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 or flexible dieting 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?

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 of 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 but this can be adjusted depending on your individual stats and goals.
  2. Fats are set at 30% 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 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.

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 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 (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

1,602 Comments

  1. Hayley Vee

    Hi Ted, thank you for all your advice and answering so many queries. Mine’s a bit of a long one…

    I was tracking my food for a good few months when my main aim was to lose fat. Over 6 months I dropped from 63kg to 54kg and am now at a steady 55kg another 2 months on. I am happy with the changes in my body, and can see a clear difference in body composition. I am sure the weight I have lost is all fat as I have been building strength and muscle over that time too. Recently i haven’t been tracking as I’ve been happy to maintain and what I’m doing is working. However I am now unsure what I do to progress further. I would like to add more LBM and keep improving strength and fitness, some people I’ve spoken to have suggested increasing food intake but i want to ensure I’m adding lean mass without added fat. I am hapy to start tracking again but woul dlike guidance on which numbers to start with so could you please share your opinion on calorie intake and macros please? Below are some more details to illustrate me.

    I’m female, 27, 165cm and currently 55kg with a recent body fat percentage reading (bioelectric machine) of 11.4% (however I think I think this is low compared to photographs and think I may actually be closer to 14-15%). I am a teacher and only slightly active during the day. But my exercise regime is pretty full on and varied. A typical week includes:
    Crossfit 3-4 times a week ( 1 hour sessions on a varied programme including olympic lifting and body weight exercises)
    Netball training 1-2 a week (1 hour, moderate intensity)
    Kickboxing classes 2-3 a week (2 hours, high intensity )
    Pole fitness 1-2 a week (1.5 hours, body weight, strength and flexibilty)
    And sometimes a 5-10km run on the weekends too.

    Thank you in advance for your time,
    Hayley

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Hayley, You’re welcome. You could start by eating 10% more than your maintenance TDEE and see if that is enough to help muscles grow while not encouraging fat loss. Your exercise is pretty intense and varied so I would recommend using your sedentary TDEE and then tracking your exercise with an app like MapMyFitness. Those calories would then be added to your TDEE. If you want me to figure out your macros for you and/or you want additional coaching, please see our options here. https://healthyeater.com/ebook

      Reply
  2. Allister

    Hi Ted,

    So if you’re trying to cut weight and your daily intake is supposed to be 2000 cals/daily, on days that you exercise and burn say 700 cals would you add that 700 cals to your food intake for that day making it 2700 cals?

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Allister, The only way you add exercise calories back in is if you are using your sedentary TDEE as your baseline.

      Reply
  3. Andrea

    Hi Ted,

    I have been following the IIFYM flexible lifestyle for about a week now, and I feel great! I have much more energy during my lifts and just overall. As a vegetarian I didn’t realize that I was not getting nearly enough protein! The calculator suggested about 140 and I was barely getting 60-70 grams a day before. No wonder I wasnt seeing any gains!! This has really helped me focus on how much Im eating of each macro vs what I am eating. I am still trying to get the hang of things. Out of these 5 days I still havent been able to reach my protein grams without going over in fat/carbs. I am up into the 100s which is a big change for me but I am still rounding out daily at about 110-115. Any suggestions? Thanks. I eat lots of greek yogurt, eggs( full/egg whites), one protein shake a day after my workout( 18g) and a protein bar daily that has about 20g. Thanks!!!

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Andrea, Great, so glad to hear! This is a bit tricky for vegetarians because a lot of vegan protein sources are also high in carbs and have perhaps more fat than desired. I would look into protein shake options. Find one that is at least 25 grams per scoop and one that’s very low in fat. You could try egg white protein. Here’s a good one to consider http://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Protein-White-Vanilla-Carbs/dp/B00H49XXSQ/
      have an additional shake every day. This should help get you closer.

      Reply
  4. Xiao Kuang

    Hi Ted,

    I have been using apps to figure out my macros for each meal but I don’t seem to be eating enough fat. I made steak and rice and some bell pepper for lunch and that had a total of 8g of fat, when the calculator above says my goal is 22g each meal. What types of food can I get more fat that I can incorporate into meals?

