A macronutrient, or macro is a component of nutrition that makes up the caloric content of our food.
Proteins, Carbohydrates & Fats are the three main units of energy you consume each time you eat. Once you gain an understanding of these individual macronutrients you will give yourself the flexibility to better understand your food intake and eat as you go with less restrictions!
PROTEIN – 1gram = 4 Calories
CARBS – 1gram = 4 Calories
FATS – 1gram = 9 Calories
Calculating your macros for the first time or for a new goal is just a starting point. If you calculate your macros and after a week you have not seen the results you are looking for then don’t be disheartened, you may just need better consistency and some possible adjustments. The point of tracking macros is to have a calculated intake which then allows you to make any adjustments depending on your weekly progress. Don’t overthink it, just find an intake that is calculated according to your body and is suited to your goals & go from there.
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR MACRO’S
1. Calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
The amount of calories your body burns at rest is literally the amount of calories your body would burn if you were to lay in bed all day without moving at all.
Get this number by doing the following:
Body weight in Kgs x 22 = BMR calories
60kgs x 22 = 1320 So, I would be burning 1320 calories in a day if I didn’t move. This figure is what my body needs to survive.
2. Calculate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)
The amount of calories burned in an entire day depending on your physical activity
To determine this number it will depend on a scale of how physically active you are within a week.
TDEE = BMR x scale
- BMR x 1.2 Sitting or lying all day
- BMR x 1.3 Seated work, no exercise
- BMR x 1.4 Seated work, light exercise (leisurely walking for 30-50 minutes 3-4 days/week, golfing, house chores)
- BMR x 1.5 moderately physical work, no exercise
- BMR x 1.6 moderate exercise 3-5 days per week (60-70% MHR for 30-60 minutes/session)
- BMR x 1.7Active individuals (exercising 6-7 days/week at moderate to high intensity (70-85% MHR) for 45-60 minutes/session)
- BMR x 1.8 Heavy physical work and Active Individual
- BMR x 1.9-2.4 for the extremely active individuals (engaged in heavy/intense exercise like heavy manual labour, heavy lifting, endurance athletes, and competitive team sports athletes 6-7 days/week for 90 + minutes/session)
Don’t over think it, it’s a starting point so pick which one resembles your lifestyle the most. Most people sit within the 1.5-1.7 range.
Pick a number on the scale above that best reflects your weekly activity level.
BMR x 1.7 = TDEE
1320 x 1.7 = 2244
The number we now have is our calculated maintenance level. This is the predicted number of calories you would need to maintain your weight if you were exercising to the level of “1.7” on the scale.
However, you will need to tweak this according to your goals, whether that is to lose body fat or gain lean mass.
3. Calculate your calories for Lean Mass Gain or Fat Loss
The general rule is to add or subtract 500 calories from your calculated TDEE. This method is not realistic for all calorie intakes though & the use of this percentage system works best!
Fat Loss – Reduce calories anywhere from 15-25%.
15% – Conservative (TDEE x 0.85)
20% Moderate (TDEE x 0.8)
25% Very aggressive and not recommended (TDEE x 0.75)
2244 x 0.8 = 1798 calories per day for Fat Loss.
Mass Gain – Increase calories anywhere from 5-15% or more
5% Conservative (TDEE x 1.05)
10% Moderate (TDEE x 1.1)
15%+ Aggressive (TDEE x 1.15)
2244 x 1.1 = 2468 total calories per day for mass gain
Stick with moderate scales to start with because you can always adjust calories if needed. The aim would be to lose fat on as many calories as possible, or to gain mass with as little fat gain as possible.
Now that we have calculated the daily caloric intake it’s time to find out the macro split.
Using the number obtained from the Fat Loss Calculation.
4. Calculating Protein Intake
1.8-2.8g per Kg Or 0.8-1.25g per LBS
These are large ranges and they vary depending on the individual but also a preference to how much protein one likes to eat. Generally best yo base this off targeting 4-5 doses of 25-40g protein per day. Hence, the minimum would be 100g of protein.
(Preference to use the higher end of the scale) from 2-2.6g per kg.
60kg x 2.5 = 150 grams of PROTEIN
150 x 4 = 600 calories from PROTEIN
5. Calculating Fat Intake
Fat intake is largely dependent on personal preference. To put it simply if you like to eat more fat then use a higher percentage, if you like to eat more carbs then use a lower fat percentage.
15-40% of total calories should come from fat. However do not go any lower that 0.5g of fat per KG when losing body fat. You need fat for your hormones to function optimally, I’m talking to you ladies!
(Personal preference) 25-30% of calories from fat.
The TDEE was 1798 for fat Loss
Fat calories = 1798 x 0.3 = 539 calories of FAT
Fat = 9 calories per gram
539 divided by 9 = 59 grams of FAT
6. Calculating Carbohydrate Intake
So how many calories do we have left? We simply take the TDEE and take away the calculated calories from PROTEIN & FAT.
1798 – 600 – 539 = 659 calories remaining
659 divided by 4 = 164g of CARBOHYDRATES
…and you are DONE!
From here YOU can hit your MACRO intake by tracking your food in an app such as My Fitness Pal. And then adjust your macros according to your weekly progress!
Article Credit: Amy Stewart