How much protein and macronutrient do bodybuilders need on a caloric deficit?

While traditionally recommended protein intakes are likely appropriate for athletes during energy balance or surplus, there are potential benefits to exceeding this amount during periods of energy deficit. Recommendations from systematic review and doctoral dissertation on dietary protein and macronutrient intake in lean bodybuilders during caloric deficit by Eric Helms (3dmusclejourney).

After caloric intake is established based on the time frame before competition (Turocy et al., 2011), body composition of the athlete (Elia et al., 1999; Forbes, 2000; Hall, 2007a), and keeping the deficit modest to avoid FFM (fat free mass) losses (Garthe, Raastad, Refsnes, et al., 2011; Mero et al., 2010), macronutrients can be determined within this caloric allotment. A protein intake within the range of 1.8-2.7g/kg (Phillips & Van Loon, 2011) or 2.3-3.1g/kg of FFM should be set and scaled up within this range if the athlete has a leaner body composition and when or if a higher volume of training is prescribed. Fat intake should be in the range of 15-30% (Bird, 2010; Lambert et al., 2004) of calories, and remaining calories should come from carbohydrate. If training performance degrades it may prove beneficial to decrease the percentage of calories from dietary fat within these ranges in favour of a greater proportion of carbohydrate.


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