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  5. Molly

    Hi Ted,

    I’m a 20 year old female, 5’2″ and weight 138lbs. I’ve been lifting like crazy for the past 5 months, have made massive gains (added 100lbs to my squat in this time!) but I feel like I’ve put in all this work to no aesthetic avail. I lift 4x per week for 1 hour, and do 30 minutes of cardio to finish. In addition, I run 3x per week for 30 minutes. I’ve been eating around 1900 calories per day and seem to be gaining weight! My macros have generally been 275c, 54f, 102p. What would you suggest they be? I would like all this muscle to start shining through this stubborn layer of fat that I have!

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Molly, It looks like you are gaining muscle mass from all that lifting so this is skewing weight loss results. Have you been measuring your body fat percentage? Gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time can be tricky but is possible. I’d be happy to coach you and help you reach your goals. Here are the options: https://healthyeater.com/ebook

      Reply
  6. Bri

    Ted,
    I follow Julie fouchers programming on the blackboard. Would that be considered moderate activity. I’m 22 years old, 5’5 and weigh 154 pounds I am trying to lose weight. I have been dancing in the 150s for as long as i can remember. When I workout the result I have been seeing is just muscle being built under the fat. It seems as though the fat on my body does not want to leave. I thought I wasn’t eating enough however when I did up my calorie intake I felt as though I gained weight even if the number on the scale didn’t change.

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Bri, I’m not familiar with that program. You should contact her and see if she can give you an idea of the average calorie burn. What TDEE and macros have you been following and for how long? Do you eat the same on rest days as you do on workout days?

      Reply
  7. Sarah

    Hi Ted,

    Im 21, 5’8 and weigh 168lb. I’m very health conscious and am in pretty good shape! I would ideally like to lose another stone or so but I’ve been finding it difficult to get the weight off as a lot of my weight is muscle!

    I do resistance training 3 times a week, LISS (low intensity, i.e power walking) training 3-4 times a week and I add in heavy lifting along with my programme as much as possible! I also dance twice a week so I am quite active!

    I’ve heard a lot about these macros and I downloaded MyFitnessPal but didn’t think the amounts it gave me were quite active.

    I’m just wondering what settings you would recommend for me to put into the calculator?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Sarah, It seems like your exercise is pretty varied so I suggest that you do “sedentary” “lose” on our calculator and then manually enter that data into MFP and use MFP to track your exercise. Then, more calories/macros will be added in depending on how much you do. This is all described here. https://healthyeater.com/iifym-myfitnesspal-tutorial I also offer a lot more help and advice in my book. please check it out here. https://healthyeater.com/ebook

      Reply
  8. Briana

    Hi Ted,

    I am 22 yo, 5’2, and 110 lbs. I have always been into eating healthy and working out regularly (light weight training and cardio) 4x per week while working a desk job. This has helped me keep my ideal weight and size. I’m looking to gain more muscle mass while losing fat/firming up. I plan on upping my weight training and looking to gain 5-10 llbs of muscle. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    In addition, I eat 4x per day. I calculated in “moderately active” and “gain” and got overall per day:
    2257 calories

    313 g carbs
    110 protein
    63 fat.

    I also take a whey protein shake post workout with my fourth meal. I was wondering if I should calculate that shake into my macros as a part of my fourth meal or basically combine my fourth meal and new fifth meal (the protein shake) together.

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Briana, As far as the meals and protein shake is concerned, it’s probably best to time it so you consume it within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. Also, at the “gain” setting, this will not exactly be a lean gain so since you are starting from an ideal weight you may want to shave about 200-250 calories off of your TDEE and see how it works for a few weeks. Take these calories from your carb allotment and some from your fat allotment. Keep me posted on your progress 🙂

      Reply
  9. Briana

    Hi Ted,

    I am 22 yo, 5’2, and 110 lbs. I have always been into eating healthy and working out regularly (light weight training and cardio) 4x per week while working a desk job. This has helped me keep my ideal weight and size. I’m looking to gain more muscle mass while losing fat/firming up. I plan on upping my weight training and looking to gain 5-10 llbs of muscle. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  10. drea

    Hi. I am a female 5ft 11 inches and I weigh about 177 pounds. I have recently lost about 100 pounds within the last year. I currently am left with a lot of sagging skin and muscle loss and am looking for a way to tone up. I have been in a caloric deficit for so long, that I am afraid to increase my calories to the recommended 1800. Any slight change in my normal 1300-1400 seems to shift the scale. Is this something I should expect early on? Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you.

    Reply
    • drea

      Can you build muscle in a 20% caloric deficit?

