Flexible Dieting Macro Calculator

Ultimate Macro Calculator

This macro calculator shows your optimal macronutrients 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

Why Macros are Important

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 contain 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 are in the healthy range recommended for most people. Carbs fuel your body and workouts and are the body’s preferred energy source.

Many people coming from a “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 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 Gaining 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 encourage 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 My 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: June 11, 2020

1,902 Comments

  1. Marisol 3 months ago

    I’m having issues figuring out macros since I’m breastfeeding a 3 month old.
    I’m 27. 5’5, 200 pounds (put in 50 pounds during my pregnancy!)
    Every time I do macro calculating I come out with something different.
    I’m not as active with the gyms being closed. So I do insanity at home.
    I was at 190 when i got my clear. I haven’t done to much but now I’m up 10 pounds! HELP! Please

    Reply
  2. Alif Islam 3 months ago

    Hi Ted,
    I’m 20 years old, 5’9 and about 190 lbs. I do resistance band training minimum 4 days a week. I’m trying to lose weight and build muscle. I’m wonder if I should stick to the maintain level of macro or go for the gain level? If none, then how would my macro count look like?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 3 months ago

      Hi Alif, Since you want to lose fat tissue you have to be eating in a way that puts your body in a negative energy balance or calorie deficit. Given your stats, you should start out with the “lose” setting which is a 20% deficit. Once you have leaned out some, you can cut this back to “Lose 10”. At lose 10 you should be able to add some muscle as you get to the body fat percentage you’re looking for.

      Reply
  3. Danielle 3 months ago

    Hey Ted,
    Quick question.. I am wondering why on nutrition apps they list the grams of the macro but then calculate the % based on the calorie intake and why the calories per macro are not listed instead of the gram sub totals?

    Thanks
    Danielle

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 3 months ago

      Hi Danielle, Macro Grams are calculated by using both the calories each provides and the percentage of your total calories allotted. It would be helpful if apps showed this data but you can easily calculate it yourself. Every gram of protein is 4 calories. Every gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories, and every gram of fat is 9 calories. so if you have eaten 125 grams of protein this equals 500 calories from protein.

      Reply
  4. Carolina 3 months ago

    Hi Ted!
    A quick question… I already know my total macros and macros by meal but now that I track them on my fitness pal I reached the total amount of macros I need but calories go a little higher. I can’t get exactly the number of cals I should get. So in this case do I follow my macros or do I decrease intake a little to get the right amount of calories?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 3 months ago

      Hi Carolina, This is a common problem. Because of the way some nutritional data addresses fiber as well as errors here or there in MFP nutritional info, calories and macros will almost never align as they should. Take the calorie count with a grain of salt and focus on macros. If you have a high daily fiber intake it can cause your calories to be significantly under. If this is the case, eat more carbs to compensate.

      Reply
  5. zara 4 months ago

    Hey
    I’m a 25 yr old female with height 150cms ,weight 59kgs and i workout 40mins(15mins cardio n basic exercises lik plank,lunges,side twists etc) 5times a week …The calculator says my TDEE is 1366calories with light lifestyle and 1192calories for sedentary lifestyle .
    my goal is to lose weight by 9-10kgs …so ,can i intake 1355calories with 40mins workout as i mentioned wt kind of wrkout i do !?Will it be my calorie deficit

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Zara, That is correct, you can eat 1355 calories on exercise days and be in an estimated 20% calorie deficit for weight loss. If you click on “Maintain” it shows you your macros/calories to maintain your current weight.

      Reply
  6. Angella 4 months ago

    Hi! I just want to make sure I do this right because lately I’ve been working out very hard and have lost muscle mass. I went from 16% to 19% in a span of a year but in this last year I picked up on my running to train for a marathon (5 days) and took my weight training to 2 days a week. I had no days off.
    Now I am trying to regain my muscle and add some more. Currently I weight train 3 days a week and run 3 days a week and one day of Pilates.
    What do you suggest my macros be for this? I am 48 and 5’6” 125 lbs.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Angela, It seems like you would need a couple of sets since you have a wide range calorie burn between pilates and running or you could do a flexible approach and have a tracker add back exercise calories to your sedentary TDEE. If you would like me to calculate everything for you, please consider one of my coaching options. Personalized Macros Coaching

      Reply
  7. Lili 4 months ago

    Hi Ted,

    I am 5’6, 156 pounds. I’m looking to be around a healthy 140-145 pounds. I workout 5-6x a week burning atleast 400 calories a workout. The calculator says my TDEE is 2300, so in order to go into a caloric deficit I am eating a little over 1800 calories a day (which is also what the macro calculator suggests). My question is, if I workout, and burn 400 calories doing so, should I be eating 2200 (1800+400) calories then? Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Lili, Your exercise adjusted TDEE is 2300 to maintain so it already has your exercise factored in. Your weight loss adjusted TDEE would be 1800 calories and corresponding macros. I hope that clarifies things for you.

      Reply
      • Lili 4 months ago

        Thank you!!!

