NASM's Macronutrient Plan for Adults/Athletes


"The primary function of protein is to build and repair body tissues and structures. It is also involved in the synthesis of hormones, enzymes, and other regulatory peptides. Additionally, protein can be used for energy if calories or carbohydrate are insuffi cient in the diet."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p438

"Proteins must be broken down into the constituent amino acids before the body can use them to build or repair tissue or as an energy substrate. The fate of the amino acids after digestion and absorption by the intestines depends on the body’s homeostatic needs, which can range from tissue replacement or tissue addition to a need for energy."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p439

"If protein intake exceeds the need for synthesis and energy needs are met, then amino acids from dietary protein are deaminated, and their carbon fragments may be stored as fat. Among Americans, protein and caloric intakes are typically well above requirements, allowing protein to contribute significantly to individuals’ fat stores."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p440-441

"There are several factors that affect protein requirements, including an individual’s daily exercise and physical activity levels, daily caloric consumption, body- composition goals, and sports-performance goals.

Both anaerobic and aerobic exercise can affect protein requirements in different ways. Exercise increases the oxidation of amino acids as well as the rate of protein turnover in lean body mass during recovery. Because different types of exercise have specific effects, an individual participating in both types of exercise may have a need for protein greater than someone involved in only one.

Because protein can be used for tissue repair and synthesis as well as for energy, protein requirements will increase as total energy intake decreases. As total caloric intake is reduced, energy needs may no longer be satisfied by carbohydrate and fat intake alone, necessitating that protein be used to provide energy. The goal is to satisfy the majority of energy needs with carbohydrate and fat, saving protein for tissue repair and growth. This is why carbohydrates are often referred to as protein sparing. If one does not eat adequate amounts of carbohydrate and fat (as is often seen in low-calorie or low-carbohydrate diets or during physique-competition preparation), more protein will be used for energy by default. Individuals interested in general fat loss or muscle hypertrophy have erroneously mimicked the acceptable use of a high-protein diet by a physique competitor. However, under the proper circumstances, these diets, when used temporarily, can be effective."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p442

"A hypocaloric diet establishes less-than-optimal glycogen stores, and when this is combined with increased glycogen demand during exercise, protein’s energy utilization is increased. The amount of lean body mass lost in persons in a negative energy balance can be reduced by increasing the amount of protein in the diet, leading to a more rapid return to nitrogen balance. A number of studies show that an increase in protein utilization during a hypocaloric diet will produce effects that can be exacerbated by exercise."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p443

"Individuals seeking fat loss may benefit from the satiating properties of protein to feel full and energized throughout the day. This can assist clients in program adherence.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8g/kg/day. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for protein intake for an adult is 10 to 35% of total caloric intake."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p444

Activity Level


Strength Athletes

Endurance Athletes

Daily Grams of Protein per kg

0.8 (0.4 / lb.)

1.2 - 1.7 (0.5 - 0.8 / lb.)

1.2 - 1.4 (0.5 - 0.6 / lb.)


"Carbohydrates are a chief source of energy for all body functions and muscular exertion. This fact leads to a rapid depletion of available and stored carbohydrates and creates a continual craving for this macronutrient. Carbohydrates also help regulate the digestion and utilization of protein and fat.

When total caloric intake exceeds output, any excess carbohydrate, dietary fat, or protein may be stored as body fat until energy expenditure once again exceeds energy input."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p447

"Carbohydrate availability is vital for maximal sports performance. When performing high intensity, short-duration activity (anaerobic), muscular demand for energy is provided for and dependent on muscle glycogen. During endurance exercise (aerobic) performed at a moderate intensity (60% of maximal oxygen consumption [VO2 max]), muscle glycogen provides approximately 50% of energy needs. During high-intensity aerobic exercise (greater than 79% of VO2 max), it yields nearly all of the energy needs.

Duration of exercise also affects the amount of glycogen used for energy. As duration of activity increases, available glucose and glycogen diminish, increasing the reliance on fat as a fuel source."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p448

"A diet containing 6 - 10 g/kg/day of carbohydrate (2.7 - 4.5 g/lb), is recommended. According to the Institute of Medicine, the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for carbohydrate intake for an adult is 45 - 65% of total caloric intake. Complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables) should constitute the majority of calories because of their nutrient-dense (providing B vitamins, iron, and fiber) nature.

The amount of carbohydrate in the diet can affect performance. High-carbohydrate diets increase the use of glycogen as fuel, whereas a high-fat diet increases the use of fat as fuel. However, a high-fat diet results in lower glycogen synthesis. This is of particular concern if the individual is consuming a reduced-energy diet. For the endurance athlete, a carbohydrate-rich diet will build glycogen stores and aid in performance and recovery. Although some studies show an increase in performance associated with the consumption of a high-fat diet, these improvements are seen in exercise performed at a relatively low intensity (< 70% of VO2 max). As the intensity of exercise increases, performance of high-intensity exercise will ultimately be impaired.

It is recommended that the individual consume a high-carbohydrate meal 2 to 4 hours before exercising for 1+ hours. This will allow time for appropriate gastric emptying before exercise. This is especially helpful for morning workouts when glycogen stores are lowered by as much as 80%."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p449

"Consuming 1.5 g per kg of carbohydrate within 30 minutes of completing exercise is recommended to maximize glycogen replenishment. Delaying carbohydrate intake by even 2 hours can decrease total muscle glycogen synthesis by 66%. The postworkout environment may hasten glycogen repletion as a result of increased blood flow to the muscles and an increased sensitivity of the cells to the effects of insulin. Additional meals of 1.5 g per kg of carbohydrate every 2 hours are recommended to completely restore muscle glycogen.

Carbohydrate should generally make up the highest percentage of macronutrient calories when one is attempting fat loss or muscle gain."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p450


"Lipids (fats) are the most concentrated source of energy in the diet. 1g of fat yields ~ 9 calories when oxidized, furnishing 2x + the calories per gram of carbohydrates or proteins. In addition to providing energy, fats act as carriers for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, making it available to body tissues, particularly to the bones and teeth. Fats are also important for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A. "

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p454

"According to the Institute of Medicine, the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for fat intake for an adult is 20 to 35% of total caloric intake. Athletes are recommended to consume 20 to 25% of total calories from fat, but there appears to be no health or performance benefit to consuming less than 15% of energy from fat. Conversely, higher-fat diets are not conducive to successful weight loss or maintenance and appear to increase the ease with which the body converts ingested calories to body fat.

It is metabolically inexpensive to convert dietary fat to body-fat stores. Only 3% of the calories in fat are required to store it as fat. In contrast, it takes 23% of the calories in carbohydrate to convert it to body fat."

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p455

TDEE Estimation

Step 1. Weight (lbs) x 10 = RMR
Step 2. RMR x activity factor = TDEE

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, p437
Activity LevelDescriptionValue
Very Lightno vigorous activity 1.2 - 1.3
Low30 min of moderate activity 1.5 - 1.6
Active 3 hours of activity 1.6 - 1.7
Heavyvigorous activities, physical labor, full-time athletes 1.9 - 2.1

Note: For a diet or surplus (bulk) stay within a 30% increase/decrease of the TDEE.

Note: If the g / kg doesn't meet the requirement that's fine. What matters more is the macro's % of the Diet Relative TDEE.


NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.