Episode 126 – Why We Don’t Use Macro Ratios

Key Topics Covered

Macro ratios and bodybuilder.

Macro ratios are percentages of total calorie intake e.g. 30% of calories coming from protein, 50% from carbs, and 20% from fat.

Macro targets can still be appropriate within a well-designed nutrition plan, however, it’s not as ideal to use ratios.

First Flaw

  • Rather than using macro ratios, we can use the exact numbers.
  • For example, if the research showed that 1.6-2.2g/kg is optimal for protein intake for muscle growth, it makes sense to use that range instead of a percentage.

Second Flaw

  • It gets skewed by activity and different energy needs.
  • For example, somebody lifting 3-4x per week, doing 5000 steps per day and zero cardio actually has similar protein needs to somebody lifting 5-6x per week, doing 12,000 steps, and doing cardio 2-3x per week.
  • In that example protein needs at most are only slightly different. But calorie needs are significantly different.
  • Another example is two people doing pretty much the same exercise. But one person burns 300kcal extra per day due to a variety of factors e.g. genetics/fidgeting etc. With ratios, they would spread their calories equally based on the percentages. With exact numbers, they would just meet the optimal protein target, and then add the rest to carbs/fats based on preference.

Alternative Strategy

  • Figure out overall calorie needs.
  • Then figure out protein needs.
  • Then figure out an appropriate range for fat.
  • Then fill out the rest of the calories with carbohydrates.
  • Then potentially adjust things based on logistical needs and fitting lifestyle preferences.


Rather than using % where protein, fats and carbs all differ based on overall calorie consumption, it is much more effective to use macro targets such as Xg protein per kilo body weight, Xg fat per kilo bodyweight + rest of calories from carbs.

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