons without diabetes at baseline, only 1 of which was from the low protein group”

              To even suggest that eating protein is as bad as smoking is pure sensationalism.
              Human nutrition is a complex topic, and isolating one area can be complicated. Often times, two disparate issues can be combined together incorrectly:

              Issue 1: as we explained, IGF-1 is responsible for cell growth, and it does not care what kind of cells it is growing. For those who exercise regularly, IGF-1 is a boon. For those that have poor diet without exercise, it is not.

              Issue 2: poor diet is a ubiquitous problem. Processed meats are a staple of poor diets. Processed meats also tend to have protein. The study made no differentiation between different animal sources. As previously stated, chicken breast is not comparable to processed bologna meat.

              When you combine Issue 1 and Issue 2 without looking at the bigger picture, one can mistakenly infer that “high protein is bad for you.”

              A more accurate headline for this study would have been “High protein for those between 50 years to 65 years old who have poor diet and lifestyle habits may be associated with increased cancer risk.”

  21. Hi Andy, this is a fantastic site which you should be very proud of – you have put a lot of work in here and that is very much appreciated, thank you.

    I just wanted to check with you regarding the body recomposition figures for macros – with the training days at +20%, if the fats go down a bit and the protein stays the same, the only thing that can increase calories is the carbs. When this is done it results in a massive carb intake for training days – over half of daily calories from carbs. I’m just thinking this might be a difficult amount to actually eat, e.g 3 huge plates of carbs and still not reaching the necessary amount – then to reach the necessary amount you may be forced to have high carb more simple sugar based foods and drinks just to make up the numbers which is not something I want to do, but I also wouldn’t want to be under the desired calories for the day. Hope that makes sense? Is this correct.

    Thank you

  22. Hey Andy! This website has been really helpful to me but I am confused on a couple things.

    1. After we calculate our BMR, why is the multiplier so high for activity level? And why is there a multiplier for someone who doesn’t work out? I love learning about fitness so if you could explain that to me I would really appreciate it.

    2. This is an opinion question, but i have tennis practice from 3-5 every weekday and I lift weights after on 3 of the days like you say to, so i finish lifting at about 6-6:15. What would be the best time to open and close my eating window in your opinion?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Brandt.
      1. Consider your BMR your coma calories (i.e. the energy you’d need if you were in a coma.) Conscious beings tend to do more than coma cases, even if they are lazy, which explains the multiplier.
      2. Simple, same as the standard set up, midday to evening. You won’t want to eat before tennis anyway because you’ll feel full on the court.

      To correct the energy balance for the tennis, you can either go with the blanket multiplier, or add in calories on a per-day basis. Either is fine as long as you stay consistent with it and then track your progress and make the appropriate adjustments.

  23. I meant it mentions the 3500 and 1lb a week in your ‘The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories’ not ‘how and When To Manipulate Your Macros’ not that it matters, I’m sure you know what I mean.

  24. Hi again Andy,

    I did the recomp program for about two months. The first month I did not take any supplements and could not manage to hit the carb values, so according to the macro values I was on cutting programme (however without any significant loss of weight). Then, the second month, I added a gainer and I managed to hit the macros for recomp. Despite this, I did not see any noteable differences in physique.

    According to the results, I would consider myself as a hard gainer. I am 177cm with 69kg. Therefore I was thinking to start a slow bulk. However I cannot imagine how to hit the slow bulk macros target.

    I was thinking of two things: increase the eating window to maybe 9 or 10 hours, or lower the protein intake per kg of lean mass. On examine.com I have read that very high protein intake has minor benefits (2.5-3,0g/kg) compared to “normal” intake of an active person (1,0-2,2g/kg). Since I would be eating less protein, it would be easier to add some more carbs. I was thinking to initially lower the protein intake to 2.0g/kg of lean mass.

    What do you think? Would I be able achieve comparable results to the lean gain method?

  25. Can you explain what % of calories over and under maintainance for cut, recomp, and bulk assuming a m,w,fri training scheme. Thanks Ryan

  26. Hi Andy, hope your well. I love your new article on the main part of the site.

    I have a question, which I don’t know if its been covered to a great extent, but with extra carbs on training days, how does the starch within pasta, breads, cereals etc have an affect on muscle gains?

    I’m just curious as I’m aware of the principles with feeding the muscles post workout etc, but with adding lots more carbs how does this affect muscle production?

    cheers mate.

    • Graham, not sure what you mean by the question. Did you read the macros part of the series? By the tone of the question it seems to me you’ve just come off of reading some anti carbohydrate articles. Am I right?

  27. Hi Andy love your work!
    I have been on if for about 9weeks started out about 20% bf now down to about 12% abs are showing nicely ,my problem Iv had a couple of negative comments about my face being so skinny ,do you here this much? And if I was to go on a slow bulk now would this make my face look fuller? And how do I go about adding more calories do I add to my low carb day?
    Thanks mate.

  28. Hi Andy,
    Great article and site mate! Ok, so I’m keen to give your macro set-up a go, however have a few questions for you. (FYI – have been running IF for last 4 months with daily low carb (60-90g) a day but not growing even when resistance training 4 days a week, 2 days HiiT. Just upped carbs to 160gms/training day for last week.) Fat intake has been pretty high on all days ranging from 100 – 120gms each day (could be a mistake!) and protein sitting around the 350gm mark.

    So, here are my numbers off your calcs, just want to make sure they’re right.
    Weight – 82kg
    height – 178cm
    Age – 35
    BF% – approx 10%
    LBM – 73.8kg

    Training day calories (3653)
    P – 350, F – 65, C – 417

    Rest day calories (2435)* Assuming I would run this on HiiT days as well?
    P – 350, F – 90, C – 56

    I’ve been sitting at a nice 8-9% BF for the past 2 months until the past 2 weeks where I’ve upped the carbs. But I need to grow, so hoping these new numbers will work. Want to get up to around 85kg and under 10% BF by mid to late year.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks mate.

    - Ben

  29. Hey Andy.

    I’m having a little trouble calculating my macros. I’m 18, about 5’9 and a half and range from 160-162lbs. I workout 6-7 days a week and im going to start throwing in cardio every other day. I have a lean muscular body type and im trying to shred that last bit of fat that hides my abs. Just to add a little more perspective, I could see a solid amount of abs when i flex. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  30. In regards to ‘Step 2. Adjust for Activity,’ what level would you categorize someone that does a ‘Three Day Split RPT’ Routine?

  31. Hi Andy,

    I have a question regarding what type of diet you would advice for me?

    Last year I cut down succesfully by making use of your information/structure, thanks for that. I paused my training for a while and gained some fat again, but not as much as I had first. Now since it is far from beach weather over here, I dont really feel like cutting (already). I want to gain some strength and was thinking about doing a body recomposition first. And than hopefully in 2,5 months to cut, as I dont have to be lean right away. Do you think its ineffecient to start with the body recomp first?

  32. Hi Andy!
    How can i determine my maintenance calories? Is it thru BMR calculations or a certain calorie per pound like 15 calories per pound for maintenance? Im 5’5 at 125lbs and 11% bf. When i used BMR, i calculated my maintenance to be at 2100-2200 calories considering that i am light to moderately active. I strength train 3x a week and swim 2x a week on off days. But using the 15 calories per pound, my maintenance equaled to 1875 calories.

    I do not know which tool to use to find my maintenance calories. I read nate miyaki’s book and lyle mcdonald’s blog and they are using calories per pound to determine if one is going to cut(12-13 per pound), recomp, or slow-bulk (16-18 per pound).

    Lastly, what do you think of this article on slow bulking?
    http://www.kinobody.com/diet-and-nutrition/bulk-guide/

    thanks in advance Andy!

    • Hi Aaron.

      1. The calculations vary because basically it’s always going to be a ‘best guess’.
      Your maintenance calories will be where you are maintaining your weight. There will be a range of calories that you can maintain your weight on depending on your metabolic capacity at the time.

      Water fluctuations will happen if you’re cycling carbs, so make sure you track your weight every day and average it for the week, then compare two or three weeks, then adjust upwards or downwards accordingly.

      2. I haven’t read that article. If you have a specific question though fire away.

  33. Hey andy!! just a question if you can answer that willl be great. i recently started doingng recomopostion and my macros on rest dday-p228/c122/f54 and wkout day- p228/f77/c245 looks fine to you? boday fat 18 % atm. age-24 and height 176cm. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks

    • Chintu, thanks for the comment. Specifics questions regarding the guides I am happy to answer, individual macro calculations I can’t. See the notes in red above. If you have something more specific to ask please feel free.

  34. Hi Andy,
    I am in the military and I have food cooked in a canteen. How can I count my macros when I can’t weigh or measure anything? Should I guess the weight of meat, measure carbs by the spoon and not count vegetables?
    Thanks

    • Hi Dave. That’s going to be tough. If you cook for yourself at any point then you can learn to eyeball things, comparing foods with the size of your palm, fist etc., but if you have no experience there then you have no baseline to guess from.
      If the foods are pretty consistent, say on a weekly basis, it could be worth taking in a mini electronic scale and weighing the food and then putting ti into an online nutritional calculator to see the macros. It won’t be perfect but you’ll have an idea. You can then eyeball portions from there next time you eat the same meal.

      • Thanks Andy, I have counted macros in the past. I’m assuming most chicken breasts, eggs etc are the same and I can tell if a steak is a 8oz/12oz etc.
        Should I bother to count vegetables?

        • The leafy ones no. The starchy ones (peas, carrots, corn, potatoes), perhaps. If you’re going to be eating more or less the same veg on rotation then you could ignore them and just adjust the main starchy carbs according to how you progress.

  35. Great article Andy.

    On an off day, my sedentary TDEE would be 1.2. On a workout day, I would guess 1.375 due to the workout. Would you calculate your calories accordingly for each day to be more specific, or would you just say go with one or the other? I’m a bit OCD with this and don’t mind if you recommend it is a better calculation.

    • Hi Nick. The multiplier needs to be a blanket one across all days. If not then the other option is to adjust calorie intake per day. Which can be beneficial in some cases (athletes for example) but not relevant to most, and certainly not a wise strategy for someone that describes themselves as OCD.

      • Great, thanks. So if workouts are the only thing that takes activity above sedentary, would you suggest the 1.2 or the 1.375 level?

        I’m just a little OCD with my calorie tracking, otherwise, I’m pretty normal, lol.

        • Choose one, track it, adjust accordingly. We’re making best initial guesses here, not permanent decisions. The reasons are covered here.

  36. For arguments sake. Could I get my full protein-intake with using whey and/or casein. I know you dont recommend it, but would it be possible and if so what are the greatest drawbacks, not counting the obvious hunger that will arise when only eating fat and fiberintake during restday.

    • The drawbacks that I know of would be the hunger due to the decrease in satiety. I’m not sure if the fibre intake and other macros mixed in would be enough to slow digestion enough to void any risk of catabolism, for lean individuals, when in a deficit.

      It’s an interesting question though which I have pondered recently when visiting a friend in hospital. His oesophagus was knackered from radiotherapy meaning he had to take all food and water on a drip. Two bags a day, attached to his body for 12 hours at a time each. Not directly relevant or comparable but gave me pause to think.

      • Of course this is not something that someone doing IF / training hard would want to do. But it is quite interesting to discuss. In my country (Sweden) there is a lot of debating in environmental questions regarding meat-consumption and there is also a big debate regarding the animals we eat.TV, radio, newspaper & people talk about lowering meat-consumption, eating more vegetarian. A lot of people do one, two or more vegetarian days per week.Now we can get a lot of protein from different sources then meat and there are soy-based protein-powder. But it will be a struggle on training days, which is why I think you do not take vegetarian/vegan clients without hesitation.

        But generally speaking one could have a low or non-existing meat-consumption and still get their protein covered by powder without putting them self into any risks. One or two veggie-days / week could be quite easy by balance it out with whey and casein. Doing this on training days we could fill out empty stomached with carbs and veggies.

        • If that’s what you want to do then go for it. As I said before, I don’t see any major drawbacks. If however you’re doing it for ethical/environmental reasons you have to remember that whey/casein comes from milk. This is not the place for ethical discussions though.

  37. Hello Andy!
    I’m sorry if this has been mentioned before, but i can’t seem to find it anywhere. In this article you mostly mention portions about your average male clients. what about females?

    • Hi Helen. Search this page using control + F “female” / “women”. You will find answers in the comments.

  38. Hi Andy,

    Should be pretty painless, this question…

    I’m 26F, 160cm, 115lbs and 18% body fat.

    Should I do a cut or a re-comp?

  39. Andy,

    First off, thanks for summarizing all of this information and making it easy to approach and digest. My body fat percentage is around 24% per online calculators which seems high to me. , I’m 5′ 9″, 155 lbs, 27 year old man. It says my lean body mass is 117 lbs, which seems incredibly low. I store most of my fat on my lower stomach and love handles. My initial thought was to follow the body recomp guidelines, but maybe a cut would be better to get lean first? Or a modified body recomp in which I increase fat on training days since I seem to be somewhat insulin resistant. I know this might be hard to answer without concrete numbers or pictures, but any advice you could give would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brad

  40. Hey Andy,
    Quick question…I know in your article/method you don’t seem to mention anything about consuming most of your calories post workout (on workout days) which Martin touches on in his website.

    I think he gives the option of working out in a fasted state (ideal), as well as having either one or two meals pre-workout, as long as your post workout meal is at least 60% of your total caloric intake.

    Since you don’t seem to mention this in your articles I feel you don’t seem to think it is that significant…or maybe I am totally wrong…I would be interested to know your opinion and stance in this…

    Thank you once again :-)

    • Since you don’t seem to mention this in your articles I feel you don’t seem to think it is that significant…
      Actually this is mentioned in the guide you commented on five minutes ago bud. I’ll be making much clearer thoughts on this topic specifically when “timing” comes around in the “Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance” series.
      General advice for easier living: Don’t assume non-importance just because it is not explicitly written. (Especially when the importance has been learned elsewhere. Signs such as “Caution Hot Liquid” on coffee cup lids make me weep.)

  41. Hi Andy,

    I started doing Leangains approx 2 months ago. Though I have been in cut mode all along, I have not seen significant results – I’ve lost about 5 lbs from caloric deficit I assume. My goal is to have a more lean look and maintain it. I’m 5’10″ 208 lbs and have calculated the following for myself and follow it pretty closely: 3500 cals on WO days; 2100 on NWO days based on the imperial calculation method. I’m not a 100% on the ratios but typically, for ex on a WO day, I’ll do 250 g of protein/ 220 g carbs/ 75 g fat. I try and hit the same if not more protein on NWO day, <50 g carbs, 90 g fat – and so I'm definitely in a deficit. I'm taking fish oil, multivit, protein digest enzyme, bcaas, lean xtreme + red acid reborn(just started – no Alphaburn in sight). I'm probably approx 15% BF. My workouts are 3 day RPT focused on the big 3 movements. Can you make recommendations on what I can and should change? THanks foryour time.

    • Rajat, appreciate the comment and that you’ve been finding the site helpful, I don’t make such specific recommendations here in the comments though. Keep reading through the guides and you should find your answers.

  42. Hi Andy, happy new year!

    I am a male, 24 years old. H:189cm, W:108

    I have counted my macro. P:220 F:60 C:400 on the training days,
    And P:220 F:90 C:30 on the rest day.
    The problem is i couldnt eat that much of meat everyday.
    How can I hit my macro target? Since supplements arent that good, right?
    Any suggestion perhaps?

    Lot of thanks,
    Steve

    • Hi Steven. Protein powder is a cheap and effective way to hit your protein targets for the day, especially useful if you feel too full. As a general rule of thumb, don’t go over 50% of your protein target from powder. Also, don’t forget other protein sources, dairy, fish, etc.

      • Thanks for the reply Andy,
        One more thing I would like to ask.
        How about the carbs on training days?
        To hit the carbs precisely I need to consume approximately 560 grams of rice per day. And for me, that amount of rice is too much to eat.

        So please tell me, what is the best way for me to hit the 400 grams of carbs on training days without feeling too full?

        Thanks again,
        Steve

  43. Pingback: How to be stronger than you’ve ever been in your life! | The Dancing Irishman

  44. Hi Andy,
    I’ve seen the pics of a mate of mine doing your program and he’s looking freaking strong and on the way to ripped, well done. I’m keen to come on board but working up to it, Ive had Ross River virus and just getting over the arthritis and tendinitis. I’m slowly building up strength doing the program at very light weights with no pain with heaps of mobility exercises thrown in,

    I’m keen to speed this up, I eat very low inflammatory food and take fish oil and magnesium.

    There is just so much info on tendinitis supplements its hard to know what else to take. If you have any advice on supplements or programs it would be greatly appreciated,

    Cheers
    Tom

    • Tim, thanks for the comment. Glad you’re finding the site helpful. Try examine.com’s supplements guide or ask your doctor, I’m afraid this isn’t my field.

  45. Hi Andy,

    I’ve been training with weights for years (just got off a 12 week 5×5 program) and want to do a 5 day split instead of the 3 day you suggest. I want to do a ‘cut’. How would you suggest I do my daily calories while doing a cut and on a 5-day workout?

  46. Hi Andy,

    Loving all the education you have provided here. I was using online calculations for last couple of weeks but this guide has given me the confidence to ‘try’ and work out my own macro numbers. Thank you for your time and efforts to educate so many.

    I am unclear on how the Fat intake will be worked out, any more articles / guidelines in that area please?

    Regards
    Faisal

  47. Hey Andy/all,

    Feeling awesome eating this way but I’m having a bit of trouble jamming so much protein into my face; not normally a problem but protein shakes using whey isolate seem to give me crazy heartburn for the first time in my whole life.

    I don’t have any food allergies and am totally milk tolerant. Anyone ever have this happen before? Does it go away after a while or do I just have to spread one serve over hours and hours?

  48. I know Martin recommends eating the bulk of your carbs PWO. But I workout at 4-5 pm. So does that mean I”m going to have to down say 170-200 carbs in my car at 5:00? Maybe I should go to a later WOD.

  49. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for putting together such an awesome website!

    I have a question regarding training day and rest day calories. I am a rock climber and I train 5-6 days a week and this winter I would like to give IF a shot. A typical week may go something like this:

    Day 1: Climb in the gym (strenuous)
    Day 2: Antagonist training (chest/triceps)
    Day 3: Core Strength/Shoulders
    Day 4: Rest Day
    Day 5: Finger Strength/Pull Strength (Back/Biceps)
    Day 6: Antagonist training
    Day 7: Climb in the gym (strenuous)

    Being a climber, I would like to be lean while maintaining and improving my strength. I would like to lose about 10 pounds. First, do you think a “cutting” program would be the right choice? Second, should I eat as if every day that I train and workout is a T-day or should my T-days be reserved for the days that I do strenuous training (i.e. climb in the gym)? I was planning to use the moderate-exercise multiplier but maybe I should use the light-exercise multiplier. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Brian

    • Hi Brian, you’ll need to modify the standard set up above. Read carefully and connect the dots cause I’m not doing it for you:
      1. The most important thing for you is to maintain a weekly calorie deficit.
      2. The day you rest, you can have relatively less intake.
      3. The hardest days should have the most intake.
      4. The protein can be the same on all days.
      5. The fat should not go below the advised 0.4g/lbLBM average (across all days for your week).

