I get so many questions about macros and nutrition, and this is one of the most common: How often should macros be adjusted?
I seems like a lot of people think that macros need to be adjusted frequently, and that’s really not the case. I know some macro coaches will make changes weekly, but it’s hard to know what’s working and what’s not working if you’re making changes so quickly. If anything, it’s better to approach macros with a “slow and steady” pace instead of switching things up all the time.
How often should macros be adjusted?
The initial macro calculation I give my nutrition clients is based on a few factors, including their goals and lifestyle. During the first week or two, I encourage them to pay attention and play around with what’s really working for their lifestyle. Too many carbs? Not enough fat? How do these macro goals make you feel – during workouts – and how are they affecting your mood, energy levels, and sleep? All of these factors are important in determining how often should macros be adjusted.
Macros are very individualistic and should be tailored specifically to you, so figuring out what’s working and what’s not working within those first two weeks is key. For example, I might give a client a protein goal of 150 grams a day. Fabulous… except all that protein might not really be what’s needed for their lifestyle, and they will have trouble hitting it. I definitely don’t wany clients to feel like they need to be eating a bowl of egg whites or a ton of chicken just to hit their goal for the day! Vegetarians especially are likely not going to go from one way of eating to suddenly eating a ton of protein. That’s why those first two weeks are so important – it’s a trial and error period. It’s all about figuring out what works for you!
Once we reach four to six weeks, that’s when we will really be able to see if the current macro goals are working, and not just with the scale. Body composition, energy, and sleep are all key parts of results, too. I have an in-depth conversation with clients at this sweet spot. If a client has been losing the whole time (even if it’s a teeny amount, such as a quarter of a pound or half a pound a week), I won’t make any adjustments. As long as they’re losing and feel great doing so, then something is clearly working!
What I won’t do is cut your calories and macros really low just so that you see results fast because that’s not sustainable. Sure, you might reach your goal weight or body composition faster, but it won’t remain that way long-term. Macros are meant to be a lifestyle tool, not a diet, and eating far below the calories you need is not a practice that I preach. In fact, your metabolism will probably be a bit shocked, so once you do resume eating the way that your body needs and wants, your results won’t last.
I’m very much a proponent of the slow and steady approach, and that’s actually why I’m transitioning my nutrition coaching to longer plans. (I’m no longer offering 4- and 8-week meal plans – just 12 weeks or longer.) It’s hard to achieve long-term goals and see physical results in just four to weight weeks. To be honest, even three months is a rather short amount of time! In the future, I’d really like to work with clients for 3-6+ months, so I can really help them make long-term lifestyle changes. I don’t want people to have to keep trying diet after diet. I always say that macros might just be the last “diet” you’ll ever try, and I really mean it!
So there you have it – my answer to how often should macros be adjusted, including when and why you should reevaluate and/or adjust your macros. Of course, this is different for everyone and based on your goals and your desired results. I would say 97% of the people I work with want to lose weight and/or body fat, so that’s always something I consider when adjusting macros. Once we hit a good point where the client is feeling great and seeing positive changes, I won’t make any other major adjustments unless they hit a lengthy plateau. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
How do I adjust my macros to lose weight?
Another common question related to how often should macros be adjusted is how do I adjust my macros to lose weight? I actually get this question so often, I actually wrote a comprehensive guide to calculating your own personal macros. It provides you with the “what” and “why” behind the numbers to take control of your health once and for all. I hope you decide to check it out!
P.S. TODAY is the final day to get the Macro Start-Up Bundle! Don’t miss out. It’s perfect for jumpstarting your goals in the new year! 🙂