How To Calculate Macros

Suppose you're into fitness; learning how to calculate macros can be a game-changer; however, many people without enough macro-knowhow find it challenging due to lack of clarity. Before you dive into calculating macros, it's essential to determine what it is. Macro is short for macronutrients, which refer to the three essential nutrients needed to create a balanced diet: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Adjusting the right amount of macros, for example, for fat loss, can help you reach your weight loss goals. Here's how to calculate macros.

Determine The Calories Your Body Needs

To calculate your calorie needs, you must determine your resting and non-resting energy expenditure (REE and NREE). Resting energy expenditure refers to the number of calories you burn when at rest, while non-resting energy expenditure refers to calories burned during digestion and activity. Combining NREE and REE gives you the total of calories you burn daily; this is known as total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Additionally, you need to understand how many calories are found in every gram of a macronutrient.

  • 1 gram of fat= nine calories
  • 1 gram of carbs= four calories
  • 1 gram of protein= four calories

To determine the number of calories you need daily, you can either use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation or a macro online calculator.  Begin by calculating your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and multiply it with your activity level.

Decide On Your Idyllic Macronutrient Split

Once you establish the number of calories you require daily, decide on the macronutrient ratio that suits you. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Fats- 20 to 35% of total calories
  • Carbs- 45 to 65% of total calories
  • Proteins- 10-35% of total calories

The split provides you with adequate protein for repairing and building muscle, healthy fats for hormone production, and sufficient carbs to fuel your exercise. However, remember that the above recommendations may not suit your precise needs; you can fine-tune your ratio to achieve your objective, including regulating blood sugar levels, weight gain or weight loss, and muscle building.

Make It Workable

Achieving your macros can be as easy as preparing meals in batches where you have carbs, fat sources, and protein, then boxing them for a few days. Prepare healthy meals that keep you satiated and, if possible, supplement with multivitamins where you have a deficit.

If you're pursuing endurance as an athlete, you may require a higher carb intake, while consuming a ketogenic diet will need fewer carbs and more fat. Additionally, if you're calculating macros for weight loss, you may need to dial back on carbs to achieve a calorie deficit and amp your fat and carb intake for weight gain.

Track Your Progress

Once you learn how to calculate macros and determine your calorie needs, track your progress. This essentially means using a journal, website, or app to log in the foods you eat. Some convenient apps include My Macros +, MyFitnessPal, or Lose It!. All you need to do is enter verified foods on these apps for accurate information to help you achieve your macro targets.

Calculating macros is beneficial if you have specific needs like weight loss or to improve your diet quality for healthier living. You can use an app if math is complex for you or learn how to calculate macros with specific formulas.


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