# Macro Calculator

By Ted KallmyerUpdated February 11, 2024

This free, easy-to-use macro calculator gives you your optimal macronutrients and calories. It’s a weight loss or muscle gain calculator for both women and men.

Combine with macro counting or flexible dieting to reach your goals faster.

#### Goal Customize

 Carbohydrate Protein Fat
Get Faster Results!
Lose 5-10 pounds the first month with Expert Macro Calculations – Eliminate the guesswork and dial in your unique macros for optimal results.

## How do macros work?

The foods we eat are made up of three macros (macronutrients). These are carbohydrates (carbs), protein, and fat.

Chicken is high in protein but has no carbs; rice is high in carbs but has very little fat or protein. The three macronutrients provide the body with energy and raw materials for growth and repair.

By calculating the appropriate daily calorie amount for you, we can then break this down into the best macronutrient ratios to achieve weight loss.

## Basic steps for macro counting

1. Enter details into the calculator
Make sure to choose the correct goal.
2. Take note of your calories and macros
These will be the targets you are aiming for each day.
3. Track your macros
Use an app or pre-plan your meals.
4. Measure results
Don’t use basic weight scales. Use proper body composition scales, such as FitTrack, to measure fat and muscle mass changes.

## What is a good macro ratio for fat loss or muscle gain?

Your macros should be based on your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and goals.

The calculator defaults to the best macro ratio proven to work for most people.

This ratio is:

• 30% fat
• Protein is 0.65 grams per pound of body weight,
• The remainder is carbs.

Depending on your goal, this will be either a calorie deficit or a surplus.

You can go further and make more adjustments: Perhaps you’re an extreme endomorph and do better with fewer carbs. Or perhaps you have one kidney and need to eat less protein.

You can fine-tune your results with a bit of math. See how to change your macros here.

## What is a good protein ratio?

Rather than a percentage, proteins are based on your body weight. Our calculator has three settings:

• Moderate adjusts the ratio to 0.65 grams per pound of body weight.
This is appropriate for sedentary individuals or people with higher body fat percentages.
• High is for active people with moderate strength training and an average body fat percentage.
• Maximum will set the ratio to 1 gram per pound.
This amount is good for bodybuilding and gaining muscle mass. You must be doing intense training.

Find out how to fine-tune your protein ratios when counting macros

## Fat macro ratio

Set fat at 30% of daily energy expenditure.

Most people do very well with this amount of fat. See more about choosing the best macro fats. Because of high-fat diets like keto, many people are now eating more fat than they need to.

## Carbohydrate macro ratio

Once you’ve calculated protein and fat, the remainder of your daily calories should be from carbohydrates.

Carbs fuel your body and workouts – and are the body’s preferred energy source.

If you are coming from a low-carb background, this may seem high. However, according to respected nutritional research, this is a moderate amount of carbs.

If you are eating according to your TDEE, the notion that carbs cause weight gain or stop fat loss is incorrect.

## Using as a Calorie Deficit Calculator

As a weight loss calculator, this tool establishes a safe calorie deficit only.

The Lose option puts you in a 20% calorie deficit, promoting safe, steady weight loss.

### The best macro ratio for body recomposition

If you want to recompose your body (lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously), then use the body recomposition calculator.

## Macro ratio for maintenance

The Maintain button shows you the macro levels to maintain your current weight.

This is great if you have lost weight and don’t want to gain it back.

## Macro ratio for muscle gain

The Gain button puts you in a 20% calorie surplus.

The macro breakdown is designed to build muscle fast in conjunction and must be combined with a comprehensive weight training program.

Underweight people can also use it.

TIP: Try starting with the maintenance goal and gradually increasing calories if you want lean muscle gains.

## Calculating macros using your body fat percentage

The calculator uses your body weight to determine calories and macros.

However, you can obtain superior results by using your body fat percentage. The calculator allows you to choose which method: Normal for body weight, Lean Mass for fat percentage.

### When to choose the Lean Mass Formula

If you are lean (have a low body fat percentage), choose the Lean Mass formula and enter your body fat %.

If you are classified as obese and have a lot of weight to lose, the lean mass formula is superior. You can read more about macro counting and obesity.

Help? Calculate your ideal body weight or get an assessment of your body fat percentage.

Why the difference? Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, so the more accurately we measure this, the better your results will be.

## How to calculate macros per meal

You can break this down into meals once you’ve calculated your daily macros in the calculator.

Choose from 2 to 6 meals daily to see the macro ratio you can track for each meal. For some people, this is easier, but for others, this is too much detail.

Do what works for you.

### Meal Plans

See a 5-day macro-based meal plan. It includes three meals and two snacks per day.

## Macro calculator activity level settings

A higher activity level means a higher daily calorie goal.

