Calories and Nutrient Ratios

Question:
Could you discuss your nutrient ratio’s and overall caloric intake?

Response:
Nutrition is one of the most important, if not the most important, foundation block of building a fit and healthy body. There is no way to hide poor eating. Just like you can’t fill a car’s gas tank with the wrong fuel and expect it to perform at its peak, your body works the same way. All the supplements in the world are not going to help if you are feeding your body less than quality foods and nutrients.

Eating for muscle strength, tone, size, and health is a balancing act. Eat too much and the excess spills over to the places you don’t want it. Eat too little, and you won’t grow or reach your fitness goals.

I calculate my calorie needs using simple formulas. If you are looking for more precise calculations there are plenty of basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculators online. I use this general guide to calculate my own needs:
Fat loss = 12-13 calories per lb. of bodyweight
Maintenance = 15-16 calories per lb. of bodyweight
Weight gain = 18-19 calories per lb. of bodyweight
These calculations use your bodyweight to determine how many calories you should be consuming in a given day. This does take some monitoring and adjusting to really dial it in. If you are trying to gain weight and you are eating 18 calories per pound, but aren’t seeing results then it’s time to examine how much cardio and other physical activity you’re doing and then adjust your calories.

Once I have determined my overall calorie goal, I then need to choose the foods that will help me reach my goals. First I need to decide upon the ratios of my carbs, proteins, and fats. Typically I keep protein around 1.5-2.0 grams per pound of bodyweight. Then I figure out carb intake, which is usually between 1-1.75 grams per pound. The fat is whatever it left and so I don’t spend much time figuring that out. There is fat in the foods I eat and I let that be.

As my bodyweight changes, or my goals change then I make the adjustments to my eating plan.

A Note on the Scale: I do weigh myself, but I don’t obsess about it. I weigh in once a week, sometimes once every two weeks. I use it as a tool to guide my progress, not as the end all and be all of my progress.

I also keep a nutrition log. At times I can map out a plan and be a little lenient with it, but during contest times and such I will write down every meal of everyday and calculate the nutrient breakdowns. I read labels to figure out most nutrition info, but when in doubt I do go online and look up the nutrient breakdown of a certain food.

So that’s it. That is how I figure out my nutritional needs and I hope it adds some insight and takes away some of the guesswork of figuring out your own nutrition program!

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2 thoughts on “Calories and Nutrient Ratios

  1. Frank,

    Can you explain what you mean about the Fat ratio? I did my ratios and the fat ended up being only 23g/day. When I read the above response, do you not count the fat content in the food you eat against your ratio? Or do you just ignore it?

    • Hi Jamie! I do count fats in my diet. They are an important part of the overall picture. In general my fat intake would vary from as low as .5g per pound of bodyweight to .85g/lb or so depending upon my goals and where I am during the competition season. I have begun focusing on including more healthy fats in my nutrition plan. These fats come from fish, nuts, nut butters, oils, olives and eggs. I have found that by not dropping my fat intake too low, my body responds much better year round. Thanks for your question. I hope I clarified things a bit.

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