Heavily updated version of this article here: How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach
Purposefully Simplified Macro-Counting Rules for Long-Term SuccessThe reason that this diet system is so effective for fat loss & muscle growth is because we count macronutrients (macros): Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. We’re not doing a simple calorie restriction diet where you can eat anything as long as you eat less calories than you burn. This can be a fast way to lose muscle also. Yes, you could call this a more detailed way of counting calories, which you would think makes it more complicated, right? Well, not exactly. We can vastly simplify the counting of the macros using a few simple rules. You have a couple of options for hitting your macros in this diet,
- Hit your macronutrient targets exactly and calculate everything. (Not recommended.)
- Hit your macronutrient targets roughly using some simplified rules. (Good idea.)
The former will be very difficult to sustain in the long-term. You will perhaps achieve the body you want temporarily, some day, you may crack and it’ll all fall apart. I know there are many of you out there that have OCD and will try this anyway. But I just want to let you know that you don’t have to. The latter will give you stress-free success in the short-term and enable you to keep your physique in the long-term.
If you can make it simple and have success on the simplified system you can continue it in the long term. If you start counting the calories and get anal then you will lose in the long term and it is all pointless.
What follows is a small part of the “macros and simplified rules” mail that I create for all clients. While the full article is for clients is around 3000 words I think looking at the ideas presented here you should be able to get a good idea for yourself to help you create your own. Do not be fooled by these simplified rules. Excluding athletes, and in-season bodybuilder clients whom require a great deal more attention when shredding the last 2%, these rules have given the majority of clients the success they were looking for, yet with a much more relaxed approach in the kitchen. I recommend you make your life easy and follow some kind of simplified rules, even if they are not my own.
- 100g of Raw Meat/Fish is 20g of protein. (A conservative number.)
- Green vegetables don’t have any carbs. – Eat plenty to slow digestion.
- 140g of un-cooked Rice/Pasta is 100g of carbs.
- Sauces do have carbs/fat but aren’t generally worth counting. Count the number of spoons of sauce you use (don’t go mayo crazy here) and keep it consistent.
- Cook your food for the fastest results.
- Use a small electronic kitchen scale to weigh the meat/fish/pasta/rice. It takes seconds and you will become very good at guessing weights within 2 months. This is a skill that will help you for the rest of your life, especially in restaurant eating*. (*More tips on this later.)
When you stray from the simple meat/fish & rice/pasta & green veg. meal combinations, don’t stress, just try these rules.
Rules for Eating Out or One-Off Meals
- When eating out in restaurants keep it simple
- If it’s a Training-Day then eat lots of carbs with lean meat and vegetables and try to keep it low fat.
- If it’s a Rest-Day then eat lots of vegetables, skip the carbs and go with fattier cuts of meat.
- Anything you eat regularly, even fruit, is worth counting. You only have to do it once. Write down the macros and put them up in your kitchen. Here’s a good nutritional calculator.
- Similarly, eat the same meals often. This way you only have to calculate the macros once.
- When you eat something that’s not on your regular* meal plans (*meaning a meal you’ve already calculated the macros for) and will not be eaten regularly, it’s ok to guess the macros. In time you will get pretty good at this.
- Unless you eat a lot of fruit, don’t bother to count it against your carb number.
I made these ‘rules’ to simplify things, however there is no escaping the science. I know there are people that will look at rules and abuse them in whatever way they can Remember you’re only screwing yourself by doing this.
- Don’t be the client that ate ‘unlimited salad because it has no carbs’ yet smothered it in mayonnaise for two months and blame me for no progress. (A true and frustrating story).
- Don’t be the man that abused the alcohol guide to justify drinking everyday and then wonder why things are moving so slowly.