Part 2 is here, WHOO HOO. If you haven’t checked out part 1 –> GO. In this one, I’m going to focus on what to consider when you increase your macros, when/how often I increased and by how much I increased my macros each time. The best way I can think to do this is to give you the basic information first, and then just jot down the outline of the timeline as an example of what it looked like for me. Again, this is what worked for ME, you need to find what works for your body. But this is a tool you can hopefully use to learn the basics and then apply to your life. As always, let me know if you have any specific questions!
Factors to Consider:
Most people think the scale is the most important factor, and it can play a big role, but it’s not the whole thing. To start, you’ll want to weigh yourself every morning (or at least most mornings) and keep a journal somewhere where you write the information down each day. Every day there are going to be fluctuations based off of things such as hormone levels (how near you are to the time of the month), sleep (or lack of), digestion issues, water intake, sodium intake/bloating, stress, food, etc. This isn’t to stress you out, this is to help you realize that just because you jumped .5 pounds overnight, does not mean your food intake is too high. The beauty with bulking too is if you do gain a little too fast, you’re still on track because the point is to gain weight–you just know to slow it down going forward.
Other factors to consider besides just your weight is your hunger levels (are you hungry when you go to bed or are you still stuffed when you wake up the next morning?) and your strength/performance in the gym. Eating more won’t magically bump up your performance, but theoretically eating the extra calories should allow for more muscle to be built and therefore increase gym performance on a big-picture scale. For example, my scale was doing some wacky things at one point, telling me that I had gained almost 3 pounds in one week, which I know was not physically possible (I’m also dealing with a lot of hormonal and digestive issues which play a huge role in this too). I didn’t restrict my food, instead I focused on how I felt and gave myself another week to see how it would pan out. There were times my scale was going up like crazy yet after two weeks at the same macros, I was still slightly hungry some nights so I decided it was time to increase.
When/How Often to Increase:
There is no arbitrary number, it’s really going to depend on the person and your individual progress. The rough estimate is every 1-3 weeks, preferably around the 2-3 week range. This gives your body enough time to adapt to the prior macro increase which then allows you to decide how to move forward. If your weight has roughly stayed the same (I used the scale of within the same .5-1 pound) for at least 1.5 weeks, then consider it time to increase the macros. However, still listen and pay attention to the other cues because some circumstances may call for slightly adjusted approach.
By How Much to Increase:
Last, but certainly not least, how much do you increase by each time? Again not a straightforward answer because it highly depends on the person. A good range that I aimed to follow was around 100 calories at first. but more recently I’ve been wanting to step up my game and have being doing 200 calories. This will depend on how much your weight has fluctuated, how close you are to your goal, how high of macros you already are at (i.e. it may be easier to jump from 2300 –> 2500 then from 3000 –>3200). Try either 100 or 200 at first, and then you can decide from there whether that seemed too much or too little.
As far as the individual macro breakdown, there is a general rule of thumb, but you need to find what your body works best on (carbs vs. fats. vs protein). Generally, you’ll increase your fat anywhere from 2-5 g (18-40 calories); increase your carbs anywhere from 10-30 grams of carbs (40-120 calories) (this can vary heavily depending on what stage you are at and your goals); and increase protein either not at all or very little, maybe 3-5 grams (12-20 calories). The reason for the small protein increase is, most people choose their protein level and stick to it–I only changed mine once my weight moved to a significantly different level (my protein went from 140 to 145 to 150 and will stay here)
My Personal Journey/Experience:
Week of November 27: 348c — 140p — 72f
Week of December 4: 348c — 140p — 72f
Week of December 11: 370c — 140p — 75f
Week of December 18: 370c — 140p — 75f
Week of December 25: 370c — 140p — 75f
Week of January 1: 370c — 140p — 75f
Week of January 8: 385c — 145p — 77f
Week of January 15: 385c — 145p — 77f
Week of January 22: 385c — 145p — 77f
Week of January 29: 420c — 150p — 80f
Week of February 5: 420c — 150p — 80f