How to Track Your Macronutrients (The Basics)

If you want to know how to calculate your macros without breaking a sweat for weight loss or even muscle gain, then you have come to the right place!


The term of “If It Fits in Your Macros (IIFYM),” has become one of the most popular ways people all over the world are achieving their weight goals.

I have partaken in this, and I love it! If you want to know how it changed my life, check out my story


The idea is based on if your macronutrients are correct, you can be flexible in what you eat.


You also don’t have to worry about clean eating as much and enjoy what you have prepared.


It takes the guesswork out of reducing meals and hoping for weight loss.


Once you know your specific amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fats and have a good workout regimen, losing weight will be noticeably easier!!




  1. Calculate Maintenance Calories
  2. Calculate Protein Intake
  3. Calculate Fat Intake
  4. Calculate Carbohydrate Intake



  1. Calculate Maintenance Caloriesmaintenance calories |


Before figuring out our individual macros, we must first calculate our maintenance calories.

Maintenance calories are the # of calories we must eat to maintain our body weight. Each individual’s specific caloric intake is different based on a number of factors such as:

  • gender,
  • age,
  • activity level, and others.



The simple calculation to arrive at your maintenance calories is as follows:


Body weight (lbs) x 14-17 = Estimated Daily Calorie Maintenance Level (kcal).



If you are a female with a smaller frame and/or a sedentary lifestyle, you would choose a number closer to 14. However, if you are a male with a larger body frame and/or an active lifestyle, you would want to use a number close to 17.


After figuring out your maintenance calories, you are going to adjust it based on your goals.


If aiming for weight loss, you subtract 250-500 kcals from your maintenance calories.


When trying to gain weight, you add 250-350 kcals to your maintenance calories.



  1. Calculate Protein Intakeprotein intake |


Protein is THE most important macronutrient! Studies show that protein will:

  • Help you recover better after workouts
  • Preserve more muscle when reducing calories
  • Increase muscle mass and
  • Help you feel fuller


Based on what I have seen and my own experiences, the OPTIMAL range to maintain or increase muscle mass is between 0.8 and 1.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Protein also has 4 kcals/gm.


For example, if you are a 150lb person, the optimal amount of protein is somewhere between 120 and 210 grams. If you are going through your diet and finding yourself hungry a lot, aim for the higher range.


  1. Calculate Fat Intakefat intake |

I remember when I was trying to lose weight 5 years ago, everyone kept telling me to stop eating fats. It made so much sense! If I want to lose weight, I should stop eating fat, right? WRONG!!


Dietary fats are very important in hormone levels, nutrient absorption, muscle growth, and many other things. A gram of fat has 9 kcals/gram, which is more than both carbs and protein that are at 4 kcal/gram. With this fact, the fat intake will be a lot less than both protein and carb intake.


I have seen a lot of different recommended ranges for dietary fat. However, based on what I have tried in the past, I would go with 0.3 to 0.4 grams of fat per pound of body weight per day.



If you are more on the heavier side when starting, I recommend shooting between 0.3-0.35 grams of fat per pound of body weight per day.


  1. Calculate Carb Intakecarb intake |


We have finally reached the carbohydrate section. A theory that I have seen that is starting to catch fire is that, “Removing all carbs from your diet, is the best way to lean out.” This couldn’t be any farther from the truth!!

Completely avoiding carbs can lead to:

  • irregular bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, and nausea)
  • lack of energy and
  • Ketosis


Carbs are most important when it comes to providing energy for workouts. It can also help you get stronger. Carbs when taken at controlled moderation, will not get in your way of weight loss.


The calories that are left over from both proteins and fats, will be your carbohydrate intake. To calculate this:


  1. Multiple your protein grams by 4 to get protein calories
  2. Multiply your fat grams by 9 to get fat calories
  3. Add steps 1 and 2 and subtract from your total calories
    1. This will be your calories for carbs
  4. Divide the number by 4 to get the # of grams for carbs



For example, for a 200-lb individual with a sedentary lifestyle:

  • Maintenance calories = 14 x 200 = 2800 calories. 2300 for weight loss
  • Protein = 200 x 1 gram = 200 grams of protein
  • Fat = 200 x .3 gram = 60 grams of fat
  • Carbs = protein calories + fat calories – maintenance calories = carb calories
    • (200 x 4) + (50 x 9) – 2300 = carbs
    • 800 + 450 – 2300 = 1050 carb calories, 1050 / 4 = 263 grams of carbs


And there you go!! In 4 simple steps, you too can calculate your macronutrient ratio and be on your way.

In Part 2, I will be talking about adjusting macros and how to keep track of them.


James, Out.


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