How To Calculate Your Leangains Macros

This guide has been viewed over 1 million times since the first publication in 2011. I’ve made revisions over 100 times since.

There is a school of thought that it can be beneficial for nutrient partitioning (and therefore body composition) to have more calories on the days you work out, and less on the days you don’t. Martin Berkhan, in particular, took this a step further by experimenting with higher carb/lower fat intake training days, and higher fat/lower carb intake rest days as he was forming his Leangains system.

This is my guide to calculating macros based on Martin’s Leangains system. You can see the results that this system produces here. This is how I set things up for the vast majority of clients for years.

As with any serious nutrition strategy, these initial calculations are just the start point. The key to your success will be fine tuning your macros so that you keep progressing. These will come in later guides on the site. For now, I’ve worked to make this guide as simple as possible, without compromising on the efficacy. I’ve given the bare-minimum theory because most people don’t want it when they are first starting out.

If you’d like to make this even easier, my macro calculation spreadsheet and detailed nutrition set-up guide is available for free download here. – Andy.

First, Calculate Calorie Intake

It’s necessary to calculate calorie intake first, before then dividing it up into macros. Here are the steps.

Step 1. Calculate your BMR

I like to call BMR your ‘coma calories’ – the energy intake you need, should you fall into a coma, to maintain your body weight. There are a variety of formulas, all of which produce a guess at best, so don’t worry about trying to calculate things perfectly because we’ll adjust our intake based on how we progress.

The Harris-Benedict formula is commonly used, but doesn’t work very well if you are particularly fat (it’ll overestimate your calorie needs) or particularly jacked (it’ll underestimate your calorie needs). Therefore I recommend the Katch-McArdle BMR formula as it’s based on body-fat percentage and is a little more accurate.

Metric: BMR = 370 + 21.6 * Lean Body Mass (in kg)

1 kg = 2.2 lbs, so if you’re used to using pounds, just divide your weight by 2.2 to find your weight in kg.

Lean Body Mass (LBM) = weight – (weight * (body-fat %/100))

You can estimate your body fat percentage with a few quick body measurements here.


Step 2. Adjust for Activity

You need to add an ‘activity multiplier’ (x1.2~x1.9) to your BMR depending on your lifestyle/training.

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (training/sports 2-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (training/sports 4-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (training/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Extremely active (twice per day, extra heavy workouts): BMR x 1.9

From these two calculations we now have our approximate daily energy expenditure (TDEE). We need to adjust this number based on our goal, which we’ll do next.




STEP 1: BMR = 370+21.6*75*(1-0.1) = 1828 kcal STEP 2: TDEE = 1828*1.55 = 2833 kcal



STEP 1: BMR = 370+21.6*90*(1-0.2) = 1925 kcal STEP 2: TDEE = 1925*1.375 = 2647 kcal

Step 3. Adjust Calorie Intake Based On Your Goal

It’s important to choose a goal – fat loss or muscle gain. Yes, I know you want both, and you might be able to achieve that to a degree, but for now I need you to look at yourself in the mirror and choose what you think is most important right now. If you need help with this, have a read of my Goal Setting Guide.

Goal: Fat Loss

A calorie deficit is required for fat loss, so we need to have a calorie intake under our TDEE (the calorie figure calculated in the previous section). The fatter we are the quicker we can lose body fat; the leaner we are, the more slowly we must take things so that we preserve muscle mass. Therefore, it’s best to make reductions to TDEE based on our body-fat percentage:

Current estimated body fat %Reduce calorie intake by
Goal: Muscle Gain

Increase TDEE by 20%.

Goal: ‘Body-recomposition’ (Both)

No changes will be made to calorie intake.

I rarely recommend this.

There is the idea that if calorie intake is kept at weight-maintenance levels, but the training is right and the meal timing is right, then muscle will replace fat in a perfect 1:1 ratio. Now while this is true it is rarely the quickest way for someone to go about achieving their goals. For most people this will simply compromise both, slow up the progress of everything, which will threaten adherence to the plan significantly. The exception are certain ‘skinny-fat’ trainees.

The idea usually comes from a misguided sense of importance that tricks with meal timing can play and is especially prevalent in the Leangains community. (This isn’t a fault of Leangains, it’s just human nature to want to believe in shortcuts.)

We now have our target average daily calorie intake. The next step is to adjust that to give us more calories for our training days and less for the rest days.



TDEE = 2833 kcal GOAL: BULK, SO ADD 20% TO TDEE





Step 4. Calculate Training & Rest Day Calorie Intake Targets

We want to split the calorie intake so that we are consuming more on our training days than our rest days. The idea is to optimize recovery.

An approximate 40% difference between your training and rest day calorie intake figures will do, and if you are training 3 or 4 days a week, here is the simplest way to do this:

Take your average daily calorie intake and multiply by 1.2 – this is your training day calorie intake figure.

Take your average daily calorie intake and multiply by 0.8 – this is your rest day calorie intake figure.

If you’re not training 3-4 days a week then see my more detailed diet set up guide




TRAINING DAY INTAKE = 3400*1.2 = 4080 kcal REST DAY INTAKE = 3400*0.8 = 2720 kcal



TRAINING DAY INTAKE = 2118*1.2 = 2542 kcal REST DAY INTAKE = 2118*0.8 = 1694 kcal

Next, Calculate Your Macros


It’s now time to divide our calorie budgets for the training and rest days between the three macros. Protein will be kept high always. Training days will have a high carbohydrate, low fat intake; rest days will be higher fat, lower carbohydrate intake.

There are fairly strict guidelines for protein setting, there are looser guidelines for fat intake setting, and the carbohydrates balance the calorie budget.

Step 5. Set Your Protein Intake

Protein is good. You’ve heard this even if you can’t remember why. Here’s why: It forms the building blocks for muscle, it has a protective effect on muscle tissue when dieting, and it’s the most satiating of the macronutrients (i.e. it keeps away hunger).

Ignore what your mom says she read in the newspaper – high protein diets do not cause kidney damage, nor do they raise your risk of cancer – unless you’re eating processed red meat, all the time, and in very large quantities. (For a full summary of the research and practical recommendations regarding high protein diets see this excellent article over on

Protein Intake When Cutting

The research data suggests an intake somewhere in the 2.3-3.1 g/kg (~1.1-1.4 g/lb) of lean body mass (LBM) range when dieting is where we want to be. Lower than this and we risk muscle loss; higher than this serves no real purpose – it will just make your supermarket visits more expensive, as well as limit the carbs and fats you could otherwise be eating in your diet. The higher end of this range comes from research data on bodybuilders going through contest prep – you won’t need to go this high, unless you are already shredded, and wanting to get to stage shredded levels of leanness from there.

→ I recommend 2.5 g of protein per kilogram of lean body mass each day when cutting. (~1.2 g/lb)

You can choose to go to up to 3.1 g if you have issues with hunger, as protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Check out the site’s main FAQ also if hunger is causing you issues as you can go fairly far just from altering food choices without adjusting your macros.

Protein Intake When Bulking

When bulking the optimal range of intake it slightly lower: 1.6-2.2 g/kg (~0.8-1.0 g/lb) LBM. If you go lower than this and you may not grow as much a you otherwise could have from your training; higher than this your body simply isn’t capable of using directly for muscle growth and repair. (Unless you’re pumping yourself full of drugs, which will raise the cap on how much muscle can be synthesized from protein each day, which is why you see drug-using bodybuilders go much higher than this range.)

I suggest we set it slightly higher than this range for a couple of reasons:

  1. There are inter-individual differences on how much protein is needed. You don’t know which end of the range your needs will lie, so as long as you have the budget, I’d argue that it’s better to go with the higher end of the range to be conservative.
  2. As you’re bulking, you’ll be growing so you’ll eventually need to eat more protein as you grow anyway.

→ I recommend 2.5 g of protein per kilogram of lean mass on both training and rest days. (~1.2 g/lb)




PROTEIN INTAKE = 2.5*75*0.9 = ~170g/DAY



PROTEIN INTAKE = 2.5*90*0.8 = ~180g/DAY

Step 6. Set Your Fat Intake

Consumption of dietary fat is important for hormonal regulation, especially testosterone production. It should never be eliminated from a diet. Make sure your average daily fat intake goes no lower than 0.9 g/kg (~0.4 g/lb) of LBM.

Fat Intake When Cutting

Average daily fat intake when cutting should be somewhere in this range: 0.9-1.3 g/kg (~0.4-0.6 g/lb) of LBM.

Go with the higher end of the range if you prefer a higher fat diet, the lower end of the range if you prefer more carbs in your diet. Those carrying more body fat will do better with a higher fat intake on training days than leaner individuals. This is to do with insulin sensitivity, which increases when you get leaner.

Now, we want to set your fat intake so that you have it higher on your rest days, and a lower on your training days. This is an attempt to improve calorie partitioning (less fat storage, better recovery and muscle gain).

The average male client will typically have a fat intake somewhere in the ~40-65 g range on training days, 60-100 g on the rest days. For the purposes of the calculation box below, I’ve taken the average fat intake figure, and then set it 30% higher and lower than that for the rest and training days respectively.


Fat Intake When Bulking

  • When bulking have your average daily fat intake around 20-30% of calorie intake.
  • Choose a percentage in that range based on whether you prefer a higher fat or higher carbohydrate intake. Then divide that by 9 to find how many grams of fat you should consume on average each day. (There are nine calories in each gram of fat remember.)
  • We want to have a fairly large split between the fat intake on the training days and rest days. So, multiply by 0.7 to find your training day fat intake figure, multiply by 1.3 to find your rest day intake figure.




AVERAGE DAILY FAT INTAKE = (0.25*3400)/9 = 85g TRAINING DAY FAT INTAKE = 95*0.7 = ~65g REST DAY FAT INTAKE = 95*1.3 = ~125g




Step 7. Calculate Carb Intake

Just think of carbs as being here to balance the equation so that you hit your training and rest day calorie targets. Carbs have 4 calories in each gram.

→ Training day carb intake = Training day calorie intake – training day fat intake – training day protein intake

→ Rest day carb intake = Rest day calorie intake – Rest day fat intake – Rest day protein intake





TRAINING DAY CARB INTAKE = 4080 – 170*4 – 65*9 = 2815 kcal = ~705g

REST DAY CARB INTAKE = 2720 -170*4 – 125*9 = 915 kcal = ~230g




TRAINING DAY CARB INTAKE = 2542 – 180*4 – 60*9 = 1282 kcal = ~320g

REST DAY CARB INTAKE = 1694 -180*4 – 90*9 = 164 kcal = ~40g


What about macro ratios? I read somewhere that I should have 40/40/20.

Ignore the idea of macro ratios, these are just a function of the stage of dieting rather than something to target.

As you have just seen, protein intake is best set based on lean body mass, there are minimum recommendations for fat intake, and carbohydrate just makes up the calorie balance. What this means is that the ratio of the macronutrients that make up your diet will change as you progress – there will be more carbohydrate when we are bulking, and less when we are cutting. If you target specific macro ratios you’ll end up with a diet that is suboptimal for you.

Do these macros look right?

It’s not possible for me to look at a set of calculated macros and say whether they are correct or not. It’s going to vary greatly from person to person.

Now, one important thing to note it that the initial calculations we make are an estimation – a starting point and nothing more. Everyone’s actual energy expenditure will vary somewhere between plus or minus ~20% of that due genetic differences, the current state of metabolic adaptations, and NEAT variance. (More on this here).

We can’t calculate for these things, so a better question is, “How are these macros working for you?

If you’re not tracking, you don’t know, so get started and make sure you don’t miss any points. From there you can fine tune things based on how you progress. Make sure you read my guide to tracking your progress.

I get a negative number for my carb intake on the rest days. What did I do wrong?

Check that you didn’t set your fat loss rate too high for your current level of body fat. If you have that right, then reduce the calorie split between the training and rest days (from 30% to 20% for example). If you’ve already done that, then reduce it further manually by just taking some of your carb intake from the training days and adding it to the rest days.

What should I read next?

Make sure you check out my progress tracking guide. A lot of people miss that at their own peril.

If you’re looking for meal timing suggestions specifically for Leangains then I’d suggest my Leangains Overview and Meal Timing Guide.

If you’d like something with fuller explanations which will allow for further customization, then check out my free 67 page Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet ebook. You’ll get my automated macro calculator also.

The guides covering how to adjust and fine tune and your diet are all here.


Good luck. Thanks for reading. Questions are welcomed in the comments. – Andy

Get The Starter Kit:


1. Macro calculator
2. 'The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet' book
3. Email course on the 5 biggest set-up mistakes people make.

(Yes, it's all free.)

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Andy Morgan

I am the founder of, this is my sincere effort to build the best nutrition and training guides on the internet. Some readers hire me to coach them, which I've been doing online, via email, for the last six years. If you're interested in individualized, one-on-one nutrition and training coaching to help you crush your physique goals, let's start the conversation.

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2,024 Comments on “How To Calculate Your Leangains Macros”

  1. Umair says:

    Thank you for this great resource you have here, Andy. I am in the middle of reading your e-book and keep coming back to your website for various things.

    This looks all good, the guidance on setting up a diet, I understand it through and through. But for somebody belonging to the Asian sub-continent, the execution of it becomes a problem, of sorts. See, our dinner plate here looks something like this: a serving or two of meat or veg curry eaten with either ‘chapati / nan’, which is basically flatbread, or a serving or two of boiled white rice. We like yogurt, pickles or chutneys as accompaniments. The only measure anyone has of how much they eat is by keeping a count of the number of flat breads consumed in each meal, e.g. I eat up to two, or have a serving and a half of rice, usually. The portion of curry consumed only varies slightly for each meal. All curry is cooked in some form of vegetable oil most of the time unless someone wants to add ‘ghee’ for flavour, which is a hydrogenated high-fat form I think. Moreover, to make matters complicated, the amount of oil used can vary from one recipe to another!

    So when a meal make up looks something I have just described, it is beyond me at the moment how to go about calculating the macro requirements for myself.

    Any advice at all?

    Thanks again for all the great advice you have here for everyone!

    1. Hi Umair, thanks for the question. Three solutions:

      1. Cook everything yourself, count what you put in the recipe. This is what most people do.
      2. Google around to see if any sites have made nutritional estimations for popular local dishes.
      3. Don’t count, adjust relatively. I’ve covered more on this in my macro counting guide.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Erica says:

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for all the information! It’s very useful. My problem with most macro calculators is that I am fairly light (120 pounds) and 5 feet tall. Most of the time, I hear people say that you shouldn’t go under 1200 calories, regardless of your weight. When I used this calculator, it sets my rest day calorie intake to about 800 calories, which I think is kind of insane…what are your thoughts on this? I think I could deal with 1150-1250 calories on rest days, but 800 seems like borderline starvation.


    1. Hi Erica, thanks for the question.

      You are smaller than average, so you have to eat less than the average person.

      Most of the time, I hear people say that you shouldn’t go under 1200 calories, regardless of your weight.
      This is a well meaning statement intended to prevent people from slashing calories too hard, but it misses nuance and is not applicable to all in all situations:

      • Smaller people need less on average. You are smaller than average. This sucks, but that’s just how it is.
      • People who have been dieting for a while will need less due to metabolic adaptation.
      • When cycling calories, the rest day will have a lower intake to make up for the higher intake on the training day.

      Double check your calculations. If you’re sure you’re right, set your intake as you have calculated. Track your progress, then adjust things after a few weeks if things move faster than you have been targeting. – See the adjustments articles in the nutrition menu for how to do that.

      Your other option is to exercise more so you can eat more. This isn’t a recommendation I typically make, but a valid strategy for smaller bodied people.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Erica says:

        Thank you for your input! I’ve checked the calculator a few different ways and I think my highest potential calories on a rest day would be 1000….I will try it out and see how it goes.

        1. Sure. And if you find it more sustainable, you could always close the gap between training and rest days.

  3. Pierson Scarborough says:

    Hi, Andy. I’m a very active individual, I do crossfit workouts about 5 times a week as well as train heavy olympic and power lifts. Despite my training regimen I’ve never looked the way I feel I should. Im 6 foot, muscular and fairly skinny however I am not as lean nor as big as I want to be. So my question is what should I set my goals for? Muscle gain or weight loss?

    1. Hi Pierson, thank you for the comment and sorry for the delay in replying. (I had been unable to do so while the website went through a big update over August.)

      Lean out first, then bulk later.

  4. Ben says:

    Hey is fat more than twice as high on rest days?

    1. Certainly could be.

  5. David Lee says:

    Hi, Andy

    I went through the entire calculation which I believe I did correctly and got a carb intake of 400+. This seems absurdly high as opposed to other calculators and calculations I’ve seen. Does this seem normal for a “cut” goal? Thanks

    1. Hi David. If you’re a big guy with high activity levels, that wouldn’t be absurd for a training day number.

  6. Usman says:

    Hi Andy,

    Great article! Im interested in that spreadsheet.

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Usman, box at the bottom of the article or see here.

  7. Kyle says:

    Hi Andy,

    My apologies if this has been asked already. Should I be counting vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, etc. towards my carbohydrate allotment? I’ve seen programs where it’s done both ways and I want to make sure I don’t go over on my carbs/calories.



  8. Jonnie says:

    Hi! I’m a little confused. I did the calculations (116 lb. 21% BF = 42.6 LBM) and got 106g for my daily protein intake, using the recommended 2.5 formula. In the instructions, you mention that protein should approximately be 1.2 x our weight (in yellow). That would be approx. 140g. If I’m eating 140g of protein, am I eating too much?

    1. Hi Jonnie. That’s per kilogram of lean mass. 140g is not necessary ‘too much,’ but may be unnecessarily high.

  9. Ben Lucas says:

    Hi Andy,

    Long time lurker here and finally decided to use the LG approach to cutting as I think the alternating feast and fast days, as they are, will really be something that I can stick to!

    I was wondering if you used or recommended any particular app for tracking macro intake where you can set variable macro targets depending on what day you’re on? Sorry if you’ve covered this already elsewhere.

    Cheers mate,


      1. Ben Lucas says:

        Cheers, Andy. I’d read that article ages ago and not seen that. Great resources here, by the way.

        One of the things I’m already loving about having different training day and working day macros is that I can almost ‘binge’ every day, even when on a diet, instead of just my carbs and fats being evened out across all days. Yesterday was all about bacon and cheese. Today, it’s bread!

        Thanks for all the stuff on this site. I’ve pointed several mates to your diet set-up guide in the past.


        1. Most welcome, Ben. 🙂

  10. sascha reif says:

    Thank you for the superb articles

    1. Most welcome, Sascha. 🙂

  11. Michael says:

    Hello Andy,

    there seems to be an inconsistency in the method of determining training day and rest day fat intake between this article and the macro calculator spreadsheet you provide (at least in the latter’s 1.7 version, which is the one I have on hand):

    In this article, you state that one should “multiply by 0.7 to find your training day fat intake figure, multiply by 1.3 to find your rest day intake figure.”. Assuming the value that should be multiplied is the daily average fat intake (which is confirmed by the inline calculator right above that quote on this page), this actually means that fat intake on training days is (0.7 / 1.3) ~= 0.54 = 54% of rest day fat intake. But in the spreadsheet, the training day fat intake is determined by multiplying the *rest day* fat intake by 0.7 (or by whatever fat split you have set in the spreadsheet) — NOT the *average daily* fat intake. This results in a difference of (70% – 54%) = 16% between the two formulas for calculating training day fat intake!

    1. True, but it doesn’t really matter (it won’t make any meaningful difference to outcomes). Thanks for pointing it out though, Michael.

  12. Francesco says:

    Hi Andy!
    When should you have calorie deficit if you workout every day?


    1. Hi, Francesco. In this case, every day will have a slight deficit. Skip step four. See my more detailed diet set-up guide linked above if you get stuck calculating the macros from this page as you can do it in the spreadsheet calculator.

  13. RD says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the website, very helpful!
    But what about body type? I myself am more of an endomorph who puts on fat easily!
    I’ve just recently lost weight but don’t want to put on fat to rapidly, should I decrease carbs a bit and go really low carbs on rest days?

    Regards RD

  14. Joe Klaric says:

    Hi Andy, just after the detailed macro calculation spreadsheet. Thanks, Joe

    1. Hi Joe. Just scroll up, the box for your email address for me to send it to is at the end of the article.

  15. Conner says:

    Hey Andy, quick question, I think I’m doing my calculations wrong. I feel like the number for my daily carb intake is way to high. It’s stating a daily intake of roughly 450g. Are there any other calculations I have to do other then the input ones you have set up. I’m just trying to lean out here. I have everything figured out until the carbs section. If I was eating that many carbs that’d be more then 60% of my calories.

    1. Conner, thanks for the comment and question.
      “Are there any other calculations I have to do other than the input ones you have set up?”
      No, just the calculations above. There’s no reason to suspect you’ve done it incorrectly. If you would like to see a more detailed guide then click the link to the complete guide and put your email in the box and you’ll get a spreadsheet that will calculate it all out for you.

      This article may also be worth a read for you:
      The Myth of the ‘Best’ Macro Ratio

  16. Hayley Clark says:

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve worked out everything using the calculators here but on my rest days with required cals of 1134, once protein and fat is calculated using the recommended, it is leaving me in a minus figure for carbs. What do i do?

    Many thanks

  17. Eduardo says:

    Hy Andy! I’m a big admirer of your job in here.
    When I started reading the site I was in the middle of a diet process, so I decided to wait for this process to end but the results were not the best and the calories are running out. Could I start with your method of calculation without much prejudice to the progress I made in my last cut? Ps: Even though the results were not wonderful, it had some effect and I did not want to lose them. Thank you again.

    1. Metabolism is adaptive, so calculations are an estimation at best. It’s far better to adjust based on your current setting than recalculate. This course will show you how.
      The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

  18. Hannes says:

    Hi Andy, what factor do I use for a desc job but weight train 3-4 days a week.
    Thanks for the brilliant guide.

    1. Try half way between the two suggested Hannes.

  19. Judith says:

    Just completed the above calculation to set my carbs and target rest day carb intake. Rest day carb intake is 23.4g this seems a bit low to me but cannot see what I have done wrong.

    [Calculations deleted – See comment rules. See FAQ.]

  20. keven M says:

    hi, I calculated [DELETED – see comment rules and FAQ] is this seeming right? and will it make me fat?

    1. Usually, I’d suggest this article on how to bulk Keven. Unfortunately, however, it may be too late!

      Form the comment rules:
      Comments that do not follow these rules will be deleted, and the gods of aesthetics will curse you with stubborn fat and shitty muscle gains.

  21. João Guimarães says:


    I train 4 days/week and do cardio the other 3 days. So, how many calories do you advice to ingest on the cardio days?

    – The same Like as a normal training day?
    – The same as a rest day?
    – In between? Calculate how many calories I need in each cardio session and add them up to the rest days value?

    Thanks, I really enjoy your articles!

    1. Hi João, this will be taken care of in the activity multiplier section, step 2.

  22. Adrian Fuller says:

    Please would you kindly email me the maco calculation spreadsheet. Thank you.

    1. Sure. Put your email in the box and the download link will be sent.

  23. Christine says:

    Hi Andy, What is your protocol for BCAA’s on non training days?

  24. John says:

    Hi Andy, great guide, just a question: why there is an additional value when calculating the protein intake? I mean the additional x0.8 and x0.9 that you put in the two examples? Why there isn’t just a (Proteins in gr)x(LBM) ?

    1. Hi John, we’re calculating protein intake by fat-free body mass. As the people in the examples are 20% and 10% body fat, we multiply weight by 0.8 and 0.9 respectively to find lean body mass.

  25. Salim says:

    Hi Andy,

    I asked you below in the comments whether I should use this calculator or read the articles on slow bulk / finding my maintenance after having finished a cut. I tried to reply on your answer but couldn’t find a way too, so sorry for posting again.

    I just forgot to mention that I am now doing 2 intense boxing sessions per week, 2 hours long each, which explains why even at 2900 Kcal per day, I don’t gain weight, in addition to 3 heavy workouts per week.

    I have followed a high carb / low fat diet for several months now and am a little bit lost when considering to switch to a macronutrient cycle as advised by the calculator / IF leangains style. I don’t really see the point to be on a high fat / lower carbs day on boxing days… What would you advise in such a case?

    Many thanks in advance for your feedback.

    1. It’s all about adjusting based on your baseline. Take this email course I put together Salim:
      The Diet Adjustment Mastery Mini Course

  26. Nick says:

    Dear Andy,
    I’m confused why the complete guide and the leangains guide are giving me different results when putting the same initial values and choosing the same options on the calculators e.g. training days/week etc. I get for example different average daily calorie intakes varying by 150 calories with the same values given from me on the calculators. Which guide should I follow since my goal is to cut.

    1. Hi Nick, go with the complete guide.

  27. Crystal says:

    I’ve been following the Eat More 2 Weigh Less Method and doing a body recomp. Is this something I should follow instead? I don’t want super fast results, I just want results that will last and that I won’t gain.

    1. I haven’t heard of what you’re doing so I can’t answer. But I guess the questions you need to ask yourself are:
      1. Do you enjoy what you are doing?
      2. Do you have the ability to sustain it?
      3. Are you seeing results from it?
      4. Do you understand why it works so you can keep on progressing?

      If no to any of the above then consider changing.

  28. alexandros markoulakis says:

    Hi Andy,
    please send me your macro calculation spreadsheet and detailed nutrition set-up guide.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Alexandros. Just click the link in the last FAQ answer.

  29. Salim says:

    Hi Andy,
    Should I consider using this calculator to have an insight about the macros for bulking, or should I use the “how to find your maintenance calories / how to bulk properly” article? Because I increased calories up to 2700-2900 Kcal per day and no weight/fat gain occurs so far (I’ve been doing this for 2 months). At the end of the week, the scale indicates 160 lbs…

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    1. Hi Salim. Don’t recalculate. Use both those articles, they’ll show you how to move from your current baseline of calorie intake.

  30. Carly says:

    Im looking for your macro calculation spreadsheet and detailed nutrition set-up guide

    1. Hi Carly, see the last point in the FAQ.

  31. Tony Uribe says:

    Hey Andy thanks for all this useful info!
    I was just wondering, my training calories are only 100 calories less than my TDEE will I still lose weight this way, if I only have two rest days during the week?

    1. Hi Tony. What matters is the weekly calorie deficit. If it isn’t sufficient then you won’t lose weight. Use the calculation method on the complete set-up guide given that you train 5 days a week. Link to this page at the bottom of the post.

  32. Emily says:

    Hey Andy! You’re amazing! You’ve taught me so much! Thank you!!!

