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

1,406 Comments

  1. Laszlo Tsd 7 months ago

    Hi there ! Im a 6 ft, 168 lbs, 22 years old guy. The deal is: I do boxing 2 times a week, Muay Thai 1-2 times a week, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 times a week. I have no idea how many calories these activities burn. Boxing usually last 90 minutes, I have elevated heart rate as I challenge myself and trying to do my best.
    Muay Thai lasts 2 hours, same as boxing.
    Obviosuly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t use the same cardio level as boxing and Muay Thai, but it still challenges your body due to the core strength activities.
    How could I measure the burned calories ? I should eat about 1600-1900 calories daily (based on multiple calculators) without the exercises to lose weight (as I’m cutting), but it’s still hard to figure out the exact number. Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 7 months ago

      Hi Laszio, It seems like you would be at least very active on days you exercise.

      Reply
  2. Louise Hurst 7 months ago

    Hey, Im 55kg. 63cm tall and body fat of 19.1%. I go to crossfit 4 to 5 times a week. Sessions are one hour long and are a mix of cardio, weights and gym. Ive set my activity levels to very active with high protein. My goal is lose 3-5% more body fat. Is this correct?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 7 months ago

      Hi Louise, One hour of CF is a bit borderline depending on how intense your WOD is. You could start with very active and see how it goes, but if you aren’t losing fat you may have to cut back to moderately active in a couple of weeks.

      Reply
  3. Nick James 7 months ago

    Hi Ted, I’m struggling to determine my macros due to activity levels being drastically different day to day.
    Monday and Friday are rest days…
    Tuesday is 2hr swim squad training…
    Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday gym 1hr swim squad 1hr…
    Thursday gym 1hr swim squad 1.5hrs…
    Due to this I’m confused on what I should set activity level at. Thanks for any help in advance.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 7 months ago

      Hey Nick, for someone like you I recommend the fluid approach. This means you use your sedentary macros as a base and then track your exercise. Your tracking app will adjust your macros based on how much activity to do. With this method, you will need to cap your protein on big days, but it fuels your body more specifically. I show you how to set it up in myfitnesspal here.

      Reply
  4. Nancy 7 months ago

    Hi,i need help. So basically I’m 5’4 & I weigh about 150. I’m trying to lose weight & I work out 7 days a week. So 5 days cardio and 2 days weights. I picked lightly active b/c I’m not sure how accurate my Apple Watch is so I don’t know how many calories I’m burning when I workout. Anyways my macros are carbs 170 G protein 124 g and fat is 43 g. Does that seem right? Usually when I use othe macro calculators, i get 150 p,131 c & 51 f. Am I doing something like wrong? Thanks for th help

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 7 months ago

      Hi Nancy, How long are your workout sessions? You may be moderate on workout days. Other calculators use different default ratios and most are within an acceptable range. However, I would say that 150 g of protein is a bit too much for you because it should be based on your lean muscle mass, not just body weight. Looks like the other calculator is giving you 1 gram per pound. This is why our default is around .8 because we are accounting for additional fat tissue weight.

      Reply
      • Nancy 7 months ago

        Hi, thanks for the response. I workout everyday for an hour. So should I be moderate for my workouts? Also , does 170 g of carbs seem right?

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer 7 months ago

          Yes, I would say moderately active and yes, 170g carbs on workout days seems right. Make sure you get a nice dose of them before your workout.

          Reply
  5. Carlee 7 months ago

    Hi, just wondering about the macro portions – I’ve been reading different things and it has all become a bit overwhelming (hard enough learning how to coin your macros let alone unsure if you’re actually eating the correct amounts) im not overweight but want to lose 4/5kg of fat and lean up again. I selected the lose 10% option and just worried that carbs is too high (50%). I really want to focus on getting rid of that stubborn fat and don’t want to lose any muscle from training so just worried its a little high?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 7 months ago

      Hi Carlee, Did you select high protein? 50% is a tad high unless you are a runner or are on the very active side of the exercise spectrum.

      Reply
      • Carlee 7 months ago

        Hi Ted, tha ks for your reply. That was on normal protein. If it helps my current weight is 75kg, height 183cm abd i selected moderately active. My job im constantly on my feet and i train approximately 3 times/week. Protein came up as 24.6%, fats 25% and carbs 50.4%. This just doesn’t seem right to me. Also, If i select high protein it only adjusts carbs to 45.2% which still seems high to me.

        Reply
  6. Shawn Philips 8 months ago

    I am trying to determine macro values for high carb/low carb days during carb cycling

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 8 months ago

      Hi Shawn, With flexible dieting, your high carb days should be on your exercise days and lower carb days should be on your rest days. Eat carbs when your body needs them. This is a more natural approach. I’ve written a more detailed article here about carb cycling and flexible dieting.

