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A Beginner's Guide to Calculating Macros!

February 6, 2019

Below is essentially a guide to writing your own food plan. I have tried to keep this as concise and basic as possible, so not to add too much confusion! If you have any queries, feel free to contact me and I will discuss it with you in even more detail.

 

What are “Macro’s?”

The 3 Macronutrients (Macros) are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. 

 

When it comes to working out your Macro’s, the first thing we want to look at is total calorie consumption. This ultimately depends on your goals and whether you want to be eating above, below or at maintenance calories (total calories required to maintain your body weight with no gains in muscle tissue or fat) as follows:

 

* Goal of weight/body fat loss: Eat below maintenance calories (100-500kcal) 

 

* Goal of maintaining body weight: Eat at maintenance calories

 

* Goal of increasing body weight: Eat above maintenance calories (100-500kcal)

 

How do I work out what my maintenance calories are? 

  1. Use an online calculator, such as the below, to calculate what your approximate maintenance calories are (this is just an estimate!) https://www.freedieting.com/calorie-calculator

  2. Track your weight initially and then start tracking your food intake using an App such as MyFitnessPal. Track everything you consume for 2 weeks and see what happens to your weight. If your weight has stayed the same, then you have been eating at maintenance calories. If your weight has increased or decreased then you have obviously been eating above or below maintenance calories. If the latter is the case, slightly increase or decrease your calories as required and track again for 2 weeks. You should find that your weight is now approximately the same. 

 

Time to set your Macros…

For example, let’s say your maintenance calories are 2,500kcal. Your initial goal is to drop your body fat %. I would suggest starting with a deficit of around 200-300 calories (not too aggressive), so you will reduce your calorie intake from 2,500kcal to 2,100-2,200kcal per day. After a few weeks at this rate, you can then increase the deficit to nearer 2,000kcal (500 calorie deficit), depending on your rate of weight and body fat loss. 

 

Taking 2,200kcal as your initial calories… 

It’s time to decide on your Macro split. This generally depends on your body type and your goals. As a general rule, I would set your PROTEIN to at least 1g per pound of body weight. If you are 165lb, you will be consuming 165g Protein. There are 4kcal per gram of Protein = 660kcal (30% of total calories). 

 

Next up, it’s time to set the remaining 2 Macros - Carbs and Fats. Ultimately, when setting my Clients’ starting Macros, I will always ask them which food types they prefer and whether they tend to eat more healthy fats or carbs. 

 

In this case, we are going to set CARBS at 45% of total calories. There are also 4kcal per gram of Carbs. To work this out: 990kcal / 4 = 247.5g Carbs.  

 

Last up, FATS. Now that we have established total calories made up from Protein (660kcal) and Carbs (990cal), we know there are 550kcal left. Unlike Protein and Carbs, there are 9kcal per gram of Fats. To work this out: 550kcal / 9 = 61.1g Fats. 

 

FULL BREAKDOWN: 

 

Total Calories: 2,200

Protein: 165g = 660 calories (30%) 

Carbs: 247.5g = 990 calories (45%) 

Fats: 61.1g = 550 calories (25%) 

 

What's your ideal Macros ratio? 

 

The ratio depends on your goal, your body type and a lot more. Use the above ratio's as a general rule. 

 

You should now feel comfortable setting your own Macro’s. To re-cap, the process is as follows:

 

  1. Decide on your initial goal (eating above maintenance, below maintenance or at maintenance)

  2. Work out your maintenance calories by using a calculator, tracking your weight and your food intake for 2 weeks, using MyFitnessPal

  3. Set your Macros using the above calculations 

If you would like more information regarding the types of foods you should be consuming to make up your Macros and information regarding MICRONUTRIENTS, drop me a message and I will be happy to help. 

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