Tag Archives: macros

5 Reasons You Can’t Build Muscle

1 – You’re not eating enough.
2 – You’re not stimulating the muscle correctly.
3 – You’re not eating enough.
4 – You’re not resting/recovering properly
5 – You’re not eating enough.
Bonus – You’re still not eating enough.
Bulking, as it’s more commonly known is actually no easy task, adding lean muscle takes time and a willingness to sacrifice those abs of steel for a period of time to allow the correct caloric surplus for your individual needs. Remember being in a surplus is key to building muscle, however you may indeed add some excess ‘fluff’ as well. A tough pill to swallow, but it’s true.
What kind of calorie surplus will you need?
About 500 calories as a guide, some need more, some less. It will take some learning the correct application to get right for you as an individual, but as a general guide +500 each day is a good place to start.
That’s +500 on top of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure), by the way.
If you have been trying to gain weight for years and been unsuccessful then it’s suggested that you hire a coach to help you. Often the hard thing, from what people say, is the following “I don’t know what to eat”… Food. Food is what you should eat, sadly there is no magic meal plan or supplement that will grant you instant muscle, it doesn’t work that way. You need to get your daily calories right and then the optimal macronutrients as well, here is a nifty link (http://www.iifym.com) to help get you started, although hiring someone would be the best possible option to help with planning, adherence and motivation.
Now go and start building the muscle you deserve.

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You’re Not a Dog

Morning All,

There are a lot of free gym classes, exercise groups and even personal training services available in the world today, yet despite this there is still an alarmingly large amount of people who are tipping the scale towards the side of obesity. Why do you think this is?

Obviously there are multiple reasons, however the common on is that of people feeling they deserve a treat after working out. You know, much like a dog that performs a trick and expects a Scooby snack for such good behaviour. This is sadly one of the issues that keep people from achieving their goal. 

Where is my proof? Attend a fitness class and see what happens when people finish. Observe how many head towards the canteen or nearest coffee shop for a large triple caramel macchiato and slice of cake as a treat for all their hard work, because, int here own words… “I’ve worked hard, this has already been burnt off.”.

…… *Face Palm.

Burning calories in the gym is a given, however the amount that people burn is not quite so easily established. There is not only human error but also technical and physiological (differing BRM’s etc) and as a result someone may think they’ve burned off 450 calories in an hour and then decide to have a 350 calorie snack as a treat because they’re still one up, this is where they get it wrong. The chances are that the 450 calories they thought they’ve burnt is actually closer to 300 because of all the factors listed above. They pretty much wipe out their ‘deficit’ in one reward meal.

People need to stop seeing food as a reward and start seeing it for what it really is, sustenance (building blocks, energy and something to help keep you balanced).

The old quote ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet’ is actually not that far from he truth because people underestimate how many calories they’re eating and overestimate how many they’re burning, thus never being able to out-train their caloric surplus heavy diet, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Keep this in mind when you’re next justifying your treat, night out or binge eating because chances are you don’t ‘deserve’ it because you’re not in the caloric deficit you think you are. In the end it all comes down to setting calories accordingly, partitioning macro-nutrients specific to your goals, honesty and above all else consistency to the cause.


Enjoy, Ross

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The Egyptians Had It Right.

Morning Guys,

I like to think of the structure most things in the field of health & fitness as a pyramid.

Why a pyramid?

Because a pyramid can only be a tall as it’s base allows, therefor meaning that you need to have a solid and established base to that you can build on it.

If I was to use the pyramid structure for nutrition pyramid it would be as follows:

The base would undoubtably be a persons INDIVIDUAL caloric requirements

First tier is a persons INDIVIDUAL macro nutrients.

Second & Third tiers would be made up of meal macro composition/timing & food choices (I would go meal timing/composition then food choices personally).

Top tier of the pyramid would be extra supplementation.

This is pretty easy for a lot of people to follow and understand, thought establishing your required calories can be a touch trickier.

Over the years I personally have found that establishing sedentary peoples calories based of their LBM (lean body mass) in lbs with the following equation never tends to be very far from the mark.

LBMx 11-13 = Fat Loss Caloric Range
LBMx 17-19 = Muscle Gain Caloric Range

If I had a more active person I would opt for the Harris-Benadic formula, or use the one above and add 300-500 cals to their base line.

Using the info above you will now have the base of your pyramid, the next level up is your individual macronutrient ratios. This really is a personal thing but I shall endeavour to give you a baseline starting point that you can then tweak.