    Just wondering, as a female – in terms of macros (and cutting), if my fat intake percentage on rest days is higher than my protein intake percentage, does that mean I probably calculated wrong? Does my daily protein intake have to be a higher percentage of my calories than either fat or carbs? Or can my bodyfat% and my LBM create a fat-heavy macro ratio that is still healthy and will help with cutting?

    1. Hi Emily, glad you’ve found the site helpful and thanks for the questions. When people give suggestions based on ratios, they’re making simplified suggestions. The ratios are irrelevant when you’re setting macros based on lean body mass as we are here, which will be a more accurate way of doing things. Go with what you’ve calculated, track things over a month and then adjust based on progress and feeling.

  33. David Brown says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for putting this leangains macro calculator together, super valuable!!!

    Quick question? I have put all me details in but my carb intake amount for rest day looks really low… just wanted to run it pass you to see if numbers add up?? Thanks.

    Screenshot can be found [DELETED BY ANDY]


    1. Thanks for putting this leangains macro calculator together, super valuable!!!
      Most welcome David.
      …just wanted to run it pass you to see if numbers add up??
      No. See the second FAQ, and the fourth bullet point in the comment rules written above the comment box.

  34. C S says:

    Hey! Love these calculations, thanks so much for putting this together! The one questions I have is: If my target Average Daily Calorie Intake is 1531.5 (so about 1600 for 6 days of training, and 1120 on my rest day), is this my NET calorie goal (calories consumed-calories burned off through exercise) or is it just the intake calorie goal (meaning JUST the number of calories consumed). For example, on a training day when the goal is 1600, can I eat 1800 if I do cardio that burns off 200 calories? Or is this goal meant to be 1600 calories to be eaten regardless of exercise amount? I’m guessing it’s the latter and I’m not meant to subtract the exercise calories (since there’s already a variance in rest and training days). Just asking because I’m using an app to keep track of everything and it has the option to subtract exercise calories or not to!

    1. on a training day when the goal is 1600, can I eat 1800 if I do cardio that burns off 200 calories?
      – Yes.

  35. Mike Choi says:

    Hey Andy, I had read through your “setting up your diet” pdf and learned quite a bit about the pyramid…so thanks!

    My question was specifically about the training day/rest day calorie/macro counting calculations. When I did my calculations on excel, I noticed strange numbers, like the fat amount on rest days being too high and the carbs amount going into the negatives (meaning there was no room for carbs on rest days…). I must be doing something wrong. Could you maybe help me out?

    [Calculations Deleted by Andy]

    1. Hi Mike, most welcome. See the third FAQ, then the second.

  36. Jenny says:

    Hi Andy. I’ve just completed calculating my macros (this article and the calculators are amazing) and then it struck me that these calculations might just be for guys. Can women use these calculations as well?

  37. Kyle says:

    Hey Andy!

    I’ve been a big fan of this site for ages now. Thanks for providing all this great information.

    Apologies if I have missed this explanation somewhere! I remember ‘back in the day’ the overall recommendation for Leangains cutting was -30%/+10% of your maintenance calories (for rest days/training days respectively). Is there a reason you no longer recommend this? Is it an adherence issue? I rather enjoyed doing it this way as it allowed me to eat at a surplus on training days and kept my (voracious) appetite in check. As it is now, my calculations have all days in a deficit (my maintenance being 3000, training being 2600 and off days being 1800).

    Thanks as always for the great content!

    1. Hi Kyle. I still have that way of doing it, that’s steps 3 and 4 above combined.

  38. Ramy says:

    Hey Andy,

    Just wanted to start off by saying that I think your website & information are amazing and I can’t thank you enough for being so generous in sharing all this knowledge.

    I’ve been training for just about two years now and of course I have noticed my progress drastically slow down, compared to the wonderful newbie gains. Based on the mirror I would say that I am hovering around 12% body fat and I am looking to get shredded but of course pack on some more muscle. I have read all over the internet that body recomp (losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously) is a futile and pointless goal especially after having a few years of training under your belt. It seems that traditional bulk and cut cycles are the more popular way to go about it.

    Based on the information above, it seems that body recomposition is a very plausible and doable goal as long as nutrition and macro cycling are in line with training and non training days. Do you personally have any experience with this method and do you believe it will be effective. This type of method is something that appeals to me because I am extremely capable of controlling and tracking my food intake and frankly, who doesn’t want to get more muscular while stripping off fat all at once. My only fear is that this method might cause me to spin my wheels since I am not choosing a goal (cut or bulk). Please let me know what you think and thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Ramy, thanks for the comment and compliments.
      – Yes, this is exactly what I recommend in my goal setting series of articles.

  39. juca pato says:

    Andy, thanks for your answer. But I couldnt find meal timing instructions when I would like to go training fasted at 11am. Should I take 10g BCAA at 8am and at 10am, since I wake up 6am? Thank you 🙂

  40. juca pato says:

    Hey Andy, tks for all your guides.

    I searched all your content for an answer for this question, sorry if i didnt find it:

    How should I do if i want to train fasted at 11am, and lunching at 12:30?
    I wake up at 6am. Should I have 10g BCAA at 8am and again at 10h50am?

    1. Hi Juca. See the first link in the “What should I read next?” FAQ at the end.

  41. Sean says:

    Thanks for the link to that article. I thought I had read everything on the site but I hadn’t seen that one. I am going to add the day and see how I respond to the added stress.
    BTW.. Your response to the kg question was masterful and I laughed my ass off. Well played sir and thanks again!

    1. Haha, glad someone liked it. 🙂

  42. Sean says:

    I am curious about adding an additional workout day.
    I have been cutting for 4 weeks, estimate I am about 18% bf and the average I have lost is about a half a pound a week. I have only been seriously lifting for about six months so according to my decreasing measurements and my increasing lifts, I believe I am building muscle at the same time. Great news right? But I feel like I could handle another day of working out and obviously I enjoy eating more on my workout days. So my question is, should I add it or is this a common mistake that people make and then screw things up?
    You are my yoda. Thank you so much for all of the helpful information on this site!!

    1. Hi Sean, thanks for the compliment, glad to hear you’ve been finding the site so helpful.

      …should I add it or is this a common mistake that people make and then screw things up?
      – Adding things (supplements, training tweaks, macro changes, cardio) in willy nilly is a way people screw themselves up. – They lose the ability to gauge the effectiveness of each change. That doesn’t sound like you however. Now, it’s probably not necessary. Whether you will gain anything meaningful from it in terms of training progression really depends (good article hereif you’re up for reading a bit of theory), but enjoyment is a big part of solid adherence which is the foundation of success. So, try it, see how you feel. You can always drop back your volume later.

  43. Cody says:

    Hey Andy just wanted to say awesome guide man I’ve been following IF for about two weeks now and noticed a positive impact on my training and physique already. One question I have is I train roughly 6-7 days a week strength training a long with hypertrophy & cardio after every session. It’s telling me I should be around 2700 which feels relatively high considering I’m cutting currently. I’m weighing about 163 currently and around 15% bodyfat, My caloric intake is about 2200 right now but I do find I’m quite hungry still after consuming all my calories. Do you think I should bump it up a bit or stay where I am? Thanks for your time !

    1. Hi Cody, adjust based on your current baseline and average rate of progress, don’t recalculate. See the third FAQ item.

  44. Grant Hewey says:

    Why in KG? Why oh why?

    1. I’ll offer up three answers for you Grant, let’s see if you can pick the right one:

      a) It’s part of a purposeful campaign to be inconsiderate to North American readers.
      b) To weed out the weak-willed people who won’t be bothered to make the conversion and will fail elsewhere anyway, yet persist in harassing me in the comments with ill-thought-out questions.
      c) I’m English and live in Japan. Both countries use the metric system.

  45. Roei says:


    I hope you still reply to messages!

    I calculated my calorie intake and it says my TDEE is 2744.

    It seems a bit far fetched to me since I just gained over the course of 6 months 15 pounds (mind you I started taking creatine the same some of the weight is cus of that).

    How is it possible the calculator says that figure when I ate 2500 cals on rest days and 2700-2800 on train days?


    1. Hi Roei, sure.
      “How is it possible…”
      Because the calculation is just an estimation, not an exact. As you already know how much you’re eating, and what your weekly weight change has been on average, you can adjust your calorie intake from there.

  46. Thomas Martin says:

    Hi Andy, I have calculated my calories /macros for a cut using both your lean gains page and your complete set up guide, with the numbers being different, is this as the lean gains cut is slower than the normal cut?

    1. Hi Thomas. The method of calculating is slightly different, but what you find in The Complete Set-up Guide is a more detailed way of calculating things. Stick with that.

  47. Pontus says:

    I am a bit confused about the amount of protein you should consume because in the Muscle and Strength Nutrition Pyramid, protein is based on body weight (not on LBM). By the e-book calculations I get a protein value that is >200 grams and based on the facts (extremely high protein diet is only useful for contest prep shredded-ness which I do not have set as a goal at the moment) and calculations here it is the opposite (<200 grams). I'd assume that rates relying on LBM is far more accurate but I just want your input on this issue before I make any adjustments.
    There are similar problems with fat intake as well. In the e-book a percentage value is used to decide fat intake; here you say that they should be ignored.

    I hope you can clear things up and by no means do I try out-smart anyone of you guys, I know you have done your homework.

    1. Hi Pontus, see the fourth FAQ on the support page:

  48. Raul Medina says:

    Hey Andy, thanks for making this calculator. You made it too simple for us common folks 🙂 I’m going to start your program on 5-10-16. Currently I’m at 84kg / 20% BF. LBM is at 67.2 kg. I’m going to run it for 16 weeks. I will post my results. Thanks buddy..

    1. Most welcome Raul!

  49. Bob says:

    Hey Andy,

    Firstly, thanks for all of the resources you have available here, appreciate the time you’re putting in!

    I have a question about TDEE and bodyweight training, as I believe that heavy weight training is really the standard protocol for LG.

    My training regimen is usually as follows:

    HIIT / Kettlebells 3 x per week – example routine below (usually burning around 600-700 calories in a fasted state in the morning):

    I also do Calisthenics training 2-3 x per week (pull ups, push up variations, dips, etc…) usually in the evening.

    My questions are: would you class HIIT / TRX / Kettlebells workout days as a rest day or a training day (at the moment I’m only classing the days where I do intense bodyweight training as training days)?

    Also, when calculating my TDEE (and subsequently macros) using your calculator I am using ‘lightly active’ as my activity level even though I have a pretty sedentary daily job. I’m experimenting right now but just wondered if you thought that was a good place to start based on the above?

    Again, really appreciate the resources you’re putting out there and thanks in advance for any advice you can throw my way!


    1. Hi Bob, thanks for the question. Sounds to me like you are more than just “lightly active”. I’d change that multiplier. Any day with resistance training for progressive overload, consider it a training day.

  50. Marc says:

    Hi Andy,

    first of all thanks putting together all the Information an resources on lean gains. I started weight training 3 month ago, and changed my diet completly (No sugar, proccessed foods, alcohol). And I managed to reduce body fat from 23% body fat to 16% with with nearly constant weight. But I think I have reached a plateau. I have lost 2 KG since last month while my boday fat is still around 16%,however. So I decided to try the lean gains method and started by setting up my macros for a moderate cut.

    I am doing 4 workout each week,heavy weight lifting on mondays and fridays, as well as HIIT circles (basically sprinting or speed strength exercise) and on Tuesdays and Thursdays (about 20-30min) and used the faktor 1.55 to adjust the TDEE.
    But I am not sure how to apply the concept of macro cycling for those HIIT workout days. I think the high carb setting for lifting days might be too much if applied to those HIIT days (especially in terms of carbs). While the low calorie setting for a rest day might be to low. I am thinking abot using the average TDEE for those days, but I am not sure if I should stick to the low carb setting (80 Grams).

    1. Hi Marc, it’s a good job you commented cause you’re really about to mess things up.

      I have lost 2 KG since last month while my boday fat is still around 16%,however.”
      You have not gradually lost 2kg over the last month and not lost any fat. The issue is that you’ve been using a body-fat measurement device, it’s got it wrong, it’s messed with your head and now you are looking to jump to something new. Go back to whatever you were doing as it was probably working fine.

      Here’s what you need to do:
      1. Set your body fat measurement device on fire, cause it’s shit, and causing you unnecessary heart ache:
      The 3 Reasons You Need To Forget About Body-fat Percentage
      A Quick Guide To Estimating Body-fat Percentage
      2. Start tracking properly:
      How To Track Your Progress Like A Pro, To Ensure Body Composition Goal Success

      1. Marc says:

        Thanks for your reply. I was panicking because of a number. I started tracking my progress by other measures. I’ll keep my macros and training routine for now until I see a lack of progress but I will definitely use lean gains when I change to a bulk.

  51. Sam says:

    Great article man, thanks for sharing all this useful information.

    I have a question regarding activity multiplier. I do hard weight training with less rest for 1-1.5 hr 4 times a week and 15-20 min low to medium cardio 4x a week but other than that I’m completely inactive due to desk job so what should I use for activity multiplier in tdee calculations?

    1. Hi Sam. I’d go with “moderately active”.

  52. Alex says:


    Thanks for a great guide. Quick question: how important is it that the gram-amount of fat is higher on rest days than workout days? With my calculations I have to move some carbs from workout to rest days (negative otherwise), and then in order to get the proper amount of fat and protein overall, I have to adjust up the fat amount on training days to be higher than on rest days.

    Is this a problem? Percent-wise its still lower, but there is not a big difference between the two days. The carb amount obviously varies a lot, however.


    1. Hi Alex. Not a big issue. If you’d like to dig deeper into this stuff see the complete set-up guide linked at the end of the article, timing section.

  53. bobmelan says:


    What research can I read that you need over .82 grams of protein to lbs of lbm?

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for the question. This paper by my co-author Eric Helms on the Muscle and Strength Pyramid books makes for a good read and is fully referenced.

  54. Thibault says:

    Hi Andy, thanks for u help with this site!
    Just one question about it, above u said that training calories does’nt count ’cause they are low, but thanks to my apple watch who based on my weight and heart beat, during my friday’s strenght training, i consume about 1000 kcal per training on 2h30. I think i should not see it as low, how to base my diet on my 3 different training’s calories loss? It is about 600-700 on monday, 400-500 on wednesday and 1000-1100 on friday.
    Thank for ur help!


    1. Hi Thibault, thanks for the questions.
      above u said that training calories does’nt count
      No, you’ve misunderstood what I’ve written. All calories count.

      how to base my diet on my 3 different training’s calories loss?
      Though you could add back in then calories on a per day basis, I would just go with what is written above and ignore your watch. Gadgets for calorie expenditure estimation tend to be quite inaccurate. Then adjust from the baseline you create.

  55. Christen Morrison says:

    I’ve been on a macro eating plan for 30 days. My plans numbers matched pretty closely with your calculator. If I am not seeing results what do you suggest changing first? Carbs or fat? Or caloric intake?

    1. Hi Christen, thanks for the question.
      Calorie balance is what governs weight gain or loss. Assuming this is what you mean, that’s where you need to look first. Two things you may find useful:
      The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet
      The Diet Adjustment Mastery Course
      Both are free resources I have put together.

  56. Nick says:

    Andy, while my main workouts are 4 days a week, my rest days are all active rest days (swimming, heavy bag, or walking). Should i stick with the moderately active choice (3-4 days a week of exercise), or the very active (6-7 days)?

    1. I’d try very active Nick as that seems to describe you best.

  57. Robin says:

    Hi Andy
    If im going with recomposition, how do I calculate my target fat intake in step 6? I can only find guidelines for cut and bulk.

    1. Hi Robin, somewhere in the 20-30% range of calorie intake will be fine.

  58. Doug St John says:

    Hi Andy,

    When I calculate my macro requirements, I’m left with 30 carbs on Rest Days. Can you suggest a realistic target that will maximize my cut results? My caloric target for rest days is 1905, (2855 for Training Days). I’ve been average between 3-4K daily for many years. I’m 20% BF and want to get around 12% before bulking up the right way.

    Your site is a fantastic resource, appreciate it!

    1. Hi Doug, if you want to eat some more carbs yet maintain the calorie balance, swap out some of your calorie budget from fat. 100 kcal of fat is ~11g, 100 kcal of carbs is 25g.

  59. Frank Espinoza says:

    Hi Andy, one question. If I want to go on a recomposition protocol, in the days I have to train, is it necessary to do fasting that day? And if I choose not to fast, what difference would be between training at around 11:00 am, and training at 9:00 pm(given that I have eaten most of my calories already by 9:00pm?) and I want to get muscle?

    1. Hi Frank. Please feel free to train whenever your schedule allows, I don’t believe it will make a lot of difference. Rules for meal timing covered in the links above.

  60. Felix says:

    I’ve read that under optimal conditions (training, nutrition, recovery) one can gain 8-15 g of muscle mass per day. That would be 56-105 g per week. Let’s say someone’s maintenance level is at 3000 kcal per day. If they go for a bulk with a surplus of 20% kcal per day, that would be additional 600 kcal per day on average, 4200 kcal per week. Wouldn’t they – while they gain only 56-105 g muscle mass at optimal conditions – at least also build up 500 g of fat (4200 kcal / (7 kcal/g) minus the muscle mass) per week? Wouldn’t it be more logical to have a daily calorie surplus that would equal or is at least closer to the max. of 8-15 g muscle gain?

    1. Felix says:

      Another question: While other pages suggest to use factor 0.9 for rest days and 1.3 for training days on the TDEE for bulking, your calculator uses 0.96 (1.2 * 0.8) for rest days and 1.44 (1.2 * 1.2) for training days, which is almost 50% more (0.44 / 0.3 – 1) of the surplus calories on training days. Or did I get something wrong?

      1. Hi Felix, thanks for your questions.

        1. No. These things can’t be calculated exactly. Have a good read of my article on bulking. Then get stuck into the adjustments articles, and the ones on genetic potential.

        2. Yes. They’re two different methods of calculating a starting point. They won’t mix, but arrive at approximately the same result when followed from start to finish independently. Choose one, stick to it, don’t worry about the differences.

  61. Lewis says:

    Hi Andy, thanks very much for this article. It is brilliant and is excellent guidance for me to help shape my plans for 2016.

    I have decided to focus on lean bulking. My only question is around cardio/ exercise for fat loss. Can this be factored in to a bulking programme? The reason I ask is because due to working away, I may go 3-5 days without being able to get to the gym, but clearly going out for a jog in the surrounding area is much easier. By doing this will this help shed a little fat without compromising my overall goal?

    Thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks again.


    1. Hi Lewis, thank you for the question.
      If you’re bulking, you’re in a calorie surplus, fat will be accumulated, there is no way around it. Cardio will not help you to burn fat while building muscle though it would be nice if the body worked like that. Choose one goal, stick to it. My guide on bulking here:
      How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk

  62. Wafi says:

    Amazing article. very useful. I have been doing intermittent fasting for about 4 or 5 months. and I got rid of my beer belly. Now I am getting close to my six packs but I am not quite there yet. I might look a bit “skinny-fat”. I feel like for the past month or so I am hitting a plateau. I have been cycling between circuit training and traditional training using sets. for the past month I focused mostly on HIT. My diet is mostly based on rice and various curries. My questions are as follow:

    -What sort of trying is best for shedding fat? Normal strength training with heavy weights? Or HIT training? I read an article in this website saying that heavy weight training is favourable

    -Diet wise I don’t really count calories, macros or anything. To shed fat I just ate less. Is protein really that crucial in order to achieve a six pack?

    1. Hi Wafi, thanks for the questions.
      1. Have a read this article, The Core Principles of Effective Training
      2. A calorie deficit is necessary for losing body fat. A low body-fat percentage is necessary for the abs to be visible. Protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass in a calorie deficit. Nobody gives a shit about a skinny guy with a six pack. So… yes.

  63. Neil M says:

    Hello Andy,

    Love this article and the data behind it. From a theoretical standpoint, this info is sound…all but one issue, at least to me. It’s known that you should at least intake 0.9 g/kg of fat because the human body needs that minimum to function properly, so why is it on training day the fat falls below that minimum? I do know carbs are more important than fat on those days, but don’t we still need to minimum fat intake regardless of if it’s a training or rest day?

    Thank you,
    Neil M

    1. Hi Neil, thanks for the compliments and question.

      Individual days can be higher or lower, it’s the average that matters. If you’d like to read more about all this it’s covered in that more comprehensive guide linked at the end of the article.

  64. Caleb says:

    My goal is to consume 2,000cals a day – which puts me at a 1,000cal deficit of my TDEE. I burn between 1,500-2,000cals with my workout & work etc. I’ve been doing the 16hr Fast/8hr Feed and it has been amazing!

    However, i’m confused as to how my calorie intake should actually work based on my daily activity and already being in a 1,000cal deficit…

    If i consume 2,000cals of food in my feeding window but have burned 1,500cals through my daily activity, this means I’m then left with 500cals (which i take as a 2,500cal deficit of my TDEE). Do i leave this as it is? Is this what I’m supposed to be going for?

    Or do i need to increase these 500cals back up to the 2,000cal mark again by consuming another 1,500cals because of the amount I’m constantly burning?

    For example. Today i burned 1,300cals but consumed 3,000cals in my 8hr feeding window. This left me with 1,700cals which I’m taking as, i am still in a great deficit (300cals below 2,000cals and 1,300cals below my TDEE). Is this the right way to calculate it?

    1. Hi Caleb, I think the problem you’re having is that you’re trying to adjust your calorie intake each day based on how many calories you think you burned. Whatever you’re using to guess that (a Fitbit or something like that), it’ll likely be inaccurate, and adjusting each day is a mistake in my opinion. Besides, your TDEE calculation already has the daily energy expenditure factored in, and that works perfectly fine as is.

  65. Felix says:

    What I’m wondering is why leangains doesn’t consider the calories burnt by training itself on the training days.
    If someone eg. burns 2500 calories on non-training days and 3100 on training days (600 through training), gets an TDEE of 2800 through the calculator and choses to go for a recomp, he would take -20% calories on non-training days (2800 – 560 = 2240, only 260 calories less than the actually burnt 2500 kcal) und +20% on training days (2800 + 560 = 3360, only 260 kcal more than the actually burnt 3100 kcal).
    Wouldn’t it be more efficient to incorporate the calorie difference between training/non-training days and have an even higher deficiency/plus of eg. 500, as it is recommended on articles about EOD refeeds?

    1. Hi Felix. The calorie burn from a workout will be small, and I don’t think it will make a great deal of difference, if any. More on this in the calorie cycling section of my fuller guide:
      The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet

  66. Chris says:

    How do the BCAAs taken when doing the early morning fasted training factor in with the Macros? Should the protein be decreased some? Fewer daily calories?

    1. Hi Chris, the BCAAs have very little caloric value so can be ignored.

  67. Ryan says:

    Hello Andy,

    I am a male weighing 83kg, at 184 cm in height and around 18-20% body fat.

    [Paragraph of calculations deleted by Andy.]

    I hope you can answer this question for me as I am a bit confused!
    Thanks in advance and I really appreciate the information you have on your website, happy new year!

  68. Jimmy says:

    Thanks Andy.

    Some coaches told me that if I use more than 30 g of protein per meal the body does not absorb it and it is wasted. They said that i have to wait like an hour to eat again ~ 30 gr of protein. Following this i cannot take a shake of protein and eat meat at the same time 🙁
    what is the truth about that? Thanks

    Merry Christmas too!

    1. Jimmy, put yer glasses on mate and re-read my previous answer.

  69. Jimmy says:

    Hi Andy, thanks for your information. What do you think about supplements like whey protein? i am doing IF 16/8 and can only train at 8 pm, so when i can take a shake of protein? For now, i am taking a shake one hour before and one after train.
    Is true that people can only eat ~ 30 gr of protein per meal? what happen if i eat more than that? Thanks for your support.

    1. Hi Jimmy. Merry Christmas.
      What do you think about supplements like whey protein?
      – Useful.
      When i can take a shake of protein?
      – It’s powdered food. Take it whenever you would normally eat.
      “Is true that people can only eat ~ 30 gr of protein per meal?”
      – Assuming you mean effectively utilize, no, that was a myth which came from some misunderstanding of a study a long while back.

      Click either of those two links in the last FAQ as they have exactly what you’re looking for and will clear up your confusion.

  70. Glenn says:

    I read that you recommend BCAA’s, if I’m doing my fast from 8pm till noon, but I want to work out at 9am, do I just mixed 10g BCAA’s with water? The powder I have tastes like crap. Or would the BCAAs mixed in a sugar free energy drink be just as good?

    1. Hi Glenn, thanks for the questions.
      “I read that you recommend BCAA’s, if I’m doing my fast from 8pm till noon, but I want to work out at 9am, do I just mixed 10g BCAA’s with water?”
      – Click the leangains meal timing guide at the end of the post for more details.
      “The powder I have tastes like crap. Or would the BCAAs mixed in a sugar free energy drink be just as good?”
      – Perfectly fine.

  71. Ty says:

    I have a broken arm, are there other workout options that would work, or what if I just do IF without weight training?

    1. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just google one arm bodybuilder and you’ll get some ideas.

  72. Mark says:

    Hi Andy,

    (Sorry if this is a dumb question)

    Is the carb and fat cycling on training and non -training days consecutive?

    IE. If I strength train 4 days per week. IE Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

    Should I have two high carb days in a row, then my low carb day on my rest day and then proceed to have my remaining two high carb days on Thursday and Friday, ending the week with low carb days?

    Im assuming the carb cycling is based weekly over a period of 7 days ?



    1. Hi Mark. Yes, you’ll eat more carbs on the days you train. More on this in the detailed set up guide. Just press the link for the timing section and scroll to “carb cycling”:
      The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet

  73. Deepesh Tomar says:

    Hi Andy,
    Amazing guide!
    Working out till now I have gained a noticeable amount of muscle especially in chest and shoulders. However in spite of doing ab exercises almost every day I continued to gain gut fat. I’m at 23.4% body fat as calculated by your calculator. I want to try out the lean gains model and I have a few questions:
    1) If I have my regular breakfast at 12 (oats and whole wheat bread with peanut butter) and my lunch at 2 does it pose a conflict with the proposed 2 meal diet (as with the evening workout model)
    2) Though I understand most if what the articles here and at lean gains suggest, I cower at the thought of going to the gym without a preworkout meal (usually a couple of bananas). Is it not necessary or else what do you suggest for a good preworkout and postworkout meal?
    3) Lastly I would like to mention that currently I’m enjoying my winter break and thought this would be the best time to try out this diet system. However once my break ends, I doubt I shall be able to continue the rigid evening model. In case I have to switch let’s say to a morning workout model, would the sudden change cause any problems?

