Flexible Dieting Macro Calculator

Calculate your optimal macronutrient ratios based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. Use your results with macro counting, flexible dieting, or IIFYM to lose weight, maintain, or gain muscle.

Age

Gender

Current Weight

Height

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

Activity Level

Goals

Carbohydrate

Protein

Fat

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MEALS PER DAY

ADJUST PROTEIN

What Are Macros?

Each of the foods we eat are made up of three “macros” (macronutrients). These macros are carbohydrate (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.

This calculator tells you the best ratio of macros that you should eat to achieve your goals. From there, you need to determine the macros of all the foods you eat. By counting them each day, you can reach a target that leads to fat loss.

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 from your favorite foods. Just make sure you are within your macro counts for each day, and you’re good to go!

If you need help, we publish some extensive guides here.

Lose, Maintain, or Gain?

This macro calculator gives you the ability to adjust your macros at 4 different goal settings.

  • Lose puts you in a 20% calorie deficit which promotes safe, steady weight loss.
  • Lose 10% 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.
  • Maintain allows you to eat at macro levels that will keep you at your current weight.
  • Gain 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.

How Do You Calculate the Macros?

The following formula is used:

  1. Protein ratio is set at .825 grams per pound of bodyweight.
  2. Fats are set at 25% of daily energy expenditure.
  3. Carbohydrate grams come from the remainder.

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

See the full guide to macro ratios here.

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.

Adjusting Protein

Setting protein to Low adjusts the ratio to .65 grams per pound of body weight. Higher will set to 1 gram / lb.

Higher protein levels may be helpful if you have a strength training component in your exercise routine. There are many differing opinions about this.

Try starting at the Normal level. If however you do a lot of lifting (3 times a week or more), then set to the High level.

Counting Macros per Meals per Day

By default, the results show the amount of grams of macronutrient should be eaten each day. Click on meal numbers to split this into a “per meal” basis for counting macros.

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

Goals

By default, the results are for maintaining 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.

Activity Level

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 an exercise database or a good app like MapMyFitness or a device like FitBit.

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

If you need some inspiration, check out these incredible transformation stories of from people who used counting macros to reach their goals.

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

1,359 Comments

  1. Amber Bennett 6 days ago

    Hi there! I’ve read through almost every comment trying to find a bit of help with getting started. I most recently started counting my macros, but I’m not sure if I’m doing this correctly. I’m a female, 5’7, 166 lbs, 24% body fat, work a desk job, want to lose about 10 lbs or maybe 2-3% body fat. My issue is wondering if I’m not eating enough. I exercise pretty intensely. I’ve been tracking my calories burned with my apple watch over the past few months. I generally burn about 700-1000 calories per cardio session about 5-7x/week. I averaged all of my calories burned for the month of March and it ended up being about 1,000/day (some days burning 2,000 calories whereas other days were rest days). When I plug my info into the calculator it says I should be eating 1738 calories – 128 protein, 158 carbs, 66 fats. For the past 2-3 weeks I have had a CONSTANT hunger and have felt fatigued. I can’t tell if I’m not eating enough or enough of the right kinds of foods OR if my calculated macros are wrong and need to be adjusted. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • James 6 days ago

      Hi Amber, if I enter in your stats in the calculator (use the Lean Mass method), and the Lose 10% option – even on Moderate activity level, your daily calories should be 2,244 – so you are undereating substantially. If you need more help take a look at the coaching options at https://healthyeater.com/personal-coaching

      Reply
  2. Lauren Baldwin 1 month ago

    Hi guys,

    Not new to macro tracking as I did it a while ago however wanting to get back on it for abit to lose some weight!

    I’m still wanting to increase muscle however as I’m loving my weight training sessions as the minute.

    I’m just confused whether I need to class my activity as light or moderate? I am someone an office worker, and mostly sedentary unless it’s a weekend if I fancy going out for a little walk or something and I weight train rather heavy If I can push my self/gym 5 times a week 🙂

    Reply
    • James 1 month ago

      Given the weight training frequency and intensity, I would set it to moderate. Another alternative is you could create two sets of macros. One for sedentary/light (for the days you aren’t working out), and one for moderate (for your workout days).

      Reply
      • Lauren Baldwin 1 month ago

        Oh nice super, more food 🤣 I thought I would’ve been lighter with me sat down most of the day! Thought so as I was similar last time!

