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Calculating My Macros

In last week’s blog, I spoke about the ins and outs of tracking your macros (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats). This week, as promised, we will explore how to determine how much of the three macros you need for your body and goals.

First and foremost, it should be noted that you should consult with your personal trainer on getting your recommended macronutrient targets for your specific fitness goals. But, for the purposes of today’s blog, let’s go through the process that I would go through with one of my clients to find their macro goals.

We are going to calculate the macro goals I would suggest for a female that is 5’5”, 160.4 lbs., and 32.6% body fat that has the goal of losing fat. She works out 3 times per week, doing strength training with a trainer and twice per week on her own doing cardio. She has been maintaining weight for 3 months at 2000 calories. The macro numbers will be highlighted in green and the percentages in blue.

Step 1. Find the amount of overall calories the client needs to consume for his or her fitness goals.

  • Since she wants to lose fat, she will need to be put into a calorie deficit. This simply means that she needs to consume 500 calories less per day than she burns.
  • We first find the total amount of calories her body burns in a given day. This includes all activity and her basal metabolic rate (what she burns without any activity).
    • This can be calculated with any online calculator, or with an equation your trainer should know.
    • However, if you know your maintenance calories, you can use this as your starting point.
  • We know she maintains weight at 2000 calories per day. Therefore, we will start her fat loss calories at 1500 calories per day (500 calorie deficit).

Step 2. Calculate the amount of protein she needs in order to maintain muscle mass.

  • The rule of thumb I use as a trainer to calculate protein needs is 1 gram per 1 lb. of lean body mass (muscle mass).
  • To find this for her, we take her body weight (160.4 lbs.) multiplied by her body fat percentage (32.6%) to give her fat mass. We then subtract this from her body weight to get her lean body mass.
    • Lean Body Mass = 160.4 lbs. – (160.4 lbs. * 0.326) = 108.4 lbs. Muscle
  • Since she has 108 lbs. of muscle mass, she will be eating about 108 grams of protein per day.
  • Now we will figure out what percentage of calories her protein is throughout the day.
    • Just multiply the grams of protein by 4 (amount of calories per gram of protein) to get the amount of calories that much protein will supply to her nutrition.
      • Calories from protein = 108*4 = 432 Calories
    • 432 Calories from protein out of 1500 total calories would equate for 29% of her overall calories.

Step 3. Figure out how much fat they will require in their macro goals.

  • I almost always start at 20% of calories coming from healthy fats in a clients nutrition.
  • To find the macro count of fats:
    • Take the total calories for the day multiplied by 20% to get the calories from fats.
      • Calories from fat = 1500 * 0.20 = 300 Calories.
    • Since there is 9 calories per gram of fat, take 300 Calories divided by 9 to find the number of grams of healthy fats they will need in a day.
      • Macros from fats = 300/9 = 33 grams of fat.

Step 4. Figure out how much carbohydrates they will need to complete their calorie goals for the day.

  • Since 29% of the calories are coming from protein and 20% are coming from fats, that leaves 51% of the calories to come from carbohydrates.
  • Finding your carbohydrate macro count:
    • Calories From Carbohydrates:
      • 1500 calories * 0.51 = 765 Calories
    • Macro count of Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram of carbohydrate)
      • 765 Calories/4 = 191 grams of carbohydrates

Putting it all together!

This process may seem confusing looking at it, so seeing a trainer would be helpful so they can do this for you. But, it is good to see how we do this!

After getting all of the numbers, we have determined this female will be eating:

  • 1500 Calories
  • 108 grams of protein
  • 33 grams of fat
  • 191 grams of carbohydrates

At this point, we would recommend plugging these numbers into the trackers we talked about last week and tracking consistently to get to these numbers! Again, if you would like help with this, come see the trainers here at NoCo Fitness!

By Ryan McIvor

Ryan McIvor | Personal Trainer




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