      • Thanks, Andy! I think I got it. So my hardest days should have the most intake (+10%), my purely rest days should have the lowest intake (-30%), and the other days could be somewhere between (-10% to +0%). The percentages are just an example, but something similar would still keep me in a calorie deficit, correct?

        Regarding fat intake, the same rule applies, right? Least amount of fat on training days and more fat on rest days?

        Thanks again!

        • Correct. For the fat you might just want to have it pretty much the same intake across all days, purely because by having multiple sets of macro targets you increase the difficulty of execution.

  50. Hey Andy,

    I’ve read, and re-read your post, and the comments, but I feel I might be missing a pretty important detail. I’ve calculated my BMR using the Harris-Benedict formula, and when adjusting for activity. It puts me roughly at ~3000kCal. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat, but I don’t know if I can put all of that in my tank. I have added the body recomp (or cut) percentages into the equation as well and it kicks the TDay number up even higher. Am I doing something wrong?

    Age 26
    Weight 150lbs
    Height 5’6
    Activity (moderate 3-5 days a week)

    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris. The formulas are long standing and they work. If you’ve followed the instructions there then you’ll be right. Clearly it depends on the contest of starting point, a cut or bulk.

  51. Andy..
    “Those carrying more body fat will do better with a higher fat intake on training days than leaner individuals. This is to do with insulin sensitivity, which increases when you get leaner.”

    Does this essentially mean its possible for someone not as lean to eat excess fat on training days without the fat gain? I thought that any dietary fat on this day will be stored due to being in a surplus.

    I ask because using your guide im eating over 450g carbs each training day and get very bloated and i see people a lot of heavier and leaner than me eating way less carbs!

    thanks.

    Gav

    • If you’re cutting and consider yourself of fairly high body fat, unless you’re doing a lot of other activity besides the standard gym work 450g is too high.

      • Ok, thanks. I only do one day of 5aside on top but its not very intense…. so assuming its a training day and i have to eat 3200kcal (+20%) and im around 15% bf then its possibly better to have 200p/315c/120f as apposed to +400g with <100g fat?

  52. Andy,

    I’m still a little hazy as to what the “body recomp” is primarily for. I cant figure out if it is tailored to gain muscle or lose fat. Im sitting at about 12%bf right now.

    Any clarification would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks

  53. Hi Andy,

    Would you still suggest an Intermittent fasting approach when aiming to build muscle on a slow bulk, or is the IF mainly for fat loss? Its just i seem to remember reading that its optimal to be having a frequent intake of protein every few hours when aiming to build muscle instead of fasting for long periods. Also, I’m currently doing IF with carb backloading and often have a big meal before bed with carbs as it satisfies me and helps me sleep. But iv heard that having carbs before sleep will prevent growth hormone production because of the raised insulin caused by eating carbs. So it would hinder muscle growth while sleeping. Whats your thoughts? Cheers mate

    Dave

    • Dave, thanks for the question. The IF will still work well, the frequency of meals depends on you. One thing that can happen at the extreme end of things is that people struggle to get in enough calories in the 8 hour window. In that case, extend it. All the same principles apply. If you’re coming off a cut you’ll want to make gradual changes upwards though so as not to put the fat back on too quickly.

      But iv[sic] heard that having carbs before sleep will prevent growth hormone production because of the raised insulin caused by eating carbs.
      A myth.
      …its optimal to be having a frequent intake of protein every few hours when aiming to build muscle instead
      A myth. Total calories and then total macros for the day is the most important thing.

      • Thanks Andy thats great! Whats your opinion on weight training volume/ style when changing from a cut to a mass gaining phase. During the cut iv been using mainly strength training in RPT style using the main compound lifts and a fairly low volume of sets per workout. Should i keep this the same or would you suggest increasing sets per workout or adding in any higher rep training to add more mass?

        Thanks again

        Dave

        • Hi Dave, good question. I don’t believe in making changes for the sake of it. Many people look to switch up their training when they bulk but miss the obvious – when starting to move into a bulk the strength gains and growth will come naturally without messing with things. I’m not against more volume, but believe the main lifts and their progression should be prioritised. More on accessory/supplementary lifts in the FAQ.

  54. Andy, I’m curious – I’m a girl and very close to seeing some good definition in my abs, which is how I found your site, trying to refine my nutrition lead me to you. The site seems geared for men, am I okay to follow this or will I just bulk up like crazy or will I be simply lean out?

    • Hi Katrina. Whether you gain muscle or lose fat will depend on whether you have a net calorie surplus or deficit (i.e. chase a bulk or a cut). The site seems geared towards men just I’m a man and I write how I think, that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful though, plenty of women are.

  55. How fast is the rate of fat loss when cutting (training days: 3x/ week)? I’ve noticed it’s less than 0.5lbs for me. Isn’t that too slow?

  56. Hi Andy,

    Great site and information!

    I’m 32 years old, 5’11″ and around 181. I’d guess my fat percentage is around 16-18%. I feel I’m getting borderline skinny fat. Haven’t worked out with weights lately do to nagging sternum pain and basically doing cardio a few days a week. I’ve also kept my calories very low. I’d like to start fresh on the lean gains system. Lean down before adding a little size. I’d say I’m fairly close to your before pic of your 7 week transformation example. Based on my BMR, the calculations for my carbohydrate intake on training days should be around 300g (30g or so rest day). That’s about 5 cups of cooked rice or 4 large potatoes. Is that right?? From the perspective of a self admitted carbophobe (yet love them), I will not get fatter consuming that amount of carbs/food a day?? I can put away food and also have no problem cutting back when needed. Perhaps this is the reason for my stalled fat loss. Too low and restricted. I have noticed I can be a little carb sensitive to weight gain though. I guess I’m just looking to hear from you that I won’t just get fat. Final note, with work and schedule I can’t workout fasted. It would have to be after my first meal. (Plan on doing 2 meals a day, small first little carbs, much larger second, bulk of carbs).

    Thanks for your time!
    Vin

    • Hi Vin, thanks for the comment. I won’t comment on your macros calculation (see sentences in red) but if you’re asking whether 300g of carbs can see like a lot, then yes, that’s a common reaction. If you have calculated correctly then you will not get fat.

      The feeling of fullness can be a good guide to our hunger, however for someone that has switched from a more frequent meal approach to a less frequent one there is an adjustment period that needs to take place. Also, for many people that start a diet they find themselves eating less processed foods, which tend to be less calorie dense, so this can throw the “going by hunger” approach off balance.

      • Appreciate the response Andy! Respect you not commenting on the macros, it is more the shock of the 300g number that I wanted your input on. I do believe the calculation is correct based on using the available tools. I don’t follow a frequent meal plan, nor do I eat processed food, I actually believe I may be under eating after going over the macro calculation. Again thanks for the response and glad to know the numbers make sense. Cheers!

        • Sure no worries. Track your progress, if things don’t go as planned then reduce in a few weeks. Give yourself 3 weeks minimum though.

  57. Hi Andy,

    firstly thanks for great tutorials about the nutrition and training. :)

    I am 28 years old, 177cm in height and around 69kg. I would guess my fat percentage is around 15%.
    I recently started with the lean gains and I struggle to achieve the needed carbohydrate and protein intake on training days and protein intake on non-training days. Based on the calculations, my carbohydrate intake on training days should be around 300g and protein intake around 150g.
    I do the 16/8h and start eating at around noon. Then I have the training around 3:30pm and eat the lunch at 5pm. I end eating at 8pm.
    I just cannot achieve my macronutrient goals, which has also shown on the scale where I lost around 0,3kg in 10days. I am forcing myself with eating, but I cannot eat enough in my eating window.
    Do you recommend gradually increasing the intake by overfeeding or should I buy a quality whey powder or flap-jacks?

    Thanks,

    Gregor

    • Hi Gregor, consider more calorie dense foods if you struggle to reach your macros. Whey is a great way to hit your protein numbers, if you like flap jacks, then please feel free to eat those to help you hit your carb numbers. If you’ve switched from smaller meals throughout the day then it’s normal to feel full. It’ll take your stomach a week or two to adjust.

  58. Hi Andy its been a while, I’m currently in Philippines responding to the Humanitarian disaster, heating healthy is difficult as you can imagine and keeping fit even more so, I have to forget the 16/8 rule for the next few months for obvious reasons and carbs will probably be the staple when I can get them.
    Any advice on what I can do fitness wise, I’ll be living it rough so chinups, squats and deadlifts are out.

    • John, good to hear from you. The scenes on the news remind me of the tsunami aftermath up in Sendai here.
      Honestly, you’re going to be run off your feet and have far more important things on your mind. As you said, you’ll be living it rough. Use the time as a break. Taking breaks from training isn’t a bad thing at all, so just please feel free to focus your energies into your work.

      Good luck with your mission John. Thoughts with you.

  59. Hi Andy, LOVE your site! I’m wondering if you can help me out with something?

    I’ve just started with the LeanGains IF approach and was wondering if instead of doing a 20+/20- on training and rest days i can do a 10+/20-? So will sort of be like a recomp? Also I’m training 4 days/week instead of 3. I’m a fairly intermediate lifter and have been training heavy for 2 years….how do you think i will go? Also do you think cheat days can be incorporated/alcohol days?

    Thank you so much

    Jase.

    • Hi Jase. Don’t sweat the numbers, and don’t fiddle and try improving on things that aren’t broken. Make a decision then track and adjust as per the guides on the site.
      Alcohol guide, adjustments, tracking… it’s all here in the menu.

  60. Also how much am I supposed to consume after my training. I am doing the fasted training so consuming the largest meal right after lifting. 70% of my daily intake? Can not seem to find an answer.

  61. I just figured my basic numbers out for a cut. But I do not know what types of carbs to eat each for my two meals. Complex? Brow Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, wheat pasta? Organic Flax seed bread? And So on. And what kinds of fats each day? Almonds, peanut butter, coconut oil, flax seed oil? I just need some ideas of what they should be consisting of so I can pick them and eat them everyday to reach my numbers. Train days are P=185 F=50 C=334. Rest Days P=185 F=75 C=69

  62. I just have one question–on the calculating fat macros, you mention that the average male is 40-60g of fat on training days and 60-80g on rest days. Does the same apply to females?

  63. Is there any reason protein is kept higher with Leangains vs other training / nutrition protocols?

    The only answer I can find is ‘satiety’ which I don’t have a problem with when I eat .82g protein per lb of body weight. I’d much rather maximize my carb intake for energy output in the gym.

    Nearly all studies I have looked up suggest .82g per lb of total body weight are way more than enough for lean mass preservation on a cut, even at the highest intensities or very low body fat %’s, yet I see Leangains people all the time with 200-250g of protein on both days (bulk or cut) and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Is there any reason protein is kept higher with Leangains vs other training / nutrition protocols?
      Well that really depends in what circle you walk in. Protein has the additional benefit of keeping your fuller and having a higher TEF. You’ve been asking a lot of questions recently Jacob here and on the Facebook page, which is cool, but I worry that you’re sweating details rather then putting things into action first.
      If it ain’t broken…

  64. Hey Andy,

    Awesome site! Did a 12-week cut usin your site and about to start a slow-bulk hopin to gain some muscle to my frame.

    One question on fat intake: you say your clients average 40-65g T-days, 65-90 g R-days on a CUT. Any general rules on a bulk? I’m very afraid that I’ll lose all the effort I put in over the past 3 months especially because I was skinny-fat to begin with.

    Thanks!
    Anik

  65. Couple questions:
    1) What is the best way to measure body fat percentage?
    I am a 28 y/o female, 5’2″, 120lb. I recently had a fat caliper measurement and I was at 32% vs. an electronic reading (scale) that showed 30%. I find both a bit high as I am fairly petite and I usually wear size small or XS in clothes.

    Thus, I can’t even accurately find my BMR.
    -Harris-Benedict formula gives me 1,341 cal
    -Katch-McArdle gives me 1190 (or less!) calories a day (at both the 30% and the 32% b.f). This seems very low as I’ve often heard 1200 calories is the minimum needed to survive

    2) Any tips on how to sneak in more protein?
    I’ve been tracking my calories for the past three months and my October macros average is as follows:
    Average Carbs 109 g
    Avg Fat 24 g
    Avg Prot 31 g
    Avg Calories 1788
    I obviously need to increase my overall protein intake (which is very hard as a former vegetarian)

    Background: have lost 8lb in last 3 months. Eating clean about 80% of the week. Variety of exercise 5 times/week 5 hours total (1hr cardio and 4 hr various: heavy weights, circuit, pilates/yoga). looking to cut

    • Hi Jen.
      1. Nothing you have available to you is going to be terribly accurate. See my article, “Is It Better To Forget About Body Fat Percentage?
      The way I do it is by pictures and experience. I will have a guide up but I can understand how that’s not going to be helpful to you now. So, go with the average of your BIA machine values and take 7% off of the measurement. This will cause you to set calories and protein higher. Track your progress and then adjust downwards if necessary. Better to start too high then too low for muscle sparing reasons.

      2. Eat more meat. Drink protein shakes. Btw, you either made a typo or calculated wrong cause those macros are way under 1788kCal.

      As for your background, you got yourself into the typical mess that people often do, especially women, of adding more shit to the expenditure side of the energy equation and ignoring or neglecting due diligence of the consumption. Follow the plan as outlined. Start here.

      Give it a good go. If that doesn’t work then you may well have dieted yourself into the ground and need to diet your way back up first. Worry about that later though or you’ll second guess things before trying. Check out Leigh Peele’s book Starve Mode.

      • Thanks for all that info Andy.

        I’m using livestrong to track my food but perhaps not all the food listed has proper macros info and that’s maybe what is causing my figures to be off. In the end, I think it gave me a good understanding of my eating habits but it is way too tedious to continue tracking every day. I think I was probably eating very little calories when I was vegetarian (spent 20+ years vegetarian) and that is why I was “skinny fat”. The weight gain was probably due to improper control once I gave up that life style (i know I didn’t gain a lot but even 5lb of fat gain on someone who is only 5’2″ with small frame is quite noticeable)

        I’ll re-work my macros calc and go from there. Lots of reading to catch up on but the plan seems to fit my lifestyle better so I’m confident I can make it work.

        -All the best,
        Jen

  66. Hello Andy , thanks for great info ! Should one factor in calories burned at work into tdee ? I notice no mention of work cals in tdee calculators . For example I work at a Ferry Terminal and walk daily , in steel toe boots , at a low to brisk to sometimes jogging pace . Have worn a pedometer and recorded distances ranging from 10km – 12 km and sometimes more on busy days, plus walking up stairs several times a day as well . Have calculated 60 cals per km , so I am burning 500-1200 cals at work . Also have you considered mentioning work calories in your tdee info as not everyone has a sedentary job . Thanks and looking forward to trying body recomp but would be good to know about work cal expenditure before calculating tdee .

    • Hi Chris.
      You can either choose to increase your activity multiplier, or a set increase in carbs on a per day basis. The former I’d recommend for someone with a regular work week, the latter for a part time employee or irregular work.

  67. Hi Andy I’m a bit confused as to how to calculate my macros- my maths is not my strong point!
    I’ve worked out that my BMR calories + activity level is 2150cals. But how do I get the subsequent grams of Protein Fat and Carbs from this?
    Sorry I know this is probably a stupid question.

  68. Andy, I know you can’t give a ‘definitive’ answer on this since everyone is different, as are their activity levels.

    But in ‘general’ when finding an activity multiplier for your ‘sedentary’ clients who do as you recommend and lift on M-W-F (big 3 RPT or Split RPT) is there a recommended multiplier that tends to pop up more frequently than others?

    I’ve done some serious digging online and all I could find on Leangains multiplier info was a reddit thread that said go between ‘sedentary’ and ‘lightly active’ (1.2-1.375) since training is abbreviated.

    Also, you mention on a cut to go with +10/-30~35. Is -35 more or less recommended for obese people, not as much for leaner people with only like 10-15lbs to lose?

    • Hi Jacob. In this case as per the guide sedentary job but with gym is defined as a 1.3 multiplier. Reddit has a lot of people that sweat the minor details forgetting the larger principles – you make your best guess initially, then adjust from there.

  69. Andy,

    On a cut (not a lifting newbie), should we always be continually gaining strength in the gym or do we hit a point where we just maintain the same amount of weights until we hit the desired body fat level?

    Thanks!

  70. Thought I had this all figured out and then realised I’m miles off :(
    This sort of stuff really stresses me to work out and know it’s right.

    Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out when we talk as I was ending up with stupid figures!

  71. I’ve just started looking into IF/Leangains methodology to help me shift stubborn bodyfat. I’ve been training fairly regularly for the last 18 months and have shrunk from 100kg to 88kg and gained a fair amount of strength, though I would say my body type still tends towards ‘skinny fat’ currently. I’m trying to get my macros right, which seems in itself to be a dark art.

    Here’s my problem: I have a desk job 9-5, I drive or catch a train to work and I spend my evenings studying so I class myself as ‘Sedentary’, even though I go to the gym 4-5 times a week for fairly intensive exercise (weights and interval training). This puts my BMR at 1600 and my daily calorie expenditure at about 2000.

    So looking to follow a cut protocol initially, LG says i should be +10%/-30% on T-days and R-days respectively. But is this NET cals, i.e after accounting for 300-450 kcal burnt during exercise, or should I stick to 2200/1400 cals and just burn whatever I burn on top?

    FYI I’m supplementing w/ vegan protein, creatine, BCAAs and fish oil around my training plus multivits and minerals.

    • Sam, ignore calories burned during exercise.
      What are your current lifting stats in the main compound movements?

  72. Fantastic website full of extremely beneficial information! I can’t wait to get started with this program!

    I have a question in regards to determining my activity levels. When you stated “Use of the simplified rules tend to underestimate things by 20~30%. So if you are then try taking x0.2-0.3 off.”

    Does that mean, I take my results from my activity multipler i.e. Lightly active [desk job but I workout 3-4 times a week] = 1500 BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) = 2063, then multiply 2063 by either .2 or .3 to account for underestimation?

    • Hi Jen. Though your maths is wrong, I know what you mean and the answer is yes. I hoped that by ignoring your comment on the 12th that you’d re-read what you had written and realise this.
      Hint: 1000 multiplied by .2 is 200.