      Reply
  7. Eileen 8 months ago

    Everything I have been reading lately recommends high fat, low carb, moderate protein for weight loss….then I put my info into the calculator and it’s telling me 46% carbs?!!! I’m really concerned, I must say, that I will blow up like a balloon. I’m 44 and want to lose about 8 pounds (I’m 5’2″ and 130). I averae 12000 steps per day and usually exercixse 3-4 times per week…nothing crazy, either a 35 minute video at home of some weight machines and 20 min of cardio at the gym. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Rebekah Lopez 8 months ago

      Same for me. Carbs are through the roof on calculator. Why is this? Was trying to use it as a tool

      Reply
      • Ted Kallmyer 8 months ago

        Hi Rebekah, If you are coming from a low carb type of eating mentality then carbs may seem high, but in reality, the calculator gives a moderate proportion of carbohydrates. Don’t be afraid of carbs. They do not cause weight gain in relation to one’s TDEE. This page gives a breakdown of how calculations are made.

        Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 8 months ago

      Hi Eileen, Flexible dieting doesn’t advocate the need for low carbs, in fact, has proven the opposite. You can eat normal ratios of food and reach your goals. Give this article a read, which will help you understand the concept and the science behind it.

      Reply
  8. Taf 8 months ago

    Hi
    In the body fat % section do I input my goal or what I currently am ? Thanks in advance .

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 8 months ago

      Hi Taf, You use your current body fat percentage.

      Reply
  9. Joseph 8 months ago

    Hi,
    I’d really appreciate a little guidance.
    I’m 6ft , 255lbs. My maintenance was around 2,400 at sedentary. I’m eating 2,000. I work 3 times a day where I walk 8k – 10k steps so i’d estimate I at least burn 500 calories a day because of my weight and size. I also workout 3 times at least an hour my fitbit says i burn around 500 calories. I do heavy lifting and run 2 miles at 20 ish minutes. Every day I’m either working or at the gym. So with my deficit 500 cal and 500 work/gym, im burning 1000 calories a day times 7. So in a week I should be burning 2 lbs? 7000 – 3500.

    Sorry the reason i’m asking is because I’ve hit a plateau I was 300 lbs, and started eating 2000 calories and stuck to that number.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 8 months ago

      Hi Joseph. It seems like you are in too much of a deficit on the days you work out. This can cause plateau since your body starts to conserve its resources. Also, I think you are over-estimating your calorie burn a tad. Casual steps like you described burn very little and FitBit over-estimates this. So all that to say, I don’t think you are calculating your weight loss TDEE and macros correctly which is why your results have stalled.

      Reply
  10. Riley 8 months ago

    Hello,
    So I live a pretty active life style I would like to say. I workout every morning at 5 am for an hour- hour in a half, and than I’m a full time med student & here and there work at a restaurant where I’m averaging 18000-20k steps a day. . During the my regular routin day I sit in classes, but I always according to my fit bit average about 12-15000 steps a day and burn around 2100-2300 calories a day. When I type in my goals, I just wanna lose another 2-3 pounds but shed more body fat I get real low numbers and I’m not sure if it’s rignt cause I’m always still feeling hungry & lacking energy. Every time I try macro calculators I get such different numbers, I wanna kno what I truly need to be healthy. I’m 25 & weigh 128-129 and I’m 5-4. Looking for some help and advice thank you

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 8 months ago

      Hi Riley, First of all, it’s important to note that FitBit over-estimates your calorie burn from casual steps so you aren’t burning as much as you think. You should probably do very active, high protein, and lose 10. This will allow you to lose those couple of pounds slowly and help with hunger. If you want me to calculate things for you, I can do so with one of our coaching plans here.

      Reply
  11. Soms 9 months ago

    Macro calculator is not working. Tried many times., showing error in height section. I have tried entering in cm and inches both.

    Reply
    • James 9 months ago

      Could you let us know what browser you are using, and exactly what you are typing into the height field?

      Reply
    • Aireona Thompson 9 months ago

      The height is not working for me either. Tried over 10 times. I’m putting in 5’1” or 5.1 inches, I even tried typing it in words. What should I put in?

      Reply
      • Ted Kallmyer 9 months ago

        You have to convert it to inches. 5’1″ or 5.1 feet converts to 61 inches.

        Reply
      • James 8 months ago

        Height has now been changed to handle both feet & inches, or centimeters.

        Reply
  12. Soms 9 months ago

    Hi, i weigh 54.2kgs (female), height 4.12-5 inches. I have all the fat near belly and the sides of the stomach. I want to gain proper metabolism which i lack also loose that fat near stomach area. What would you recommend?

    Reply
  13. Sherry 9 months ago

    Hi
    I did the macro calculater for moderate activity … i do two HiTT classes a week , one spin class plus a weight class .. on those work out days should I increase my macros ?
    Also do I have high days / refeed days ??

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 9 months ago

      Hi Sherry, you already set the calculator to Moderate activity which already accounts for the exercise you described. I’m not sure what your goals are but looking at the exercise you’ve described refeed days wouldn’t be necessary.

