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I'm 18 years, 5'6, 151 lbs - 154 lbs, 17.2% body fat (bio impedance scale).

As you might have possible guessed, I'm looking to get lean, add some muscle, reach a 9% body fat and get to 155 lbs. If I can keep my body fat and add more weight, I'd like to get to 160 lbs.

I have decided to try out intermittent fasting (possibly with calories deficit) to lose body fat because I've never really been a fan of eating and it seems like something that'd work because the logic makes sense to me .

The problem is this: I don't know what to eat, how to eat, when to eat it. I've done lots of research before coming here but I couldn't find anything that actually explained how to calculate macros. All I found where videos that were 8-10 business days long and articles that had almost nothing.

I plan to start with a 16:8 ratio of IF and eat half the calories I need in my first 2 hours of the 8 hour eating window and the remaining within the late 2 hours.

I've also been working out but I'm gonna have to reduce that for a while. I tried doing deadlifts and my form was probably sh*t and I ended up with back pain. I also get about 7-8 hours of sleep.

So here's the question: How can I calculate how much Macros(Protein, fats, carbs), fiber and calories I need per day. I understand that I'll have to increase or decrease it depending on how much my body is changing so it might be helpful to leave a formula or an explanation.

Getting in shape is actually the only thing I'm this commited to and I'm really hoping it works out (pun intended). I always get scared of commitments (even relationships) cos I feel they aren't gonna workout but I really want this to work! It literally solves all of my problems without having to rely on "external substances"

Thank you :)

PS: I'm in Canada, incase it affects any tips.

EDIT: I also don't wanna rely too much on protein shakes or mass gainers. I've been taking 2 scoops or mutant mass gainer but haven't really seen much effects

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Your macros should be calculated by your bodyweight, not by an arbitrary percentage of total calories. A good target for protein is going to be 0.8 grams per pound or 1.75 grams per kilogram. A good target for fats is going to be 0.5 grams per pound or 1.1 grams per kilogram. And a good target for carbs is going to simply be the rest of your calories. Fiber is a type of carb, and you should aim for a minimum of 20-30 grams per day.

To estimate how many calories you should be consuming, simply utilize a TDEE Calculator. Your TDEE is how many calories you need to maintain weight, and adding or subtracting 200-500 calories will always result in weight loss or gain respectively (assuming that your TDEE is accurate).

Exercise is very important in achieving something like 9% bodyfat because if you are in a caloric deficit and not maintaining or building muscle mass, then you are losing it. If you lose fat and muscle at an even pace, your bodyfat percentage will drop very slowly. If you lose only fat however, your bodyfat percentage will drop much more quickly. Remember that weight loss is indiscriminate, the goal of most is fat loss, and both fat and muscle have weight. On the other hand if you are gaining weight and not exercising, you can guarantee that you are gaining fat almost exclusively.

Other Notes...

  • Finding a good training program will help you to continually progress.
  • Your nutrition should be tailored to something sustainable for you (keeping in mind macro and calorie targets).
  • Protein powder is just one potential source of protein, it isn’t special.
  • The ceiling for muscle growth is approximately 2 lbs or 1 kg per month. This gradually gets smaller and smaller as you add more muscle to your body.
  • Losing between 0.5% and 2% of your total weight each week is a good range to keep in mind. A lean person should aim for the bottom of that range while a heavily overweight person could aim for the upper end of that range.
  • It’s entirely possible to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously, the main requirements are having extra bodyfat (15% and up, sometimes possible when lower) and having little muscular development. You would achieve this by eating at your TDEE maintenance.
  • Bodyfat percentage is important in understanding body composition. Playing with an FFMI Calculator can help you to understand what it will take to reach your goals. (Losing X Fat, Gaining Y Muscle)
  • “MyFitnessPal” is a popular app that makes tracking food, calories, etc super easy.
  • TDEE Calculator, https://www.freedieting.com/calorie-calculator
  • FFMI Calculator, https://www.calculators.org/health/ffmi.php
  • This was helpful, thanks! – Timmy Turner Apr 24 at 2:54
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I think your question is too general as you didn’t state what weight you want to end up with.

So I will give you a general guideline that worked for mewhich you should tweak:

  • you can start with 2g of protein per kg of your own weight if your goal is to bulk up and you exercise with weights. There is only a certain amount of protein one can process in a day but this varies from person to person

  • your first step is to determine your breakeven number of calories with the protein above and enough healthy fat to sustain a stable weight while exercising

  • I recommend you to bulk up then get lean only when you have reached a muscle mass you are happy with. It is ehard to build muscle if you are low on body fat

  • when I try to get lean, I train twice a day for three days then have a day of recovery with only light cardio and have a deficit of around 300 cals compared to breakeven levels but keep the protein at the same level (when you need to tweak the total number of calories, you usually only change the carbs)

You should experiment for a few weeks with a particular diet/program then see if you are doing progress and then keep doing it or tweaking. The biggest challenge is consistency: in particular when you try to get lean, you cannot have more than a cheat meal every few weeks.

I am sure plenty of other people will have different things that work for them. Just try and experiment safely.

(About your comment for protein not working, protein powder is not a miracle food: it is just a replacement for meat to use, for example, when you cannot eat a proper meal)

Edit2: you need to be aware that bodybuilding is not healthy and is not helping you to get in shape, it is actually different from strength and cardio training.