        This should still enable me to grow muscle yes? I’m starting to notice some mass now however the extra calories I’m just too uncomfortable so I need to lose any fluff!

        Reply
        • James 1 month ago

          Let’s be honest: Gaining muscle mass without gaining some fat at the same time is difficult. Experiment with different macro settings – such as ‘Maintain’ or ‘Lose 10%’ – the ‘Gain’ setting may be too much.

          Reply
  3. Jaspal Kundra 1 month ago

    Hi Guys, I have been following lots of different programs with not so much success. Have done bulking n cutting phases with very little results. Due to my activity levels it seems online trainers are not getting my calories right.

    I work in a warehouse picking loads from 5kg to 20kg six days a week 8 hr shifts. This involves all day walking, bending lifting carrying etc. Plus I train minimum 5 days a week. My goal is to gain muscle. My body Stats are Weight 160lbs Height 5’7 Age 29.
    Please advise if IIFYM is right solution. Quite interested as theses guys promising free macros for life according to goals unlike other online trainers sending generic meal plans with very less support when you tell them you losing weight very quick etc. Also whats better option the IIFYM.COM or Macro Solution?

    Reply
    • James 1 month ago

      Hi Jaspal, we can’t answer for iifym.com, but with the Macro Solution we have worked with many clients with different goals. Our calculator is great for setting macros for most people, but we find where people have more unique needs, personal coaching is best. With your activity level is very high, and combined with the training will require much higher protein and calorie levels than most.

      Reply
  4. Mandy 1 month ago

    I understand that more calories are required when you add a work out. Would someone lose weight “quicker” if they did “not” up their calories on work out days / kept at sedentary calories?

    Reply
    • James 1 month ago

      We’ve found that this strategy (while sounding good) can backfire. The extra calories are the fuel for your workouts, and the workouts help to boost metabolism. So if you attempt to have low calories while still working out, this can backfire – leading to a more conservative metabolism.

      Reply
      • Mandy 1 month ago

        Thank you

        Reply
  5. Crin 1 month ago

    I’m going to give this a try!

    Reply
    • James 1 month ago

      Good luck Crin!

      Reply
      • Crin 1 month ago

        Thank you James!

        Reply
  6. Shawna 1 month ago

    Am I suppoused to track net carbs or total carbs?

    Reply
    • James 1 month ago

      You can do it either way, but if you track total carbs it gives you a bit of a buffer if you eat 30-40 grams of fiber a day. That way if you go over on your carbs, it doesn’t make an impact on your progress.

      Reply
  7. Janell 1 month ago

    Hi, this macro calculator is great. I change my daily caloric intake based off my daily activity level. I track my nutrition utilizing My Fitness Pal which syncs with my polar watch to include my calories burned/excercise. My question is, should I add my calories burned/exercise to my daily caloric intake?? I’m not sure since the calculated daily caloric intake includes your level of activity based on calories burned.
    Thank you,
    Janell

    Reply
    • James 1 month ago

      As you’ve already included an activity factor, you don’t need to add in extra calories for exercise. Alternately you could calculate your macros as ‘Sedentary’, then manually add in your tracked calories burned. We cover this thoroughly in The Macro Solution

      Reply
  8. Ana Polito 1 month ago

    Hey Guys, So if anyone could lend a hand it would be awesome.
    So I’ve been training for a bit. 4 years about & dedicated for competing since end of november. Use to have a trainer for a while & then went solo after we both agreed I was on a good streak & also funds.
    I have a bikini competition coming up & I’m 6 weeks out April 21 & Another July 14 and my problem is I bulk easily but when it comes to leaning it’s slowly & cutting a little difficult but I’m getting there. I would like some advice on what to do & such.
    I’m following a macro diet, Of course a few grams away here and there but pretty accurate. I use “My Fitness Pal which helps but as any other can be misleading.
    According to the app I should be consuming:
    **1,410 calories a day**
    Considering I workout 5-6 days a week & Now starting 2x a days with cardio morning & 2nd workout weight training. It’s attempting to have me lose 2lbs a week.
    For which I want to maintain my muscle mass & just lean for which I believe my vascularity & definition will come in which it has.
    My lower tummy is a slight problem area just due to the giggle & not being tight. Pretty much my problems.
    According to My Fitness Pal, I should be following these macros:
    **Protein: 71g
    **Carbs: 176g
    **Fat: 47g
    & Of Course it goes up if I do cardio or whatnot.
    **Question on that is if it increases my caloric intake on cardio days should i follow it or stick with my original since I’m leaning?
    Along with that though, I did some research & found it to be diff.
    That due to the fact of working in the restaurant industry everyday & working out as much as I do, I should be following this Macro Plan according to my needs:
    **1932 Calories
    **Protein: 138g
    **Fat: 55.2g
    **Carbs: 469.2g

