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. D 1 month ago

    Hi, I have a very petite frame at 151 cms height, 50.5 kilos of weight and a sedentary lifestyle. Age is catching up though and I have accumulated at least 5 cms of unwanted fat on my belly and another few cms everywhere else. Using the macros calculator I have been recommended a 1068 calorie diet with 36% carbs, 34% protein and 30% fat.
    I am finding this carb balance very high, and protein fairly low esp being a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic. Please advise how I should be eating for optimal weight loss and gaining lean muscle.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 1 month ago

      Hi D, The calculator has given you the number of calories you should be eating for weight loss but since you have Type I diabetes you’ll have to adjust macro levels according to what is advised by your doctor. You just have to divide your calorie allotment differently. Here’s an article that shows you how to do this. How to Calculate Your Macros to Transform Your Body

      Reply
  2. Emily 2 months ago

    Hello,
    I’m new to Macros. I started Crossfit a year ago and am loving it but have injured my arm so using the time out to learn macros and take up running for a while.
    Can you pease help with my settings? (Exercise level / protein setting)
    35 / 57kg / 155cm / 6km run each day / Goal is to to trim down and get lean

    Many thanks!

    Reply
  3. Kelly 2 months ago

    Hello, I would like to know what kind of formula they handle to account for macronutrients?

    Reply
  4. Roy 2 months ago

    Hello,please i wanna ask a question : how can i know the maximum calorie deficit so i could burn fat and build muscle

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Roy, Burning fat while building muscle can be a bit of a balancing act. Too much of a deficit will lead to fat loss and loss of muscle, not enough of a deficit will lead to no fat loss. This is why we added the “lose 10” option which is a good starting point for people with your goals. However, if you have more than 10 pounds of excess fat you want to first primarily focus on fat loss, so the standard 20% deficit would be best.

      Reply
  5. Dee Marie Heaslip 2 months ago

    Hi there, could you advise me on how I should adjust if I prefer to have lower carb higher fat as I find starchy carbs such as rice and potatoes etc extremely tough on my tummy due to IBS
    I am 31, 5 ft 6,weight training twice a week and would like to loose 10% and add muscle

    Reply
  6. Jenny 2 months ago

    Hi Ted, I am 17 and I have lost 10 kilos in the past 4-6 months. My goal is to build muscle and burn slightly more fat, is this possible? I have been eating at around 1100-1300 calories since 4-6 months. I weigh 56kg and 156cm tall. What and how much should I be eating?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Jenny, You’ll have to up your calories if you want to add some muscle. I suggest you use the calculator and then do “lose 10” and max protein. I can calculate everything for you but only if you sign up for our macros-coaching program.

      Reply
      • Jenny 2 months ago

        Thank you Ted, I will surely sign up for the macros-coaching program and get back to you!

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

          Awesome, I look forward to coaching you.

          Reply
  7. Nancy 2 months ago

    Hello Ted! I’m 5’6 and 134 pound female. I have a desk job but I workout 5 days a week (1hr) and other 2 days I go for hike anything ranging from 5-10miles hike. I’m confused about activity level. Main goal is to loose body fat and I’m not worried about weight. Currently, I am taking 1300 cal with 100-120 gm protein, 40-50 fat and 150gms of carbs. I have also tried 1600 and 1800 calories. But I’m not loosing much body fat. I’m stagnant . Should I try with activity level as moderate? Please suggest.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Nancy, You definitely need to be eating more. You’re already at a healthy weight for your height so it seems like you should set the calculator to moderate exercise and “lose 10” this will allow you to strengthen muscle tissue and lose fat tissue slowly.

      Reply
      • Nancy 2 months ago

        Thanks Ted. I’ll try it. Should I also try max protein ?

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

          Sure, since that would cap at 1 gram per pound which would fine in your case.

          Reply
  8. Marian Spencer 2 months ago

    Looking for a good app(free) to count protein, carbs and fat. One that I can put my daily percentage goal in for each one.

    Reply
  9. Debo 2 months ago

    Hi there! Would love some help with this. I’m 5’9”, 157 pounds with a body fat percentage of 17% currently, and I don’t know how many calories I should be eating, so I’ve kept it around 1750 t0 1850 range.
    Is that about right considering the following?:

    I am training to potentially do a bikini contest in a few months and want to healthily decrease my weight. I workout 6 days a week, with 4 days of strength training/weight lifting, 2 days of HIIT cardio, and one day of rest. I’m super new to this, so I wonder how much protein and carbs I should be consuming in particular. My trainer told me I need to gain muscle in this stage, and cut later on, so that’s about where I’m at.

    Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Debo 2 months ago

      OH! And I’m 28 years old.

      Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Debo, What does the calculator tell you? It seems like what you need is some coaching. Based on your comment, I really can’t give a recommendation because I don’t know enough about your workout and other lifestyle factors. Perhaps consider coaching where I can put a detailed plan together for you. Personalized Macros Coaching

      Reply
  10. Tracie Banks 2 months ago

    Hello, I’m 5’2 and 232 pound and I’ve lost 32 lbs so far. I’m struggling with setting my macros in cal but I’m doing a 1500 cal diet but I never reach my protein but end up goin over in carbs. I workout 6 days a week doing strength/ cardio HIIT workouts.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Tracie, Thanks for stopping by. Since you have a fair bit of fat tissue weight (greater than 50 pounds) you need to adjust for that which the calculator doesn’t do. Also, this fat tissue weight skews the protein calculation causing you to think you need more than you do. In your case, it’s probably best if an expert like myself calculates everything for you. I offer several different options here: Personalized Macros Coaching

      Reply
  11. Kate 2 months ago

    Hi,

    How would I adjust my macros if I’m breastfeeding ? I read the article but there seem to be some typos on the math section (the adjusted example uses the same numbers as the original example and I’m not sure where the 400 came from) so I’m not exactly sure how to adjust the numbers that were given to me !

    I was told: 1513 calories with 144g Carbs (37.9%) 121g Protein (32.1%) and 50
    G Fat (30%). I’m 29 and 5’7”.

    I was relatively fit before pregnancy and I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight but my body composition is definitely different. Just trying to lose some weight and tone back up, not sure if that has any effect on your response.

    Thanks !

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Kate, I just looked at the article and there aren’t any typos with the math. In the example given the postpartum woman who had a weight loss TDEE of 1531 calories would now eat 1941 calories with the 400 calorie breastfeeding adjustment. The 400 calories are divided using the percentages for each macro. If you want to lose fat, you’ll have to be in a calorie deficit. Perhaps choose “lose 10” and then add in the 400 calories for breastfeeding and monitor your milk production/supply.

      Reply
  12. JA 2 months ago

    Hi Ted,

    I am confused which activity level to choose between sedentary or light. I used the calculator and just chose sedentary since I have a desk job but I go to the gym at least 3 to 4 times a week and is pretty active. I do strength training and cardio. My goal is to gain weight, which activity level would you recommend?

    Regards,
    JA

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi JA, You should use sedentary on days you don’t workout and light on days you do. If you find you aren’t gaining weight at a steady rate, then switch to moderate on workout days.

      Reply
  13. Laura 2 months ago

    Hi, really struggling to choose which activity level and protein is right. I am female, 5’2”, 148 lbs. My body fat is pretty high after having my baby. It’s at 40.7% and my muscle is at 25.3% (roughly as I know each scale is different but using a Doctors one). I’m trying to lose fat and gain muscle and hoping to lose a further 22lbs (already lost 14lbs). I play Badminton (doubles) on Monday for 2hrs and on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday I do 20mins HIIT & 40 min weight training (high weight, low reps. Your help would be muchly appreciated! Thanks

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Laura, You should use sedentary on your rest days and moderate on your workout days. Set your protein to high. All the best!

      Reply
      • Laura 2 months ago

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! Really looking forward to seeing results!

        Reply
  14. Angi 2 months ago

    Hello. Can you tell me if all 3 macros need to be consumed together at all meals/snacks? Or is it just important that I stay within the set range for each macro by the end of the day? I have followed a PFC approach in the past, eating all 3 macros together every 3-4 hours, and while I did have great fat % loss, it completely messed with my gut and I had to stop. I love the idea of macros, but not sure my body likes having to combine all 3 together. I’d love your feedback. Thx!

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

      Hi Angi, You really just need to keep it simple and make sure you are close to your targets by the end of the day. They only timing issues are eating some protein after a workout as well as having some carbs later in that day to help replenish muscle glycogen.

      Reply
  15. Kayla Fuentes 3 months ago

    I’m 5’2” and 150 lbs. I am also 2 weeks postpartum. When I calculate my macros, do I then add the 500 calories into the results of the macro calculator? Also, I’m technically “overweight” so should I set my proteins to moderate rather than high?

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Kayla, Since you have a bit of fat to lose you can use the low end of the breastfeeding adjustment and add 400 calories to the weight loss TDEE the calculator gives you. Yes, set the protein to moderate which will be plenty. Divide up the 400 calories by the same percentages.

      Reply
  16. Karen Nissen 3 months ago

    This calculator does not work for petite women.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Karen, It has a pretty big range height-wise. What are your stats and what settings did you use?