  • Thanks, I've added the weight I wanna get to. I've decided to go on 50% protein 40% carbs and 10% fat on high carb days and 50% protein, 35% carbs and 15% fat on low carb days. – Timmy Turner Apr 22 at 14:56
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As you might have possible guessed, I'm looking to get lean, add some muscle, reach a 9% body fat and get to 155 lbs.

If I can keep my body fat and add more weight, I'd like to get to 160 lbs.

I have decided to try out intermittent fasting (possibly with calories deficit) to lose body fat because I've never really been a fan of eating and it seems like something that'd work because the logic makes sense to me .

Cognitive dissonance much?

"He who chases two hares leaves one and loses the other" ~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

You need to pick one goal, then come back and ask for advice.

Macros would change if you want to get to 9% body fat versus get to 160 lbs.

Macros would also change as your body changes (biggest mistake people make with macro/calorie counting is keeping them static or as a constant).

You need to start by finding maintenance calories (more or less). Then you can determine macros.

Then you have to tweak based on your actual goal. So far you have a whole bunch of ideas, but nothing concrete. Trying to do two things at once will only frustrate the crap out of you.

Fiber is a relative constant so the baseline recommendation won't really change. Males should get ~35g a day. Females ~25g.

I have decided to try out intermittent fasting (possibly with calories deficit) to lose body fat because I've never really been a fan of eating and it seems like something that'd work because the logic makes sense to me.

What logic? You can't even seem to determine what you're trying to accomplish, let alone what or how you should be eating?

The problem is this: I don't know what to eat, how to eat, when to eat it. I've done lots of research before coming here but I couldn't find anything that actually explained how to calculate macros. All I found where videos that were 8-10 business days long and articles that had almost nothing.

Let's start there. Why do you feel it's relevant to calculate macros as a starting point? Why not start with one simple thing? Like:

  • Eat lean protein with every meal
  • or Eat veggies with every meal

If you don't know what to eat, how to eat, or when to eat it, why do you feel counting macros of all things should be your starting point? Maybe you should start by learning what to eat, how to eat it, or when to eat it?

How would you learn math? Would you dive right into calculus or would you start with addition/subtraction?

Frankly, I'd say you're not ready for macros and you're spinning your wheels trying to do too many things that are currently too advanced for you.

You're bouncing all over the place, unable to make a decision. It's called information overload. You have all these ideas, but no idea how to take the first step.

The first step is to just get started already. You don't have to keep doing any more research. You need to:

  • Make a (singular) change to your eating or training
  • Track the result to see if it's moving you in the right direction
  • If you're getting the desired result, keep doing what you're doing
  • If you're not getting the desired result, make another single change, or tweak what you're doing, and track that impact

I plan to start with a 16:8 ratio of IF and eat half the calories I need in my first 2 hours of the 8 hour eating window and the remaining within the late 2 hours.

Good go, start there, see if it works. If it doesn't then you're doing something wrong, you need to tweak something, or you need to layer something else in.

Getting in shape is actually the only thing I'm this committed to and I'm really hoping it works out (pun intended). I always get scared of commitments (even relationships) cos I feel they aren't gonna workout but I really want this to work!

Or start here by just trying to consistently lift for a while. Pick something simple and easy to follow, slowly build your confidence up. Then add complexity.

I feel like this lack of committment is more of your problem. So commit to something small and actionable already. Something you're actually confident you can commit to, no matter how small. You don't have to do everything perfectly out of the gate. The results will be slow, but steady and you have a lot of learning left to do. Embrace learning.

So here's the question: How can I calculate how much Macros(Protein, fats, carbs), fiber and calories I need per day. I understand that I'll have to increase or decrease it depending on how much my body is changing so it might be helpful to leave a formula or an explanation.

Frankly, I think calories/macros are too damn complicated for you at this point in your journey. Focus on smaller things. Figure out what a good serving of protein is, try to consume one at every meal. Or try to focus on lifting regularly until it's a routine (consistency in training is key). Something small, easy to do and most of all something you're confident you can practice each and every day.

However, if you still insist on going this route: You'd always start with calories.

Then you determine protein based on goals and your plan of attack. If you're lifting and in a big deficit, you need more protein. If you're not lifting and in a big deficit you need slightly less. If you're in a surplus and not lifting (you're crazy) and if you're in a surplus and lifting you likely need a minimum 1.8g/kg.

Then you'd likely determine carbs based on goals and your plan of attack. If you're lifting and in big deficit, you may want to moderately reduce them (~100-120g/day). If you're in a smaller deficit, maybe it's lower or higher than that depending on your tolerance or desires. If you're lifting and in a big surplus trying to gain, it could be anywhere from 2.2-6.6g/kg a day.

Fat usually rounds out the equation (based on calorie intake). Except if you're an individual who is less carb tolerance or you find a low carb diet works better for you. Generally I find if you're lifting, ≥100g of carbs a day is ideal for most but there are no hard rules.

The thing is, context matters a lot more than absolute numbers. These are all estimates, it's up to you to figure out what actually works for you.

You're going to find a million different recommendations online. All recommendations need to be taken with a grain of salt. Even the calorie estimations will likely be wrong at first and you'll need to tweak them based on the actual outcomes.

You need to choose one approach, stick with it, and track the result (every week or every two weeks, pinch or do girth/weight) to know if it's right for you.

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