As you can see in the chart above, your energy expenditure is mainly dictated by your metabolic rate. But it can also change with your activity level and exercise habits.
With your energy expenditure calculated, it’s easy to determine how many calories you should eat. And it’s better to adjust based on a percentage of your TDEE rather than an arbitrary number of calories.
For example, to lose weight without losing muscle, you should target 10-20% below your TDEE. And vice versa to gain muscle with minimal fat.
In addition, I advise people to do a weekly high-calorie day as part of a weight-loss plan. This temporary energy surplus is called metabolic confusion because it prevents your body from adapting to the calorie deficit.
From here, we can begin to find your macros.
The golden rule in fitness is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. In other words, a 180-pound person would eat 180 grams of protein per day.
The idea is that this should create a high protein intake to prevent muscle breakdown and the resulting slowdown in metabolic rate. However, the “grams per pound” approach is a vast oversimplification.
To illustrate, consider a 300-pound obese woman trying to lose as much fat as possible. If she follows the rule and eats 300 grams of protein per day, she will likely overshoot her calorie target and gain weight.
Conversely, take a 145-pound skinny guy trying to gain muscle. If he eats only 145 grams of protein, he probably won’t gain much, if any, muscle. Now you can see how this rule quickly falls apart.
A better approach is to calculate your protein intake based on a percentage of your calorie target. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here?)
In my experience, aiming for about 30% of your calories from protein is an ideal target. And this works regardless of body size and goal because your calorie target already took that into account!
Carb cycling is simply alternating your daily carbohydrate intake based on your activity level. Usually, a “cycle” includes low, medium, and high carb days.