Want to know where to start with macros? Are online methods and information confusing you? Start here.
There are various online calculators and other methods or formulas to help you calculate your IIFYM macronutrient needs (macros). These methods help us find a starting point for our daily requirements. Apps like myfitnesspal tend to underestimate what we need as active individuals and under prescribe protein. It is important to understand that any method is just an estimate. There are many variables that the calculator may not be able to account for.
When setting up macros, I start with protein. Your protein is something that remains relatively constant throughout dieting phases. Going too low on protein can put you at risk of lean muscle loss, increased hunger and poor recovery. Aim for up to 1gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
For me, this means:
58kg = 127.6lbs > which I round up to 128g protein per day.
I spread this evenly across 3 meals plus one shake which gives me 32g per meal (128g/4)
Before moving on to carbs and fats, I look at the total calories needed to eat towards my goal. This is where many people go wrong by setting calories too low. If you start as low as possible, when it comes time to make adjustments there is nowhere to go. You want to have room to adjust down if you stall. Going low too early isn’t good in most cases for consistent progress. When aiming for a leaner body, I set calories to:
body weight in pounds x 12 to 15 ( ideally starting at the highest number)
= 127.6 x 15
= 1914 calories
As someone who is active and has a higher carb tolerance, I keep fat around 25% of total calories. If you have a preference for more fat over carbs, you can adjust based on this. Once protein is set, you can play around with carbs and fat as long as you are staying within you calories.
Fat = 25% of total calories
= (1914 /4) /9
= 53.1g per day
Once you have your protein and fat numbers, you can fill the rest up with carbs.
= total calories – protein calories – fat calories
Protein Calories = 128 x 4 = 512cals
Fat calories = 53 x 9 = 477cals
Carbs = 1914 – 512 – 477 = 925cals
Carbs in grams = 925cals / 4 = 231
Remember that you are not going to see results right away. Stick to your numbers for 4-6 weeks before making adjustments. Just because the scale isn’t moving right away, doesn’t mean it isn’t working. I tend to see no movement in scale weight for 2-3weeks, followed by a big drop. This is why you need to keep going regardless of what the scale says.
What Happens when you stall?
If progress stalls, start by making sure you are tracking and weighing everything as accurately as possible. From there you can choose to lower fats, carbs or add in cardio. I will drop fats up to 10g and carbs 10-20g depending on adherence and current physique.
Other factors to consider that effect your energy needs:
Occupation: an active job means you will burn more than someone who has a relatively sedentary job.
Non exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) / Daily activity: cleaning, walking, standing, fidgeting, calories burnt doing day to day things
Training: type, duration & intensity
Sleep: quality & duration
By paying attention to, or tracking these things, you can increase your daily movement to align with your goals.
There are many methods, and no one size fits all approach. This method works well for females wanting to lose fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. For best results, you should use in conjunction with a sound strength training program. You can find my best strength training tips here .