In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

A friend of yours suggest you to start doing exercises as your weight is increasing day to day or your weight is less than what you should have.

Someone suggest you to do macro calculation when you ask them how to do fat loss or muscle gain?

You go to and search for the macro calculator and you landed on this article.

This is the scenario?

I know, what you’ll said, it’s YES!

You may be thinking how do I know that this is happened to me? Right?

Because exact thing happen to me when I someone recommend me to start doing workout or follow a diet plan.

I search for the exactly what you search and I never came across any article that answer my all questions.

There are few good article on this topic from which I personally learnt, however, I want to make one article for my readers from my experience and how I calculate macros for me and my clients.

There are some articles which is quite hard to understand this easy topic, and that’s why I’m going to lay out the process in a way that’s very easy to understand.

This is a large post so I suggest grabbing some coffee (or beer) first!

This is how you calculate your Macro-nutrients and Calories…

Setting your Goal

The biggest factor to reaching any goal, is finding your “why”.

Finding your why is what will help you reach your goals for the long run.

When times get tough, you need something to remind yourself of what the reasoning is of why you started.

So, let’s figure out your goal, and find out why you want to reach it.

To help you really find your motivation to lose weight, I want you to use the “5 Why’s” Method.

The “5 Why’s” Method

Here’s how it works:

First, ask yourself why you want to lose fat, build muscle, be healthy, etc., and write it down.

Next, ask why you chose that answer.

Repeat that until you find the root reason.

(It may take up to 5 times to identify your specific “Why.”)

Here’s an example:

Why do I want to lose weight? “I want to be healthy.”

Why do I want to be healthy? “I don’t want to develop diabetes like my father.”

Why don’t you want to develop diabetes? “I saw how much stress it caused me and my family, and I don’t want to go through the same struggle.”

Why don’t you want to go through the same struggle? “I want to see my grandkids grow old. I want to travel the world free of sickness and pain.”

See how that works?

The more specific you can be, the better.

Once you identify your root reason(s) or “Why” for getting into fitness, staying consistent will be so much easier.

Because it won’t be driven by looks or society…

It’ll be YOUR choice.

Now its your turn.

Its important to take the proper amount of time to set your goals, and to make sure they are realistic to hit. I suggest going over your goals each week, as well as tracking your progress to see if you’re on the right track to reaching them.

A great way to do this is with weekly progress photos.

Determining Your Calorie Intake

Now that you’ve set your goals and what you’d like to achieve, let’s get started on the proper plan for you reach them! The next thing we need to find out is your calorie intake.

The first thing we need to do is find out BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).

Your BMR is how many calories your body burns while at complete rest. This means, If you lay in bed all day and did nothing all day, this would be the amount of calories you burn.

So to determine that, we are going to use this equation from the the Mifflin-St Jeor equation. It is believed to give the most accurate result.

MEN: BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height(cm) – 5 x age(y) + 5

WOMEN: BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height(cm) – 5 x age(y) – 161

Ex. using a 180lbs male, we will use the mifflin st. jeor formula to calculate the BMR. Lets say he
is a 25 year old, with a height of 5’9”.

MEN: BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height(cm) – 5 x age(y) + 5

BMR = 10 x 81.6kg + 6.25 x 175cm – 5 x 25 +5

BMR = 816 + 1093.75 – 125 + 5

BMR = 1780

A shorter way to do this if you don’t like doing the math, but less accurate, multiply your body weight by 10. ex . if you weigh 180lbs, your BMR would be around 1800 calories.

Activity Level

The next step is determining your activity level and how many calories you burn through your daily activity.

Below is a chart we’ll use to determine this:

Activity LevelMeaningMutliplier
SEDENTARYWorks a desk job and very little exerciseX 1.2
LIGHT ACTIVITYWorks a desk job but exercise a little bit (3 times a week for 30-45 min) or works a job where on feet most of the day but don't exercise very much.X 1.35
MODERATE ACTIVITYTrains moderately (3-5 days a week) and on feet most of the day at work.X 1.55
HIGH ACTIVITYTrains hard (5-6 days a week of intense training) and on feet most of the day at work. Active throughout most of the day.X 1.725

Ex. using our 180lbs male again, we will say he has a light activity level.

