DTS Basic Principle 4

The Dynamorphic Training System (DTS): A return to first principles


Sword Caduceus Logo 2-2 principle 4

     Basic Principle 4: Training Frequency and Macronutrient Ratio

The next principle in training after the first three have been met is: workout frequency.  Muscle growth only occurs while we rest.  If we train intensely every day we will soon stop making progress.  Why?

Our bodies are not given a chance to recuperate, to grow, to adapt, to compensate then overcompensate.  However you want to phrase it, training is only the stimulus, rest is where the growth takes place.  It is not just the individual muscle groups that need the rest, the entire body has to rest as well.  Every day is a kidney day…. If  you have a really intense leg workout, one for the record books, on Monday, don’t expect to come in Tuesday and break all the records in chest – even if you haven’t worked chest in a week.  The body’s response to intense resistance training is systemic.  From waste products like lactic acid, to endocrine responses to exercise, all of that gets into the blood and tells the entire body that there has been a tremendous exertion.  That’s why you should never train with weights more than every other day.  The people that you see training everyday are not only wasting time, they’re hurting their progress.  When you’re training 6 days a week, pharmaceutically unassisted, you are motivated for the first 2-3 weeks, but then you begin to fizzle out.  The reason is: you’re overtraining.  Not only is your body becoming drained, so is your mind.  You can’t focus as well, you begin dreading workouts, then you begin skipping workouts and you eventually give up – putting yourself back at square one.  Every other day training makes you mentally excited to get back in the gym because you’re rested and ready to focus fully, both on form (principle 1) and on breaking the previous week’s record (principle 2).  Mental readiness allows you to fulfill the intensity of effort principle (principle 3).  When you’re doing this right, you will probably only need 3 hrs. a week to train with weights.  Eat right and run a little and you can be in great shape for less than 5 hrs. a week.  Amazing, huh?  But you have to apply all the principles consistently.

     You need 2% of the time in your week to get into fantastic shape.  Think you can spare that much?

Nutrition principle 4:  Macronutrient ratio.  Macronutrients are those nutrients in the diet that are used as biological fuel and that play important roles in the structural and functional integrity of the organism.  There are 3 macronutrients and you already know a lot about them.  They are protein, carbohydrate, and fat.  Alcohol also provides energy but is considered a macronutrient only in college and on Sundays in the fall ;). The ratio of these macronutrients, in terms of the calories they provide, can be manipulated to enhance performance in different types of athletic endeavors, to alter our body composition, and even to enhance our mental processes.  A few numbers and definitions are needed first:

Macronutrient Kcal/g (the amount of calories per gram)
Protein 4
Carbohydrate 4
Lipid (fat) 9
Alcohol 7

My proper ratio for attempting to increase size and strength is 60/30/10.  That means that 60% of calories should come from carbohydrate, 30% from protein, and 10% from fat.  Because runners need more carbohydrate, their ratio tends to be 70/20/10.  People really trying to lose fat take their carbohydrate intake real low, which really runs down your energy for exercise.  For bodybuilders this means 40/30/30.  The Atkin’s diet tends to go down to 10/50/40.  Talk about the walking dead!  One important point here is that protein needs are a more fundamental principle (II) than macronutrient ratio, so when you do the calculations you need to adjust the percentages to the protein calories, not the protein to the percentages.  My own ratio is on the order of 60/29/11 because of this fact.  Here’s how I do the calculations:

Lean Body Mass. 185         Kcal needs = body wt. X 14 = 2590

Protein needs= LBM (185g)      Protein kcal = 185 X 4= 740       Protein % = (740/2590]) x 100 =  29%

Left over kcal after protein needs are met 2590-740= 1850

Kcal from carbohydrate = 2590 x .60 =1554             Grams carbohydrate =1554/4=388g

Kcal from fat =1850-1554= 296                              Grams fat =296/9= 33g



So I need 185 g protein, 388 g carbs, and 33 g fat per day.

Or, 31 g protein, 65 g carbohydrate, and 5 g fat per meal.  (all numbers divided by 6).

Now, you don’t have to get this technical but it is good to run the numbers and see how many grams of each macronutrient you need per meal.  Then you’ll be able to shoot for a close approximation and do extremely well.   I never measure/weight food, I just approximate – your body’s adaptive mechanisms will do the rest.

As always please feel free to provide any feedback you have on the understanding, use, and effectiveness of these principles. They are meant as a foundation to both get someone starting on a rational exercise program and as a means of reaffirming proper principles in those who have been training for years.

-Lanny Littlejohn, M.D.

DTS: Return to first principles Exercise Form and Energy Equilibrium Progressive Resistance and Protein Requirements Intensity and Meal Frequency Training Frequency and Macronutrient Ratio
DTS: A return to first principles
1 Exercise Form and Energy Equilibrium
2 Progressive Resistance and Protein Requirements
3 Intensity and Meal Frequency
4 Training Frequency and Macronutrient Ratio

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