What are macros?
“Macros” stands for macro-nutrients. Counting your macros means that you will track how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats you consume on a daily basis.
Here is the formula used to calculate your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), which is the energy it takes to run your body without any movement.
Mifflin MD; St Jeor Formula:
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE
10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161 = REE
Since most people don’t lie around all day doing nothing, we have to figure out movement expenditure or TDEE
- Light activity
Any activity that burns an additional 200-400 calories for females or 250-500 calories for a males more than your sedentary amount. (REE x 1.375)
- Moderate activity
Any activity that burns an additional 400-650 calories for females or 500-800 calories for males more than your sedentary amount. (REE x 1.55)
- Very Active
Any activity that burns more than about 650 calories for females or more than 800 calories for males in addition to your sedentary amount. (REE x 1.725)
Let’s say you’re a 36 year old, 182 cm, 99 kg, very active male.
(10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE) x 1.725 = TDEE
10 x 99 + 6.25 x 186 – 5 x 36 + 5 = REE
In the most basic form:
- Eat more than this = weight gain.
- Eat less than this = weight loss.
- Eat this amount = weight maintenance.
Of course it’s never this simple, but it’s a starting point. If you want to lose weight I recommend dropping your overall calories by no more than 15%-20% to start with. Take things slow, this isn’t a race!
Calculating Macros: (Protein, Fat, & Carbs)
Calorie values for each macronutrient:
- 1g Protein = 4 Calories
- 1g Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
- 1g Fat = 9 Calories
When bodybuilding, many use a measurement of 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. I do the same and recommend 1-1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight, but 1g will suffice. Let’s say we 40% of overall calories to protein for numbers sake.
Total calories x 0.40 (= Calories) divided by 4 (4 calories per gram of protein) = total Protein
I designate 25%-30% of overall TDEE calories to fat.
To figure out 25% of Overall TDEE:
Total calories x 0.25 (= Calories) divided by 9 (9 calories per gram of fat) = total Fat
This leave 35% of total calories for carbs. 1g of Carb equals 4 calories. We divide the remaining calories by 4 to get your total allotment of carbs.
Or Total calories x 0.35 (= Calories) divided by 4 (4 calories per gram of Carbs) = total Carbs
P- 40% C- 35% F- 25% are the percentages I tend to work with. HOWEVR, everyone is different. So find the ratio that works best for YOU.
If you aren’t a math whiz, there are many calculators out there to utilize for FREE. Bodybuilding.com and IIFYM.com both have calculators to figure out your macros for you. The calculators allow these variables to be tweaked. We are all individuals and one formula does not suit all.
You will however need to make certain adjustments as you progress.
As you get leaner you’ll need to continue to create an energy deficit, either by increasing energy expenditure by training more, or by decreasing your caloric intake. I personally weigh daily, but for clients I do weight once a week and also do comparative images once a week also.
If you feel you’re not losing fat, lower your total calories by between 50 and 100 per day. These calories should mainly come from carbs and fat, as protein is needed to preserve muscle mass. Always drop the smallest amount possible. You don’t want to overshoot and burn off all of your hard earned muscle in this process. You also want to be aware of your hormones and keep those as regulated as possible by not going to the extremes when it comes to cutting.
This is only a guide, and may need slight tweaking from the start. If you’re losing more than a couple of pounds per week after the first few weeks and are not obese, you most likely can tolerate a higher calorie intake. Go back and re-work your macros using a higher energy factor.
- Download MyFitnessPal app or an app similar
MyFitnessPal has the world’s largest nutritional database. It’s also available across all platforms.
- Buy a Food Scale
Although macros are printed on packaging, it’s good to have a food scale to be exact.