Maintenance calories = BMR X ACTIVITY MULTIPLIER
Maintenance calories = 1780 X 1.35
Maintenance calories = 2,403 Calories

These are the amount of calories needed to maintain his current physique.

Determine Your Goal Calories

Now we’re going to determine the proper calories needed based on your goal.


Ex. using our male again. Lets say he wants to lose fat.

His maintenance calories are 2,403. So to lose fat he would need to be in a calorie deficit of

2,403 x 23% = 1850 calories needed to lose body fat.

Using the Lean Physique Lifestyle fitness app, you can follow the steps to find out your calories based on your goal.

While going through these steps, if your goal is fat loss, I suggest starting at losing 1lb per week, and working forward from there.

The calculator takes your info from:

  • Age
  • Height
  • Body fat percentage
  • Activity level
  • Fitness goal
  • How fast you want to reach your goal

From this information, you’re going to receive your calorie and macro nutrient goals.

Calculating Your Macros

We have now calculated our daily calorie target and macros.

Its important that you learn more about macros and how to calculate them yourself.

To understand how macros are calculated from calories, you can see below for an overview.

Total calories = Protein + Carbohydrates + Fats
Protein = 4 kcal per gram
Carbohydrates = 4 kcal per gram
Fats = 9 kcal per gram

The first thing we want to calculate is protein.


We recommend finding your protein intake based on your current body fat percentage.

The leaner you are, with low body fat, the more protein you would need vs someone who has more body fat, would need less protein.

So were going to keep it simple, and use this chart.

In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories


If you’re someone who is in between high and low, you can meet in the middle.

Lets use our male example again.


Our example male would want to hit 200g of protein per day.


The next thing we need to figure out is the amount of fat per day.

First, i want to point out to never let your fat percentage be below 20% of your total calories.

I would recommend having your fats at around 25% – 30% of your calories.

Based on if you like fats or carbs more, this percentage can go up or down.

Ex . 1850 calories x 25% = 462.5 / 9 (divide by 9 since there is 9 calories per gram of fat) Fats = 52g


Lastly, we will calculate the amount of carbs we would need from the remaining calories.

To do this, we will use this equation:

Total calories – (Calories from protein + calories from fats) 1850 – (800 +468) = 530 /4 (divide by 4 since there is 4 calories per gram of carbs)

Total Carbs = 148g per day

Final Macros

Our final calories & macros are

Calories =1850
Protein = 200g
Fats = 52g
Carbs = 148g

How & When to Adjust Macros

With any diet, eventually you’re going to hit that brick wall known as a plateau.

When building muscle or losing fat, plateaus occur as a result due to metabolic adaptations which are caused by a calorie deficit, or a calorie surplus.

If you are experiencing caloric deficit, you will experience weight loss, however it will also slow down your metabolism as a result of the lessened energy requirement.

This will cause your body to demand less calories/ energy to function at this level.

It is simply your body’s metabolic adaptation to your calorie intake, and it is the reason behind why plateaus are hit during weight loss.

The scientific reasoning here is that your body will not require the same level of energy/ calories it demanded at your previous weight, versus what your current weight is.

In your body’s quest for achieving homeostasis, it has readjusted its needs to require lesser calories.

In comes the plateau, which feels like a massive standstill. So where do you go from here to get off this plateau?

The road forks in two; you’ve got 2 options:
✓ Increase your current level of physical activity
✓ Decrease your intake of calories

If you opt to up your level of physical activity, you will be burning more calories and giving yourself a higher caloric deficit.

Should you keep your physical activity at the same pace you’re currently at, decreasing calories will shift things just enough to break the current metabolic
adaptation so that you will enter a caloric deficit phase, and spark up the weight loss once again.

