How to Count Macros
A vital part of your fitness journey is to know how to count macros (protein, fats, carbs, and fiber) to achieve your body composition goals. But before we can move forward, we must first find out the number of calories you burn in a day or TDEE. You can find that on our “How to lose weight” post.
So now that you know your TDEE, we can start setting up your macros.
Let’s use this example. Bill has a TDEE of 2900 calories.
- He can either eat more than his TDEE to gain weight.
- Eat less than the TDEE to lose weight.
- Eat the same as your TDEE to maintain your weight.
To gain weight, Bill would add 500 calories a day to your TDEE to gain 1 pound a week. To lose weight, Bill would want to subtract 500 calories to lose a pound a week.
When it comes to losing weight, you don’t want to lose more than 2 pounds a week. Losing more than 2 pounds a week increases the risk of losing muscle. We want to preserve our muscles. So back to our example.
Bill has a TDEE of 2900 and wants to lose 1 pound a week to preserve as much muscle as possible. First, we subtract his TDEE by 500. 2900-500= 2400 calories a day. Now we can start setting up his macros.
- Four calories per 1 gram of protein
- 20-30% thermogenic effect
- .8 grams to 1.2 grams per lb of body weight.
In this case, we will use 1.2 g/lb. If Bill weighs 190 lbs, we will multiply 190 x 1.2= 228 grams of protein per day. Then we multiply 228 x 4 (the calorie value of protein), and that gives us …912 calories. 2400-912 leaves us with 1488 calories left to be split between carbs and fats.
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- Fats should comprise between 20-30% of your calories.
- Nine calories per gram
- 0%-3% thermogenic
- Do not eat fewer than 20% percent of your calories from fat. Doing so will cause all kinds of shenanigans in your body. From Missing your period, to nutrient malabsorption, to name a few.
In this case, we would multiply 2400 x .25 (this is the percentage of calories from fat) this gives us 600 calories from fat. Now we divide 600 by 9 and that gives 67. In this case, we will use 67 grams of fat. This total brings our calories to 1512 calories (912 calories from protein + 600 calories from fat), and now 888 calories are left for carbohydrates.
- Four calories per gram
- The primary source of energy for the body.
- 5%-15% thermogenic effect
With carbs, you will use the remaining 888 calories. 888 ÷ 4 (the calorie value of carbs) =222 grams of carbohydrates.
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- ~30% thermogenic
- Aids in digestion and makes us feel fuller
- We should consume around 15 grams per 1,000 calories
Bill should be consuming between 30 and 40 grams of fiber.
228 grams of protein (38%)
67 grams of fat (25%)
222 grams of carbohydrates (37%)
30 to 40 grams of fiber
These macronutrients are an example of a balanced diet.
**** You may choose to eat less protein and more fat or carbs. Just find what fits your lifestyle and more importantly makes you happy.
If all this stuff is way too complicated for you or you hate math, use this TDEE calculator.
Now that you know how to count macros, you can finally set up your diet in a way that will allow you to reach your goals. That being to lose weight, maintain your weight, or even gain weight.