Flexible Dieting Macro Calculator

Ultimate Macro Calculator

Calculate your optimal macros and calories based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. Use your results with macro counting or flexible dieting/IIFYM 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?

The foods we eat are made up of three “macros” (macronutrients). These macros are carbohydrates (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.

These 3 macronutrients (macros) are from which the human body obtains energy and raw materials for growth and repair.

What Are the Right Macros for You?

The right macros for you are based on your personal Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and goals.

Our macro calculator defaults at the best macro ratio that’s proven to work for the most number of people. You should achieve your goals using the default setting.

However, there is nothing wrong with adjusting this ratio if needed. Perhaps you’re an extreme endomorph and do better with fewer carbs. Or, perhaps you only have one kidney and need to eat less protein. You can adjust the macros to levels that are right for you personally with a little math, which is explained in detail here.

How to Calculate the Right Daily Protein Amount

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.

Using the Macro Calculator to Calculate Daily Fat Amount

Fats are set at 30% of daily energy expenditure. This is a healthy moderate amount that most people do well with and is based on recommendations by nutritional guidelines.

When choosing foods that conatin fat, focus on getting predominately healthy fats as part of that 30%.

Using the Calculator to Calculate the Right Carb Amount

After protein and fat are calculated, the calculator assigns the remainder of your calories as carbohydrates. This usually results in a moderate amount of carbs that is in the range recommended for most people. Carbs fuel your body and workouts and are the body’s prefered energy source.

Many people coming from “low carb” type of dieting may feel like this calculator calculates carbs on the high side. However, this is a moderate amount of carbs according to respected nutritional guidelines and the notion that carbs cause weight gain or prevent fat loss when eaten in relation to your TDEE has been debunked.

How the Calculator Adjusts Your TDEE Based on Your Goals

Daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is calculated from your age, gender, height, weight, and exercise output.

You can easily use the macro calculator to adjust your energy levels to lose fat, maintain your current weight, or to gain muscle.

By default, the results are for losing 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.

See the full guide to macro ratios here.

Setting the Calculator for Weight Loss (Fat Loss)

  • The Lose button puts you in a 20% calorie deficit which promotes safe, steady weight loss.
  • The Lose 10% button 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.

For Maintaining Your Current Weight

The Maintain button shows you the macro levels that will keep you at your current weight. This is good for people who have lost weight and who don’t want to gain the weight back.

Settings for Gainning Weight or Building Muscle

The Gain button 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.

Some people may want to use the maintenance button and then gradually increase calories from there if they want their muscle gains to be lean.

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.

How Do I Calculate My Daily Macros

By default, the results show the number of grams of each macronutrient you should eat each day. Simply make sure you have eaten those macro amounts by the end of the day.

How Do I Calculate My Macros for a Meal

Click on meal numbers to split this into a “per meal” basis for counting macros. For some people, this is easier, while for others it becomes too much to keep track of. Do what works for you. Either method is fine.

See our Healthy 5 Day Flexible Meal Plan. It includes 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.

Setting Activity Level Accurately

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 (the breakdown of muscle fiber). This is not a good thing, and can actually stall your weight loss, so if you love to exercise, eat up!

Which App is Best for Tracking Macros?

After you have your personal macro calculations, you need to determine the macros in all the foods you eat. By tracking and counting them each day, you can reach your recommended macro targets that leads to fat loss, muscle gain, or whatever your goal may be.

While this may seem like a lot of work, there are some really good smartphone macro apps that do most of the work for you. We rank the best macro tracking apps here so you can get started tracking quickly.

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!

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
  • Grundy, S. M. (1999). The optimal ratio of fat-to-carbohydrate in the diet. Annual review of nutrition, 19(1), 325-341. abstract
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.
Last Updated: October 2, 2019

1,815 Comments

  1. Mnason 3 months ago

    Hi Ted!

    Just to clarify, since I workout 4x a week – I’d follow the moderate macro count on the days I workout and then sedentary macro count for the days that I don’t?

    Reply
    • Hmm 3 months ago

      Good question.

      Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      That’s correct and would be the most accurate according to the energy needs of your body on a given day.

      Reply
  2. Naina Luthra 3 months ago

    Hi Ted,

    Can we manipulate with these numbers? For instance, per your calculator C40%, P30%, F30% with Total calories=1412. Now, I was wondering if I could change this to C and P 35% and F 30% or other ways that suits my lifestyle but yet maintain my total calories. Also, have you heard of zig zag diet to track calories. If so, do we have something similar for macros?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Naina, Yes, you are more than welcome to adjust the ratio some if you feel there’s a better one suited to your goals or lifestyle. Zig Zag is supposed to keep your body guessing by having lower and normal calorie days. I don’t think that’s needed in most cases, but you should be eating less on rest days or eating more in tune with how your body needs energy. Eating the same amount day in and day out regardless of how much activity you do isn’t optimal.

