Learn How to Calculate Macros For Muscle Gain & Fat Loss In 3 Steps
When I started my fitness journey years ago, before I cut through all of the bullsh*t this industry loves to peddle to people like you, I would fall for the following rubbish:
- You need to remove refined sugar to lose fat
- Paleo or going “cave man” is the only way to get into shape
- Gluten is the reason why you’re fat
- Cutting out processed foods is the answer to weight loss
The list goes on and on. Let me tell you something.
As someone that has competed as a fitness model competitor at the World Titles, I know all of these claims are complete rubbish. And are the common sales pitches of author’s wanting to take your money for book sales. Period. End of story.
If you want to learn how a nutrition processor lost 27 pounds in 10 weeks by eating Twinkies, Little Debbie snacks, Oreos, and sugary cereals. Listen to my podcast audio below.
I’ve been calculating my macros to maximise fat loss and build muscle for years. When I transformed my body, I was still eating refined sugar, the occasional chocolate, quest protein bars, and cheat food every now and again.
This is what my transformation looked like eating a specific amount of protein, carb, and fat every day.
If you know how to calculate your macros correctly, dieting becomes so much simpler and straightforward. When you eat the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat (macronutrients) every day, and plug these into MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal, you can build the body you really want. Just like I have.
Finding your macros using the following 3 steps:
- Calculate your calorie target
- Calculate protein, carb, and fat requirements
- Enter those numbers into a smartphone app like MyFitnessPal or MyNetDiary
Before we get started, I need to make it crystal clear to you that as long as you eat the correct amount of protein, carb, and fat, irrespective of the food you eat, you can transform your body.
This approach to a body transformation is also known as “If It Fits Your Macros” or IIFYM. Many fitness models and bodybuilders are not shy to throw up photos of their body’s on instagram, or their donuts or waffles and tag them with #iifym or #flexibledieting.
The reason why fitness models and bodybuilders can build muscle and get shredded by eating donuts, pizza, and waffles, is because a body transformation is contingent on energy balance and not food types. As a culture, we are taught that food types are the reason why we are fat. It’s a complete lie. You are fat and out of shape because of food quantity not food quality. More on this later 🙂
Let’s get into it.
Step 1. Calculate Your Calorie Target
If you are serious about losing fat and building muscle, then maximising body composition is the goal, not “weight loss.” A body that looks good means one that has a greater proportion of muscle than fat.
The only tried and true way of maximising your body composition is to first calculate the total number of calories that you need to eat (calorie target) and then determine how that calorie target breaks down into protein, carb, and fat.
The only way a nutrition professor could lose 27 pounds in 10 weeks on a “convenience store” diet or a guy lost 56 pounds eating nothing but McDonald’s for 6 months, is to determine their calorie target and macronutrient requirements.
If you consistently consume less calories than what your body needs every day, you will lose weight. Irrespective of whether those calories come from the convenience store or from green smoothies.
Using the macro calculator below; enter your current weight, approximate body fat percentage and activity level.
There are three goals or “Presets” which will determine your daily calorie target.
From the calculator above, you will select the goal you are trying to achieve from the Presets drop down menu. Once you do this, the calculator will give you the Total Calories that you need to set as your daily target, followed by a breakdown of that target into protein, carbs, and fat (in grams.)
If you have more than 6 months of weight training experience, then your goal is either to bulk for maximum muscle growth, or cut for maximum fat loss. If you have less than 6 months of experience or an absolute beginner weight lifter, you will benefit from a body recomposition.
Once we know how many total calories you need to consume every day against the goal you want to achieve, it’s time to look closely at your macronutrient targets: protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
MEAL PLANNING MASTERY
NEVER PAY FOR A MEAL PLAN AGAIN! LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN DIET PLAN WITH FOOD YOU LOVE TO EAT TO LOSE FAT AND GET INTO SHAPE.
Step 2. Calculate Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat
Years ago when I started my weight training journey, I had no regard for my protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake. It was the biggest reason I struggled to build muscle and lose fat.
Firstly, I will focus on protein requirements because out of the three macronutrients, it is the most important one. If you are just learning the ropes of flexible dieting or IIFYM, your focus should be to try and get your protein requirements every day. Once you can consistently get enough protein, work on reaching your carbohydrate and fat requirements.
There is plenty of research out there which supports high protein dieting for losing fat and building muscle. Research shows that an optimal protein intake should be somewhere between 0.8 to 1.0 gram per pound of body weight per day.
Research for high protein dieting also shows that;
- You won’t lose as much muscle while “cutting” to lose fat.
