How to Calculate Macros: Start Counting Yours Now!
What are Macronutrients?
Of course, everyone knows how healthy nutrients can be, but did you know that certain nutrients are needed in large amounts and used for energy, growth, and bodily functions? These essential nutrients are known as macronutrients. The three macronutrients required for normal human body function include carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins.
How to Calculate Your Macros
Calculating and adjusting your daily macro intake is a lot more complicated than it really is and will largely determine whether you achieve your fitness goals with dieting.
Every person is different so calculating your macros is just the tip of the iceberg and even the most experienced coaches working with clients have been known to get it wrong to start with. Our metabolism, health, and lifestyle all play an important role in how much energy our bodies burn and how much of each macronutrient we should be consuming.
When getting started the most important thing to calculate is your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) or the amount of calories you burn in a day. If you consistently eat less than this amount you lose weight. Eat more than this amount and you gain weight. Get the picture yet?
Below is one of the most renown and widely used formulas to calculate TDEE is The Mifflin, M. D., St Jeor used to calculate your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), or the amount of energy used by your body in a state of rest.
- Males: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE
- Females: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161 = REE
Given the fact that the average person doesn’t just sit on the couch all day watching TV, the next step is to work out movement expenditure or TDEE.
Basic everyday activity such as walking to the grocery store, up and down a couple flights of stairs, etc. (REE X 1.2)
Just about any activity that burns an additional 200-500 calories more than your inactive amount. (REE x 1.375)
Any activity that burns an additional 400-800 calories than your inactive amount. (REE x 1.55)
Any activity that burns more than 800 calories in addition to your inactive amount. (REE x 1.725)
For individuals with a varied workout, use a more fluid approach. Use your inactive TDEE as a base value, monitor your workout adjusting your TDEE according to the intensity of your daily workout. Note: This process makes tracking your macros a little more difficult.
Let's look at an example:
If you’re a 35-year-old, 170 cm, 95 kg, highly active male.
Your equation (rounded to nearest whole number) would be:
(10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = REE) x 1.725 = TDEE
10 x 95 + 6.25 x 170 – 5 x 35 + 5 = REE
950 + 1062 – 175 + 5 = 1884 (REE)
1842 x 1.725 = 3177 (Highly Active TDEE)
Your TDEE would be somewhere around 3,200 Calories.
- Consume more than this = weight gain
- Consume less than this = weight loss
See how easy that was?
Recommended Carbohydrates Intake
Found at just about any neighborhood grocery store the human body according to the USDA needs 45-65% daily caloric intake from carbohydrates such as starchy foods, like grain and potatoes, as well as fruits, milk, and yogurt.
But did you know that fiber is an indigestible form of carbohydrate? Yes. Fiber in your diet has many benefits including the reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also lowers your risk of cancer, it improves cholesterol and blood pressure helps regulate your digestion and helps prevent toxic build up in your body. Great for people that are trying to lose weight, fiber also helps you feel full so you don’t eat so much.
Fiber goes by other names such as bulk or roughage. There are actually two types of fiber. Insoluble fiber comes from fruits, vegetables, and grains. It acts like a brush and helps to clean out the colon. It also helps food pass through the digestive tract much faster. Soluble fiber is derived from fruit, some vegetables, beans, oats, peas, and barley. This type of fiber when mixed with liquid forms a gel and helps to control blood sugar as well as reduce cholesterol.
Recommended Protein Intake
Most everyone knows that protein is a very important nutrient for proper growth and development. According to the USDA today our bodies need 10% – 35% of calories from protein to repair muscles and restore body cells. Protein is also a great source for energy and metabolism.
When people think about protein rich foods, they usually think of meat or fish, but for people who choose not to eat meat, they can rely on protein-rich vegetables to get enough protein in their diets. The list of protein rich vegetables is pretty long but it’s good for non-meat eaters to know so that they can include protein in their diets and get a balanced meal every day. Some people stick to dairy or nuts for daily protein intake but this may not necessarily be enough to adequately satisfy the bodies need for protein.
Protein rich vegetables and vegetables with fiber are easy to grow. If you have a yard to grow healthy vegetables, then you can start with asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, carrots, and celery. Make sure when growing vegetables with fiber that the soil they are growing on is healthy, otherwise, your protein rich vegetables will not yield a high volume of nutrients.
Protein rich vegetables can be prepared in so many ways. You can prepare them raw as part of a delicious, mouth-watering salad, you can even steam them and serve with other foods such as meats or staple foods such as rice or potatoes. You can even sauté vegetables with protein or stir fry them. It’s best to avoid deep frying vegetables if you want to derive any nutrients out of them. Deep frying any foods will cause a big loss of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid boiling vegetables because this will certainly cause them to lose their nutrients. If you have ever noticed the water turning green when boiling vegetables, you have just witnessed the nutrients seeping out of your food.
Recommended Daily Fats Intake
Although lipids also known as fats have been generally associated with heart disease and weight gain, including some fat in your diet is important for your health and wellbeing. The USDA currently recommends that 20–35% of the daily energy requirement of humans should be supplied through the consumption of fats. Besides supplying the energy we need fats to:
- Supply our body with fatty acids such as omega-3
- Help absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and carotenoids
- Flavor foods and add texture.
There are three main types of dietary fats include:
- Saturated fat – commonly found in foods such as butter, cream, and meat sources.
- Unsaturated fat – found in foods such as avocados, canola oil, nuts and olive oil as well as plants.
- Trans fats – found in commercially produced foods such as baked goods, fast foods, margarine, and snacks.
Note: Substituting saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can reduce the risk of developing a cardio disease.
How to Keep Track of Your Macronutrients
We all know that the best way to gain muscle and lose fat is by calculating your macros. You may have even heard that if you eat the right amounts macronutrients daily and follow a workout program you can eat just about anything you want. But how do we know the right amount of macros for our diet? Well, it’s quite simple to spend 30 seconds looking at foods with a nutrition label. Each macronutrient yields a certain number of calories:
- One gram of protein yields 4 calories.
- One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories.
- One gram of fat yields 9 calories.
- One gram of alcohol yields 7 calories.
Kitrics Digital Nutrition Scale
If you’re watching your nutrition closely, this scale and nutritional calculator can help. By simply entering your food code from the provided list of over 1900 common foods and placing the food on the scale the Kitrics Digital Nutritional Scale instantly calculates the nutritional facts for the portion weighed. Not only can you create and store customizable food codes but you can also work out your daily nutritional intake to help you achieve your fitness goals.
- Precision Scale for weighing your food with a high-precision reading of +/- .05 oz.
- Nutritional Breakdown featuring a database of over 1900 foods to calculate calorie intake from carbohydrates, cholesterol, fats, fibers, sodium and sugars.
- Customizable Entries allowing you to store up to 99 personalized food entries.
- Battery Powered via two AA batteries (included) and features auto power-off for maximum use.