  73. Andy,

    I’m around 10% BF and looking to do a cut, but need to keep my training volume a bit higher than the 3-day split program that you and Martin recommend. My week looks something like this:

    Mon – Light cardio (i.e. active recovery)
    Tue – Strength w/RPT
    Wed – Sprints & bodweight
    Thur – Strength w/RPT
    Fri – Rest Day
    Sat – Strength w/RPT
    Sun – Metcon

    My first question – I realize that rest days are an important component of your cutting plan, so is this even feasible? Second, if you think I can make it work, how would you suggest I manipulate my macros on the cardio, sprints, and metcon days? Appreciate the help!

    Thanks. Adrian

    • Hi Adrian. If you’re truly around 10% and looking to cut then this is no longer about athletic or weight class goals, it’s purely about physique and the quest for low body far. This being the case it makes sense for you to focus on that solely. Getting to extremely low levels of body fat is tough enough, you want to do it with the minimum training possible for recovery reasons. Drop the Metcon and sprints.

      Also see, STRENGTH vs ENDURANCE: How does training for one affect the other?, for further info.

      • Andy,

        I completely understand that ideally training should be kept to a minimum. And you are right that my desire to get down to around 7% is purely about physic. I’ve actually been following the 3-day split program for about three months now and have gotten leaner, although probably only by a percentage point or two. But the truth is, I like training more than three days a week and I have lost some of my conditioning. I know I can’t go back to my old program of 5-6 hard days of training, but I would like to recoup a little of the metabolic conditioning that I’ve lost (I’m not talking long endurance, but more CrossFit-type stuff). I understand that this will impact recovery a bit and will most likely slow my progress, but I feel the trade-off is worth it.

        What I don’t want to do is completely screw up the nutrition – I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my macros for strength and rest days, but just don’t know how to manipulate them for a short sprint or bodyweight workout. Do I increase fat, carbs, or both? And by how much? My thought was to keep protein and fat the same as what it would be on a strength training day, but drop my carbs down so my total calories for the day are somewhere between a rest day and a maintenance day. In other words, if I’m at -30% for a rest day, and +10% for a strength day, maybe go to around -15% for a sprint or bodywieght day.

        Anyway, just hoping you can provide some guidance, even though it’s not what you advocate. Thanks for the help. -Adrian

        • Conditioning is lost and gain quickly, because it comes from chemical adaptations rather then structural changes. As it is not a necessity I’d recommend that you pick up the conditioning work after your cut to shreds. I appreciate that is not what you wish to hear but that’s what needs to be said in your situation.

          Though of course I acknowledge there is a way of doing it your way, that’s beside the point.

          Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be rude or awkward here. I appreciate, and am flattered that you’ve taken the time to seek me out for comment on this but I just want to clarify:
          Even if you were a potential client I’d say the same. Goals dictate the training. A coach needs to have the balls to say what they think best for the client – even though they know it risks losing that potential custom.

  74. Fantastic website full of extremely beneficial information! I can’t wait to get started with this program!

    I have a question in regards to determining my activity levels. When you stated “Use of the simplified rules tend to underestimate things by 20~30%. So if you are then try taking x0.2-0.3 off.”

    Does that mean, I take my results from my activity multipler i.e. Lightly active [desk job but I workout 3-4 times a week] = 1500 BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) = 2063, then multiply 2063 by either .2 or .3 to account for underestimation?

  75. Hey, thanks so much for all this info. I’m still a bit lost on fat intake though.
    There’s guidelines for men but not women? Any suggestions?
    Thanks, chels

      • Andy,
        I had the same question Chelsea had and I found your response to be vague.

        Men usually have a lot more muscle mass than women so i find it hard to believe we can use the same numbers to calculate what our macro needs are.

        That being said would you mind looking at the numbers I came up with based on all the calculations you have? I would much appreciate it. I can check and adjust as you suggest from the start i just want to make sure im at least in the right ball park for the start!

        Age: 28
        Height: 5’5″
        Weight: 151
        Activity Level: Desk Job, Weight train 3 days a week, cardio the other 3 days a week.

        BMR Calculation 655+664.4+303.6-13.16 = 1619.84
        Calorie Calculation: (Used Moderate Exercise Multiplier 1.55) 1619*1.55 = 2509.45kCals

        Protein: 1g/lb x 151lb = 151g

        Fat: TDay: 50g RDay: 70g (picked a middle number in your range for the men)

        Carbs:
        TDay: 2500-604-450 =1446/4 = 361.5g
        RDay: 1800-604-630 = 566/4 = 141.5g

        Is this a good place to start based on the info i’ve given you?

        • Men usually have a lot more muscle mass than women so i find it hard to believe we can use the same numbers to calculate what our macro needs are.

          Hi Ashlie. You’ll notice Harris-Bennedict equation that you have used is different for men and women. Take a look at that BMR calculation I have recommended, the Katch-McArdle, this is based on lean body mass.

          Is this a good place to start based on the info i’ve given you?
          Please see the sentences in red above.

          Lastly, don’t seek out or assume complication. In 90% of cases there isn’t. My seemingly vague seeming answer was trying to be helpful.

  76. Hi Andy! Hope all is well in your world.

    I’m curious,I recently bought some green tea capsules and other supplements for general health. If I was to take these first thing in the morning, hours before I eat, would it count as breaking my fast??

  77. Hi Andy

    for higher body-fat people over 20% body-fat, do we need to cycle fat intake as well? you say keep it higher on training days due to insulin response, so with fat higher on non training days, is it ok to keep the same within calorie range and therefore only cycling carb intake?

    cheers,

    • I’ve mentioned above that those carrying more fat will likely want to go with less carbs, these will need to be exchanged with fats. The net result for some people may be little difference in fat intake on their rest and training days.

      • thanks Andy, I suppose its all about monitoring, I never realised how complex the human body is. So I will see how I do on more fats, less carbs on training days and go from there.

  78. Hey Andy, can I just ask with regards to your macros, if you go over or under on your carbs and fat by say 10g either way is that ok? I know its not ideal but wanted to get some clarification on this and how regimented these allowances are.

    • Try and shoot for 90% adherence and you’ll be fine. In theory it will all even out. Any higher and if things don’t go to plan you’ll start second guessing whether adherence was the cause or other. I never insist on perfection from a client, I discourage it in fact.

  79. Hi Andy! I’ve been following the cutting method using IF now for about three months, it is very effective, thanks a lot for the information! Now i want to start a slow bulk using the caclulations on this page. The only thing for me that is unlcear is the fact that my macro’s tell me that i need to eat:

    150 grams protein
    560 grams carbohydrates
    50 grams of fat

    in order for me to hit my (trainingday) 3100 kcal goal. Are these values normal to you for a male, 23 years old, 74kg @ 13% bodyfat, 179cm height? or am i miscalculating something, the amount of carbs actually scare me a lot!

    Thank you in advance!
    Haye

    • Hi Haye thanks for the comment.
      Start by building your calories up slowly from the level you are at currently, rather than increasing them suddenly. This is a better way to do things as you’ll be able to stay leaner this way. Start with a 5% increase in overall calories perhaps, track and then adjust upwards based on progress. It’s the opposite of what I said in the article, How and When To Manipulate Your Macros. Hope that helps.

  80. Hi Andy – long time reader of the site!

    I have a question. I’m roughly simila bodyfat to you in this before pic (Infact, the relaxed looks almost identical to myself relaxed, albeit I have slightly less mass).

    Thing is I know I should be cutting but am somewhat terrified and have been putting it off in fear of losing my hard earned mass I’ve worked for the past 3 years!

    Any advice?

  81. Hi Andy,

    it’s been around 6 weeks since i got into leangains dieting, and have some results for sure even though my weight did not change that much. I dediced to make small changes by lowering total weekly calories by 8-10% (by cutting carbs in Tdays and fats in Rdays, small change though).

    After a couple of weeks my weight is lower (-1kg give or take) but my overall appereance has not improved, i still got that stubborn fat on my low abs and lower back, while at the same time i see myself smaller, more flat, especially on my weakest points like chest.

    I was wondering how i could proceed, if ishould keep decreasing calories (with the riks of being even more flat probably) or if raising them a bit or even hit my body with something like a break or surplus for a week or so and then get back dieting with low cals… Have you got any suggestion?

    Thanks so much man in anticipating

  82. I have a question about activity multipler. I’ve been using 1.3 roughly for 10 months and lost around 30 lbs. I do the “big 3″ routine 3x a week and hill sprints 2-3 days a week. Should I bump up to 1.55 or has my body adapted to the lower calorie amount. I’m frustrated that I can’t lose that last 5-10 lbs to get a six pack. I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels. I feel like I’ve lost muscle as well. I’m ready to be lean and put some muscle back on.

  83. Hey Andy, about cutting… im looking for a good deficit to start.. im around 20~25% BF and not weak body. Is it -10/-30 good for it or its too much and i should start with a smaller deficit? another thing, in one of your posts you said to keep at least 0,4g/pound of fat as minimal… what about carbs?? any minimal? Thanks in advance!

  84. Andy, I first read the ‘how to calculate leangains macros article and didnt actually realise that you were meant to fast in the morning. Can I ask, is this essential as I find it alright to eat my correct macros on rest days even with a small breakfast?

  85. Hey Andy, well done on the website, very informative even for someone like myself that has been training for over 10 years. Just a quick question. Ive just finished a mini bulk, and I’m sitting at around 95kg at 5’11 and about 12%. Bf. so I’m transitioning to a cut now. I know I will have to steadily drop my macro & calories on rest days as my weight drops. What I want to know is on training days do you slowly drop the maintenance + 10% calories as your weight lowers? Or do you just leave training days the same?

    • Hi Donovan, glad you’ve been finding the site useful.
      On training days do you slowly drop the maintenance + 10% calories as your weight lowers?
      If you have already been counting your macros up until now, then don’t make a fresh calculation, just adjust downwards from the baseline you have.

  86. Pingback: How and When To Manipulate your Macros | Leangains | RippedBody.jp

  87. Hello from Russia)

    I decided to try this system of eating

    My height 180, weight 85 and I am 29 years old
    I guess my “Body Categories” is “Muscled, few pounds to lose.”

    from calculator BMR is 1933 kcal and TFEE is 2320 kcal

    I have choosed “Body recomposition” -20% / +20%
    in training day 2784 kcal
    in day of rest 1856 kcal

    I sit on this system 2 weeks, but my weight is not reduced, and turnover increases (
    even waist size has not decreased

    Thx, for help

  88. Andy,
    Early on you mention that the average male on a cut would typically have a fat intake of 40-65g on a training day and up to 95g on a rest day; what then would that fat number be for a training and rest day respectively for the individual on a slow bulk? It stands to reason that of course carb intake is going to be higher, but the question of fat intake has me stumped.
    Thanks in advance!
    -Roman

    • You’re going to increase these things gradually, based on how your progress. That is going to change over time due to rising caloric needs. More detail here.

  89. Hi Andy,

    I have been using this diet now for about 8 weeks. It is going pretty well, seen a few solid gains (im cutting) with a noticeable reduction in BF. Limited results in the past 3/4 weeks but that is probably down to me playing around with the figures and struggling to keep within my macros on sundays.

    There were a few quick questions which I would really appreciate your feedback on.

    1.) On a train day I will hit the gym hard and eat hard too. The following day I will ache bad! Should I still keep carbs down on this rest day? I feel that I should be eating more just because my body is so sore. I am hoping that the high protein intake will prevent any muscle lose through lack of recovery.

    2.) This system definitely works and I understand 90% of the reasoning behind why. It is incredibly interesting, having been empowered by your knowledge I have no idea why I used to just eat any and everything on a weights day, including copious amounts of fat from red meats (which I now try to keep as a rest day treat). Something that I am keen to understand (and don’t feel obliged to explain), why does this system avoid ‘starvation mode’. When looking to reduce fat, I have previously reduced calorie intake slowly to avoid the body going into a panic and thus storing as much fat as possible. Does this avoid such an event due to the low carb rest day typically only lasting one or two days before the heavy influx of carbs from a training day? Or is it because we are keeping fat high on a rest day?

    Many thanks,

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan, thanks for the questions.
      1. Soreness is not the goal. Preservation if muscle mass is. The two most obvious possibilities:
      a) You aren’t eating enough to recover.
      b) Your training volume is too high.
      The former is easily determined because you will be losing weight too fast.
      2. By starvation mode you’re actually referring to metabolic adaptation, which is a gradual thing rather than an on/off switch. It is not entirely avoidable, but cycling carbs can help. Some theory in the article, Why is Leangains So Effective, and more on the subject of metabolic adaptation in, here.

      • With regards to 1. I think you are right, I have just read more about your training advice, I had been doing the diet in isolation. My training had consisted on 3 x a week on specific body parts. I will switch this up to total body. I have also only recently been able to train heavy again following shoulder surgery 6 months back, the increased weight would again lead to soreness.

        RE point 2. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for taking the time to reply and keep up the good work.

        Ryan

  90. Andrew, Brilliant Blog.

    have you got any tips on consuming/preparing meals in order to achieve macros for each day?
    My worry, is trying to plan 180g of protein each day etc, so you cook up a batch of chicken and then create meals for each days etc?

    • Graham, thanks for the question. Everyone’s going to have their own way of doing things which will depend on cooking style and time allowance. I don’t like cooking multiple days worth of food in advance because I find the flavour diminishes. It’s really up to you on what compromise works best for you though. On days where I’m in a rush, I’d put some chicken in the pan, go shower, turn the chicken/pork and throw in some vegetables, put a lid on it to get a slight steam/fry effect, then by the time I’m ready to leave for the train I’d have my lunch pretty much ready to go. Double it for dinner.
      Use a rice cooker and time it so it’s ready for when you wake if you’re stretched for time.

      • I like to do a big batch off food on a sunday and wednesday. I dunno if you would be keen on doing it, but would love a post about preparing food reaching macros for each day andy.

        On a side note, love the re design to the site.

  91. Hi Andy,

    When following lean gains protocol is it a 100% necessity to get an absolute marco bread down? Would I see significant fat loss if I kept to just lean meats, veggies, lower carb intake etc w/out knowing the exact macros??

    • Hi Chandler. 100% compliance isn’t necessary for success.
      If you stick to that, you’ll drop down your fats too far, which has repercussions described above. Better to have a ballpark idea.

  92. Andy!

    Could you clarify this research’s result when comparing 2x-RDA and 3x-RDA of protein consumption? From what I understand, the conclusion was that 2x-RDA was better, and 3x-RDA had no advantages comparing to 2x-RDA, but I do not have enough knowledge to understand everything they say.

    This is the study: http://ge.tt/2xiystk/v/0

    I’m eating 3g/kg of protein, but after this study maybe i would eat less. Brad Pilon’s arguments always echoed in my head, hahahhaha.

    Thanks!

    • Rodrigo, thanks for the question.
      When considering recommendations, whether that be training, diet, or otherwise, it’s important to look at the bulk of the research available and then draw, rather then just choosing one study. To do so would be what’s known in the industry as, “cherry picking”.

      We have a very ride range of evidence, and recommendations vary depending on study and circumstance: surplus, maintenance or deficit energy intake.

      When in a deficit, protein needs are higher – the agreement on that is universal. The range seems to be from 1.5g/kgLBM through to 2.5g/kgLBM. I go with the latter because muscle maintenance is important and I like to be conservative, furthermore higher protein levels lead to greater satiety (and have higher TEF).

      When at maintenance the requirements will be less.
      When in a surplus the requirements will be less, however how much less is optimal to support muscle growth is still up for debate, so I tend to leave it at the same level.
      The only circumstances where we think an even higher protein intake level would be beneficial for muscle growth is if drugs are used. (Steroids allow for greater rate of muscle protein synthesis.)

      Does that answer your question?

      • Yes, it does!

        So, this rearch’s results says that there’s no benefits consuming more than 2x-RDA? I don’t understand all they say about it (the technical terms about fisiology and what they mean).

        Do you know any study that compares that levels of protein intake and show another result, that consuming about 2,5g/kg have benefits when comparing to 1,8g/kg?

        Thanks for your patience. Your answer is great,

        • I could go looking through the research Rodrigo, but as it’s more out of your own personal academic curiosity rather than practical relevance to your own physique change (which is what the comments are for – to help people make the change), I decline.

  93. Hi Andy,

    i started leangains for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Im a bit confused on how to set my caloric intake. Now i got a kind of 4pack abs, with some stubborn bodyfat in the lower part as well as in lower back. I guess im around 10% bf give or take.

    My weight is constant at 72kg (174cm height) since a couple a weeks. I started with 2200-1800 (Tdays-Rdays) the first week and then changed in 2400-1800 the week next. My tdee is something around 2000-2100. I train 4xweek.

    Now im a bit confused on how to going on. Probably i should go for a cut (2200-1500?) for 2-3 weeks and then start with a slow bulking? Whats your suggestion?

    Thanks man love this site

    • Alberto, thanks for the comment. If you’ve only been doing it for two weeks then my first suggestion is to wait a couple more. Once I’ve set things up for someone I don’t attempt to look into the data for 4 weeks, too many things that can go on. So just be patient, make sure you’re tracking things as I suggest in the Diet progress tracking guide, then come back here if you’re stuck still.

  94. Hi andy, Im 19 year old female, 145 pounds 5’6 and about 18-20% body fat, i want to cut up a little more. I have good definiton already but again want to shredd up a little.

    do i calculate all of this for me or are these numbers and equations more for men.
    i came out with 125P 30F and hat left me with a crazy 301C on training days. thats crazy,
    let me know what you think.

    thanks so much :)

  95. Hey Andy!

    awesome website ! i am confused however on how i should structure my diet?

    im 270lbs at around 33 %bf… and if i worked out the 3 days a week with weights i would probably do some form of cardio between those days.

    according to what i got calculation wise i should be intaking 3312cal???! that sounds crazy!

    and i dont fully understand how to calculate my macros either. from what i gathered i got 205g protein, 280g carbs, and 95g fat??

    can you please just help me out to figure out my cals and macros?? i stink at mathematical formulas.

    • CJ, I don’t know your height and lifting history, but unless you are build like the hulk under the fat (and I do truly mean some serious lifting experience) you’ve calculated your body fat wrong.
      I have to decline for the latter. Please read the sentences in bolded red.

  96. Hi Andy,

    Love your very informative site!

    I am just confused about one thing here – when calculating your macros, the steps are to calculate your BMR then adjust for activity… then you have your overall calorie expenditure,OK got that.
    However I’m confused about where its written to increase your this calorie amount by 20 % (for body re-comp) on training days… isn’t this already incorporated in the overall number when you adjust your BMR by the activity level?

    I am sure you have something for me to read about this, thank you for your help!!

