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
Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and is our lead macro coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see our personal coaching options.

1,675 Comments

  1. Razvan Popa 2 weeks ago

    For what period of time is this formula set? It is based on 3 months or 6 or an estimate?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 weeks ago

      Hi Razvan, I’m a bit confused as to what you’re asking but the calculator is showing you the nutrition you should be consuming during a 24 hour period.

      Reply
      • Razvan Popa 2 weeks ago

        Hi Ted,

        Let me rephrase then: if you select the 10% or loss for how long would you have to follow? Does it have a end point ? Like the macros are calculated to reach the goal in 4 months or another timeframe? Hope this helps.

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 2 weeks ago

          At the lose setting which is an estimated 20% calorie deficit people can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Once your goal is reached you would switch to maintenance.

          Reply
  2. Afisha Edwards 3 weeks ago

    Hi
    I do weight training 6 days a week and circuit cardio for 45 minutes twice a week..am I moderate or extreme?

    Reply
  3. Sherry 3 weeks ago

    Hi I’ve been counting macros for a few years . And I stopped for about 4 months . I’m just getting back into it but stuck as to we’re to set my numbers . I go to the gym 5 days a week , 1 HIIT and the rest weights . I’m happy with my weight , but want to gain muscle. What do I set the activity at and the gain or lose at ?

    Reply
  4. Rubyann 4 weeks ago

    Hi new to this site . Great information . I have a question , I workout everyday 1 1/2 per day I lost a lot of weight through the years I was 268 lbs now I’m @ 157 lbs my goal is to get too 135 to 140 lbs I’m having a hard time I hit a Plato stage after maintain the weight for 6 years. My question is if I set myself on a calorie count of 1600 or less after my day of workout and my steps are put in I burn on a daily day 2300 to 2800 calories how do I calculate my calories verses my calorie count ?i hope this question isn’t difficult . So am I suppose to get what I eat subtract from what I burned on my calories ? Thank you Rubann

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 weeks ago

      Hi Rubyann, First of all, great job on your weight loss. That’s amazing! Secondly, you should set the calculator at sedentary (lose) and use those macros on rest days. Secondly, calculate an exercise set of macros. It sounds like this would be moderate. Eat at those levels on your workout days. You can track your activity but don’t allow it to change what you are eating because your exercise has already been accounted for. Step tracking is highly inaccurate calorie burn-wise since casual steps use very little energy.

      Reply
  5. Carolina Barrezueta 4 weeks ago

    Im new! And love what im learning!

    Reply
  6. Fantasia 1 month ago

    Hi I’m new to this keto diet. I haven’t started yet, I’m trying to gather as much knowledge and information as i can so i can go into this with a good understanding, and be successful with my weight loss journey. I’m currently 260lbs 5’5 my physical activity is pretty light. I would like to lose a 100+ pounds, but I’m confused on what my macros and fat ect. Intake should be.

    Reply
  7. Sellers 1 month ago

    Hey there. Getting back into macro counting…I am a teacher and am on my feet all day, reaching 10,000 steps usually by 3pm. I’m wanting to focus on my nutrition/food for a few weeks before getting back into the gym. Do you suggest I pick sedentary or light? I know activity trackers cant be entirely trusted, but mine says I’m in a fat burn zone for 9+hours a day. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 1 month ago

      Hi Sellers, That’s correct. Casual steps don’t burn as much as activity trackers say. Why don’t you start with light and see how you respond. You can always cut back if needed.

      Reply
  8. Elena Vargas 1 month ago

    WOOO!

    Reply
  9. James 1 month ago

    See the author bio just above these comments.

    Reply
  10. Marecea Palmer 1 month ago

    does anyone know who wrote this article

    Reply
  11. Maverick 2 months ago

    Hi there. I was wondering how I could find out how much calories I should eat if I do different sessions per week of exercises? What I mean is that I perform one gym session on a Monday then the next day I’ll be doing Mixed Martian Arts and conditioning at the end (2 hour session), I do Gym workouts 3 times a week and 2 classes of MMA a week too. I’m trying to lean out but I’m afraid to lose my muscle size and that I’ll be too tired in the sessions. What should I do? And how much calories should I be having to lean out without losing muscle? I’m 18, 173cm tall and 67.6 kg.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 1 month ago

      Hey Maverick, Set the deficit at 10% and then use your sedentary macros as your base. Try to track your various workouts with an app like MapMyRun and then eat those calories back. This is explained in more detail in our Myfitnesspal tutorial.

