How to count macros : 5 simple steps
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Why is it so necessary for you to know how to count macros ?
Well…if you want to know how to effortlessly put on muscle mass and/or lose weight, read on.
In the past, everyone thought that clean eating (aka eat more fruits and veggies, lower those calories and carbs, absolutely zero fats) was the key to getting that better body.
But science has proven that it’s not.
What is important is that you eat a flexible diet that “fits your macros.”
However, if you want to get that body you desire, you should calculate correctly the exact amounts of macros – proteins, fats, and carbs – that you need to eat daily.
This proper intake of macros should also be accompanied by a good workout program.
Grab a pen and paper and that handy calculator as we go through the 5 simple steps on how to count macros …
How to Count Macros Step 1: Calculate your calories.
Calories can be a prickly issue for some folks. Let’s face it. They are deprived of the food that they love to eat, like cake, candy, ice cream, pasta, and chips. Then, they see people with trim bodies eating the very foods that they are avoiding. One has to wonder what sort of magic they’re doing. Is it because of steroids? Or are they just pulling everyone’s leg by sharing pics of themselves eating a rare cheat meal on Twitter and Instagram?
The reason for this is simple. When it comes to body composition, the AMOUNT of food that you eat is MORE IMPORTANT than the kinds of food that you are eating. It all boils down to calories. You should know the total number of calories that you are supposed to eat and then break this figure down to the exact number of proteins, fats, and carbs that you should be eating.
Still unconvinced? You should check out the stories of these two guys who were able to achieve their fitness goals while eating junk foods…
Professor Mark Haub, who lost 27 pounds over a period of 10 weeks on a diet consisting of protein shakes, Twinkies, Oreos, Doritos, and Little Debbie Snacks.
John Cisna, who lost 56 pounds while eating a controlled 2,000-calorie, consisting only of food from McDonald’s.
These men and others like them have come to two conclusions which science has proven for years now…
If you eat fewer calories than what you burn, you will lose weight, even if the source of those calories is junk food.
Conversely, if your goal is to gain weight, you should eat more calories than what you are burning.
While you should still eat healthy foods, mastering the basic fundamental of counting your calories and macros is the key to successful weight loss or gain.
How do you go about calculating your calories? This is the easy part. There are many online calorie calculators that you can use, but the best calculator I recommend can be found at this LINK. While this calculator is based on the Katch-McArdle equation for determining Resting Daily Energy Expenditure (RDEE), aside from giving you the exact number of calories you should eat per day, it gives you good figures on the amount of lean muscle you have, your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Let’s simplify this further. Once you know your TDEE from the calculator, you can figure out your caloric consumption by observing these three rules…
For weight loss, eat 75 to 80 percent of your TDEE. This is 20-25 percent less energy than what you’re burning daily.
For weight gain, eat 110 to 115 percent of your TDEE. This is 10-15 percent more energy than what you’re burning daily.
For weight maintenance, eat 100 percent of your TDEE, which is the same amount of energy you’re burning daily.
How to Count Macros Step 2: Calculate your protein intake.
Of all the macros, protein is the most important. If you eat the right amounts of protein, you stand to get the following benefits…
Faster recovery from workouts
Reduced muscle loss if you are restricting the number of calories you are eating to achieve weight loss
Greater sensation of fullness and satisfaction after meals
Studies have shown that you should eat 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. Individuals who are overweight (Men with 25 percent+ and women with 30 percent+ body fat) should eat 1 gram of protein per pound of fat-free mass daily.
How to Count Macros Step 3: Calculate your fat intake.
In the past, physical fitness experts strongly believed that you should reduce your fat intake close to zero in order to lose weight. A lot of people still believe this notion up to now. However, you are doing your body harm through severe restriction of fat intake.
If you eat the right amounts of dietary fat (and I mean healthy fats, not saturated fat), this macronutrients helps in many of the body’s physiological processes, including nutrient absorption, insulin sensitivity, cell turnover, satiety, muscle growth, and hormone production.
Just what is the right amount of dietary fat that you should eat? The ideal figure is 03 grams of fat per pound of body weight daily.
How to Count Macros Step 4: Calculate your carbs intake.
Much like fats, many people harbor the notion that they should go for the total elimination of carbs from their diet.
Carbs are the main fuel source of your body. If you go on a low carb diet, you deprive yourself of the very energy you need to exercise and train. Eating the right amounts of carbs will enable you to boost muscle gains and strength. They don’t interfere with fat loss. Let’s not forget that foods rich in carbs also contain fiber and other important micronutrients.
Now, how do you go about calculating your correct carb intake? The rule here is that the calories remaining after you have computed your protein and fat intake should be allotted to carbs.
Let’s do it step by step to make it easier for you.
Let’s say that you weigh 200 pounds and your TDEE is 2,098. You need to eat 210 grams of protein and 47 grams of fat daily. One gram of protein contains 4 calories while one gram of fat contains 9 calories.
STEP 1: Multiply your protein target by 4.
210 grams of protein x 4 = 840
STEP 2: Multiply your fat target by 9.
47 grams of fat x 9 = 423
STEP 3: Add your total together and subtract it from your total calories. The figure that you will get is the number of calories remaining for carbs.
840 – 423 = 417
STEP 4: Divide this total by 4 to get the number of grams of carbs you should eat daily.
417 ÷ 4 = 104.25 grams of carbs daily
From these calculations, your daily macros intake consists of 210 grams of protein, 47 grams of fat, and 104.25 grams of carbs.
How to Count Macros Step 5: Adjust your intake based on body response.
Now, no two bodies are the same. While some people may benefit at once from these calculations, others will require a little tweaking. This is because the body metabolism may be faster or slower in certain people. Sometimes, you may not be aware of the fact that you are doing a lot of spontaneous activities, such as running errands in the office or doing your daily household chores. These activities cause you to burn more or less energy on average compared to your regular exercise.
You don’t have to re-calculate your macros all over again. All you need to do is to adjust the figures that you already have.
If your goal is weight gain but you aren’t putting on the pounds, you should simply eat more. Start with an increase of 5 percent of your daily caloric intake. This is especially true of “hard gainers.” Observe what happens within two weeks.
If your goal is weight loss and you aren’t losing those excess pounds, you should eat less and exercise more.
Very simple, isn’t it.
Always keep in mind these basic concepts of how to count macros…
- Your total calories always count.
- Eating a high-protein diet boosts fat loss and muscle growth.
- Always eat the right amount of healthy fats.
- Eat more carbs if you are undergoing intensive training or workouts.
Now you know how to count macros , add to these basic concepts effective meal planning and you are sure to achieve the body composition that you desire.