    Thank you for your time!


    1. Hi Deepesh, thanks for the questions.
      1. If you’re doing Leangains then you won’t eat breakfast. However, I don’t think that has to matter. See my fuller guide linked at the end of the article.
      2. If you want to eat a pre-workout meal, do it. If you’re eating one out of fear, try without, it’ll open your mind.
      3. No feel free.

  74. Michael says:

    Hey Andy,

    first of all, thank you for the great guide! I really enjoyed reading it and it helped me loosing 10kg fat, maintaining muscles 🙂

    Now i am calculating my macros for muscle growth/bulking and I came up with one question, although I went through your more detailed guide:
    I am training 4 days a week in the gym and besides that i am taking martial arts classes twice a week (lots of forms, kicks, boxing and jumping).
    Macro cycling really helped me to loose weight, but now I wanna use it to bulk. But I’m unsure how I should calculate it for my two days I’m doing martial arts? If i calculate more than on rest day it would be over the average weekly intake… If i calculate it like a rest day I’m concerned it might have a negative impact on bulking. Should I treat it like a normal training day?
    What would you advice referring to the macro cycling?

    Greetings from Germany,


    1. Hi Michael, thanks for the question.
      If you were just starting out just add in some extra carbs on those days days – simple as that.
      However as you’ve already been dieting you already have a baseline, so don’t recalculate, just make gradual increases from there. There will help:
      All adjustment guide articles

  75. James says:

    Hi Andy,

    From Bobs bulking calories, assuming he trains 4 days per week, this would be a net surplus of 800 calories per week – just under a pound per month gain.

    This seems pretty low? I’m an intermediate trainee (159 @ 10%) and I’m looking to gain around 1.5 lbs per month, this calculator gives me a weekly gain of 800 calories (0.9 lbs per month) – wouldnt this be more beneficial for me?

    1. Sorry I don’t understand the question James, can you clarify?

  76. Hi Andy,
    Amazing stuff you have here. I’ve been training leangains style for more than an year now, and even though I have some pretty good strength and have a nice look without a shirt on, I’m still too small at 140 lbs and 5’8″. I know it’s down to my diet. Question is: 500g of carbs on training day is a lot of carbs! Given that I have one major meal at night, it’s almost impossible for me to get there. How do you do it?

    1. Hi Vinicius, thanks for the question. It basically comes down to eating more calorie dense foods. See, “Too full” in the FAQ.

  77. gabe says:

    Dumb question, but will ask anyway – for your carb macros, is that amount net or gross? I assume gross.

    1. Hi Gabe. This refers to fiber and/or sugar alcohols contained within food. Yes, I’d count them. You’ll see I’ve explained what they are and covered the reasons for that suggestion in this guide to counting macros.

  78. Matt says:

    Hi Andy, I have downloaded your eBook and will commence reading it. One question I have is in regards to Carb cycling. I train 6 days a week. 3 of the days are core and abs only the other 3 being heavy weights chest,legs,arms etc. I have read of people that have a high carb day(usually double the allowed carbs) followed by the next 3 days of progressively stepping down the carbs around 70 grams from your normal; allowed limit.. Example. normal carb allowance 240g. High carb day 400g. day 1 after high carb 240g, day 2- 170g, day 3 -100g then followed by another high carb day and it repeats. What are your thoughts and does this benefit at all.

    1. “I have downloaded your eBook and will commence reading it.”

      Matt, I have spent 20-40 minutes of nearly every day for the last 4 years answering 16,072 comments for people on the site. It’s been tough to keep up the consistency at times, but a real pleasure to know how many people I’ve been able to help, clarifying places where people have misunderstood, or my explanations have been lacking. This has helped me to build a better site and become a better coach and I’m glad I have done this.

      Now here you are, telling that you’ve downloaded the free book that I’ve put available for download, haven’t bothered to open it yet (not even a cursory glance to see if I have a chapter covering carb cycling, which I have), and would instead like me to spend time critiquing what you have written here first.

      Do I have that right?

  79. gabe says:

    Andy, great article. I work out 4-5 days a week doing a mix of weights with cardio each workout (total body workouts I suppose). Each workout is about 30 minutes long with little to no rest during the workout. Should I change the training/rest day format to 4-5 days of training and 2 days of rest? Also, dumb question, but will IF and leangains work for these types of workouts? Thanks for your time.

    1. Hi Gabe thanks for the questions.
      Should I change the training/rest day format to 4-5 days of training and 2 days of rest?
      – From above above, “If you’re not training 3-4 days a week then see my more detailed diet set-up guide.”
      Also, dumb question, but will IF and leangains work for these types of workouts?
      – The one compliments the other. If you have your nutrition set up well, then that will enhance the results you get from your training. Though it shouldn’t need to be said, it very often does need to be: make sure that your training program is on point.
      The Core Principles of Effective Training

  80. Claire Bates says:

    I’ve just completed a 3 month nutrition / training plan which was great, but still trying to get my head about the macro stuff! As per your calculator I need minus 4 g of carbs on a rest day which I am very confused about! Any tips?!

    1. Hi Claire, a common issue. It’s mentioned in the book and in the spreadsheet most people download, I didn’t realise I hadn’t added this to the article so here you go:

      Hey, I get a negative number for my carbs on the rest days. What did I do wrong?

      Check that you didn’t set your fat loss rate too high for your current level of body fat. If you have that right, then reduce the calorie split between the training and rest days (from 30% to 20% for example). If you’ve already done that, then reduce it further manually by just taking some of your carb intake from the training days and adding it to the rest days.

  81. Szymon says:

    Hey Andy

    Why is there an upper limit on the average fat intake (1.3g/kg when bulking)? I understand that you can’t go below 0.9g/kg for hormonal issues, but don’t know where the upper limit comes from. I currently consume around 600g of carbs daily and I feel my diet would be more sustainable if I replaced some of the carbs calories with fat calories.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance

    1. Sure, simply because you’re more prone to storing it. The reasons for everything above are covered in the complete guide I’ve linked to.

      1. Szymon says:

        Thanks, Andy, will check it out.

  82. Naufahl says:

    Hi Andy,

    Should I treat my cardio day as a work out day or rest day? I do 20-30 min HIIT running about twice a week. Weight training about 3 times a week.

    1. Hi Naufahl. Rest day.

  83. Jon says:

    Hi Andy,

    I am trying to figure out my macros based on your recommended guidelines. However, I keep coming up with a negative number for carbs on rest days. Does this mean no carbs on rest days or might I be calculating protein or fat too high on the recommended range?

    How to decide what end of the spectrum to start of the recommended range? or how low is too low for carbs?

    Also, the average of the totaled calorie intake per week should not fall under one’s BMR, correct?

    Thank you for your time and consideration

    1. Hi Jon, thanks for the questions.

      “I keep coming up with a negative number for carbs on rest days.”
      This means you either have your deficit too aggressive (weight loss target too high) for your current body-fat percentage or size, and/or you have your fat intake a little too high.

      The average of the totaled calorie intake per week should not fall under one’s BMR, correct?
      This is not correct, it will depend.

      1. Jon says:

        Thanks Andy,

        1) I lowered fat to the lowest recommendation and I came up with 308g carbs 3x/wk (training days) and 35g carbs on rest days. Is that a workable number?

        2) According to these calculations I’d be at a deficit of 4725 calories/week + 3 day weightlifting/week, sedentary job – might that be too aggressive? (91kilos/26%bf)

        3) My daily average of totaled weekly calorie intake would be right at my BMR (1825). May I ask, what factors allow going under BMR?

        1. 1. Doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.
          2. Fat loss & calorie deficit guidelines are covered in step 3.
          3. Being fatter (hence, being able to get away with a higher calorie deficit/rate of fat loss).

  84. Tash says:

    Hi Andy,

    I know that you work only with men. And because I see that you’re using the Katch-McArdle BMR formula (which, correct me if I’m wrong, is a male and female formula), I’m assuming that a female (myself) can also enter my details and use these calculators without any worry?

    Many thanks.


    1. Yes that’s right Tash.

  85. Vini says:

    Thank you very much for the excellent information!

    1. Most welcome Vini. 🙂

  86. mike says:

    So my “coma” calories are set at approx 2074. Yet, my rest day diet calls for around 1800 calories. isnt the 1800 dangerously low?

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for the question.
      In any non-extreme activity level scenario then no. The purpose is to be in a calorie deficit over your calorie needs in order to force your body to burn the fat stores after all.

  87. Miguel says:

    Hello Andy. I’ve decided to go back to muay thai training (I don’t go as hard on this as my weight training), adding this on top of my regular training days. Do I just bump up my activity multiplier or should I go with maintenance macros on the muay thai days?

    Thanks in advance and congratulations on the book! Looking forward to more of your inner circle updates.

    1. Hi Miguel. Yes, bump up your activity level multiplier.
      Thank you! 🙂

  88. Don Diego says:

    Hey Andy,

    My rest day macros produce – 30 for carbs. This is based on 1522 calories, 171 g of Protein, and 107 g of fat. I recall in the past when I followed something like a ketogenic diet, I would set carbs at at least 40 g to remain in ketosis. Am I really meant to consume no carbs at all on rest days? Where did I go wrong, or is this just a natural consequence of having to set calories so low? Thanks.

    1. Hi Don. Right, a natural consequence when dieting and you’re cycling your calorie intake.

  89. josh says:

    GREAT resource – thank you.

    question – i do weight training 3x/week, cardio (brisk incline walk) + abs 3x/week, and rest 1x/week. how would you approach cals and macros for the cardio/abs days? would you consider a rest day, a training day, or something in between?

    also, i noticed two errors:

    1 – results of fat calculator have training day fat and rest day fat reversed.. training day fat should be lower, correct?
    2 – the fat calculations for BOB (yellow box) are 65g and 125g. if using the calculator for BOB, the results are 75g and 113g. close, but i can see that the calculator is using a different equation than the one you used in the yellow box.

    thanks again!

    1. Hi Josh, thanks for the question.
      In that case I’d bump up the activity level to moderate but would still keep the training/rest day format, 3 days a week. (Don’t count the days you just do the ab work.)

      Thanks for pointing out the errors, put in the calculations at the end of last week, obviously didn’t check thoroughly enough. Fixed now! 🙂

  90. JEF says:

    Andy, once again, an amazing tool. A big thank you for this.

    Andy, in The Complete Guide there were instructions for following a Leangain bulk when calculating calories. In the new and improved method you just posted in an effort to simplify things (greatly appreciated) you talked about taking the TDEE and adding 20% for the bulk. Does this still apply for a Leangain bulk, and if not, what are your suggested guidelines in your more simplified approach.

    As always, keep up the amazing work!


    1. Hi Jef. The article above is an abbreviated way of calculating things. It’s for people that aren’t ready for the reading yet of the fuller guide. The Complete Set-up Guide has all the details and explanations. While they differ on the face of it, the end result will be the same.

  91. Matt says:

    Andy, when going from a cut to a bulk, do you recommend reverse dieting?

  92. JEF says:

    Andy, great work on updating and refining the process. A question for you on activity levels. I have an office job, work out with weights between 45 min to 1 hour 3 times per week, and do LISS cardio 45 minutes a day 4 days a week. Based on this, where does this activity fall on the light, moderate, etc., scale.

    As always, thanks in advance for your insights.


  93. Jan says:

    Andy…thanks for the quick response.
    Another question.
    My routine in a bit unpredictable because of work. This also means training might not always fall on the same days. Can I assume that it is ok to adapt according to training times?
    Example. When I train at 10h00 I skip breakfast, train fasted or on BCAA and have two 50/50 meals.
    When training at 13h00 I will do breakfast (33%) and then two 33% meals after training??

    Thanks again fornthe help.

  94. Jan says:

    Hi Andy…
    …great info, thanks for your hard work. I am a fairly experienced lifter but have always just guessed my macro with fairly ok results. Obviously I would love an awesome result so I need to change a few things. That’s why I want to give you system a go. I have never done IF or macro counting so I have three questions if I may.
    1. I start work at 06h00 daily and train at about 10h00. Can I skip breakfast, sustaining myself on BCAA till training and then split my macros into two 50% meals….lets say 12h00 and 18h00?
    2. My training day carbs comes to about 650g. Is that 650g of total weight or the 650g of carbs in value? Seems like a lot, is there maybe a log or guide indicating values in food?
    3. On resting or light training days, should I still skip breakfast and do a 50/50 split or do breakfast and go with three meals of 33%?

    I appreciate your time….thank you.

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for the questions.
      1. You could, yes. All the meal timing stuff is covered in detail here:
      The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet
      2. That’s 650g of carbs, not weight. That will differ between food. This article may help:
      How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach
      3. I’d go with the same meal pattern you use on the training days as it’s better for hunger management.

      You’re welcome.

  95. JEF says:

    As usual, Andy, a great explanation and how to. Even better with The Complete Guide! Thank you.

    I’m hoping you can share your experience and insights in this topic.

    My understanding for the LG approach is to maximize carbs on training days by limiting fat intake for optimal muscle growth.

    A few questions:

    1. Are the lower calories on rest days that are below maintenance done to lose fat while building muscle, and if so, is this effective.

    2. With lower fat intake on 4 days of the week, will this affect my testosterone levels and lower it as well as interrupt other hormones.

    3. There’s a school of thought that suggests to keep fat constant on training and rest days. What’s your experience and thoughts on this.

    4. For a lean bulk, what’s your suggestion for a calorie difference on training and rest days. I’ve seen suggestions of TDEE of +450 on training and +100 on rest, +30% on training and -10% on rest, etc, etc.

    As always, a bug thank you for all you do and your insights.

    1. Hi Jef, thanks for the questions.

      1-3. This guide is just the abbreviated set-up guide. All the reasoning, theory and details are all in the complete set-up guide linked above. You’re after the calorie & macro cycling section – several pages on it.
      4. Second sentence of “step 4,” though of limited importance. – Discussed in the complete set-up guide.

      The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet

  96. Hilton Sousa says:

    Hello, Mr. Morgan. I’m a great fan of your work and avid reader of RippedBody for the last 2 years. Just noticed you’ve released your book, and would like to know if you’re interested in publishing it in other idioms – it may be a nice chance to spread the knowledge and reach more people. Please drop me an email if the idea sounds good to you.

    Best regards from Brazil,

    1. Not quite yet but thank you for asking Hilton.

  97. Allen says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for all of the advice and knowledge you provide on your site. Just a quick question.

    I have lost an inch on my waist but the scale shows that I gained weight. I know that really isnt an issue because of all of the content I have read here, however I am concerned with the fact that I feel really soft vs that tight hard look. Is that from stress or water retention?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Allen. There are two reasons that the scale can increase while the stomach measurements decrease.
      1. You gained muscle and lost fat.
      2. There was a fluctuation in water weight.

      The latter happens whenever we have a spike in carbohydrate intake or eat some unusually salty food. The majority of the change will be within the body (the muscles – you’ll look bigger) but some will be under the skin. Nothing you can really do about that, the change is temporary, just has to be accepted. The way to tell the difference between the two is to keep tracking over time to see whether it was a temporary change or a more permanent one. If the latter then you’re onto a winner.

      Chronic stress is an exception to the above, and can cause water retention by itself. This can last for weeks. More on all this here:
      Why Do Sudden Changes In Weight Happen?

  98. Charlotte says:

    Hi there just a little confused (and have read all the guides you point to) about my calories and macros. Here is why…..if I want to lose a lb a week just for ease I have chosen this because the 0.45 figure made sense to me then I need to decrease my intake in a week by 3500 calories. Okay I get that so my BMR with multiplier is 1909 with a 3500 deficit would make my daily calorie in take at 1409. But then when I look at the macro advice you give for cutting you suggest a 10% surplus on a training day of your BMR which would be 2099 calories and then a 30-35% deficit in a rest day which is 1241 but adding three days of training calories to four days of rest calories adds up to less than a 3500 calorie weekly deficit. So which do you do the 3500 or the 10% and -35%? As the former allows me 1610 calories on a training day and 1260 on a rest day the latter is 2099 on a training day and 1241 on a rest day, a huge difference for training! Also as a woman trying to succeed in this all the ckauclations are male dominated and as a woman my fat intake should be more considered than the “average male” due to hormones and cycles etc……some clarification would be awesome!

    I have just used my figures as an example so please do not delete! I just need o understand the difference between the two reasonings before I embark on a significant calorie increase when training. Thanks

    1. Hi Charlotte, check out the updated guide linked above.

      1. Jay says:

        I’m 5”8 115. I am lightly active. I do bodyweight and weight lifting. 3-4x a week. ( at home ) I don’t go to the gym, I’m mostly calisthenics.
        I consume 1800-2500 calorie a day. Can you help me get a most accurate calorie target and macros to lean bulk without gaining alot fat?

        1. Hi Jay, thanks for the question. Given your height, weight and training, though I could link you to the more detailed series on diet set up, and I could link you to my 8000 word post on bulking, but for now they would both miss the bigger picture. I think the most useful piece on the site at the moment is for you to read this series:
          The 9 Categories of Trainee: Their Mistakes, How to Avoid Them, and What You Can Achieve When You Get Things Right (Pt.1of3)
          Probably worth reading this one also:
          Why do you prefer BARBELLS OVER BODYWEIGHT workouts?

  99. Julia Piccoli says:

    Hey Andy!!

    I just finished my first bikini show and I REALLY need to work on building lean muscle. Its been 2 weeks from my show, I’ve only gained 5lbs, (I’m 5″7 (170cm) stage weight was 126 lb(57.15 KG) stage weight and I now weigh 131 (59.42 KG) almost 3 weeks post show) so I just built my slow bulk macros. The last time I tracked before my show, I was having roughly 1200 cals. I just started tracking again a few days ago eating 1600 cals/45f/193c/107p, but nothing has happened, and I still find myself hungry during the day.
    The macros I made were
    T-day: 2,227 cals/55f/130p/303c
    R-Day: 1782 cals/65f/103p/196c.
    I have very, very hesitant to go to 303 carbs because I’ve never done 200g before, yet I’ve never tried to bulk. I am scared my body will rebound and gain unwanted fat instead of muscle.
    Do you think I should stick with the macros I’ve made with your method (303g of carbs?)

    1. Hi Julia. Here are the two relevant guides that will tell you what you need to know:
      How Do I Find Maintenance Calorie Intake After Dieting?
      How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk
      If you need find these again in the future go to the menu: Diet > Adjustments

  100. Kenny says:

    Hi Andy.

    I’m trying my best to keep progressing with my cut after you and I finished in December.
    I’ve lost a couple of kilos but now I’ve been stuck at around 80 for a few weeks.
    I just calculated my macros and adjusted them a bit and now I got this.
    Bmr: 2020kcal
    T-day: P180F60C135=1800 kcal
    R-day: P180F70C25=1450 kcal
    But according to this article I should be around 2200 on training days and 1400 on rest days.

    So, should I up the calories on trying days to keep loosing weight?
    My measurements are roughly the same, although my strength stats have increased a bit.

    I now have 2.5 months left until my wedding and I want to look awesome on our honeymoon so I’m going all in these last 10 weeks


    1. Hi Kenny, see the FAQ at the end of the article bud. Relative adjustments based on how you are currently progressing is the most important thing, like we did together.

  101. miguel rodrigues says:

    some authors like mike matthews defend you should nt go below BMR to preserve LBM.i am currently on IF whats your take on the extremely deficit on rest days even with fairly high protein?it just seems to musch whats the reason behind that

    1. Hi Miguel, thanks for the question.
      “You should not go below BMR to preserve LBM.”
      This is not a bad guideline for a complete beginner, but it’s not true as an absolute statement. It depends very highly on the context. Body-fat percentage, duration of restriction, daily protein intake, and training status. More info in the more detailed set up series linked at the top.

  102. Kim says:

    Hi Andy, I’m a 19 year old female recovering from anorexia nervosa and looking to build muscle as I have destroyed mine from restricting calories and overdoing it on cardio for a year and a half. I got a metabolic test done last week (where you blow into a hose) and although I’m at a bmi of 19 now, it showed that my bmr is only 1040. Does this mean i would gain weight on 1500-1600 calories? Or is the metabolism supposed to repair itself after an eating disorder? I do about 2 hours of cardio a week (low intensity) and strength training at the gym 20-30 minutes a day. I’ve been maintaining my weight for a week on 1200 calories. I wouldn’t mind gaining 5-10 more pounds if it could be in muscle, but I don’t want to be that person who gains on 1500! Before my ED i could maintain on 2000-3000 while sedentary. Please help.

    1. Kim, appreciate the question. You need to see a qualified specialist in this field who has training in not just the technical stuff but he psychological aspects of this.

  103. Ross says:

    Great article and clears up a few things. I do have some questions in regard to body type. I’ve been IF for about 2 weeks (cutting) but my body is not responding well to the amount of carbs – I’m an endomorph. I’d like to IF using 35% p, 40% f, and 25% carb. This places my fat well above the range you recommend for cutting, even for a heavier person (19%bf). Also, this causes issues when calculating macros for rest days. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ross, thanks for the question.
      “…but my body is not responding well to the amount of carbs”
      Just swap out some carbs for fats then and see how you respond in comparison.

  104. Rafael Ferreira says:

    Hello Andy! One of the readers of my blog came up with this question and I wonder what would you say about this. As you adviced, he’s keeping the protein intake the same on training days and rest days for simplicity. But he’s also doing the same with fat, he’s taking 60g on both days. In other words, he is consuming almost the maximum for the training days and the minimum for the rest days for simplicity. What do you think about this? Cheers!

    1. Hi Rafael. You can see that the fat cycling fits into the fourth layer of the hierarchy of importance so shouldn’t be considered essential.

  105. Matt says:

    Hey Andy, thanks so much for taking the time to write this article! Quick question, for the more advanced lifters who train 5-6 days per week, what adjustments (if any) would you recommend to make to the protocol? Is it okay to have more high carb days without the worry of added body fat?


  106. James1990 says:

    Hi Andy, I think my diet is lacking vitamins & nutrients but not sure on how to include this into my diet except by added some boiled vegetables.. I was looking on the internet for some smoothie recipes and came accross an detox smoothie that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, is this worth giving a go since im not getting enough vitamins & nutrients in my diet? Any ideas on what to do would be fantastic.


  107. Jake says:

    G’day Andy,

    I have worked out both my training and rest day macros as per the calorie/macro cycling suggestion in step 4.

    I am running with early morning fasted training with 50% macros to break the fast at 12pm and 50% at approx 7.30pm.

    My training day carb macros equal 448g per day (242g per meal).

    TO meet these requirements I need to eat 340g rice/pasta per meal. This seems like a lot of carbs per meal. Are there any tricks to increase carb numbers with the choice of food so I am not ingesting so much rice/pasta?


    1. Hi Jake, sure. Juices and cereal are the most obvious ones that come to my mind. More tips in the FAQ – see “Too full”.

  108. Aashna says:

    Hi. Great article. I recently started IF. I am 21 yo female, 65kg, 5’10” height. My question is that us there any specific workout that is most effective for this diet or will any kind of workout do? I do HIIT and boot camp style workouts 3-4 days a week and power yoga everyday. Is that enough? My aim is to reduce body fat and adopt a routine that is not too cumbersome since I am a student at uni and cannot have 6 meals a day if my life depends on it. Thanks.

    1. Hi Aashna. Any effective training routine will work with the diet set up, but not every training routine can be considered effective. See this article for my take on things:
      Training Effectively – Core Principles

  109. Jack1990 says:

    Hi Andy, Im weighing in around 72kg and my height is 5 ft 8 inches, currently training 5 days a week one muscle per day. Mainly weight training and no cardio… Im currently on a 2000kcl diet, would you say that is too less considering my weight and height? and how would i know how many calories i am burning while weight training?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Jack. Impossible to say. See the FAQ at the bottom of this guide.

  110. Sunny says:

    Hi Andy, I’ve been following LG with RPT style training for approx. 10 weeks. Great results so far! My question is regarding rest day carbs:
    There are several other LG macro calculators out there. I feel that the 30-40 g of carbs on rest day is extremely low. Some other calculators give me a number closer to 65, which I have been doing just fine at. Would increasing to around 65 g be that detrimental? Would my results be quicker with 30 g of carbs? Basically I want to know if I’ve been doing it all wrong this entire time. I’ve done UD2 and Lyle recommends around the same amount (around 60 g)…mind you, it is for 3.5 days straight, which absolutely sucked all energy and life out of me. but it did work albeit making me a d*ck for the better half of the week until the carb load,

    1. Hi Sunny. If an extra 35g of carbs makes your mood, energy, workouts, and overall life better – do it. Results will only come in time, and any method you can’t sustain is irrelevant.

      More technically speaking, the difference is 560kCal per week, which is less than a quarter of a pound of reduction in fat loss per week. (Assuming you didn’t adjust the fat or protein intakes to allow for that increase without increasing overall weekly intake.) So not a big deal by any means.

  111. Vin says:

    Hey Andy,

    I didn’t know where else to post or send you this but I was just curious your thoughts on it. These guys make it seem like getting and staying really lean is borderline impossible and makes life really unenjoyable. There’s plenty of evidence here that it’s quite the contrary.

    1. Hi Vin, great question. I know the author, James Fell, he is a good writer. When you consider the way that most people go about getting ripped, then I would have to emphatically agree with that statement that it isn’t worth it, nor is it sustainable. People start out in a way they can’t possible continue with, and then it all goes to shit when they finish their diets.

      Sustaining a ripped physique is easier than getting there (assuming you do that in a gradual, methodical and systematic way – as I teach on this site), because you can eat a lot more as you no longer need the calorie deficit. Post diet, after a maintenance period where people still count and pay a lot of attention to their diets, a lot of people find that they can auto regulate (keep lean without counting), or at least stay lean with minimal counting.

      However, whether people actually choose to sustain that depends on the pull that environmental factors have with the changed value you now place on being shredded lean. Most people find that simply having got there satisfied the urge to be shredded, and staying there revealed that it didn’t make life as wonderful as they thought because everyone treats you exactly the same. (Real, decent people care only about the content of your character.)

      Thus, you might find yourself at a point where you’re happy to trade off a few extra fat percentage points for being able to relax more and drink a few more beers when with your boys, and join your girlfriend for dessert at restaurants. – The happiness that brings outweighs the happiness that being a little leaner brings.

      Make sense?

      1. I’ve just remembered that I covered this at the end of this article. I think you might find it useful as a guide also at some point:
        How Do I Find Maintenance Calorie Intake After Dieting?

  112. John says:

    how do you know how many grams or ounces a pack of hamburger or turkey burger or a chicken breast is ?

