Calculate Your Macros in 4 Easy Steps

nutrition Dec 06, 2021
Calculate Your Macros in 4 Easy Steps


How to Calculate Your Macros

Calculating your macros is an exact science. We use the Harris-Benedict equation backed by long-term, scientific evidence. Below is the step-by-step guide.


Step 1 Calculate Your BMR

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate at which you burn calories (energy). To calculate this, we use the Harris-Benedict question as below. 


MEN = 66+(6.2 x weight (lbs)) + (12.7 x height (in)) – (6.76 x age (years))

WOMEN = 655.1 + (4.35 x weight (lbs)) + (4.7 x height (in)) – (4.7 x age (yeas))


But why different values for MEN and WOMEN? Well, in general women are much more efficient at burning carbohydrates than men, therefore on average require fewer Carbs, calories when standardizing for the same height, weight, and age. It is to this point that the sexes have variable height, weight, and age multipliers.



A man and women come to see for BMR calculation. They are both 36 years old, 5’9”, and 180 lbs. 


Man’s BMR = 66+(6.2 x 180) + (12.7 x 69) – (6.76 x 36) = 1814.9 kCal/day

Woman’s BMR = 655.1+(4.35 x 180) + (4.7 x 69) – (4.7 x 36) = 1593.2 kCal/day


See the difference. The women at the same height, weight, and age require fewer Calories, most likely due to the high efficiency at which she burns Carbs, thus lower demand. 


Step 2 BMR X Activity = Total Calories

Your activity is also an important part of your caloric needs. If you are sitting on the couch writing a blog post, instead of being at the gym, your BMR will be different on that day, averaging over a week. The next step is to account for these activity differences. 

To do this, take your BMR and multiply it by your activity level to obtain your total kCal/day


BMR x 1.200 = 0 days/week

BMR x 1.375 = 1-3 days/week

BMR x 1.550 = 3-5 days/week

BMR x 1.725 = 6-7 days/week

BMR x 1.900 = heavy workouts or twice/day


Step 3 Activity Type or Body Type

What are your goals? Do you want to gain muscle? Loose fat? Are you someone with a larger bone structure who wants to improve your overall composition? Introspect and determine your goal or body type and use the below macro compositions to reach these goals. Note the largest difference tends to be firstly in the Carbohydrate percentage, which is then budgeted toward your other Macros. Then take your total calories (above) and multiply by the percentage of macros needed for each composition (ie. 40% = 0.4).



Bodybuilding or Muscle Gaining

40-60% Carbs, 25-35% Protein, 15-25% Fat


30-50% Carbs, 25-35% Protein, 25-35% Fat

Fat Loss

10-30% Carbs, 40-50% Protein, 30-40% Fat


Body Type

Ectomorphs – naturally thin people

50-60% Carbs, 20-30% Protein, 15-25% Fat

Mesomorphs – naturally muscular people

35-45% Carbs, 25-35% Protein, 25-35% Fat

Endomorphs – high body fat or bone structure, pear-shaped

20-30% Carbs, 30-40% Protein, 35-45% Fat


Step 4 Convert Macro Calories to Grams

Next, we have to determine the actual amount of food you require in each macro category, defined in grams (NOT Grahams). This will help you to determine the amount of each macro needed by weight and volume through measuring (via a scale or measuring implement). 


To do this, take the calories. 

Carbs = 4 kCal/gram

Protein = 4 kCal/gram

Fat = 9 kCal/gram


Take your total from STEP 2 and multiply by your percentages (ex 40% = 0.4)

TOTAL x %Carb = Carb Calories

TOTAL x %Protein = Protein Calories

TOTAL x %Fat = Fat Calories


Then, take these values and divide the calories by the number of kCal/gram for each nutrient.

TOTAL x %Carb = Carb Calories/4 kCal/gram = Grams of Carb

TOTAL x %Protein = Protein Calories/4 kCal/gram = Grams of Protein

TOTAL x %Fat = Fat Calories/9 kCal/gram = Grams of Fat


Let’s Walk Through An Example


A 5’9’’ (69 in) 180 lb 36-year-old man who works out 3-5 times a week and wants to lose fat


Calculate the person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) using the above equation

BMR = 66+(6.2 x 180) + (12.7 x 69) – (6.76 x 36) = 1814.9



As he works out 3-5 times weekly, select the BMR activity modifier and multiply the BMR by 1.550 to obtain the total calories


BMR x 1.200 = 0 days/week

BMR x 1.375 = 1-3 days/week

BMR x 1.550 = 3-5 days/week

BMR x 1.725 = 6-7 days/week

BMR x 1.900 = heavy work outs or twice/day

Total calories 2813



Calculate your macro calories given that fat loss if the goal (20% Carbs, 45% Protein, 35% Fat)

Carbs = 2813 x 0.2 = 563 kCal

Protein = 2813 x 0.45 = 1266 kCal

Fat = 2813 x 0.35 = 985 kCal



Calculate your macro grams by diving by the number of kCal/gram for each macro (ie. 4 kCal/gram for Carbs and Protein, 9 kCal/gram for Fat).

Carbs = 563 kCal/4 = 141 grams/day

Protein = 1266 kCal/4 = 316 grams/day

Fat = 985 kCal/9 = 109 grams/day



(that Your Doctor Won’t Tell You)

Delivered straight to your inbox.
*Plus we will send you an extra surprise*


*In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site: Most of the links going to products on Maximal Being are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you (sometimes, we even get to share a unique discount with you). If we post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that we personally use, support, and would recommend. we personally vet each and every product. Our first priority is providing valuable information and resources to help create positive optimize your mind, body, and spirit, and we will only ever link to products or resources (affiliate or otherwise) that fit within this purpose.