Not too difficult, right?

Ok, so now that we’ve got that clear, let’s discuss the details on increasing physical activity, or reducing caloric intake.

For Physical Activity: Increase the level of cardio you’re doing each week.

Example: If you presently do a 20-minute cardio session three times weekly, add another in there to make it four.

If you want to make things more challenging, which is never a bad thing because challenges are fun, double the output and make them 40 minute sessions instead.

For the majority of people, this will be adequate for weight loss to happen.

If you come to the conclusion that physical activity is not enough to kill this plateau, it’s time to decrease caloric intake.

Reducing Caloric Intake: How many calories need to be reduced?

Example: This is based on your individual needs, however the range of 70 – 100 calories less than your present consumption should be adequate.

The place you’re going to want to target in your macros is your carbohydrate intake.

Since 1 gram of carbs is equal to 4 calories, 100 calories comes down to a reduction of 25 grams of carbs from your present macros.

Here is a sample of macros and calories to get a more accurate idea of how this works:

✓ Calories: 2,200
✓ Macros: Carbs 252g/ Fat 61g/ Protein 161g

Using these figures, in order to break this plateau and proceed with your fat loss goals, the best course of action will be to cut out 20g of carbs to reach a reduction of 80 calories.

As a result, the following macros will be ideal:
✓ Calories: 2,120
✓ Macros: Carbs 232g/ Fat 61g/ Protein 161g

These macros should be satisfactory to get beyond the plateau while stabilizing your metabolism and not affecting your due progress.

It is especially important to maintain a degree of subtlety to your adjustments in regards to your diet and training, and as minimal as possible.

Drastic measures typically do more harm than good, and anything in the realm of excessive cardio or consuming the absolute minimum amount of calories may appear as “quick results” but they are anything but; this is not healthy or ideal for long-term results.

Additionally, you also have the choice to trade fat for carbs by reducing your fat calories slightly in order to spare a few carbs; basically bartering carb macros for fat macros and modifying your caloric reduction accordingly.

In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

Good Foods VS Bad Foods

You’ve probably heard these two terms used before. “good foods” and “bad foods”. Im here to tell
you that there is no such thing.

“Good Foods” are what is considered to be healthier, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods.

“Bad Foods” are considered to be highly processed, refined, and considered junk food.

The important thing to remember is that our bodies don’t register them as “good” or “bad”, it registers it by the macro nutrients.

What matters is the total energy balance, calories in versus calories out, which is determined based on your goal.

The most important thing is the total calories consumed. Just know that there is no specific food that is more fattening than others, when the calories are the exact same.

So remember, we’re keeping things simple!

We will go into more detail below using the 80/20 rule and explain how the types of foods matter.

So just just because our bodies register food as calories, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have to think about the quality of food.

it is essential for our bodies to have a diet that is full of micro-nutrients, so that we can function at the highest levels possible. That is where the 80/20 rule comes in.

In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

The 80/20 rule means:80% of the calories you consume should be from nutrient dense foods such as veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, meats, dairy, etc.

They are unprocessed and considered those “clean” foods. 20% of the calories you consume are your choice.

If you are craving something or just want to enjoy another type of food, you can!

This is where your FLEXIBILITY comes in and where you get to make this process enjoyable.

80% will give your body all the nutrients required to perform as optimally as possible and in order to provide the maximum amount of potential towards longevity, a super healthy lifestyle.

The enjoyable 20% that can account for the “fun” part of your diet is to allow you to have a healthier relationship with food, void of strict constructs that force you to give up all pleasure.

This method offers a more sustainable, more sane, and more tolerable attitude towards eating well, and overall, it encompasses a well-rounded dietary practice that will allow you to make wise decisions without compromising your ability to enjoy what you eat.

That enjoyable 20% will not conflict with your overall diet, they will not conflict with your muscle building, or fat loss goal, nor will they negatively impact your health or well-being.

