I have been tracking my macros now for a couple years and when I first started, I way over complicated adjusting my macros. I thought you had to adjust them all the time. Then I thought you had to always keep them the same. Now, I know that it truly does depend how often you switch them based on how your body is progressing and your goals you have.
First, you have to determine what your goal is and why you’re tracking. Is it just to make sure you’re eating the right amount? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you to trying to gain muscle? Because how you answer that question is going to determine how fast/slow/how dramatic the changes to your macros will be.
I rarely will switch up individuals protein numbers when adjusting macros. The only time I may switch it is if we’re in a fat loss phase and I think they could use some more in their diet to keep their muscle mass up. The protein you take in is necessary for a plethora of processes in your body and to keep adequate amounts of muscle on your body, keep you full, etc. Only adjust from your carbs or fats numbers! (Females, do not drop below 40g of fat!)
If you’re someone who is simply trying to just maintain where you’re at you don’t really need to adjust your macros at all. Keep an eye out if you’re sticking to them and gaining/losing a significant amount of weight or not seeing physical/internal progress the way you want. (It is normal to fluctuate anywhere between 1-6 pounds throughout the week depending on what you ate, traveling, stress, your water intake, etc. If it is not a normal weight fluctuation for you and it becomes a trend for multiple weeks then I would switch up the macros – if you’re losing weight, add calories and vice versa)
If you’re someone looking to reverse diet or even bulk, you’ll want to adjust your calories up slowly over time. I suggest adding 100-250 calories each week. Look at your biofeedback (hunger cues, sleep, digestion, workout performance, etc. to dictate if you need to maintain for a while at an intake or increase more). The goal is to increase calories while limiting fat gain. Depending on how long you want to be in a growing phase, and where your body is currently at, fat gain is not horrible and may be necessary. Again, our goal is to gain the least amount month to month while maintaining muscle mass!
If you are someone looking to diet down and reduce a bit of fat (you should be eating 1800+ calories minimum already by the way. You need to be in a sustainable place where you can afford to drop your calories. If you’re not eating a sufficient amount you need to reverse before you cut. But that’s for another post). Anyways, if you are looking to reduce fat, you may need to be a bit more aggressive because you need to create a big enough deficit to see that progress. It’s hard to put a calorie range on it because everyone is SO different but I’d suggest dropping around 300 calories and then wait there until you plateau then drop them some more. You can also utilize cardio to create a bigger energy expenditure difference.
Everyone truly is so different when it comes to what their body needs. Which is why, with my clients, they fill out a weekly document that has a ton of questions relating to their biofeedback. Tracking sleep, bowel movements, bloating, energy, etc. all tell me what they need to do with either their nutrition or training protocols to get the best results! If you are looking for better guidance or curios about having a fitness coach, apply here to hop on a call and see if it would be a good fit for you!