    1. Hi John. You can use one of the online macro calculators listed in this guide to counting macros that I have:
      How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach

  113. Jack1990 says:

    Hi Andy, Just a quick one.. Im working in a office job and have no idea what high protein snacks i can have while im at my desk! Any recommendations?


    1. Hi Jack. Protein shake and a banana.. However, better to not snack. – Stick to meals.

  114. richard says:

    Morning Marting, once again thanks! thanks for sharing all this information! I hope you can answer my question, if I understood correctly, the leangain method applies to people working out 3times a week, would I use the same logic say if I follow a different program (perhaps wendler 4times a week) more on training days and less otherdays?

    1. Hi Richard. My name is Andy. Martin (I assume you mean) is over at However, I’ve read his site back to back and I don’t think he wrote about that topic, so I put together a guide for that here:
      #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling

      It’s part of a bigger and more comprehensive guide series that I mentioned in the post above.

  115. Denis says:

    Hey Andy I had a quick question, when I do my calculations for cutting do I use my daily requirement calories or do I use my defficit calories. For example my maintenance cal are 2800 do I calculate of that or 2300 for cutting. With 2300 I’m in a deficits both days of training and rest.

    1. Hi Dennis, I’ve got you covered in this guide:
      #1 Calorie Setting

  116. Jessica says:

    Hello, I am glad I stumbled upon your website. I am just starting off trying to calculate and focus on learning my macros. Based off my extremely active lifestyle I have found what my calories should be for both my active and rest days. However I am up from 3am until about 8pm or 8:30pm. I have heard to help aid a person in weight loss that choosing to limit your eating to 9 hours or even 12 hours can be beneficial. I have tried doing the 12 hours and found that even 7am until 7pm it was difficult to go through the first few hours of work with only water. Would eating for such a long period of the day (from wake up until an hour of so before bed. Eating every 2 to 3 hours.) be ideal as long as I spread it out. Based off my my calculations I am needing to consume atleast 165 grams of protein, 40 grams of fat and 549 grams of carbs based off of a 155lb frame to be able to fuel my workouts for athletics and lifting together.

    For awhile I was only doing vegetables for my carbs and am thinking that the lack of proper carbs in proportion to a lower fat intake was my problem and not necessarily my times I am consuming my food?

    1. See the related article linked at the bottom of the post Jessica. The hierarchy of importance is covered in detail there, but will be obvious from the image itself without clicking through.

      1. Jessica says:

        Ahh yes yes I read that a few hours right before you responded. You site has helped me very much I appreciate the easy breakdown.

  117. Greetings Mr.Morgan! I’ve got a question for you: should I subtract the 10g of BCAAs and the 5g of creatin from my protein macro? Let’s say, I will train fasted and I’ll have 10g of BCAA before the train and then 5g of creatin with my first meal. If I need 100g of protein on training days now I’d have the other 85g from real food? Is that right? Thanks a lot!

    1. Definitely not the creatine. I wouldn’t bother with the BCAA either.

  118. Chris says:

    I like IF because it fits my style- I’m used to skipping breakfast so all I need to do is wrap up my eating by 8PM the night before.
    However I have a question as far as Body Recomp calories/macros go.
    I’ve noticed that I have a hard time gaining when I eat less than about 2400~ calories. According to the first formula above my maintenance is 2220 and I should be eating about 2600~calories on training days and 1800~ on rest days. Since from personal experience I know that I’ve made gains on about 3000 calories on training days and 2700 on rest days, could I still expect to achieve a body recomposition rather than just a bulk? I’m an ectomorph with some belly fat covering the abs- I’m quite skinny fat.

    1. Hi Chris. Unfortunately there is no blanket answer that can be given to your questions, it all depends on the individual and their situation. Now, I’ve done my best to answer that though already in a couple of guides that cover many different eventualities. Check out these two in combination:

      Physique Goal Setting – The 9 Categories of Trainee: Their Mistakes, How to Avoid Them, and What You Can Achieve When You Get Things Right (Pt.1of3)
      The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance (for Fat Loss & Muscle Growth) – Overview

  119. Dario says:

    Hi Andy! I’m just finishing my cut and going to maintenance for a week or two before starting a slow-bulk. I know on cut fats should kept higher (0.9-1g*LBM), but when eating at maintenance/over how do you think I should tweak them? Thank and great site!

    1. Hi Dario. This is covered in the article on making adjustments:
      When & How To Adjust Your Macros

      It’ll also be worth you reading this one, which is a section of the replacement guide for the one you have just read that I mentioned above:
      The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #2 Macros, Fibre & Alcohol

      1. Dario says:

        Didn’t see that table, my mistake.. So after I decide the percentage, should I adjust training/rest fat intake to hit that number weekly? Thanks

        1. That would be covered in part 4.
          Please, don’t be lazy, read the updated guide fully Dario.

  120. Lucy Fisher says:

    Hi Andy, My personal trainer has told me to split my calories 40 P/40 F/20 C. I have just began strength training and aim to build muscle, get lean and lose fat. I train 5 times a week and my BMR is around 1400 calories. Do you think this break down is correct? After reading your article I’m not sure if it should be 40 P/40 C/20 F? Thanks, Lucy

  121. Daniel says:

    Hey Andy, im doing a body-recomp, based on your ecuations my BMR+act. level is 2600 cal, but I really know me, and if I eat that calories I will gain weight even though it is my “maintence level”. Im stipulating around 2300 calories my maintence level, so can I setup the body-recomp macros starting from 2300 cal and not from 2600cal? An how many time I should be in body-recomp? im 18 bf, trying to get around 10bf. Thanks

    1. Hi Daniel.
      If you gain weight then that is not your maintenance level. Calculations are only an estimation – they are based on formulas which were derived for what happens to people on average. There will always be outliers.
      Two articles you’ll find useful moving forward:

      Coaching Lessons #4 – Tracking Trumps Calculations
      Physique Goal Setting – The 9 Categories of Trainee: Their Mistakes, How to Avoid Them, and What You Can Achieve When You Get Things Right (Pt.1of3)

  122. Marcin says:

    Hi Andy,

    First of all sorry for my language, English is my 3rd language.
    I’m 30yo male with BF about 20%. Training 3 days per week. Macro +20/-20. Training experience over one year.
    I would like to do recomp and I have a few questions. You are saying ‘Those carrying more body fat will do better with a higher fat intake on training days than leaner individuals’. My macros for training days are: 160p, 400c, and 60f. Follow your suggestion I should have a higher fat intake on training days. Above your advice you saying ‘When eating above maintenance calories, the fat we consume is easier to be stored, so it is best to keep fat intake lower on this day’.
    When I consume post workout meal (~80p, 200c, 20f) I’m feeling sleepy (there’s enough veggies in meal),
    What is your suggestion to me?

    1. Hi Marcin, thanks for the questions. Everything you’ve asked including meal timing, calorie cycling, and even addressing the sleepiness part is covered here: ‘The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling‘.

  123. mustang302 says:

    The “Adjust for Activity” confuses me slightly. Is the activity level meter for people who have high activity during their normal day-to-day activities, which excludes their optional gym time after work?

    For someone who works at a desk all day and moves very little, but does go to the gym after work some days for 2 hours, what activity level do you choose?

    If I didn’t work out after work, i’d choose Sedentary. But since I do work out after work then do you choose Moderately active?

    What confuses me about this: If the goal is cut, then should i be choosing my baseline of sitting at a desk all day(Sedentary), or should i be including my optional gym time that i only do to put me in a calorie deficit?

    1. Hi Jim. Sedentary, 1.2x, something like that. See this guide if you’d like to read further. The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories.

  124. Tyler says:

    Hello Andy, Say you work out 6 days a week. Three days are weight training and three days are endurance/ athletic cardio training (running, biking, swimming, rowing, etc.). Therefore there aren’t really any “rest” days since you are active almost every day. How should caloric intervals be used then? Based on my calculations and activity level of “moderate” I am getting a 2,648 daily calories for maintenance. I’m not sure if cutting or body recomposition is the best for my goals. Body fat is around 11%. Should carb intake always be considered the same as a training day? But then that would throw off my other macros, and I should still be getting a good amount of protein and fats every day, right?

    1. Just add in some carbs on those days Tyler.

  125. Tyler says:

    Hi Andy,
    I am a triathlete and I run about 24 miles a week, bike 50+ miles a week, and swim at least once a week for 30 minutes. I also want to get in my weight training 2- 3x a week.
    What type of macros should I be focusing on for this? Should I get higher fat on my cardio days? Should I generally always be eating lots of carbs?
    I ask because I started seriously tracking calories a couple months ago and I am very strict about eating and going to the gym. I dropped 1% of body fat but my weight has stayed the same. I feel like I haven’t made much progress for all the work I’ve been putting in. My goal is to drop body fat to single digits for visible abs as well as define my chest more. Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Tyler. Clearly you’re energy needs will be higher, and it’s best to meet those needs primarily through additional carbohydrate. You can either use a higher multiplier, or you can add in on a per activity basis. Either way, it will just be an initial guess, and you need to track and adjust from there.
      There are more details on calorie setting in the The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories/a> guide.

  126. Gareth says:

    Hey Andy! This site has really helped me in understanding the concept of Intermittent Fasting more. I’m about to start on my cut with it, and I have calculated everything according to the guidelines above. I’m at 18%bf, 161lbs and 5′ 10″, moderate exercise lifestyle. I’m looking to lower my bodyfat and lean bulk from there.

    I calculated my protein requirements as 177g for both training and non-training days, 60g fat on training days and 80g fat on non-training days, and 473g carbs on training days and 107g carbs on non-training days.

    Should my training day carbs be lower and my protein generally be higher? And should my non-training day carbs be lower?

    I’m afraid that there will be too many carbs and too little protein for a good cut and I really want to get off to a good start on my Intermittent Fasting. I hope you can give me some input or advice on this. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Gareth. See my updated guide, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance. Specifically you’re after parts 1 and 2 on calorie and macro setting respectively.

  127. Greg says:

    Hey Andy,

    I came up with these values after a 1.55 multiplier…

    155 CARBS
    200 PROTEIN
    80 FAT

    475 CARBS
    200 PROTEIN
    60 FAT

    How do i come up with the training day calories and carbs?
    I’d have to consume about 235 carbs in one meal and between two meals thats huge and 1600 calories?

    Even a big mac meal only has 1k calories and 70g of carbs…

    1. Hi Greg. There is no need to consume everything in just two meals. See my Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series, the fourth part is a guide on meal frequency & timing.

  128. Jesse Levine Evers says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for this awesome site! It’s been really helpful! I wasn’t sure how to scale fat intake, because you said “average male” and I’m definitely not, as I’m ~130lbs and 5’5″ (I’m a high school wrestler). How much fat would you recommend I intake on rest/training days? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jesse. Click through to the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series, the second part on macros has you covered.

  129. Jim says:

    I’m having trouble following your calculations at the end. If Tom’s protein intake for training day is 190 grams, why do you have him eating 950 grams of meat? Same for his carbs and fat.

    Did I misunderstand something?

    1. Hi Jim.
      950g of lean meat will be around 190g of protein when using my simplified macro counting framework.
      Here’s my new guide to counting macros How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach.

  130. Kerrod says:

    Hi Andy,

    Using the calculations provided for my macros, I came up with a calorie requirement of 1900 (2945 with a 1.55 multiplier)

    This number seems very high to me (24year, 180cm, 80kg) especially if i am to eat >20% on my training day.

    Furthermore, I do HIIT 3-5 days a week (mornings), is it still possible to do this and train 3-5 days (afternoon) a week and have a deficit/surplus.

    I’ve been reading through most of your articles and I am just a bit confused about how to accomplish my goals when i require HIIT and have a high calorie requirement as calculate using your figures.

    Much appreciate all the information you have provided.

    1. Hi Kerrod. Based on what you’ve said the number isn’t high. I wouldn’t recommend 3-5 days of HIIT on top of your regular training though, but that’s for you to decide on. Basically, I just think you need to do a little further reading, as this isn’s one of the best or newest guides, it’s just the most popular one cause of the name.

  131. Jordan Liester says:

    Hey andy. Started IF yesterday. Here’s my question. What happens if you dont eat enough to reach your base calorie needs? I’m a 107 kg athlete. And my bf sits around 15%. That puts my calorie needs between 2500 and 3000 per day. so, if i’m trying to cut, will eating 2000 calories prevent me from losing body fat faster?

    1. Hi Jordan.
      The lower the calorie intake, the higher the energy deficit, the quicker you will lose weight.
      As you’re around 15% body fat, you should be aiming to lose around 1-1.25lbs of fat per week. Guidelines on calorie setting in my Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series. Give that a good read.

  132. Anthony says:

    Andy, I swear I saw it somewhere on this site but I can’t seem to find it…..
    What app do you recommend for tracking macros?

    Your site is the best on the net, hands down.

    1. Hi Anthony. Covered in this guide bud, How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach.
      And thank you! 🙂

  133. Roman says:

    Hi Andy,
    One thing that has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head is the seeming disconnect between your advise regarding no more than 3 days of training versus the activity multiplier giving an option for 3-5 days of activity under moderate for example.
    In theory, does this not mean then, that the maximum allowable number of workout days would be 5 under this choice. Again, being that this option has 3-5 days of activity as a benchmark, wouldn’t that then mean that the energy expenditure is already accounted for up to but not to exceed 5 days? Again, this had always been a tiny nagging voice in the back of my head, but it wasn’t until now, that I was finally able to formulate that thought into a question. Also, if I am oversimplifying my reasoning, then please feel free to call me out on it; I would much rather have your professional explanation remove all question, then be spinning my wheels needlessly.

    1. Hi Roman, good question.
      Intermediate and advanced trainees will likely (but not always) need to increase the number of days they train in order to get in the necessary volume when bulking.

      To be honest though I had that there originally not for reasons of the above, just as a copy paste from the standard wiki on TDEE calculations, fully expecting people to ignore my advice to go for three days of training principally, and hammer me with, “Oh but I train more days…” questions. 🙂
      Still, didn’t work as there have already been 1743 comments on this post already.

      1. Roman says:

        Thanks, and I understand your points, but for the sake of conversation, does it not make sense then that a person could, in theory ,choose the activity level of 3-5 days and actually work on that level and still yield favorable results or rather, the results that you propose? And if not, why not then state for the record and place ALL clients on the 1-3 activity level and remove some confusion from some people’s minds? I am probably over thinking this a bit much, but blame that on my over analytical mind! Thanks!

        1. Because the activity multiplier helps encompass people that have manual jobs or other hobbies.

          1. Roman says:

            You’re right, I missed that glaring important detail. Thanks again! 🙂

  134. Drew says:

    Hey Andy, love your calculator! Very easy to use and gives a great layout of information. One question though; when calculating TDEE for females is it based on lean mass? Have you explored any of the findings from Alex Navarro? Or listen to the recent podcast on with Keifer. Really trying to utilize this information and find the best way to plan nutrition and training for women. Have had results all over the board with women and fat loss. The trial and error just takes such a long time and no person reacts the same way.


    1. Hi Drew. The Katch-McArdle equation above is for both men and women. You’re likely getting confused between the commonly used Harris-Benefict equation that doesn’t. The former will be more accurate if you have an idea of your body fat, otherwise go with the latter.
      Really though this misses the point: Set your macros, track, and then adjust calorie intake accordingly so that you get the targeted rate of change. See the guides on tracking and making adjustments in the diet menu.

      Last piece of advice – the thing that screws beginners out of making progress more than anything is trying to mix and match advice from different sources. Stick with one you trust and keep to it.

  135. John says:


    Long time no speak (Still need to email you about Japan), hope you’re well!

    I’ve had an ongoing injury for two years now that’s finally being fixed up – steroid injections and physio, so won’t be training for at least a couple of weeks if not longer.

    Should I continue with my current macros (which are still helping me shave roughly 2lb a week) which involves carb cycling. Or shall I spread the macros more evenly during the days rather than cycling? I’m easy either way but want to do my best to retain strength and mass while I’m out of training.


    1. Hi John. Good to hear from you.
      There is no need to cycle your macros when you’re not training. Just keep protein intake high and make sure that the calorie deficit isn’t too low (refer to the rates of fat loss guidelines here), but if you enjoy what you’re doing and are comfortable with it then there is no harm.

  136. Burak says:

    Thx and last one;
    Did vegetable protein should be calculated ?

    1. You can if you wish, but that’d be a bit of a pain in the arse to do, and as it’s only going to be a small amount you can ignore it if you wish. Refer to my macro counting guide for more on this.

  137. Burak says:

    Hi Andy;
    Can i apply body-recomp with if?Because according to this calculations, i have to take 420g carb in 8 hours and it is a little bit hard to take it.Should i do this with if or should i spread this thing in a day not just in 8 hours?

    1. Hi Burak. Yes you can, though it’s not necessary to force it.
      See the FAQ, “Too Full”
      Refer to the fourth article in the nutritional hierarchy of importance series on the importance of IF for physique change.
      Note also the points in the article, “Which Routine Is For Me?

  138. mfmaxpower says:

    Hi Andy, I’m in the final month of my cut and I’ve had a few ups and downs due to what I now believe to be not eating enough fat. Do you have a way that you use to determine a minimum fat amount to eat on workout/rest days?

    1. Hi Matt. See the Nutritional Pyramid series. Link at the bottom of the article.

  139. Hey Andy, great site and thanks for sharing the info. I’ve been following this way of eating for a few weeks and making good steady progress. I’m just wondering what your views are on adjusting for activities such as yoga which I tend to do on my ‘rest’ days. I know it’s training in the sense I’m exercising somewhat and do work up a light sweat, but it’s not heavy lifting and doesn’t justify a big post workout meal or significantly higher carbs for glycogen replacement. How do you recommend I tweak my macros/calorie intake for days like this? (I lift heavy 3x week, yoga 2x week). Cheers

    1. Hi Stephen. There is no real need to adjust for yoga as the energy expenditure won’t be anything significant above basal RMR (sweating isn’t to be confused with calorie burn, but it always is, which goes a long way to explaining the hot yoga craze), nor will there be any significant impacts on muscle glycogen. It’s just stretching at the end of the day.

  140. Nathan says:

    Hey Andy, thanks for the great article. I’m pretty new to this and kind of blown away by the numbers I’m getting. Playing with the formulas I get 4-500 g of carbs on training days. How’s that even possible? That would be 10 cups of rice or med/lg potatos. I don’t think I could even eat that in a day, especially as I typically train in the evenings. I could up my protein, but that’s still a huge volume of food. Any advice appreciated!

    1. Nathan, thanks for the comment. That can very easily be possible, it just depends on the circumstances. I’m not here to tell you whether you have calculated correctly, but here’s the way to think about it:
      1. Is that significantly more, less or around the same as you are currently eating?
      2. Are you currently gaining, losing or maintaining weight?
      3. How does your goal match up with the above two things?

      Bear in mind that if you’re switching from a higher fat diet to this, you will have a higher volume of food intake.

      If in doubt, try a quantity that is comfortable, track progress, adjust accordingly. – See also the “too full” section in the FAQ.

  141. Rob says:

    Hey Andy great site and info! I do have a question I am 32 and weight 169lbs. About 3 months ago I started a diet and working out, when I started i was about 185. I have been doing the strong lifts 5×5 program, and have never done any “real” weight training in my life before this. I see myself as still skinny fat…overall skinny with a little belly fat…I have been reading your site and now think that I should have been doing recomp this whole time instead of “cutting”. Would you suggest that I move to a recomp type diet? I don’t feel that I am getting stronger any longer and I am at the point where I am starting to fail and de-load on most of my lifts. I know I cannot gain strength while cutting but also want to make sure that I can get rid of this belly fat 🙂 Any suggestions would be awesome!

    1. Hi Rob. For those with lifting experience there is a point where a recomp that won’t work. 3 months seems quite early to be stalling though so you might just need to adjust your training program. My guide for this is here. I’ll have a new article (or series, depending on how long it goes – original article here) explaining more about your common ‘predicament’ coming out soon. So add your mail address to the blog mailing list and you’ll see when that comes out.

  142. Stephen Caserta says:

    I feel a little uncertain on what my calories macros should look like. I am a 24 year old male 140lbs at 5’4 with about 12-15% BF working out three times a week. If I want to do a cut I think I’m looking at about 2200 calories on training days with 55% protein 20% fat and 25% carbs and on rest days 1800 calories with 55% protein 30% fat and 15% carbs. Does that seem right or am I miscalculating somewhere?

    1. Hi Stephen. I don’t comment on calorie/macro/ratio settings in the comments, as written in the section in red above.
      However you can find a more detailed guide to the calorie question in this article, which is again, written above.
      Please give all sections of a post a good read before commenting rather than skipping to the end, as I’ll likely have things covered at the end to help with common questions.

      Another article I’d recommend to you, The Myth of the ‘Best’ Macro Ratio.

  143. saul b. says:

    Hi andy . Body recomposition macros means that i will mantain my body wheight or it means that i will be cutting body fat and building muscle at the same time ? Sorry if my english is not perfect im trying to understand ur article.

    1. Hi Saul. Cutting body fat and building muscle at the same time. Doesn’t necessarily mean you will maintain weight, you might gain or lose depending on circumstance, but in the above simplified set up it’s for maintaining weight.

  144. James says:

    Question on the cut diet approach outlined using a +10/-30% as mentioned above is this.

    My BMR + Activity is 2500 cals.

    So to maintain my weight for 7 days requires 17,500 calories.

    If I add 10% for T Days and train 3 days a week, that would be 8,250 cals for those days

    If I subtract 30% on R Days, that would be 7,000 for the remaining 4 days.

    For a total of 15,250 cals for the week. That’s a 2,500 total calorie deficit for the week.

    With that in mind, if you follow the approach outlined above, should you expect the cut to go really slow?

    I’m 180lb at about 10-11% bf. Been training for 20 years.


    1. “With that in mind, if you follow the approach outlined above, should you expect the cut to go really slow?”
      Calculations are a guess at best as your metabolic state will vary. Be consistent, track things and then adjust accordingly to get a suitable rate of fat loss. – More on that in the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series.

  145. Daniel says:

    Andy, what about my personal case. I have been weightlifting for 3 years, descent stats with ups and downs. A year ago i stopped because of injuries and lost motivation. Prior to this quit i used lean gains for at least a year. I started again working out last week, in the past year i lost muscle and gained some fat. I think i stand on 15%. What should i do? Cut or recomp? Am i considered a beginner again? I initially though about doing a cut for a few months and then a bulk. However starting a recomp will let me regain my lost muscle faster i think, doing a cut next spring will get me lean once again next summer. Your thoughts about this? Btw i am still recovering of my injuries, deadliest and squat not possible atm, however trying to work them out the best i can. thx!

    1. Go with maintenance or a slight calorie deficit, while you build up your strength with one of the earlier routine progressions in the Linear Progression Continuum here. Then work your way up as your recovery demands increase, as per the article. See, “Which Routine Is For Me?”

  146. Ok, sorry me Andy.
    but you could answer if 605g carbs is too much for a diet of 3310 cal?

    1. If the remaining calorie amount (of ~900kCal) gives you enough space to meet your protein requirements and fat recommendations mentioned above then yes.

  147. Israel Santana says:

    Hello Andy, plz help me.
    I have one question, my BMR is 2360, LBM is 55Kg and bf is 7Kg. I’m slow-bulk (40% / -10%)
    in training days 3310 cal = using the method you suggest to be my protein 110g, fat 50g and carbs 605g (605g carbs is right?)
    and congratulations your work is spectacular!

    1. Please see the sentence above in red.

      Glad you’ve found the site helpful though Israel.

  148. Robert Polanski says:

    Hello Andy,
    I like the website very much. Really helpful!
    I’d have question.
    Andy, what do you think about cutting in Autumn or Winter. I have 19% fat and wonder if I should do for instance recomposition till Spring and than cut or by 19% fat should I now?
    Is it recommended on the whole to cut in autumn, winter?

    I’ve noticed that I need to eat more in autumn of cource ‘cos it becomes colder. How does it look like in general by majority people on leangains. Do people on leangains usually have higher calories-balance in autumn/winter than in spring/summer?

    1. Robert, thank you for the question.

      While the range of body fat that we accept of ourselves is naturally going to be affected by the seasons (with us gravitating to wanting to be leaner in the summer and not minding being a few points higher in the winter) the seasons shouldn’t override what is most suitable/optimal for you at any point in time.

      The drop in temperature over winter will not significantly affect calorie requirements or metabolic condition assuming appropriate clothes are worn. (We could get a little geekier about thermic affect of temperature drops but I’m assuming here that you’re not in the habit of morning ice lake swims.)

      As you’re currently at 19% body fat and you need to get leaner, which is usually going to mean a net calorie deficit and weight drop. I’ll have more on this in an upcoming update of this old article. Hope that helps for now though.

  149. Denver says:

    Hey Andy, I’m a physique athlete really struggling with my Meal Planning and Meal Timing.. I want to increase my muscle mass but not put on too much fat (slow bulk maybe?) I’m also a model and promotor so can’t sacrifice the abs too much.. Would a slow bulk have a negative side effect on them or with proper carbs and low fat keep it at bay? I’m going to try to calculate using your formula and see what numbers I come up with. Any advice in this area will be appreciated!

    Thanks Andy

    1. Hi Denver.
      The way I see it there are two ways you can ‘slow’-bulk (bulk, but without the large amount of fat gain associated with it traditionally):
      1. Chase bodyweight gain in a controlled way (without exceeding the maximum rate of potential muscle gain possible for your training status).
      2. Chase strength gains in a controlled way.

      The former is a quicker way to get bigger but more fat will be gained.
      The latter is about chasing strength gains – barbells – and manipulating the macros so that you get the most strength gains you can out of the macros before making an increase. This is slower, and less visually rewarding. It requires more patience and faith in the lifting numbers changing your body. However you will stay leaner this way.

      Given your position, I’d suggest you go for the latter.

  150. Johnny says:

    Hi Andy, thanks so much posting this info in such an organized and easy to use fashion. It has life changing potential.

    I recently started to implement a body recomp plan but I’m getting pretty hungry between meals and also kind of low energy. I’m worried that I underestimated my caloric needs.

    Should I listen to these signs or will they pass as I get farther along?

    I just really want to make progress in the gym as I’ve been lifting on and off for YEARS and seen practically no results. I’m really tired of being a “Perpetual Beginner”, you know?

    My stats are 81 kg male with roughly 18% body fat who lifts 3x a week doing the big 3, and eating an average of 2500 cals a day and 180 grams of protein.