    Mary

  97. Hello Andy!

    I tried doing my own research but google didn’t provide any useful answers to my (rather specific) question.

    I will starting a slow bulk right after my diet break and the guide lines are +40/-10%. My question is:

    Could there be any benefits to taking Yohimbine HCL on rest days (the -10% days) considering I will be fasted and there will be a caloric deficit?

    I understand Yohimbine works better for stubborn fatloss which is something I would love to see go away (even if it is slowly) and requires some sort of cardio, but considering I work as a bike messenger in the mornings I think I’d get my cardio from there! That way (I guess) I would be minimizing the fat gain or even losing stubborn fat whilst bulking!

    Anyway thanks!

    • Forgot to add! In any case, would Yohimbine have a better result with a Body Recomp +20/-20%?

      I ask because when I finished my cut I noticed I had less muscle than I thought and I’d love to pack some more and my options now are a recomp or slow bulk.

      Whichever gives me less of a fat gain is the definite winner!

    • Luis, thanks for the question.
      Likely none for both a bulk and recomp. If you wish to read up on this then consider Lyle McDonald’s The Stubborn Fat Solution.

  98. Hi Andy .. I’m a type 1 diabetic on insulin , I seem to struggle with reaching single number fat percentage currently stuck at 12% and want to go down to half that at least , I know my metabolism is dysfunctional due me being a diabetic .. But have you had experience with people like me? I do try to fit my macros in but seem to hit sticking points all the time !

  99. I’ve been following Leangains for several years now but just recently came across your site. I was pretty psyched that I did because up until then I was never quite sure how to calculate the exact macros that I needed; I just sort of guessed. I ate clean and had more carbs on workout days and more fat on rest days. Even though this approach has worked pretty well (I’m pretty consistently around 10% bf), I’ve always wanted to get down to around 7%, so I decided that now that I had the exact ratios, I would give it a shot. And since I was, I also decided that I would change up my workouts to Martin’s recommended 3-day split using RPT. This was partly because I wanted to follow the protocol exactly, but also because over the past 6+ months I had stopped seeing strength gains in my bench, deadlift, and push press, which I thought might be due to not enough rest, as my workout load was pretty high – here’s a typical week before the switch:

    - 3 days of: SEALFIT-style workouts
    - 1 day of: active recovery (slow, 5 or 6 mile run)
    - 2 days of: SEALFIT-style workouts
    - 1 day of: rest
    * The SEALFIT-style workouts contained a strength portion, muscle-endurance portion, metcon portion, and then some sprints or a short run (these workouts were anywhere from 60-90 minutes).

    So I’ve been on the new program, using the “cut” macros (+10/-30), for about 5 weeks now and have definitely noticed some strength gains. However, after what appeared to be some initial success in terms of dropping bf, I seem to not only have stalled, but added back on the little I had lost. I used a very conservative number for my BMR, which has my rest day calories down around 1500kcal, so I don’t think I’m overeating. And while I do have a little trouble with staying below my fat macro, it still seems low compared to what I see other’s using (never above 50g), so I figured I had some wiggle room there.

    I know that there can be fluctuations/stalls, but having been using Leangains for so long now, I thought I would see more progress after 5 weeks. What I’m wondering is whether you think I should just stick with it – that the cut is just going to take longer or whether I should maybe tweak my macros? Is it possible I’m not eating enough?? Second, I’m a little concerned about losing the metcon I’ve built up with SEALFIT, so if I wanted to add in some sprints or the like on my rest days, how would you suggest I adjust my kcals and macros to compensate for the extra work, without jeopardizing the cut?

    Thanks for the help. I really appreciate all the information that you’ve provided here.

    • Adam, I appreciate the comment. Clearly you show a lot of respect for my expertise given the extent of the comment. But I can’t answer without more information, and that’s beyond the scope of the function of the comments. If you have a specific question then fire away. If it needs more context, then I have to decline.

      • Sure Andy, I understand. I’ll contact you directly about your consultation services to see about setting something up. In the meantime, I guess my specific questions would be:

        1. When calculating macros… after you have your BMR, do you adjust for activity for each individual day or more as an average for the week? In other words, are your training day macros based on a higher number of total kcals than your rest days, or are you always starting with the same number?

        2. Strictly to maintain conditioning, if I were to add in some incline treadmill sprints on my rest days, say 2 rounds of tabatas (so a total of 16 20-sec sprints with 10-sec of rest in between), should I still treat it as a rest day (i.e. higher fat, lower carbs) but just add in some additional carbs to accommodate for the extra activity)?

        Thanks again for the help.

        • Adam, thanks.
          1. See step 4. If this question is more pertaining to other activity on top then either take this into account with the multiplier, or adjust on a per activity basis. But beware of overestimating calorie expenditure.
          2. Do you have a specific reason to need to maintain conditioning while attempting to cut? If not then drop this extra work. Conditioning is something that comes and goes quickly, because it’s brought about through chemical adaptations (as opposed to structural, like with building muscle, which takes time). Focus on your cut, then add in the conditioning work after. It’s a classic mistake to attempt to leave everything the same when under different energy intake conditions.

          • I get it now… the +10% is for the activity of training. Not sure why that wasn’t sinking in before.

            As for the conditioning, no reason other than I like to take a “functional” approach to fitness – but I hear what you’re saying so I’ll lay off the conditioning until I finish the cut.

            Thanks again for the help and quick replies!

  100. Hi Andy,

    Your website is brilliant and has given me a lot of assistance when following leangains/IF.

    Was wondering if you could help me with my macros.

    I have been following a plan for around 12weeks now, within the first month I had lost 1 stone in weight but for the remaining 8 weeks my weight has remained the same and only flucatated by 2/3 lbs either way.

    I have also been tracking my measurements in this period and they have been coming down slowly over the whole 12 weeks even though my weight has remained.

    Should I now be looking to recalculate my macros to get the weight loss/cut back on track?

    I still have a fair amount of fat to get rid of which is why I think a recalc may help.

    Cheers

    Jamie

  101. I’ve been following along trying to calculate my own macros. I am able to follow everything until the fat… There are no estimates for females. Can you please advise on a range? I know this will depend on each individual, but is there a range to begin? I am willing to experiment and make changes as necessary but need some kind of starting point. I have searched the web including this and other sites and just can’t seem to locate the information.

  102. Andy,

    Very informative article. Thank you. I don’t understand where you get the +10% on training -35% on rest calorie intake levels for a cut. Why is this more effective than just eating a consistent calorie deficit during the 8 hour feeding window, like -15% on training days and -35% on rest days. I’m 205lb, 24% body fat, and have a maintenance calorie intake of 2500 calories a day.

    With your cut plan (+10% on train, -35% on rest), my net calorie deficit would be 2800 calories a week, less than a pound. Why is this better than doing 1500 calories a day on rest days and more like 1750 calories on training days and losing close to 2lbs a week?

    My goal is to lose about 25lbs of fat and get down to about 10% body fat. I feel like this would take almost a year to do with your cut plan. What are the negative impacts of a too high calorie deficit?

    Thanks!

  103. Hi mate,

    I have calculated the macros that I need for my rest days and training days. I am going to be doing a “cut” I play Sunday league football and train once a week and play once a week. should I be consuming rest day calories or training day calories on these football days?

    Many Thanks

    Edy

  104. Thanks so much for the quick reply Andy! I’ve read pretty much every article on your site now and am trying to implement it to the best of my ability. I had one last question about my diet:

    I read Martin’s list of supplements but still can’t decide if I should be using creatine. As a vegetarian, I don’t find much creatine in my foods otherwise and have been using it for a while on and off while training. I don’t like the water retention but am willing to accept that if it’s really going to help with the muscle retention/growth during the cut. As everyone else, of course I’m looking to have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time but have a newfound appreciation for patience from your article.

    The only other workout supplements I’ll be using are protein powders. Would really appreciate some clarity/finality on creatine.

    Thanks again man; it’s been less than a week with IF for me and I already feel positive about the program. You’re a real life-saver.

    Kartik

  105. Pingback: Leangains Macro calculation: | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  106. Hi Andy. Week 5 on my lean gains cut and I’m seeing major changes, clothes feeling looser and looking more muscular due to the fat loss, so thanks!

    Two questions for you:

    1) How will the macro calculations for females differ, particularly the fat consumption? (Assuming we’re talking about a calorie deficit/lean gains cut).

    2) You mention carb stores being stored as fatty tissue due to spill over on a calorie surplus day. I read that the novo lipogenesis process is quite rare and would only occur if you consumed an excessive amount of carbs (500g+). What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks,
    Ahmet

    • Ahmet, thanks for the comment.
      1. Not in any way that I can generalise.
      2. Any energy surplus will lead to fat storage in the long run. One day out of many may be different, but isn’t really applicable in this context, so may as well forget it.

      • Thanks Andy. Question 1 was due to major interest from female colleagues/friends that would like to try leangains.

  107. Hey Andy,

    Thanks for the article, it’s very informative. I’m looking to start the Leangains program and am using your guides extensively.

    I’m 6’0″ 170 lbs and plan to start with the “cut” layout as you suggested. My only question/issue is that I’m a vegetarian so a lot of my protein comes from legumes, beans, etc. With powders and eggs I’m able to get a good 40-40-20 ratio so the training day breakup should be fine. But on rest days I can’t get enough protein with only ~40g carbs.

    What would you suggest in this situation? Maybe lowering the fat cals on the rest day and sticking with more carbs?

    • Kartik, thanks for the comment. You’ll have to eat more carbs and drop protein down – perhaps sacrifice some fats to do that, or use protein powders with less carbs in them.

  108. Hey Andy,

    Hope you are well mate.

    I was discussing the whole IF concept and cutting/slow bulking with a friend, when I was asked. “At what point do you increase the carbs on your rest days following a cut. For example, if you completed a cut an wanted to start a recomp, obviously you would increase your carbs on training days gradually. However, when do you know when to increase them on the rest days?

    Cheers
    Andrew

    • Andy, thanks for the comment. Hmm, increase the fats first so that… difficult to give set rules here for everyone but… perhaps 0.5g/kg of total body weight (presuming they are now ~10% bf), and then increase the carbs from there. There can be interplay between the fats and carbs based on activities and mood rather than a set rule.

  109. Hi Andy,

    Fantastic guide. Since college, I’ve always been one of those guys who has been in the gym 5-6 days out of the week. While I’m active and maintain a leaner build, the six pack eludes me! This guide made it super easy to figure out my nutritional needs, which has always been the part I could not figure out. Here are my stats, let me know if there’s anything I should change:

    Asian-American Male, 27 yrs, 5’10″ (177.8cm), currently 153 lbs (69.4k), ~12% BF. Calculated my BMR but seemed to have misplaced the sticky… First time on Leangains so going for a cut to figure it out (+10/-30):

    Training days (total 2274 kcals):
    C: 295.26g (1181.04 kcals)
    P (x3): 183.24g (732.96 kcals)
    F: 40g (360 kcals)

    Rest days (total 1147 kcals):
    C: 43.51g (174.04 kcals)
    P (x3): 183.24g (732.96 kcals)
    F: 60g (540 kcals)

    Planning to spec out my 3 day split RPT workout to go along with this. Thoughts? Feedback? Everything and anything is appreciated! Keep up the great work!

    Thanks,
    Clayton

  110. I have a diet question concerning calories. I have a lot of weight to loose. I’m 5’11″,,,264 and approx 30% bf. If I use your approach of rotating high calorie and low calorie days, would I be ok to rotate between a 1000 cal and 1500 cal days? Or do you think this would stall my metabolism??
    Thanks
    RB

    • Bob, thanks for the question. Ok firstly, “stall your metabolism” – perhaps you’re misunderstanding the concept. You need a deficit to lose fat, and it’s best to go with the minimum deficit that you can to get your target rate of fat loss per week (shoot for around 1.5lbs). So start off conservatively and then adjust downwards as necessary. This ensures helps keep metabolic adaptations low. Many people make the mistake of starting with too extreme of a deficit and then running out of places to cut calories from. The post, “Why You Need To Make Adjustments as You Diet” should explain that for you if you wish to read more.

  111. Hi Andy,

    I’m cutting and in order to minimize muscle loss I set up my protein intake at 2,5 kg/lbw (140 g of protein), but 40 g of that amount comes from vegetables. Do you see it as problematic during cut (more muscle loss?)

    thank you for any insight ;)

    Dave

  112. Hi Andy,

    Regarding Step 3:

    I read this over for several times but I cannot make sense out of it:

    “If you have training experience unless you have striking abs already, I highly advise you to go for a cut first, as starting a ‘slow-bulk’ when ‘abs lean’ gives you significant hormonal advantages for gaining muscle with minimal fat. It also means you can eat a lot more when slow-bulking and yet still keep your abs, which is fun. This means that many people reading this should go for a ‘cut’.”

    So you should go for a cut first because slow bulk will give you significant hormonal advantages for gaining muscle with minimal fat? Isn’t that beneficial then?

    Can you explain further about cutting, slow-bulking and body recomposition in general though?

      • Much appreciated for the reply Andy. Will start IF/Leangains combo in September. Will update you on how it goes. Cheers!

  113. Hi Andy, I love this site and I’m really grateful to you for putting it together. Iv learned so much and its killed off a lot of myths that are out there that many need to realise are wrong!!

    My question is regarding the set up of the cutting diet- With it being cycled as in surplus day (training day) then deficit day (rest days) will this not mean that on the rest days we are essentially just burning off the excess from the previous day and therefore not burning any original fat already there? Many carb/calories cycle diets seem to suggest several days of low carbs then a reefed, suggesting that its the several low days that help burn fat then a reefed is used once depleted enough after the low days so the extra carbs would go into the muscle stores and reset leptin meaning fat loss starts again when returning to low carbs the following day. I would really value your opinion on this and also the fact that the Reverse Pyramid style training along with this diet is mainly strength based so therefore would this mean it wouldn’t really deplete any carbs stores due to it not being very high volume/pump style training?

    Thank you in advance

    David

    • Hi David.
      …will this not mean that on the rest days we are essentially just burning off the excess from the previous day and therefore not burning any original fat already there?
      1. No, have a re-read and you’ll see that there is a +10/-30 proposed split across the days, so there will be a weekly deficit.
      2. There is no need to deplete glycogen stores. If something more complicated is what you’re after, then check our Lyle McDonald’s The Ultimate Diet 2.0. This site is about keeping things simple but still getting good results.

  114. Andy,
    In refrence to a slow bulk, in the section above you state:
    “Your numbers might look something like 1800kCal and 2800kCal. (+40%/-10%kCal)”
    with the example showing training day’s calories at 1800 and rest day calories at 2800; I assume that this was merely a mistake on your part as in every every example prior there is a deficit on rest days. Is this the case or is it slightly different for a slow bulk?
    Thanks in advance!

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

  116. yo buddy – started eating back at maintenance for a slow bulk – my question to you is.. I really don’t mind carb cycling for cutting, and I’ve read through the guide several times to just check but couldn’t really decide from the info of whats there..

    basically, for bulking i’d like to eat carbs everyday, but i don’t mind eating less food so, keep calorie cycling ~ can i use a 50/50 carb/fat split for both days during a slow bulk?

    Thanks matey!

    • Scrap that 50/50 part – I mean more like..

      50/50 on rest days, and 75/25 workout days..

      example: 143g carb, 64g fat ~ rest day
      357g carb, 53g fat ~ workout day

      or would it be too carb heavy? Just can’t handle not having carbs anymore :D

      • I don’t work in ratios but the principles are right, i.e. You don’t have to keep carbs low on a rest day when bulking – it just becomes a necessity when cutting because of fat and protein intake requirements.

  117. Hi Andy – Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these questions. You’ll have to forgive me if you’ve already answered a similar question: I am used to working out in the morning on an empty stomach, and I typically have a whey protein shake directly after my training (weights MWF and Running TThS). Now, having said that, it is very difficult for me to shift my workout timing to accommodate this diet, verbatim, but I understand there are ways to work around the feeding window. Would it be OKAY to keep the window between 12-8, while still having just the protein shake directly after the workout? How much will this affect my results?

  118. Hi Andy, what should the macro split be for a lean bulk? I see here you advise a +40/-10 macro split but on another article, you recommend a +30/-10 macro split. Which would be better? I am trying to minimize fat gain as much as possible but also trying to maximize potential lean muscle gain. Should i go with the +40 on training day or +30?

  119. Andy,
    For carbs on rest days, do you recommend those 30g come from glucose dominant sources? I love my dairy, and I’ve been eating 30g of carbs in cottage cheese/greek yogurt on my rest days. Is this enough?

  120. Andy,

    When tracking carbs, do you advocate tracking total carbs or net carbs (total carbs – carbs from fiber)?

  121. Hi Andy

    Based on figures above, I’m looking at a cut based on the following. Can you check over to make sure there’s no glaring mistakes:

    Total Cals:
    1. 1875 Maintenance Cals
    2. 2050 Calories training day
    3. 1310 Calories rest day

    Protein intake:
    165g Protein per Day = 660 cals from protein

    Fat intake:
    70g Fat rest day = 630 cals
    40g Fat Training Day = 360 cals

    Carb intake:
    15g carbs rest day = 60 cals
    257.5g carbs rest days = 1030 cals

    Training Days
    32% P – 50% C – 18% F

    Rest Days
    50% P – 2% C – 48% F

    Thanks in advance.

  122. Hey Andy, I have a question for you.
    I want to do +20 / -20 recomp, but im abit worried about macro’s. I go out sometimes alot and eat in restaurants, so is it okay if sometimes ill hit the calorie targets on my training days but the fat will be higher / carbs lower ? How fat affects us on training days, when calories are in surplus?

  123. Hello Andy,

    I’ve read the FAQ on cheat days, and I was just wondering your thoughts about specific macros.

    For instance, I have a social gathering to go to on a rest day (Thursday), and I know I’ll be able to keep my calories below maintenance for the day, but my macro’s will be messed up. I.e. I’ll probably eating moderate fat, higher carb (beer is the only alcohol source available, or I’d choose wine), high protein.

    For instances such as this, the next day being a workout day, should I still try and hit my macros regularly for that day? Or should I alter them in some manner since I had more carbs than I was supposed to the day before? Thanks.

  124. excellent information. I have already turned in a consult request and look forward to starting my journey. At 46 years old, I am overdue for a good set of visible abs!!

  125. Pingback: Is it better to forget about body fat percentage? | RippedBody.jp

  126. Hello Andy, I’m not entirely sure what my body fat percentage is and I’m overweight so picking a high percentage gives me an overestimated BMR. Would you say, in the most simplest of terms, as long as I’m losing inches without losing strength in my lifts, my current macros are more or less where they should be? Thanks for the guide, I used Martin Berkhan’s site as a foundation and your site as a more detailed look into the IF lifestyle.

