Counting Macros For a Beginner: A Step-by-Step Guide

Counting macros can be a daunting task. It seems like there are a million things to consider:

  • What foods should you eat?
  • How many grams of protein should you have per day?
  • What about carbs and fat?

It’s enough to make your head spin! But don’t worry, I am here to help.

In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the basics of counting macros and show you how easy it can be!

We will start with the basics: What are macros and why are they important.

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat

Then we will move on to counting macros.

I will show you how to calculate your daily macro goals and give you some tips on tracking your progress.

What are macros

Macros provide energy in the form of calories.

The term “macros” is short for macronutrients. These refer to the nutrients that your body needs in large quantities to function properly.

Macros provide you with calories or energy.

There are three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Technically there is a fourth macronutrient and that is alcohol or ethonal. Once you are done reading this article go check out the How to Track Alcohol. Each has its own role and benefits.

What is protein?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients that plays a number of important roles in the body.

It provides the body with 4 calories per gram. This means for every gram of protein you eat you get 4 calories.

Once the protein is digested (broken down) it provides the body with amino acids.

There are 20 amino acids that the human body needs. These 20 amino acids can be broken into two groups.

There are 11 of the 20 amino acids that the human body can make on its own. These are considered non-essential amino acids.

The other nine we have to get from our diet are known as essential amino acids.

Proteins that contain all nine of the essential amino acids are considered complete proteins. Animal proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are complete proteins.

Protein sources that do not provide all 9 essential amino acids are considered incomplete proteins. Plant proteins such as grains, nuts, and seeds are incomplete proteins but can be combined to make a complete protein.

Protein is a macro that provides 4 cal per gram. Built with 20 different amino acids foods contain different amino acid profiles. Amino acids aid in muscle growth

Read Whey vs Plant Protein Powders for more details on complete protein vs incomplete protein.

Consuming enough protein or essential amino acids is important for a number of reasons:

  • Building and repairing tissues
  • Regulate hormones and enzymes
  • Support the immune system
  • Involved in muscle growth and regulation as well as
  • Brain function

Building and repairing tissues

As I mentioned before, protein is essential for building and repairing tissues. This is especially important for athletes and people who lead active lifestyles. Protein is also necessary for wound healing and recovery from illness or surgery.

Regulating hormones and enzymes

Amino acids are also involved in the regulation of hormones and enzymes. Enzymes are responsible for chemical reactions in the body, and hormones regulate many of the body’s processes, including growth, metabolism, and reproduction.

Supporting the immune system

Amino acids play a role in the immune system by helping to produce antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that fight infection and disease.

Involved in muscle growth and regulation

Amino acids are also involved in muscle growth and regulation. Muscle growth occurs when the body synthesizes more muscle protein than it breaks down. This can be due to increased exercise, hormone levels, or other factors. Muscle regulation is the process by which muscles keep their size and shape.

Brain function

Amino acids are also necessary for brain function. They are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. Neurotransmitters are important for mood, memory, and other brain functions.

Foods that are are high in protein or amino acids include:

  • Beef, chicken, pork, fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Soy products such as tofu and tempeh
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

The list of high protein foods is much longer, check out Noah’s Nutrition blog for a more comprehensive macro food list.

What is fat?

Dietary fat has 9 cal per gram. Includes saturated unsaturated and trans fat. Essential for hormone 
productions cells structure and energy.

Dietary fat is an essential nutrient. It provides the body with the most amount of calories per gram (nine calories), making it a great source of energy.

Fat is also necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and for the production of hormones in addition to main other important functions like,

  • Insulation
  • Organ protection
  • Hormone production
  • Cellular function
  • Flavoring food
  • Energy

The different types of dietary fats include:

Dietary fats are composed of molecules called fatty acids. These molecules differ in their chemical structure, and this is what determines how the body will use them.

There are four main categories of dietary fat.

Saturated fats: These fats are solid at room temperature and are found in animal products, such as butter, lard, and fatty cuts of meat.

Monounsaturated fats: These fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in plant-based oils, such as olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.

Polyunsaturated fats: These fats are also liquid at room temperature and are found in plant-based oils, such as sunflower oil and corn oil.

Trans fats: These fats are created when manufacturers hydrogenate unsaturated fats to make them solid at room temperature. They do this by heating the oil which changes the chemical structure of the unsaturated fat molecule.

Fat is a concentrated source of energy and is necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

Learn more about dietary fats by reading the macro food list blog post.

