How To Determine Your Macros The Easy Way

Macronutrients often referred to as macros are essentially the sources of our energy. There are three kinds of macros: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. You can check Wikipedia for a good overview.

If you want to gain strength and muscle while having a healthy body it is important that you know how to determine your macros. Luckily for you (also for me to be honest), it is quite easy. You simply need to eat a good amount of all three.

I have made this fancy graphic to show you what that looks like:

how to determine your macros

You can deviate a bit from these ranges, but you should know that deviating too much can get you in trouble.

How To Determine Your Macros Specifically

In order to know specifically how many grams of each macro you should include in your diet, you first have to do a few calculations.

You want to first determine your maintenance calories and then add relatively few surplus calories that your body can use for building muscle. You can estimate your daily maintenance calories with this equation: bodyweight x 15 for lbs, or x 33 for kg. You then want to add another 150-250 surplus calories.

Given 1 gram of both protein and carbohydrate is 4 calories and 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, you can then figure out how many grams of each.

Let’s say you have determined you should eat 2500 calories daily. In addition, you have decided you want 20 % of your calories from protein, 25 % from fat and 55 % from carbs. With this in mind you can then calculate your specific numbers:

Protein: 2500 x 20 % / 4 = 125 grams or 500 calories

Carbs: 2500 x 55 % / 4 = 343,75 grams or 1375 calories

Fat: 2500 x 25 % / 9 = or 69,44 grams or 625 calories

That is all there is to it.

Below I have listed a free download. It also includes a cool spreadsheet that will calculate all this stuff for you.

Why You Should Eat All Three

I think it is important to stress why you need a good amount of all three macros.

Including all the macros in your diet will help ensure your body is getting everything it needs and that it is functioning well. But, there is also another extremely important reason, that is it will make your life easier.

What I mean by that is that you can be flexible with your food choices and eat what you want.

Most healthy people just don’t function optimally on either a low-carb or low-fat diet. Eating either a low amount of carbohydrates or fat can affect your body in many negative ways.

There are few situations where a person is better off limiting carb intake, but these are in my opinion much rarer than what some nutrition and fitness experts give the impression of.

The ketogenic diet has become very popular recently, and maybe you are wondering how that fits in here. It is working quite well for some to lose, so I have written a specific post on the ketogenic diet for weight loss. Check it out!


Your Macros?

Do you know the approximate macronutrients distribution of the food you are eating? I would love to hear from you in the comment section. If you don’t know what is your guess?

The Awesome Nutrition Guide

If you want to learn more about macros, nutrition, building muscle or burning fat, then I would recommend you my top free resource.

It is a 50+ pages pdf that I have titled The Awesome Nutrition Guide. It also comes with an email course!

The purpose of the guide is to serve as your diet and nutrition blueprint to get the body that you want and deserve.

You can get it automatically when you sign up for my email list.

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My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to write about fitness and health and share what I have found “works” for people like YOU. If you want to know more about me and my vision for this website then you can click here.

6 comments… add one
  • mornay May 25, 2017 @ 5:28

    I recently just got back in the gym after a few years absence and I can literally kick myself because I have gained so much weight and lost a lot of strength. A question I have is that do you think it’s a good idea that I start with the creatine right away or do I wait a bit as it holds back a lot of water, and I don’t think that’s a good idea wen trying to lose some weight?
    Thanks for your info

    • Marcus May 25, 2017 @ 16:06

      Hey Mornay

      I am sorry to hear you lost strength and gained weight. But that happens sometimes. You can be happy that regaining strength is much faster 🙂

      You shouldn’t be worried about taking creatine while losing weight. It is true that you will of course weigh more because of the added water, but that doesn’t chance the fact that you are losing fat.

      Some people even recommend creatine for weight loss. But this is confusing and not really true. Creatine does not help you lose weight. You could argue that creatine indirectly should lead to weight loss because of your added body weight and potentially extra strength in the gym, that both logically would cause a higher energy expenditure. This difference is just so small that it is not worth accounting for.

      Another claim is that creatine help you retain muscle mass in a calorie deficit. This makes sense because creatine increase your maximum output, and lifting heavy will help retain muscle mass. But I don’t think there are any research confirming this.

  • Jeannie Brickley May 26, 2017 @ 2:08

    Hi Marcus.

    This was a very enlightening post. I love your chart and I really like how you taught your readers how to calculate to get the right amount of each macro in their diet.

    I am wondering how you know how many calories you should be eating if you want to weigh a certain amount but you are heavier than you want to be presently.

    I think it is true that women need less calories than men. I hate counting calories and trying to decide what is in every food I eat. But I am really wanting to lose some weight.

    I have kidney disease and so I retain fluid. I try to drink a lot of water and I usually add lemon to some of it. I take a natural water pill too; but I still retain fluid.

    Thanks for an informative post. I have bookmarked your site.


    • Marcus May 26, 2017 @ 14:12

      Hey Jeannie

      Thanks for your kind words. And I am truly sorry to hear about your kidney disease. I hope it won’t make losing weight harder for you.

      About women needing less calories than men you are completely right. However, the bodyweight x 15 for lbs/pounds or 33 for kg is an equally powerful estimate for women.

      So for losing weight I recommend what I would call a moderate calorie deficit of 20 – 25 %. By that I mean 20 – 25 % less calories than your maintenance.

      The easy way to do this is to modify the maintenance equation:
      For lbs/pounds:
      Bodyweight x 11.25 (25 % deficit) or 12 (20 % deficit)
      For kg:
      Bodyweight x 24.75 (25 % deficit) or 26.4 (20 % deficit)

      Counting calories can suck especially when starting out, but it is a powerful tool and especially powerful if you want to lose weight. Being confident and able to trust that you are doing everything right is just a great feeling, because weight loss is not shown linear on the scale all the time.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  • Chris Dec 30, 2017 @ 23:49

    ive been thinking about starting to count my macros to make sure that i am consistent with my diet and stay in my caloric surplus because i think like im under eating due to not having much of an appetite. this article gave me everything i needed to know before beginning to count my macros

    thanks for posting

    • Marcus Dec 31, 2017 @ 9:12

      Hey Chris!

      Being consistent with the right macros in your diet pays off!

      It can be a little troublesome in the beginning to keep a count but it gets easier with practice and it becomes a habit.

      Btw: if you think you are undereating because of lack of appetite, then try to include more calorie dense food. You could even try to “drink some of your calories” with juices and smoothies.

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