Hi, thank you in advance for the help. My name is Abhilash (a 26-year-old male) and I wanted to find the macro breakdown for my goals. I’m 153 lbs., my height is 5’11”, and my body fat percentage is at 13%. My goal is to get shredded. Thanks again!

– Abhilash


The anthropometrics you provided indicate an already lean build, Abhilash. But I’ll agree 13% body fat may not give you a fully ripped look. Defining musculature more is a combination of building up muscle then leaning out. It’s not clear what your current workout regimen is and if you’ve gained lean body mass (LBM) already and are looking to now drop fat.  

Let’s assume you want to look bigger rather than smaller. So, to gain say, 10 lbs of muscle you’d start with a long bulking phase which may mean putting on more like 15 total pounds. Then follow it with a shorter reduction phase to drop down to ~10% body fat (BF) for the shred you’re aiming for [current 133# LBM + 10# = 143# LBM; at 159 lbs = 10% BF].  


Initially you’ll need to add calories to promote anabolism while you amp up your strength training. Your calculated energy needs for this would fall in the range of 2800-3000 calories per day, a modest increase over present. Ingesting the maximum recommendation of 2 gm protein/kg target body weight to support muscle growth would give 153 gms, which equates to 21% from protein. The remaining energy can be broken down into 49% carbohydrate and 30% fat. [These macronutrients equate to 355 gm carb, and 97 gm fat at the midrange of 2900 calories.] Partition a quarter of the total for pre-workout and recovery nutrition and the rest for your meals and other snacks. 


Retaining muscle while dropping fat is the new goal for the reduction phase, entailing a generous cut in energy intake to 2200-2400 calories per day while you increase aerobic exercise. Maintaining the level of protein at 153 gms would equate to 27% protein. At the midrange of 2300 calories, 48% carbohydrate and 25% fat calculate to 276 gm carb and 64 gm fat. Again, remember to support your workouts and fuel exercise as a priority. Now more than ever nutrient timing and quality of those macronutrients makes a difference. While you may have previously enjoyed the occasional fried food and alcoholic drink, say ‘goodbye’ to those now.  

Read up elsewhere in the Lifestyle blog for creating 6-pack abs, building arm muscles, and increasing metabolism. 

Recommended Reading: 

Helms, E. R., Aragon, A. A., & Fitschen, P. J. (2014). Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11, 20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-20 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


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