What is a carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates provide the body with 4 cal per gram they come in complex and simple and contain fiber.

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients and provide the body with four calories per gram.

Carbohydrates are essential for:

  • Providing fast, readably available energy to the body
  • Regulating blood sugar levels
  • Maintaining healthy bowel function

Carbohydrates can be categorized by their chemical makeup as either simple or complex.

Simple carbs are made up of one or two sugar molecules. Being that they are small or “simple” molecules, they are very easily and quickly digested by the body.

Complex carbs are made up of three or more sugar molecules. Because they are larger molecules, it takes the body longer to break them down and digest them.

In addition to being slower digesting, complex carbs also provide the body with fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. But don’t worry, that’s a good thing!

Fiber helps to regulate digestion and can even help to lower cholesterol levels.

Complex carbs are found in:

  • Whole grains such as oats, barley, and quinoa
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, and corn
  • Beans and legumes

Simple carbs especially added sugar should be limited in the diet as they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Simple carbohydrates can be found in things like:

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Cakes and pastries

Carbohydrate is your body’s preferred source of energy and is necessary for the regulation of blood sugar levels and healthy bowel function.

The Macro Food List is a great resource if you are looking for simple or complex carbohydrates to add to your kitchen

Now that we know the three macronutrients, let’s talk about calculating them!

How to calculate your macros

How to calculate your calories using the Harris Benedict equation and multiplying it by an activity factor info graphic

To calculate your macros, you will need to know three things:

  1. Your current weight in pounds (lbs) or kilograms (kg)
  2. How many calories you should be eating per day
  3. What your goal is (fat loss, muscle gain, or maintenance)

There are a variety of calorie calculators online that can help you determine how many calories you should be eating per day.

How to calculate your calories

Before we calculate your calories it’s important to mention that the “calories” that you get from an online calculator or doing the math by hand are estimated. They are the best guess.

There are a variety of calorie calculators online that can help you determine how many calories you should be eating per day.

I really like to recommend one of two sites to visit to calculate your calories:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) Body Weight Planner and the USDA’s Estimated Calorie Needs Per Day.

You can also calculate your calories by hand using the Harris-Benedict Equation.

The Harris-Benedict Equation is a formula used to estimate basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body needs to survive.

This equation and the following activity factors are only taking into consideration healthy individuals.

To use the equation, you will need to know your:

  • Weight in kilograms (kg) (Divided weight in pounds (lbs) by 2.2)
  • Height in centimeters (cm) (Divide height in inches (in) by 2.54)
  • age in years.

Once you have that information, plug in your number to the equation below.

For Men:

BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5

For Women:

BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161

Now that you have your BMR, you need to multiply it by a number that corresponds with your activity level.

Again your BMR is only an estimate of the number of calories you need to survive.

The activity factor is going to help you estimate the number of calories you burn in a day due to your physical activity level.

Choose from one of the following options that best describe your daily activities:

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise or sports: BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports & physical job): BMR x 1.55
  • Very Active (hard exercise/sports & physical job): BMR x 1.7

Once you have your activity factor, multiply it by your BMR. The number you get is an estimate of how many calories you burn in a day.

This number (BMR + activity) is referred you your total daily energy.

Now that you know how to calculate your calories, let’s move on to calculating macros!

How much protein would I eat?

General recommendations for protein 0.8 g/ kilogram or 0.36 g per pound of body weight. 140 pound female equals 51 g 180 pound male equals 66 g this is the daily recommended allowance to meet your basic needs.

The general recommendation or Daily Recommended Allowance for protein intake is anywhere from 15 to 35 percent of your total daily calories.

However, protein can and should be based on your body weight and activity level.

The amount of protein you need can range from 0.36 grams per pound (0.36 g/lb) of body weight to 0.73 grams per pound (0.73 g/lb) of body weight depending on your activity level and goals.

If you are more sedentary, like you work an office desk job, then picking the lower end of the protein range might be a better option.

On the other hand, if you are more active like you work out regularly or have a physically demanding job, then picking the higher end of the protein range might be a better option.

To find your daily protein goal, multiply your weight in pounds (lbs) by 0.36 or 0.73.

Here are some examples:

A 130 lb sedentary woman would need 47 grams of protein per day (130 x 0.36 = 47 g).

A 180 lb man who works out frequently would need 130 grams of protein per day (180 x 0.73 = 130 g).

We have found the number of grams of protein you should eat per day. Next, Identify the total amount of calories you are getting from protein.

