Flexible Dieting Macro Calculator

Ultimate Macro Calculator

Calculate your optimal macros and calories based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. Use your results with macro counting or flexible dieting/IIFYM to lose fat or gain muscle.

Age

Gender

Current Weight

Height

Formula ?If you know your body fat %, Lean Mass formula may be more accurate.

Activity Level

Goal

Carbohydrate

Protein

Fat

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MEALS PER DAY

ADJUST PROTEIN

What Are Macros?

The foods we eat are made up of three “macros” (macronutrients). These macros are carbohydrates (carbs), protein, and fat. Chicken is high in the protein macro but has no carbs. Rice is high in carbs, but very little fat or protein.

These 3 macronutrients (macros) are from which the human body obtains energy and raw materials for growth and repair.

What Are the Right Macros for You?

The right macros for you are based on your personal Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and goals.

Our macro calculator defaults at the best macro ratio that’s proven to work for the most number of people. You should achieve your goals using the default setting.

However, there is nothing wrong with adjusting this ratio if needed. Perhaps you’re an extreme endomorph and do better with fewer carbs. Or, perhaps you only have one kidney and need to eat less protein. You can adjust the macros to levels that are right for you personally with a little math, which is explained in detail here.

How to Calculate the Right Daily Protein Amount

Setting protein to Moderate adjusts the ratio to .65 grams per pound of body weight. This is appropriate for sedentary individuals or for people with higher body fat percentages.

High is appropriate for people who are active, do moderate strength training, and have an average body fat percentage.

Maximum will set to 1 gram / lb. This is appropriate for those who are wanting to gain weight/muscle mass and do intense training.

We go into greater detail about how to choose an appropriate protein level when counting macros so give that article a read if you’re still unsure.

Using the Macro Calculator to Calculate Daily Fat Amount

Fats are set at 30% of daily energy expenditure. This is a healthy moderate amount that most people do well with and is based on recommendations by nutritional guidelines.

When choosing foods that conatin fat, focus on getting predominately healthy fats as part of that 30%.

Using the Calculator to Calculate the Right Carb Amount

After protein and fat are calculated, the calculator assigns the remainder of your calories as carbohydrates. This usually results in a moderate amount of carbs that is in the range recommended for most people. Carbs fuel your body and workouts and are the body’s prefered energy source.

Many people coming from “low carb” type of dieting may feel like this calculator calculates carbs on the high side. However, this is a moderate amount of carbs according to respected nutritional guidelines and the notion that carbs cause weight gain or prevent fat loss when eaten in relation to your TDEE has been debunked.

How the Calculator Adjusts Your TDEE Based on Your Goals

Daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is calculated from your age, gender, height, weight, and exercise output.

You can easily use the macro calculator to adjust your energy levels to lose fat, maintain your current weight, or to gain muscle.

By default, the results are for losing weight. Select either lose or gain if you are trying to lose fat or gain muscle. These are good starting points, but you may have to play around with your macros until you find your personal goal-reaching sweet spot. You can then count macros until you reach your desired goal.

See the full guide to macro ratios here.

Setting the Calculator for Weight Loss (Fat Loss)

  • The Lose button puts you in a 20% calorie deficit which promotes safe, steady weight loss.
  • The Lose 10% button puts you in a 10% calorie deficit and is intended for those with less than 10 pounds to lose and who also wish to build muscle at the same time.

For Maintaining Your Current Weight

The Maintain button shows you the macro levels that will keep you at your current weight. This is good for people who have lost weight and who don’t want to gain the weight back.

Settings for Gainning Weight or Building Muscle

The Gain button puts you in a 20% calorie surplus and is designed for people who are wanting to build muscle fast in conjunction with a comprehensive weight training program. It can also be used by people who are underweight.

Some people may want to use the maintenance button and then gradually increase calories from there if they want their muscle gains to be lean.

Which Formula – Normal or Lean Mass?

The default (normal) formula is fine for most people. However, there are some exceptions.

1. If you are very lean (low body fat percentage) the default formula may not be accurate. Use the “Lean Body Mass” setting. This uses a formula that factors specific body fat percentage into the equation and since muscle tissue burns many more calories than fat tissue while even at rest, it will give you a higher TDEE. This is perfect for “athletic body types” that want to use macro counting to gain more muscle mass.

2. If you are classified as obese and have a lot of weight to lose, the standard formula will not be accurate because the equation used, factors for an average body fat percentage. If you happen to be above average it will skew the results. Please see this article for more clarification on how to do macro counting if you are obese.

You can calculate your ideal body weight here.