  127. Andy,
    You usually set clients up with a 3 days/week training routine, thus the macros resemble this. I have wanted to switch to a 4 days/week template to get some more volume in now that I am not cutting, but I had a question about recalculating macros. I understand that the goal is to keep the weekly cals roughly the same, so I dropped carbs on T day slightly and then raised R day carbs up a little. I kept fat the same on days, as I have been doing fine with them in the past. And then to make up the difference I raised the protein on T day so that I had equal protein on each day. The weekly intakes was the same. I planned to start with this and adjust weekly as you have taught me from our working together! (That is why it was so great to work with you…12 weeks turn into knowing how to track indefinitely!) Thanks

    Marc

    • As you are increasing the volume of your training and also switching from a cut to a bulk, it’s probably worth just keeping your macros as they are. You’re going to gradually adjust your macro intake upwards anyway so this could be the first step.

  128. Hey Andy,

    I want to do ‘Body-recomp’ but I don’t know how to work my bike commute into it. I bike to work (800 cal round trip) on my rest days, and drive on weight training days.

    Calorie needs:
    1778 cal BMR + 800 cal biking (Mon, Wed, Fri)
    1778 cal BMR + 200 cal weight training (Sun, Tue, Thu)

    Should I eat the BMR x 0.80 (20% less) + 800cal; or should I eat (BMR + 800cal) x 0.80 then move that 20% to the weight days? Also should the extra calories be in the macro ratio, or just extra carbs?

    Great guide, thanks man.

    • The idea is to maintain the same deficit you would have if you didn’t have the activity in the first place.
      Extra carbs would work just fine. Be careful to overestimate energy expenditure though.

  129. Great work,one day this form of eating will not be considered the norm instead of certain journo types calling it a fad.I have been on IF for a few months but did not dial in on the calorie/protein/fat/carb breakdown,i think i will give this a go as i really need to get a lot leaner.

  130. That was a great read, thank you for this. I am a rugby player, in pretty decent shape, but have never been ‘untensed 6 pack abs’ cut. As such I am going with the cut option.

    I shall be doing weights 3 days a week and cardio 3 days a week. I have two complete rest days. On one of the days I combine weights in the day with rugby in the evening…this is 100% a train day. I planned to have two other train days on the days I do weights.

    For the 2 days I do cardio (through rugby training) am I ok to treat these as rest days from a diet point of view?

    I am wary that if I treat cardio days as training days, then I will have 5 training days and 2 rest days….leading to more calories and in theory weight gain. If cardio days can count as a rest day then that is great.

    • Yes, you’ll want to treat the rugby days as rest days Ryan. As you’re cutting you may not want to make adjustments for these activities and just take the extra calorie burn. If you really find your energy dragging then increase your carb intake on a per session basis. Any source is fine.

  131. Great article man! I have one question though. Have you heard about the optimal protein intake of 0.82g/lb of bodyweight? Would like to hear your thoughts regarding this. :)

    • My thoughts on protein intake are in the article above that’s what the science supports, and is a conservative setting. If you’re looking for a person to nitpick over exacting intakes comparing different studies then this isn’t the place, and I’m not your dude.

  132. Quick question Andy! I would really value your input on this. I don’t like to throw people under the bus so I will just say that I hired a TOP coach and it cost me 350. I am pissed because I don’t like how hes training me. I am 6’1 230. I have about 7 yrs of experience working out and wanted to lose weight. Long story short he put me on 260p/245c/55f. I lost like 5lbs in a week and a half and the guy lowers my carbs more to 220. He wants me to do a 5 day split and do 2 miss sessions and 2 HIIT sessions. I feel like hes training me like im a friggin pro steroided bodybuilder when im a NATTY. It is simply too much volume in training and when I state this he calls me lazy and tells me to do it if i want results. I’ve always trained 3 days and have gotten great results/strength for a natty. Am i being a little girl or is this guy out of line? Thanks! love your website and all the help you give others. Keep at it!

    • I can’t be expected to comment on another coaches specific recommendation for yourself, I don’t know you and it would be foolish to for me to assume to know his/her reasons. You hired them presumably because of their reputation. Now, just because you don’t understand their recommendation at the moment, doesn’t mean it won’t give you the results you both (presumably) had a discussion about. Do first, question later when you have given them a chance.

  133. Hey Andy,
    If in a deficit on both rest and training days (-30 and -10 respectively), assuming protein is kept very high, do fats and carbs really matter in a constant deficit state? If so, what exactly are the carbs accomplishing? I understand why high carb/low fat on work out days at maintenance or above, but my understanding was that when in a deficit, you won’t be replenishing glycogen or upregulating any hormones. Thanks.

    • Firstly, don’t fall for the dogma that carbs aren’t a useful macronutrient. Put carbohydrate into wikipedia and have a read.
      Next, don’t be so quick to jump to extremes. Do so and you’ll have more difficulty keeping to your diet. It’s all about balance.

  134. How much fat would you recommend for a slow bulk? im currently on a leangains cut, however very light framed and sick of it! my abs are becoming visible, going to stay on the cut for another 4 weeks then move onto the slow bulk. My fat intake for my cut at the minute = 40g rest day and 25g training day

    • Hey Mitch
      Before Andy takes in and replies as well….

      Read the fat guidelines above ; fat is a really important macronutrient, mainly it having to do with testosterone production! Don’t avoid it and ramp up your numbers to roughly 50-60grams / training day and 70-80-90 per rest day ; it won’t hurt you, especially during a slow bulk.
      Fat = pure energy

    • “How much fat would you recommend for a slow bulk?”

      There is no single answer to this Mitch. You’ll want to increase your fats as you increase your overall energy intake based on progress.

  135. Hey Andy,

    Question about bulking. If you noticed enough fat gain during a bulk that you wanted to make a change, would you lower the training day carbs, the training day calories, or would you increase the rest day deficit?

    It hasn’t happened to me, but I want to be able to make intelligent decisions about my nutrition/training.

  136. HI Andy,

    This article was of great help. I am starting IF for the first time in the next week and it helps as it will soon coincide with the month of Ramadan for us. My question is how flexible is the 8 hour feeding window? reason i ask is, during ramadan we will be breaking our fast at 5pm and restarting our fast at around 5:00am which is like a 12 hour window. During the fast we aren’t allowed to have anything..no water..no coffee nothing. So is it ok to have a 12 hour feeding window assuming i follow your above protocol for calorie intake and keep my meals to 3 maximum? Or is that too much of a stretch..?

    • Hi Wali, from the Facebook page on the 7th of June:
      Thoughts on whether to attempt to diet over Ramadan: After working with several muslim clients and I know that ramadan can be tough. Success tends to hinge on the family and social situation at the end of the fasts. Those with lots of gatherings to attend with aunties feeding you will struggle. Those more in charge will be fine. – The main thing is to maintain the macro balance for the day.

      So, the number of meals you have doesn’t really matter. Seep does. So depending on sunset times it can often be best to train in the evening and just have one meal for the day.

      • Thanks Andy. Sunset is at 5:00pm here in Sydney, Australia so fairly early. Will have enough time to train and get some good sleep in. thanks for the response.

          • oh definitely…brothers are definitely doing it tough in some parts of the world. ive been thru 20 hour fasts and 4 hour eating windows!!

            Just to summarise..i am going to be training the hour before we break our fast and i will take BCAAs and protein shake upon breaking fasting which should be right after training…or you still recommend training after a meal or two at night?

  137. Hi Andy, thanks for the wealth of information you’ve provided here.

    I’m having an incredibly difficult time deciding on which method to use (slow bulk, cut, or body recomp). I’m 6′ 1″ (185 cm) and weigh 165 lbs (75 kg) at roughly 13-15% BF. It’s been a while since I regularly barbell trained so I feel that the noob gains and muscle memory would play very well into a body recomp.

    My main question is this: Have you seen any significant results via body recomp, or would I be better off cutting down to single digit BF and then slow bulking? I understand this is kind of vague and could just be a matter of personal preference, but I would greatly appreciate your opinion. I mostly want to know if you foresee someone with similar stats to mine having great success with a well executed body recomp, or if you would be more likely to prescribe a cut—->bulk.

    Sorry for the wall of text, and thank you for your response.

  138. Hey I was just wondering about your thoughts on dietary fiber. Should I subtract them from my carbs or include them in? I ask because I sometimes hit about 80 g of fiber in a day. Thanks

  139. Andy, great breakdown!
    I am just learning about all of this, your breakdown helped a lot.
    Question:
    - I have to eat 593g of carbs per day. If I am fasting until 12pm to eat my post workout large meal….this gives me 8 hours to ram in 593g of carbs….wow! I am afraid I will blow up! Does this sound right?
    - I am a natural pro bodybuilder 6’1 / 80kg Lean Mass, sitting right now at 9.85% body fat. I am a personal trainer, mostly doing program design/ I chose active factor 1.55 as I train 3 on 1 off.
    Thanks for any info you can throw my way
    Chad

  140. Hi Andy,
    How important is it to be super lean before starting a bulk (in terms of minimising fat gain during bulk)? Coming to the end of my 4-week cut and though lean (4-4.5 pack abs) not super lean. If important I’m thinking of extending the cut another two weeks. If not I’m keen to start long, slow bulk to increase my lifts and add muscle to my skinny frame (my lifts have stalled/gone back during cut).

  141. Pingback: Why You Need To Make Adjustments as You Diet | RippedBody.jp

  142. Hi Andy,
    It turned out that I need 400g carb on trainning day! That would equal to 1.4 kg if cooked of white rice??? How am I goin to hit that number?

  143. hi Andy,
    2 points & 3 questions

    Old client, still doing the IMF & still enjoy it and doing the numbers u recommended and still getting results.

    Whats your opinion on carb backloading by John Keifer.
    Basically the idea of having most of your carbs during the evening meal? But thats with a evening training session. Although he says morning training is still fine.
    But anyway for me thats not possible , i train fasted with the BCAA protocol and break fast for lunch.

    and also changing style of training to get results ?
    I have been doing the 5×5 for few months and been getting stronger but still want to get more size , i have done GVT 10×10 before. Would you recommend switching to this and see if i get better size results whilst i see the strength increases.

    I suppose its all due to tracking yourself and analysing.

  144. Hey Andy, i noticed i am not really staying full often these days. I am trying to readjust my macros in favor of protein because i was reading from a FAQ that Martin recommends protein intake anywhere from 2.5-3 grams per kg of bodyweight to stay full. Martin recommends such a high protein intake that it would interfere with carbs and fat intake which are also important. On training days, wouldn’t carbs be the priority since we are trying to boost leptin levels up? Would it really matter if i decrease some carbs and increase protein since i am already going to be in a caloric surplus so the carbs would be used to boost leptin levels or should i decrease the fats and increase protein instead since fats are not really prioritized on training days? I noticed that i although my carbs are high, i am still getting hungry the next day or i am just not feeling satiated often. I also took a diet break and i am still having this problem. Can increasing protein and decreasing fats on training days keep me more satiated? I am also getting hungry often during rest days to the point that i dread going into rest days. What would you suggest i do?

  145. Hey Andy!

    Just wanted to point out a small mistake, in Tom’s example of training day meal you wrote:

    “950kg of leanish meat/fish, 385g of rice and lots of green vegetables.”

    Doubt he can eat so much meat! Anyway this site is helping me alot so thanks anyway!

  146. Hey Andy. I’m starting a cut the leangains way. I’m coming off a Paleo-ish diet. Pretty low carb. I’m a 23 yo male weighing in at 185 at about 13% BF. (just did a bulk). I did all my numbers conservatively and I end up with a base calorie intake of 2,665. 2,925 on workout days and 1,985 on rest days. My Training day macros P200/F50/C385. Rest day P200/F90/C90. My question would be this: do you think going from minimal carbs a day to 385 would throw my body for a loop? And I’m also going from a 6 day a week training schedule to the 3 day standard.

    • “Do you think going from minimal carbs a day to 385 would throw my body for a loop?”
      Yes, most likely. You’ll want to increase your carb intake (while dropping down the relatively higher setting for your fat intake) gradually.

      • Sorry for the “break-in” – i was wondering, i basically did the same – came from Primal high-fat / high-protein/ low carb to the neccesary carbs of the LG protocols
        What would that “loop” imply?

        Thanks a lot

        • Weight gain, both fat and water. Issues with how you handle carbs leading to large swings in weight and possibly issues dropping weight. So increase your carb intake gradually.

  147. Hi Andy, just read about almost the site in the past few hours, awesome awesome stuff.
    My stats are as follows:

    Female
    24 yrs old
    148lbs
    5’7
    18% body fat
    TDEE: 2601

    I train hard at least 6 days a week and am looking to cut (in search of my obliques), mostly heavy isolated lifting with a day or two of cardio. My rest day calories are 1821 (138P/79C/106F), training days 2861 (138/433/64).. It seems I’d be blowing my calories out of the water if I stick to my 6 days. If I changed it to 4-5 days of training, how would you manipulate calories so I would still be in that cut phase without sacrificing lean muscle? Thanks a bunch.

  148. Hey Andy, I’m about to start the leangains diet with a cutting phase and I was curious as to how I should handle my calorie intake if I plan on working out 4-5 times out of the week. Ive read that people usually lift 3 times a week and rest 4 days with a +10/-30 calorie ratio. Would it work if I do +6/-60 with 5 lifting days or lift 4 days with a +7.5/-40 ratio? Also I wanted to ask if its ok to do ab circuits (like ab ripper x) on rest days or should I keep them confined to lifting days? Thanks a lot man, great website!

    • Don’t train 4-5 days a week when cutting. Don’t do ab circuits. You’re about to cut, your abs are either sufficiently built or they aren’t and there is nothing that you can do about it in a cut.

  149. If I wanted to change from a 3 day workout split to a 4 day workout split to get a little more volume during slow bulk, how would I manipulate the macros you gave me? I am pretty sure I would just have to rearrange macros to keep same balance throughout the week but I want to make sure. Would I just have to rearrange the carbs? For example, drop carbs a little on training day (since I would now have 4 T days a week) and make the weekly total the same? Would fat have to be manipulated on T and Rest days?

    Also, for some reason when I count everything it helps me stay on track a little better for the time being. I want to get back to simplified counting in the future, as I know it is better for adherence and less OCD :) but for now I want to track everything. Just to make sure, when counting everything the overall calories will be somewhere between 0.2 and 0.3 times more than the original macros you gave me at the start? (in other words if I counted everything to match the original macros it would be under).

    • Rearrange the macros to keep the same balance throughout the week. So yes, the carbs will need rearranging. Then adjust from there upwards or downwards depending on progress.

  150. Hey Andy,
    I used http://sareyko.net/leancalc
    5’9″, Female, 30% BF (WW scale), 175 lbs
    Sedimentary (desk job)
    BMR said 1587
    TDEE 1,904
    Rest 1333
    Training 2,095
    Om on P40/F30/C30

    I really need help with this. I keep getting stalled at 172lb, and then going right back up almost to 180lbs. How can I get past this point? My goal weight is 145, or at least 20% BF. I work out at least 3 days a week. I do reverse situps, leg extensions, leg press and now I think its arm press, each time I go to the gym the three days (just learning how to strength train). Along with that I do 30-60 min cardio on those days. If Im stuck home I do the elliptical, or I do hiit with a 10lb weighted ball or my 20lb sandbag or a dance game on xbox. Sometimes I add a weekend day with maybe a 6 mile walk. Also do 20 pushups and 80 squats(sandbag), in the am as well. I am not seeing any gains either :(

    Can you please critique my intake…if sedimentary was correct…how many calories I should be burning on training days? I use my HRM to track. Should I be eating some calories back when I exercise? Basically I use MyFitnessPal and I want to know to track the right way…I know TDEE calculates in my activity, so should my net calories include the burned calories from exercise? I need something that’s steady and will get me past this 172 hump and give me results.

    Thanks in advance.
    -Z

  151. Hi Andy,

    I’m a 23yr female, 110lbs and I do crossfit, I follow the 3 day training, 1 day off. I was just wondering how to calculate my macros for a 3 day training day program. I’m athletic, and don’t need to lose much weight. I want to try IF with the proper macros, but not sure if I can follow it with the amount of training days crossfit requires.

  152. Hey there andy,
    im 16 years old 169 pounds around 21 percent body fat. I just started leangains and i read that you should go by macros not calories. The thing is is that i dont know which foods to eat for fats and carbs, i know what to eat for proteins. What is the easiest way for me to calculate my macros for the proteins carbs and fats, and what foods do you reccommend? If it helps, i play high school football and lift 3 to 5 times a week. Thanks in advance.

  153. Hi Andy, much love to your page and your work! Appreciated! :)

    I have calculated my macros and started eating them. I train 4 times a week (Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1) and i love it. You recommend the 3 day/per week training, which gives you 3 surplus days and 4 deficits days. In my case that would be the opposite. So what would you recommend besides erasing a workout from my schedule?

    Thanks in advance, looking forward to your reply :)

    - Marko

  154. Pingback: How To Calculate Your Calories and Adjust Your Macronutrients | SimpLee Lean

  155. Hi Andy,

    In your post you specify 2.5g/kg LBM for protein intake. Then the fat you give approximate ranges for the average male, how would a woman get started with setting up initial macros? from what I can tell I can figure out protein by your recommendation, if i can get a good measure for fat then i can figure out carbs.

    thanks!
    stephanie

  156. Hey Andy!

    I have been fasting for about two months and I have lost roughly 15 lbs.
    However I do not see much difference in my physique. I have taken progress pictures and I look just the same. I have even asked others if I look like I have lost some weight but everyone says I look the same.
    So my question is how many lbs do I need to shed before I can see some changes with my body?

    Thanks.

    • Not Andy but I’m curious. Which training program are you doing and have you done any weightlifting program before? I’ve been on the body recomposition plan doing the 3 day RPT for about a month. I haven’t lost any weight but my physique has changed quite a bit.

      • I have been fasting for about two months and have been working out for around a month.
        Currently I am using the 3 day RPT program.
        I am mainly looking to lose weight and get in shape since I was slightly overweight.
        I used to workout for a couple months with Starting Strength but I stopped due to work.

  157. Hey Andy!
    First I would like to thank to for this page, it is just awesome! Everything is clear and easy to understand.

    I have also a one, small question to you – I’m 19 years-old man, 188 cm, 80-82 kilos, 16% of fat. My BMR 2000 kcal, activity x1,2 – I need 2400 kcal. That’s fine.

    I’ve choosen Body Recomposition (2900/1900 kcal) and I am eating these calories for 4 weeks, but I am loosing weight – I started from 82 kilos and after 4 weeks my weight is 79,8. Is it okay? I don’t see any changes in my body fat. I am afraid I will be skinny without ABS.