Protein – LBM x1 = Grams per day, multiply this by 4 to get calories of protein for the day.

Carbs – Protein x1-3 = Grams per day (depending on style of training/overall daily activity, desk jockeys use x1, site workers use x3 and people in the middle use 1.5 or 2), multiply this by 4 to get calories of carbs for the day

Fat – What ever calories are left divide them by 9 to get your fat in grams for the day.

Example Equation:

175lbs x 19 = 3325 total cals
175lbs x 1 = protein 175g x4 = 700 cals
175g x 2 = carbs 350g x 4 = 1400 cals
3325 – (700 + 1400) = 1225 cals
1225/9 = 136g fat

So these example calories/macros would be:

3225 Total Cal
175g Protein
350g Carbs
136g Fat

Get the idea?

Next up in the pyramid would be meal timings/food choices. This will again differ from person to person but here are some simple suggestions to help you.

*Eat mostly single ingredient whole foods to get the bulk of your calories, doing this will sort out your micronutrients without you having to worry too much. think 80/20 – 80% single ingredient foods 20% what ever you fancy. Just keep the callers correct and the overall macronutrient ratio sold and you can’t go far wrong.

Breakfast/AM – Fat/Protein
Snack/AM – Fat/Protein
Lunch/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Snack/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein
Dinner/PM – Complex Carbs/Protein

Post Workout Protein/Simple Carbs – regardless on time of day.

The tip of the pyramid would be Supplements, these being Whey Protein, Creatine etc etc. However I feel everyone does well having some extra fish oil, a multivitamin and magnesium added in to their diet.

Why those 3 sups?

A good fish oil will help boost your daily Omega 3 and lower inflammation.

A good multivitamin will just give you a little extra of everything else.

Magnesium is linked to over 300 different biochemical responses in the body, there have been tones of books and studies on this so feel free to delve in to the topic for yourselves.

There you have it. A simple and sensible guide to understanding the nutrition pyramid, or at least my version of it anyway :).


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You Ate The WHOLE Thing?

Are you allowed to eat a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s?
Of course you are, it’s your choice.
Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.
Lots of people enjoy ice cream and we all know that once you start it’s very very easy to devour a whole tub without a second thought or hesitation, but eating the whole tub isn’t the real issue, it’s what you’re going to do with al the energy you receive from eating it.
If you were to say the average tub has around 280calories per 100ml and considering each tub is 500ml that’s an average of 1400calories per tub with a 95g grams of fat and 110g of carbs.
Now carbs and fat together are never a good combination, no matter how delicious a paring they are, but they are not the enemy, after all they will be broken down in to energy to be used by the body but as we said above; using that energy is the problem.
More often than not you’re going to eat a whole tub at night, probably before bed so you won’t really be doing much in the way of activity…. Well…
It’s worth remembering that excess energy for the most part will likely be stored as fat, so maybe it’s best not to eat the whole tub. That is unless you can ‘fit’ it in to your macros we suppose.
There are plenty of alternatives such as Frozen Yoghurt and alike that are far more energy friendly and can contain as little as half the calories of an average tub of ice cream. You will just have to shop around for which ones you like.
The key thing to remember is nutrition is all about balance.
Obviously in an ideal world 80-90% of your daily calories would come from single ingredient whole foods and the remaining 10-20% would be from much simpler (and tastier) sources.
While in theory you can eat ‘anything’ provided you’re hitting your micro/macro nutrients and everything is in balance I have yet to see anyone actually look good eating the reverse of my opinion (80-90% what they want, 10-20% singles ingredient whole foods), that’s not to say it isn’t possible, just not that probable. Though that is only my opinion, I’m sure there are plenty who can prove me wrong, more power to them I say. 
To sum it all up, if you want to have a whole tub of ice cream, be that Ben & Jerry’s or any other then feel free but make sure it fits your energy expenditure requirements otherwise you might start seeing some extra ‘fluff’ appearing.




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Do You Know What A Macronutrient Actually Is?

Morning Guys,

It seems people have forgotten what food (specific macronutrients) are actually needed for in the body.

This post will be simple but very useful for those who don’t want to delve to deeply in to the science of it all.

There are 3 main macronutrients:

– Protein
– Carbohydrates
– Fat

Here is what/how they are used:

Protein = Building Muscle, Repairing Tissues/Systems and maintaining the body basically.

Once you’ve taken enough in any extra will be converted to sugar (gluconeogenesis) to be used as energy, if you don’t need any extra energy then it will be converted in to fat (de novo lipogenesis) for storage and use another time.

