How to Count Macros?
To count macros you need to determine how much of each macronutrient you need daily, which is based on your individual body composition and fitness goals. Once determined, you go beyond just counting calories and track how many grams of carbs, fat, and protein a food will provide. You can then plan your macro diet around foods that will help you reach your daily macro targets.
By tracking your macros you really are tracking your calories, but instead of just skimming the surface you are going into more depth. In case you missed the graphic above, here are the conversions from grams to calories for carbs, fat, and protein.
- CARBS: 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- FAT: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- PROTEIN: 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
So if you had a food item that had 15g of carbs, 1g of fat and 20 grams of protein it would have approx 149 calories.
15g*4= 60 calories
But if you are counting macros don’t worry about also hitting an exact calorie goal. Your calories will be where they need to be when you are hitting your macros.
Let’s Take A Better Look
Figuring out your macros really doesn’t have to be that hard! When looking at a nutrition label you just need to look at serving size, total fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
This is a super easy example because IdealLean Chocolate Brownie Protein is low in carbs and free of fat! Thank you IdealLean! So in this example, we can see that there are 0g of fat, 3g of carbs and 20g of protein.
- Fat= 0g
- Carbohydrates= 3g
- Protein= 20g
How to Calculate Macros
Calculating macros means to figure out how much of each macro you should be eating every day. Figuring out these figures isn’t exactly cut and dry, and depends in large measure upon your age, gender, activity level, and even your genetic makeup-some people just naturally burn more calories!
But the first step will be to determine how many calories you need each day. This is also not an exact science, but a simple calorie calculator you can find online can give you a general idea. You can simply plug your info into the boxes to get a rough estimate of how many calories you should be aiming for on a daily basis.
Once you know how many calories you should be getting each day, the next step in calculating your macros is to set a percentage for each macro. If you’re trying out a special low-carb, extra high-protein, or ketogenic diet, your percentages will be different than what I’m about to layout. You might also need to adjust based on other certain factors, like how your body handles carbs. But a general starting point for a macro percentage breakdown might look something like 40% carbs, 35% protein, 25% fat.
This means that, if your daily calorie need was 1800 calories, then 40% of those would come from carbs, 35% would come from protein, and 25% would come from fat. Then you would just need to plug in a little math! Here’s an example:
Carbs: 40% x 1800 calories = 720 calories from carbs
Fat: 25% x 1800 calories = 450 calories from fat
Protein: 35% x 1800 calories = 630 calories from protein
Once you know how many calories you’ll want from each macro, you’re almost there! Just one more step to figure out how many grams of each macro you’ll want to aim for. Using the numbers from the previous section, you could calculate the following:
Carbs: 720 calories ÷ 4 calories/gram = 180g carbs
Fat: 450 calories ÷ 9 calories/gram = 50g fat
Protein: 630 calories ÷ 4 calories/gram = 157g protein
Now that you know how many grams of each macro you’ll be aiming for each day, you can go ahead and plan out your meals to try and reach those numbers!
How I Count my Macros, My MACROS DIET recommendations
Okay so this is where it can get a little tricky, because what I set my macros at isn’t going to necessarily be where YOU set your macros, as we all have different fitness goals.
As a general guideline though, we will split it up into two different categories: Building muscle/boosting metabolism and fat loss.
Getting into the nitty-gritty of this could require a whole blog post of its own… (yeah, a lot can go into it!) But I will give you an example of both here so that you can get a general idea of what you would need to eat in a day depending on your goals.
Note: These are only samples of what I do. This is not meant to show that anyone else can follow and have the same results.
1. Macros Diet for Building Muscle/Boosting Metabolism
2. Macros Diet for Fat Loss
(I don’t worry about counting veggies in my macros, consider them a freebie :))
What are some helpful ways to easily count your macros?
1. Plan your food the night before. When you try to “wing it”, it rarely works out where you meet your macros.
2. Figure out through trial and error your typical serving size of protein and use that regularly. It’s common for women to be deficient in protein. But when you know that you need 4 oz of meat for your lunch and dinner meal, for example, you just always plug that in and you’ll hit your numbers easier.
3. Get a Macro Book. It will go into a lot more detail and help you learn how to reach your macros.
4. Use an app such as MyFitnessPal. Trying to do it by hand is much more time-consuming. All you have to do is enter your foods and it will do all the math for you!
5. Don’t give up! Keeping track of your macros can be a little tedious at first, but soon it will become second nature. Calculating your macros based on your goals will take some trial and error, but that too will become easy over time.
Where to Start Your Macro Diet?
Okay, this may seem overwhelming, and honestly that is normal at first. All good things take time to learn. But good news: there are some super easy and helpful ways to get you started and on your way to your ideal body.
Still lost? Don’t worry, that is why I am here to help! A great starting point would be to try out my NEW Ultimate Guide to Macros eBook. All of the questions you have about counting them will be answered in this book.
I go into more depth on what macros are, why you should be counting them, and starting points to count them for yourself, PLUS case studies to see how women like you count their macros. It’s time for you to take control of your life and your appetite.