Get Lean and Add Muscle – Calories, Macros and Carb Cycling

Again this can become more complicated as we take into account body types, activity levels and goals but I have found that the simplest way to calculate your daily calorie intake is to use the following calculation:

To convert your bodyweight from kilos to pounds, just times your weight by 2.25.

Fat/Weight Loss – Bodyweight (lbs) x 13
Maintenance – Bodyweight (lbs) x 14
Muscle/Weight Gain – Bodyweight (lbs) x 15
Calorie counting is not an exact science but it gives you a starting point from which to plot your course, it’s then up to you to monitor your progress and adjust accordingly.

For instance if you calculate your calorie intake for weight/fat loss and after 1-2 weeks you’re not seeing any loss in weight then you would reduce your calorie intake by 100 calories per day and then reassess again in 1-2 weeks.

Likewise if you calculate your calorie intake for muscle/weight gain and after 1-2 weeks you’re not seeing any gain in weight then you would increase your calorie intake by 100 calories per day and then reassess again in 1-2 weeks.

Macronutrient Ratios

Note: These ratios are more for people looking to improve body composition, decrease in fat and increase in muscle, for those looking for a balanced diet and health improvements, your concern should be on food quality more so than overly concerning yourself with counting calories.

As a rule of thumb on a plant based diet your protein intake to support the maintenance and or growth of muscle should be around 25-30% of your daily calorie intake. Going closer to 30% on lower carbohydrate days and closer to 25% on higher carbohydrate days, this is due to the muscle sparring effect that carbohydrates have on muscle.

The rest of your calorie intake is then made up of carbohydrates and fats, which as I mentioned before should be ‘inversely proportionate’, so to make it simple the follow is a good guideline to follow:

Protein – 30%
Carbohydrates – 50 or 20%
Fats – 20 or 50%

Remember it’s not an exact science so if you miss these targets by a few percent then don’t worry.
Great apps to monitor macronutrient and calorie targets is called MyFitnessPal or Cronometer






Carbohydrate Cycling

Is an advanced nutritional strategy that involves the cycling of carbohydrates in and out of the diet on different days to instigate an increased level of energy expenditure and fat loss or to support an increase in activity or training volume.

During prolonged periods of calorie restriction the body’s production of a hormone called leptin is reduced. One of leptin’s roles is to regulate energy expenditure and to conserve energy stores, potentially during survival situations when food is scarce.

The trouble is when you diet for a long period of time your body will begin to hang onto energy stores and make it harder for you to lose that stubborn body fat, therefore we need to trick the body into releasing more energy stores/body fat to maintain steady progression of fat loss on a program.

To do this we inject days of a higher than normal carbohydrate intake into the diet so that the body will assume calories are in abundance and can therefore start to release more energy stores/body fat once again.

An effective and simple way to lay out a carbohydrate cycle is to focus your higher carbohydrate intake of grains, root vegetables and fruits on training days, focusing on beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, berries and vegetables on all other days.

If you’d like to work with me as your online coach designing a nutrition and training program to suit your body type then email me at

Next week I’ll discuss How to create protein packed plant powered recipes

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