      Reply
      • Archie

        No, you have to be on a surplus to gain muscle.

        Reply
      • Ted

        You can build muscle in calorie deficit if you have fat reserves to draw extra energy from, but 20% is probably a bit too much. This is why we added a 10% setting to the calculator. Note that muscle gains are much faster in surplus, but gains are possible in a slight deficit and is how a lot of flexible dieters drop body fat percentage while still adding muscle.

        Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Drea! Great job on your weight loss! That’s amazing! It can take your body a couple weeks to adjust especially if you’ve been on a low calorie diet for a long time. Once your metabolism gets going again with eating more and some weight training, you’ll be good. You can also gradually increase your calories over the course of a week if that makes you feel better.

      Reply
  11. garyh

    Hello Ted again after i have worked out my macros! how do i go about dividing them into proteins fats carbs etc for losing weight as that part confuses me

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Garyh, The calculator above does all of that for you.

      Reply
  12. BRT2738

    Hi Ted, I am 32yrs/174lbs/60″. I selected for light activity as I am just now getting into the gym routine after losing over 30lbs by only restrictive eating/calorie intake. It’s not working anymore, so I need to start exercising (for health too) I am going to start ‘meal prep’ for the week, so I do not have the excuse of ‘no time’. I am wondering if I would be better off having 4 or 5 meals/day? Does it matter? I’d like to get down another 30lbs in the next 3-4 months. I’m new to this, so your help and pointers are very much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi B. It doesn’t really matter too much weight loss-wise but eating more often can help with not feeling hungry and it’s always good to have some carbs prior to going to the gym which will make your workouts better. Since you’re prepping meals, it may be easier to do 3 meals, but save some of your macros for a protein shake and/or another snack to keep you going until the next meal time arrives and/or for before your gym time. Also, be sure to check out my book where I offer much, much more help with flexible dieting. https://healthyeater.com/ebook All the best for reaching your goals!

      Reply
  13. Eva

    Hi Ted, I’m 20 years old weight about 135, 136 I’m 5″3 and I do plyometrics training 3 times a week the other 3 days I power walk for 30 mins and do 15 mins on and off sprints. And Sunday is my rest day. I want to be more defined but also lose weight. Should I do lose 20% or lose 10%?

    Reply
    • Eva

      I only burn roughly to 200-240 a gym session

      Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Eva, It looks you have slightly more than 10 pounds to lose to be in your “ideal weight range”. Start with lose 20%. All the best!

      Reply
      • Eva

        Hi Ted,
        Thanks I’ve been eating like this for a 5 months or so now and I’ve only gone down in weight by 5 pounds is there something else I should be doing ?

        Reply
  14. Paudie

    Hi lads, I’m a crossfitter and o train hard 3 hours per day 5 days a week with strength oly lifting and of coutrse cardio, I’m 6ft 1 and weigh 85kg but want to get more definition, what would be the best way to set my calories and my macros? I have my fitness pal app so all set to go thanks lads,
    Paudie ?

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Paudie, It seems like you should do “very active” “lose” “high protein” on your workout days, and “sedentary”, “lose” “high protein” on your rest days. All the best!

      Reply
  15. Diane

    Hi Liz, I’m wondering if you used cm instead of inches. Try again using inches for height.

    Reply
    • Liz

      Thank you, Diane! Guess I missed that step 🙂 It is now up to 1400 calories…yay!!!

      Reply
  16. Liz

    Hello! I just used the calculator to map out my macros as I have been researching and interested in making this a lifestyle. So, I am 5’0 and 118 lbs 37 y/o female. My exercise consists of hiking, barre classes, treadmill. When I put my numbers in it said I should consume Cal: 622/day CHO: 19 Protein: 97 and Fat: 17 grams per day!!! My goal is to lose fat and gain lean muscle. I feel my best around 105-107. I had suffered from adrenal fatigue and gained weight and can’t seem to get the scale to budge. My guess is I consume 1200-1400 cal per day. I am a nurse practitioner so I work crazy hours and don’t always get to eat multiple meals. I often eat think thin bars as a meal. Does the macros make sense? Any suggestions for me? Thanks!! I plan on buying the book soon!