    Thanks again mate

    1. Hi Jonny.
      If this is the first week then the hunger is normal, your body needs time to adjust to the new meal times. – See the FAQ for more on that.
      More broadly speaking, if your weight is dropping quicker then targeted then that is a sign that your calorie intake is too low. Details on appropriate target rates of fat loss here.

  151. Lean Gains? Whats the low down. says:

    […] and fat with carbs (lots of carbs) haha i didnt use that calculator i used the method he uses on…ngains-macros/, if i work it out myself i know its kinda right… 😛 ive just used that calc and its given me […]

  152. Robert says:

    Hello Andy!
    Could you pleas tell help me?
    I’m cutting and have +10%/-30%. About 3300/2100 kcal. In those days when I have -30% I go sometimes to a swimmingpool (in average 3 times a month).
    If I burned for instance 400 kcal in the swimmingpool, then I understand, I should add this 400 kcal to 2100kcal ? I mean, should we any additional unexpected activity add to normal calories?

    1. Hi Robert. If it’s just three times a month it’s not worth worrying about.

  153. Randy Solis says:

    really confused on the whole rest day and training day calorie change…. how does this work for the more advanced lifters who train 7 days a week or only have 1 rest day but even then do some HIIT cardio that day, seems like they would always be on a calorie surplus by following the train rest day split to cut.

  154. Mike says:

    I calculated my macros following the above guide for cutting. My question is that on my training days is Im supposed to eat 430g of carbs (almost double my protein for the day) is that correct… or should be upping my fat a bit more than 65g to help balance that out?


    1. Hi Mike.
      Macro ratios are a function of activity and stage of dieting, not a target in themselves – a common myth.
      What I mean by this is, with a bottom limit for protein and fat intake, after a small adjustment for preference, your carbs will reflect the balance, and that will affect the ratio. Those with a large energy expenditure/a lot of activity will have a lot more carbs relatively; those at the very end of their diets will have less.

  155. Michal says:

    Hey I’m trying to view this on my ipad and where it says click to expand there’s just a bunch of “[faq faq_topic=”Step1″]” <—these prompts but no link. Anyone else experiencing this or is it just me? Thanks 😀

    1. Fixed, cheers for the heads up Michal.

      1. Michal says:

        Thanks very much! I just blasted through your articles, they’re extremely useful and I appreciate the objectivity. One question that I haven’t been able to have concretely answered yet (neither here nor on Martins also awesome site) is what is an appropriate macro cycling protocol between rest/training days regarding fats and carbs? I have my macros set up for my training days and have been guessing at rest day carb-fat swapping but I’d like to lock them down appropriately. (I am using Martins leangains protocol with BCAA-fueled ‘fasted’ training.)

        Can this be calculated? If this was provided and I missed it please redirect me and if not and you could elaborate id appreciate that too! Thank you! Keep the enlightening, guru-destroying information coming! 🙂

        1. Michal, glad you’ve been finding the articles helpful.
          In my opinion there is no single correct ratio, there is only “correct” within the guidelines as there is scope for personal preference as well as to a degree individual response. The articles you’re looking for though are #2 Macros, Fibre & Alcohol and #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling.

  156. Robert says:

    Hello Andy. The Website is very useful!.
    I’d have question. I want to cut. Do I have to have -30% on rest days and +10% on workout days or it is irrelevant and I can do -20% / 0% I have noticed that some people do -30/10 and some -20/0. What should I do?

    1. The most important thing is to get started, then to track. So the best advice I can give for now is to go with whichever you find the maths easiest on bud. Then from there you’ll come to a point when you want to read further, at that point, see the nutritional hierarchy of importance articles.

      1. Robert says:

        Thank you Andy for reply. I have read and now understand why best +30/-10.
        I would have one more question:
        Martin Berkham writes about 4 protocols and my question is: can I do different protocols in a week?
        I mean: can I in a week have one trainig after 2 meals and two trainigs on an empty stomach (with BCAA). Do I have to do always the same protocol-configuration?

        1. Sure, it’s fine to vary training time. Examples here.

  157. Chiranjeev Sharma says:

    Hello Andy! hope everything is fine. I’m 154 @14-15% body fat. I did a bulk for 4 months and the month of July has been really dull for me and had a couple of cheat days during July. I want go on a cut for a while and calculated my calories. I made a mistake with cutting 2 years ago and lost heaps of strength because i cut down too many calories. i was wondering if cut with -10/-30(-770kcal/-200kcal) weekly deficit of 3470 kcal seems ok to you? i will be keeping protein 2.25g/kg both days to preserve muscle mass. Any help will be much appreciated.

    1. Instead of going with a recalculation, go with steady decreases from the baseline you have already created when you were bulking bud. Guide in this article.

  158. Sarah says:

    Hi Andy. Thanks for the article!

    All makes sense, but just wondering what’s recommended for women in terms of fat amounts on training and rest days? Your figures above are quoted for an ‘average male’. I’m female and 125lbs, and have currently set it at 30g for training days and 40g for rest days. Does that sound about right?

    I’m using a 14/10 fast/feed setup as recommended for women.

    Many thanks

    1. Go with the recommendations in the pyramid series here Sarah.

  159. Fatih says:

    Andy, I’ve read just about all your articles here. GREAT stuff by the way!! Truly amazing work, explanation and referring to sources.
    And maybe due to too much information I’ve gotten a bit confused about calories. It would really help me if you could help sort this bit out:

    1. Calculate BMR
    2. Adjust for activity (here exercise is already considered on a weekly basis, so this isn’t maintenance calories anymore right?)
    3. Calculate Training- and Rest-Day calorie figures (here do we calculate % from BMR only or from BMR x Activity?)

  160. Tom says:

    Solid information Andy. Did my own calculations (about 86 kg, 5’9, 26 year old male) and they seem a bit high compared to what I’ve done before. Your cut comes out to 2,400 training day and 1,400 on rest days (this puts the daily average right around my BMR using your calculation). I’m guessing you recommend a recomp for beginners, but I’ve been lifting for two and a half years focusing on deads, squats, and bench and think it makes sense to shed the fat and slow bulk from there.

    Deads, squats, and bench are at 120kg, 110kg, and 93 kg respectively for the top set in a reverse pyramid program (your protocol).

    I know it’s not ideal without every detail, but are these numbers low to start a cut for a guy my size with at least 20-30 pounds to lose?

    Is it alright to shoot a little lower than the cut macros I calculated as long as I keep protein high as per your recommendation?

    1. Hi Tom. Got you covered in that FAQ question above.
      Rates of advised fat loss targets are covered here, in part 1 of the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series mentioned above.

      1. Tom says:

        Ahh, perfect. I forgot about that section on Martin’s page. Between your fat loss target section and his categories I think I can put the pieces together on my own. As you’ve mentioned though, I’m sure the key will be to be patient and check progress over a 4 week period (as oppose to getting caught up in day to day fluctuations during the week that might swing with my relatively higher carb intake on training days).

        Thanks for clarifying, I’ll take a better look at the hierarchy post next time.

        1. Sure no worries Tom.

  161. Christy says:

    Is there a quick place to easily create a meal plan for step #6? That’s my biggest challenge!

  162. Julie says:

    Thank you Andy! I love this site. I reconfigured my macros via your site today. I know this topic has been discussed, but I wanted some more clarification if possible.

    In regards to the underestimation of 20 to 30 percent, you are stating that by your calculations an underestimation is present if we follow your calculations because of the idea of the application of ‘simplified macros.’ Correct?

    So, we should just calculate as shown (multiply proper activity level to get maintenance calories).

    Love the site. Really great info!

    1. Hi Julie.
      Simplified rules will lead to undercounting by a certain degree. Thus one may wish to adjust the multiplier.

  163. Dean Shah says:


    My question concerns not going under an average of 0.4 g fat per pound of lean body mass per week (for me that would be around 60g on average). Rest days are supposed to be low calories relative to training days, but also high in fat to compensate for the low fat on training days. Well, if I consume 200g of protein every day, that’s already 800 calories. Then, if I consume 75g of fat on rest days, to compensate for the 40g or so on training days, then that means my rest days are already at 1500 calories (200 g protein, 800 calories, and 75 g fat, 700 calories) and that’s not even counting carbs. I know that eventually my rest day calories are going to have to dip below 1500 when it comes time to adjust and break through a plateau and that will lead to my weekly average of fat to be below 0.4. Will that be OK when the time comes for that adjustment or does that mean 1500 calories is the lowest I should ever go on a rest day until I get to my final goal?

    Thank you, sir! Greatly appreciate it!

    1. Hi Dean, sorry for the lack of clarity.
      Daily average fat intake of 0.4 g per pound of lean body mass is a guideline, not a rule. There are many things at interplay here, but when dieting cuts have to come from somewhere and there is always a tradeoff. If performance suffers when cutting due to lower carb intake, you’ll want to consider dropping your fat intake instead and raising carbs back up. Sufficient training intensity is important in maintaining muscle mass when dieting. More here.

  164. Tom says:

    Hi Andy

    Is it okay to be under your BMR when on a cut, since its our “coma calories”? Because when i calculate how much calories i need to be under maintenance it gets below my BMR kcals..

    Keep up the good work!

  165. Hi Andy,

    My name is Hamza and I’m from the Netherlands. Thank you for all the work you put on this website. I have 2 questions though:
    Why is it that even at 1500cal rest days/2300cal training days, which is pretty damn low, or every single day 1700cal, I can’t keep on going to lose weight(fat)?
    Is it that important to do high fat/low carb on rest days and low fat/high carb on training days, if it’s just calories in vs calories out can’t I just look at that only?(protein high every day)

    I would really appreciate your help man!

    Current weight: 78kg(goal is 74kg to get shredded for once)
    Height: 175cm
    Age: 29

    Thanks a lot in advance, Hamza! 🙂

    1. Hi Hamza.
      1. In order of likelihood:
      a) You’re counting wrong and/or have overestimated your TDEE.
      b) You’ve been dieting for too long, metabolism has adapted pretty heavily, and need a break.
      c) You have a hormonal problem. (Very unlikely.)
      The first is going to be by far the most important to look at. Yes everyone will jump for the third.
      2. See part four of, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling.

      1. Ok, thank you. I will look into the first one.
        The counting I am not worried about but more about the calculation of my TDEE.
        – Is it per definition that when working out 3 days a week at least, I have a activity level “Light exercise” or should I go for “Sedentary” because I sit all day for my work?
        – Does it really matter to have high fat/low carb on rest days and low fat/high carb on training days? I read the reason on your website, but since it’s calories in vs calories out can’t I just do a distribution of 40/40/20 protein/carbs/fat every day?

        Again, thanks a lot m8 🙂

        1. Go with light exercise.

          1. Thanks for that.

            In your example (your picture above) in the time frame of 7 weeks, what were your rest days and training days calories to get in that state in just 7 weeks?

            If for example the training day calories that are supposed to be hit are 2600 for cutting, is the amount of calories that will be burned during training taking into account in this number? So 2600 calories to consume with ~400 calories burned with lifting is only 2200 calories consumed. And does it mind if this gets below the TDEE then?

            1. Hi Hamza. Better to use my updated guide. See the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series.

  166. Nicolay says:

    Hi Andy, interesting stuff!

    Quick question (as it seems many others also have had, but I haven’t really found a final answer):

    When you write ‘Use of my simplified rules tend to underestimate things by 20~30%. So if you are then try taking x0.2-0.3 off.’ I assume you mean to subtract 20-30% off the total calories calculated, is this correct? I.e. if my maintenance calories clock in at 2500, I should subtract 20-30% (500-750) for a total of 2000 or 1750 respectively?

    1. Hi Nicolay, you’ll adjust for the simplified rules in the ‘activity multiplier’ stage.

  167. Kierran Clarke says:

    HI Andy,

    Regarding the activity adjustor’s, would you consider someone who barbell trains 3 x a week to be under the “light exercise (1-3 days per week)” bracket?

      1. Kierran Clarke says:

        I though so, just wanted to verify. Thank you.

  168. Ed Iles says:

    Hi Andy

    I’m around 25% body fat at the moment and train 3-4 days a week. I’ve run my numbers and the weekly deficit it gives me for a cut is about 1700 which doesn’t seem a big enough drop in intake to have quick results. The carbs figure for a training day is massive, could I shave a 100 or so calories a day there to influence the overall deficit without losing muscle?

    I tried running with the calculations using the quick set up guide 12 moths ago and didn’t see huge differences in fat loss. I’ve triple checked the maths and it all works out ok. Any hints as to where I might be going wrong?

    Great site and information, I always recommend people to read it.

    Regards, Ed

    1. Hi Ed. If you’ve run the calculations and it is the same as what you were doing previously, your tracking system is good, and you’re not progressing then you’ll need to adjust things. Guide here.

  169. Elwin says:

    Hey Andy,

    I Just Losing muscle because i thought i must eat under BMR so i ate 1200 calories perday instead my calories perday 2800. what should i do ? should i keep in cutting phase or body recomposition phase ? i’m really stress about my muscle 🙁

  170. Hey Andy. i`m starting intermittent fasting next monday of course after being inspired by your web sites 😀 . My BMR = 1650 TDEE = 2,265 . I did a (+5%/-35%) to meet a deficit of 2,835kCal a week .However, my rest day calories is 1,447 which is lower than my BMR . Is it ok to be lower than BMR in general ? If not , what do you recommend ?

    1. Hi Tariq. In some circumstances your r-day intake may be lower than your BMR.
      Check out the nutritional hierarchy of importance series for more bud.

  171. MCR says:

    Finding it difflcult to pack in 250g carbs (as per calculation)

    avergeing around 180 and full day.

    How important is the carbs figure on training day?

    1. Hi Craig. The importance of carbs is covered in #2 Macros, Fibre & Alcohol.
      The importance of maintaining your calorie balance overall is covered in The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories.
      Whatever you do, don’t be haphazard about it.

    2. John says:

      200g uncooked rice for lunch and approximately 300g uncooked sweet potatos for dinner, simples!

  172. Jason says:

    Hi Andy, how are ya mate?

    One quick question that I’m hoping you can help me with regarding protein intake. I see that you say you sometimes go up to 3g/kg of body mass, and I’ve also read somewhere on the site about an intake up up to 2.8g/kg not being detrimental to kidney/health function or whatever it was.

    I’m still a little bit worried, and thought you might be able to help. I am currently on about 250g of protein a day and am currently weighing 65kg. So this equates to about 3.8g/kg. Could this be too high? and will it have negative effects? The reason for such a high intake is hardly even on purpose. I just generally get alot of protein-rich foods, chicken breast, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt etc. I also get a shit load of veggies and fruit on rest days, and a boat load of carbs on training days, but protein still soo high. Any recommendations/response is much appreciated.

    Thanks mate.


    1. Hi Jason. There is no need for your protein intake to be so high. It’s expensive, and limiting your other food choices. Have a good read of tithe article, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #2 Macros, Fibre & Alcohol as it should help you find a more appropriate set up.

      1. Jason says:

        I know there is no NEED for it to be that high. But that’s just how high it goes. I dont lack in any other macronutient at all. I get around 12 servings of veggies and 2 of fruit a day, plus all the carbs post workout in form on oats, cereal, choclate milk and ice cream etc…what else can i do?

        1. “…what else can i do?”
          I don’t understand the question Jason. Did you read the series of articles that I recommended and recalculate things?

  173. Marc says:

    Hey Andy,

    Quick question about the differenc in my kcals calculation between training and non training days. I’m 6’3 215 lbs and 20-25% body fat and looking to “cut” and am using the big 3 program. I kept protein intake at 200g for both days, fat 60g/80g and carbs 470g/133g for training/non. The calorie difference is 1200 between the days. My question, is this too big of a drop off in cals?

    1. Got you covered in the updated guide here Marc.

  174. Dan says:

    I’m not sure if I would be considered obese/fat. I am 29 years old, 5’10” and 200 lbs.. I would venture to guess my bf is around 23-25%. Should I consider myself in the obese range for figuring out my macros?

    1. Hi Dan. Obese will be >30%

  175. Noman F says:

    Apologies if i asked a question about specific macro goal, just read your comment now.

    Some general advice would be appreciate.

    1. No worries Norman. Deleted that comment.
      The answers to your meal timing question is covered in detail in this article.

      1. Noman F. says:

        Thanks for getting back to me.

        I have read that link and tried to understand what you have put (appreciated btw).

        I like training fasted in the pm i.e. (evening workout) but you said one meal is not good enough. If i am eating a lunch with 35% macros, technically im not training fasted right? In doing so am i having an adverse effect of what leangains is about?

        Or am i justing overthinking it and i should go with what you have put in the evening workout section.

        Thanks again.

        1. Seems I answered your question already. Then you asked it again. Then in the same comment you answered it for yourself, forgetting you’d read my answer already in that article Norman. 🙂
          Good luck!

  176. Cliff says:

    I’m 6’7″, 248lbs, 18% BF. I’ve read that I have a couple disadvantages when working for a lean mass look (Think Will Smith in Bad Boys 2). I’ve heard that it’s a little more difficult to achieve that “leaned out” look with a larger frame and also that my gains are not nearly as noticeable. While the latter makes perfect sense, it seems that the aforementioned would be easier too due to the fat layer being stretched over a larger frame. However, I continue to hear this isn’t the case. I really need to build up my chest and cut down my waistline. I’m definitely getting stronger and notice my chest gaining SOME mass. I love compound exercises like DLs and Squats. Are there any other movements you’ve seen that have worked well for gaining lean muscle on a larger frame?

    1. Same principles bud.

  177. Krishn says:

    Hi Andy,

    I’m looking to implement the leangains approach, however I play football (soccer) twice a week on non training days. How would you suggest I adjust my caloric intake on football days?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Simply add in some carbs Krishn.

  178. Anine S says:

    Hi Andy, and thanks for a really informative and good blog 🙂

    I want to start doing a cut, and I see from your other post (the one about identifying where you are) that you recommend 3 days of a split-routine when cutting. Problem is, I really WANT to workout more than three times a week, it’s like my freetime I really enjoy. Normally I do weight training 5 times a week, one day of other training like swimming/running/cycling and stretching, and one rest day. If I am going to continue having this workout routine, will it still be ideal with -30-35% calories on the restday and +10% every day I workout? Won’t the total calorie consumation be a little too high for a cut then? (My body fat percent is quite low on my upper body (my abs are visible), but my lower body is another story, so an extra question is if you think a cut will work for me to get some results?)

    My other question is about the calculation of fat. I see you write what an average male on a cut normally should consume, but I find it a little difficult to “adopt” this to my situation since I am a girl… Do I just have to start somewhere and adjust, or what do you recommend?


    1. Hi Anine.
      “I really WANT to workout more than three times a week…”
      Don’t confuse moving your body (what you call ‘working out’) with training. When it comes to training, more is not better, and more can be worse. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If you enjoy swimming or running, then do it. If you’re doing it for fat loss, stop and find another hobby.
      Calculate your fat in the same way as a starting point. Have a good read of the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance articles next.

      1. Anine says:

        Thank you. Now I’ve also read the articles, but what I still can’t figure out is how to cycle my calories when I have 5 (strength) training days a week. If I am going to have a surplus on my training days and still have a total weekly deficit of around 3500 kcal, I’ll have to starve myself on the restdays/the days I’m just moving my body with running/swimming?

        If my maintenance is 2300 kcal, and I eat about 2700 on my training days, that means +2000 in total, which means I have to be -5500 the rest of the week to get a deficit of 3500 kcal. And basically that means I can eat like 50 kcal the two days without training… Or I am totally lost here?

        1. Anine. I do not recommend strength training five days a week. However, in the article, #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling you’ll have seen that I worked out a formula to show people how to do that.

          Now, what you’re asking me to do here is to comment on your calculations, which, with 1638 comments currently on this post, I hope you can understand my position of choosing to not attempt that. This is written in red above. I think you need to recalculate things, or just follow the standard plan as you’re breaking the golden rule.

          1. Anine S says:

            Sorry, I understand that you can’t comment on the calculations.

            I saw the Meal Timing & Frequency post, and used the fomula to figure out my calories on training- and restdays. What confused me is that with strength training five days a week it’s not possible for me to have a surplus of calories on training days, which this post says I should, “Even so, you must eat a surplus of calories on a training day in most situations”.

            To get the total deficit of the week I have to have a deficit every day, simply because if I should have had for example a surplus of +300 kcal on those five training days, that means a total deficit of 5000 kcal the last two days to get my weekly deficit of -3500 kcal, and since 5000/2 is 2500 kcal and over my maintenance-level that wouldn’t work.

            I am NOT asking you to comment the calculations, I just wanted to explain the problem properly. Maybe this is why you don’t recommend 5 strength training days a week 🙂

            1. Right. This post, is an older post intended for three days a week training. You need to follow the advice in the newer guides and forget about this one.

  179. Julia says:

    Hey Andy,

    sorry but i have two other questions about the daily calorie intake.

    1.My BMR multiplied with the active level says i need about 2300 kcal a day. what about the rest days then? do i multiply my BMR with the lowest active level factor then to get my calories for the day i don’t work out? or do i have a calorie need of 2300 kcal every day when i do 4 to 5 times workout a week?

    2. What if i don’t eat a plus of 10% when i do weight training and just have -20% on my rest day? will it have a negative effect on fat loss? right now i maintain strenght and even got a bit stronger (like 2,5kg on deadlift) while i lost 2,5kg of bodyweight.

    Thanks a lot, you woukld really help me with an answer 🙂

    1. No worries Julia. Honestly there are a few too many questions here to cover them in a comment answer.
      1. See the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance series, and give it a thorough read through.
      2. See the section on the FAQ about the calorie surplus.
      As a woman that lifts one of the most important things to get out of your head is that the scale weight tells the whole story. See this picture.

      1. Julia says:

        Hey Andy,

        thanks a lot for your answers!
        I know that picture of the girl and I’m trying not to focus on the scale. I take pictures every week. This is a very good way to track it, on the first one you don’t see abs and now I can see a “four- pack” already 🙂

  180. Julia says:

    Hey Andy,

    I really like your page! I learned a lot more about IF.
    I’m doing IF since two month now, it ´s going very well (even better since I read almost every article on your page), i’m on a cut.
    I do weight training three to four times a week, but on my rest-days i also do trx, like two times a week. What about the calorie intake on the days i do trx (it’s a course over 30-45 mins). Should i still cut calories about 30%?
    I know i don’t have to do extra workout to get results but i like trx 🙂

    Thanks, regards from germany!

    1. Hi Julia. Drop TRX from your rest days. A rest day is a rest day.

  181. siraaj says:

    Hi Andy,

    When counting protein macros, does this include what comes from carb sources like pasta? Is there a threshold minimum quantity of lean, complete proteins you recommend we should take within our total protein macro calculation? Thanks!

    1. Hi Siraaj. Complete vs incomplete proteins is pretty much irrelevant for non-vegans. See the FAQ for more on counting trace macros.

  182. Vince says:

    Hello Andy. Is it accurate to say that during a cut the primary reason for weight lifting is for muscle and strength preservation and less about glycogen depletion and fat loss? I would think that with the recommended lifting schedule and exercises, that the warm up sets and a total of 3 to 6 work sets does not use a lot of muscle glycogen. The fat loss is due to the total weekly calorie reduction under maintenance. Is that correct? Also, I like using the fasting and calorie/carb zigzagging protocol, but is it necessary? Does it expedite the process? Can the same results be achieved if macros and calories are the same everyday? Appreciate your thoughts and comments and thanks for your time!

    1. Hi Vince.
      1/2. Basically, yes and yes.
      3/4/5.Is carb cycling necessary, does it expedite the process of fat loss?
      Covered mainly in the article, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling, in some more technical detail in the article, Why is Leangains so effective?.

  183. Alan says:

    HI Andy,
    As far as training and rest days go for this slow bulk, what should I aim for my calorie difference to be between rest/training days? 500/600, more or less?

    1. Have a look at the post, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling. Got you covered there. In general though I don’t calculate a split when slow-bulking, just advise making gradual increases.

  184. Stephany Barraza says:

    Hi I’ve been reading your blog for almost 4 hours and I found it really interesting. I all ready got my BMR which is on T Days 2407 and in R Days 1600 and my LBM is 43kg. But I just can’t figure how to apply step 6 which is making my menu.
    Bases on your example :

    Tom’s Training-Day macros are: P190/F60/C275
    Which according to my simplified rules means eating means consuming: (WHAT RULE??)

    950g of leanish meat/fish, 385g of rice and lots of green vegetables.

    I just can’t figure out where did you got this final numbers?

    Hope you can help me !!

    1. Hi Stephany.
      “Which according to my simplified rules means eating means consuming: (WHAT RULE??)”
      See link in the section starting with, “Firstly,” in bold.
      Read carefully. – I said that I will delete comments that ask me to do specific macro calculations.
      Don’t write in capitals.

  185. John says:

    Hi Andy,

    Quick question: What kind of macros would you use on a cut for a day involving some cardio (not for fat loss!)?

    Some background: I play competitive 5-a-side football (soccer) on Monday evenings and normally train tues-thurs-sat. I’m two weeks into a IF cut and all is going well, I’m just slightly concerned about muscle loss. It can be a pretty intense game (somewhat equivalent of 30 mins of HIIT I guess) and up till now I’ve still been treating it as a rest day (mainly because going from -30% kcal to +10% one day a week would cut my fat loss by 1/3).

    For info if needed: I’ve calculated my maintenance as 2750kcal (I’m 6ft3, 200lb,~15% BF), so am aiming for 1750 rest days and 3000 train days (16,000kcal/week – 3250 below maintenance). Train day eating 4 days a week instead of 3 would mean an extra 1250 kcal per week.

    Basically, should I just suck it up and treat football as a training day? This would take me way past my goal of 12 weeks 12lb of fat though, which would be a little demotivating given that it’ll be summer by then.

    Thanks for any help!

    1. Quick question: What kind of macros would you use on a cut for a day involving some cardio (not for fat loss!)?
      Hi John. Simplest way is to add in some carbs on that day to make up for the extra activity, and be careful of overestimation.

      1. John says:

        Hi Andy,

        That’s great, thanks.

        Unrelated question out of curiosity. For your cut on the results page, you seemed to lose over 1kg a week. This would seemingly require a deficit of over 7000kcal a week? If you’re willing to share, how did you manage it? Did you keep training days at maintenance and eat, say, 1200kcal on rest days?

        1. I think it was likely to do with my being a low NEAT responder and being quite active and on my feet all day that did it. In hindsight I took it too quickly, and likely lost some muscle mass towards the end of that cut and I should have added in more calories towards the end of it to slow down the weight losses. Specific macros aren’t going to help you there, but I do have some specific fat loss guidelines based on body fat percentage in the article, The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories.

