Welcome to the final part of this article series on structured eating. The plan from here is to go through the entire step by step process outlined in the previous articles by examining a fictional case study - who we're going to call Felicity.
Felicity is a 22 year old female who is 157cm tall and weighs in at 56kg. She does moderate to hard resistance training 4-5 days a week, however; has a very active job which has her regularly walking 8-10km a day. So she is going to select the highest level of activity rating on the calorie calculator.
Now we know how many calories Felicity needs to eat per day to gain, lose, or maintain her weight.
You need 2,463 Calories/day to maintain your weight.
You need 1,963 Calories/day to lose 0.5 kg per week.
You need 1,463 Calories/day to lose 1 kg per week.
You need 2,963 Calories/day to gain 0.5 kg per week.
You need 3,463 Calories/day to gain 1 kg per week.
So it’s time to work out Felicity’s macro breakdown - she is beginning a phase of her training focused on gaining muscle, so she wants to eat appropriately to maximise the potential of this phase of training. She is going to be aiming to eat 2960 calories per day, whilst looking to increase weight at a steady pace of 0.5kg per week. This serves as a useful figure to ensure that she is gaining as much muscle as possible, with minimal increases in body fat. Essentially, Felicity will need to keep protein intake high in order to facilitate all that muscle growth, and will also need plenty of carbs to fuel those hard training sessions.
Firstly, we convert body weight to pounds (there are 2.2lbs per kilogram), and using the rations provided in ‘Part 3’, we can calculate that Felicity requires 123g of protein per day. For carbs, we will use the upper end of the recommended carbohydrate intake since Felicity trains hard and often, requiring an intake of 3g carbs per lbs. This would suggest that Facility requires 369g of carbohydrates per day. Using the calories per gram outlined in ‘Part 3’ we can calculate that this consumption of protein and carbohydrate results in a caloric intake of 2080 calories per day. We can now make up the outstanding intake of 880 calories with her fat intake. At 9 calories per gram, 880 calories translates as 97g of fat.
(Note: it is perfectly possible to exchange some fats for more carbs if training becomes noticeably worse on this amount of carbs).
Felicity's overall macro-nutrient breakdown is therefore as follows:
- 123g of protein
- 396g of carbohydrates
- 97g of fat
Following the structure guidelines, Felicity outlines her next 3 months of nutrition, she's going to aim to gain 1lb of muscle tissue per week for the first 2 months, which should put her roughly 8lbs heavier than she is now. If she begins to struggle to keep gaining at that rate, she's going to increase her calories by 200 a day, and if she observes a gain of more than 1lbs per week, she's going to make sure her food measurements are accurate (before taking further action), then drop the caloric intake by 200 per day and observe what happens.
Lastly let's talk about the general ratio of macro-nutrients within individual meal structure.
- Lean meat 6g protein, 1-2g of fat
- Healthy carbohydrates 15g
- Vegetables ≤ 5g net carbs [net carbs being total carbs minus fiber]
- Ideally unsaturated fats,12-15g of fat
Keep these rough ratios and use them to calculate the intakes of each macro-nutrient to suit your dietary needs. It is important to note, however, that these ratios can be relatively flexible, and as long as you meet your daily intake requirements you'll be well on your way.
I hope this case study helps everyone with how to outline and approach your own nutritional goals, As always please feel free to comment or contact me if you have any questions!