There is a lot of confusion about Macros and how to calculate them. First of “macros” is short for macro-nutrients which include dietary carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Alcohol is a fourth macro, but it is not usually budgeted for on it own and its consumption typically comes at the expense of the carbohydrate allotment. The best way to setup your macro split is to know how your total calorie intake needs and then going from there. Let’s get started, keep in mind this is a very generic guide to get you started.
Total Calorie Intake Goal
Since the focus today is on calculating macros we’re not going to cover too much on calorie intake other than to go over how to calculate your calorie intake goals. Your goal calorie intake is = In real terms, 0.7% body-weight loss was achieved via a daily deficit of 3.2 calories per lb of total bodyweight (or 7 calories per kg of total bodyweight). At this rate, your goal calorie intake = Total Daily Energy Expenditure – (Bodyweight in pounds * 3.2k calories).
You should always start with your protein intake as a lot of research shows that adequate protein intake is the main factor in achieving body weight and composition goals. One gram of protein per pound of body weight (1 g/lb) or 2.2 grams per kilogram (2.2 g/kg) is the traditional recommendation for protein intake. However, this can be considered the upper bound of target intake, with the suggested range spanning 0.45-1g/lb (1.0-2.2g/kg) of total body weight. We recommend 0.8g/lb.
Fats are essential for your metabolism, brain function, and hormone production among other things. The fat portion of our diets probably has the most controversial and misinformation out of all the diet publications available. Don’t be fooled, fat calories are important and you do need them. After you meet your essential fatty acids the rest of the allocation for fat intake can be determined by personal preference. A general rule of thumb and good starting point is 0.4g-0.5g/lb (0.9-1.1 g/kg) of total body weight.
Now that you have your proteins and fats sorted out we have to look back at your total calorie intake. The final piece which will tie it all together is your carb intake, and the way you get there is by subtracting your protein and fat intakes from your calorie intake. Whatever is left will be your cab intake. The formula for your goal carb intake in grams = [Goal calories – (P*4 + F*9)] ÷ 4 where P and F are target grams of protein and fat, respectively. This result can range from 0.0-2.2g/lb (0-4.8g/kg) of total body weight and beyond depending on performance needs and personal preference.
Confused? Let’s go over an example for our imaginary friend name Joe. Joe is a 21 year old weighing in at 185lbs and is 6’0. Joe works out 3x a week and has a Total Daily Energy Expenditure of 2583. Joe wants to lose some fat and gain muscle so he’s trying to hit 2007 (Formula is [2583(TDEE) – [180(Joe’s bodyweight) * 3.2]]). If Joe follows our plan that means he should aim for 144g of protein, 72g of fat, and 200g of carbs.
Hope that helps! If you have any questions just leave your comments below. Happy macros!