    Should I modify my macros? I am tall, and thin but I don’t have ABS, it’s hidden under fat on my stomach.

    Thanks in advance :)

    • Your question is very open ended and really depends on a few things.
      In terms of weight loss that isn’t too much for your age and skin elasticity level, especially when you consider you may have had some water weight losses initially. Whether you have enough muscle mass for your cut? That’s a subjective thing, and my person opinion isn’t something I can give in the comments.
      Have a read of this post. Your best bet is to just keep reading Michal.

  158. im a little lost on how to do the calc in step 5. i see the protein is 2.5g/kg of LBM. then you give guidance of 40-65g of fat for an average male but how does a female figure out fat?

    • I don’t have general guidelines for ladies yet. I know Alan Aragon tends to shot for 0.5g of fat per pound of target total body weight. Perhaps try that as the average.

  159. Hi Andy.

    Thanks for the article. I have one question…

    For the BMR calculation are we supposed to be using our Lean body mass or total body mass (I.e what the scales show)

    Thanks

  160. Andy,
    I know you have stated in the past how it’s best to count macros and not calories but is that still reccomended when you have reached your macros for a particular day and are still shy a few hundred calories? Also, what of the opposite when you are nearing your alloted calorie count and are shy macros, is it reccomended to exceed calories until numbers are reached?
    A little clarification on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Andy!

    • If you have reached your macros for the day then you cannot be short of a few hundred calories. Macros are a more detailed way of counting calories, basically where the calories are coming from. Do you see what I mean?

    • The macros are the most important thing, so if he sets it up right the it can work. Whether a recomp is suitable is another question though and depends on the individual.

  161. I had a very scary experience today with this. I was seated at desk, got real quick heart palpitations, and felt like I was going to pass out. CRAZY anxiety came on and I had to go walk outside to calm down. I ended up eating a banana and orange and it was odd b/c it was if my body was forcing me to do so. It’s to be noted that yesterday was a workout/carb day, and I did train legs. I’m on day 4 of IF and have been feeling fine, although sleep has sucked.

    Is this something that happens normally and will pass after my body acclimates?

      • Went to the Urgent Care last night, and the doctor actually snickered at me. They took vitals/etc, and said I was fine. He did tell me, “So you started an intermittent fasting diet, this happens the first week, a couple pieces of fruit fixes it, and you’re worried that something is wrong with you? He slapped me on the back and said I was 100% fine – blood sugar just went too low. He did say that the workout the night before may have pegged my metabolism to burn up more calories than a rest day, therefore using up more calories during the fast, hence my blood sugar crashing.

        So, if this happens to you, you’re probably ok. I do feel better that based on Andy’s advice, I went to the doctor just to be sure. It *was* kind of embarrassing though :)

          • Andy, does what the doc said make sense to you? I’m not asking you to question him per se, just that perhaps my blood sugar was super low, causing the anxiety and overall weirdness?

            • You’re asking me about the average person right? In which case then no there isn’t the low blood sugar, anxiety and overall weirdness. I cannot comment on your individual case though. What I can say though is,
              1. There is a 4-10 day adjustment period when people start skipping breakfast.
              2. Most people have no issues beyond this and actually feel better, more energetic. (See this post.)
              3. Some people can’t get along without breakfast, which is fine. Doesn’t make the entire method invalid. Just maintain the macro intake for the day.

  162. Thanks for simplifying everything in an easy to implement fashion.

    Just started a week ago and I’m running into a snag with calorie count conflicts. The rice I have (basmati) says it’s 36g carbs per 1/4 cup, but most websites have it around 40g per 1 cup.

    Could this be error in labeling or perhaps cooked vs. uncooked. Any insights are welcome. This disparity could mean significantly under or over consuming.

    • Never mind. I found out that it is, indeed, the difference between cooked and uncooked weights.

      A question regarding BMR though: I know you say not to sweat it too much, but I do have access to a “Bod Pod” which gives me a RMR at around 100kcal less than your formulas. Would you say to use this instead?

      • No. Stick with how you are and then adjust accordingly. Calculations are all fine and dandy but then large and unpredictable variances in NEAT mean that tracking and adjusting accordingly is the only way to do things.

        • Thanks for the reply. Do you have a criteria for when to adjust? No decrease in weight/ no change in appearance after a certain period of time?

  163. Andy,

    Quick question. When I calculate my macros, it looks like the easiest thing for me to do would be to keep both protein and fat the same on training and workout days, 207 grams of protein and around 65 grams of fat. On training days, I’d eat around 200 grams of carbs. On rest days, I’d eat around 50 grams. So, I’d be cycling carbs and thereby cycling calories, but fat remains constant. It would be relatively high fat for a workout day, and low fat for a rest day.

    The specifics of my macros aside, I was wondering whether I would be missing any benefits by not changing the amount of fat? Is it necessary to cycle the fat too, or in certain circumstances might it be appropriate to simply cycle the carbs and thereby the calories.

    [By the way, I mean this to be a general question about cycling calories, not a question about my specific macros, so I hope it doesn't violate the rule in red. And thank you for this website. It's an excellent resource.]

    • Oh, and a related follow up question… even though you cycle carbs and fat according to whether it is a training day or rest day, under certain circumstances (if you’re cutting a lot of calories on rest days and eating above maintenance on training days) could it sometimes turn out that you actually eat more grams of fat on training days than rest days? The fewer fat grams on rest days would comprise a much greater percentage of your total daily calories on that day, but because you are eating so many more calories on workout days, you still end up eating more total fat grams, even though these comprise a much smaller percentage of your total daily calories on your workout day, due to the addition of many carbs… I hope that question makes sense… Thanks for your help!

      • Andy,

        Thank you very much for your reply, but I think I was unclear. I was not trying to improve the program or change anything. Let me try to explain more clearly.

        When I calculated my macros according what you recommend (for a cut, -35% / +10%), it looked like my macros for rest days were roughly 207 grams protein, 70 grams fat, 50 grams carbs. For training days, it turned out to be 207 grams protein, 105 grams fat, and 250 grams carbs. On a cut, because I eat so many more calories on training days than rest days, I end up eating about 45 more grams of fat on training days, in addition to the 200 more grams of carbs. This gave me pause, because I know one should cycle fat and carbs.

        So, I was just wondering whether this is to be expected on a cut (since there is such a difference in total calories for rest days vs training days), or whether one of the rules is that one should always eat fewer grams of fat on training days, regardless of the situation. In my case, this would mean cutting out 50 more grams of fat from the training day and replacing it with another 100 grams of carbs or so (for a total of around 350, which seems like a lot) to make up the difference.

        I guess the basic question is: on a severe cut, might you actually end up eating more fat grams on training days than on rest days, because you are eating so many more total calories on training days? Or should you always be eating fewer grams of fat on training days (which might necessitate eating a VERY large number of carbs on training days)?

        Sorry for the confusion. Like I said, I don;t want to change anything; I just want to make sure I understand the basic recommendations. Thanks again for your help.

        • “I guess the basic question is: on a severe cut, might you actually end up eating more fat grams on training days than on rest days, because you are eating so many more total calories on training days?”

          Should is a strong term. Usually the way I personally set it up for people their fat intake will be higher on the rest days.

  164. Hi Andy! I was considering switching from the “early morning fasted training” protocol to the “One pre-workout meal” protocol. However, I have my first meal à 12:45 and training occurs around 5:30pm. Is it really preferable to have a second pre-workout meal around 4:00 or I could skip it? If it is OK to skip it, would I benefit from taking BCAAs prior to working out?

    Thank you and have a nice day!

  165. Great article! Just a thought I had. Could you speed up the fat burning results whilst still having strenght gains if you have a +20%/-30-35% approach or would that just lead to less archievements in either direction? I look fairly muscular (for female standards anyway) but don’t want to do a normal cut because I would like to regain my strenght I lost after being injured

    • Whether a recomp is possible depends on training status mainly. If you have significant lifting experience then it’s generally better to choose either a bulk or cut.

  166. Hi Andy
    I can only get to the gym to do a full body workout every 4-5 days, how could I arrange calories for a slow bulk? Should I keep the 10% deficit on rest days but increase the surplus on training days to put me in a weekly surplus or should I do something else??

    Thanks,
    Luke

    • Work to maintain the calorie balance for the week that you would have had if you’d been doing the standard set up. Then track and adjust upwards or downwards accordingly.

  167. So glad I came to this website. Friend of mine had great success using your methods and I wish to do the same. I plan on losing fat and I just finished calculating my macros. I came up with 2500 on Training days and 1900 on rest days( rounded up).

    I’m 6foot, 193lbs, 34inch waist, 14% bodyfat according to Katch-McArdle formula.

    2475( rounded up to 2500) on Training days
    Protein 190g
    Fats 45g
    Carbs 310g

    1925( rounded down to 1900) Rest days
    Protein 190g
    Fats 65
    Carbs 150

    I’m not sure if these calculation look right or not. I did this like 4 times to make sure and came up with the same numbers. I’m just curious about my rest day and training day carb intake. They seem kind of high on both days. Does this look right? Any feed back is greatly appreciated..

  168. After setting my macros/etc, I show a negative -410 calories available on rest days. I’m estimating myself at 40% fat at 254lbs. Following 30% reduction on rest days, I’m at 1690kcal, with 300g protein, and 100g fat. Did I miss something? Used the “Light activity multiplier” as well which puts training day cals at 2410kcal.

    Does this mean zero carbs on rest days? Yikes

  169. HI Andy! I have a question that- Is it possible to do a recomp while training 4-5 days a week? Would you in that case only eat the training day macros for the tough lifting days and the one or two that aren’t that hard, eat the resting day calories, or do I risk wasting muscle like that?
    Thanks!

    • I should clarify a bit I think- I am doing olympic weightlifting so I have training 5 days a week. Some weeks I only make it 4 times because of work constraints, but I don’t find all 5 days to be particularly taxing. 2-3 of the days are really tough and the others have become so-so with time. I would like to get less fat to go down in weight so I am wondering if you think it’s ok to do the two *easy* days in a caloric deficit, or if it would be better to only have 2-3 days in the caloric deficit and treat all 4-5 training days as training days as far as diet is concerned.
      Thanks again

  170. Hey Andy,

    I noticed you changed your grams of fat recommendations from 20-50g to 40g and above. Could you explain the reasoning behind this?

  171. Hello Andrew, :) – I’m still battling on with back injury, slightly depressing still – physio is fairly useless, doesn’t seem to be doing anything, but as my weight loss has “kind of” stalled, I have a question.

    Seeing as my workouts now don’t consist of squats/deadlifts (I still workout 3x a week), I replaced them with assistance work, for example on Deadlift day I do weighted chins, then Rear Delt Flyes, Bicep Curls etc – should I be lowering carbs BECAUSE of not doing DL/Squats alone? I was reading through this site as I do and I’m concerned maybe I’m consuming too many carbs (I take in around 200g on a training day) and I’m worried they’re not all getting used up because I’m not doing DL/Squat.

    Any thoughts? :)

    Richard

    • You need to get a concrete plan of action from your physio on how to rehab your back, within the context of your greater training plan, rather then randomly trying to work around it on your own. Only then can you consider adjusting the macros. I wouldn’t do it based on a change of training style though, that’s a little too pernickety for my liking.

      • Okay, well my physio she said in 3 weeks time there would be a difference, there is not, It’s kind of a scary thought as if its ever going to get better which I guess is why I do work around it, because I’m so close to my goal now that I don’t want to give in, and yeah, it probably can be done by diet alone now but I love lifting. I miss the feel of doing squats and deadlift because it really did feel like you’d done something harder than ever in the gym when performing them.

        I will stick to what I have got now, I’m not exactly going to get overweight ever again I’m in control of that so it’s not really an issue as such, just more of being so close to that final point, once again, thanks for the response.

  172. Great article. If I’m 5’7 148 lbs at 20-22%, that is, very skinny fat…

    Do you recommend a recomp or straight cut?
    If recomp, what +/- on training rest?

    How’s +30/-50 ?

  173. Hi Andy,
    Re: Protein Fluff as discussed on Martin’s and other other places around the web: I’m trying to make it as easily as possible with just casein and water. I would love to hear from you or from other readers detailed, specific info on mixers and/or blenders, model no., and wattage, as well as ingredients.

    I’ve successfully made thick puddings using both a blender and hand mixer I have, but not quite fluff so thick it doesn’t fall off the spoon. I’ve seen a few Youtube videos and read postings on various sites, including Martin’s, but they either 1) use somewhat expensive mixers Martin suggested ($100 on Amazon) 2) make a pudding like mine but not a fluff 3) seem to take a lot of effort.

    There must be some $20-$70 blenders or mixers that can make an excellent fluff, not pudding, from water and casein, and i would love any detailed input on what works. Thanks!

  174. Reblogged this on Angry Nutrition.com and commented:
    This is an excellent guide to figuring out how to eat to get to a specific goal. Leangains itself can be confusing at times, but this is an excellent straight forward way of figuring out what to stuff in your mouth!

  175. Andy,
    After my diet break should I continue with the original cutting macros you set up for me and use them until I stall and then begin to cut out carbs? Or should I begin to cut carbs in the amount you mentioned in the email? Thanks.

  176. Hi andy

    I did a bulk.. heck still doing it… gained a little fat too but gonna keep going a few more weeks, BUT my question is:

    after I reached my desired weight/muscle gains, what should I do to keep the new gained muscle, but to get rid of the also gained fat… should i get rid of the fat through recomp or a cut?

    After the bulk, keeping the newly gained muscle is offcourse priority nr 1

    Thanks in advance

    Chris

  177. Hello. I am currently 165 lbs. To keep my weight with my activity level i need 2800kcal. So i understand to do the cut first putting me around 3100kcals with 210 g of protein 50 g of fat and 450 g of carbs on training days and on rest days 1820kcals with 210 g of protein 75 grams of fat and 75 g of carbs. When its time to bulk, using the 2800kcals for the would mean 3920kcals which it think would be 210 g of protein still but what do i do as far as fat and carbs for the bulk? 3920 seems very high for calories being 165 pre cut and will be lower after the cut

    • I’d keep fat the same on training days (around 50 g) and up the carbs to meet requirements. On rest days it depends on what type of food you like, because ultimately you can eat whatever you want as long as you’re at the right calories and hit your protein. Most people prefer to take the opportunity to get some fat, but it’s completely up to you. From a health perspective it’s probably a good idea to increase fat as well and give your pancreas a rest from the carb binge the previous day! (My intuition, I’m not a doctor lol)

  178. Hey Andy!
    I’ve tried eating any food that fits my macro but I found that I tend to go over my BMR

  179. If I have been making good progress for the last two months on your earlier, lower fat estimations, do you recommend switching to your new, higher fat numbers?

    I’m getting close to being lean enough to start bulking, and since I’ve had so much success I hate to mess with it. The old adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    Thanks!

  180. Hi Andy, checking in again after quite some time. I’ve been on a slow bulk where I train around 7pm and my feeding window is 1 to 9pm. Where I eat 60% of my cals at around 8pm.

    I’ll be trying to start training fasted at 12nn and have my first meal at 1:30. How would you suggest I split my meal macros post workout?

  181. Andy,
    When we were working together you mentioned adding a few servings of fruit on my rest days because I started doing “cardio” for sport. I assume this would stay the same for the latter part of my cut? I am starting by cutting out 50g of carbs on training days and kept the 25g on rest days from fruit (plus the extra servings from what is burned from sport..if you think that is wise). Thanks

    Marc

    • Yes definitely. Doesn’t have to be fruit, as towards the end of a cut satiety becomes more of an issue, but it does make the counting a lot easier. Potatoes seem to be one of the best to keep people full.

  182. Hey Andy-

    I see you have revised the fat intake guidelines. Just had a question about it if you dont mind..

    You say “For a cut, the ‘average’ male client will typically have an intake somewhere in the ~40-65g range.” Is this guideline the same when bulking? Or would it need to be less?

    Cheers

  183. So the training/rest day fat guidelines have essentially gone from 30g/60g to around 60g/90g? This certainly allows for a bit more leeway on training days in terms of food choices and physical ability to consume the required amount of carbs – the extra 30g of fat equates to roughly 70g less carbs, or 400g of potato for instance.

    I’ve definitely noticed a drop off in libido after being on LeanGains for about 8 months now. I’ll be interested to see the effects that adding some fats back in will have.

    What prompted the revised fat figures, new research paper, or just personal experience?

  184. Hello Andy,
    About TDEE – you’ve mentioned in the article as well as in many comments – that it’s easy to overestimate it. I won’t ask for a figure of mine, but would like to get the hang of “theory” myself, so i can estimate it in a more appropriate manner for myself.
    Is there a better way to estimate the TDEE than the online calculators? I mean – overestimating would lead to 2 things in case of a body-recomp => strength gains + fat gains :)) – which is really not what we’re looking for here
    I feel like i’m eating a bit too much, i’ve used 1.5 as a multiplier, yet feel like adjusting a bit after a few weeks of tryouts….

    Thanks a lot

    • “Is there a better way to estimate the TDEE than the online calculators?”
      Yes, adjust your food so that your calorie intake is at a level where your weight does not change. Obviously this involves trial and error but is better in practice than any calculation.

  185. Hey Andy, first and foremost I would like to just thank you for all your knowledge and guides for IF. I did my macro nutrients to find out what my PCF (g) should be; however, I’m confused because you mention on training days to eat lean meats and rest days to lean/fattier cuts of meat, but if I’m trying to keep my Fats around 25g, then meats would only make my fats go up. My protein is suppose to be like 190g on training days, so I just had a question regarding that issue. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  186. im looking to start the cutting phase and im very overweight, is -35% the lowest you would recommend on rest days and how much of deficit would you say not to exceed on training days? so should i say eat my daily calories and just have training calories as my deficit? is it important to use the approx 3500cals per lb of fat rule?

    • Firstly, try being conservative with your macros. Then adjust based on your weight loss for the first 4 weeks. If obese you can tolerate more fat loss then per week that a leaner person. Try and limit it at ~2lbs a week to prevent skin sag issues.

  187. I will be following a cut very soon and you say very low fat on training days. Does that rule out my regular choice of 10 eggs w/ brown rice post workout? According to calorieking, an egg has 8g of fat… Am I stuck with chicken as being my only real source of lean protein? I do not have fish as a consistent source.

  188. Hi Andy, I am currently cutting on -30% / -10%, getting good results weekly, I am working out 2 days a week. I am planning to go back to MMA training soon, I would be training once a week on weekends for about 1h-2h, should I count it as my training day and it training day macros or rest days macros? As it will be similar to HIIT workout I think it supposed to be count as training day, however after some research, most people on IF, who trained in marial arts were counting it as rest day and they saw better results in fat loss (while on a cut) and didnt loose muscle, however I dont know how many days a week they have been working out and how much below maintance they have been eating. Maybe to treat it as a rest day I supposed to lift weight 3 times a week to be -10% high carbs 3 times not only two? What do you think?