How Do I Calculate My Daily Macros

By default, the results show the number of grams of each macronutrient you should eat each day. Simply make sure you have eaten those macro amounts by the end of the day.

How Do I Calculate My Macros for a Meal

Click on meal numbers to split this into a “per meal” basis for counting macros. For some people, this is easier, while for others it becomes too much to keep track of. Do what works for you. Either method is fine.

See our Healthy 5 Day Flexible Meal Plan. It includes 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.

Setting Activity Level Accurately

A higher activity level means a higher daily calorie goal (TDEE). For example; if you can maintain your weight at 2,000 calories per day, then adding vigorous daily exercise to this means you need more calories to maintain your weight.

Figure out your activity level using the Calories Burned Calculator.

The same rule applies even if your goal is to lose weight.

If you are sedentary and your goal is to lose weight, your calorie goal might be (for example) 1,600 calories per day. If you decide to start exercising, the calculator will increase your daily calorie goal (say, to 1,800 calories/day). Although it may seem counter-intuitive, more energy is required to fuel your workouts, and your metabolism is increased – therefore calories should be higher.

Many people struggle with which exercise level to choose. Basically each level breaks down as follows:

  • Sedentary: Just normal everyday activity like a little walking, a couple flights of stairs, eating etc.
  • Light: Any activity that burns an additional 200-400 calories for females or 250-500 calories for a males more than your sedentary amount.
  • Moderate: Any activity that burns an additional 400-650 calories for females or 500-800 calories for males more than your sedentary amount.
  • Extreme: Any activity that burns more than about 650 calories for females or more than 800 calories for males in addition to your sedentary amount.

This varies based on your individual stats, but you can get a more specific amount of calorie burn by simply subtracting your sedentary calorie amount from the chosen exercise level amount.

You also need to determine how many calories you are burning: For this use our exercise calorie burn MET database or a good app like MapMyFitness or a wearable device like FitBit or Apple Watch. (Note that activity trackers tend to overestimate calorie burn.)

Too much physical activity combined with low calories could lead to muscle catabolism (the breakdown of muscle fiber). This is not a good thing, and can actually stall your weight loss, so if you love to exercise, eat up!

Which App is Best for Tracking Macros?

After you have your personal macro calculations, you need to determine the macros in all the foods you eat. By tracking and counting them each day, you can reach your recommended macro targets that leads to fat loss, muscle gain, or whatever your goal may be.

While this may seem like a lot of work, there are some really good smartphone macro apps that do most of the work for you. We rank the best macro tracking apps here so you can get started tracking quickly.

Macro counting is extremely successful, and can free you from the “good food, bad food” mindset.

You don’t need to make radical shifts in your diet, nor deprive yourself of your favorite foods. Just make sure you are within your macro counts for each day, and you’re good to go!

You'll Love Our Macro Solution Program

Step-by-step ebooks, or fully customized personal macros coaching. Now with complete vegan edition.

References

  • Mifflin, M. D., St Jeor, S. T., Hill, L. A., Scott, B. J., Daugherty, S. A., & Koh, Y. O. (1990). A new predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51 (2), 241-247. Link
  • McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (2010). Exercise physiology: nutrition, energy, and human performance. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Link
  • Lemon, P. W., Tarnopolsky, M. A., MacDougall, J. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (1992). Protein requirements and muscle mass/strength changes during intensive training in novice bodybuilders. Journal of Applied Physiology, 73(2), 767-775. study abstract link
  • Grundy, S. M. (1999). The optimal ratio of fat-to-carbohydrate in the diet. Annual review of nutrition, 19(1), 325-341. abstract
Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and is our lead macro coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see our personal coaching options.
Last Updated: October 2, 2019

1,815 Comments

  1. Mike Worthman 2 weeks ago

    Hi Ted.

    Thanks for this site and explanations. I’m a newcomer to fitness and I’ve been trying to lose weight and gain muscle at the gym for two years now with no results.
    I do cardio three times a week and weight training three times a week. And while I feel stronger and healthier I am still fat around my stomach and chest and I can’t seem to shed that fat. I’m 6’3 and 200 lbs. I have lost 10 pounds in the last two years but I want to lose 30 in total. I also want to gain muscle. I have no muscle definition. I try to eat healthy – with meat and vegetables and I still can’t shake the belly fat. Should I place my settings on gain for muscle or for lose for weight loss ? And any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 1 week ago