- You’ll feel more satiated (less likely to overeat your calorie target)
- You’ll experience better post-workout recovery
If you are serious about losing fat and gaining muscle, you need to get serious about increasing your protein intake. At first, I was reluctant because 1.0 gram per pound of body weight of protein per day, for me, is about 200 grams of protein per day! It seemed like too much. The truth is, there is plenty of science which advocates high protein dieting for maximum protein synthesis.
The days have passed when we were convinced that eating fat made us fat. The pendulum swung in favour of low-fat dieting where anything which contained fat was anointed the devil and had to be avoided.
Here’s the truth.
Fat is important no matter what people tell you. Without it, you die. Too much of it, you also die. Dietary fat is an essential macronutrient that is responsible for processes such as hormone production, satiety, building muscle, and absorbing nutrients.
In terms of body composition and dietary fat, the aim of the game is to receive enough dietary fat to receive the physiological benefits without blowing over your total daily calorie target.
You should aim to get 0.3 grams per pound of body weight per day of dietary fat to sustain health, hormone function, and well being.
Some people that I’ve emailed with prefer a bit more fat than carbohydrate, or vice versa. This is okay, provided you are consistently hitting your protein target and remain within 100 calories of your total daily calorie target.
If dietary fat doesn’t cop a bad rap for being the devil, it’s the carbohydrate! Again, the notion that “you don’t need carbs” is complete rubbish which sells books and magazines for such diets such as ketogenic and the like.
Other carb myths have propagated the industry such as “you shouldn’t eat carbs after 8pm or it will get stored as fat” and “the only way to get shredded is the cut out carbs.” It goes on and on.
I’ve been working night shift at my corporate job for 7 years where I’ve eaten 90% of all my calories between 8.30 pm until 7.00 am and I’ve shed fat and built muscle, more so than most people that work a normal job and cut out carbs! I’d eat carbs throughout the entire night and still maintain low body fat levels.
So if you are training on a regular basis and relatively healthy, your life will be so much better when it is mapped to receive the carbs suggested by the macro calculator above. It has been found in science that carbs are the primary fuel source for intense exercise activities and will help you gain muscle and strength faster.
To calculate the amount of carbs you need, you will give your remaining calories to them! Firstly, we will need to look at how many calories we have allotted to protein and fat, then use the remaining calorie for carbs.
You’ll need to keep this simple formula in mind;
- Protein target multiply by 4.
- Fat target multiply by 9
- Add (1) and (2) and subtract from total calories to give carbohydrate calories.
- Divide the remaining number by 4 to get the amount of carbs you need every day.
Let’s use a practical example… me! 🙂
My current weight is about 89 kg (195 lbs) and my TDEE is about 3,100. If I continue to eat 3,100 calories every day, my body weight and body composition will not change.
I need to eat 195 grams of protein and 58 grams of fat, and my carb requirement will look like this:
- 195 x 4 = 780
- 58 x 9 = 522
- 780 + 522 = 1,300
- Calories remaining for carbohydrates: 3,100–1,300 = 1,800
- 1,800 / 4 = 450 grams of carbs per day
My macros (per day) will be:
- 195 grams of protein
- 58 grams of fat
- 450 grams of carbs
Step 3. Using MyNetDiary Or MyFitnessPal
I know that seemed like a lot of messing around. It’s relatively straightforward. And once you get your head around these foundations — you would have learned one of the most effective tools to control your body composition.
Now that you have your macros, it is time to either plug them into a meal planning spreadsheet which you can download from below. They are sample flexible meal plans which you can use to get an idea on how to create a simple meal plan around the food you enjoy the most, using the macronutrient targets you’ve calculated.
- Bulking Meal Plan (MALE, 2,700 calories)
- Cutting Meal Plan (MALE, 1,980 calories)
- Bulking Meal Plan (FEMALE, 1,700 calories)
- Cutting Meal Plan (FEMALE, 1,500 calories)
Alternatively, you can enter them into smartphone applications like MyFitnessPal or MyNetDiary.
If you want to watch free tutorials on how to use these amazing apps and all the functions necessary to transform your body composition, click below:
There is a lot of information to take away and think about. I would follow the calculations and start playing around with the sample meal plans (which everyone will charge you $60 each for!) and those smart phone apps.
Give yourself 6 weeks of dedicated effort where you follow your calorie target and macronutrient targets as close as possible. Try to be within 5 to 10 grams of your macro targets and within 100 calories of your calorie target.
You can essentially eat the food you enjoy, record it into MyNetDiary or MyFitnessPal, and aim to hit your targets every day. As mentioned, those meal plans are a great place to plan your meals in advance against the macros you have calculated.
Let me know how you go. All the best 🙂