        Reply
  8. Melissa 4 months ago

    Hi Ted,
    I’m brand new to exercising. I am 5’3” and 161 lbs. I started using a Peloton 4x week about weeks ago and gained 3.5 lbs (which makes me really want to give up.) I’m seeking advice on macros.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Melissa, Often when people start exercising they start eating more than they should because of the increased hunger the exercise creates and the psychological effect of thinking exercise allows you to eat more. Counting macros would be a great way to teach you how much food is appropriate so that you can put everything in the right balance. You can use the calculator above for this or I can take a look at all your factors and develop a more personalized plan for you. Here’s a link to my coaching page: Personalized Macros Coaching I’d love to help you reach your goals and not be frustrated.

      Reply
  9. Ashley 4 months ago

    Hello! I am 33 yr old female, 5’5” and around 135 lbs. I’m looking to lose about 10 pounds (get leaner and gain a little muscle) for my wedding. I work out about 3-4 times a week, burning no more than 400 calories a session. I have stalled and have trouble making progress. I think I might not be eating enough. I’m currently at around 1600 calories a day. What are your recommendations? Thank you

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 4 months ago

      Hi Ashley, It looks like your eating a tad too much. Thanks for signing up for custom macros and I just sent everything to you including my recommendations.

      Reply
  10. Chris 5 months ago

    Hi.. Im not sure what category I fall in..im.looking to maintain and build muscle but alsontey to follow eating well for inflammation from my thyroid issues. Can you suggest what I should follow. Im.5’7 and 145lbs ..workout 6.days a week. Thank you

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 5 months ago

      Hi Chris, It. seems like you should start with maintenance and then add 5% if you aren’t adding mass. Keep checking progress and making small adjustments as needed.

      Reply
  11. Maket 5 months ago

    Good evening,
    Thank you for posting this informative article. I’m fat. I’m just going to call it like it is. I’m 5’2″, 156 lbs, and I PT about 3-4 days a week doing Crossfit or running. I’m still fat around my stomach and I know it’s due to poor eating habits. If I want to lose weight and gain muscle, should I choose the “lose” plan or the “lose 10%” plan?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 5 months ago

      Hi Maket, Thanks for visiting. You would want to start with the lose option which is a 20% deficit since you have more than 10 pounds to lose.

      Reply
  12. Leon 5 months ago

    If I’m 14% and want to just get to 10% should I use choose lose 10% or lose 20%? Not sure if I have less than 10lbs to lose or not

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 5 months ago

      Hi Leon, If you have 4% to lose then go with lose 20 to start with.

      Reply
      • Leon Pyett 4 months ago

        Thanks! So would you say around 11% or 12% that I should bump it to lose 10%?

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 4 months ago

          Yes, that would be a good benchmark to use.

          Reply
  13. sara 6 months ago

    Hi, If I do 30 minutes on a stationary bike, which activity level should I choose?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 6 months ago

      Hi Sara, It depends on what your resistance and watt output are during the 30 minutes. Use our activity calculator to help you determine the calorie burn. Calories Burned and Activity Calculator

      Reply
  14. KS 10 months ago

    Hi
    I have looked at the macros and want to lose some body fat and build muscle. I can’t quite do keto as find it difficult to stick to. However, I’m better on lower carbs and the 98 given for me is too high.
    How do I bring this down and how much would I increase the fat and protein to. The fat was around 37 and then protein around 84.
    I’m an endomorph so need lower carbs but
    Your keto calculator gives me around 18.
    I always hit around 50-60, except weekends when I’m around 100 which makes me feel more bloated. Do you have a calculator for endomorphs without going too low. But lose a bit of fat and build muscle. I think I’m skinny fat.

    Reply
  15. norah 10 months ago

    Hi,

    I’m looking for some help. I’m 5’3” and 33 years old, 134lbs. I workout 3 days a week (strength traning). My current macros are 1500 (P30C40F30) and rest days it’s 1200. I’ve tweaked the macros 3 weeks ago and following it since then. I’m looking to lose weight and gain muscle. When I’d started with the new stats, the scale went down to 133 lbs but recently I noticed my weight jumped to 138lbs. Is that even possible with these numbers?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 10 months ago

      Hi Norah, It doesn’t seem like fat storage would be possible with those numbers and your stats, so it’s probably related to a water retention issue. See if anything here makes sense: What Causes Water Retention and Weight Fluctuation?

      Reply
      • Naina Luthra 10 months ago

        How do you know the difference between the two? I’ve been consistently on 138 lbs for few days. I’m wondering if I should recalculate my numbers based on my new weight?

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 10 months ago

          Hi Nania, You really should make decisions on macro adjustments based on about 2 weeks of data, not a few days. If your weight is stagnant for two weeks then, yes, some adjustments need to be made.

          Reply
  16. Mike Worthman 10 months ago

    Hi Ted.