Find the calories coming from protein by multiplying the total grams of protein by four (4 calories per gram of protein).

Here are some examples:

130 g of protein x 4 calories per gram = 520 calories are coming from protein

47 g of protein x 4 calories per gram = 188 calories are coming from protein

Finally, to find the percentage of calories coming from protein, divide the calories coming from protein by your total daily calories.

Here are some examples:

520 calories coming from protein / 2000 calories = 0.26 or 26 % of 2000 calories are coming from protein.

188 calories coming from protein /1500 calories = 0.13 or 13 % of 1500 calories are coming from protein.

How much fat should I eat?

Again, The general recommendation for fat intake is anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of your total daily calories.

To find how much fat you should be eating, multiply your total daily calories needed by 0.2 and 0.3 to get a range of grams of fat per day.

Next, find the calories coming from fat.

To do this, multiply your grams of fat per day by nine (there are nine calories in a gram of fat).

Now that you know how many calories are coming from fat, divide this number by your total daily calorie count to find the percentage of calories coming from fat.

Here are some examples:

Let’s say you are eating 2000 calories, you want 20-30% of your calories from fat, then you need 400-600 calories from fat.

This would be 44-67 grams of fat per day (2000 calories/day x 0.20 = 400; 2000 calories/day x 0.30 = 600)

Instead of using the range of 44 to 67 g of fat per day let’s use the median between those two which would be 55 grams of fat per day and 25 % of your total daily calories.


Last but not least, we have carbohydrates. Since we have already identified the amount of protein and fats, we know have the remaining number of calories that can be allocated for carbs.

To find the number of carbohydrates you need, subtract the calories from protein and fat from your total daily calorie goal.

Then, divide that number by four (there are four calories per gram of carbohydrate).

Custom calorie and macros

You should have the number of calories plus the grams of protein fats and carbs per day.

  • Calories
  • Grams of protein
  • Grams of carbohydrates
  • Grams of dietary fat

Macro Distribution

Macro distribution is simply someones eating patterns and for that reason I typically say, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone.

For instance, some may not eat breakfast, or another person might be practicing a religious fast like Ramadan.

With that being said a typical daily macro distribution might look like this having:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snack
  • Dinner

Let’s say you are strength training or training for sport, you might have a pre and post-workout shake or snack that has a different macro distribution than the rest of your meals.

  • Breakfast
  • Pre-workout meal
  • Post-workout meal
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Macro distribution includes finding your calories protein fat and carbs then distributing in between your breakfast lunch dinner and snacks.

The first step I like to take is to get the macros for my snacks or workout nutrition out of the way, that way we can just divide the remaining macros by how many meals we plan to have.

A good starting point is to identify how many calories grams of protein carbs and fat you want for your snacks.

If you are looking for snacks I have created a list of 65 Macro Friendly Snacks.

Once you know what your macros and calories will be for your snack(s) you can subtract that from your daily total calories and macros.

This leaves you with your remaining calories and macros which can be divided into three to give you your macros for breakfast lunch and dinner.

From there, you can make adjustments based on your individual goals and preferences.

This is the first step in Meal Planning Your Macros, click the link to learn more.

Foods and macro

Now that we know your calories (TDEE) and have identified your daily macro targets, the next step is to pair foods with each macronutrient.

Something to mention is that food is rarely just one macronutrient. Oftentimes, food will have 2 or more macros.

For example, beef is high in protein and fat.

Some foods have a greater concentration of particular macronutrients. Let’s look at the nutrition facts labels to give us a better idea of what our food is made of.

Nutrition Facts Label

The nutrition facts label contains a wealth of information, including the number of calories, grams of protein, grams of carbohydrates, and grams of fat per serving.

Nutrition facts label for counting macros includes fats carbs and proteins all of which will show grams per serving percent daily value.

Other than the calories, grams of protein, fats, and carbs, the nutrition facts label tells us what is in one serving of that food.

It does this by telling us a volume-based serving size. This will normally be expressed as cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc.

The serving size will also be shown in a weighted measurement. This is normally expressed as grams, ounces, and pounds.

In addition, the label also lists the % Daily Value (%DV) for each nutrient.

The %DV is a guide that tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in relation to a 2000-calorie daily recommended intake.

For example, if a food has a %DV of 20% for protein, it means that one serving of that food contains 20% of your daily recommended intake of protein.

Counting or tracking macros’

When counting or tracking your macros there are two ways that you can do it. You can keep track of your macros by hand. By looking at the back of a nutrition facts label and keeping a record of the macros for each ingredient.

