Alan Ritchson next to a pile of empty plates

What Does Eating 4,000 Calories a Day Look Like? Alan Ritchson Swears By This Trick

The actor says it’s all about the macros.
By Rebekah Harding
May 21, 2024

Reacher leading man Alan Ritchson is shredded for Season 3, all thanks to a grueling fitness protocol—which includes working out five days a week—taking TRT, and eating a lot of food. Yep, you read that last part correctly. 

In an interview with Men’s Health, Ritchson says he eats around 4,000 calories each day. But what exactly is he eating to maintain his Herculean physique? 

“People are obsessed with what I eat,” Ritchson says, laughing, in a recent video on Instagram. “I’ll tell you.” 

He shows one of his go-to meals—chicken, rice, and steamed vegetables (with a cookie for dessert)—which he says offers “balanced macronutrients” for building muscle. 

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A post shared by Alan Ritchson (@alanritchson)

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the essential nutrients your body needs to function optimally—including carbohydrates, protein, and fats—says Lena Bakovic, M.S., R.D.N. Many athletes track how much of each macronutrient they’re getting daily, making sure they’re getting enough protein in their diet to build muscle and enough fats and carbohydrates to sustain energy levels. 

Macronutrient tracking doesn’t have to be restrictive, either. Technically, no food groups are off-limits. However, Bakovic notes food tracking of any kind can be harmful if you’re struggling with disordered eating, so keep that in mind.

Fitness coach Joey Swoll co-signs Ritchson’s close attention to his macro intake in the comments section, writing, “Eat healthy but at the same ENJOY LIFE. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, dessert, or cookie in your case, as long as it’s in moderation and you budget for it calorically while living an active lifestyle.”

About the Expert:

Lena Bakovic, M.S., R.D.N., C.N.S.C., is a registered dietitian with Top Nutrition Coaching. She specializes in chronic disease, weight management, and gut health.

How to Track Your Macros

When it comes to finding a macronutrient distribution that works for you, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, Bakovic says. The ratios can vary based on your medical history, how much you exercise, and your personal nutrition goals. Still, if you need a benchmark to help get you started, there are some basic guidelines you can follow. 

“Generally speaking, the majority of our energy should come from complex sources of carbohydrates, which are a primary fuel source for our brains,” Bakovic says. “That percentage can vary anywhere from 35 to 55 percent of total food intake.”

But what if you want to get jacked like Ritchson? Bakovic recommends upping your protein intake, while still including adequate carbs and fats to keep you energized. 

“For someone looking to build muscle, an example macronutrient ratio would be 40 to 55 percent from carbohydrate-containing foods, 20 to 35 percent from protein sources, and 20 to 30 percent from fats,” Bakovic says. 

To identify the ideal macronutrient ratio for your fitness and nutrition goals, consider tapping on a registered dietitian who can give you personalized recommendations. Once you agree on what ratios work best for you and your body, Bakovic recommends using a macro tracking app like MyNetDiary.

“I personally love using the app MyNetDiary with my clients,” Bakovic says. “I love that it can link the data from the client to their registered dietitian so that both parties can view the macronutrients simultaneously.”