    • In most cases I’d add in extra carbs on this day according to training intensity as an estimated calorie expenditure match, rather than just calling it a t-day/r-day.

  189. Andy, what’s your take on homemade yogurt made from adding a little bit of yogurt to a lot of milk? Supposedly, the resulting yogurt made has the same macros as the milk used, but the carbs are changed from lactose to galactose and lactic acid, which are very low glycemic, much lower than lactose. From a leangains cutting perspective, does this matter – i.e does cup of yogurt still have 13g of carbs(which is the amount per cup of milk) or does it now effectively have a lower amount?

    If so, my thought was 1) never mind the yogurt or 2) use non-fat milk to yield nonfat yogurt and keep it to training days only. However, If you think these low-glycemic carbs do not need to be counted in a 1-to-1 ratio with the original milk, then it might be something i could have on rest days. Curious about your thoughts on this as I’m exploring additional foods. Thanks.

  190. Hi Andy, your website has inspired me. Great work! I have done some calculations below for the ‘slow bulk’ but eating 2,080 kcal worth of carbs on a training day and 361kcal on a rest day is throwing me off scale. Do these calculations look ok?

    Also, this Is a stupid question but; would you intermittent fast with this? So get all the calories in within the 8 hour feed? Your website is confusing me a bit between ‘lean gains’ and intermittent fasting’

    LEAN GAINS;

    +40%=3,242
    -10%=2,085

    Protein = 130g = 520Kcal

    Fat = 30g training day = 270Kcal
    Fat = 50g Rest day = 450Kcal

    Training day carbs = 590g = 2,080
    Rest day carbs = 90g = 361

    Many thanks
    Mitch

  191. Hello Andy, when you said that a fat/obese person can get away with eating at a deficit everyday, does it mean it is detrimental to have a refeed every training session if you are not really considered lean? If i would estimate, i would say my body fat is around 14-16%. Am i allowed to eat at a surplus on training days 3x a week? My point of the question is basically is can everyone refeed 3 times a week if they are not overweight? I am a 5’9 male, weighing 155 pounds. Would really like to know what you think!

    • I am reading a lot of reddit forums and many people are saying you do not need to refeed more than once a week. They also practice leangains so i am getting very confused here because you suggest we should refeed every training day.

      • I believe that the refeed after every training session is to ensure that you fully replenish muscle glycogen stores, thereby giving yourself the best chance of hitting your max lifts, and therefore preserving lean muscle mass during your cut.

        Also, mentally, knowing you have 3 days in a week when you can have a decent meal makes you far less likely to go off the rails due to trying to diet to too much of an extreme. Marathon, not a sprint.

        You only have to look at the results on this site to know the system works if you stick to it.

        • Thats exactly what i was thinking! I put up a forum on reddit to ask people what they think about my macros on the leangains group and some were saying why not just do a straight deficit every day? I thought to myself that isint leangains, thats just regular dieting. They made me question if doing refeeds 3 times a week would be detrimental to my diet cause ive been on leangains for almost month now and really love eating at a surplus on workout days. Mentally it feels good and physically, i do not feel weak in the gym. Im guessing the people who are saying you do not need to refeed more than once a week are not really doing leangains.

          • That’s my understanding. The LeanGains cut is specifically designed to preserve strength and lean muscle mass whilst at a calorie deficit, which will not be possible as effectively with a straight-up daily deficit. Hope it goes well, I’m on to a bulk now!

      • I am by no means an expert on this subject, but if there is one thing I know, it’s that this type of lifestyle is meant to be simple. You need to train your brain to not over-think as much as you’re training your body to accept a different lifestyle. That being said, I think it’s outrageous that someone at 5’9, 155, and a max of 16% bf thinks themselves obese. You’re not obese champ – not even close. Also concerning re-feeds: these aren’t re-feeds, per say. They’re just feeds. You need to feed your body for what you’re doing to it, and if you’re trying to gain muscle, you need to eat more than your maintenance, plain and simple. You will still have a deficit at the end of the week if you’ve followed the plan, so you should still be burning fat and sparing muscle.

        • Thanks for the reply! i know i’m not obese but i was just trying to make an example of how an obese person can get away with eating at a surplus haha. I think by me saying “refeed” people are assuming i am eating a lot more than i should be on training days in the reddit forum.

  192. Pingback: Esempio della gestione dei Macro per un Leangains | Digiuno intermittente: tra miti e realtà.

  193. on Wikipedia, there’s a paragraph about BCAA that i find highly disturbing. it says:

    “Certain studies suggested a link between sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, specifically in athletes, and a diet enriched with BCAAs.[10] BCAAs, a common dietary supplement among athletes, cause cell hyper-excitability resembling that usually observed in ALS patients. The proposed underlying mechanism is that cell hyper-excitability results in increased calcium absorption by the cell and thus brings about cell death, specifically of neuronal cells which have particularly low calcium buffering capabilities.”

    Any thought on this topic?

    SOURCE: ~> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branched-chain_amino_acid

    original article referenced by Wikipedia: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3049458/

    • Do you have a link to the edited, peer-reviewed and published version of that? It says in the disclaimer at the bottom that at the time it was published as a draft version. I haven’t heard of this from either Layne Norton, Alan Aragon, or a couple of other places I would have expected this to come up on the web if it were an issue, so I would guess there is a study error somewhere, it didn’t pass review and the wikipedia link is old.

      • And both authors seem very reputable with over 100 publications on PubMed each. The main author, Marin Manuel, runs the department of Physiology of Northwestern University in Chicago. He can be contacted at marin.manuel@northwestern.edu for further info on the topic. He doesn’t definitely establish (yet) a link between BCAAs and ALS disease (would require more studies), but provides some clues on to why they could lead to it. As far as I’m concerned, as with GMOs I’ll apply the principle of precaution and will avoid them.

    • I personally ignore all veggies. I count other carbs. That’s not because they don’t count as such, it just makes it easier to count things overall and it doesn’t matter as long as I adjust everything* relatively. (*i.e. the main carbs sources eaten daily.) The systematic error means as long as I’ve fairly consistent I can ease up with the counting.

  194. I am currently cutting, training is RPT. On a day where I accidentally go over my target calories by say, 200-500 calories, should i just pay them back the next day or two by eating the equivalent amount UNDER my target calories while still respecting protein minimums?

  195. Hello, I’ve got a small question. Does taking creatine ‘normally’ differ from taking it while doing Leangains? I always train fasted around 6 p.m. so how should I take it? 5g after waking up and 5g after doing workout? And 5g on non- training days? Thanks a lot!

  196. Hey Andy, great article! i would like to know how lean you have to be to be able to eat at a surplus on workout days during a cut? Can a person at around 15-20 percent body fat eat at a slight surplus or would this make my results slower or should i just do a straight deficit?

  197. Hey Andy-

    I have ordered Stuart McRrobert’s New Brawn Series: Book 1, and think am going to do course 1 when the book arrives (cant wait to read it!).

    Being that it has you only lifting 2 days a week, I was wondering how to set up my macros??

    Say I’m doing a recomp, do I take the left over day of +20% and make it a rest day (-20%) and add those extra calories (40%) to my training days, or spread them out evenly throughout the other rest days??

    Im guessing the best option is to spread them out on my rest days, as adding them to my training days might make my intake a little high.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

      • Hi again Andy-

        The book has arrived! YAY!! :) Going to start a slow bulk (-10/+30), but had a couple of questions, if you had the time..

        1) I know it is best to just adjust to maintain the weekly balance, but is there any harm on eating the +30 on the 3 days as normal, even though I’m only working out on 2? (rather than adding to the -10 on rest days) or will this most likely cause un-necessary fat gain?

        2) Have you had any experience with Stuart’s 2 day routines? If so, how did you find them?

        I have to admit, I am very excited to see how only 2 days training effects me physically (and how it effects my ego haha)

        Thanks again!

        • If you’re working out on two, then it makes sense to have those as your surplus days. Just work to maintain the weekly balance by having less of a deficit on your off days.
          I haven’t.

  198. Hello,

    the amount of carbs you suggest seems insane to me as I naturally follow a high fat diet with moderate carbs 100-150 grams and sometimes pushing 200 grams… Can I succeed with a higher fat and lower carb approach?
    I find that when I try to eat lean I end up hating eating overall and just fail and it just seems unnatural. I hate seperating the white from eggs or eating leaner cuts of meat that just dont taste as good. I love cheese and full fat milk.
    I am relatively lean I would estimate by BF at 12-13% but not too much muscle. I really want to bulk without gaining too much fat. I still wanna see visibility of my abs. But I just cannot compromise my fat/carb ratio.

    Thank you. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Suleyman. Some people prefer higher fat diets and do well on those. However, there is a whole range of points between 40g and 200g of fat intake a day. It doesn’t have to be black and white like you’re trying to make out.

    • Hi Suleyman. Some people prefer higher fat diets and do well on those. However, there is a whole range of points between 40g and 200g of fat intake a day. It doesn’t have to be black and white like you’re trying to make out.

  199. Hello Andy, great articles! I have one question however. Once protein/fat macros are reached, how do you continue to eat carbs without going over your fat macros (most carb foods other than fruits add to your fat count)?? Many thanks in advance!

  200. Hi, on a bulk what is a fair amount of weight to gain per week/two weeks or whatever, like a rough ball park of what I should be aiming for, I’ve only ever done a cut and now I want to bulk but I am unsure how much weight I should be gaining, could you provide any insight to that? Thanks :)

  201. Hello Andy,
    I am doing Leangeans since 1 year now, with +-20% kcal on T- and R-Days.

    I fit my macro to the protein intake.
    For example I eat X grams of meat and fish until I filled my dialy g of Proteins.
    The rest of the day I eat what I want. Then I often eat cookies / cake or other sweeties.
    At the moment I am stucked at 11 % body fat.

    Do you think I can get under 10% with sweeties (cookies, cakes etc..) if I keep my dialy kcal limit ?

  202. Hey, one question that has always confused me about macros – if you have your final numbers, (using random numbers here, not mine).

    160protein, 300g carbs, 60 fat – the calories you used to work out those numbers so 160protein would be 640 calories – does that mean you should only be eating 640 calories worth of protein? or is this 640 calories irrelevant once you have macros and you just hit the protein/fat/carbs/calories and those individual calorie numbers are irrelevant?

    I hope you understand what i mean, thanks

  203. According to the math, I should be consuming 230.63g carbs on training days and 163.89g on non training days. This seems like a lot of carb calories for little old me, (female, 5’2 at 136lbs). 922.52 carb calories, leaving me with just 252.14 calories to divide between protein and fat. This tells me to eat more carbs than protein on training days, is that right? Or am I just confused and need to find a dumbed down version somewhere else on the Internet?

  204. Andy,
    At what point should one consider re-working their numbers and more specifically is there such thing as TOO many carbs on a training day if protein intake is high and fat intake is low? I am into week 5 of a cut, and although I have noticed significant changes such as loss of body fat and an increase in musculature, I don’t seem to be leaning out as quickly or as significantly as expected. Would that have more to do with lofty expectations as you have explained and less with calories and macros? On that note, if changes are to be made should they be made on all fronts i.e. Calories and macros or should one focus on changing one before the other? Sorry for the long winded-ness.
    Cheers.

      • I agree with everything that has been written as far as expectations and patience but I cannot shake the feeling that perhaps my numbers are off somewhere. Although I have dropped weight considerably I am not as cut as I would expect to be at this point. In looking back at the
        activity multiplier I see that I had
        estimated moderately active as I
        work out three times a week but my desk job would have me set as sedentary; which do you think would be most advisable to follow?
        I am convinced the problem lies in either calories or carb intake; thoughts?

        • “Which do you think would be most advisable to follow?”
          Choose either of what you can’t decide between. Then track your progress and adjust according to the data after a few weeks. No point in getting stressed about any mythical perfect calculation.

          • Agreed, ever since I committed to this sort of program, I have been battling with dialing in the numbers to perfection;blame my closet OCD for that. I realize that at some point I will need to just let go and see what will
            be…thanks for the input. Cheers!

  205. Hi Andy,

    I’ve been following your suggested cutting macro calculations since January (-35%/+10, higher carbs/lower fats on training days, higher fat/low carbs on rest days), and I’ve lost a good 10lbs of fat from it. Awesome stuff, many thanks for your excellent articles.

    HOWEVER, it seems recently, not sure if it’s due to stress or some other external factor, I’ve hit a plateau where I’m stuck around 167lbs, and I can’t seem to lose anymore (my target weight is around 150-155lbs). Carbs, fats on rest/workout days, what do you suggest I modify in attempts to break past this plateau? I’m almost tempted to throw in some cardio at this point, but I know you and Martin don’t encourage that for fat loss. I’ve also readjusted my macros during every 5lb drop.

    Much appreciated, and thanks in advance.

    Jack

      • Andy, it’s been 3 months, and I’m still where I was when I posted my first message. Still stuck at roughly the same weight (167lb), I’ve been IF’ing pretty much everyday, and I’ve never skipped a workout either. I’ve read over the articles you pointed out in your last comment, but to no avail. I’ve submitted a request consultation, so hopefully I can hear back from you soon. Thanks!

  206. Hey Andy,

    Thank you for taking the time to write up such a great guide! I have a small question though, does the macro/carb cycling apply to someone if they are at a bodyfat they want to maintain?

    Thanks, Jake

  207. Hi Andy!
    Hope all is well.
    I was wondering…what is the lowest amount of carbs I can get to for a training day? Like I mentioned previously, I deducted my training day carbs by 50 grams (eating only 150 grams/day), and I have kept my rest day carbs still at 25 grams. How much can I keep cutting carbs? At what amount do I stop reducing carb intake?

    Thanks again as always
    Harry

    • That’s quite an open question Harry. If you’ve cut down to 150g already, then at your current body fat that’s pretty low. You need to take a diet break and then resume. I know you know that, but sometimes we just need to hear it right?
      Like me for example. Shoulder hurts but I wouldn’t quit the pressing and let it heal. See the doc today as my knee check up (torn MCL after snowboarding accident) and ask him, and the first think he tells me is rotator cuff exercises and rest from the pressing. I know it, but needed to be told.

  208. Hey andy on my resting days I got two options of high fat: one where the fat is higher (almost double my bodyweight
    or two where the carbs area bit higher but fats are still high..

    What would you recommend for a rest day
    -95 gr fat and 150 gr carbs
    -135 gr fat and 100 gr carbs

    YOu dont have to calculate, just say which of the two you would prefer.. since t
    Fat is minimal 1,25 times higher dan my BW

    • That depends Chris.

      Not satisfied with that answer I would guess? Ok allow me to give a vague one: If you’re fat then go with the lower-carb option, but even that has caveats.

      • Hehe thanks andy, yeah I was afraid that it would be something like that :P

        NOt fat anymore, think I’m around 10-12 percent bf , now I wanna get bigger and minimize bf gain… playing around and and gonna keep monitoring my slowbulk … just wondered if tgere was a li mm it of too much fat or too much carbs on the restdays, but I guess that also differs per individuals.

        THANKS though

        Chris

  209. Hi Andy, I have just calculated my macros and ended up with <10g of carb on my rest days, I have (for now) reduced my protein (from a high level) AND fat intae to mae it balance up. Would you suggest that this is a good way to move forward? Or would reducing fat and retaining the protein be a smarter move?

    Also, thanks for all the great information on the site, it has been my bible for over a year now. Keep up the good work!

  210. After 3-4 months of bulking, should I just switch back to my old cutting macros from when I weighed several kilograms less or should I slightly increase carbs to factor in the newly added body mass?

  211. Hey Andy. On a cut. I believe I kept fat too low on training days for several weeks. You mention this messes with hormones and testosterone. Any idea if there is lasting negative effects or do things go back to normal pretty quickly as fat is inserted to more normal levels. Thanks as always.

    • It does, but how quickly I don’t know.
      Also, think more in terms of your average daily fat intake and not just the training days – they will be low by nature.

  212. Hi andy, with the simplified counting rule u say fruits are usually not worth counting…how many pieces do u think b4 u need to count them ( i usually have 5/day)

    • A medium sized piece of fruit can be counted as 25g of carbs. Make up your own simplified macro counting rules, be consistent, track and adjust objectively and you will be successful.

  213. The only thing I’m unclear about as someone that is “weak fat” you seem to suggest either a cut or a recomp would work well.

    Would utilizing recomp macros with a single fast day (eat stop eat style) be a good idea or would using mild cut macros make more sense for the “weak fat” person to continue growing muscle while shedding more fat than a straight recomp?

      • My apologies, that is where I meant to pose my question as that is where the question arose.

        In Section 4, you state that weak fat is in a similar position in terms of muscle gains and the associated requirements for growth as the skinny fat person for whom you recommend recomp macros. So whereas the muscled fat person should go for a cut, the weak fat person should have a less severe cut.

        What qualifies as less severe or perhaps too severe? Should I just try something like the +10%/-30% example until I stop adding weight to the bar and then make adjustments or does it make more sense to assume I need more calories to fuel muscle growth?

        Thanks in advance for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated.

        • “What qualifies as less severe or perhaps too severe?”
          In the situation of the skinny-fat guy, if the macros are not allowing for the predicted and desired strength increases, which is relative/dependant upon their training status.

  214. I apologize if this has been asked before!

    I’m currently slow bulking, but I’ve always found that increased frequency (4-5 days a week training) yields more mass. Perhaps not for everyone, but I seem to respond best to it.

    Would you still recommend a cyclical diet such as this? For instance, if I train 5 days a week that would be 5 days a week I am at “low fat”. I was not sure if this was optimal.

    • You’d want to maintain your fat intake levels for good hormone balance, but that shouldn’t be a problem as you are bulking anyway. 40-60/60-90 fat gram ranges for the two days respectively as a general guide if what I have been using recently for most males. You can go higher of course when bulking.

  215. Hey Andy,
    I got question on carbohydrates, you said in article that it is better to have them instead of fat on training days to prevent to much fat storage, but i remember in some other article you also said that carbohydrates can turn into fat cells into our body as well if we get to many of them, so why are they better during training day?
    Are they better for muscle recovery or are they just less likely to turn into fat?

    • There is quite a deep and detailed answer that I could give, but I worry that my fingers may be typing in vain. Why? Because I doubt this is the question that you need to be asking to get results. So forgive me for taking the easy option this time.

      • Sure. Don’t worry, I was asking to learn more rather then to try to force any changes to my diet, i am fine with how it works now. ;)
        From what i found i guess it might be related to insulin(which is anabolic)level going up which is also good for our muscles.