However, I typically recommend that you avoid this method because it can be time-consuming. Instead, I recommend that you use an app like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer.

The only reseason I suggest using an app is because they already have a database of foods and their nutrient value. This will make counting macros much easier and less time-consuming.

Both apps are free to download on your phone or you can use their website version.

How to Track

Since all of the food tracking applications are similar with regard to their functions we will refer to all as “apps”

Step One: Download the app or create an account on their website.

Step Two: Set up your profile. Include your height, weight, age, activity level, and goal weight (if trying to lose weight).

Step Three: Start logging the foods you eat! You can either search for foods in their database or create your own food.

Logging Food

Within your diary section, you will see sections for snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Logging foods start by selecting the meal time then click the plus button to add food. Example Shown is in Cronometer

To log a food, simply click on the section you would like to add food to and then select the food from the database.

Add food with the add food Apple icon

To add a food to your diary, select the plus sign or the “add food” tab.

Try and be as accurate as possible with choosing the closest ingredient possible the one you're eating.

A new page will appear with a search bar. Here you can either search for food or create your own food.

Searching For Food

When searching for food in the app it is important to keep a few things in mind.

Be sure to select the correct food. There are often multiple entries for the same food.

  • For example, there are dozens of different types of bread in the database.
  • You will want to be sure to select the type of bread that you ate. The best way to do this is to select the food that most closely resembles the food you ate.
  • Try searching for the specific brand you ate.

Be sure to select the correct serving size. The serving size listed for each food is often much smaller than what people actually eat.

  • For example, the serving size for a bagel is typically listed as one-half of a bagel.
  • However, most people eat the entire bagel. Therefore, you will want to be sure to adjust the serving size accordingly.

Be mindful of the preparation method. The app’s database does not always take into account how the food was prepared.

  • For example, a grilled chicken breast will have a different nutrient value than a fried chicken breast.
  • Therefore, you will want to be sure to add any additional ingredients, such as oil or butter, that were used in the preparation of the food.

Creating Your Own Food

If you are unable to find the food you ate in the app’s database, don’t worry! You can always create your own recipe.

To do this, select the “create recipe” tab on the add food page.

A new page will appear with blank fields for you to fill out.

Add recipe to tracking app by creating a custom recipe naming that recipe and ingredients save impress snacks.

You will want to be sure to include the ingredient’s name and serving size.

add instructions review your recipe now add your recipe by searching for the name in the data bank

Once you have added all of the ingredients, be sure to give your recipe a name and then select the “save” button.

Now you can add your recipe to your diary just like any other food!

If you can’t find the food you’re looking for in

If you are creating your own food, be sure to include all the ingredients and the serving size.

You can also log drinks like coffee or smoothies. Just be sure to include any milk, syrups, or other additives.

As you log each food, the app will automatically calculate the macros for you.

You can then see how many macros you have left for the day and plan your meals accordingly.

Weighing and measuring food

When it comes down to tracking accuracy is the name of the game. The best way to ensure accuracy is to weigh and measure your food.

Often, the serving size listed for a portion of food is much smaller than what people actually eat. This can lead to inaccuracies in your macro count for the day.

To get the most accurate count, weigh or measure your food before logging it into the app. This will help you to be more mindful of your portion sizes and ensure that you are getting an accurate count of your macros.

There are a few different ways to weigh and measure your food, and the best method for you will depend on your individual goals and preferences.

Food scale

The best way to be as accurate as possible is to use a food scale. You can either weigh your food before or after cooking, but keep in mind that cooked foods will often weigh less than raw ingredients.

Weighing your proteins in ounces: is a great way to keep track of your intake. When you weigh your proteins in ounces, you can more easily compare the serving size to the ounces listed on the food’s packaging.

Weighing your carbs and fats in grams: is also a great way to be accurate with your counts. When you weigh your carbs and fats in grams, you can more easily compare the serving size to the grams listed on the food’s packaging.

Measuring Food

Another common method for measuring food is by volume, using measuring cups or spoons. This method is less accurate than weighing your food on a scale, but it can be helpful.

When measuring by volume, it’s important to use standard measurements (such as cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons) and not arbitrary amounts (such as “a handful” or “two scoops”).

It’s also important to be consistent with your measurements. For example, if you’re measuring a cup of rice, be sure to use the same cup each time.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that the measurements listed on food packaging are often not the same as the standard measurements.