    Not sure if it’s off though…
    Seems odd!
    I just want to know with the time I have & the progress I’ve made & my goals I’m trying to achieve….
    **Which Macro Plan is closer to being accurate & especially with now trying to lean , tighten & shred….
    **What steps should I take?
    **What or how much should I be eating more of what to burn… etc etc
    I lift heavy & eat well. No crap or anything just want to make sure I’m following my Macros accurately to get me to where I need to be.

    Thanks In Advance, Just need some guidance since I’m of course nervous & lost at this point.
    My current supplements I take are:
    *Fish oil
    *L-Arginine 500mg 2 capsules 3x a day
    *Probiotic, NLA for her 14 strand
    *Evolution Nutrition-Lean Mode 3 capsules 2x a day. 30 mins Before Breakfast & Dinner
    *Fiber 3g, 2tsp (Post Workout in shake, Leg day or After Cardio Sesh)
    ***I know I should be taking more fiber not sure how much & etc etc

    I will update my weight tomorrow but as of 2 weeks ago:
    Pounds: 138 lbs (As of 2 weeks ago)., Goal:130lbs
    & Apparently it’s saying I’m at a 26% Body Fat Percentage? Confused?
    Currently:
    Height 5’3,
    Measurements:
    Shoulder: 14″
    Chest: 36 1/2″
    Waist: 30
    Hips: 38
    Wrist Circum” 6″
    Forarm Circum: 10″
    Thank you for anything you can help with.

    Ana

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 1 month ago

      Hey Anna, You need to make sure you’re eating enough to support your lifestyle and exercise but then be in a 10-20% calorie deficit for fat loss. All things should be considered when factoring your TDEE i.e active job, workout calorie burn etc. If you make your calorie deficit too steep, you’ll risk losing your muscle mass.

      Reply
    • Jen 1 month ago

      Hi,
      Ted’s reply is very generic, going into a competition, especially in bikini, you should not blindly follow a 10% deficit. You need to lower your carbs at the end of your shred, usually people will eat just chicken, asparagus, and the odd sweet potatoe during the last two weeks to really lean out. Still eating 5-6 meals per day but the meals are not fun. You should maybe try to get a meal plan from someone that knows about competitions and what is needed. It doesn’t have to be too expensive. But if you can’t pay for that, get inspiration from youtube, there are some great women that share their journey and what they eat and how they train to compete. Trust me, they do not add calories because they up their training, they’ll maybe have refeed days or meals but usually they are in a pretty heavy deficit to be able to be stage lean so to say. And 130 sounds a bit high if you’re only 5’3, but if you have a lot of muscle and you look even and your muscles are well defined, then you should be fine, but I know one woman from youtube, Kara Corey, she’s petite, only like 5’2 and when she’s on stage she’s down to 108lb with well defined musclemass. And she also has the problem area of fat on her lower abdomen, even when she’s superlean. Right now she’s not competing so you should look at her videos from 2016-2017, she also has good advise on reverse dieting and imbalances that might occur when you lean out for a competition. Hope this helps and wishing you all the best!

      Reply
      • Ana Polito 3 weeks ago

        Thank you very much Jen!!
        That deff. helped a bunch! Due to funds though and because of “Life”, The whole dieting and extreme training is emotional and can lead to being unhealthy if not followed in a good manner. With that being said, I dropped the April 21 show and instead will be shooting more realistically at the end of June and another in July. I’m tryin to be ready in 12 weeks which I believe should be alot better now and show ready then.
        I will deff check Kara out on Youtube, Thank you so much!
        And as for myself, My myself mass is high which is why my weight fluctuates so much.
        I noticed I lost 2 inches on my bust and my hips but my butt is becoming more “pronounced”. Just my midsection, once again I went from 31.5 2 months ago, down to 29 and now 31″?
        Could be the fact I stopped taking my fat loss “Evolution Nutrition Lean Mode”
        It’s so frustrating but I think it’s just the fiber I take, along with probiotics and water, I might be retaining some water weight. I don’t touch table salt at all but during my meals while cooking i do add a little sea salt or himalayan maybe if i stop that.
        So hard aswell everything pretty much has some amount of sodium.

