Right macro and calory targets for training goals?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum so I'm sorry if this is not the right place to post this.

I only recently started to pay some more attention to my eating habit as I have become more active again after 2 years of slack. I always did a lot of sports but when I was younger I just ate whatever I wanted. I have a question regarding the targets I set in Cronometer and if my current diet fits my personal goals, which are: cutting some body fat, building some muscles plus staying able to perform in training.

I'm a male, currently weigh 89.6 kg and am 1.93 m. I usually train 4 times a week and burn around 800-1000 calories per training session (2 x MMA, 1 x intervall running + body weight training, 1 x running + high intensity intervall training) plus the odd bycycle tour or playing some basketball here and there. My macro targets are: 25% protein, 45% carbs, 30% fat.

Currently I am runnig on an overall calory deficit because I thought that was the way to go in order to cut the fat and define my muscles. At the same time I think if I want to build more muscles I need to eat more than I burn. Is it even possible to achieve both at the same time? I would really appreciate some opinions and advice on my diet. My macros and calory budget on a typical training day looks like this:

The screenshot is from this evening, usually I will have a protein shake of about 220 calories and then go to bed eventually. Getting enough calories in is sometimes a struggle as I feel full but hungry at the same time on days like this while my budget tells me I need to get some more...


  • Hi @Timbo_Slice

    Congrats on getting back into training!

    Generally speaking, it's difficult to cut weight and build muscle at the same time. When we lose weight, we inevitably lose SOME muscle mass (eating high protein and lifting weights can help preserve muscle).

    Typically, if someone is interested in physique, I usually suggest starting with bulking, then following it with cutting.

    Right now, it seems that most of your activity would lead to leanness, which isn't a bad thing (especially from a health standpoint). This type of activity will help you to build lean muscle, which is a great starting point should you ever want to really bulk up.

    My advice would be to have a calorie target that's based on your ideal body weight, not your current weight (you can do this by changing your current weight to your goal weight under profile).

    I sometimes find that calories burned are overestimated on our devices (the more fit we get, the fewer calories we burn), so I'd eat to about ~80% of your calories burned while paying attention to hunger/fullness.

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Thank for your advice Susan, that helped already!

    One thing that I still have some trouble to understand is, how the calories are calculated based on the weight only and whether I should follow this strictly. I mean muscle is heavier than fat right? So lets say my target weight would be 90 kg, but when I gain weight in muscle the app will tell me to eat less in order to get to 90 kg again?

    Also "the more fit we get, the fewer calories we burn": you mean during activities? Or in resting state? I thought the more muscles you have the more calories you need to maintain them.

  • Here is my experience: I wanted to lose about 10 lbs without muscle loss. At the beginning of this planned diet, I got a DXA scan, which measures lean mass and fat mass. Throughout the 6 months I ate a balanced diet (American Heart Association guidelines) with reduced calories (about 250 per day) and increased protein (about 1.2 g/kg of body weight). I did strength training using weights. At the end of six months (based on a DXA body scan) I had lost 8 lbs of fat mass and 0 lbs of lean mass. I consider this a success since I did not lose any muscle.

  • Congrats, that really sounds like a success!

    I am trying something similar: reduced calories with increased protein, but with 1,5 g/kg of body weight as I am doing a lot of high intensity strength and cardio training. Let's see how this plays out.

    In this regard, one thing I noticed in the app is that it automatically scales up all the macro targets accroding to the calories burned per day. This means on some days it says I have to eat about 200g of protein which is way more than 1.5g/kg body weight and I think there is a threshold to how much protein the body can process in an efficient way. I think it would be cool if it would be possible to set such thresholds in the app.

  • @Timbo_Slice

    With regard to calories, Cronometer will recommend an intake based on your weight goal and your activity level.

    To start, I'd probably put in your goal weight (90 kg) and set your preference to "maintain weight". You can input/track activity, adjusting your calorie intake to meet your activity output. The app doesn't adjust your calorie needs based on muscle vs. fat; just absolute weight.

    "the more fit we get, the fewer calories we burn" refers to calorie expenditure during activity. For example, a new runner is going to burn more calories during a 5 km run than an experienced runner (controlling for body size).

    Fitness does significantly increase our resting metabolic rate BUT our total mass (not just muscle) is a greater determinant of calorie needs.

    A lot of people assume that those in large bodies have slow metabolisms. If they have yo-yo dieted all their life, then metabolism can be slow but generally speaking, their metabolic rate is quite high because of their total mass.

    Also, if you want to have specific targets for macronutrients, choose "fixed values" for macros (found in Settings>>Targets). This lets you set a target for protein that doesn't fluctuate based on the calories you burn.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Thank you for the explanation! I didn't know that I can set fixed values

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