One of the most common questions we get on nutrition is, how much should I eat? I will aim to answer this bearing in mind that this is an incredibly simplified version of nutrition and that nutrition needs vary by person. But, this will be a great starting point for many.
We take a flexible approach to nutrition, meaning we don’t get too neurotic about food choices. However, we do recommend sticking more nutrient dense foods, a la “Paleo” and avoiding empty calories like breads and sugars. Eat meat, veggies, and starches and you’ll be 90% of the way there.
But this post is about how much to eat, not food choices, which we can discuss at length at another time.
Foods can be broken down into 3 major macronutrients. Protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram, fat is 9 calories per gram.
A balanced diet will consist of all 3 macronutrients, with variations based on activity levels etc.
So how do we decide how much food to eat?
Let’s first establish a baseline for calories based on your Basal Metabolic Rate and activity level. Even CrossFitting, our activity level is usually lower than we think. The “lightly active” multiplier is usually sufficient.
After that I usually ascribe the 40/30/30 rule. That is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fat.
Take for example an individual who needs 2500 cals per day.
- 40% carbs = 250g carbs (2500 x 0.4 / 4).
- 30% protein = 187.5 g protein (2500 x 0.3 / 4).
- 30% fat = 83 g fat (2500 x 0.3 / 9).
That’s a basic starting point for anyone changing their nutrition. If you are more active you may need more carbs and less fat, if you are less active, more fat and fewer carbs. We can also lower the protein for some.
The key to any change is consistency. If you make a change, stick with it for 2 weeks. Weigh and measure your food so you know exactly how much you’re eating. If you haven’t seen progress in those two weeks, then make an adjustment.
If you need further nutrition guidance, check out our nutrition coaching program. We can get you on the right track.