When creating a new program in “coached” mode, you’ll be presented with a series of choices. The first such choice relates to the general structure of your program, which can take the form of balanced, low-fat, low-carb, or keto.
When creating MacroFactor, we wanted to empower users to select diet options that fit their preferences, rather than nudging them toward our preferred style of eating. As such, we offer a wide range of coached programs.
Given the role that carbohydrates play during training programs involving reasonably high training intensities and volumes, the low-fat option is often considered a performance oriented approach because it favors high-carb intake while never setting fat intake below the calculated “lower limit” (for more information on the lower limit, see our knowledge base entry about dietary fat).
Of course, many people prefer lower-carb approaches, and we want to accommodate that. We offer a low-carb setting, which tends to cap daily carbs at around 30% of total calories, or <200 grams per day (depending on your individual circumstances and energy needs). The keto setting takes this even further, leading to very low carb intakes that are compatible with a state of nutritional ketosis.
Finally, our “balanced” setting can be viewed as a bit of a default setting. It’s for the dieter who prefers a fairly balanced diet that doesn’t skew heavily in favor of carb restriction or fat restriction.
The nice thing about the program building process is that decisions are not necessarily final. If you build a program and the carbs are lower than you like, you can switch over from low-carb to balanced, or balanced to low-fat. If the carbs are higher than you like, you can work your way down the list from low-fat to balanced to low-carb to keto.
The next decision you’ll make relates to your “calorie floor.” This is basically a safeguard you can opt into, which ensures that your calorie recommendations never drop too low for comfort. Obviously, if you drop your calories too low for too long, there can be unfavorable impacts related to your health, safety, and lifestyle. Our “standard” floor is 1200 kcal/day, but this might be too high for people on the lower end of the energy expenditure spectrum. Our “low” floor is unique to the individual, and is based on the lowest levels of protein, fat, and carbohydrate required to maintain basic physiological functions for moderate periods of time. Of course, we do give you the option to opt out of calorie floors entirely, but the decision to reduce the calorie floor below standard should not be taken lightly, and those who choose to adjust the calorie floor should proceed with caution.
Next, you’ll indicate the type of exercise training you’ll be doing throughout the program. You can indicate that you’ll be lifting regularly, doing cardio regularly, doing both, or doing no structured exercise. This predominantly impacts our protein recommendations, which can vary pretty substantially based on the type of exercise you’re doing.
The next decision relates to whether you prefer an even or uneven distribution of calories throughout the week. If you choose “distribute evenly,” you’ll have the same calorie and macro targets all seven days of the week. If you choose “shift calories,” you’ll have the option to shift extra calories to specific days of the week, while staying within your weekly calorie budget. For example, you might want to shift some extra calories to Tuesday and Friday based on your workout schedule, or you might want some extra calories on Saturdays due to a regular social event. No matter the reason, you have the option to move some extra calories around while staying on track with your goal. By default, the calorie shifts on “coached” plans are quite modest. If you prefer more aggressive calorie shifting, a “collaborative” plan may be right for you.
Finally, you’ll have the option to designate your preferred level of protein intake. If you select the “moderate” or “high” categories, you’ll be comfortably within the middle-to-high end of the optimal protein range based on your goals and characteristics. Having said that, a lot of people really enjoy going even higher with their protein than is absolutely necessary. This is typically because it fits their food preferences better, or they are very concerned about the slightest possibility of a suboptimally low protein intake, or they find it to be a useful strategy for hunger management. Whatever the reasoning may be, MacroFactor users are free to select the “extra high” protein category. On the other hand, some people have a preference for low-protein diets, and we want to accommodate those users. So, we offer the “low” protein option, which reduces the protein recommendation to the lowest value that we would recommend given the individual’s goals and training habits.
If you tap “get program,” you’ll receive a customized macro plan that is tailored to your goals, characteristics, and preferences. Before you hit “start program,” take a look at your macros and consider how they fit your preferences and lifestyle. If you want to reassess some of your decisions, you can always use the “back” arrow to change your answers as needed. Once you’re satisfied with your selections, all you need to do is tap “start program” and the process is complete.