        But I’m redoing my diet and plan as we speak and here goes my 12 weeks. Wish me luck! Thanks you again. Much appreciated.

        Reply
  9. Rouinna Venturina 1 month ago

    I want to have a good foundation of knowledge in nutrition and fitness. Been working out for more than a year and trying to eat healthy. I need a blueprint on what should I eat and what kind of workout is best for me. What should I do? Hire someone to help me?

    Reply
  10. Stephanie 1 month ago

    How can you calculate body fat percentage? Do you have to go to a doctor for that?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 1 month ago

      Hi Stephanie. We also have a calculator for that. I recommend the caliper method. Use it here.

      Reply
  11. Alan 2 months ago

    How will I know how much fat / carbohydrate each food has?

    Reply
  12. Ashley 2 months ago

    I need some help I do crossfit 5x a week and have two rest days on the weekend what do you all suggest as my activity level because i do not know how to calculate my calories burned in weight lifting and apparently my apple watcg doesn’t either.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hi Ashley, You should do two sets of macros; a rest day set and an exercise set. CrossFit generally burns 350-500 calories per hour for most women. It depends on your height and the intensity of your WOD. Generally, 400 calories is a pretty safe average. Some days you may burn a little less, others a little more. Selecting moderate on the calculator should get you pretty close to that.

      Reply
  13. lauren 2 months ago

    I’m a 55 year old female about a year into menopause, I am very active in various fitness modalities and assumed I was eating pretty healthily, however, over the past year, I have slowly gained about 10 pounds and noted it primarily in my mid section. current fitness regime does not seem to be assisting in reduction in weight or body measurements. so I am looking more closely at nutrition in combination with a fitness program to help in boosting my metabolism and getting this weight under control. I am new to Macro tracking so any advice would be appreciated
    these were my results from the Macro calculation
    1488 calories ; 180g carbs ; 99g Protein ; 41g fat

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hi Lauren, I’m glad you’re interested in counting macros. Make sure you calculate a rest day set and an exercise day set. And make sure you have factored your exercise properly. The metabolism is boosted by eating properly in conjunction with exercise.

      Reply
  14. Diane 2 months ago

    1599 CALORIES PER DAY
    Carbohydrate 162

    Protein 138

    Fat44
    These were my results and I just don’t know if I believe thats where I should be. I am 38 female, 5 ft 4, 138.5, light activity, normal, I put in high protein.
    I guess I just don’t see how I would need more Carbs than proteins in order to lose 10% and gain muscle at the same time. Can you explain the reasoning with this result?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hi Diane, I think it would be helpful to read a little more about counting macros/flexible dieting before you try to jump in. It’s important to understand the roles of the different macros and to undo what seems like misinformation you have learned about carbohydrates. I suggest you give this article a read.

      Reply
  15. Mandie 2 months ago

    I am not sure which activity level to choose. U do a fitness boxing class 3 to 4 times per week usually burn btween 750-900 calories each session. I do light weights at home and yoga at home two other days I burn under 200 on those days. I plan on running as well when the weather gets better. I have about 50 pounds to lose.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hi Mandie, It seems like you should do three sets of macros; a sedentary set, a light exercise set, and a very active set.

      Reply
  16. Megan 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for this resource, it’s really been informative. I am new to eating within Macros and would like some input. As I’ve been looking into this and trying different calculators, I keep getting different results. I am 33, female, 5’6″ and weight 159. I want to lose weight, but gain muscle as well. Should I focus on weight loss first and then on gaining muscle? Or I can I do both successfully? I want to restrict calories to lose fat, but increase calories to gain muscle (right?) and so I am confused as to where my Macros should be to accomplish my goal. I am currently working out 6x a week, 3x lifting weights (50-60 minutes) and 3x HIIT/Abs (30-40 minutes). Aside from working out, my day consists of being I am a mom of 6 children, in school part-time and the regular hustle and bustle of life. Any suggestions/guidance would be awesome, thank you!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hey Megan, You can do both, but if you have more than 10 pounds to lose you probably want to focus more towards fat loss at first. Here’s an article I wrote on the subject that should help.

      Reply
      • Megan 2 months ago

        Thanks for the feedback and the link. Gives me a better idea of what to do. It was great to read your personal story as well. Thanks again!

        Reply
  17. Scott 2 months ago

    looking forward to making this work

    Reply