      Reply
  17. Ella 3 months ago

    Hi! I’m 19 years old (162cm and my weight is 53kg) Im trying to lose fat and build muscle (so on the macro count i chose for the lose 10% option) I am just not sure which activity level i should chose and which protein level (high?) I work out 2-3 times in a week with weights and no weights (no cardio) for 2 hours. Which activity level and protein level should i choose?

    And i also wonder why people dont understand the macro counting, it makes me unsure about whether i get it or not. So for example if I buy a cookie which has 10g protein 30g carbs and 5g fat, i should deduct these numbers from the daily macros im allowed, right? for example from the 1600 calories i deduct those per category(carb/protein/fat)

    Reply
    • James 3 months ago

      Activity level should be light, and protein level can be left at moderate. You are exactly right with your example and understanding.

      Reply
      • Ella 3 months ago

        Im sorry I meant for Ted to answer to my comments/questions..

        another question I have:is it better for me to lose fat first and then build muscle, instead of choosing the lose 10% option/doing it at the same time? or does it not matter?

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

          Hi Ella, If you’re working out for two hours on a given day, your activity level would be moderate on those days. On the days you don’t workout you should use your sedentary macros. I think 10% would be appropriate. You are already at the lower range of the recommended weight for a woman of your height.

          Reply
          • Ella 3 months ago

            thank you so much!

    • Alexander 2 months ago

      Hello! So this is the only thing that is holding me back from changing my entire life from counting calories to IFYM. I am 15 years old , 5 feet 4 inches , 116 pounds and I have lost 14 pounds in 6 weeks. I started at 130 but now I just want to be able to lose that last little bit of belly and get my abs to start being visible and grow muscle mass , the thing is i was eating very low calories 1200-1400 everyday and now my macros are telling me for me to achieve my goals I will need to be eating 284g of carbs , 117g of protein , and 77g of fat and I totally understand everything i’ve studied it for the last 4 hours just the only thing that I have is that isn’t that a lot more food than I was originally eating i’m jus scared that if i eat those macros i’m just going to get fat and go back to 130. I did it today and i ate healthy and good and i enjoyed it a lot i just don’t want this flexible dieting to be good to be true considering i was at very low calorie intake before and now i added 700-800 calories but follow my macros. I also weight train 5 days a week , HIIT 7 days a week and regular cardio 7 days a week. This is long but please reply when you have the chance ! THANK YOU

      Reply
      • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

        Hi Alexander, Since your body is growing and developing, you don’t want a severe deficit especially since you are training heavily. You do need to eat more. You can end up stunting your growth and you don’t want that.

        Reply
  18. Jay Garcia 3 months ago

    Hi Ted
    I’ve started to do a meal plan but I get very confused with how much calories I should be eating. Currently I weigh 133lbs and i’m a 5’7 female w. a sedentary job . I want to gain a few more lbs but with muscle weight. I’m doing toning exercises at home 3x a week. I use resistance bands. So I assume I should be eating 1500-1600 calories the day I work out?? And 1300-1400 calories the days I dont?? Im just worried I’m eating too much for the exercises i’m doing that I’m going to gain fat weight rather than muscle.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Jay, I would really have to look at your stats, your workout program before I could give you advice concerning your goal. Adding lean muscle weight can be tricky because you don’t want to also add fat tissue. It seems like you’ll still be eating in a calorie deficit most days based on those numbers. Also, you may have to beef up your workout. Perhaps consider one of our coaching options? Personalized Macros Coaching

      Reply
  19. Sergio Carvajal 3 months ago

    Hi Ted,
    I am new to this and I have an idea of the grams that I should be consuming on daily basis for carbs, protein, & fats. Could you point me to an article to determine how many grams are in my meals that I prepare and how I can count them without a digital scale. That would be of great help. thanks

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 3 months ago

      Hi Sergio, It’s gonna be tough to count macros without a digital scale unless you are eating all packaged foods. Fresh Meat is almost always calculated by weight. I suggest you download our book which takes you through the whole system step-by-step. However, we do offer free articles on the site too. For food measuring, this one is good: How To Find Macro Amounts in Foods

      Reply
      • Luis 2 months ago

        Hi Ted. So I am 18 years old. I am 6’5 and weigh 165 pounds. So I still have some lower belly fat. But it’s most from the front, not much from the sides. Like it still pops out a little. My goal is to try to lose that and try to look leaner. I know the workouts for it, but I want to know with the food that I eat, how much should be fat, how much should be protein, and how much should be carbs.

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 2 months ago

          Hi Luis, It seems like the calculator should give you a good estimation. You’re underweight for your height so you probably don’t want to be in too much of a deficit. Set the calculator to “lose 10” and max protein. I can calculate things for you but only if you become a coaching client.

          Reply