      Reply
      • Naina Luthra 3 months ago

        How much is less though? Is there a general rule?

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

          Use the calculator and enter “sedentary” for your rest day TDEE and macros.

          Reply
  3. Amy 3 months ago

    How does exclusively breastfeeding impact recommended macros?

    Reply
  4. Jeremy 3 months ago

    Hi,

    For my activity level, do I only add in the calories I burned in exercise or for the entire day? For example, I burned 300 cals during my workout, but burned 620 cals for the entire day so I wasn’t sure to go with light or moderate activity.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Jeremy 3 months ago

      Also, I wanted to mention I’m about 178 lbs right now with 12% body fat. I’m wanting to get down to around 8-9% body fat then focus on building more muscle. Would you recommend high or maximum protein?

      Thanks again!

      Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Jeremy, You would only look at your workout/exercise since the equation already has general movement factored in. The only exception to this is if you have a physical job. Since your body fat is already pretty low, you can go with max protein.

      Reply
      • Jeremy 3 months ago

        Thank you!

        Reply
  5. courtney 3 months ago

    HI! so i am 5’3, 152 pounds and fit into the moderate activity category, my job is half sedentary half just standing around on my feet, when i track my food and exercise should i allow for my calories i burned during exercise to go into my food and allow me to eat more considering i am already at a caloric deficit according to the calculations? Because then i would be in a almost 800-900 calorie deficit is that too much?Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Courtney, If you selected “moderate activity” on the calculator then it has already added in your exercise calories. You simply eat what it tells you and workout without making additional calculations.

      Reply
      • Courtney 3 months ago

        Great! Thanks! Thats what i figured I just wanted to make sure i had understood

        Reply
  6. Emma 3 months ago

    Hi. I am 153lbs I aim to be around 130lbs over the next few months, losing 1lb a week. I’m lightly active and my calorie intake for the day works out at 1,450 and my macros are 127g carbs, 127g protein and 48g fat for the day. I was just wondering if these numbers seem correct to you? I want to take it slowly and not overdo it reaching my goal. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Emma, They seem pretty accurate but since I don’t know all your stats or lifestyle factors, I wouldn’t know for sure.

      Reply
  7. Justine Whittaker 3 months ago

    I am honestly confused by the Macros.
    Carbohydrate – 198 g 40.3%
    Protein – 145 g
    Fat – 65 g
    If I translate these to ounces it seems like very minimal food i.e. 145 g is equal to a little over 5 oz of protein for the day. Am I looking at this incorrectly or using the wrong approach? I appreciate your feedback.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Justine, yes, you are looking at it incorrectly. You have to understand how to measure macronutrients in foods before it will make sense. Give this article a read or consider getting our book.

      Reply
      • Justine Whittaker 3 months ago

        Perfect Thank you!!!

        Reply
  8. Hanan 3 months ago

    Ok

    Reply
  9. Carol Beal 4 months ago

    Hello. I just selected “Calculate Macros” but, where are they? I can’t seem to find them.

    Reply
    • James 4 months ago

      The results appear directly beneath the button. Sounds like you may be experiencing a fault of some sort. What browser and device are you using?

      Reply
  10. Robin 4 months ago

    My calculator said 76 g carbs, protein 128g, fat 39g. Is that for the day or each meal?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi Robin, That looks like it would be for the day but it seems like your numbers are off. Perhaps you entered something incorrectly?

      Reply
  11. Niomi 4 months ago

    Hi, would I need to change my activity to once I start the gym, I will be working out 4 days a week so which do I change it to? It’s currently at sedentary as I work from home and won’t be attending the gym until 2 weeks time. Thank You.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi Niomi, You should use sedentary macros on days you don’t go to the gym and a light activity set for days when you do go.

      Reply
  12. Jamie 4 months ago

    Hi there I’m male 39 Yrs old 5’11 and 195lbs i feel like I look skinny fat I do go to the gym bout 4-5 times to lift weights but don’t see much for gains im guessing it must be cause of my eating, any help would be appreciated

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi Jamie, I would recommend using the calculator and set things to “lose 10”. Fitness is 85% diet so getting your nutrition in check is a great step forward.

      Reply
  13. Ayden 4 months ago

    Hey I’m looking to bulk up by 15 -25 pounds over time
    What would your guys tips be?
    And what could help me bulk as fast as possible

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi Ayden, I would first tell you to not be allured by shortcuts. They often come with a price. Focus on a solid diet and a comprehensive bodybuilding program. Also, focus on lean gains so that you don’t have to spend additional time doing a lot of cutting at the end. Using the calculator, you could start by adding 10% to your maintenance TDEE and go from there.

