How To Calculate Macros For Weight Loss And Muscle Gain

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How To Calculate Macros For Weight Loss And Muscle Gain

Are you trying to get the hang of macros so you can lose weight or gain muscle?

Watch this video and I’ll show you the simple process of calculating macros.

This week’s video is about macros and if you’re following a flexible dieting, if it fits their micro system, then you need to learn about macros and counting calories.

I’m an Online Nutrition Coach and I work with a lot of people at guiding them through this process.

I help them to adjust their macros as necessary and their calorie intake so that they can either lose weight or gain muscle.

Stick around to the end of this video so that I can go through the one number that most people miss when they’re calculating macros.

Let’s go through what macros are.


They are protein, carbs and fat. Protein has four calories per gram. Carbs have four calories per gram and fat has nine calories per gram.

And as a kind of side note, alcohol has seven calories per gram.

So that’s what you’re working with when we want to know how to calculate macros.

When you want to define your macros, you want to figure out what you’re going to be having in terms of protein, carbs, and fat.

Set Your Calories Up Before You Calculate Macros

But even before you do that, you need to set your calories up.

You just want to figure out what your maintenance calories are initially.

That’s your total daily energy expenditure and that’s the equation up there.

BMR + NEAT + exercise + TEF

Your basal metabolic rate plus the non exercise activity thermogenesis. That’s movement throughout the day. That’s not exercise-related plus exercise, plus the thermic effect of food.

The type of macros that you consume actually make a difference for how much your body is expanding in terms of energy to consume your food. That is a very small amount and I’ve actually got another video where I explained that process a little bit more thoroughly, but in general we want to find our maintenance calories and that’s where we want to start off.

I’m going to link up a basic calculator that you can use.

So once you’ve got your calories, I’m going to take you now through the process of going into my fitnesspal and making your adjustments.

We’re using myfitnesspal here. There are other calorie counting apps, but this is the one that I’m most familiar with. It seems to be the one that’s most popular. I use it with my clients so it’s easy. I often adjust their calories and macros directly myself and that’s how the process works for me and I’m familiar with this one. So I’m going to take you through the process of how I do this for my clients and how I do it for myself as well. I just logged in here to my fitness pal and you can see the menu bar across the top. We’re going to go into goals and that’s where you’re going to see your fitness goals.

Here’s your nutrition goal, so you’ve got calories and macros set up there. The first thing that you want to do is set up the calories like I mentioned earlier, and you want to use that calculator that I’ve included in the link below. So if you haven’t already done that, please do that for yourself. I’m going to use two examples:

One for weight loss and one for muscle gain.

How To Calculate Macros For Weight Loss

These are the requirements:

Weight loss example, it’s going to be a 39 year old female, five foot five inches and 150 and then you’ve got a muscle gain example that I’ll do second 40 year old male, five foot 11 165 pounds. So let’s start off here at the calculator. So we’ve got our female who’s 39 years old, I’m just going to switch this over. Um, she’s five foot five and we said she’s 150 pounds and we’re going to assume her exercise level is moderate.

She’s exercising four to five times per week and we’re going to calculate and this TDEE calculator does everything for you.

Her TDEE, the maintenance calories will be just under 2000 calories and it actually does the calculation for you where it says energy intake to lose weight. So a mild weight loss of about half a pound per week. That’s taking off 250 calories from the maintenance. That would mean you’re losing about half a pound.

This is the slightly quicker weight loss or want. If you want to lose one pound a week, he was subtract 500 calories each day from your maintenance and that gets you that. So we’re going to use that 1737 because we’re going to go for a mild weight loss and we’re going to enter that here.

You go back to my fitness pal, 1737 is the calories, and then you see that it’s still at 100% here, but the protein is a little lower than we want.

Using The Protein Goal When You Calculate Macros

We start off everything with the protein goal.

We said she’s 150 pounds right now. And so we’re going to have to need to increase this a little bit. So it only goes by 5% so you can go up, I would go up to about there. So she’s got 130 grams of protein, so slightly less than that one gram per day. The numbers don’t work out evenly.

You’re missing something in between here, but now you’ve got 110% you’ve got to work out those 10% you’ve got to subtract them somewhere. Uh, and it all depends on what you want to do here. I would naturally kind of bring this down and this is a perfectly good setup here.

So 130 grams of carbs, 77 grams of fat, and that is their 30 40 and 30% split. You can change this if you want to go on a very low carb diet, you can reduce this even by another 5% and that means that you just have to increase this one by 5% so again, you’re coming up to a hundred percent.

How To Calculate Macros For Muscle Gain

Now we’re going to do the weight gain example.

This is going to be our 40 year old male.

I’m going to go back to the calculator.

Here’s our 40 year old male and he is five foot 11 inches. And we said he’s 165 pounds.

