Flexible Dieting Macro Calculator

Use this to calculate your optimal macronutrient ratios based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. Then 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 level activity 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.

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 activity: Any activity that burns an additional 200-400 calories for females or 250-500 calories for a males more than your sedentary amount.
  • Moderate activity: Any activity that burns an additional 400-650 calories for females or 500-800 calories for males more than your sedentary amount.
  • Very Active: 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. Let us help you succeed with counting macros!

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

1,325 Comments

  1. Mandie 5 days 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 4 days 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
  2. Megan 6 days 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 5 days 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 4 days 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
  3. Scott 1 week ago

    looking forward to making this work

    Reply