On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing the journey to my healthy diet routine, including my calories and maintenance macros to stay lean all year.
So here’s the deal with my healthy diet routine.
At this point in my Live Lean journey, it’s on auto-pilot.
Before I share my current calories and maintenance macros to stay lean all year, let me share a quick story on how I first got to this point.
I consistently started working out in 2005.
However, I never started consistently eating the right way to achieve my ideal physique, until 2010.
So in other words, from a physique standpoint, I was getting the kind of results where you look ok in clothes.
But when the shirt came off, it looked like I simply played around in the gym, without following any workout program or nutrition plan.
In other words, I was like 72% of the people that “workout”.
My “nutrition plan” consisted of following recipes from The Abs Diet book from Men’s Health.
Remember that little orange book?
Sure the recipes were probably better than how 80% of the population eats.
But looking back at the ingredients in some of these recipes were questionable.
And I definitely had no clue about calculating macronutrients.
If I had to estimate my macronutrient breakdown back in 2005, I’d say it was close to:
On top of this, even though my goal was to build muscle back then, I’d guess I was only eating approximately 2200 calories a day.
Even though all the professional bodybuilders in my gym kept telling me that I had to eat way more food.
I was stubborn and undisciplined.
So I continued to do this for 7 years, and was super frustrated, with how far away I was still from my ideal physique.
Then it all changed in 2010, when I invested a lot of money in an online fitness coach.
The program he wrote me was decent, and I learned the importance of calculating calories and macronutrients.
But the real driver of my success was the skin that I put in the game.
In other words, my friends thought I was crazy for transferring that much money, to a complete stranger, over 3,500 miles away.
Remember, this was in 2010, when a lot of people were still scared to buy items online, even from Walmart.
But again, if I would have saw that same program for free on the internet, I wouldn’t have taken it that seriously, because I didn’t invest anything into it.
In 2010, my Live Lean journey officially began because I finally dialed in my nutrition.
When I say “dialed in my nutrition”, I simply mean, I understood the right types of foods to eat, in the right quantities, at the right time.
For the next 2-3 years, I counted calories and macros, weighed my food, and prepped all of my meals, with one cheat meal per week.
This meant, I had a daily goal of how many calories to eat, as well as goals for the macronutrient breakdown of those calories.
I weighed all my food and tracked my daily macros in a spreadsheet.
Eventually I turned the spreadsheet into the online meal planner software that we now provide all of our Team Live Lean members with.
During this muscle building phase, my coach set my macronutrient break as the following:
Although counting calories and macros may sound exhausting, I consider that investment as the required short-term pain to get to my ultimate goal of Living Lean.
Going through that process now gives me the power to go on auto-pilot and literally be able to calculate the calories and macros, just by looking at a plate.
That is one of the ultimate signs that you’re Living Lean.
Although that 40-40-20 protein/carbohydrate/fat macronutrient breakdown helped me hit my muscle building goals, it wasn’t optimal for me.
I found I added a little bit of extra fluff around my sides, I had energy fluctuations, and even though I was eating that many calories, I always felt hungry.
That’s when I started researching the paleo diet.
In 2013, I switched my macronutrient breakdown to:
This meant I lowered the calories to my maintenance level, and switched the percentages of carbohydrates and fat.
I learned a lot about how my body didn’t respond that well to that many carbohydrates.
The extra calories from the carbohydrates made me store extra water weight, they caused frequent energy crashes, and I always felt hungry with more cravings for sugar.
So from 2014 to today, I haven’t actively counted calories or macros anymore, unless it’s short-term to get ready for a photoshoot, a video project, or I have a specific goal.
As mentioned, I can roughly calculate the calories and macros just by looking at the plate.
This simply means my current goal is to maintain my current physique, not building muscle or burning fat.
However, as I say this, I weighed myself this morning and I was down 6 pounds from my optimal weight of 175 pounds.
Although my body fat % is still between 8-9%, which is my happy zone, I’m just not eating enough food lately as I’ve been super busy with work and moving into a new home.
I may be entering a muscle building phase for 2019.
In the past, I’ve showed a lot of grocery haul videos.
Based on these food haul videos, you’ll notice quite a few commonalities that are associated with my diet:
If I had to estimate my current macronutrient breakdown, it would be:
From a grams perspective, this would equal:
I truly believe having a properly structured workout program will help you start transforming your body.
But if you really want to obtain your desired physique, as fast as possible, dial in your nutrition.
The best way to do this is to follow a plan based on your goals.
I recommend you go take our Live Lean Body program selector quiz to find the best program for you, based on your goals, fitness level, and access to equipment.
All of our programs include a nutrition plan, that teaches you step-by-step, how to calculate your calories and macronutrients for your specific goals.
You’ll also get access to our private Facebook accountability group to ask us questions along with hundreds of other Live Leaners on the same journey as you.
Go take the Live Lean Body quiz here.
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Thanks for watching and keep Living Lean.
Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.