For example – if you maintain your weight at 2,000 calories per day, adding vigorous daily exercise means you need more calories to maintain your weight.

If you are sedentary and trying to lose weight, adding exercise will increase your daily calorie goal.

The idea seems counter-intuitive, but more energy is required to fuel your workouts. More workouts lead to increasing metabolism; therefore, more fat is burned!

Undereating is one of the leading causes of the weight loss plateau.

So many of our clients previously “hit the wall” with dieting. They would continually reduce calories, stop losing fat, and gain weight when they eat a little more.

Macro counting defeats this by prescribing the right food and calorie levels.

### Which activity level do I choose?

• Sedentary: Just regular everyday activity like a bit of walking, a couple of flights of stairs, eating, etc.
• Light: Any activity that burns 200-400 calories (females) or 250-500 calories (males) over your sedentary amount.
• Moderate: Any activity that burns 400-650 calories (females) or 500-800 calories (males) more than your sedentary amount.
• Extreme: Any activity that burns more than 650 calories (females) or more than 800 calories (males) in addition to your sedentary amount.

### Why should I eat more when I exercise more?

High physical activity not fueled with enough calories will lead to muscle catabolism (breakdown of muscle fiber).

This lack of nutrition could stall your weight loss, so eat up if you love to exercise!

## I’ve got my macros – now what?

Once you’ve identified your target daily macros, you must determine the macros in all your foods.

By tracking them daily, you can reach your recommended macro targets that encourage fat loss, muscle gain, or whatever your goal may be.

You can learn more about the macro counting system and the flexible dieting philosophy. Many people use an app like Myfitnesspal to track macros.

For more specifics on what to eat – see a sample macro meal plan or a list of macros for familiar foods.

#### Sources

• 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
• Jequier, E. (1994). Carbohydrates as a source of energy. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 59(3), 682S-685S.
• 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
• Conlin, L.A., Aguilar, D.T., Rogers, G.E. et al. Flexible vs. rigid dieting in resistance-trained individuals seeking to optimize their physiques: A randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 18, 52 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-021-00452-2

• Melissa

Hi I am currently 182 lbs 5’3” female. I eat 1800, walk 3 miles a day and do a 30-45 minute workout each night(3 days strength, 2 hiit with weights/cardio and 2 yoga/stretch/active rest days). My bmr is 1489 and I have been told not to eat under this to lose and am wondering if everything I am doing is correct.

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Melissa, It doesn’t seem like your numbers are quite dialed in right. Also, you should be eating less on your yoga/stretching/active rest days since your energy needs are less on these days. Since you have ~40-50 pounds of fat tissue this can skew calculations a bit.

• Crystal

Hi, I’m also a newbie to all of this Macro counting with a goal of losing weight. My question is am I counting carbs or net carbs? also, why are none of the calculators giving me the same numbers if i’m using the same factors? I’m so confused!! Help!

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Crystal, Welcome! First of all, all calculators are providing just an “estimate” but use different formulas to do so. This one uses one of the most trusted formulas and is the one I use with all my successful coaching clients. Secondly, track total carbs. Net carb info isn’t always accurate so you can end up eating more than you should be. Reach out if you have any other questions. I have tons of resources on my site to help you.

• Crystal

Thank you! I’m trying to get it right but struggling a bit. I am gonna see what I can accomplish with these numbers for awhile.

• Crystal

Thank you! I’m trying to get it right but struggling a bit. I am gonna see what I can accomplish with these numbers for awhile. Oh, yeah…I walk 10,000 steps a day at my job, and work out usually twice a week, would that be light activity?

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

That sounds right, but on your two workout days you could eat more. Perhaps Moderate on those two days.

• KD

Hi Coach Ted. Thank you for these very useful resources. I am new to macros. I’m a very healthy eater but struggling with fat loss since my second kid was born in 2019. 5’2″ 143 lbs currently, exercise 5-7 times a week because I love it (great for mental health), moderate intensity 30 min, all kinds and varied thru the week (HIIT, weights, cardio, YOGA). I work from home but I have my toddler here with me daily so I sit but I’m up running after her too. My initial calculations for macros came out to be 1579 calories, C 159 P 117 F 53 but two weeks going that direction and I was not losing, actually went up a little on the scale. Logic tells me I should cut back to maybe 1200-1300 calories but I’M HUNGRY :-)! Can you make a recommendation? Thanks so much

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi KD, You are so welcome. The problem with calculators is that they don’t account for a lot of individual factors. I’d love to help you get everything dialed in to balance the hunger/results. A little hunger would be expected since you have to be in a deficit to lose fat but not too much. Check out the Macro Solution Ultimate option here: The Macro Solution I can get everything figured out for you plus you get tons of resources.

