Self assessing body composition is never going to be extremely accurate. Even some of the most advanced pieces of technology, like a DEXA scanner, can have a few percent margin of error. That being said, there is really no point to knowing down to the gram, how much body fat you have or precisely what percent body fat you are. You might be thinking “but don’t I need to know that to calculate my macros?”. Well, yes and no. I’ll explain why.
There is variability from person to person when it comes to nutritional needs (even with the same training stimulus, body weight, body fat percent, and goal) and no calculator will nail it 100% of the time. What we really need is a good starting point and the guidance to adjust appropriately based on our progress.
Even as coaches, the first nutrition plan for any client is really just a “best guess” based on the information we gather through the intake forms and our experience. After that is when the real skill comes in to play. Adjusting to fit the individual based on how they respond.
You don’t win any prizes for hitting a specific body fat percent. All you really care about is how you look, right?
No one cares if you’re 9.372% body fat or 10% or 11%. As long as you can see your abs and maybe some veins nobody is going to be like “you could really stand to lose another .4% body fat bro”.
The goal of this article is to give you some general tips to get you in the ballpark so that when you start using the nutrition calculators for the N1 Training Programs the calories and macros are at least pretty close to where you should be. As long as you’re not putting in 10% when you’re really 15-16% you should be ok. If we can get you to estimate relatively close to your actual body fat and give you some tools on how and when to adjust, you’ll be right on track. Even if you’re off to begin with, if you follow the guidelines for adjusting as you go, you’ll get to where you need to be it will just take slightly longer.
What we are really trying to figure out in order to more accurately calculate your macronutrient needs is how much lean body mass you have. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to do any math. The nutrition calculators take care of all of that for you.
So let’s get started.