Barbell Shrugged

3 Things to Make Counting Macros and Sticking to a Nutrition Plan Way Easier

Doug Larson

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  • For me, putting carbs around my activity was a game changer. For tracking, I plug in my stuff the night before into Lose It! And then modify/add as things go through the day. Life does happen, so there’s a need to cut some slack.
    Buy an instapot and thank me later.
    Alex–that’s a low amount of calories for someone so active! I’m surprised.

    • My usual intake turns out to be around 2500 a day when I put it all in a food logger. Because I only count the majority macro, it turns out to be more. The point is still to just eat consistently regardless of whether the number is actually what it is.
      How much you need to eat depends partly on training volume. I train 5 days a week usually about 90 minutes a day. Usually 3-4 movements with 3 sets or less averaging 3-4 reps for the strength stuff and a 12-15 minute WOD. It’s not a lot of volume.
      Many think that you need to eat a massive amount of calories to perform well and be strong but that’s just not the case. You need to eat enough to match your volume and support lean body mass (muscle) but not support a lot of fat mass. Sure I could eat 3500 calories a day and I’d probably perform amazing but I’d have to pay the price of putting on extra fat mass which isn’t conducive to long term performance or health.

    • Love these tips and religiously follow Shrugged. You guys are entertaining & informative. My question – I stay away from all processed foods, i.e. REAL FOOD ONLY. Any tips for those protein shakes ?

  • I saved so much time planning my meals once I stopped trying to count the macros in my broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers! Those are “bonuses”, since they have zero down-sides

  • I’m new to this so excuse a foolish question/assumption. I’m assuming the training shake is plugged in later in the day because that’s when you train. I’m working out at 5 am during the week.
    I’ve found your site very helpful. Thanks for all the info!

    • Hey Ramona,
      Not a foolish question! I should have mentioned that is the case. I do sip on that shake during training. If you train that early you can just make a shake and sip on it or drink it right after.

    • Ramona:
      I had the same question and Alex helped me out. NOW makes some dextrose and it’s a huge tub for like 20 bucks and probably has a half life. I train at 5 am too, and sometimes I eat a banana before and sip on the shake during the workout especially for longer (2 hour or so) sessions.

  • It’s cool to see you mention majority macro idea! I follow the RP auto-templates and that’s a major part of the templates (along with not counting vegetable macros) but I’ve never seen anyone else mention it. It’s such a great concept to help beginners simplify things. Macro Tetris is awful.

  • Dude, it feels revolutionary! I just wish I could afford to eat like that every day.
    For those of us that can’t and eat things like ham sandwiches or have protein dominant meals and others that aren’t so much, then what? Also, with salmon being oily/fatty, do you still only count it as protein?
    Do you focus on daily macros or per meal divisions every time?
    Sorry for so many questions

    • Yo Mike,
      Priorities man. I don’t know your financial situation but like with time, we all have the money for the things we see as priorities and valuable to us. I was a poor grad student for a while so I know what it’s like. I still eat very frugally. I don’t buy organic. I buy regular chicken breasts, ground beef, cheaper cuts of beef and etc. I like to go to Costco to get meat in bulk since it’s cheaper to do that. Most quality carbs like rice, oats and pasta are also inexpensive. Frozen veggies are clutch because they don’t spoil and you can buy in bulk. Peanut butter is a good fat source I use too and super cheap. There’s always a way man! Priorities…
      And yea I’d still count salmon as just protein. No need to make it complicated.
      I focus on per meal divisions of macros because that’s what you need to do if you want to make a plan. If you told me to eat 170p, 200c and 80f per day, that would only be half helpful because I need to know how to break it up so I’m not trying to make stuff fit at the end of the day. That’s why you should take those numbers and make a meal plan.
      No worries on the questions. I love answering them. Keep them coming.

  • Alex,
    This is great stuff! However having figured out my macros and then split them pretty much evenly over 5 meals, I’m now tearing my hair out trying to figure out a breakfast to fit the macros and can’t seem to find a simple way of doing it, any advice?
    I may just be over thinking things, and just for context my split is 34g P 40g C and 20g F per meal.
    Many thanks,

  • What about a Fried Egg, both the white and the yoke. Would you count the protein or fat or both? I don’t usually separate them.

  • I started working with RPSTRENGTH and they give you the freedom of good choice, but provide you with a gameplan for macro and feeding times. It works great for me. 1 month in now and 2kg extra muscle mass

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