  186. Shane Clissold says:

    Thanks Andy was informative

    1. Welcome, make sure you check out the more detailed version in the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance also. I think a lot of people are missing it just because the name isn’t, “Here’s a more awesome macros guide”.

  187. Shane Clissold says:

    Hi, Im new to all of this only started 2 weeks ago. I have over the last 6months myself got from 103kg to 87kg, Im 5’9 and 42 years of age.

    Looking at the calculations I have a BMR 1861 I go to the gym 4 days a week a only lift weights – no cardio for me, so this puts me on 2885.

    Now Im about 20-22% BF at the moment so want to cut first then bulk.

    Using your calculations I have got this. I have gone for Cut at +10% Tday and -35% Rday.

    TDay- P: 173g F: 50g Carbs: 500g (this seems very high seeing I have only been sitting on about 120g a day) = 3142 near enough to my +10%.

    I guess im looking for an answer to weather I have done this correctly or not?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Shane, please read the last paragraphs of this post bud.

  188. What Should My Leangains Macronutrient Numbers Be? | says:

    […]  Firstly, I must give a shout-out to Andy Morgan of Ripped Body.  His guide is fantastic.  Mine will certainly have some similarities – although I definitely have a few […]

  189. Chris Seah says:

    Hi Andy,

    If I take a break from training for a week or two due to visiting, will I be eating my average macros for the week or two and will it affect my recomposition?

    Also, is it alright to split my meals into 10% preworkout at 130, train at 130-230 or 2-3 then 45% pwo and 45% at dinner (6pm or so) because I cant eat between 10-130.


    1. 1. Yes. But if that is what you have to do, that’s what you have to do. This is not a race and two weeks is almost insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
      2. If that’s what you prefer then that’s fine. See #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling.

  190. Dean Shah says:


    So going from roughly 18% body fat to 7-10% (before hitting stubborn fat) should be able to be accomplished simply by taking it slow, having patience, choosing diet breaks before caloric restriction and then using caloric restriction (only after trying the other options) slowly all the way until the end? It’s really that simple, that you just have to very slowly reduce your calories as you progress and you’ll get all the way down to 7-10% body fat? There’s no other tricks I need to implement to get all the way down to at least 10% before I hit stubborn body fat?

    It’s a mental thing for many of us, because we are taught that we need to suffer, do excessive cardio, etc. to lose fat. So it really is as simple as what I mentioned in the previous paragraph?

    Thanks, brother!

    1. 1. Yes.
      2. Yes, pretty much.
      3. Yes, that’s what I keep banging on about on the blog Dean. No secrets, the only people with secrets are those trying to sell you something. Everything is here. Check out any of the two hundred or so testimonial comments on the results page and you’ll see people talking about the simplicity of it.
      4. Jesus, yes. Don’t ask a question 4 times. It’s wasteful to your fingers, my patience, and the eyes of everyone reading. You already know I will give you a straight answer.

  191. Brad says:

    Hello Andy, I love the website! It has been a great help to me. I am currently about 167 pounds at 13% body fat and was wondering if I should start to cut or start a body recomposition? Will doing a recomposition help me gain muscle and lose fat? And how much longer would a recomp take compared to a cut to reach about 9% bodyfat? Thanks!

    1. Advice on this covered in this article Brad.

  192. Chris says:

    Hey, Andy

    I have a question regarding my macros. My adjusted BMR is 1688 with a 35% deficit on rest days and after I take away 540 kcal for my minimum protein intake it leaves me with almost no room to adjust fat intake in the future if needed and 0 carbs for the day.

    My question is , is it bad to have 0 carbs rest day? And to have so little room to adjust even if assuming I calculated correctly ? I appreciate any thoughts on this. Thank you.

    1. You have likely forgotten the multiplier Chris.

      1. Chris says:

        I did use the multiplier. Everything just seems really low to me. Is the deficit too much maybe?

        1. Double check by using the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance guides. Start with #1 – Macros and work through.

          1. Chris says:

            Thank you! I’ll take another look I think I’m just overthinking

  193. Kierran says:

    Hi Andy,

    When on a fast and just drinking water, coffee etc…Will it be OK to add this to water for flavour?

    1. Does it have calories is the question you need to ask yourself Kierran.

      1. Kierran says:

        Simple answer, thanks Andy.

  194. Gregor says:

    Hi Andy,

    Today I just stumbled across a scientific article, which states that high protein intake increases the risk for cancer and overall mortality for people under 65 years old. The risk is associated with proteins coming from animal products (meat, cheese,…). The results are based on study with population of over 6000 participants. The direct link to the article is If you do not have the access to the article, please feel free to contact me.
    What do you think of this?

    1. Hi Gregor, nonsense. Keep calm, carry on.
      Another correlational study that the media has picked up on, twisted and hyped to sell papers.
      Correlation does not equal causation.

      Background here:

      1. Gregor says:

        I think that the results cannot be put away since they have been published in a well respected peer-reviewed scientific journal. I agree that additional work has to be done to prove the scientists claims, however the statistics and its interpretation does not lie. I try to be open-minded regarding this. Remember when fat intake was the main reason for people being overweight?

        1. Before I continue, did you watch the video?

          1. Gregor says:

            Andy I did not watch the whole movie, however I see where it goes. You are basially saying all the science is bogus… Since I am myself a scientist/researcher I know what it takes to publish in a journal such as Cell metabolism, which is one of the best in the category. As I said, further research has to be done, however the results cannot be neglected.
            I did not try to question the results you are achieving, I just wanted your opinion regarding the findings of the research…

            1. Ok good – just wanted to check or this will make no sense. [That’s a hint to anyone reading this conversation to watch the video.]
              So yes of course, no evidence should ever be rejected, it needs to be taken into consideration of the body of evidence we have as a whole. With the limitations noted and applicability.

     did a good look at the body of evidence in their article, “High-Protein Diets Linked to Cancer: Should You Be Concerned?” Have a good read.

              For those that inevitably won’t be bothered to click the link and read through, I’ll copy the conclusions here:

              Yes, dietary protein was implicated in mortality. No, it isn’t as harmful as smoking. The number which the comparison was borne from (diabetes-related mortality) does exist in the study and is immediately followed by:

              “We underline that our hazard ratios and confidence intervals may be inflated due to our sample size and the extremely low incidence of diabetes mortality in the low protein group. Overall, there were only 21 diabetes deaths among persons without diabetes at baseline, only 1 of which was from the low protein group”

              To even suggest that eating protein is as bad as smoking is pure sensationalism.
              Human nutrition is a complex topic, and isolating one area can be complicated. Often times, two disparate issues can be combined together incorrectly:

              Issue 1: as we explained, IGF-1 is responsible for cell growth, and it does not care what kind of cells it is growing. For those who exercise regularly, IGF-1 is a boon. For those that have poor diet without exercise, it is not.

              Issue 2: poor diet is a ubiquitous problem. Processed meats are a staple of poor diets. Processed meats also tend to have protein. The study made no differentiation between different animal sources. As previously stated, chicken breast is not comparable to processed bologna meat.

              When you combine Issue 1 and Issue 2 without looking at the bigger picture, one can mistakenly infer that “high protein is bad for you.”

              A more accurate headline for this study would have been “High protein for those between 50 years to 65 years old who have poor diet and lifestyle habits may be associated with increased cancer risk.”

  195. Emma says:

    Hi Andy. I’m a 62kg female 168cm. How do I calculate the amount of fat I should consume?

  196. Stephan says:

    Hi Andy, this is a fantastic site which you should be very proud of – you have put a lot of work in here and that is very much appreciated, thank you.

    I just wanted to check with you regarding the body recomposition figures for macros – with the training days at +20%, if the fats go down a bit and the protein stays the same, the only thing that can increase calories is the carbs. When this is done it results in a massive carb intake for training days – over half of daily calories from carbs. I’m just thinking this might be a difficult amount to actually eat, e.g 3 huge plates of carbs and still not reaching the necessary amount – then to reach the necessary amount you may be forced to have high carb more simple sugar based foods and drinks just to make up the numbers which is not something I want to do, but I also wouldn’t want to be under the desired calories for the day. Hope that makes sense? Is this correct.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Stephan. That is correct, a common complaint (see the FAQ), assuming you have calculated correctly.

      1. Stephan says:

        Thanks Andy, just going through the FAQ section now – to anyone reading this, check out the FAQ as well!!!! as there is loads of great info in there as well as in the main articles.

        All the best, Stephan

        1. Ha, yes I’ve worked many, many hours on that FAQ in the last couple of years.

  197. Brandt says:

    Hey Andy! This website has been really helpful to me but I am confused on a couple things.

    1. After we calculate our BMR, why is the multiplier so high for activity level? And why is there a multiplier for someone who doesn’t work out? I love learning about fitness so if you could explain that to me I would really appreciate it.

    2. This is an opinion question, but i have tennis practice from 3-5 every weekday and I lift weights after on 3 of the days like you say to, so i finish lifting at about 6-6:15. What would be the best time to open and close my eating window in your opinion?


    1. Hi Brandt.
      1. Consider your BMR your coma calories (i.e. the energy you’d need if you were in a coma.) Conscious beings tend to do more than coma cases, even if they are lazy, which explains the multiplier.
      2. Simple, same as the standard set up, midday to evening. You won’t want to eat before tennis anyway because you’ll feel full on the court.

      To correct the energy balance for the tennis, you can either go with the blanket multiplier, or add in calories on a per-day basis. Either is fine as long as you stay consistent with it and then track your progress and make the appropriate adjustments.

      1. Brandt says:

        Okay that makes a lot of sense, thank you! Would it be okay if i set my window from 12-8 and then ate right at 12 so that my food is digested and it is like I am training fasted? Or should i set it later and not eat until after i train?

        1. That won’t be fasted, but don’t worry about it.

          1. Brandt says:

            Okay, thanks Andy! I just want to get the best results possible, thanks for all your help!

  198. Elliot says:

    I meant it mentions the 3500 and 1lb a week in your ‘The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories’ not ‘how and When To Manipulate Your Macros’ not that it matters, I’m sure you know what I mean.

  199. Gregor says:

    Hi again Andy,

    I did the recomp program for about two months. The first month I did not take any supplements and could not manage to hit the carb values, so according to the macro values I was on cutting programme (however without any significant loss of weight). Then, the second month, I added a gainer and I managed to hit the macros for recomp. Despite this, I did not see any noteable differences in physique.

    According to the results, I would consider myself as a hard gainer. I am 177cm with 69kg. Therefore I was thinking to start a slow bulk. However I cannot imagine how to hit the slow bulk macros target.

    I was thinking of two things: increase the eating window to maybe 9 or 10 hours, or lower the protein intake per kg of lean mass. On I have read that very high protein intake has minor benefits (2.5-3,0g/kg) compared to “normal” intake of an active person (1,0-2,2g/kg). Since I would be eating less protein, it would be easier to add some more carbs. I was thinking to initially lower the protein intake to 2.0g/kg of lean mass.

    What do you think? Would I be able achieve comparable results to the lean gain method?

    1. Have you read through the latest series of articles, the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance? I think that’ll sort all your set-up questions out Gregor.

      1. Gregor says:

        Thanks for the hint Andy. 🙂 I did read the new article and it is one of your best.
        I have the answer to my first question (eating window), however I would still like to know your opinion regarding the protiein intake. Is it ok to lower the protein intake? According to the page lower values are still ok. What is you opinion? I have read some articles which state that higher protein intake can put strain on the kidneys.

        1. Gregor, respectfully, you haven’t read the articles or you wouldn’t be asking those questions.

          Thoughts on optimum protein intake for different situations and with reasons are covered in the series. Specifically in The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #2 Macros, Fibre & Alcohol.

          You’ll also see that I have several paragraphs covering your kidney question.

          Don’t be lazy.

          1. Gregor says:

            I am sorry I missed that. Will read all your articles through again.
            If I would be lazy, I would stop working out and would not ask any questions. 🙂
            Sorry again.

  200. Ryan says:

    Can you explain what % of calories over and under maintainance for cut, recomp, and bulk assuming a m,w,fri training scheme. Thanks Ryan

  201. graham says:

    Hi Andy, hope your well. I love your new article on the main part of the site.

    I have a question, which I don’t know if its been covered to a great extent, but with extra carbs on training days, how does the starch within pasta, breads, cereals etc have an affect on muscle gains?

    I’m just curious as I’m aware of the principles with feeding the muscles post workout etc, but with adding lots more carbs how does this affect muscle production?

    cheers mate.

    1. Graham, not sure what you mean by the question. Did you read the macros part of the series? By the tone of the question it seems to me you’ve just come off of reading some anti carbohydrate articles. Am I right?

      1. graham says:

        🙂 Yeah just a few articles I look at online from time to time. But i wasnt too sure on how it promotes muscle growth etc.

  202. Nate says:

    Hi Andy love your work!
    I have been on if for about 9weeks started out about 20% bf now down to about 12% abs are showing nicely ,my problem Iv had a couple of negative comments about my face being so skinny ,do you here this much? And if I was to go on a slow bulk now would this make my face look fuller? And how do I go about adding more calories do I add to my low carb day?
    Thanks mate.

    1. There’s nothing that can be done about your face bud. The leaner you get the leaner your face will be.

  203. Ben says:

    Hi Andy,
    Great article and site mate! Ok, so I’m keen to give your macro set-up a go, however have a few questions for you. (FYI – have been running IF for last 4 months with daily low carb (60-90g) a day but not growing even when resistance training 4 days a week, 2 days HiiT. Just upped carbs to 160gms/training day for last week.) Fat intake has been pretty high on all days ranging from 100 – 120gms each day (could be a mistake!) and protein sitting around the 350gm mark.

    So, here are my numbers off your calcs, just want to make sure they’re right.
    Weight – 82kg
    height – 178cm
    Age – 35
    BF% – approx 10%
    LBM – 73.8kg

    Training day calories (3653)
    P – 350, F – 65, C – 417

    Rest day calories (2435)* Assuming I would run this on HiiT days as well?
    P – 350, F – 90, C – 56

    I’ve been sitting at a nice 8-9% BF for the past 2 months until the past 2 weeks where I’ve upped the carbs. But I need to grow, so hoping these new numbers will work. Want to get up to around 85kg and under 10% BF by mid to late year.


    Thanks mate.

    – Ben

    1. You are asking me to critique your macros Ben, which is not something I do in the comments. See sentences in red above.

  204. Bryan says:

    Hey Andy.

    I’m having a little trouble calculating my macros. I’m 18, about 5’9 and a half and range from 160-162lbs. I workout 6-7 days a week and im going to start throwing in cardio every other day. I have a lean muscular body type and im trying to shred that last bit of fat that hides my abs. Just to add a little more perspective, I could see a solid amount of abs when i flex. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


  205. L. Scott says:

    In regards to ‘Step 2. Adjust for Activity,’ what level would you categorize someone that does a ‘Three Day Split RPT’ Routine?

    1. I’d go with the 1.375 bud. Thanks for pointing out the cross-over, have just edited that.

  206. Ahmed says:

    Hi Andy,

    I have a question regarding what type of diet you would advice for me?

    Last year I cut down succesfully by making use of your information/structure, thanks for that. I paused my training for a while and gained some fat again, but not as much as I had first. Now since it is far from beach weather over here, I dont really feel like cutting (already). I want to gain some strength and was thinking about doing a body recomposition first. And than hopefully in 2,5 months to cut, as I dont have to be lean right away. Do you think its ineffecient to start with the body recomp first?

    1. No you can do that slowly for sure Ahmed, you just need patience and precision with your tracking. This post on how to track your progress may help you there.

  207. Aaron says:

    Hi Andy!
    How can i determine my maintenance calories? Is it thru BMR calculations or a certain calorie per pound like 15 calories per pound for maintenance? Im 5’5 at 125lbs and 11% bf. When i used BMR, i calculated my maintenance to be at 2100-2200 calories considering that i am light to moderately active. I strength train 3x a week and swim 2x a week on off days. But using the 15 calories per pound, my maintenance equaled to 1875 calories.

    I do not know which tool to use to find my maintenance calories. I read nate miyaki’s book and lyle mcdonald’s blog and they are using calories per pound to determine if one is going to cut(12-13 per pound), recomp, or slow-bulk (16-18 per pound).

    Lastly, what do you think of this article on slow bulking?

    thanks in advance Andy!

    1. Hi Aaron.

      1. The calculations vary because basically it’s always going to be a ‘best guess’.
      Your maintenance calories will be where you are maintaining your weight. There will be a range of calories that you can maintain your weight on depending on your metabolic capacity at the time.

      Water fluctuations will happen if you’re cycling carbs, so make sure you track your weight every day and average it for the week, then compare two or three weeks, then adjust upwards or downwards accordingly.

      2. I haven’t read that article. If you have a specific question though fire away.

  208. chintu says:

    Hey andy!! just a question if you can answer that willl be great. i recently started doingng recomopostion and my macros on rest dday-p228/c122/f54 and wkout day- p228/f77/c245 looks fine to you? boday fat 18 % atm. age-24 and height 176cm. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Chintu, thanks for the comment. Specifics questions regarding the guides I am happy to answer, individual macro calculations I can’t. See the notes in red above. If you have something more specific to ask please feel free.

  209. Dave says:

    Hi Andy,
    I am in the military and I have food cooked in a canteen. How can I count my macros when I can’t weigh or measure anything? Should I guess the weight of meat, measure carbs by the spoon and not count vegetables?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Dave. That’s going to be tough. If you cook for yourself at any point then you can learn to eyeball things, comparing foods with the size of your palm, fist etc., but if you have no experience there then you have no baseline to guess from.
      If the foods are pretty consistent, say on a weekly basis, it could be worth taking in a mini electronic scale and weighing the food and then putting ti into an online nutritional calculator to see the macros. It won’t be perfect but you’ll have an idea. You can then eyeball portions from there next time you eat the same meal.

      1. Dave says:

        Thanks Andy, I have counted macros in the past. I’m assuming most chicken breasts, eggs etc are the same and I can tell if a steak is a 8oz/12oz etc.
        Should I bother to count vegetables?

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          The leafy ones no. The starchy ones (peas, carrots, corn, potatoes), perhaps. If you’re going to be eating more or less the same veg on rotation then you could ignore them and just adjust the main starchy carbs according to how you progress.

  210. Nick says:

    Great article Andy.

    On an off day, my sedentary TDEE would be 1.2. On a workout day, I would guess 1.375 due to the workout. Would you calculate your calories accordingly for each day to be more specific, or would you just say go with one or the other? I’m a bit OCD with this and don’t mind if you recommend it is a better calculation.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Nick. The multiplier needs to be a blanket one across all days. If not then the other option is to adjust calorie intake per day. Which can be beneficial in some cases (athletes for example) but not relevant to most, and certainly not a wise strategy for someone that describes themselves as OCD.

      1. Nick says:

        Great, thanks. So if workouts are the only thing that takes activity above sedentary, would you suggest the 1.2 or the 1.375 level?

        I’m just a little OCD with my calorie tracking, otherwise, I’m pretty normal, lol.

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Choose one, track it, adjust accordingly. We’re making best initial guesses here, not permanent decisions. The reasons are covered here.

  211. For arguments sake. Could I get my full protein-intake with using whey and/or casein. I know you dont recommend it, but would it be possible and if so what are the greatest drawbacks, not counting the obvious hunger that will arise when only eating fat and fiberintake during restday.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      The drawbacks that I know of would be the hunger due to the decrease in satiety. I’m not sure if the fibre intake and other macros mixed in would be enough to slow digestion enough to void any risk of catabolism, for lean individuals, when in a deficit.

      It’s an interesting question though which I have pondered recently when visiting a friend in hospital. His oesophagus was knackered from radiotherapy meaning he had to take all food and water on a drip. Two bags a day, attached to his body for 12 hours at a time each. Not directly relevant or comparable but gave me pause to think.

      1. Jesper says:

        Of course this is not something that someone doing IF / training hard would want to do. But it is quite interesting to discuss. In my country (Sweden) there is a lot of debating in environmental questions regarding meat-consumption and there is also a big debate regarding the animals we eat.TV, radio, newspaper & people talk about lowering meat-consumption, eating more vegetarian. A lot of people do one, two or more vegetarian days per week.Now we can get a lot of protein from different sources then meat and there are soy-based protein-powder. But it will be a struggle on training days, which is why I think you do not take vegetarian/vegan clients without hesitation.

        But generally speaking one could have a low or non-existing meat-consumption and still get their protein covered by powder without putting them self into any risks. One or two veggie-days / week could be quite easy by balance it out with whey and casein. Doing this on training days we could fill out empty stomached with carbs and veggies.

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          If that’s what you want to do then go for it. As I said before, I don’t see any major drawbacks. If however you’re doing it for ethical/environmental reasons you have to remember that whey/casein comes from milk. This is not the place for ethical discussions though.

  212. Helen says:

    Hello Andy!
    I’m sorry if this has been mentioned before, but i can’t seem to find it anywhere. In this article you mostly mention portions about your average male clients. what about females?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Helen. Search this page using control + F “female” / “women”. You will find answers in the comments.

  213. Gina says:

    Hi Andy,

    Should be pretty painless, this question…

    I’m 26F, 160cm, 115lbs and 18% body fat.

    Should I do a cut or a re-comp?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Gina. Please see the article linked to in Step 3.

  214. Brad says:


    First off, thanks for summarizing all of this information and making it easy to approach and digest. My body fat percentage is around 24% per online calculators which seems high to me. , I’m 5′ 9″, 155 lbs, 27 year old man. It says my lean body mass is 117 lbs, which seems incredibly low. I store most of my fat on my lower stomach and love handles. My initial thought was to follow the body recomp guidelines, but maybe a cut would be better to get lean first? Or a modified body recomp in which I increase fat on training days since I seem to be somewhat insulin resistant. I know this might be hard to answer without concrete numbers or pictures, but any advice you could give would be much appreciated.



    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Brad. I’ve written an article covering this to help you decide, “12 Weeks: What you can expect to achieve…”

  215. Amman says:

    Hey Andy,
    Quick question…I know in your article/method you don’t seem to mention anything about consuming most of your calories post workout (on workout days) which Martin touches on in his website.

    I think he gives the option of working out in a fasted state (ideal), as well as having either one or two meals pre-workout, as long as your post workout meal is at least 60% of your total caloric intake.

    Since you don’t seem to mention this in your articles I feel you don’t seem to think it is that significant…or maybe I am totally wrong…I would be interested to know your opinion and stance in this…

    Thank you once again 🙂

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Since you don’t seem to mention this in your articles I feel you don’t seem to think it is that significant…
      Actually this is mentioned in the guide you commented on five minutes ago bud. I’ll be making much clearer thoughts on this topic specifically when “timing” comes around in the “Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance” series.
      General advice for easier living: Don’t assume non-importance just because it is not explicitly written. (Especially when the importance has been learned elsewhere. Signs such as “Caution Hot Liquid” on coffee cup lids make me weep.)

  216. Rajat Kumar says:

    Hi Andy,

    I started doing Leangains approx 2 months ago. Though I have been in cut mode all along, I have not seen significant results – I’ve lost about 5 lbs from caloric deficit I assume. My goal is to have a more lean look and maintain it. I’m 5’10” 208 lbs and have calculated the following for myself and follow it pretty closely: 3500 cals on WO days; 2100 on NWO days based on the imperial calculation method. I’m not a 100% on the ratios but typically, for ex on a WO day, I’ll do 250 g of protein/ 220 g carbs/ 75 g fat. I try and hit the same if not more protein on NWO day, <50 g carbs, 90 g fat – and so I'm definitely in a deficit. I'm taking fish oil, multivit, protein digest enzyme, bcaas, lean xtreme + red acid reborn(just started – no Alphaburn in sight). I'm probably approx 15% BF. My workouts are 3 day RPT focused on the big 3 movements. Can you make recommendations on what I can and should change? THanks foryour time.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Rajat, appreciate the comment and that you’ve been finding the site helpful, I don’t make such specific recommendations here in the comments though. Keep reading through the guides and you should find your answers.

  217. Steven says:

    Hi Andy, happy new year!

    I am a male, 24 years old. H:189cm, W:108

    I have counted my macro. P:220 F:60 C:400 on the training days,
    And P:220 F:90 C:30 on the rest day.
    The problem is i couldnt eat that much of meat everyday.
    How can I hit my macro target? Since supplements arent that good, right?
    Any suggestion perhaps?

    Lot of thanks,

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Steven. Protein powder is a cheap and effective way to hit your protein targets for the day, especially useful if you feel too full. As a general rule of thumb, don’t go over 50% of your protein target from powder. Also, don’t forget other protein sources, dairy, fish, etc.

      1. Aa says:

        Thanks Andy!

      2. Steven says:

        Thanks for the reply Andy,
        One more thing I would like to ask.
        How about the carbs on training days?
        To hit the carbs precisely I need to consume approximately 560 grams of rice per day. And for me, that amount of rice is too much to eat.

        So please tell me, what is the best way for me to hit the 400 grams of carbs on training days without feeling too full?

        Thanks again,

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Covered in the FAQ bud.

  218. […] Eat well. Make sure you’re getting sufficient calories and protein (here’s a great link that breaks down what you should be consuming on training and non-training…). […]

  219. tom says:

    Hi Andy,
    I’ve seen the pics of a mate of mine doing your program and he’s looking freaking strong and on the way to ripped, well done. I’m keen to come on board but working up to it, Ive had Ross River virus and just getting over the arthritis and tendinitis. I’m slowly building up strength doing the program at very light weights with no pain with heaps of mobility exercises thrown in,

    I’m keen to speed this up, I eat very low inflammatory food and take fish oil and magnesium.

    There is just so much info on tendinitis supplements its hard to know what else to take. If you have any advice on supplements or programs it would be greatly appreciated,


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Tim, thanks for the comment. Glad you’re finding the site helpful. Try’s supplements guide or ask your doctor, I’m afraid this isn’t my field.

  220. Matt says:

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve been training with weights for years (just got off a 12 week 5×5 program) and want to do a 5 day split instead of the 3 day you suggest. I want to do a ‘cut’. How would you suggest I do my daily calories while doing a cut and on a 5-day workout?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      As you said, I wouldn’t suggest that in the first place so I wouldn’t. I could of course, but I won’t. Misses the point.

  221. Faisal says:

    Hi Andy,

    Loving all the education you have provided here. I was using online calculations for last couple of weeks but this guide has given me the confidence to ‘try’ and work out my own macro numbers. Thank you for your time and efforts to educate so many.

    I am unclear on how the Fat intake will be worked out, any more articles / guidelines in that area please?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Faisal. There is room for leeway and preference when it comes to fats and carbs bud, hence no specific number.