      Reply
  12. Jason 2 months ago

    One last thing also on daily I usually burn around 1000 calories or more but some times around 700calories should I change the macro every time or just stay was extreme?

    Reply
  13. Jason 2 months ago

    Also right now I’m doing 10 percent lost my body fat is 8 percent I see my abs but it seems like I don’t have enough muscle on my abs should I try gain instead of lose 10 percent what would you recommend

    Reply
  14. Jason 2 months ago

    I see a lot of article and people say that you should eat the same on rest day and workout day what do you think?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Jason, It’s better to eat less on rest days because your body requires less energy. Energy surplus leads to fat storage. If you have lost all the fat you want to, I would advise you to first switch to maintenance mode and then make gradual increases to build more muscle to ensure the gains are lean. Calorie burn and TDEE formulas are all estimates so don’t get too hung up on the exactness of 700 vs. 1000 just establish a good average and use that.

      Reply
  15. Theresa 2 months ago

    This is super helpful, thank you! I’ve recently lost 60lbs (with 30 more to lose!) on a low carb diet, but would like to start counting macros as it seems more balanced at this point (I’m also training for a marathon and need to increase my carb intake!). While doing low carb, I only counted net carbs. My questions are 1). When counting the carb macro can/should I still subtract fiber and sugar alcohols (like erythritol) from the total carbs? And 2). On days where I workout (say, an 18 mile training run) do I eat back any of those calories burned, or no since it’s already factored into my activity level? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hey Theresa, Great job on losing 60 pounds! That’s a huge accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself. Glad you see the value of switching to a more balanced approach. When counting macros, it’s best to count total carbs for simplicity. Some fiber does provide energy so it’s easier to just track total carbs and then know you have a bit of a buffer because of your fiber intake in case you go over. Since you are training for a marathon and your exercise will be pretty varied, it probably makes sense for you to do a fluid approach to your exercise day macros. Get your sedentary weight loss set with the calculator and then have a look at our MFP tutorial to set things up for the tracking exercise/fluid approach.

      Reply
  16. Jason ahn 2 months ago

    I work out 2hours to 3hours a days my Apple Watch shows I burn around 1000-1500a day should I go with moderate or extreme nutrition

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Jason, That would be extreme.

      Reply
  17. lene 2 months ago

    Thanks Ted, but when you use your calculator it shows up as %, – how do I translate that into grams? What am I missing – apart from a few brain cells..maybe.. Ther’s no option in MFP to enter grams, only % – or is that in the paid version? Sorry to ask all these questions 🙂

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Right beside the percents it also shows the daily gram targets. When you enter the percents in MFP it also shows you the gram equivalents in your daily goals. Perhaps using our MFP tutorial would be helpful. This is also explained in detail in our book.

      Reply
  18. Lene 2 months ago

    Im confused. With MFP! Ive entered 35%C, 30%F, 35%P. Ive eaten lunch and breakfast so far and it shows Im at 48%C, 30%F and 22%P. (This is under the macro tab) However, when I click the “Nutrient”tab, it says I still have 68g of carbs left?, 104g of P, and 33g F?
    I thought I was over my daily Carbs already. This counting stuff does my head in – It can surely not be that hard to get, eh ?:)

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Lene, You need to track grams of macros and not percentages. The percentages should only line up at the end of the day when you are finished eating.

      Reply
  19. J green 2 months ago

    Thank you for your reply,I’ll try your suggestion 😃

    Reply
  20. Jamie Valentine 2 months ago

    Hello! I’m 38 year old female December 1st I weigh 250 lb it’s April 1st and I weigh 225. I have 0 gym time but walk on both my brakes and my lunch. Ice cream cheese apples sugar-free Spot Coffee and usually chicken in the evening and I’m at a plateau. Any

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Jamie, What levels have you been eating at?

      Reply