Beginners Guide To Calculating Macros

By on May 11, 2017

Subconsciously your diet will consist of 1 of 3 goals. These 3 goals are..

  1. Maintenance
  2. Fat Loss
  3. Muscle Gain

With your desired goal in mind, it’s important to track your macronutrients which is called IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). Your macros consist of Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins.

So, what’s the first step to take?

Step 1 – Calculating your BMR

Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculates how many calories your body burns at rest. Using the Mifflin-St Jeor Method, calculate your BMR below.


10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (Years) + 5


10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (Years) – 161

Now you have worked out how many calories your body needs at rest, you need to work out how many calories you need with regards to your activity level.

Step 2 – Total Energy Expenditure

To work this out, multiply your BMR by:

1.2 if you do little or no exercise

1.4 if you do exercise a couple of times per week

1.5-1.7 if you exercise several times per week

1.9+ if you exercise every day or have a hard, physical job


22 Year Old Male, Moderate Exercise, 188cm and 95kg

10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (Years) + 5

950kg + 1175 -110 + 5 = 2020kcal BMR

2020 x 1.5 = 3030kcal Total Energy Expenditure

Step 3 – Goal

Are you wanting to lose weight? If so, how much and in what time frame? Make sure to start slowly with a realistic weight loss and time frame. Dropping your calories by too much too quickly will only result in a binge.

To gain mass, you will need to increase your calorie intake. Again, take it slowly. Upping your calories by 500kcal in one week will make you feel sick (the same with dropping kcal), lethargic and your stomach will need time to adjust. Take it week by week, if you feel as though you’re able to eat more then increase your calories the following week.

Step 4 – Calculations For Ratios

(The quick way)

Here are 3 graphs which show the ratio of your macronutrients for your desired goal.

Fat Loss – Lower Carb

Maintenance – Moderate Carb

Muscle Gain – Higher Carb








These are just brief outlines of your intake to give you an idea of how much you should be consuming of each food group. So how do you work out your intake from these ratios?

Here is the calorie value for each macronutrient

  • 1g Protein = 4 Calories
  • 1g Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
  • 1g Fat = 9 Calories

Example A – Fat Loss


22 Year Old Male, Moderate Exercise, 188cm and 95kg

(Remember to calculate BMR and TEE)

This male has a TEE of 3030kcal, if we reduce his calories to 2700kcal, then 330kcal will be used from the bodies energy stores.

So, we now need to look at the ratio for fat loss and calculate that from his new calorie intake to work out grams.

Protein – 50% of 2700kcal = 1350kcal / 4kcal = 337.5g

Fat – 30% of 2700kcal = 810kcal / 9kcal = 96g

Carbs – 20% of 2700kcal = 540kcal / 4kcal = 135g


P = 337.5g

F = 96g

C = 135g

Example B – Muscle Gain


Let’s up the calories by 500kcal, taking his total calorie intake to 3530kcal.

Protein – 25% of 3530kcal = 882.5kcal / 4kcal = 221g

Fat – 15% of 3530kcal = 529.5kcal / 9kcal = 59g

Carbs – 60% of 3530kcal = 2118kcal / 4kcal = 529.5g

P = 221g

F = 59g

C = 529.5g

These grams can vary due to ratio sizes, but this is just to give you an idea of your portion sizes, this is not how you calculate your exact macro intake.

Step 5 – Calculations for Macros

Fat Loss

  • Protein = 1.2g per 1 pound of body weight (for a resistance trainer, this can vary)
  • Fat = 0.5g per 1 pound of body weight

Once you have calculated this, you need to add your protein and fat intake and subtract it from your total energy expenditure. The number left is the number of calories you have left which should be your carbohydrate intake. As you will be in a depletion, take away 100-300kcal away from your left over number of calories.

Male Example

209lbs, 188cm, Moderately Active

Protein = 1.2g x 209lbs = 250g x 4kcal = 1000kcal

Fat = 0.5g x 209 = 105g x 9kcal = 940kcal

1000kcal + 940kcal = 1940kcal

Total Energy Expenditure (2828) – 1940kcal = 888kcal left

We now have 888kcal left of Carbohydrates. Let’s take away 150kcal which leaves us with 738kcal, divide this by 4kcal and we have 185g of Carbs.


  • Protein = 250g
  • Fat = 105g
  • Carbohydrates = 185g

Female Example

88lbs, 152cm, Moderately Active

Protein = 1.2g x 88lbs = 106g x 4kcal = 424kcal

Fat = 0.5g x 88lbs = 44g x 9kcal = 396kcal

Total Energy Expenditure (1074) – 254kcal

  • Protein = 106g
  • Fat = 105g
  • Carbohydrates = 63.5g

Muscle Gain

  • Protein = 1.2g-1.6g per 1 pound of body weight (for a resistance trainer)
  • Fat = 0.4g per 1 pound of body weight
  • Carbs = 1.6g-1.8g per 1 pound of body weight

Male Example

209lbs, 188cm, Moderately Active

Protein = 1.2g x 209lbs = 250g x 4kcal = 1003kcal

Fat = 0.4g x 209lbs = 84g x 9kcal = 752kcal

Carbs = 1.8g x 209lbs = 376g x 4kcal = 1505kcal

Calories = 3260kcal


  • P = 250g
  • F = 84g
  • C = 376g

Female Example

88lbs, 152cm, Moderately Active

Protein = 1.6g x 88lbs =  140g x 4kcal = 563kcal

Fat = 0.5 x 88lbs = 44g x 9kcal = 396kcal

Carbs = 1.8g x 88lbs = 158g x 4kcal = 632kcal

Calories = 1591


  • P = 140g
  • F = 44g
  • C = 158g

What meals are best suited to you?

Cutting Meals

Our cutting meal is low in saturated fats and reduced in carbohydrates with less than 500 calories per serving. Each meal delivers over 30g of high quality protein per serving to preserve muscle and increase satiety. We have included more of what you need and less of what you don’t.

Bulking Meals

With a high carbohydrate and protein intake, the bulking meals are fuelled to give you enough nutritional support to gain mass at an increased rate. The nutrient dense meals contains a minimum of 750 calories per meal and over 50g of protein.

Performance Meals

Performance meals are designed for those who play sport at an advanced level and need the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats. At over 40g of protein per meal, it’s not only light but jam packed with enough fuel to sustain your energy, ensuring that your performance is peak at all times.



  1. Always calculate your BMR as this will be your starting point, regardless of your goal
  2. From this, calculate your Total Energy Expenditure to calculate how many calories your body needs whilst exerting energy through exercise
  3. Work out what your goal is and how many calories you want to decrease/increase by
  4. Once you have your calories, look at the ratio to see how much of each food group you should be consuming


Emily Singer

About Emily Singer

Strength and Conditioning Undergraduate. Go Nutrition Social Media Assistant.