      1. Faisal says:

        Thanks Andy.

  222. Simon B says:

    Hey Andy/all,

    Feeling awesome eating this way but I’m having a bit of trouble jamming so much protein into my face; not normally a problem but protein shakes using whey isolate seem to give me crazy heartburn for the first time in my whole life.

    I don’t have any food allergies and am totally milk tolerant. Anyone ever have this happen before? Does it go away after a while or do I just have to spread one serve over hours and hours?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Haven’t heard of this before bud. Allergy? New ones can happen, perhaps check it out.

  223. Josh says:

    I know Martin recommends eating the bulk of your carbs PWO. But I workout at 4-5 pm. So does that mean I”m going to have to down say 170-200 carbs in my car at 5:00? Maybe I should go to a later WOD.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Josh, a common misconception. PWO in this context means the time period post training, before bed.

  224. Brian says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for putting together such an awesome website!

    I have a question regarding training day and rest day calories. I am a rock climber and I train 5-6 days a week and this winter I would like to give IF a shot. A typical week may go something like this:

    Day 1: Climb in the gym (strenuous)
    Day 2: Antagonist training (chest/triceps)
    Day 3: Core Strength/Shoulders
    Day 4: Rest Day
    Day 5: Finger Strength/Pull Strength (Back/Biceps)
    Day 6: Antagonist training
    Day 7: Climb in the gym (strenuous)

    Being a climber, I would like to be lean while maintaining and improving my strength. I would like to lose about 10 pounds. First, do you think a “cutting” program would be the right choice? Second, should I eat as if every day that I train and workout is a T-day or should my T-days be reserved for the days that I do strenuous training (i.e. climb in the gym)? I was planning to use the moderate-exercise multiplier but maybe I should use the light-exercise multiplier. Thoughts?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Brian, you’ll need to modify the standard set up above. Read carefully and connect the dots cause I’m not doing it for you:
      1. The most important thing for you is to maintain a weekly calorie deficit.
      2. The day you rest, you can have relatively less intake.
      3. The hardest days should have the most intake.
      4. The protein can be the same on all days.
      5. The fat should not go below the advised 0.4g/lbLBM average (across all days for your week).

      1. Brian says:

        Thanks, Andy! I think I got it. So my hardest days should have the most intake (+10%), my purely rest days should have the lowest intake (-30%), and the other days could be somewhere between (-10% to +0%). The percentages are just an example, but something similar would still keep me in a calorie deficit, correct?

        Regarding fat intake, the same rule applies, right? Least amount of fat on training days and more fat on rest days?

        Thanks again!

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Correct. For the fat you might just want to have it pretty much the same intake across all days, purely because by having multiple sets of macro targets you increase the difficulty of execution.

  225. Chris K says:

    Hey Andy,

    I’ve read, and re-read your post, and the comments, but I feel I might be missing a pretty important detail. I’ve calculated my BMR using the Harris-Benedict formula, and when adjusting for activity. It puts me roughly at ~3000kCal. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat, but I don’t know if I can put all of that in my tank. I have added the body recomp (or cut) percentages into the equation as well and it kicks the TDay number up even higher. Am I doing something wrong?

    Age 26
    Weight 150lbs
    Height 5’6
    Activity (moderate 3-5 days a week)


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Chris. The formulas are long standing and they work. If you’ve followed the instructions there then you’ll be right. Clearly it depends on the contest of starting point, a cut or bulk.

  226. gavin says:

    “Those carrying more body fat will do better with a higher fat intake on training days than leaner individuals. This is to do with insulin sensitivity, which increases when you get leaner.”

    Does this essentially mean its possible for someone not as lean to eat excess fat on training days without the fat gain? I thought that any dietary fat on this day will be stored due to being in a surplus.

    I ask because using your guide im eating over 450g carbs each training day and get very bloated and i see people a lot of heavier and leaner than me eating way less carbs!



    1. Andy Morgan says:

      If you’re cutting and consider yourself of fairly high body fat, unless you’re doing a lot of other activity besides the standard gym work 450g is too high.

      1. gavin says:

        Ok, thanks. I only do one day of 5aside on top but its not very intense…. so assuming its a training day and i have to eat 3200kcal (+20%) and im around 15% bf then its possibly better to have 200p/315c/120f as apposed to +400g with <100g fat?

  227. Colt says:


    I’m still a little hazy as to what the “body recomp” is primarily for. I cant figure out if it is tailored to gain muscle or lose fat. Im sitting at about 12%bf right now.

    Any clarification would be greatly appreciated


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Have a look at this post bud.

  228. David Slack says:

    Hi Andy,

    Would you still suggest an Intermittent fasting approach when aiming to build muscle on a slow bulk, or is the IF mainly for fat loss? Its just i seem to remember reading that its optimal to be having a frequent intake of protein every few hours when aiming to build muscle instead of fasting for long periods. Also, I’m currently doing IF with carb backloading and often have a big meal before bed with carbs as it satisfies me and helps me sleep. But iv heard that having carbs before sleep will prevent growth hormone production because of the raised insulin caused by eating carbs. So it would hinder muscle growth while sleeping. Whats your thoughts? Cheers mate


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Dave, thanks for the question. The IF will still work well, the frequency of meals depends on you. One thing that can happen at the extreme end of things is that people struggle to get in enough calories in the 8 hour window. In that case, extend it. All the same principles apply. If you’re coming off a cut you’ll want to make gradual changes upwards though so as not to put the fat back on too quickly.

      But iv[sic] heard that having carbs before sleep will prevent growth hormone production because of the raised insulin caused by eating carbs.
      A myth.
      …its optimal to be having a frequent intake of protein every few hours when aiming to build muscle instead
      A myth. Total calories and then total macros for the day is the most important thing.

      1. David Slack says:

        Thanks Andy thats great! Whats your opinion on weight training volume/ style when changing from a cut to a mass gaining phase. During the cut iv been using mainly strength training in RPT style using the main compound lifts and a fairly low volume of sets per workout. Should i keep this the same or would you suggest increasing sets per workout or adding in any higher rep training to add more mass?

        Thanks again


        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Hi Dave, good question. I don’t believe in making changes for the sake of it. Many people look to switch up their training when they bulk but miss the obvious – when starting to move into a bulk the strength gains and growth will come naturally without messing with things. I’m not against more volume, but believe the main lifts and their progression should be prioritised. More on accessory/supplementary lifts in the FAQ.

  229. Katrina says:

    Andy, I’m curious – I’m a girl and very close to seeing some good definition in my abs, which is how I found your site, trying to refine my nutrition lead me to you. The site seems geared for men, am I okay to follow this or will I just bulk up like crazy or will I be simply lean out?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Katrina. Whether you gain muscle or lose fat will depend on whether you have a net calorie surplus or deficit (i.e. chase a bulk or a cut). The site seems geared towards men just I’m a man and I write how I think, that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful though, plenty of women are.

  230. Carlo says:

    How fast is the rate of fat loss when cutting (training days: 3x/ week)? I’ve noticed it’s less than 0.5lbs for me. Isn’t that too slow?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Carlo, rates of fat loss depend on the deficit, and generally the leaner you get, the less you can lose without muscle catabolism (loss). Suggestions on safe rates of loss in the article, How and When To Manipulate Your Macros.

  231. Vin says:

    Hi Andy,

    Great site and information!

    I’m 32 years old, 5’11” and around 181. I’d guess my fat percentage is around 16-18%. I feel I’m getting borderline skinny fat. Haven’t worked out with weights lately do to nagging sternum pain and basically doing cardio a few days a week. I’ve also kept my calories very low. I’d like to start fresh on the lean gains system. Lean down before adding a little size. I’d say I’m fairly close to your before pic of your 7 week transformation example. Based on my BMR, the calculations for my carbohydrate intake on training days should be around 300g (30g or so rest day). That’s about 5 cups of cooked rice or 4 large potatoes. Is that right?? From the perspective of a self admitted carbophobe (yet love them), I will not get fatter consuming that amount of carbs/food a day?? I can put away food and also have no problem cutting back when needed. Perhaps this is the reason for my stalled fat loss. Too low and restricted. I have noticed I can be a little carb sensitive to weight gain though. I guess I’m just looking to hear from you that I won’t just get fat. Final note, with work and schedule I can’t workout fasted. It would have to be after my first meal. (Plan on doing 2 meals a day, small first little carbs, much larger second, bulk of carbs).

    Thanks for your time!

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Vin, thanks for the comment. I won’t comment on your macros calculation (see sentences in red) but if you’re asking whether 300g of carbs can see like a lot, then yes, that’s a common reaction. If you have calculated correctly then you will not get fat.

      The feeling of fullness can be a good guide to our hunger, however for someone that has switched from a more frequent meal approach to a less frequent one there is an adjustment period that needs to take place. Also, for many people that start a diet they find themselves eating less processed foods, which tend to be less calorie dense, so this can throw the “going by hunger” approach off balance.

      1. Vin says:

        Appreciate the response Andy! Respect you not commenting on the macros, it is more the shock of the 300g number that I wanted your input on. I do believe the calculation is correct based on using the available tools. I don’t follow a frequent meal plan, nor do I eat processed food, I actually believe I may be under eating after going over the macro calculation. Again thanks for the response and glad to know the numbers make sense. Cheers!

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Sure no worries. Track your progress, if things don’t go as planned then reduce in a few weeks. Give yourself 3 weeks minimum though.

  232. Gregor says:

    Hi Andy,

    firstly thanks for great tutorials about the nutrition and training. 🙂

    I am 28 years old, 177cm in height and around 69kg. I would guess my fat percentage is around 15%.
    I recently started with the lean gains and I struggle to achieve the needed carbohydrate and protein intake on training days and protein intake on non-training days. Based on the calculations, my carbohydrate intake on training days should be around 300g and protein intake around 150g.
    I do the 16/8h and start eating at around noon. Then I have the training around 3:30pm and eat the lunch at 5pm. I end eating at 8pm.
    I just cannot achieve my macronutrient goals, which has also shown on the scale where I lost around 0,3kg in 10days. I am forcing myself with eating, but I cannot eat enough in my eating window.
    Do you recommend gradually increasing the intake by overfeeding or should I buy a quality whey powder or flap-jacks?



    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Gregor, consider more calorie dense foods if you struggle to reach your macros. Whey is a great way to hit your protein numbers, if you like flap jacks, then please feel free to eat those to help you hit your carb numbers. If you’ve switched from smaller meals throughout the day then it’s normal to feel full. It’ll take your stomach a week or two to adjust.

  233. John says:

    Hi Andy its been a while, I’m currently in Philippines responding to the Humanitarian disaster, heating healthy is difficult as you can imagine and keeping fit even more so, I have to forget the 16/8 rule for the next few months for obvious reasons and carbs will probably be the staple when I can get them.
    Any advice on what I can do fitness wise, I’ll be living it rough so chinups, squats and deadlifts are out.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      John, good to hear from you. The scenes on the news remind me of the tsunami aftermath up in Sendai here.
      Honestly, you’re going to be run off your feet and have far more important things on your mind. As you said, you’ll be living it rough. Use the time as a break. Taking breaks from training isn’t a bad thing at all, so just please feel free to focus your energies into your work.

      Good luck with your mission John. Thoughts with you.

  234. Jase says:

    Hi Andy, LOVE your site! I’m wondering if you can help me out with something?

    I’ve just started with the LeanGains IF approach and was wondering if instead of doing a 20+/20- on training and rest days i can do a 10+/20-? So will sort of be like a recomp? Also I’m training 4 days/week instead of 3. I’m a fairly intermediate lifter and have been training heavy for 2 years….how do you think i will go? Also do you think cheat days can be incorporated/alcohol days?

    Thank you so much


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Jase. Don’t sweat the numbers, and don’t fiddle and try improving on things that aren’t broken. Make a decision then track and adjust as per the guides on the site.
      Alcohol guide, adjustments, tracking… it’s all here in the menu.

      1. Jase says:

        Thanks man 🙂

  235. lveckMatt says:

    Also how much am I supposed to consume after my training. I am doing the fasted training so consuming the largest meal right after lifting. 70% of my daily intake? Can not seem to find an answer.

  236. lveckMatt says:

    I just figured my basic numbers out for a cut. But I do not know what types of carbs to eat each for my two meals. Complex? Brow Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, wheat pasta? Organic Flax seed bread? And So on. And what kinds of fats each day? Almonds, peanut butter, coconut oil, flax seed oil? I just need some ideas of what they should be consisting of so I can pick them and eat them everyday to reach my numbers. Train days are P=185 F=50 C=334. Rest Days P=185 F=75 C=69

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Matt, doesn’t matter. More on this in the FAQ about carb sources. A 50 50 split will work fine for lunch and dinner with fasted training.

  237. Cayleigh Elise says:

    I just have one question–on the calculating fat macros, you mention that the average male is 40-60g of fat on training days and 60-80g on rest days. Does the same apply to females?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Cayleigh. Start with 0.45-0.5g of fat per pound of lean body mass as a base line as an average.

  238. Is there any reason protein is kept higher with Leangains vs other training / nutrition protocols?

    The only answer I can find is ‘satiety’ which I don’t have a problem with when I eat .82g protein per lb of body weight. I’d much rather maximize my carb intake for energy output in the gym.

    Nearly all studies I have looked up suggest .82g per lb of total body weight are way more than enough for lean mass preservation on a cut, even at the highest intensities or very low body fat %’s, yet I see Leangains people all the time with 200-250g of protein on both days (bulk or cut) and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Is there any reason protein is kept higher with Leangains vs other training / nutrition protocols?
      Well that really depends in what circle you walk in. Protein has the additional benefit of keeping your fuller and having a higher TEF. You’ve been asking a lot of questions recently Jacob here and on the Facebook page, which is cool, but I worry that you’re sweating details rather then putting things into action first.
      If it ain’t broken…

      1. Very true and I appreciate the feedback. I have been known to sweat the small stuff lol. I’ll just run with this and track progress, making adjustments accordingly.

        Thanks man.

  239. Anik says:

    Hey Andy,

    Awesome site! Did a 12-week cut usin your site and about to start a slow-bulk hopin to gain some muscle to my frame.

    One question on fat intake: you say your clients average 40-65g T-days, 65-90 g R-days on a CUT. Any general rules on a bulk? I’m very afraid that I’ll lose all the effort I put in over the past 3 months especially because I was skinny-fat to begin with.


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Anik. There are no guidelines for a bulk because there will be gradual increases over time.

  240. Jen says:

    Couple questions:
    1) What is the best way to measure body fat percentage?
    I am a 28 y/o female, 5’2″, 120lb. I recently had a fat caliper measurement and I was at 32% vs. an electronic reading (scale) that showed 30%. I find both a bit high as I am fairly petite and I usually wear size small or XS in clothes.

    Thus, I can’t even accurately find my BMR.
    -Harris-Benedict formula gives me 1,341 cal
    -Katch-McArdle gives me 1190 (or less!) calories a day (at both the 30% and the 32% b.f). This seems very low as I’ve often heard 1200 calories is the minimum needed to survive

    2) Any tips on how to sneak in more protein?
    I’ve been tracking my calories for the past three months and my October macros average is as follows:
    Average Carbs 109 g
    Avg Fat 24 g
    Avg Prot 31 g
    Avg Calories 1788
    I obviously need to increase my overall protein intake (which is very hard as a former vegetarian)

    Background: have lost 8lb in last 3 months. Eating clean about 80% of the week. Variety of exercise 5 times/week 5 hours total (1hr cardio and 4 hr various: heavy weights, circuit, pilates/yoga). looking to cut

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Jen.
      1. Nothing you have available to you is going to be terribly accurate. See my article, “Is It Better To Forget About Body Fat Percentage?
      The way I do it is by pictures and experience. I will have a guide up but I can understand how that’s not going to be helpful to you now. So, go with the average of your BIA machine values and take 7% off of the measurement. This will cause you to set calories and protein higher. Track your progress and then adjust downwards if necessary. Better to start too high then too low for muscle sparing reasons.

      2. Eat more meat. Drink protein shakes. Btw, you either made a typo or calculated wrong cause those macros are way under 1788kCal.

      As for your background, you got yourself into the typical mess that people often do, especially women, of adding more shit to the expenditure side of the energy equation and ignoring or neglecting due diligence of the consumption. Follow the plan as outlined. Start here.

      Give it a good go. If that doesn’t work then you may well have dieted yourself into the ground and need to diet your way back up first. Worry about that later though or you’ll second guess things before trying. Check out Leigh Peele’s book Starve Mode.

      1. Jen says:

        Thanks for all that info Andy.

        I’m using livestrong to track my food but perhaps not all the food listed has proper macros info and that’s maybe what is causing my figures to be off. In the end, I think it gave me a good understanding of my eating habits but it is way too tedious to continue tracking every day. I think I was probably eating very little calories when I was vegetarian (spent 20+ years vegetarian) and that is why I was “skinny fat”. The weight gain was probably due to improper control once I gave up that life style (i know I didn’t gain a lot but even 5lb of fat gain on someone who is only 5’2″ with small frame is quite noticeable)

        I’ll re-work my macros calc and go from there. Lots of reading to catch up on but the plan seems to fit my lifestyle better so I’m confident I can make it work.

        -All the best,

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Good luck

  241. Chris Sanders says:

    Hello Andy , thanks for great info ! Should one factor in calories burned at work into tdee ? I notice no mention of work cals in tdee calculators . For example I work at a Ferry Terminal and walk daily , in steel toe boots , at a low to brisk to sometimes jogging pace . Have worn a pedometer and recorded distances ranging from 10km – 12 km and sometimes more on busy days, plus walking up stairs several times a day as well . Have calculated 60 cals per km , so I am burning 500-1200 cals at work . Also have you considered mentioning work calories in your tdee info as not everyone has a sedentary job . Thanks and looking forward to trying body recomp but would be good to know about work cal expenditure before calculating tdee .

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Chris.
      You can either choose to increase your activity multiplier, or a set increase in carbs on a per day basis. The former I’d recommend for someone with a regular work week, the latter for a part time employee or irregular work.

  242. Gregg says:

    Hi Andy I’m a bit confused as to how to calculate my macros- my maths is not my strong point!
    I’ve worked out that my BMR calories + activity level is 2150cals. But how do I get the subsequent grams of Protein Fat and Carbs from this?
    Sorry I know this is probably a stupid question.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Gregg. Just click steps 2-5 bud, that should expand them. If it’s the explanation that’s difficult then this guide by Eric Helms is well worth watching.

  243. Andy, I know you can’t give a ‘definitive’ answer on this since everyone is different, as are their activity levels.

    But in ‘general’ when finding an activity multiplier for your ‘sedentary’ clients who do as you recommend and lift on M-W-F (big 3 RPT or Split RPT) is there a recommended multiplier that tends to pop up more frequently than others?

    I’ve done some serious digging online and all I could find on Leangains multiplier info was a reddit thread that said go between ‘sedentary’ and ‘lightly active’ (1.2-1.375) since training is abbreviated.

    Also, you mention on a cut to go with +10/-30~35. Is -35 more or less recommended for obese people, not as much for leaner people with only like 10-15lbs to lose?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Jacob. In this case as per the guide sedentary job but with gym is defined as a 1.3 multiplier. Reddit has a lot of people that sweat the minor details forgetting the larger principles – you make your best guess initially, then adjust from there.

  244. Dean Shah says:


    On a cut (not a lifting newbie), should we always be continually gaining strength in the gym or do we hit a point where we just maintain the same amount of weights until we hit the desired body fat level?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Dean, have a look at the FAQ. I’ve got you covered there.

  245. Ben Hirsch says:

    Thought I had this all figured out and then realised I’m miles off 🙁
    This sort of stuff really stresses me to work out and know it’s right.

    Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out when we talk as I was ending up with stupid figures!

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Well yes, that’s what I do Ben.
      Thanks for the application and speak soon!

  246. Sam H says:

    I’ve just started looking into IF/Leangains methodology to help me shift stubborn bodyfat. I’ve been training fairly regularly for the last 18 months and have shrunk from 100kg to 88kg and gained a fair amount of strength, though I would say my body type still tends towards ‘skinny fat’ currently. I’m trying to get my macros right, which seems in itself to be a dark art.

    Here’s my problem: I have a desk job 9-5, I drive or catch a train to work and I spend my evenings studying so I class myself as ‘Sedentary’, even though I go to the gym 4-5 times a week for fairly intensive exercise (weights and interval training). This puts my BMR at 1600 and my daily calorie expenditure at about 2000.

    So looking to follow a cut protocol initially, LG says i should be +10%/-30% on T-days and R-days respectively. But is this NET cals, i.e after accounting for 300-450 kcal burnt during exercise, or should I stick to 2200/1400 cals and just burn whatever I burn on top?

    FYI I’m supplementing w/ vegan protein, creatine, BCAAs and fish oil around my training plus multivits and minerals.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Sam, ignore calories burned during exercise.
      What are your current lifting stats in the main compound movements?

  247. Jenn says:

    Fantastic website full of extremely beneficial information! I can’t wait to get started with this program!

    I have a question in regards to determining my activity levels. When you stated “Use of the simplified rules tend to underestimate things by 20~30%. So if you are then try taking x0.2-0.3 off.”

    Does that mean, I take my results from my activity multipler i.e. Lightly active [desk job but I workout 3-4 times a week] = 1500 BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) = 2063, then multiply 2063 by either .2 or .3 to account for underestimation?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Jen. Though your maths is wrong, I know what you mean and the answer is yes. I hoped that by ignoring your comment on the 12th that you’d re-read what you had written and realise this.
      Hint: 1000 multiplied by .2 is 200.

  248. Adrian says:


    I’m around 10% BF and looking to do a cut, but need to keep my training volume a bit higher than the 3-day split program that you and Martin recommend. My week looks something like this:

    Mon – Light cardio (i.e. active recovery)
    Tue – Strength w/RPT
    Wed – Sprints & bodweight
    Thur – Strength w/RPT
    Fri – Rest Day
    Sat – Strength w/RPT
    Sun – Metcon

    My first question – I realize that rest days are an important component of your cutting plan, so is this even feasible? Second, if you think I can make it work, how would you suggest I manipulate my macros on the cardio, sprints, and metcon days? Appreciate the help!

    Thanks. Adrian

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Adrian. If you’re truly around 10% and looking to cut then this is no longer about athletic or weight class goals, it’s purely about physique and the quest for low body far. This being the case it makes sense for you to focus on that solely. Getting to extremely low levels of body fat is tough enough, you want to do it with the minimum training possible for recovery reasons. Drop the Metcon and sprints.

      Also see, STRENGTH vs ENDURANCE: How does training for one affect the other?, for further info.

      1. Adrian says:


        I completely understand that ideally training should be kept to a minimum. And you are right that my desire to get down to around 7% is purely about physic. I’ve actually been following the 3-day split program for about three months now and have gotten leaner, although probably only by a percentage point or two. But the truth is, I like training more than three days a week and I have lost some of my conditioning. I know I can’t go back to my old program of 5-6 hard days of training, but I would like to recoup a little of the metabolic conditioning that I’ve lost (I’m not talking long endurance, but more CrossFit-type stuff). I understand that this will impact recovery a bit and will most likely slow my progress, but I feel the trade-off is worth it.

        What I don’t want to do is completely screw up the nutrition – I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my macros for strength and rest days, but just don’t know how to manipulate them for a short sprint or bodyweight workout. Do I increase fat, carbs, or both? And by how much? My thought was to keep protein and fat the same as what it would be on a strength training day, but drop my carbs down so my total calories for the day are somewhere between a rest day and a maintenance day. In other words, if I’m at -30% for a rest day, and +10% for a strength day, maybe go to around -15% for a sprint or bodywieght day.

        Anyway, just hoping you can provide some guidance, even though it’s not what you advocate. Thanks for the help. -Adrian

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Conditioning is lost and gain quickly, because it comes from chemical adaptations rather then structural changes. As it is not a necessity I’d recommend that you pick up the conditioning work after your cut to shreds. I appreciate that is not what you wish to hear but that’s what needs to be said in your situation.

          Though of course I acknowledge there is a way of doing it your way, that’s beside the point.

          Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be rude or awkward here. I appreciate, and am flattered that you’ve taken the time to seek me out for comment on this but I just want to clarify:
          Even if you were a potential client I’d say the same. Goals dictate the training. A coach needs to have the balls to say what they think best for the client – even though they know it risks losing that potential custom.

  249. Jenn says:

    Fantastic website full of extremely beneficial information! I can’t wait to get started with this program!

    I have a question in regards to determining my activity levels. When you stated “Use of the simplified rules tend to underestimate things by 20~30%. So if you are then try taking x0.2-0.3 off.”

    Does that mean, I take my results from my activity multipler i.e. Lightly active [desk job but I workout 3-4 times a week] = 1500 BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) = 2063, then multiply 2063 by either .2 or .3 to account for underestimation?

  250. Chelsea says:

    Hey, thanks so much for all this info. I’m still a bit lost on fat intake though.
    There’s guidelines for men but not women? Any suggestions?
    Thanks, chels

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Chelsea. Same general principles apply.

      1. Ashlie says:

        I had the same question Chelsea had and I found your response to be vague.

        Men usually have a lot more muscle mass than women so i find it hard to believe we can use the same numbers to calculate what our macro needs are.

        That being said would you mind looking at the numbers I came up with based on all the calculations you have? I would much appreciate it. I can check and adjust as you suggest from the start i just want to make sure im at least in the right ball park for the start!

        Age: 28
        Height: 5’5″
        Weight: 151
        Activity Level: Desk Job, Weight train 3 days a week, cardio the other 3 days a week.

        BMR Calculation 655+664.4+303.6-13.16 = 1619.84
        Calorie Calculation: (Used Moderate Exercise Multiplier 1.55) 1619*1.55 = 2509.45kCals

        Protein: 1g/lb x 151lb = 151g

        Fat: TDay: 50g RDay: 70g (picked a middle number in your range for the men)

        TDay: 2500-604-450 =1446/4 = 361.5g
        RDay: 1800-604-630 = 566/4 = 141.5g

        Is this a good place to start based on the info i’ve given you?

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Men usually have a lot more muscle mass than women so i find it hard to believe we can use the same numbers to calculate what our macro needs are.

          Hi Ashlie. You’ll notice Harris-Bennedict equation that you have used is different for men and women. Take a look at that BMR calculation I have recommended, the Katch-McArdle, this is based on lean body mass.

          Is this a good place to start based on the info i’ve given you?
          Please see the sentences in red above.

          Lastly, don’t seek out or assume complication. In 90% of cases there isn’t. My seemingly vague seeming answer was trying to be helpful.