Carbohydrates = Energy Source, used to fuel your activities (daily and exercise bias) put simply, and are easily broken and utilised (think kindling on a fire).

If you have adequate carbs in your diet your body will never see the need to break down protein to be used as fuel, but that means any excess will be converted to fat (remember this), this is why overeating protein (having upwards of 1.2g per 1lb of bodyweight) isn’t necessary.

Carbs are a great source of fuel but if you have too many in comparison to your energy expenditure the excess that is not needed will be converted to fat (DNL). You only need a 1-1 or possible a 1-2 ratio of Protein to Carbs, for example 20g protein means 20-40g carbs.

Fat = Energy Source, similar to carbohydrates fats are used to fuel your daily/physical activities but unlike carbs fat are broken down and utilised more slowly (think a large log at the base of a camp fire).

Fat is essential for good health and hormones, low fat diets are detrimental to health. Nature pairs protein with fat for a reason you know (animal meant basically).

Like carbs your body will use fat for fuel throughout they day if that is what you’re feed it, however… fat is used backwards. You eat it and then your body does some magical things and converts if to a form of usable energy (glucose) and as with protein/carbs eating too much over your needs will be stored.

A good ration of Protein to Fat is 1-1 or 1-0.5, this means 10g protein 10/5g of fat.

Now those are some very basic things to remember which lead perfectly in to our next point.

Meal Combinations.

Protein + Fat = Good (y) 1-1 or 1-0.5 ratio
Protein + Carbs = Good (Y) 1-1 or 1-2 ratio
Carbs + Fat = Not So Good 😦

It is true that most main meals will contain a mixture of all 3 macronutrients, the ideal ration would be something like this:

2-1-0.5 = Carbs/Protein/Fat = 40g carbs, 20g Protein, 10g Fat.

This isn’t gospel, ratios will differ depending only our goals (higher carbs, higher fat etc), but you will do well to remember that you can pair protein with both individually or all 3 together but try to avoid pairing carbs & fat (unless you have a specific reason too). This over abundance of energy, because that’s all the body sees foodstuffs as in the end will either be used of stored as fat.

Enough is enough, more isn’t better.

You can workout your individual needs by various means, if you want a really easy way then take your Lean Body Mass (LBM) in LBS and multiply that by 1.2 to get your daily protein requirement in grams, then double that number for your daily carbs and you can either half if for your fat or simply copy it.

For example:

We shall take a lean athletic person who is highly active (Trains 4-6 times per week in strength & conditioning), their calories ratio might look like this

175lbs LBM

Protein = 210g – 840 calories
*Carbs x2 = 420g – 1680 calories
Fat x0.5= 105g – 945 calories

*Fibre would be roughly 10-12.5% of total carbs and included in the total calories, not in addition. You fibre for 420g would be 42g – 50g per day.

3645 daily calories total.

This ins’t an exact science, it’s just to give you a rough guide fi you’re not one for number crunching. If you want the exact number then I suggest you hire someone to establish everything you need. Otherwise just remember what each macronutrient does, how it’s used and make sensible choices :).


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My View of Nutrition

I have spoken about the business side of things for the last few posts on here, considering this trend

I thought today I would talk about nutrition, or rather some quick tips you can use to help you when you get some new clients on your books (Obviously as a result of all the business posts).

Macro nutrients and counting calories have come back around in recent times and everyone likes to jump on the band wagon, my personal view to nutrition is as follows:

Losing Fat = Eat more fibre & protein and less processed foods.
Gaining Muscle = As above but eating 6meals + per day.

This is easily tracked by looking in to the mirror and establishing what’s mission.

Looking flat? Introduce some more simple carbs with protein.
Looking soft? Take simple carbs down a notch and add in more complex carbs and protein.
Pretty easy really.

Okay, now I have shown you how I do it I shall actually give you some useful info smile emoticon.
Over the internet, books and seminars you will find that you can use several methods to establish a persons total required amount of calories and can be done off of lean body mass by the use of the Harris-Benedict formula (pretty much the best one for using lean mass). In using this you can get some pretty accurate numbers for fats or muscle building, but the downside is it takes an age, lots of numbers and a scientific calculator to get right.

A great way of working out calories for either fat loss or muscle gains is as follows:

Fat Loss = Total weight in LBS x11-13 (to give range of calories)
Muscle Gain = Total weight in LBS x17-19 (to again give a range)

I have used all the different formulas around and I don’t know quite what it is about these simple equations by they are never far out from the more complex ones.

