MACROS | How To Lose/Gain

It’s tough to lose weight, and tougher for some to gain. For most, it can be broken down into a numbers game. This is where calories and macronutrients (macros) come into play.

Step 1: Determine Maintenance Calories

To start, find your energy expenditure. This is the formula I use, and it should work for most:

Bodyweight (in pounds) x (Activity Value) = Maintenance Calories

This is the time to be honest with yourself.

Activity Values:

11 – Sedentary occupation, little-to-no exercise or activity.
12 – Slightly sedentary occupation, some exercise or activity.
13 – Somewhat active occupation, somewhat intense exercise or activity.
14 – Physical occupation, intensive exercise or activity.

Example: 200 lbs Activity Value 12

200 lbs x 12 = 2,400 cal each day, or Total Daily Caloric Expenditure (TDCE).

Step 2: Lose or Gain Weight?

Losing weight:

A healthy weight loss rate, while simultaneously keeping as much muscle as possible, is 1-2 pounds per week.

One pound of fat is approximately 3,500 calories. Divide 3,500 by 7 [Days each week]. This leaves us with 500 cal deficit per day.

Subtracting 2,400 cal by 500 leaves us with 1,900 calories.

Gaining weight:

A healthy rate to gain lean muscle mass, while minimizing fat is roughly 1-2 lbs per month. Yes, month.

If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass / bulk / gain weight, add 500 calories per day to your maintenance calories.

Adding 500 cal surplus to 2,400 cal will be 2,900 cal.

Step 3: Calculate Macros

Protein:

For those with a higher body fat percentage, such as 18% or more:
start with 0.8g – 1.0 g of protein per lb bodyweight. Leaner people can be between 1.0g – 1.2g per lb bodyweight.

Protein will be the first macro to calculate and contains 4 cal per gram.

Example: Losing weight with 2,400 cal maintenance

I’ll use 0.9g per lb in this example.
1,900 calorie intake per day.

200 lbs x 0.9g = 180g protein per day.
180g x 4 (cal per gram) = 720 cal.

2,400 – 720 = 1,680 cal left.

Example: Gaining lean mass with 2,400 cal maintenance

I’ll use 1.0g per lb.
2,900 cal intake per day.

200 lbs x 1.0g = 200g per day.
200g x 4 (cal per gram) = 800 cal.

2,900 – 800 = 2,100 cal left.

Fat:

Your body needs fat, so do not cut it completely. Make sure it is healthy fats such as nuts, fish, avocados, olive oil, etc. Fat contains 9 calories per gram.

The amount of fat vs. carbs can be interchangeable, and relative to each person. If you like more fatty foods, increase fat allowance, but limit carbs further. The dietary reference intake (DRI) is 20 – 35% of total daily calories for adults.

Example: Losing weight with 2,400 cal maintenance 25% fat intake

I’ll use 25% fat intake.
1,900 cal intake per day.

1,900 cal x 0.25 = 475 cal from fat.
475 cal divided by 9 (cal per gram fat) = about 53g of fat per day.
720 cal (protein) + 475 cal (fat) = 1,195 cal consumed.

Example: Gaining lean mass with 2,400 cal maintenance 25% fat intake

I’ll use 25% fat intake.
2,900 cal intake per day.

2,900 cal x 0.25 = 725 cal from fat.
725 cal divided by 9 (cal per gram fat) = about 81g of fat per day.
800 cal (protein) + 725 cal (fat) = 1,525 cal consumed.

Carbohydrates:

Do not be afraid to eat carbs. They are the preferred fuel source for the body. If you are a carb fanatic, such as you love to eat bread, rice, fruits, veggies, etc., you can lower fat intake to make room for more carbs.

Carbohydrates, like protein, contain 4 calories per gram.

Example: Losing weight with 2,400 cal maintenance with 25% fat intake

This is continuing with 25% fat intake.
1,900 cal – 1,195 cal consumed = 705 cal left for carbs.

705 cal divided by 4 (cal per gram carbs) = about 176g of carbs per day.

Completed Macros for this example:
180g protein, 53g fat, 176g carbs per day.

Total Daily Caloric Intake: 1,900.

Example: Gaining lean mass with 2,400 cal maintenance 25% fat intake

This is continuing with 25% fat intake.
2,900 cal – 1,525 cal consumed = 1,375 cal left for carbs.

1,375 cal divided by 4 (cal per gram carbs) = about 344g of carbs per day.

Completed Macros for this example:
200g protein, 81g fat, 344g carbs per day.
Total Daily Caloric Intake: 2,900.

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