    Thanks for this site and explanations. I’m a newcomer to fitness and I’ve been trying to lose weight and gain muscle at the gym for two years now with no results.
    I do cardio three times a week and weight training three times a week. And while I feel stronger and healthier I am still fat around my stomach and chest and I can’t seem to shed that fat. I’m 6’3 and 200 lbs. I have lost 10 pounds in the last two years but I want to lose 30 in total. I also want to gain muscle. I have no muscle definition. I try to eat healthy – with meat and vegetables and I still can’t shake the belly fat. Should I place my settings on gain for muscle or for lose for weight loss ? And any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 10 months ago

      Hi Mike, Glad you find our site useful. If you want to lose fat you need to be in a deficit. Since you’ve slowly been losing you probably have been in a slight deficit, but you’ll need to increase this if you want the fat loss to be faster but not too much so that you’ll deprive your muscles of nutrition. Consider coaching with me if you want to get your macros as dialed in as possible, I’d be able to help get you to your goals. Personalized Macros Coaching

      Reply
  17. Peter 10 months ago

    Hi Ted!
    I have finally reached my weight loss goal of 85kg from 112kg! I notice I still got some fat around my stomach and chest area. I decided 85kg is going to the ideal weight I’m gonna stay at. My goal from now is to start “body recomposition” through gaining muscle and losing fat whilst staying at 85kg. I am currently standing around ~25% body fat and hoping to convert that percentage to around 10-15%. I am 21 years old, 185cm and my activity level is sedentary. I do full body strength training in the gym generally 3 times a week and adjust my calories on those days. I have put the values into the calculator under the goal “maintain” and my macros for “maximum” protein intake are 2096 calories, 180g carbs, 187g protein and 70g of fat. I assume these are the macros for rest days.

    My question is whether eating at that amount and adjusting on days I train (gym, sports) helps reduce and not “maintain” my body fat %? And if so, I assume I would need to progressively adjust my macros once I reach lower percentages like 20% and 15% until I reach my goal?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Peter 10 months ago

      Edit: I’m 21-22% bf

      Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Macro Coach) 10 months ago

      Hi Peter, great job on your progress. That’s quite an accomplishment! You’ll need to be in a calorie deficit if you want fat loss to occur so maintenance won’t do that for you. You should probably use at least the “lose 10” setting. I’ve written a lot more about lean gains here: Macros for Gaining Muscle and Cutting Fat

      Reply
      • Peter 10 months ago

        Cheers coach!

        Reply
  18. Janet michaels 11 months ago

    Having trouble figuring macros for Leto diet. I’m 77 female 232 lbs 5,6” tall very moderate activity. Canto tell me how many carbs, fats and protein I should eat daily

    Reply
  19. Efrain 11 months ago

    Hello Ted!

    Question for you! I have hit my weight loss goal after 6 weeks, but am now at a stand-still with losing further weight. I have lost a total of 16lbs. Should I recalculate my macros based off my new weight, or keep it at the original? My macros have been readjusted each week to keep losing weight, but feel like I need to change them up once again. What is the right way to proceed?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 11 months ago

      Hi Efrain! Great job! I’m a bit confused about what your new goal is. To keep losing or to maintain? If you want to lose you should calculate at your new weight and then select “lose”. If you want to maintain, calculate at your new weight and click “maintain”.

      Reply
      • Efrain 11 months ago

        Appreciate the response! Overall, keep losing. This helps with recalculating my macros. Thanks again for the advise!

        Reply
  20. Sara 11 months ago

    Hi,
    How should I set the calculator if I’m trying to achieve a number of the goals (that are often presented as opposite)? My goals are as follows:
    -Increase all over muscle definition and mass
    -Decrease fat around the belly to decrease size and define current ab muscles
    -Lower body fat by 11% from 26% to 15%
    It gets complex because I both want to lose fat and increase muscle definition and mass, and while I’m not at all obese or even heavy, I’d still like to lose fat and gain muscle to get a ripped body type.

    My activity level is fairly high, as I work at least 4 days a week with weights for about an hour, as well as another half an hour of calisthenics work every day and martial arts training twice a week. What activity level should I set the calculator at? I’m not sure how many calories this burns. Thanks so much!

    Regards, Sara

    Reply
    • Ted the Macro Coach 11 months ago

      Hi Sara, The goals you mention do involve a bit of balance and note that when you are trying to do both at the same time the results will be slower. Start by using the “lose 10” setting which puts you in a 10% calorie deficit. Next, because your exercise is a bit varied you may want to consider a more fluid approach where you track your exercise with an app like MapMyRun and then allow it to adjust your calories and macros based on how much you do on a given day. This keeps your deficit more consistent. This is explained in more detail here: How to Count and Track Macros Using MyFitnessPal: A Tutorial

      Reply
      • Sara 11 months ago

        Okay, will do! Thank you so much. Would it be more effective to simply focus on dropping my body fat percentage to 15%? If I do that, maybe I’ll achieve the other goals along the way. If so, how should I set the calculator to drop body fat percentage by about 11% to hit the 15% mark?
        Sara

        Reply
        • Ted the Macro Coach 11 months ago

          It would be quicker for fat loss. You’d use the “lose” setting which puts you in a 20% calorie deficit.

          Reply
          • Sara 11 months ago

            Awesome, thank you so much for the help! I really appreciate it.