How To Calculate Your Macros In A Way That Works For You is a post that will walk you through calculating your macros. If you have any questions or problems please join our Faithfully Free Fitness Facebook Group and we will be happy to help! (This post contains affiliate links)
Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, and Alcohol.
Each gram of a macronutrient contains a specific number of calories per gram.
Protein- 4 calories per gram
Carbohydrates- 4 calories per gram
Fat- 9 calories per gram
Alcohol- 7 calories per gram
Eating 20g of protein is equal to 80 calories
Taking in 20g of carbohydrates is equal to 80 calories
Using 20g of fat is equal to 180 calories
Drinking 20g of alcohol is equal to 140 calories
Today I'm going to show you how to calculate your macros in a way that works for you! That, my friend, depends on your lifestyle, the foods you enjoy, and your hormones (if you really want to optimize your diet).
How To Calculate Your Macros In A Way That Works For You:
Once you've used the free printables and calculated your calories based on my last post How Many Calories Do I Need Each Day? you are ready to plug those calories into a macronutrient group. For today's example, I'm going to take my maintenance calories (because that is my current goal) and use them to figure out what types of macronutrients I need to eat each day.
Step 1: Always start with protein and use the calculation below. You're going to take your bodyweight times .8 or 1 and get your protein grams. Then you can take those grams and multiply them by 4 to get your protein calories.
Body Weight x .8 or 1
Example: 127lbs x .8 = 101.6g of protein OR 127lbs x 1 = 127g of protein
127g x 4 = 508 calories
Note: Some studies show that your protein intake could be as low as .64, but you would need to experiment with that and see how your body responds. It's important to note that protein can raise your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (Source: Precision Nutrition), so you may burn more calories when digesting proteins, which may make a higher protein diet more beneficial for you. (See note at the bottom of the page for an explanation of this).
Step 2: Next, choose a fat intake target between 20% - 35% of your goal calories (saturated fat at 10% or less) and divide the number by 9 to get your fat grams.
Example: 30% of 1905 (my maintenance calories) is 571 calories. Since there are 9 calories per gram of fat, I need to divide 571 by 9, and I can eat 63g of fat per day.
Step 3: Now, it's time to use the excess calories for my carbs (yay math!). Take your total calories and subtract your protein calories and fat calories from above to find your carb calories, then divide by 4 to get your carb grams.
My goal calories 1905 - protein calories 508 - fat calories 571 = 826 for carbs, divided by 4, gives me 206g of carbs.
So my macros are Protein: 127g / Fat: 63g / Carbs 206 - Easy peasy, right?
How To Calculate Your Macros Printable Worksheet:
Just because it's science doesn't mean it will work for you!
Did you see the contradiction posted above? That is one of the reasons it is so hard to know who you can trust. Many times in the health and fitness field, it feels like everything and nothing works simultaneously. Thankfully that is not the case. You have to find what works for you. When I talk about what works, I'm not just talking about scientifically. All of the information I provide will come from science-backed instruction. What I'm talking about here is best described in a scenario.
Personal Scenario Based On My Experience:
I decide that I want to go on a higher protein diet because protein raises my TDEE. What this means is that it will take more work to digest, leaving me with more calories burned by eating. Who doesn't love that? After setting my protein to 1.5g, I find that eating that much protein in a day is hard work. I have to eat three protein bars to hit my goal, and now I have a constant upset stomach. Is this method working for me?
Let's say fat keeps me feeling full longer, and I love fat. Fat makes me happy, guys, for real. The more protein I eat, the fewer calories I have left over. This means I have less room to play around with my fat and carbohydrates. I know that I crave fatty foods after I ovulate. I always make sure to get more fat in the last 14 days of my cycle. More fat means I am a happier person and more likely to stick to my diet. In these cases, higher protein would not work for me.
Just FYI: I love higher protein and carbs during my first fourteen days. After that, I switch to moderate protein and high fat during my last fourteen days. After years I have found that this works best for me! Oh, and pickles are my best friend when I'm PMSing and craving food!
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Note: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. For all health-related issues and any time, you start a new diet or fitness plan please consult your doctor first! Please review our Faithfully Free Fitness Disclaimer for more information. What is a macro? Macro stands for macronutrients and they come in four varieties.