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Liz, Glad you got it sorted. A couple of suggestions. Your exercise seems pretty varied so you may want to use a more fluid approach. I talk about this in my book as well as this article. https://healthyeater.com/iifym-myfitnesspal-tutorial using myfitnesspal and mapmyfitness to do the tracking. Also, since you only have about 10 pounds to lose and are trying to build muscle, you may want to be in less of a calorie deficit. Say 10% instead of the 20% used in the calculator.

      Reply
  17. B_1999

    Hi, I was wondering what activity level I would select if on Mondays-Friday’s I walk to school, around school, back home then do 50minutes at the gym (3x liss 3x resistance) and then on Sunday I have a rest day but for Sunday I’m guessing I would choose sedentary?

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi there, I’m not sure of the distance you walk, but it seems like you’d be safe with moderately active and yes on rest days you can do sedentary for enhanced results.

      Reply
      • B_1999

        Hi, thank you for replying. It takes me around 20 to 30 minutes to get to school

        Reply
        • Ted

          That’s what I was thinking so stick with moderately active.

          Reply
          • B_1999

            Also, I do not want to lose any more weight, I just want to tone up and burn any excess fat. Would I still use the same macro ratio that it gives me to maintain my weight on sendentary and moderately active ? Because they both give me the same amount of protein, just increased in carbs and fat

          • Ted

            yes, but you’ll have to be in a slight deficit if you want to burn fat. You may want to go with “maintain” and lightly active to accomplish this.

  18. Destiny

    Hi Ted, not sure if I’m calculating this right. I’m 26, 5’1″,124. I want to lose weight in my mid section mostly. I know I will lose weight in other places but my mid section is my concern currently. I do 40-50 minutes of 3.0-3.3 mph on the treadmill for three days and one day off then back to three days on. Are there any tips you can recommend to help me out. I stay in the 1000-1200 cal range and burn between 400-500 cal in one session. Is this good or bad? I don’t do much thought the day except a little house cleaning thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Destiny, Use our calculator and come up with a customized TDEE and macro amounts for yourself that will promote steady weight loss. Your treadmill should tell you your estimated calorie burn per session. Use that info to pick the correct activity level. I’ll also tell you that with 1000-1200 calories you aren’t eating enough to support your workouts and healthy sustained weight loss which is why are struggling to lose. Also, check out my book as I think you’ll find it very helpful in understanding what flexible dieting is all about as well as how to be successful at it. https://healthyeater.com/ebook

      Reply
      • Destiny

        Thanks I will do that

        Reply
  19. Erich Tabor

    Hey Ted, I have a specific question about the macro-calculator.

    I had around 220 kg (464 lbs) and lost 60 kg (132 lbs) over the past year. So I am at around 160 kg (352 lbs) right now while still having alot of fat mass. Is it really alright to go for “x by bodyweight” mesurements in my case? I calculated a daily need for around 3200 kcal … (Lose Mode)

    I eat less than that daily and am on a plateau (Not losing anything) for like 2 months or more. Would be awesome if you could give me alittle “tip” or whatever, because it was a question which bothered me for a long time with these “kcal intake calculators”.

    greetings

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Erich, Great job so far on your weight loss! How many calories are you currently eating and how much exercise do you do?

      Reply
      • Erich Tabor

        Thank you very much. I eat around 1300-2000 kcal a day. I drink just water and coffee. I go 3 times a week to the gym where I do 40 minutes of cardio (Heartrate at around 130-150) on a crosstrainer and subsequently do 20 minutes of weight training with around 12-15 reps per exercise. I was told about these plataus and actually experienced it once or twice, but never this long. Am I actually “undereating”? For my macros, I try to keep the carbs low, but ate around 100g of rice / noodles (dried) a day, but simultaniously kept my fat under controll and tried to reach a certain amount of proteins (Atleast 100g) I feel much much better now, but would love to see continous success in my journey. The “160 kg” mark seems to be a bad ass opponent.

        Reply
        • Ted

          Hi Erich, Thanks for more details. I think you should be eating more. I’m 165 pounds and my sedentary maintenance TDEE is 2000 calories. It looks like you are plateauing because you haven’t been eating enough and have slowed your metabolism. At least, eat at your sedentary “lose” macros and see how that works for you over the next couple of weeks. That should put you around 2500 calories a day. Try to be consistent with it as well. Keep me posted on how it works for you. Also, use the low protein setting since you really only need protein amounts based on your lean body mass, not total weight in your case.

          Reply
  20. Lori

    Sounds good, thank you!

    Reply