The Complete Guide To Nutrition


You may have heard the classic cliché that losing weight is 70% diet and 30% exercise and we are not going to disagree. Most people fail in reaching their training goals despite putting the hard work in at the gym due to a poor diet.

An hours weight training will burn between 180 and 266 calories. A Mars bar contains roughly 230 calories.

The average person will burn roughly 100 calories for every mile ran at a good pace so running a quick half marathon will just about burn off the 1140 calories in a medium Domino’s pizza.

The role of exercise

Obviously we aren’t recommending you forgo your workout on a Monday as you chose to eat a Mars bar. Exercise is imperative to stay healthy so exercise is always positive regardless of what you consume. The role of exercise is different depending on your goals however.

If trying to gain weight and muscle, exercise is essential and we would argue more important than the measly 30% often flippantly thrown around, but imagine trying to drive a car 500 miles with half a tank of petrol, or putting diesel in a petrol engine. With regards to weight gain, exercise is pointless unless you’re (1) consuming enough calories and (2) consuming the right calories. A similar principle can be applied with weight loss too.

Time to get Mathsy (Don’t worry, not too mathsy)

Every person has a basic metabolic rate (BMR). This is defined as the amount of calories your body would burn if it were to just exist and do nothing else. Once you know your BMR, you can work out your “calorie equilibrium” (the number of calories you require to maintain your weight living your life). Exceeding your calorie equilibrium and you gain weight and vice versa if you consume less. However, not all calories are not created equal…


Macronutrients refer to the types of nutrients our bodies get. When discussing weight loss/gain, the three main macronutrients we are concerned with are protein, carbohydrates and fats

Protein is used for growth and repair but are a poor source of energy. Each gram of protein is equal to 4 calories. To read more on protein, click here.

Carbohydrates are used for energy and are used quickly. Each gram of carbohydrates is equal to 4 calories.

Fats are used to maintain good bodily function and health. It is important to understand healthy (unsaturated) fats are good for us. Fats provide slow burning energy. Each gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.

Imagine the analogy of a car once again. Fats are the oil, the coolant and lubricants that are essential to keep the car running long term. Carbohydrates are the fuel to give the car short term energy and protein is the engine that doesn’t really provide energy itself but makes the whole thing move. Okay so the analogy isn’t inspiring but it helps to show that all three are needed, even if your goal is to lose weight.

Spreadsheet anyone?

You may now be asking a few questions.

What is my BMR?

What is my calorie equilibrium?

How do I know how to split my macronutrients to achieve my goal?

Fortunately for you, one of the smart cookies here at Whey It Up is handy with Excel and has written a spreadsheet to do the maths for you.

To do this;

  • Download the spreadsheet by signing up to our mailing list via the pop-up on our homepage.
  • Replace the three yellow values with your information in the relevant column (male or female)
  • Choose the best activity level that describes you from the yellow cell drop down menu.

The example below is of a 34 year old male who weighs 70kg, is 178cm tall and exercises 3 to 5 times each week (we will ignore the 26yo female for now but the spreadsheet can be used in the same way).

In the example above, you can see the person’s BMR is 1684. This has then been automatically used to calculate 5 different possible calorie equilibriums. This person has identified the 3rd option best describes them which means they would need to consume 2610 calories to neither lose nor gain weight. They have selected “Moderate Exercise” (the third option) in the drop down menu.

To gain weight, this person should be consuming between 2871 calories and 3110 calories every day. 119g to 140g of protein should be consumed alongside 437g to 463g of carbohydrates and roughly 75g of healthy fats.

To lose weight, this person should be consuming between 2349 calories and 2110 calories every day. 264g to 237g of protein should be consumed alongside 191g to 158g of carbohydrates and around 56g of healthy fats.

The “Why?”

To gain weight, you need a calorie surplus so ensuring you are consuming more than you are burning is priority number one. So, why are these macronutrients the way they are?

The most important macronutrient is protein. A lack of protein means your muscles won’t have the nutrients they need to grow back bigger and stronger after weight training. Consuming enough protein ensures peak protein synthesis and optimal muscle growth and recovery. Research has show that a person that trains needs to consume 1.2g to 1.7g per kg of bodyweight with elite athletes sometimes consuming 2g+ per kg. Once protein requirements are calculated, we move onto fats.

Historically, fats have been cited as the enemy. Due to the 9 calories per gram, they’re an easy target when protein and carbohydrates are only 4 calories (even alcohol is only 7 calories). However, we now understand that fats don’t necessarily make us fat. The most basic analysis of fats breaks them into two categories, unsaturated or “healthy” fats, and saturated fats. Unsaturated healthy fats are required for us to stay healthy and should compromise between 15% and 30% of our diet.

The range of 15% to 30% is quite a wide one but as a rule, those more active should be closer to 15% to enable them to consume more carbohydrates whereas those less active would be better aiming towards 30%. Fortunately our spreadsheet takes account of this fact and adjusts the values accordingly. We should restrict our daily intake of saturated fats to a maximum of 10%.

The remainder of your calories should come from carbohydrates. More recently, carbohydrates have now earned a bad reputation, with diets restricting carbohydrates completely becoming popular when in fact this can be detrimental to long term weight. Studies actually show that a high protein/high carbohydrate diet is ideal for both weight loss and weight gain while maintaining a higher level of muscle mass.