It still amazes me how many people ask me “What do you think my macros would be?”

The answer of course is “170g Protein, 250g Carbs and 90g of Fat”

They’re the magic macros. I promise. Stick to those and you’ll be fine.

(If you don’t know much about macros, head to the homepage and download our free eBook to find out more)

Blog over?

Wrong.

You see, people assume that because we give a client macro or calorie targets, that that’s all they need to focus on. That if you follow a set of certain magic numbers all your body fat will disappear and you’ll be left happy with your new shredded abs.

Guess what…

They are a tiny bit of the puzzle.

A 70kg male might need more calories than an 80kg male.

A 60kg female might need more calories than a 90kg male.

Two 80kg males could have either exactly the same calories or be 1000 calories away from each other.

Understanding macros and calories is only a very small part of coaching. This includes both during an initial consultation with a client, and then also depends on weekly changes that will inevitably occur.

Initial macro targets can depend on a number of things some of (but not always all) the following:

– Age
– Gender
– Weight
– Occupation
– Work schedule
– Shift patterns
– Activity levels
– Tracked NEAT
– Training type
– Training volume
– Extra sport played
– Food diary
– Food preferences
– Preferred meal frequency
– Body composition goal

Once initial targets are set, key variables are measured depending on the goal, and then numbers can be adjusted weekly depending on whether progress is being made towards the goal.

But independent of the goal / progress, macro targets can change weekly due to so many things.

– Upcoming social events
– Increased / decreased temporary activity levels
– Increased / decreased occupation workload
– Increased / decreased training volume
– Injury
– Planned diet breaks
– Unforeseen events
– Stressful events / periods of time

Those all happen regularly and can mean that energy intake may need to be altered.

So, now do you see that I can’t just give you “your” macros because they change weekly. Yes, they will probably be around an initial ball park figure but the fact is, it’s not as simple as the magic macros.

If you think about the last blog around principles and methods (link here), calculating or following macros is just a method to bring about fat loss or muscle gain. The fact is that the principle remains the same in that we have to either be in a calorie surplus or a deficit to make progress towards our goals. Whether we follow set macros or not doesn’t really matter.

Macros can vary day to day or week to week and you can both make progress or stagnate.

There is nothing magic about the numbers.

But let’s forget about the numbers for a second.

– All of this is assuming you are even hitting your macros?
– Are you accurately tracking your food intake?
– Are you weighing food correctly?
– Do you track raw or cooked values?
– Do you have a goal?
– What motivates you to succeed?
– What’s your plan?
– You have a plan right?

Coaching is an art form, and there are so many consultations and discussions that take place before we can even establish what your exact macros should be.

You need a plan.

You need to know over the next 12 months what things look like for you.

– What are your goals for each 12 week block of training & nutrition?
– How do those short term goals fit into your longer term goal?
– How will you adapt your plan if something crops up?
– How are you going to measure your progress to know if you are being successful?
– How are you going to look objectively at your progress?
– What are you going to do if progress stalls and you need to make adjustments?

You need to make sure that your lifestyle and behaviours are conducive to long lasting change, otherwise the numbers will be absolutely useless. Without the overall plan the numbers are absolutely useless.

Before you get too hung up on some exact macros to hit I would get all those things sorted first.

Wouldn’t you?

As coaches, we are always planning for the long term. We have had people come to us with a demanding schedule saying things like:

“I’ve got a competition in 12 weeks can you give me my macros so I can get lean”

And you know what, 9 times out of 10 we wouldn’t work with that person. Because they don’t have a plan and we don’t have enough time to work on a plan.

They are probably coming to us in average condition, with not much data on what they have done previously. I would be pretty confident in saying that person will probably not be ready for their competition in 12 weeks.

Because they don’t have a plan. They are just so focused on the next 12 weeks and they can’t see what that might mean for the rest of their competing career or if it is even possible.

A year and 12 weeks and it would be a totally different story.

We would always recommend sitting down and preparing a year-long plan for when you are competing. That way you can work on weak areas, iron out any issues with your lifestyle, tracking and keeping on top of things. Then we can sit down and plan a dieting phase with you and discuss how YOU want to do it, what is best for YOU and work on a realistic time frame.

Not try and fit a hugely demanding diet on you in 12 weeks that will leave you physically drained, mentally exhausted and having a horrific relationship with competing.

You know what, there will be a coach out there that will take that person on, give them some macros, charge a fortune and put them on such a grueling routine that they will never enjoy the process and probably give up on ever competing again because they suffered so much.

That’s what happens. Every year.

So.

What’s your plan?