I will show you how to take your Total Daily Calories and break them down into the Macros your body needs. If you do not know your Calories, you can use this post to help you calculate them.
What is a Macro?
Macro = macronutrient
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed to increase lean muscle mass, reduce stubborn body fat, maintain proper hormone functioning, and to regulate other body functions. There are three major macronutrients that the human body needs in order to function properly:
- Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.
- Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
- Fat provides 9 calories per gram.
If you were to look at the Nutrition Facts Label of 1 egg, you would see that it says 6 g of Protein, 0.6 g of Carbohydrates and 5 g of Fat. This would equal out to 78 Calories.
Besides carbohydrate, protein, and fat the only other substance that provides calories is alcohol. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram. Alcohol, however, is not a macronutrient since we do not need it for survival.
Protein should be your new best friend if you want to gain or maintain muscle.
- Tissue repair (aka recovering from Leg Day)
- Immune function
- Making essential hormones and enzymes
- Preserving lean muscle mass
Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. Our bodies LOVE Carbs! Look at your favorite foods and I will bet they are high in carbs.
- Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. (Glucose)
- Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
- Essential for proper hormone balance
- Reduced performance when in a large deficit
- Did I mention our bodies love the stuff
– Fiber refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. They keep us feeling fuller which is a key to managing hunger, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of colon cancer as it lowers cholesterol and keeps the plumbing clean.
Minimum – 20g/25g for women and men respectively.
Maximum – 20% of your carb intake.
Fat has been treated like the bad relative that no one wants to associate with in our diets. This is due to the previous concept that since we are fat, it must be Fat’s fault. Well, that’s simply not true.
- Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
- Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
- Regular hormonal function, especially testosterone production
- If levels are too low it will have a negative impact on your sex drive
Just like with your TDEE, this is a beginning base. Every person is different and the numbers will need to be tweaked based on such things as a person’s unique Metabolism, the sports they in which they compete and medical conditions.
For a good starting point you want to go with 1 pound per Lean Body Mass. If you are in a large caloric deficit, you will want to take this up to spare your lean muscle mass.
1 g/lb LBM (2.2 g/kg)
Example: We will use Beth from the Calorie post. She is 168 lbs scale weight. After getting her Body fat done we know that she is 115 lbs LBM = 115 b/lb (253 g/kg)
This is not a set in stone number and would need to be adjusted based on the type of meal plan you are following (Macro-cycling, Carb Cycling, Intermittent Fasting, Bulking, Cutting……) For a basic starting point I like to go with 25% of your TDEE.
Example: Beth calculated her TDEE at 1950 kcal after adjusting for weight loss.
1950 kcal * 25% = 487.5 kcal
487.5 kcal / 9 kcal per Fat gram = 54.16 (54 g)
Now we have the fan favorite Carbs! You will take the remainder of your TDEE kcal and use that for carbs.
Example: Beth’s TDEE is 1950 kcal
1950 kcal – (115 g * 4) – 488 g = 1002 g
1002 g / 4 kcal per Carb gram = 250.5 (251 g)
So Beth’s macros would be 115 g / 251 g / 54 g per day