THE PERFECT GUIDE TO CALCULATING YOUR MACROS
Macronutrients, commonly referred to as macros, are the nutritional compounds our bodies need the most of in order to function properly.
Whether you're trying to build muscle, lose fat, or do both at the same time - it's important to understand macros and how your body uses them in order to reach your goals.
The three types of macronutrients are...
Let's take a look at how our bodies use the macros we ingest.
All carbs, simple and complex, will be broken down into glucose, and used as an energy source for your muscles and cognitive functions.
Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, are easy for your body to breakdown, low in fiber, and digested quickly which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Instead, add complex carbs to your diet. Complex carbs such as whole grains, are digested slowly and provide essential fiber, which is crucial for proper digestions and hearth health.
Best Complex Carbohydrates:
- Whole Grains
- Fruits and Vegetables
Protein is important for a wide range of body functions, such as building and repairing tissues of the muscle, bone, and skin.
Made up of amino acids, your body then breaks down these amino acids, and turns them into building blocks for new protein, energy, and muscle and organ tissue support.
Healthy Protein Sources:
- Lean Protein - Chicken Breast, Grass-Fed Beef, Tuna
- BUILD Whey Protein Powder
- Nuts, Nut Butters, Seeds - Look for low sugar items
- Beans - Black, Pinto, and Kidney Beans
Not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats are crucial to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Healthy fats aid in vitamin absorption, satiety, hormone production, and protects vital organs of the body.
Healthy Fat Sources:
- Healthy Oils - Avocado, Coconut, and Olive
- Fatty Fish - Salmon
- Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds
- Avocado and Olives
MACROS FOR MUSCLE GAIN
Having an adequate supply of all 3 macronutrients is essential for building lean muscle mass, regardless of how much you work out.
Carbohydrates contain 4 kcal/gram
40-60% of your caloric intake should come from carbs.
Proteins contain 4 kcal/gram
25-35% of your caloric intake should come from lean protein sources.
Fat contains 9 kcal/gram
15-25% of your caloric intake should come from healthy fats.
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR MACROS
STEP 1 - Calculate your BMR
STEP 2 - Calculate your Daily Caloric Intake
STEP 3 - Calculate your Macros
STEP 1: CALCULATE YOUR BMR
The first step in calculating your macros is calculating your BMR, short for Basal Metabolic Rate.
Your BMR is the amount of calories your body burns per day, without exercise.
Calculate your BMR using the Harris-Benedict Equation:
STEP 2: CALCULATE YOUR DAILY CALORIC INTAKE
Now, we move on to calculate your daily caloric intake by choosing your activity level and multiplying by your BMR.
Little/No Exercise: 1.2
Light Exercise/Few times a week: 1.375
Moderate Exercise 3-5x per week: 1.55
Heavy Exercise 6-7x per week: 1.725
BMR X Activity Level = Daily Caloric Intake
STEP 3: CALCULATE YOUR MACROS
Finally, your macro split...
(Total Daily Calories x Allotted Macro %) / Macro kcal/gram = Daily Amount of Grams for each Macro
Here's an example for a male, trying to build muscle, with a daily caloric intake of 2500 calories and a macro split of: Carbs 50%, Protein 25%, and Fat 25%
(2500 x 0.5) / 4 = 313 grams of carbs
(2500 x 0.25) / 4 = 156 grams of protein
(2500 x 0.25) / 9 = 69 grams of fat
Put it all together and you'll get your daily macros.
313 grams of carbs, 156 grams of protein, and 69 grams of fat per day.
Macronutrient ratios that you incorporate into your lifestyle will depend on your goals. Allotted amounts of carbs, proteins, and fats will either increase or decrease depending on your desired outcome.
Take a look at the three different macronutrient ratio breakdowns for fat loss, maintenance, and building muscle.
Carbohydrates = 10-30%
Proteins = 40-50%
Fat = 30-40%
Carbohydrates = 30-50%
Proteins = 25-35%
Fat = 25-35%
Carbohydrates = 40-60%
Proteins = 25-35%
Fat = 15-25%
CALORIC SURPLUS VS. DEFICIT
It is important to recognize that in order to gain muscle mass, your body has to be in a caloric surplus.
If your body is in a caloric deficit - it will be more break down muscle mass, the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
When combined with an appropriate strength training program, consuming a slight caloric surplus of 200-500 calories coming from high quality macronutrients and consumed around the time of the physical activity will provide the essential nutrients needed to successfully build muscle.
Macronutrient intake and timing of food plays a larger role in muscle growth and fat loss than most people realize. The better you understand your unique macronutrient needs, the better you will be able to meet your needs and reach your training and physique goals.
Because there is no “one-size-fits-all” macronutrient ratio for building muscle, working with a trained and educated professional to help determine your unique needs is always the best course of action.