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.
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:
- Protein ratio is set at .825 grams per pound of bodyweight but this can be adjusted depending on your individual stats and goals.
- Fats are set at 25% of daily energy expenditure. Some may want to do 30% fat, especially if they enjoy foods like avocados, eggs, and nuts.
- Carbohydrate grams come from the remainder.
Daily energy expenditure is calculated from your age, gender, height, weight, and exercise output.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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