      Reply
  14. John 4 months ago

    Hi I’m 14 and trying to lose some body fat and build muscle for football season. I am 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds. Can I go a little lower than the given calorie amount to speed up my fat loss?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi John,

      Since you are growing you should be eating at a calorie surplus. I’m not sure this calculator would be appropriate.

      Reply
  15. rafe 4 months ago

    hey, I’m currently underweight and tall. I’m 180cm and weight at 56 kgs. I’ve tried to eat as much as I can but it’s futile. What should I focus on and what kind of prep meals should I prepare. Btw I exercise 4 times per week

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi Rafe, What kind of exercise are you doing. You have to be doing the right kind of weight training in conjunction with eating more and at the correct macro distribution.

      Reply
      • rafe 4 months ago

        Bodybuilding

        Reply
  16. Abbey 4 months ago

    Hi,
    I’m struggling on my activity level, I work out minimum 4x a week burning around 300-400 calories.
    I’m 123 pounds, 5 feet and want to get to 112 pounds.

    Also was going to reduce my carbs as I feel like I’m not getting anywhere!

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi Abbey, Use sedentary for days you don’t workout and light activity for days you do. Carbs don’t cause fat gain or prevent fat loss when eaten within the context of your TDEE. The most important thing is maintaining a negative energy balance over a period of time.

      Reply
    • Scott Innes 4 months ago

      These are my calculations,

      2368 CALORIES PER DAY
      Carbohydrate 231g. 39%

      Protein 183g. 31%

      Fat 79g. 30%

      Will the fats be in the food that I eat. I.e the protein and carbs?

      This is going right over my head.

      Reply
  17. HD 4 months ago

    I have my macro calculation running at sedentary since I don’t have a consistent work out schedule. I try to exercise when I can, but it’s most likely I am not going to be working out on any given day. So on days I do get a work-out in, and burn say 400-500 calories, should I eat back my calories burned? And if I do need to eat them back, how do I distribute the macros?

    I’m 5’4″, 140 lbs, looking to lose only about 10-20 more lbs before switching into maintenance. Workouts are usually walking and jogging on a treadmill mixed with some HIIT and a little bit of weights.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

      Hi HD, Yes add those back in and then divide by the percentages given in the calculator. However, you probably don’t need more than 30% protein, so adjust for that if needed.

      Reply
  18. Sonya 5 months ago

    So it calculated my marcros , is that for a high carb day? If so how do I get the low carb day count?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 5 months ago

      Hi Sonya, The calculator reflects a moderate carb amount, not high. Carbs are not bad and carbs do not make you fat when you eat them in relation to your energy expenditure. Here’s a good article to read to understand the science behind counting macros/flexible dieting. What is Flexible Dieting? Here’s How to Get Started

      Reply
  19. Rachael Boyle 5 months ago

    Hi, thank you for this article! Helped me a bunch. I’ve been trying to do my research and it seems that everywhere I look it says to take in 110 to 150 grams of carbs when trying to lose weight. I’m 5 foot 8 in, weigh 170, I work out intensely 4 to 5 days a week now, and your calculator said I should take in 187 carbs if I were doing a 40/30/30 percentage. Seems high, I’m tempted to eat less carbs, but wanted to get your thoughts. Am I really going to see weight loss if I stick with these numbers? Hahaha, in the golden question, right?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 5 months ago

      Hi Rachael, Glad you found the article useful. The notion that carbs in themselves make you gain weight or keep you from losing weight is a myth. This has been tested and proven false time after time. If you maintain a safe and consistent calorie deficit you will lose weight even at 187 g carbs. I suggest you also read this article which talks about the flexible diet. What is Flexible Dieting? Here’s How to Get Started All the best with your goals!

      Reply
      • Andi Passaro 4 months ago

        Explain to me how a woman in her 50’s could possibly eat 215 grams of protein a day? I can’t barely eat 70 a day, and I’ve got to drink a protein shake, with 27 grams of protein, just to get over 45 grams.

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 4 months ago

          Hi Andi, You can’t. You have to adjust the settings. Since it seems like you have a fair amount of fat tissue, you should set the protein to “moderate”.

          Reply
  20. Emily Bratchley 5 months ago

    Hi there
    I am struggling on my activity level. I have started working out 4 x week doing HIIT X 2 which I run and circuit training x 2 which includes weights. The problem with this is my apple watch only shows I burn around 250 cals, so does this mean I am light activity. I have a desk job so have to go careful. I am 149 pounds and would like to loose maybe about 10 pounds.

    Many thanks

    Emily

    Reply
    • Emily Bratchley 5 months ago

      ( I forgot to mention) I am 40 years old. My activity level is not sedentary as I was walking to work and back two hours a day, but not working with weight loss anymore so have had to increase intensity of exercise.

      Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 5 months ago

      Hi Emily, It sounds like light activity to me.

      Reply