For example, a cup of rice may be listed as 180 grams on the package, but a cup is actually 200 grams. This is why it’s so important to be familiar with standard measurements.

Tracking macros vs counting calories

I want to quickly touch on the difference between counting macros and counting calories.

Calories are king with regard to weight management however tracking macros adds another layer by including where those calories are coming from.

Are they coming from carbohydrates, fats, or proteins?

This is important because each macronutrient has a different effect on the body.

For example, eating a 100-calorie snack that is all carbohydrates will have a different effect on your body than eating a 100-calorie snack that is all protein.

The carbohydrate snack will give you some great energy, while the protein snack will keep you full and help your muscles recover.

Not that one is better than the other, but rather if you know the differences, you can use them to your advantage.

Compared to when you are counting calories, you are only focusing on the amount of energy (calories) that you are consuming each day.

You are not taking into account the composition of macro ratios of those calories.

When you count macros, you are making sure that you are getting the right amount of each macronutrient.

Plus by default, you are tracking your calories.

Meal planning macros

Now that we have gone over how to find your calories, and identified your macros, I want to give you a few tips on how to meal plan with macros.

Not only have you found your total daily calories and macros but we distributed your macros into meals.

You now want to start thinking about how you can put together meals with those macros to help make your life a little easier.

I always tell my clients that there are three things to consider when putting together a meal: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

You want to make sure that each meal has a source of all three macronutrients.

This will help to ensure that you are getting the right mix of nutrients and it will also help to keep you satiated throughout the day.

Another thing to consider is the timing of your meals.

If you know that you have a big event or workout coming up, you may want to adjust your macros so that you have more energy.

For example, if you have a big event coming up, you may want to have a bigger breakfast and lunch so that you can have more carbohydrates available for energy.

On the other hand, if you know you are going to be sedentary for most of the day, you may want to have a smaller breakfast and lunch with more of your calories coming from fat.

This is just something to keep in mind as you start to put together your meals.

How to adjust your macros based on your goals

The last thing I want to touch on is how to adjust your macros based on your goals.

As I had mentioned in the calorie section, regardless if you found your calories by using an online calculator or you did the math by hand, these are all estimates.

Not only are we estimating your calorie needs, everyone is different, meaning everyone is going to digest absorb and utilize calories at a different rate.

So, if you are not seeing the results that you want, it may be necessary to adjust your macros.

The best way to do this is first to identify and track your progress.

Are you trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or maintain your weight?

Once you have identified your goal, you can start to make adjustments to your macros.

If you are trying to lose weight and are not seeing results, you may need to adjust your regimen. Check out the Calorie Deficit and Not Losing Weight? post.

If you are trying to gain muscle and are not seeing results, you may need to either increase the number of calories that you are consuming or decrease the amount of activity that you are doing.

Remember, when it comes to adjusting your macros, these are just estimates.

There are a lot of factors that play into changing your body weight size or shape another great research would be the Refeed Day blog post.

You may need to play around with them a bit to find what works best for you and your body.

But, as long as you are tracking your progress, you will be able to identify when adjustments need to be made.

Tips for staying on track with counting macros

Make a meal plan and stick to it as much as possible.

There are a lot of things to keep track of including calories, macros, vitamins, minerals, and the list goes on.

I like to use the money and macro analogy here. When budgeting you will automatically, add 10% of your pay to your retirement, 20% to savings, and the remaining 70% is what you have to spend.

You need to do something similar when counting macros.

Out of your daily caloric intake, a percentage should go towards each macro and what food are you going to eat to fulfill that need.

Putting your diet on autopilot, as you would with your finances, is the equivalent of a meal plan.

By creating and sticking to a meal plan that was created to fulfill your needs, you are taking all of the thinking out of it.

This will make it much easier to hit your daily macro targets.

Here is an example of a 1900-Calorie Meal Plan.

Pre-plan your snacks for the week.

I know that I get hungry at 11 am but lunch is not until 1 pm.

Now one of two things can happen. First, I have no plan for snacks, and around 11 o’clock every day I wander into the kitchen and munch on whatever I can find.

This leads me to consume 500 calories which are low in protein and high in carbs.

On the other hand, I have planned an apple and peanut butter every day and at 11 o’clock I eat that snack.

Now I have a snack that is planned, 250 calories and has a good balance of protein fats, and carbs.

Planning your snacks can be helpful in ensuring that you have calorie-controlled balanced options.

Include plenty of protein, fat, and carbs in each meal.

Make sure you are getting a variety of foods in your diet.