This sense of flexibility is designed to enable you to enjoy your life and enjoy what you eat without major restrictions in the process.

Simply put, eat well by providing your body all of the nutrients it needs, allow yourself the pleasure to indulge in moderation, and never restrict your options.

Tracking With MyFitnessPal

Now that you know how to find your numbers, we need to learn how to keep track of them daily.

The My Fitness Pal app is perfect for this, you can view it on either your phone or computer.

You will first log in and create an account if you do not already have one.

After that is done you will then go under the goals tab and enter in your information that you calculated for your macros. In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

Now for this part it can be a little tricky with the “free” version of the app because they do not let you add in custom macro goals, however you can use the percentages to get as close to your numbers as possible, you will just have to play around with them to get them close.

If you wanted to pay for the premium version you can set exact grams for your macros, but you don’t have to.

Once these first two parts are set up from your computer you can start tracking! In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

This will be where you will start tracking your food each day:

You will simply click add food to start adding items, you can either search by brand name or general at the top bar or if you have the bar code you can also scan it with the bar code feature at the top.

During the day or at the end of the day to check where your numbers are at you can scroll down to the bottom of your diary and click the nutrition tab:

This is where you can see how many grams of each macro-nutrient you have left to reach your goals.

Reading Nutritional Labels

Below is a descriptive picture on how to read nutrition labels when tracking your nutrition.

In Depth Guide to Calculate Macros and Calories

How to Track Alcohol

Alcohol is considered to be a macro-nutrient, it is not considered an essential component of any

Alcohol affects the body in different ways, with little good, and mostly bad results. By no means is it necessary.

However, at the same time, socially, alcohol plays a very large role in our culture.

It is used for enjoyment and as means for celebration during social gatherings with friends, family, and other special moments.

Like other macro-nutrients such as carbs, protein, and fats, alcohol contains calories.

Every gram of alcohol contains 7 calories, which makes it significantly more calorically dense per gram than carbs or protein.

So this means to calculate calories from alcohol, you would always track it a substitute for your carbs or fats, or both.

FAQs for Macro Calculations

Q: Do my macro calculations look right?
A: This is like, how would you know without trying them out for yourself?

You’ve to start somewhere, whether it’s wrong macro calculations or right one, eventually you’ll know about it.

Q: I calculated different macros from what I’ve been using, should I change?
A: I would say NO!

You should not change your macros until your one fat loss phase is not completed.

I mean for at least 6-8 week depends on your goal.

Q: What is the best macro ratio for fat loss or muscle gain or for cutting?
A: There are NO best macro-nutrients ration for any fitness goal.

All you’ve to do is Keep your protein intake high, carbs and fats are at moderate-low levels for fat loss.

Same can be said for the muscle gain but carbs should be higher.

Q: I’m woman, how do I calculate Macro Nutrients for me?
A: You just have to use the equation I provided for the women.

Q: What is the best macro calculator?
A: There are tones of macro calculator available out there but the one I recommend is from the precision nutrition, which you can find it here.

Q: Do macros really matter for weight loss?
A: One word Answer: YES!

Q: How do you calculate macros for beginners?
A: I just told you brah!

Q: Does counting macros really work?
A: Undoubtedly, YES!

What’s NEXT!

First of all I want to congratulate you for getting this far!

This shows you’re dedicated to learning about how you can get to your goals and doing it properly!

Using the information in this short guide you can create a great nutrition plan for fat loss, muscle growth or maintenance.

Getting your nutrition right is really simple if you follow the basics. This is the first step to reaching your goals. I like to keep things really simple.

There is no point in concerning yourself with supplements, and other things like that. If you want to be a master, you have to be a master of the basics.

Apply the information in this guide and I’m 100% confident you will reach your goals and get the dream body you’ve always wanted!

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. For any questions, suggestions, or any other form of feedback, you can find me at:

Instragram: @realfitnessguider

Read Related Article: The Complete Guide To Upper Lower Workout Routine

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