• Drake

I carnt seam to get it to display how many calories I should be having.
It just says NAn calories and the same on my carbs and fat I can only get 180gram on the protein.
Any idea ??

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Drake, which device and browser are you using? There may be a bug.

• MacKenzie Barber

I’ve been maintaining for the last 5 weeks. Is it time to readjust my macros?

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Mackenzie, If it’s been 5 weeks, it does sound like some adjustments need to be made. I’m happy to have a look. See my “Macro Solution Ultimate” option. The Macro Solution

• James (Moderator)

UPDATES to the calculator: Improved for keyboard only use, and usability enhancements for mobile phones. Lose 10% has been removed as a goal (a source of confusion). Splitting into meals now includes 2 meals per day (as requested).

• SJTM

I’m missing the “lose 10%” button. I found that handy as I am close to my goal. As well I was using that calculation on days where I have a social event or situation where some extra calories will be required. It was handy.

• James (Moderator)

Thanks so much for the feedback. The lose 10% was confusing some people, but is useful for others. Watch this space — will bring back the feature shortly.

• James (Moderator)

The calculator now has a Customize option on the Goal to allow more advanced users to select different deficits.

• Barbara

Hi, I’m new to the macro calculating. I am newly retired and am now working out at a gym with a trainer one hour a day 3 days a week with 20 minutes of cardio added to that. At home I’m fairly laid back. I want to get into shape but not sure how to really start meal planning as my husband is a snacker, I try not to be, and a fairly big eater. How do I combine the two eating styles so I can lose some weight to lose my high BMI and still keep my husband happy? I can’t force him to diet & work out with me.

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Barbara, welcome. The great thing about the macros approach is the flexibility it provides. You don’t have to follow strict meal plans and all foods can be used to reach your targets. You and your husband can eat the same meals, you would just have smaller portions of those meals than he would. The smartphone apps used to track everything have so many features to help you be successful too, like recipes, recipe creators, and food databases. Just jump in!

• anna glasspool

Hi,
I hope you can advise, If you are carb cycling between high low and no carb days, do you still require to meet the same amount of calories?
I.e on the low carb days, you eat les carbs but more fat and protein to make up to the same amount of calories needed per daily intake?

Thanks

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Anna, Carb cycling isn’t necessary and is just an added complexity with no scientific proof of its benefit. You should eat carbs according to how your body needs them. More on days you are active and fewer carbs on days you are more sedentary.

• Elsa

I am currently in the process of doing a lot of research on macros / macro tracking and here’s where I am getting stuck. I filled out the macro calculator and put that I do light activity and set it the “lose” goal. It gave me a total of 1463 calories a day. My question is, as I am tracking those macros throughout the day, do I also add in how many calories I burn during exercise? OR is that ALREADY taken into account in the 1463 calories since when I was filling out the calculator I put I do light activity? Here’s another way to ask it: If my daily calories are 1463 from the macro calculator, and I burn 150 calories during a workout, would I then subtract 150 from 1463 – allowing me to eat an extra 150 calories to get BACK to that 1463? or would I add the 150 ON TOP of the 1463 so really I am eating 1613 calories? I hope what I am asking is making sense. maybe I am over thinking it!

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Elsa, Thanks for reaching out. Yes, you eat the macros/ calories throughout the day and your exercise calorie burn is already factored in if you selected “light activity”. The other option is to choose “sedentary” and then track your exercise and allow your food tracker such as MyFitnessPal to adjust things based on your exercise that day. However, the flexible method can be a little harder to plan if your exercise varies. I hope this helps. -Coach Ted

• Marie

Hi,

I absolutely love this calculator. I’m currently doing intermittent fasting and I eat 2 meals/ day but I would like macro counting in my 2 meals to ensure that I’m eating right. I noticed that 3 meals/day is the lowest amount of meals. How to do you calculate your macros PER meal 2 meals?

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hi Marie, I’m so glad you find my calculator useful. You would look at the total amount for the day and divide each macro group by two. For example: 130 g of protein would be 65g per meal.

• Mike

I need an easy and correct way to count macros. All the macros calculators i have used have my numbers inconsistent, all over the place. Also, I want to start working out the day the day I start counting macros. Still not fully grasping the calculations or even how to start properly. Help please.

• Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

Hey Mike, First of all, just know that all calculators use formulas that try to estimate your energy needs. This is all estimation and some formulas are more generous than others. I use one of the most respected formulas and have used it with over 1000 coaching clients to get results. So, I think you’ll have luck with the results here. You also want to calculate an exercise day set of macros and a rest day set of macros since your energy needs change on each of those days. I do offer help with all of this with my self-guided Macro Solution system and my 1-on-1 coaching programs. Links to both of those are in the site menu above. It can be confusing but I make it as simple as possible for real results.