When it comes to Macros there are a couple of breakdowns you can use that are as follows:

Order of % of Carbs/Protein/Fat*
40,30,30 – Optimal For Steady Muscle Gain
45,35,20 – Agressive Bulk
30,40,30 – Optimal For Steady Fat Loss
20,40,40 – Almost Ketogenic Diet (kept could be as low as 10% carbs)
35,35,30 – Maintenance

Your Fibre % would be roughly 10-20% of total carbs (I usually go for 20% for most people as they never get that much).

You simply take a persons estimated total calories and use one of the macro ratios to get their required numbers, here is an example.

Fat Loss First:
225lbs male

225 x11-13 = 2475 – 2925 range (Now assuming they are new to exercise and reconditioned I would go for the lower calories and ignore the nigher range for now. This will help increase their overall deficit and aid in fat loss.)

2475 x0.2 = 495 calories from carbs
2475 x0.4 = 990 calories from protein
2475 x0.4 = 990 calories from fat
495/4 = 124g carbs per day (rounded up form 123.75)
990/4 = 248g protein per day (rounded up from 247.5)
990/9 = 110g fat per day

(you can round up or down, it’s your choice)
Fibre = 25g per day (That’s a lot of fibre)

So lets recap:
2475 Total Cals
124g Carbs
248g Protein
110G Fat
25g Fibre

Pretty reasonable for a Ketogenic bias diet.

Now these are just simple guidelines that I personally have found that work for 90% of clients, there are odd times more detail is require but for the majority these numbers seem to work.
Don’t ask me for the science on this because there isn’t any (well there is but I can’t de dealing with looking for it). This is largely from my EXPERIENCE, hopefully it will help you find a place to start.

Use the suggestions on yourself for your goals and see if the numbers match up, I would be willing to bet that they’re not far off.


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The Busy Persons Guide to Fitness: Results in 2 Hours or Less!

If you think that your goals will be forever out of reach because you don’t have enough time to train then this post is for you.

With only two training days per week you can achieve some great results, provided you’re willing to have a decent nutritional base and a cast iron will with endless amounts of drive.

Considering your limited time to train I would suggest two full body training days, one based around powerlifting and one around strongman.

For the power lifting bias day the following is a good structure:

Heavy Compound – Sq, Bp or Dl. Pick one and go for a rep PR such as 4 or 3 for example. High set.

Rep Compound – Which ever compound lift you didn’t do heavy, do reps. 8+ reps on Sq/Bp and 6’s for Dl. Moderate set.

Isolation Compound – The last lift will fill this gap. You will not necessarily have to do the lift it’s self, but you can if you want too. This should be to train some weak points and build some muscle with body building style reps. Low set, high reps.

Rotate the lifts each week so all of the lifts go through the heavy, rep and isolation stage, then repeat.


Warm Up: Squat 5,5,5,3,3,3
Squat – 5×3 (Heavy Movement)
Bench – 4×6-8 (Rep Movement)
Deadlift (Isolation Movement) – Good Morning/Straight leg DL/Pull Up 4×8-12
Abs – Ab Rol Out 5×5

*Take as little rest as needed.

The second week this workout comes around the squat would be for reps, the bench would be based on assistance movements and the deadlift would be your heavy lift. Then the week after Your squat would be assistance based movements, your bench the heavy lift and the deadlift for reps.

I mentioned about the reps/set above be here are some rep ranges to use for each:

Heavy Day – 12×2, 10×2, 8×3, 6×4, 15×1 – 5-8 sets of 1 would be a warm up single as you have 6-8 good singles in you.

Rep Day – 6×8, 8×6, 10×5 – The last one is more strength based.

Isolation Day – 5×10, 4×12 – You will want to use super sets on this day to get in lots of volume.

For the second day we would suggest a modified strong man approach, I.E lots of farmers walks, overhead pressing, picking up and moving heavy/strange objects etc. This can be done in a medley style where you pick a group of exercises and do 1-5 rounds, or you can have a strength bias and go for heavy singles, doubles and triples – the choice is yours.

Example Medley:
Warm Up: Clean/Press 6×6

Overhead Press x5
Farmers Walk x 20m
Pull Up x 8-12
Heavy Single Arm Dumbbell Clean x 6 per arm
Rest 1-3min
Repeat 3-5 times.