      Hi Mike, Glad you find our site useful. If you want to lose fat you need to be in a deficit. Since you’ve slowly been losing you probably have been in a slight deficit, but you’ll need to increase this if you want the fat loss to be faster but not too much so that you’ll deprive your muscles of nutrition. Consider coaching with me if you want to get your macros as dialed in as possible, I’d be able to help get you to your goals. Personalized Macros Coaching

      Reply
  2. Peter 2 weeks ago

    Hi Ted!
    I have finally reached my weight loss goal of 85kg from 112kg! I notice I still got some fat around my stomach and chest area. I decided 85kg is going to the ideal weight I’m gonna stay at. My goal from now is to start “body recomposition” through gaining muscle and losing fat whilst staying at 85kg. I am currently standing around ~25% body fat and hoping to convert that percentage to around 10-15%. I am 21 years old, 185cm and my activity level is sedentary. I do full body strength training in the gym generally 3 times a week and adjust my calories on those days. I have put the values into the calculator under the goal “maintain” and my macros for “maximum” protein intake are 2096 calories, 180g carbs, 187g protein and 70g of fat. I assume these are the macros for rest days.

    My question is whether eating at that amount and adjusting on days I train (gym, sports) helps reduce and not “maintain” my body fat %? And if so, I assume I would need to progressively adjust my macros once I reach lower percentages like 20% and 15% until I reach my goal?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Peter 2 weeks ago

      Edit: I’m 21-22% bf

      Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 2 weeks ago

      Hi Peter, great job on your progress. That’s quite an accomplishment! You’ll need to be in a calorie deficit if you want fat loss to occur so maintenance won’t do that for you. You should probably use at least the “lose 10” setting. I’ve written a lot more about lean gains here: Macros for Gaining Muscle and Cutting Fat

      Reply
      • Peter 2 weeks ago

        Cheers coach!

        Reply
  3. Janet michaels 4 weeks ago

    Having trouble figuring macros for Leto diet. I’m 77 female 232 lbs 5,6” tall very moderate activity. Canto tell me how many carbs, fats and protein I should eat daily

    Reply
  4. Efrain 1 month ago

    Hello Ted!

    Question for you! I have hit my weight loss goal after 6 weeks, but am now at a stand-still with losing further weight. I have lost a total of 16lbs. Should I recalculate my macros based off my new weight, or keep it at the original? My macros have been readjusted each week to keep losing weight, but feel like I need to change them up once again. What is the right way to proceed?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 1 month ago

      Hi Efrain! Great job! I’m a bit confused about what your new goal is. To keep losing or to maintain? If you want to lose you should calculate at your new weight and then select “lose”. If you want to maintain, calculate at your new weight and click “maintain”.

      Reply
      • Efrain 1 month ago

        Appreciate the response! Overall, keep losing. This helps with recalculating my macros. Thanks again for the advise!

        Reply
  5. Sara 1 month ago

    Hi,
    How should I set the calculator if I’m trying to achieve a number of the goals (that are often presented as opposite)? My goals are as follows:
    -Increase all over muscle definition and mass
    -Decrease fat around the belly to decrease size and define current ab muscles
    -Lower body fat by 11% from 26% to 15%
    It gets complex because I both want to lose fat and increase muscle definition and mass, and while I’m not at all obese or even heavy, I’d still like to lose fat and gain muscle to get a ripped body type.

    My activity level is fairly high, as I work at least 4 days a week with weights for about an hour, as well as another half an hour of calisthenics work every day and martial arts training twice a week. What activity level should I set the calculator at? I’m not sure how many calories this burns. Thanks so much!

    Regards, Sara

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 1 month ago

      Hi Sara, The goals you mention do involve a bit of balance and note that when you are trying to do both at the same time the results will be slower. Start by using the “lose 10” setting which puts you in a 10% calorie deficit. Next, because your exercise is a bit varied you may want to consider a more fluid approach where you track your exercise with an app like MapMyRun and then allow it to adjust your calories and macros based on how much you do on a given day. This keeps your deficit more consistent. This is explained in more detail here: How to Count and Track Macros Using MyFitnessPal: A Tutorial

      Reply
      • Sara 1 month ago

        Okay, will do! Thank you so much. Would it be more effective to simply focus on dropping my body fat percentage to 15%? If I do that, maybe I’ll achieve the other goals along the way. If so, how should I set the calculator to drop body fat percentage by about 11% to hit the 15% mark?
        Sara

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 1 month ago

          It would be quicker for fat loss. You’d use the “lose” setting which puts you in a 20% calorie deficit.

          Reply
          • Sara 1 month ago

            Awesome, thank you so much for the help! I really appreciate it.