We’re going to also assume now let’s make them active daily exercise three to four times a week, and we’re going to calculate that.

His TDEE would be 2605. That’s the number of calories he needs to maintain his weight, but he wants to increase weight.

He’s going to put it on muscle mass.

And you can actually slide down here and it said mild weight gain. So just about half a pound, 28 55 calories. If you wanted to do a little bit faster than it would be 3105 so that’s an extra 250 calories per day. That’s an extra 500 calories per day.

We’re going to use the mild weight gain. 2855 is the amount of calories that he’s going to have.

We go back to my fitness pal and we’re going to use those numbers.

Setting The Protein Goal

We’re going to take a look at the protein. We always go to the protein first. And we said that this gentleman, if you go back to this information, this gentleman is 165 pounds. So we started around, so 165 grams would be that one, a one gram of protein. So let’s drop this down a little bit. Let’s see what this does. Okay, so one 78 that’s still even higher than he probably needs.

We’re going to drop it down. 1043 so that’s about right. He’s 165 pounds, 143 grams of protein.

That drops it down to about 20% cause his calorie intake is quite significant. Now let’s see, he needs to increase something by about 10%. So in this case, let’s pop up those carbohydrates. So he gets to have 250 grams of carbs per day.

How To Calculate Macros And Using Percentages

And this is how the split works out. His protein, it’s actually a lower percentage.

You can play around with these.

This is a good starting point for this particular individual.

From week to week, you would be monitoring what you’re taking in and trying to follow as best you can and then you want to assess what’s happening afterwards. But you can play around with this however you feel most comfortable. If you want to do a much lower carb diet, again, we keep the protein the same, we reduce the carbs and then we would have to increase the fat level.

So that equals 100% again. So there you see how the grams would work out and this is how the percentage, the calories always remained the same.

As you start to use my fitness pal more regularly, you’re going to see that some things are in measuring quantities and some things are in weights.

How To Measure To Calculate Macros

It’s very useful for you to have some stuff that you can measure with.

Obviously you’re not going to be using that all the time, but at least when you’re starting out you want to get an a rough idea before you start to eyeball.

I’m going to show you very quickly the kind of setup that I’ve got in my kitchen so that I can measure things up.

What To Use To Measure When You Calculate Macros

I’ve got these little little measuring cups. This is a quarter cup. And this one I find really useful if I measuring nuts for instance, cause I don’t like to have a large servings of nuts. There’s larger ones of course. So if you’re having carbs, this is half cup so that can also be useful. Um, and of course I’ve got a couple of those and the largest ones here, I’ve got a couple of full cups.

For certain things you’ll want to have a larger serving set for other things you want to keep.

The serving side is very small so you can either get, this one’s actually one eighth of a cup for even smaller things. For some people this is a, a better serving for nuts and that’s probably something that you want to be using.

How To Weigh Food

And the other thing I’m going to show you here in my kitchen is what we sometimes use to measure.

I’m just going to pull out this scale here.

This is just a simple scale to weigh your food and turn it on here.

Just zeros itself. And I can use it. Let’s say for this apple and it’s weighing in grams. It’s 193 grams.

If I take this off, I’ll just show you can reset it cause you probably don’t want to put your food on there all the time. So you’re just going to put the plate on there, then zero it, now it’s at zero. And then you put your Apple or whatever food you’re going to be measuring and then you get the weight of that food in total. So that’s taking you through the process of my fitness pal and then how you need to weigh and measure.

What Most People Forget When They Calculate Macros

Fiber is really, really important. Men should be getting 38 grams per day.

Women should be getting about 25 grams per day.

It’s really important that you hit those targets and you might have to add that to myfitnesspal. It’s not actually in the default.

Why Is Fiber Important When You Calculate Macros?

You want to make sure that you’re tracking your fiber on top of protein, carbs, and fat. If you’re not doing that, you’re missing out on a really important nutrient. So fiber lowers your cholesterol levels, it improves your digestion.

What’s Great About Fiber?

The foods that have fiber tend to have a lot of micronutrients. So a lot of vitamins and minerals that are really important for your health. And we want to do our weight loss or muscle gain in a healthy way. So this is something that you really need to pay attention to. The things that have fiber, when you’re thinking about fruits and vegetables, some whole grains, they have a lot of nutrients that are good for you.

Healthy Weight Loss And Muscle Gain

In general, if you don’t track your fiber and you just have a low fiber diet, then it’s not as healthy a diet for you. So you want to follow a nutrition plan that kind of makes sense. That is healthy fiber is actually thermogenic as well.

At the beginning we talked about the thermic effective food. The foods that are more fibrous take a little bit more energy, so more, more energy by your body to consume. They’re actually burning more calories in terms in order to consume that fiber. So if you forgot about fiber, please do admitted by commenting below.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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