Protein and Exercise; Macro breakdown, Ratio, and Timing

07.01.24 02:12 PM Comment(s) By Vivek Gupta

We have talked in previous posts about what macros are (big molecules that provide energy to the body: protein, fat, and carbohydrates), and how protein is the building block of the body.

In this post I want to talk about the next level: Macro breakdown, ratio, and timing.

When it comes to food, at mindful weight loss, we believe that having an approach where you can focus more on variety and less on restrictions is more sustainable. But if you are interested in something a little more than just losing weight, and more on changing your body composition (losing fat, increasing muscle), then macro ratio and timing is going to be important.

And changing your body composition will be important to maintain your metabolic rate because having more muscle means that you will be burning more calories even when you are not exercising.

To make it clear, when the human body loses weight because it is on a calorie deficit (eating less calories than needed), the body will decrease fat, water, and yes, muscle! (sad face) In other words, focusing only on calorie deficit we will lose weight and muscle, and this can affect in the long run because when we lose muscle we need less and less calories to continue to lose weight…or even to maintain the weight loss we worked so hard to achieve.

But when we lose weight eating and exercising strategically then we can maintain our muscles or even increase muscle mass and promote fat loss in the body, and this is exactly what we want. By doing this, we can maintain a high metabolic rate which is so important for weight loss and maintenance.

How much protein do we need?

Please note that when I recommend a certain amount of protein to our patients, I always calculate based on resistance training workouts, not so much cardiovascular workouts.

I suggest protein intake along the lines of the recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine, this is what I tell my patients:

If not working out: Eat .8 grams of protein for every Kg of body weight

Step one: find out how much you weight in Kilograms with a simple google conversion tool

Step two: multiply that number times .8

That is how many grams of protein you need in a day

If working out moderately (about 2-3 days per week on resistance training): Eat 1-1.2 grams of protein for each Kg of body weight.

Step one: find out how much you weight in Kilograms with a simple google conversion tool

Step two: multiply that number times 1 or 1.2

That is how many grass of protein you need in a day

If you are working out more than 3 times per week for at least 45 minutes at a high intensity, then you would need to eat around 1.5 grams of protein per Kg of body weight

Step one: find out how much you weight in Kilograms with a simple google conversion tool

Step two: multiply that number times 1.5

That is how many grams of protein you need in a day

For all 3 protocols I suggest eating most of your carbohydrates in the morning and eating equal amounts of protein throughout the day.


This is when things can get complicated and some people lose their minds trying to understand this, but do not worry, I will try to make it as simple as possible.

If you are not working out at this time, just make sure you follow this protocol:

-Prioritize protein (it will keep you full and it helps you not lose muscle as you lose weight)

-Eat unlimited fruits and vegetables 

Follow this on all your meals and you will start to find that your relationship with food starts to change, avoid thinking about “good or bad” foods, instead focus on what you can eat and start developing a positive relationship with food.

If you are working out regularly, you can follow this protocol: 40/40/30
40% of your calories should come from proteins
40% of calories from carbohydrates
30% of calories from fat


To change your body composition, eating the right amount of protein right after your workout is also important. For maximum protein synthesis, experts suggest eating 25g of protein right after finishing a workout, in other words, your muscles are sponges ready to absorb high amounts of protein in the 2 hours following a workout (I prefer to eat my protein within the hour is possible), so my suggestion is having a whey protein shake in the first hour following a high intensity resistance training workout.

It is important to note, even though this article is about protein, that your body also thrives if you eat carbohydrates immediately after your workout, since your muscles will use stored glycogen for energy during the workout, it will be super efficient at recovering those glycogen stores (made of carbohydrates) immediately after your workout. A post-workout protein shake will most likely include the right percentage of carbohydrates and protein to provide your body with the specific ratio of these important macronutrients.

Have more questions or want more help? Call now to book your Health Coach apt today!

Our patients have unlimited health coach appointments and we love helping with nutrition feedback that is based on your goals and your life.

Carla Baccio is a National-Board certified Health and Wellness coach and has a master’s degree in Exercise Science, Nutrition, and Wellness from Liberty University

Vivek Gupta

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