  216. Hey Andy, I’ve been reading through your website and comments a lot lately. Just wanted to say that it really helped me understand better about nutrition and training, and basically how the body works. I have a question though, I have trouble keeping up with my protein macros as after I calculate I need about 188g protein, (doing a cut with 20% BF) and I am considering eating a supplement, either whey or casein to help. I work out at night around 8PM, and have my post workout meal at 9.30. Since I go to bed around 12-1am, should I take whey or casein during my final meal (ive read that casein is best before bed, but better with a meal)?

  217. Pingback: What makes a good diet coach? | RippedBody.jp

  218. Andy, Great site! I’m at 191 pounds, around 13% BF. By the calculations, I estimate my BMR at around 2500 calories. At 200g protein and 50g fat on training days, that leaves me with 375 or so carbs. Does this seem correct? Before I was eating too much fat I realized after reading your site, up to 140g on training days. So I basically need to swap those fat calories for carb calories, correct?

  219. Hi Andy, I Work as a labourer and work out 3 times a week. Im 18. 6’0 and 168 i figured my maintenance calories to about 2950. In the 12 weeks I’ve been recomping, I went from 170-168, eating 3550 calories on training days and 2350 on rest days, adjust for days when i work by adding 500 calories. My main compound lifts are all increasing and I suppose i am seeing favorable results in the mirror. Is this to be expected? body fat puts me anywhere from 6.5-10.5 depending on the tool and my abs are relatively visible. What would you reccomend i change? or should i just keep going and see what happens.

    Thank you for any response you may give

  220. Hi Andy, just a little confused, I’ve worked out all my Macros, been doing Leangains since last November, trying to do a slow bulk as want to put on some lean muscle, but everyweek I weight myself I seem to be loosing weight. I have lost fat, but seem to be struggling to add any Muscle, not sure if I am better off going back to 6 meals a day to bulk up as seem to be struggling to add any mass. If I up my Macros too high I just seem to add fat.

    Cheers Andy.

    • If you are getting stronger then you are gaining muscle. If you are losing fat then that’s good also. If you wish to gain weight then you need to eat more. Whether you eat 2, 3, or 8 meals it doesn’t matter¥ but do what is simplest. Don’t simply tell me that when you add more to the macros you simply gain fat. It’s not a quick lose/gain with a small change to them. Experiment.

  221. Would someone still see results if they are using the macros very loosely? I am a vegan and adapting this diet is a bit difficult. Any suggestions?

    • Hey I was just wondering if anyone could help with my question, current in week 2 of IF and absolutely loving it its so much easier than I expected it to be but was wondering I fast from 8:30pm to after gym the next day which is anytime from 12:30pm-2pm depending on when I finish work I have 500ml of water upon waking at 3:30am, cup of black coffee at 4:30am then consume around 1.5 litres of water and a cup of green tea before gym then have a cup of black coffee pre workout (while I’m driving to gym) and have my 10g BCAA intra workout, should I have anymore bcaa earlier or is it fine to have it while I’m at gym and then have my first meal whenever I get home? Thanks peeps!!

        • Cheers for getting back to me dude, so coffee pre work is no good I should have bcaa? The coffee gets me jacked as shit and I find the bcaa helps with fasted training intra workout, it’s bcaa before a main protocol of IF?

          • BcAa 5-10 minutes is standard protocol when it comes to fasted training with IF .. it’s a MUST…

            You can still also drink your coffee though, I drink it also pre-workout

            • Just stick to how it’s done… why change things, ofcourse you COULD, also COULD drink coffee during your workout. They looked into it, tested it and concluded that the 5-15min. Pre workout bcaa has the best effect, if ya want to change things, go ahead..

            • I’m not meaning to change things just before I started IF I took 10g of bcaa and 2.5g of glutamine during my lifting sessions so I was just thinking it would help with the fasted training by making me less light-headed and maybe give me a bit more strength

  222. I love eating until I feel so stuffed I can’t swallow another bite. If I were to extend my fast til 5pm, then weight train, and then eat all my calories between 6pm and 10pm – are there any downsides? Is it possible for my body to actually absorb and use all the calories from the protein and carbs in that length of time, or would some go to “waste”?

    Hunger is not an issue. In fact, I usually have the other problem – once I start eating, I can’t stop, meaning if I have my first meal at 1pm, by 9pm I’ve frequently overeaten. Hence the plan to squash all my food into a 3-4 hour window.

    Also, if I’m going out to a restaurant to eat a fatty 2000-2500 calorie meal once in a while, is it better to do this on a training day (fats will get stored) or a rest day (less fat storage, but will go well over BMR)?

    Thanks for taking the time to keep answering questions. The length of this comment thread is testament to the amount of work you’ve put in!

  223. Andy great stuff…pls help with my macros and calories.
    Im 54 yrs old
    5 foot 10.5 inches
    80 kgs with love handles and about 20-25% body fat Id hazard a guess.
    I calculated my stats as needing
    1500 for maintenance
    so im guessing
    Work Out days 1800 and rest 1000 to drop the fat.
    P40% C40% F20% on both days is that okay ?
    Please help with this and siuggest what to eat, cost isnt an issue
    i have been leanfaining with IF for a week and am seeing some results….
    Thanks a million pal

    Richard in Hoing Kong

  224. Cleg Burris here. I really wonder if a calorie is a calorie when they all go to the same place. My TDEE is high so do that mean that the protein content should be also? I’m also wondering about my carbs and whether they should be eaten first or second during the day.

    • Hi Clegg.
      1. I would guess from your latter two comments that your desire to dig deep into the science of things is made redundant by your current training status. Focus on practical application of things first.
      2. Not necessarily, increase your carbs mainly.
      3. Split them evenly if in doubt. Depends on your training though. See Martin’s Leangains Guide.

  225. Hi Andy!

    Really nice webpage and article i love it!! ;)
    I’m 180cm height and 74 kg weight and my calculated BMR is 1811,8kCal. I decided that at first I want to go for ‘cuts’. I have a question about activity multiplayer. I’m a football referee and i must have 2-3 cardio trenings(60 min) and one game a week + 3 fitness trainings as you said. Should i use moderate activity factor (BMRx1,55)?? Then on my TDEE should be 2808kCal, isn’t this number very high?? Then on my TDay 3082kCal and RDay 1825kCal.

    Sorry for bad english

    Thanks, Mihael

  226. Hey Andy. Love all the info you have here. You seem to posses the organization gene that Martin doesn’t! I love this program. It’s pretty much the way I eat everyday anyway so it works perfect for me. I only had to make a few minor changes and actually calculate my macros as well.

    I have 2 questions for you. I like to run half marathons and do mountain trail races so cardio is something I rather enjoy. Part of the training involves occasional long runs and 30 to 40 minutes of HIIT cardio. I’ve chosen to do the cut protocol but rather than use the +10/-35 option I’ve chosen to do a +10/-25 to help compensate for the lost calories burned during HIIT and other runs. Do you think that’s sufficient or should I maybe even go to a -15?

    The other question is this: how often should I re-calculate my macro values? obviously as your body begins to change so do your nutritional needs. That being said how often would you recommend recalculating: every 2 weeks? every 4 weeks? or some other duration of time?

    Thanks again for all the effort you put into this and any help you can provide! I really appreciate it!

    • Ben, thanks for the comment. Glad you’ve been finding the site so useful.
      1. How you adjust the split really depends. If I were you I’d not stress it too much, just pick one and then track.
      2. Never recalculate. Just adjust up or down according to the tracking data. – That’s how I do it anyway.

  227. Hey Andy, i am kind of confused with the activity multiplier. I work out heavy 3 times a week and i am a college student. I move around during the day only to walk to classes or walking from school and walking back home. Would my activity multiplier be considered sedentary or lively active? Let me know about what your opinion is on this!

  228. Hi Andy,

    I have been very paranoid for a long time with my calorie-intake. I was fat for a long time and when I moved to Berlin, it did get worse because of the superficial view. Anyway, for a couple of years I have been down to a calorie-intake of about 1500kcal/day. Now I’m at least up again on about 2000kcal/day.
    I’m 25 (male), 178cm, 72kg and should have a daily kcal of 2400. If I decide myself to go on a cut or Body recomp. should I take the calorieamount my body is used to since years? (my bmr has certainly been lowered due to the long deficit)

    Best,
    Pascal

  229. Hey Andy, what happens if your fat is way too low on workout days? is there anything wrong with this? i tried making my fat macros on workout days really low so that i could have more carbs. my current macros are 210 protein, 380 carbs, and 25 fat. Should i increase my fat to 30-35 grams and decrease carbs to 360-340?

  230. So it seems fat intake is imperative for hormone functioning. I’m eating at a sizable deficit on rest days, so it’s hard to fit a lot of fat in. Is there any particular minimum fat intake that is recommended to maintain hormone levels?

      • I’m not having trouble finding the fat sources, it’s just so calorie dense that it makes me hit my total calorie limit too quickly.

        • Yeah it is,

          May I ask how much calories you consume on your rest days…
          And how much you consume as protein

          I keep my fats on restdays around 1gr per kg bodyweight, that would be around 78gr.. thats my minimum on restdays. It goes up to 100gr .. so 78-100 gr. On restdays.

          I also try to consume NO carbs on restdays. Max 30 grams

          On trainingdays I keep fat always under 30 gr. And my carbs sky high ..

          My cals are
          restday 1800 cals
          Trainingdays 2800 kcal

  231. Hello Andy,
    When you work with your clients who are slow-bulking, what increment amount of carbs (i.e. 30 or 60 grams) do you recommend once they have got their “optimal” amount of carbs? Thanks!

  232. Hey Andy, I had a quick question on the macros i’m running i’m currently doing a -30 -10 cut and my macros are
    Workout day
    Protein 170
    Carbs 222
    Fat 33
    Total cals 1861

    Rest day
    Protein 170
    Carbs 46
    Fat 61
    Total cals 1406

    Im wondering if this ok to use for my cut i’ve been using this for about two weeks and the scale has been going down and im getting mor ab definition but i’m concerned about being in a deficit on my training day. I’ve done some searching and notice others have done similar cuts being in deficit on both days and wonder what your opinion is.

    Thanks Alec

  233. hey mate just calculated my macros im 180cm and 85kg probably around 15-16%BF, looking to cut it says my BMR = 1865cals i lift 4 times a week so its Moderately Active so X1.55=2892cals do i minus 500cals from that? macros worked out to be 250g Protein training and rest days, 30g fats on training day and 60g rest days and carbs was 250g training days and 60g rest days so ill be consuming around 2290cals training days and 1800cals rest days does that sound about right? any help will be much appreciated

  234. Hey Andy I have a quick question about the whole “spiking insulin” thing which I keep reading about over on Ian McCarthy’s page, what exactly is it and if I eat in an 8 hour window (all types of foods) do I need to worry about it? If so what am I supposed to do to avoid spiking my insulin and when should I doing it/not doing it – thanks!

  235. Hi Andy.
    Before I started my weight loss (cutting) using the Leangains protocol, I was 260lbs, presently I am 196lbs about 17% – 18% body fat.. My goal is to get down to 10% body fat and maintain as much muscle as possible during this process, then start a slow bulk program. I used the http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/ to setup my cals/macros using a (-10/-30) setup should I continue using this setup being on a deficit both days? or use what you suggested in step 4 (+10/-30-35%) to build muscle and lose fat?

    “Cutting’: You need to be lower than this so as to create a weekly energy deficit. Even so, you must eat a surplus of calories on a training day in most situations*.

    Your numbers might look something like 2200kCal and 1300kCal. (+10%/-30~35%kCal)”

    Thank You

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  237. Hey Andy mate, hope all is well. I have re-done my macros (not asking you to check them) – but I know the macro’s over-estimate (or so I believe and have read here and elsewhere)

    1) Do they over estimate if you choose Sedentary multiplier (x1.2)

    2) Would you recommend ever doing: -35% / 0 (rather than +10%)

    3) I’ve been cutting for a while now (2 months), would a day or two of maintanence eating help me out here? I read that in buckybean’s reddit page he wish he had – and if so do I just eat to hunger and not worry about hitting protein/fat/carbs?

    Cheers mate, and thanks for insulting my chav ‘rap’ ;)

      • Alright, but by adjusting what step do you take? Like, keep protein the same, and lower the carbs on training days a bit and lower the fat on rest days a bit? (which in turn obviously lowers the calories)

        And do you have any insight to the 3rd step I mentioned? :)

  238. Hi Andy, seriously excellent stuff (and really appreciate the alcohol article!!) just a couple of really quick questions.
    1) I want my feeding window to be 12:30-8:30 and I train at 5pm. Is that a big long to go without eating pre workout? I can’t really have another large meal between lunch and training as I’m at work. Would a whey protein shake or low fat cottage cheese be ok to keep me going? Maybe at 3? And maybe the same post workout before dinner? (I guess my question really is do the size/frequency of meals have a big impact on training days)
    2) following on from 1, I don’t think I can afford all that meat, are protein/carb powders a good way to bump my levels up?
    3) my girlfriend’s interested in starting this diet too but is really not up for weight training (but likes pilates). Would this work for her?

    Thanks a lot! Seriously looking forward to trying this out!

      • Wow. Thanks for the speedy reply! For part 3 I kinda just meant the fasting period for her rather than the numbers but I’ve been doing it for only 3 days and seen a decrease in my stomach size so I’m pretty chuffed!

        I’m Gonna see how I get on over the next 4 weeks (mainly with the carbs). I’m 160lbs ~17% BF and have started a strength training programme 3xweek but 300+g of carbs just sounds like such a high number. Poliquin and Chad Waterbury advise 40g/day if you’re trying to lose weight and keep your strength up!

        So, I’ll give it 4 weeks and if I’m not happy I’m gonna give you an email about a consultation! The way you write your articles I know it would be a benefit. Would just like to try it myself first.

        Thanks again!

        PS with regards to carbs should I just increase on training days if my strength plateaus and decrease if my BF plateaus?

  239. Hi Andy! Thank you for a great page! I’ve been looking for a leangains macro calculator and this is by far the best one! I have some (unnecessary?) worries regarding my feeding during the 8 hour window. I calculated my macros for workout days to be (180,500,30) I’ve been doing leangains for a month now and have never been able to exceed 300 carbs no matter what. I cooked 1kg of potatoes which I ate during dinner and the last 2 hour of window, but this is not more than 150g carbs (or some). Would you recommend to eat more carbs before training in order for me to reach this target? Let’s say I workout at 5pm, should I eat as much carbs as possible before workout?

    And because of the 30g fat limit on workout days, and the lack of carbs I always tend to eat aprx. 800 calories less than my target which is somewhere around 3200 on WO days.

    Hope you find the time to answer my question! :)

    Best regards Lars

    • While hitting your carb macro totals if you eat more carbs in the window after your workout then before your workout and you’ll be fine. Yes, you are free to interpret that as loosely as it is written as the outcome will be the same.

  240. Hi Andy, first of all let me tell you im from argentina and im not the best english speaker of all,,,,,
    i found your website and im really amazed, im reading this for about 1 week, and i still have a lot to read!
    I’ve calculated my BMR, i weight 58 kg, im 164 cm tall, and i am 21 years old. (i train 4-5 times a week)
    I will go for cut, so my BMR IS 2391,34 Kcal…

    That means in training days, 2630,47 kcal.
    P:175/F:25/C:426,37

    And rest days, 1673,94 Kcal
    P:175/F:50/C:108,48

    Is that ok? Cause in training day 175P, means i have to eat like 850 g of meat, and i think is too much, but im not sure… the and in the rest days its ok 50 F ?

    Thanks a lot! i really like ur website

  241. Hey Andy— we don’t need to worry if the rest day calories are below our BMR, because our lifting day calories are in a surplus… correct? (If someone is doing a cut)

      • Just curious. I kept reading in a few places that going below your BMR could make you sick, or could chew up too much muscle. So that’s false? It’s okay to go below then, because we’re eating more food the next day… ? (I just wanted to make sure :)

        • Hi James. Not if you go under BMR per-se however you will lose muscle if you continue to be in a calorie deficit that is too far below your energy needs for the day. The extent you can take it is relative to your body fat level, training regimen, length of time continued for.. few other things. However, I strongly suggest you stress the science less and focus on the practical application more. Continue reading the guides on the site and you’ll find all you need. I’ll be in the comments if you have questions, but please read first.

  242. Hi Andy!
    When calculationg calorieintake,should I choose my current weight(80kg’s,overweight) or my targetweight (70kgs) when I count my bmr?

    Thanks in advance!

    //Per

  243. Hello! I calculated my BMR to be 1,444.82, and modified for activity= 2,239…. But that’s when I’m working out a lot and I’ve bad mononucleosis so I haven’t been able to. Started lean gains today after a 17 hour fast.

    What would good macros be for me???? Fat/protein/carbs?

    I am 5’8, 140lbs and would like to cut and get leaner, lose a little fat %

  244. Hi Andy,

    Hopefully you are fine. I am in the middle of my second month and notice that when I eat only fish as a protein source on training days I am really much ‘flatter’ than having lean meat. How is this possible? Would it be smarter to always use fish on training days because of the low fat? And so avoid the bloated feeling/looks and be more efficient in the fat burning? Further I am happy to tell you that finally things are moving into the right direction: scale down, strength up.

    Keep up the good work Andy and talk to you soon!

    Michael

  245. Hey, Andy.. I watched one of the videos you posted, it was either you or Ian, of Layne talking about IIFYM, he mentioned a lot about fiber, which I get, yeah, it should naturally be in your diet – but only recently have I been eating more vegetables than I should to get more – but the issue II have is, it doesn’t seem enough still – rest days it is becoming an issue with a 1300-1400 calorie limit – as it stands I’m only really mainly getting fiber from Broccoli.. what is the lowest my fiber intake should even be? I think its something you should maybe add into your FAQ because i’ve noticed a lot of the people around me and people in gym’s just avoid veg, because they are stupid I guess, I was one of them, not that I don’t like it, it was just the hassle.

    Cheers mate.

    • Eat a reasonable amount of veg with each meal. For those that are lazy, they can cook it in advance. There’s no need to count it as long as their consumption is consistent, and there is no need to over-think what “reasonable” is, which I say because I know someone reading this will do.

  246. Hey andy,

    I calculated my macros etc and made my menus,

    My feeding window is 14:00-22:00 and I train at 18:00
    Currently I have one pre workout meal @14:00 hrs
    This meal only consists off protein (200gr. Turkey and 5 egg whites) 60grams total of protein about 240-280kcals

    Is this okey or MUST I include some carbs ( honestly I don’t feel like I miss them during the first ‘meal’
    Don’t notice being any less powerful so..

    Am I mimicking a fasted state this way towards the training? ( not intentionally doing that) if so should I take some bcaa beforehand of training, like you need to on fasted training?

    Thanks for your time