  251. Jakeson says:

    Hi Andy! Hope all is well in your world.

    I’m curious,I recently bought some green tea capsules and other supplements for general health. If I was to take these first thing in the morning, hours before I eat, would it count as breaking my fast??

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      If there aren’t calories in there then you’re fine. Efficacy is altogether another question. Consider having a look on

  252. graham says:

    Hi Andy

    for higher body-fat people over 20% body-fat, do we need to cycle fat intake as well? you say keep it higher on training days due to insulin response, so with fat higher on non training days, is it ok to keep the same within calorie range and therefore only cycling carb intake?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      I’ve mentioned above that those carrying more fat will likely want to go with less carbs, these will need to be exchanged with fats. The net result for some people may be little difference in fat intake on their rest and training days.

      1. graham says:

        thanks Andy, I suppose its all about monitoring, I never realised how complex the human body is. So I will see how I do on more fats, less carbs on training days and go from there.

  253. Hey Andy, can I just ask with regards to your macros, if you go over or under on your carbs and fat by say 10g either way is that ok? I know its not ideal but wanted to get some clarification on this and how regimented these allowances are.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Try and shoot for 90% adherence and you’ll be fine. In theory it will all even out. Any higher and if things don’t go to plan you’ll start second guessing whether adherence was the cause or other. I never insist on perfection from a client, I discourage it in fact.

  254. Haye says:

    Hi Andy! I’ve been following the cutting method using IF now for about three months, it is very effective, thanks a lot for the information! Now i want to start a slow bulk using the caclulations on this page. The only thing for me that is unlcear is the fact that my macro’s tell me that i need to eat:

    150 grams protein
    560 grams carbohydrates
    50 grams of fat

    in order for me to hit my (trainingday) 3100 kcal goal. Are these values normal to you for a male, 23 years old, 74kg @ 13% bodyfat, 179cm height? or am i miscalculating something, the amount of carbs actually scare me a lot!

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Haye thanks for the comment.
      Start by building your calories up slowly from the level you are at currently, rather than increasing them suddenly. This is a better way to do things as you’ll be able to stay leaner this way. Start with a 5% increase in overall calories perhaps, track and then adjust upwards based on progress. It’s the opposite of what I said in the article, How and When To Manipulate Your Macros. Hope that helps.

  255. Jakeson says:

    Hi Andy – long time reader of the site!

    I have a question. I’m roughly simila bodyfat to you in this before pic (Infact, the relaxed looks almost identical to myself relaxed, albeit I have slightly less mass).

    Thing is I know I should be cutting but am somewhat terrified and have been putting it off in fear of losing my hard earned mass I’ve worked for the past 3 years!

    Any advice?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Keep your protein high (as suggested above), take it slowly and you’ll be fine bud.

  256. Alberto says:

    Hi Andy,

    it’s been around 6 weeks since i got into leangains dieting, and have some results for sure even though my weight did not change that much. I dediced to make small changes by lowering total weekly calories by 8-10% (by cutting carbs in Tdays and fats in Rdays, small change though).

    After a couple of weeks my weight is lower (-1kg give or take) but my overall appereance has not improved, i still got that stubborn fat on my low abs and lower back, while at the same time i see myself smaller, more flat, especially on my weakest points like chest.

    I was wondering how i could proceed, if ishould keep decreasing calories (with the riks of being even more flat probably) or if raising them a bit or even hit my body with something like a break or surplus for a week or so and then get back dieting with low cals… Have you got any suggestion?

    Thanks so much man in anticipating

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Alberto. It’s likely that you just need to be patient. For tips on tweaking, the article How and When To Manipulate Your Macros should help.

  257. Drew says:

    I have a question about activity multipler. I’ve been using 1.3 roughly for 10 months and lost around 30 lbs. I do the “big 3” routine 3x a week and hill sprints 2-3 days a week. Should I bump up to 1.55 or has my body adapted to the lower calorie amount. I’m frustrated that I can’t lose that last 5-10 lbs to get a six pack. I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels. I feel like I’ve lost muscle as well. I’m ready to be lean and put some muscle back on.

  258. Kevin says:

    Hey Andy, about cutting… im looking for a good deficit to start.. im around 20~25% BF and not weak body. Is it -10/-30 good for it or its too much and i should start with a smaller deficit? another thing, in one of your posts you said to keep at least 0,4g/pound of fat as minimal… what about carbs?? any minimal? Thanks in advance!

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Don’t break from the plan above for now Kevin. Your carbs will make up the energy balance.

  259. rugbyryan says:

    Andy, I first read the ‘how to calculate leangains macros article and didnt actually realise that you were meant to fast in the morning. Can I ask, is this essential as I find it alright to eat my correct macros on rest days even with a small breakfast?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      The most important part of the whole thing is getting the right macros in for the day, not the fasting element. Have a read of this post.

  260. Donovan says:

    Hey Andy, well done on the website, very informative even for someone like myself that has been training for over 10 years. Just a quick question. Ive just finished a mini bulk, and I’m sitting at around 95kg at 5’11 and about 12%. Bf. so I’m transitioning to a cut now. I know I will have to steadily drop my macro & calories on rest days as my weight drops. What I want to know is on training days do you slowly drop the maintenance + 10% calories as your weight lowers? Or do you just leave training days the same?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Donovan, glad you’ve been finding the site useful.
      On training days do you slowly drop the maintenance + 10% calories as your weight lowers?
      If you have already been counting your macros up until now, then don’t make a fresh calculation, just adjust downwards from the baseline you have.

  261. Aleksey says:

    Hello from Russia)

    I decided to try this system of eating

    My height 180, weight 85 and I am 29 years old
    I guess my “Body Categories” is “Muscled, few pounds to lose.”

    from calculator BMR is 1933 kcal and TFEE is 2320 kcal

    I have choosed “Body recomposition” -20% / +20%
    in training day 2784 kcal
    in day of rest 1856 kcal

    I sit on this system 2 weeks, but my weight is not reduced, and turnover increases (
    even waist size has not decreased

    Thx, for help

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Aleksey, thanks for the comment but please see the sentences in red.

  262. Roman says:

    Early on you mention that the average male on a cut would typically have a fat intake of 40-65g on a training day and up to 95g on a rest day; what then would that fat number be for a training and rest day respectively for the individual on a slow bulk? It stands to reason that of course carb intake is going to be higher, but the question of fat intake has me stumped.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      You’re going to increase these things gradually, based on how your progress. That is going to change over time due to rising caloric needs. More detail here.

  263. rugbyryan says:

    Hi Andy,

    I have been using this diet now for about 8 weeks. It is going pretty well, seen a few solid gains (im cutting) with a noticeable reduction in BF. Limited results in the past 3/4 weeks but that is probably down to me playing around with the figures and struggling to keep within my macros on sundays.

    There were a few quick questions which I would really appreciate your feedback on.

    1.) On a train day I will hit the gym hard and eat hard too. The following day I will ache bad! Should I still keep carbs down on this rest day? I feel that I should be eating more just because my body is so sore. I am hoping that the high protein intake will prevent any muscle lose through lack of recovery.

    2.) This system definitely works and I understand 90% of the reasoning behind why. It is incredibly interesting, having been empowered by your knowledge I have no idea why I used to just eat any and everything on a weights day, including copious amounts of fat from red meats (which I now try to keep as a rest day treat). Something that I am keen to understand (and don’t feel obliged to explain), why does this system avoid ‘starvation mode’. When looking to reduce fat, I have previously reduced calorie intake slowly to avoid the body going into a panic and thus storing as much fat as possible. Does this avoid such an event due to the low carb rest day typically only lasting one or two days before the heavy influx of carbs from a training day? Or is it because we are keeping fat high on a rest day?

    Many thanks,


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Ryan, thanks for the questions.
      1. Soreness is not the goal. Preservation if muscle mass is. The two most obvious possibilities:
      a) You aren’t eating enough to recover.
      b) Your training volume is too high.
      The former is easily determined because you will be losing weight too fast.
      2. By starvation mode you’re actually referring to metabolic adaptation, which is a gradual thing rather than an on/off switch. It is not entirely avoidable, but cycling carbs can help. Some theory in the article, Why is Leangains So Effective, and more on the subject of metabolic adaptation in, here.

      1. rugbyryan says:

        With regards to 1. I think you are right, I have just read more about your training advice, I had been doing the diet in isolation. My training had consisted on 3 x a week on specific body parts. I will switch this up to total body. I have also only recently been able to train heavy again following shoulder surgery 6 months back, the increased weight would again lead to soreness.

        RE point 2. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for taking the time to reply and keep up the good work.


  264. graham says:

    Andrew, Brilliant Blog.

    have you got any tips on consuming/preparing meals in order to achieve macros for each day?
    My worry, is trying to plan 180g of protein each day etc, so you cook up a batch of chicken and then create meals for each days etc?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Graham, thanks for the question. Everyone’s going to have their own way of doing things which will depend on cooking style and time allowance. I don’t like cooking multiple days worth of food in advance because I find the flavour diminishes. It’s really up to you on what compromise works best for you though. On days where I’m in a rush, I’d put some chicken in the pan, go shower, turn the chicken/pork and throw in some vegetables, put a lid on it to get a slight steam/fry effect, then by the time I’m ready to leave for the train I’d have my lunch pretty much ready to go. Double it for dinner.
      Use a rice cooker and time it so it’s ready for when you wake if you’re stretched for time.

      1. graham says:

        I like to do a big batch off food on a sunday and wednesday. I dunno if you would be keen on doing it, but would love a post about preparing food reaching macros for each day andy.

        On a side note, love the re design to the site.

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Thank you.
          And I may do that.

  265. Chandler says:

    Hi Andy,

    When following lean gains protocol is it a 100% necessity to get an absolute marco bread down? Would I see significant fat loss if I kept to just lean meats, veggies, lower carb intake etc w/out knowing the exact macros??

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi Chandler. 100% compliance isn’t necessary for success.
      If you stick to that, you’ll drop down your fats too far, which has repercussions described above. Better to have a ballpark idea.

  266. Rodrigo says:


    Could you clarify this research’s result when comparing 2x-RDA and 3x-RDA of protein consumption? From what I understand, the conclusion was that 2x-RDA was better, and 3x-RDA had no advantages comparing to 2x-RDA, but I do not have enough knowledge to understand everything they say.

    This is the study:

    I’m eating 3g/kg of protein, but after this study maybe i would eat less. Brad Pilon’s arguments always echoed in my head, hahahhaha.


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Rodrigo, thanks for the question.
      When considering recommendations, whether that be training, diet, or otherwise, it’s important to look at the bulk of the research available and then draw, rather then just choosing one study. To do so would be what’s known in the industry as, “cherry picking”.

      We have a very ride range of evidence, and recommendations vary depending on study and circumstance: surplus, maintenance or deficit energy intake.

      When in a deficit, protein needs are higher – the agreement on that is universal. The range seems to be from 1.5g/kgLBM through to 2.5g/kgLBM. I go with the latter because muscle maintenance is important and I like to be conservative, furthermore higher protein levels lead to greater satiety (and have higher TEF).

      When at maintenance the requirements will be less.
      When in a surplus the requirements will be less, however how much less is optimal to support muscle growth is still up for debate, so I tend to leave it at the same level.
      The only circumstances where we think an even higher protein intake level would be beneficial for muscle growth is if drugs are used. (Steroids allow for greater rate of muscle protein synthesis.)

      Does that answer your question?

      1. Rodrigo says:

        Yes, it does!

        So, this rearch’s results says that there’s no benefits consuming more than 2x-RDA? I don’t understand all they say about it (the technical terms about fisiology and what they mean).

        Do you know any study that compares that levels of protein intake and show another result, that consuming about 2,5g/kg have benefits when comparing to 1,8g/kg?

        Thanks for your patience. Your answer is great,

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          I could go looking through the research Rodrigo, but as it’s more out of your own personal academic curiosity rather than practical relevance to your own physique change (which is what the comments are for – to help people make the change), I decline.

  267. Alberto says:

    Hi Andy,

    i started leangains for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Im a bit confused on how to set my caloric intake. Now i got a kind of 4pack abs, with some stubborn bodyfat in the lower part as well as in lower back. I guess im around 10% bf give or take.

    My weight is constant at 72kg (174cm height) since a couple a weeks. I started with 2200-1800 (Tdays-Rdays) the first week and then changed in 2400-1800 the week next. My tdee is something around 2000-2100. I train 4xweek.

    Now im a bit confused on how to going on. Probably i should go for a cut (2200-1500?) for 2-3 weeks and then start with a slow bulking? Whats your suggestion?

    Thanks man love this site

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Alberto, thanks for the comment. If you’ve only been doing it for two weeks then my first suggestion is to wait a couple more. Once I’ve set things up for someone I don’t attempt to look into the data for 4 weeks, too many things that can go on. So just be patient, make sure you’re tracking things as I suggest in the Diet progress tracking guide, then come back here if you’re stuck still.

  268. victoria says:

    Hi andy, Im 19 year old female, 145 pounds 5’6 and about 18-20% body fat, i want to cut up a little more. I have good definiton already but again want to shredd up a little.

    do i calculate all of this for me or are these numbers and equations more for men.
    i came out with 125P 30F and hat left me with a crazy 301C on training days. thats crazy,
    let me know what you think.

    thanks so much 🙂

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Victoria thanks for the comment. You can use the calculations as a base point for women also.

  269. CJ says:

    Hey Andy!

    awesome website ! i am confused however on how i should structure my diet?

    im 270lbs at around 33 %bf… and if i worked out the 3 days a week with weights i would probably do some form of cardio between those days.

    according to what i got calculation wise i should be intaking 3312cal???! that sounds crazy!

    and i dont fully understand how to calculate my macros either. from what i gathered i got 205g protein, 280g carbs, and 95g fat??

    can you please just help me out to figure out my cals and macros?? i stink at mathematical formulas.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      CJ, I don’t know your height and lifting history, but unless you are build like the hulk under the fat (and I do truly mean some serious lifting experience) you’ve calculated your body fat wrong.
      I have to decline for the latter. Please read the sentences in bolded red.

  270. Mary says:

    Hi Andy,

    Love your very informative site!

    I am just confused about one thing here – when calculating your macros, the steps are to calculate your BMR then adjust for activity… then you have your overall calorie expenditure,OK got that.
    However I’m confused about where its written to increase your this calorie amount by 20 % (for body re-comp) on training days… isn’t this already incorporated in the overall number when you adjust your BMR by the activity level?

    I am sure you have something for me to read about this, thank you for your help!!


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      No that’s extra.

  271. Luis says:

    Hello Andy!

    I tried doing my own research but google didn’t provide any useful answers to my (rather specific) question.

    I will starting a slow bulk right after my diet break and the guide lines are +40/-10%. My question is:

    Could there be any benefits to taking Yohimbine HCL on rest days (the -10% days) considering I will be fasted and there will be a caloric deficit?

    I understand Yohimbine works better for stubborn fatloss which is something I would love to see go away (even if it is slowly) and requires some sort of cardio, but considering I work as a bike messenger in the mornings I think I’d get my cardio from there! That way (I guess) I would be minimizing the fat gain or even losing stubborn fat whilst bulking!

    Anyway thanks!

    1. Luis says:

      Forgot to add! In any case, would Yohimbine have a better result with a Body Recomp +20/-20%?

      I ask because when I finished my cut I noticed I had less muscle than I thought and I’d love to pack some more and my options now are a recomp or slow bulk.

      Whichever gives me less of a fat gain is the definite winner!

    2. Andy Morgan says:

      Luis, thanks for the question.
      Likely none for both a bulk and recomp. If you wish to read up on this then consider Lyle McDonald’s The Stubborn Fat Solution.

  272. Abs says:

    Hi Andy .. I’m a type 1 diabetic on insulin , I seem to struggle with reaching single number fat percentage currently stuck at 12% and want to go down to half that at least , I know my metabolism is dysfunctional due me being a diabetic .. But have you had experience with people like me? I do try to fit my macros in but seem to hit sticking points all the time !

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      None, this is something you need to discuss with your doctor. Sorry bud.

  273. Adam says:

    I’ve been following Leangains for several years now but just recently came across your site. I was pretty psyched that I did because up until then I was never quite sure how to calculate the exact macros that I needed; I just sort of guessed. I ate clean and had more carbs on workout days and more fat on rest days. Even though this approach has worked pretty well (I’m pretty consistently around 10% bf), I’ve always wanted to get down to around 7%, so I decided that now that I had the exact ratios, I would give it a shot. And since I was, I also decided that I would change up my workouts to Martin’s recommended 3-day split using RPT. This was partly because I wanted to follow the protocol exactly, but also because over the past 6+ months I had stopped seeing strength gains in my bench, deadlift, and push press, which I thought might be due to not enough rest, as my workout load was pretty high – here’s a typical week before the switch:

    – 3 days of: SEALFIT-style workouts
    – 1 day of: active recovery (slow, 5 or 6 mile run)
    – 2 days of: SEALFIT-style workouts
    – 1 day of: rest
    * The SEALFIT-style workouts contained a strength portion, muscle-endurance portion, metcon portion, and then some sprints or a short run (these workouts were anywhere from 60-90 minutes).

    So I’ve been on the new program, using the “cut” macros (+10/-30), for about 5 weeks now and have definitely noticed some strength gains. However, after what appeared to be some initial success in terms of dropping bf, I seem to not only have stalled, but added back on the little I had lost. I used a very conservative number for my BMR, which has my rest day calories down around 1500kcal, so I don’t think I’m overeating. And while I do have a little trouble with staying below my fat macro, it still seems low compared to what I see other’s using (never above 50g), so I figured I had some wiggle room there.

    I know that there can be fluctuations/stalls, but having been using Leangains for so long now, I thought I would see more progress after 5 weeks. What I’m wondering is whether you think I should just stick with it – that the cut is just going to take longer or whether I should maybe tweak my macros? Is it possible I’m not eating enough?? Second, I’m a little concerned about losing the metcon I’ve built up with SEALFIT, so if I wanted to add in some sprints or the like on my rest days, how would you suggest I adjust my kcals and macros to compensate for the extra work, without jeopardizing the cut?

    Thanks for the help. I really appreciate all the information that you’ve provided here.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Adam, I appreciate the comment. Clearly you show a lot of respect for my expertise given the extent of the comment. But I can’t answer without more information, and that’s beyond the scope of the function of the comments. If you have a specific question then fire away. If it needs more context, then I have to decline.

      1. Adam says:

        Sure Andy, I understand. I’ll contact you directly about your consultation services to see about setting something up. In the meantime, I guess my specific questions would be:

        1. When calculating macros… after you have your BMR, do you adjust for activity for each individual day or more as an average for the week? In other words, are your training day macros based on a higher number of total kcals than your rest days, or are you always starting with the same number?

        2. Strictly to maintain conditioning, if I were to add in some incline treadmill sprints on my rest days, say 2 rounds of tabatas (so a total of 16 20-sec sprints with 10-sec of rest in between), should I still treat it as a rest day (i.e. higher fat, lower carbs) but just add in some additional carbs to accommodate for the extra activity)?

        Thanks again for the help.

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          Adam, thanks.
          1. See step 4. If this question is more pertaining to other activity on top then either take this into account with the multiplier, or adjust on a per activity basis. But beware of overestimating calorie expenditure.
          2. Do you have a specific reason to need to maintain conditioning while attempting to cut? If not then drop this extra work. Conditioning is something that comes and goes quickly, because it’s brought about through chemical adaptations (as opposed to structural, like with building muscle, which takes time). Focus on your cut, then add in the conditioning work after. It’s a classic mistake to attempt to leave everything the same when under different energy intake conditions.

          1. Adam says:

            I get it now… the +10% is for the activity of training. Not sure why that wasn’t sinking in before.

            As for the conditioning, no reason other than I like to take a “functional” approach to fitness – but I hear what you’re saying so I’ll lay off the conditioning until I finish the cut.

            Thanks again for the help and quick replies!

  274. Jamie says:

    Hi Andy,

    Your website is brilliant and has given me a lot of assistance when following leangains/IF.

    Was wondering if you could help me with my macros.

    I have been following a plan for around 12weeks now, within the first month I had lost 1 stone in weight but for the remaining 8 weeks my weight has remained the same and only flucatated by 2/3 lbs either way.

    I have also been tracking my measurements in this period and they have been coming down slowly over the whole 12 weeks even though my weight has remained.

    Should I now be looking to recalculate my macros to get the weight loss/cut back on track?

    I still have a fair amount of fat to get rid of which is why I think a recalc may help.



    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Jamie, this is covered in a recent article bud, Why you need to make adjustments as you diet.

  275. Michelle says:

    I’ve been following along trying to calculate my own macros. I am able to follow everything until the fat… There are no estimates for females. Can you please advise on a range? I know this will depend on each individual, but is there a range to begin? I am willing to experiment and make changes as necessary but need some kind of starting point. I have searched the web including this and other sites and just can’t seem to locate the information.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Try 0.5g/lb of lean body mass.

  276. David says:


    Very informative article. Thank you. I don’t understand where you get the +10% on training -35% on rest calorie intake levels for a cut. Why is this more effective than just eating a consistent calorie deficit during the 8 hour feeding window, like -15% on training days and -35% on rest days. I’m 205lb, 24% body fat, and have a maintenance calorie intake of 2500 calories a day.

    With your cut plan (+10% on train, -35% on rest), my net calorie deficit would be 2800 calories a week, less than a pound. Why is this better than doing 1500 calories a day on rest days and more like 1750 calories on training days and losing close to 2lbs a week?

    My goal is to lose about 25lbs of fat and get down to about 10% body fat. I feel like this would take almost a year to do with your cut plan. What are the negative impacts of a too high calorie deficit?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Hi David. Have you read this article?

  277. Edy says:

    Hi mate,

    I have calculated the macros that I need for my rest days and training days. I am going to be doing a “cut” I play Sunday league football and train once a week and play once a week. should I be consuming rest day calories or training day calories on these football days?

    Many Thanks


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Edy thanks for the question. Rest day. You may look to increase your carbs slightly on these days though.

  278. Kartik says:

    Thanks so much for the quick reply Andy! I’ve read pretty much every article on your site now and am trying to implement it to the best of my ability. I had one last question about my diet:

    I read Martin’s list of supplements but still can’t decide if I should be using creatine. As a vegetarian, I don’t find much creatine in my foods otherwise and have been using it for a while on and off while training. I don’t like the water retention but am willing to accept that if it’s really going to help with the muscle retention/growth during the cut. As everyone else, of course I’m looking to have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time but have a newfound appreciation for patience from your article.

    The only other workout supplements I’ll be using are protein powders. Would really appreciate some clarity/finality on creatine.

    Thanks again man; it’s been less than a week with IF for me and I already feel positive about the program. You’re a real life-saver.


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      My opinion doesn’t really matter on this one. Just have a look at the facts. Here you go bud.

  279. […] I used this: How to Calculate your Leangains Macros | Here is what I came up with: Workout days: 165 / 60 / 300 Rest days: 140 / 90 / 40 This is how I […]

  280. Ahmet says:

    Hi Andy. Week 5 on my lean gains cut and I’m seeing major changes, clothes feeling looser and looking more muscular due to the fat loss, so thanks!

    Two questions for you:

    1) How will the macro calculations for females differ, particularly the fat consumption? (Assuming we’re talking about a calorie deficit/lean gains cut).

    2) You mention carb stores being stored as fatty tissue due to spill over on a calorie surplus day. I read that the novo lipogenesis process is quite rare and would only occur if you consumed an excessive amount of carbs (500g+). What are your thoughts on this?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Ahmet, thanks for the comment.
      1. Not in any way that I can generalise.
      2. Any energy surplus will lead to fat storage in the long run. One day out of many may be different, but isn’t really applicable in this context, so may as well forget it.

      1. Ahmet says:

        Thanks Andy. Question 1 was due to major interest from female colleagues/friends that would like to try leangains.

  281. Kartik says:

    Hey Andy,

    Thanks for the article, it’s very informative. I’m looking to start the Leangains program and am using your guides extensively.

    I’m 6’0″ 170 lbs and plan to start with the “cut” layout as you suggested. My only question/issue is that I’m a vegetarian so a lot of my protein comes from legumes, beans, etc. With powders and eggs I’m able to get a good 40-40-20 ratio so the training day breakup should be fine. But on rest days I can’t get enough protein with only ~40g carbs.

    What would you suggest in this situation? Maybe lowering the fat cals on the rest day and sticking with more carbs?

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Kartik, thanks for the comment. You’ll have to eat more carbs and drop protein down – perhaps sacrifice some fats to do that, or use protein powders with less carbs in them.

  282. andym123 says:

    Hey Andy,

    Hope you are well mate.

    I was discussing the whole IF concept and cutting/slow bulking with a friend, when I was asked. “At what point do you increase the carbs on your rest days following a cut. For example, if you completed a cut an wanted to start a recomp, obviously you would increase your carbs on training days gradually. However, when do you know when to increase them on the rest days?


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Andy, thanks for the comment. Hmm, increase the fats first so that… difficult to give set rules here for everyone but… perhaps 0.5g/kg of total body weight (presuming they are now ~10% bf), and then increase the carbs from there. There can be interplay between the fats and carbs based on activities and mood rather than a set rule.

  283. Hi Andy,

    Fantastic guide. Since college, I’ve always been one of those guys who has been in the gym 5-6 days out of the week. While I’m active and maintain a leaner build, the six pack eludes me! This guide made it super easy to figure out my nutritional needs, which has always been the part I could not figure out. Here are my stats, let me know if there’s anything I should change:

    Asian-American Male, 27 yrs, 5’10” (177.8cm), currently 153 lbs (69.4k), ~12% BF. Calculated my BMR but seemed to have misplaced the sticky… First time on Leangains so going for a cut to figure it out (+10/-30):

    Training days (total 2274 kcals):
    C: 295.26g (1181.04 kcals)
    P (x3): 183.24g (732.96 kcals)
    F: 40g (360 kcals)

    Rest days (total 1147 kcals):
    C: 43.51g (174.04 kcals)
    P (x3): 183.24g (732.96 kcals)
    F: 60g (540 kcals)

    Planning to spec out my 3 day split RPT workout to go along with this. Thoughts? Feedback? Everything and anything is appreciated! Keep up the great work!


    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Clayton, thanks for the comment. Please see the sentences in bold red at the bottom of the article.

      1. whoops! my b, andy. thanks, feel free to delete this post!

        1. Andy Morgan says:

          No worries. Has happened probably over 50 times.

  284. Bob says:

    I have a diet question concerning calories. I have a lot of weight to loose. I’m 5’11”,,,264 and approx 30% bf. If I use your approach of rotating high calorie and low calorie days, would