Example Strength Bias:

Warm Up: Turkish Get Up 1-5 or 1-10 each side

Clean/Press 5,4,3,2,1
Deadlift Variation* 5,4,3,2,1
Front Squat 5,4,3,2,1
Farmers Walk 10x 20m

*Snatch Drip Deadlift, Deficit Deadlift, Trap Bar Deadlift etc.

You can also use moves such as:

Kettlebell/Dumbbell Iron Cross Holds
Plate Prowler
Kettlebell swing
Kettlebell Snatch
Clean/Press – Dumbbells or Bar
Heavy Dumbbell Shoulder Carry/Run
Over Head Squat
Single Arm Overhead Lunge

This day would only be limited by your imagination.

Linking in these two types of training will give you the best results in terms of fat loss, lean muscles building, strength and also fitness.

You will only need 60-90min tops to do these workouts.


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The Busy Persons Guide to Fitness: Nom Nom Nom

Time is the only thing we have, but more often than not it is filled with tedious tasks such as work, family gatherings and sitting in traffic while the light is green because the learner in front of you has stalled.

Not having enough time also effects trying to eat the ‘right’ foods, nay, eat enough food to avoid crashing and heading straight for the coffee and pro plus can also be a challenge for some. Nutrition is clearly just too large a subject to ever be understood for such a busy person.

All of these can get in the way of achieving a rock solid physique, or can they?

In our world of limited time a simple guide is called for to help those who only have perhaps 2 days per week to train…This is that guide.

I will give you some tips and tricks to help you achieve not only a good physique but also strength and fitness too.

In this 4 part mini series I shall cover the following:

– Nutrition
– Programming – Based on 2 Days Per Week
– Recovery Nutriton
– Progress Tracking

Now you know what to expect, lets get your nutrition requirements sorted.

To get your total calories I would suggest multiplying your weight in lbs by 11 & 13 for fat loss and 17-19 for muscle gain.

*For the purpose of this example I have used 17-19, but I would advise you to use 11-13 when working out your needs.

Now we need to get your basic macro nutrients sorted.

The easiest way to find out how much fat you will need in your diet is to take your weight in lbs (Optimally your lean weight – if you know it.) and multiply that number by 0.3-0.6 to give you the amount in grams you will need per day. Multiply by 9 to find out how many calories this is.

I would say to start on the lower number (0.3). The you can workout your required protein by taking your weight (Again ideally lean.) by 0.8-1.2 depending on your activity level. This will give you your grams of protein needed, them multiply this by 4 to get the calories.

Add those two numbers together and then subtract that number from your total required calories for your specific goal. This will give you what calories you need in terms of carbs, then divide that number by 4 for the grams required.

With the amount of carbs your require in grams multiply that by 10 & 15% to get your fibre intake – this is included in your crabs, not added on top.


Weight – 175lbs x 19 = 3325 calories
Fat – 175 x 0.3 = 52.5g = 472.5 calories
Protein – 175 x 1.2 = 210g = 840 calories
Carbs – 3325 – 472.5 – 840 = 2012.5/4 = 503g
Fibre – 503 x 0.15 & 0.10 = 75g & 50g

So you will have the following:

Protein – 210g
Carbohydrates – 500g
Fat – 52.5g
Fibre – 50-75g

I would also suggest having 1 litre of water per 25kg of total bodyweight. Add in 1 exert litre for each hour of exercise on your chosen workout days too.

If you happen to like a cheeky drink after work to help wind down then you can use this to help you factor the calories from your chosen beverage.

There is 7 calories per 1 gram of alcohol (Just for your information.) but this isn’t really too relevant for the following. Count your alcohol towards your overall carb content (People we often speak to have carbs left over), simply because it’s easier to accept for this way.

To count your alcohol towards your carbs all you need do is take the number of calories in your chosen beverage and divide it by 4. (If you want to count it towards fat divide the calories in the alcohol by 9.)

If this doesn’t make sense so far please bear with us and keep reading.

Here is an example:

An average pint can have 300 calories per pint.

Divide this by 4 = 75. This can be counted as 75g of carbs.

There you have it. You have successfully accounted for alcohol, but be aware you should not actively try and get smashed just because you can count it in to your macros. There is nothing wrong with a little alcohol, just don’t over do it.

Now you have the guidelines to follow I would suggest downloading an app to help your track how well you’re doing form day to day. You can use a book if that suits you, but apps are easier.

*Try to have 80% of your calories coming from whole foods and 20% from what ever indulgences you desire.

There you have it, the first part of the guide all you busy people need to achieve results like never before.



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