The Golden Ratio Of Macros To Lose Fat
Lately on Twitter, I’ve been receiving more and more questions in relation to macro ratios, and more specifically, what is the best ratio for Men Over 40 to get down from 250+ pounds down below 200 pounds – ideally well below.
These guys want to know how to break down their macros so that they can kiss their 30% body fat goodbye, and blast their way to a lean, chiselled physique.
Just how important are your macros?
Dominating Your Macros For Fat Loss
The short answer is: They are very important, but not the most important variable in fat loss.
The long answer: Let’s break it down using the pyramid of priorities (credit goes to Eric Helms for this). It looks something like the following:
Calories are the most important, because if you mess them up, it doesn’t matter how perfect everything else is. If you’re not in a deficit, you’re not losing weight.
Now, a very strong argument could be made that IF and keto might make it a lot easier to get yourself into a calorie deficit in the first place, particularly if you have a lot of body fat to lose and/or you have a sugar addiction. I wouldn’t disagree with this.
So although the above model is theory and ‘on paper’, it still gives you an overall idea of where macros fit into the overall picture. It’s not good having 220+ grams of protein and zero carbs if you’re still not in a calorie deficit (although it certainly makes it a lot easier to achieve for a variety of reasons.)
Then further down the pyramid, you can see micros. The reason why these come after macros is because you could eat all the fruit, veg, chicken and beef in the world, if you’re not eating enough total fats, you’re going to struggle hormonally. Or, you could eat the cleanest food on the planet, but still be a little too low on protein to maintain muscle in a calorie deficit.
So yes, macros are important. Not the most important, but important. And you can make a very strong argument to say that bumping up protein and slicing your carbs (particularly if there was previously a lot of sugar) will make an enormous difference to your total calorie intake (a reduction).
Everything is interlinked like a big jigsaw puzzle, and rarely mutually exclusive.
The Golden Ratio Of Macros To Lose Fat
Alright, so what’s the best macro ratio?
As you may have guessed, protein is pretty damn important in a calorie deficit, because your body is tapping into energy stores whether you like it or not – we want this to be fat, NOT muscle.
So to ‘persuade’ our bodies to not cannibalise our own muscle tissue, we lift weights regularly (full body is best for Men Over 40), and we eat high enough protein. Furthermore, protein is going to be helpful for keeping us fuller on less calories, and therefore making the deficit more sustainable.
So as you can see, protein is pretty important particularly in a calorie deficit.
What about the other two?
Fats are another crucial macronutrient (along with protein), and you need it for healthy hormonal functioning – and you are likely well aware by now of the dangers of low testosterone of all ages, but of particular concern is Men Over 40.
So you need baseline minimums for both protein and fats.
Ahhh, but what about carbs I hear you ask?
Carbs technically are not required by the body, again though, on paper. The questions you have to ask yourself are:
- Am I realistically going to stay zero carb for the rest of my life? (The answer is of course no). The reason I say this is because you must continue to do what got you lean in the first place (people don’t seem to understand this concept at all). Only hermits will have a chance at zero carb forever.
- Do I feel good, sleep well, and am I happy now on zero carb, and will I continue to be like this for the rest of my life? Again, barring exceptions to the rule, most people cannot maintain their strength, focus, mood and sleep quality long-term on zero carbs.
Therefore I am pressed to say that zero carb isnt the answer – you probably want to have some of all the three macronutrients, even if only two of them are required for health purposes.
How much of each?
A good target for most people in a calorie deficit is going to be 35% or more of their calories coming from protein. 35% is a good starting figure, but this will tend to rise naturally as you lose weight, and it will very much need to (as your muscle becomes more endangered the leaner you get).
A baseline minimum for most people for fats would be 25%, but for Men Over 40 I would absolutely shift this up to 30%. This is the minimum % of your total daily calories you will need from fats.
So far we have 35% from protein and 30% from fats as bare minimums.
How many carbs should you have?
It really depends on activity level, age, and how much body fat you currently have.
Men Over 40 will need a lower number than younger men (zero carb is still not sustainable though).
I would have a bare minimum of 10% of your calories coming from carbs if you are over 40, and the only excpetion to this will be if you’re severely obese, and your health is really in danger.
Otherwise you will want some carbs post-workout for recovery purposes and/or a few hours before bed. Not many, but some.
So far we’ve added up a total of 75%, and now you can feel free to fill the remaining 25% as you see fit. Protein is going to be the most satiating macro of the three per calorie, and you’ll need more as you get leaner for satiation purposes.
And no, it isn’t going to harm your kidneys, so don’t worry about that.
I hope that has helped, and if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a reply or DM on Twitter, or in the comments section below.
Now if you would like to step up your game as a Man Over 40, and would like personal one-to-one coaching designed to get you down to 10% body fat gradually over time, then check out the Silver and Gold options here.
10% body fat – doesn’t that sound unrealistic? No, you’re perfectly capable of it. But of course it will take time and it’s hard work. But you can lose 10-20 pounds pretty quickly. Check out the above coaching options if you’re ready to step up your IF game.