Calculators

Macro Calculator

By Ted KallmyerUpdated November 10, 2022
Macro calculator

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

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

Age

Biological Sex

Current Weight

Height

Formula ?

Activity Level ?

Goal Customize

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat
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Adjust Meals Per Day

Adjust Protein Amount

How to calculate your macros for fat loss

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.

The calculator is based on sound science, combined with data from years of coaching hundreds of successful clients.

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 your goals.

The calculator defaults at 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 for you with a bit of math. See how to change your macros here.

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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.

It can also be used by people who are underweight.

TIP: Try starting with the maintenance goal and then gradually increase calories from there 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

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

Choose from 2 to 6 meals per day 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 an additional 200-400 calories (females) or 250-500 calories (males) over your sedentary amount.
  • Moderate: Any activity that burns an additional 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.

Other options for determining your calorie burn

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 the foods you eat.

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.

I've helped 14,000+ people lose thousands of pounds by tracking their macros.

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References

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
  • 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

2,069 Comments

  • Melissa 7 months ago

    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.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 7 months ago

      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.

      Reply
  • Crystal 8 months ago

    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!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 8 months ago

      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.

      Reply
      • Crystal 8 months ago

        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.

        Reply
        • Crystal 8 months ago

          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?

          Reply
          • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 8 months ago

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

  • KD 8 months ago

    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

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 8 months ago

      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.

      Reply
  • Drake 9 months ago

    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 ??

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 9 months ago

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

      Reply
  • MacKenzie Barber 9 months ago

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

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 9 months ago

      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

      Reply
  • James (Moderator) 10 months ago

    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).

    Reply
    • SJTM 10 months ago

      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.

      Reply
      • James (Moderator) 10 months ago

        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.

        Reply
      • James (Moderator) 10 months ago

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

        Reply
  • Barbara 10 months ago

    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.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 10 months ago

      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!

      Reply
  • anna glasspool 11 months ago

    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

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 11 months ago

      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.

      Reply
  • Elsa 11 months ago

    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!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 11 months ago

      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

      Reply
  • Marie 11 months ago

    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?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 11 months ago

      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.

      Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • Charles

    Question – I like to race bicycles, think speed and not long distance. I currently weigh 210, but I am trying to get to 190. I can race well at 210 but feel better on the bike at 190. Switched to plant based about 5 months ago…take 2100 calories a dat (225c47f200p), but have a hard time hitting them. Besides that I am not losing any weight. I stay at 210. I am running in a calorie deficient during the week, and I up my intake a little on the weekend – think no more than 2500. My rbr is 2150 and about every other day I am burning an extra 600-1200 calories during exercise. I want to lose but not the strength I have and I need to work out and prepare for my races in March.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach)

      Hi Charles, It seems like you probably don’t have your weight loss TDEE calculated correctly if you aren’t losing. Probably some overestimation somewhere. Also if you’re doing a plant-based diet, you have to adjust your protein down to realistic levels. I’d love to help you get things tightened up so you can get solid and consistent results. I have a custom macros option and I have monthly coaching options. Let me know.

      Reply

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