How To Calculate Macros for Weight Loss

When it comes to counting macros for weight loss, advice varies wildly. From the no-carb keto fanatics to the high carb, low fat camp.

The truth is, there is no single answer for everyone. Instead, your solution depends on your body type, lifestyle, and goals.

So how do you find the macros that work best for you?

In this article, you’ll learn about the role of macros in weight loss. And find your macros with my free calculator!

macros for weight loss

The Role Of Macros

Before we dive into calculating macros, it’s important to understand their role in nutrition. While macronutrients are a popular topic, there are pros and cons to focusing your diet around them.

Counting Macros IS:

  • A tool to control calorie intake

  • Dependent on your energy needs

  • Likely to build other healthy eating habits

  • A sustainable approach to weight loss

Counting Macros IS NOT:

  • A one size fits all solution

  • The same thing every day

  • An excuse to eat whatever you want because “it fits your macros”

  • A quick fix

The main thing to remember is that macros are one piece of the nutrition puzzle. As long as you’re aware of the bigger picture, you will have success.

How To Calculate Macros For Weight Loss

With that out of the way, you’re ready to calculate your macros for weight loss. All it takes is 3 easy steps.

1. Calculate Calories First

When it comes to losing weight, calories are king. Because if you eat too many calories, you won’t lose weight – period.

Therefore, it’s important to determine your calorie intake before calculating macros.

Your calorie intake depends on three parts; metabolic rate, daily activity, and exercise. Together, these parts are called TDEE (total daily energy expenditure).

Once you find your TDEE, you need to create a slight calorie deficit in order to lose weight. Enough that you burn more calories than you eat, but not so large that your metabolism slows down.

Calorie Deficit Do’s & Don’ts

2. Multiply By Macronutrient Ratio

The next step is to determine your macro ratio, which depends on your daily activity and exercise.

By adjusting your macros to your activity level you fuel exercise while burning fat. The simplest way to do this is with alternating days of low, medium, and high carbs.

Low carbs when you rest, medium carbs when exercise, and a weekly high carb day to boost your metabolism. This rotation of macros is called carb cycling.

5 Awesome Benefits of Carb Cycling

macros for weight loss

Low Carb Rest Day

It’s no mystery that you don’t burn as much energy on days you don’t exercise. So naturally, your calorie and carb intake should be lower.

At the same time, your fat intake can be higher in order to offset the drop in carbs.

On rest days, calories should be roughly 10% carbs, 60% fat, and 30% protein.

Medium Carb Workout Day

When you do exercise, you burn a bit more energy from carbs. Especially with resistance training and other high intensity exercise.

Therefore, it’s beneficial to fuel your workouts with a moderate amount of carbs. In fact, studies show that eating carbs before and after your workout increases fat loss while maintaining lean muscle.

7 Proven Benefits of Nutrient Timing

On days you workout, calories should be roughly 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein.

High Carb Refeed Day

During a calorie restricted diet, it’s also a good idea to include a periodic high carb day called a refeed. The purpose of a refeed day is to temporarily eat more calories than you burn.

How to Use a Refeed Day

macros for weight loss refeed

By breaking a prolonged calorie deficit, you can offset the negative effects of dieting. Such as hunger and slowing of your metabolism.

A high carb day should be roughly 50% carbs, 20% fat, and 30% protein.

3. Convert From Calories To Grams

Now you know your macronutrient ratios. But you also need to know your macros in grams. So the last step is to convert from calories to grams.

It’s important to realize that each gram of carbs, fat, and protein has a constant number of calories:

Carbs = 4 calories per gram
Fat = 9 calories per gram
Protein = 4 calories per gram

As an example, let’s look at a medium carb day where your target is 2,400 total calories. On medium days your macro ratio is 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein.

First, let’s find your grams of carbs:

2,400 calories x 0.4 = 960 calories from carbs
960 calories ÷ 4 calories/gram = 240 grams carbs

Next, take a second to apply the same formula to fat and protein. Just make sure to change the ratio and calories per gram.

If you got 80 grams of fat and 180 grams of protein, well done! You now know how to calculate macros for weight loss. And you can find your macros for low and high days.

But if math isn’t your thing I’ve got you covered. Try my free macronutrient calculator.

macro calculator for weight loss

Counting Macros For Weight Loss

Ok, let’s assume you found your macros for weight loss. Now what? How do you know how much food to eat?

In order to hit your macro targets, you have to count macros. Luckily, there are several apps that make it easy to track macros and calories.

3 Easy Steps To Count Macros

how to count macros for weight loss

Macros For Weight Loss Meal Plan

It’s totally normal to feel a little confused by all this information at first. But don’t worry, you can get a plan that takes care of all the math and calculations for you!

With a Custom Weight Loss Meal Plan all you have to do is answer a few questions. And you’ll get a personalized meal plan based on your body type, lifestyle, and goals.

With custom meals and recipes, there’s no calorie or macro counting required!

bodybuilding meal plan
  • Transform your body with goal-specific calories & macros
  • Easily plan meals with a daily menu built around your schedule
  • Simplify meal prep with delicious recipes formulated to fit your macros
  • Make better food choices with a grocery list right on your phone
Customize Your Plan

Share with your community and get the conversation started!

Go to Top