Posted on July 16th, 2020 by Caitlyn Miller
Did you read my post or another bloggers post about what macros are and start wondering how to calculate them? Tracking or counting macros is a great way to monitor the food you consume and meet fitness goals. I know this may sound intimidating or a waste of your time, but trust me it is easier than it seems and pays off in the long run! I have been tracking my macros for about eight years now and I LOVE IT! It has helped me meet my goals, learn more about the food I eat, and helped me have a healthier relationship with food.
Table Of Contents
- Macro Ratios
- How To Calculate Your Macros
- My Favorite Macro Calculators
- How To Track Your Macros
- Why Should You Track Your Macros
Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician. Please consult your doctor before changing any major dietary habits.
Let’s start with a quick refresher for my readers that haven’t read about what macros are. Macros are the main nutrients we need to survive. The macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each macronutrient has a specific calorie amount per gram. Carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.
The correct macronutrient ratio all depends on the person and several other factors (body type, genetics, goals, etc.). However, the basic ratios that majority of the population uses is, 45-60% carbohydrate, 20-35% fats, and the remainder is protein. This is based off of the federal dietary recommendations and them stating that carbs are the body’s main fuel source. I have found that my body responds the best to me consuming 50% of carbs, 25% of fats, and 25% of protein. I suggest sticking to the basic ratio recommendations when starting off and then playing around with the numbers when you have the hang of tracking down.
How To Calculate Your Macros
Before you dig down deep into calculating your macros, figure out what your goals are. Are you wanting to cut, maintain, or bulk? This will determine your daily caloric intake. Now that you know the ratio recommendations and what macros are, let’s dig into how to calculate them! This part involves math, which I hate, but the results are worth it. I will use my macro intake as an example for you.
- Calculate your BMI.
- BMR (women) 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7x age)
- What is your activity level? Light (1.2), Little exercise (1.375), Moderate (1.55), Heavy (1.75)
- Figure out your ideal ratio. As I stated above, I eat 50% of carbs, 25% of fats, and 25% of protein.
- Figure out how many grams of each macro you need to eat
- Protein: Daily caloric intake x 0.25/4, Carbs: Daily caloric intake x 0.50/4, Fats: Daily caloric intake x 0.25/9
Here is an example of the calculation of my macros:
- I am 114 pounds, 5 foot 1, 23 year old woman:
- 655 + (4.35 x 114) + (4.7 x 61) – (4.7 x 23) = 1329.5
- 1329.5 is my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
I consider myself as moderately active as I workout anywhere between 4-5 times per week, therefore, my activity level is 1.55.
1329.5 (BMR) x 1.55 (activity level) = 2060.7
This number above is my daily calorie intake.
My macro ratio is 50/25/25, therefore,
- 2060.7 x 0.50/4 = 257.6 are my carbs for the day
- 2060.7 x 0.25/4 = 126.8 are my protein for the day
- 2060.7 x 0.25/9 = 57.2 are my fats for the day
My daily caloric intake is 2060.7 for maintaining. My carbs are 257.6, protein is 126.8, and fat is 57.2. These numbers can and should change depending on your fitness goals. This means if you are cutting, the number will be less (no less than 100 calories less). If you are bulking (like me), the number will be higher. The number you get when using this calculation is for MAINTAINING your CURRENT weight.
My Favorite Macro Calculators
If you aren’t a fan of math (like me), the internet contains so many macro calculators!
The calculator on this site is free and my absolute favorite. This calculator is very thorough and will ask you a series of questions to better understand your lifestyle.
This calculator is free as well and my second favorite. This calculator lets you see your macro ratios in terms of the number of meals you eat.
How To Track Your Macros
Calculating your macros isn’t very useful unless you track them. When I say track your macros I mean, logging all your food throughout the day to ensure you’re meeting your macro ratio.
You can definitely go the old fashion way and track your macros by hand on a piece of paper, but that would take SO long. However, I like to track mine through apps. This saves me time and is great for organization.
I use MyFitnessPal and I am OBSESSED with it! I use the free version, however, you can upgrade to $9.99 per month. The difference with paying is, you get to enter the gram amounts for macros and you get a food analyses. I don’t necessarily need this option, therefore, I stick with the free option. It is all up to what you prefer. What I love about MyFitnessPal is, it breaks down your macronutrients intake with three different charts. This app is the easiest to follow and use that I have found so I definitely recommend it!
MyMacros+ is an extremely close second to MyFitnessPal. They are similar in looks and usage as well. With this software, it has body weight tracking and you can put in as many meals as you want! Whereas, MyFitnessPal is only broken down in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. This app contains a chart that shows your macro ratio for the day as well.
Why Should You Track Your Macros
You definitely don’t need to track your macros to help meet your goals and stay healthy. However, the benefits of tracking your macros are amazing. This is a way to build a healthier and smarter relationship with food. This can help meet your goals and is great for someone who needs accountability. Tracking your macros is a great tool when focusing on nutrition and making long term healthy habits. This helps people understand what type of foods their body responds the best to and what foods it doesn’t. Tracking your macros is very helpful when wanting to cut as well. This helps make sure you are staying on track to meet your goals.
Do you track your macros? Why are you thinking about starting to track your macros? Tell me everything!