      Reply
      • Sherry 9 months ago

        Thank you for your responds . I started flexible dieting about a year ago and love love love it !!! I lost 18 inches and 15 pounds in that time . I’m leaving for my winter holiday in feb for a couple of months and would love to lose another 8-10 pounds , and of course tone some more .
        I so know that if you don’t eat enough while working out you can in turn gain weight . It’s all about balance .!
        Flexible dieting lets me eat healthy plus I still get to eat some of the same foods I like .

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer 9 months ago

          Great to hear and awesome job! It can be productive to have at least a day or 2 a month where you take a break and eat more than you normally would. It can keep the body from getting too comfortable with the same macros day in and day out. I personally vary my macros based on how active I am on a particular day and use sedentary on days I do no exercise.

          Reply
  14. Emily 9 months ago

    Hello! I want to get off Keto but I’m afraid of gaining all the weight back. I don’t plan on eating unhealthy and want to have a well balanced diet that I can maintain for the rest of my life. The macro calculator suggests 25% fat , 40 % carbs, and 35% protein. Do you think I should follow these macros ? I’m scared that my 6 months of progress will go to waste.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 9 months ago

      Hi Emily, It will be mostly about how many calories you are consuming. Why don’t you start with Lose 10 which will put you in a 10% deficit. See how your body responds and then move to your maintenance macros if everything looks good.

      Reply
  15. Ashley 10 months ago

    Hi Ted!

    I was wondering if you were familiar with the Beachbody programs…I recently subscribed and love the variety I found. Starting today I committed to cleaning up the diet a little bit more (minus the 72% dark chocolate and Peanut Butter) BUT I also committed to the 21 Day Fix program, but instead of just doing that program I decided to add in another cardio video like the Country Heat or the Rockin’ Body dance videos to round out my hour long morning workout. What is the best way to estimate calorie burn in order to determine macros? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ashley 10 months ago

      I also tend to be a fairly active person in general, although I just started law school so it’ll be more like the life of a desk job except I take the stairs ALWAYS and i’ll go for short 5-10 minute walks every so often. I also eat a fairly healthy diet already but there are some things i’d like to clean up and focus on. The last time I was on the scale about 3 weeks ago I was 111 at a doctors appointment for a stress fracture, but I don’t know how much I weigh now, is it safer to err on the side of caution and input 115?

      Reply
      • Ted Kallmyer 10 months ago

        Hi Ashley, I would start with moderately active and then adjust from there if you are losing too rapidly or not gaining etc. Not sure what your goals are.

        Reply
        • Ashley 10 months ago

          I am trying to tone up/build muscle and lean out…I suppose you could consider me in the “skinny fat” phase of the process.

          Reply
  16. Nataly Valenzuela 11 months ago

    How does carb cycling work with macro counting? Meaning if I go to the macro calculator and figure out my macros, how do I then adjust them for high carb and low carb days?? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Ted 11 months ago

      Hi Nataly, Please check out this article: https://healthyeater.com/carb-cycling-flexible-dieting

      Reply
    • Leticia 9 months ago

      Hi Natalie, personally what I do is use the numbers given by the calculator as an average calorie intake for the week, then adjust the macros in high and low carb days ina way that the average for the week will be the same. Hope that makes sense. Cheers

      Reply
  17. Ralph 11 months ago

    Hi I’m 17 year old male 165lbs pretty muscular but need to loose some belly fat to show my abs what would you reccomemd me doing I train 6 times a week thanks

    Reply
    • Ralph 11 months ago

      Trying to really shred myself basically just

      Reply
    • Ted 11 months ago

      Hi Ralph, You’ll need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat, but you don’t want to sacrifice all the hard work you’ve put in building the muscle. You should start with the “lose 10” setting when using the calculator. Also chose the high protein setting. That should get you started in the right direction.

      Reply
  18. Raf 11 months ago

    Hi,
    I’m a female and I’m currently 17 years old. I am about 5’3″ and weigh 108 pounds. Although that is slightly underweight for my height, I am not happy with the way I look. I used to lift 4-5 times a week and was fit and toned with a lower body weight (100-103 lbs) and I was satisfied with how I looked but I wanted to gain more muscle mass. Instead, I wasn’t able to maintain my weight and I stopped going to the gym and ate unhealthy. Now I’m currently 108 pounds and I’ve gained extra fat on my cheeks and overall face, my arms became flabbier, my abs are not toned anymore and I gained thigh fat. My goal is to gain more muscle mass and start weight lifting, but I also desperately want to lose my face fat, arm fat and stomach fat as well. Do you know how many cals I should be eating and whether I should lose the weight first and then start lifting or can I do it at the same time? I want to start going back to the gym but I don’t know what I should be focusing on. I work in a camp so I would say that I’m lightly active during the day. Should I be calculate my macros with a lose 10%? It calculates 1541 calories with a normal protein intake of 89 grams, 200g carbs, and 43 grams of fat. Does that seem correct for my goals?

    Reply
    • Ted 11 months ago

      Hi Raf, I think lose 10 is a good place for you to start and when you start weight training again use the high protein setting. Also, make sure you factor in your weight lifting exercise as well. On days you lift weights you’d most likely be moderately active.

      Reply