The food that you eat is not only made up of calories and macros but also includes a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Each food has its own nutrient profile that includes its macros, calories, vitamins minerals fiber, and so on.

You need to make sure you are getting a variety of foods so that you are not only meeting your macro goals but also your micronutrient goals.

This can be done by including a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy in your diet.

Schedule time to log your food intake in a tracking app.

Tracking your food takes effort and time. You need to make sure you are taking the time to log your food intake.

I like to schedule time in my day, usually first thing in the morning for about, to sit down and log my food for the day.

This not only tracks my intake but also gives me an idea of what my day will look like in terms of eating.

This way I can ensure that I am getting all of my meals and snacks in and that I am not overeating or undereating.

How to count macros for weight loss

Counting macros can be a great way to lose weight when done correctly.

Step 1: Calories

To lose weight, it is important to create a calorie deficit. (eat less than you burn per day) This can normally be done by lowering your total daily calorie intake by ~500 calories per day.

Based on the calories you estimated with this blog post or calorie calculator subtract ~500 calories from your TDEE or maintenance calorie.

Step 2: Protein

The next step is to identify your protein. When reducing calories you want to avoid losing muscle mass. Maintaining an adequate protein intake will help prevent muscle loss.

Based on your weight and activity level – calculate the amount of protein you need per day. See How much protein section.

Once you have the grams, calories, and % of calories, we can move on to the next step

Step 3: Fat

You need fat in your diet, in fact, it’s essential. Dietary fat provides essential fatty acids, energy, and fat-soluble vitamins.

So when counting macros for weight loss make sure that you are meeting the minimum requirements of 20 to 30%.

You can use this fat intake calculator to find out how many grams of fat you need to eat per day.

Once you have your fat intake in grams, we can move on to the next step.

Step 4:

Adding the percentage of calories coming from protein and fat will give you the sum of the total calories that you have left for carbs.

This number divided by 4 (calories per gram) is your carbohydrate intake for the day.

Note: This is probably where you will see a good percentage of your calorie deficit coming from.

Now you know how to calculate macros for your weight loss, all you need is to track, meal prep, and have fun!

The Macros For Cutting post would be a good next read for you if you are interested in losing body fat.

If you want to track your macros in order to lose 50 pounds read How To Lose 50 Pounds in Six Months

How to count macros for gaining muscle

Counting macros is a great way to ensure you are getting the right nutrients for gaining muscle.

In order to gain muscle, you need to be eating at maintenance calories and in some cases a calorie surplus (eating more than you burn per day).

In addition to calories, you need to be consuming an adequate amount of protein along with strength training.

Carbs are essential for fueling your body and making sure you have the energy and power to train.

Calculate your daily calorie intake

To calculate your daily calorie intake for muscle gain, you will need to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and your activity level.

There are a number of ways to calculate your BMR, but I like to use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation.

Once you have your BMR, you will need to multiply it by your activity level.

This will give you your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

If you want to gain muscle, you will need to eat at maintenance calories or a calorie surplus.

I like to recommend for people start with maintenance calories and see how their body responds.

Calculate your protein intake

When calculating your protein intake, you will need to know your weight and activity level.

The Academy of Sports Medicine suggests that when trying to develop muscle and doing resistance training, a protein intake of 0.7 to 0.74 grams per pound will help you increase muscle mass.

Calculate your fat intake

The recommendation of 20 -30 % of your calories should be coming from fat is what we will use to find how much fat per day.

The one key here is to not go over 30% of your calories from fat.

You can use this fat intake calculator to find out how many grams of fat you need to eat per day.

Now that you know how much protein and fat you should be eating, we can move on to the next step.

Calculate your carbohydrate intake

Adding the percentage of calories coming from protein and fat will give you the sum of the total calories that you have left for carbs.

This number divided by four (calories per gram) is your carbohydrate intake for the day.

Now that you know how to calculate macros, all you need to do is track your food, and meal prep, and enjoy the process!

The bottom line on counting macros

Counting macros can seem daunting at first, but it’s a great way to ensure you are getting the right nutrients for your body.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle, following these simple steps will help you reach your goals.

Start out by identifying your calorie needs and then break down those calories into protein, fat, and carbs.

From there, you can start to meal plan and prep your food accordingly.

Keep track of what you eat, prep your meals ahead of time, and have fun while doing it!

Noah Quezada is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of more than a decade, he has gained extensive experience in helping clients manage their weight through in-person sessions. Noah is also the 2023 President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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