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The Art of Macro Counting

July 17, 2019 3 min read

The Art of Macro Counting

Firstly what are macronutrients?

They are a form of food broken down into fats, proteins and carbohydrates that are required within the diet. Why are these three elements so important within the diet? Well in order to achieve mass growth, reduce body fat or even maintain current status quo these three major macronutrients are required by the body in order to function.

Breaking down each nutrient and its importance within the body


  • Adequate protein intake will help build muscle and or prevent muscle loss
  • Protein controls appetite
  • Requires large amounts of energy for the body to digest
  • High protein diets are a tool in fat loss
  • Can be found in sources of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, vegetables, grains, protein shakes etc
  • Protein needs are dependent upon weight, body fat percentage and goals


  • Fat is an essential nutrient that the body requires to live
  • It assists with vitamin absorption, hormone regulation, brain function etc
  • Can be found in meat, fish, nuts, seeds, oils, eggs etc
  • Fat needs are depended upon weight, body fat percentage and goals


  • Carbs are stored in the liver, brain, blood and muscles as glycogen.
  • The body uses carbs for energy
  • Can be found in sources of fruit, vegetables, grains, processed foods and drinks
  • Carb needs are dependent upon activity level, weight, body fat percentage and goals

Each of these macronutrients yields a certain number of calories

  • 1g of protein is 4 calories
  • 1g of fat is 9 calories
  • 1g of carb is 4 calories

So how to you calculate your daily macro intake?

There are many different formulas to calculate macronutrient intake and there are many different websites, which have created their own calculators to produce these macros.

The most basic formula used to calculate macro intake is the Mifflin, M.D., St Joer formula. This formula calculates resting energy expenditure (REE)

Males: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) +5 = REE

Females: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161 = REE

After calculating the REE the next step is to work out the movement expenditure or total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

Sedentary – REE x 1.2

Light activity – REE x 1.375

Moderate activity – REE x 1.55

Very Active – REE x 1.725

Once the TDEE is worked out the next step is to determine the goal

Weight loss = TDEE – (TDEE x .20)

Weight gain = TDEE + (TDEE x.20)

Weight maintenance = eat the same

Now to calculate the macronutrient needs for the body

Protein – A balanced approach is to start with .825g protein per pound of body weight

i.e. 132lbs (60kg) protein intake will be 132 x .825 = 111g

Remember 1g of protein is 4 calories therefore 444 calories are taken up for protein

Fat – generally denoting 25% of calorie intake to fat

i.e. TDEE x 0.25 = calories now divide these by 9 (as 1g of fat = 9 calories) to calculate grams of fat

Carbs – this is determined by adding the calories from protein and fat and whatever is leftover divide this number by 4 (1g carbs = 4 calories) to determine the carbohydrate intake

This is the simple method of determining macronutrient needs. If you are confused and not a numbers person there are lots of coaches out there with expertise and can calculate your daily needs in relation to your specific goal

References for ‘Macro Counting’:

“All Articles – On The Regimen”. On The Regimen. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

“Flexible Dieting (IIFYM): How To Calculate Your Macros”. Healthyeater.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

“IIFYM Macro Calculator”. IIFYM. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.  

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