Macro Tracker (what it is and why you need it)
What are “Macros,” how do you manipulate them to your advantage, and why use a Macro Tracker? Before we discuss all these questions, let’s review some of the information in my Easy Guide to Getting Healthy post. We discussed Macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) and how your body uses them. I also explained how to calculate your personal BMR number (Basal Metabolic Rate) to figure out the required calories needed to maintain your weight. We also discussed how to come up with your personal TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This magic number lets you know how many calories you should eat, based on your activity level to lose weight. In this post, I’ll be sharing how to figure out the percentage of (proteins/carbs/fats) you should be consuming to achieve better results. These percentages can either be calculated manually or with a Macro Tracker.
Why You Should Use A Macro Tracker
Let’s say you’ve calculated your BMR and TDEE and determined that you should eat 1300 calories a day to lose two pounds a week. But what to eat? Are all calories created equal? Sure you can restrict your calories to lose weight, but what about your health? For example, if you are only consuming simple carbs, you will not be providing your body with the nutrients it needs. Your body needs a combination of these macronutrients to function properly and to maintain or gain muscle mass. To read more on this topic, check out this great article: Is A Calorie A Calorie?
How to Calculate Your Macros for Weight Loss
To start, let’s look at the number of calories in each of these macros:
- Protein: Each gram of protein contains 4 calories.
- Carbohydrate: Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories.
- Fat: Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.
As an example, if we eat 100 grams of fat, we would consume 900 calories, but if we were to eat 100 grams of either protein or carbs, we would only be consuming 400 calories.
The following ratio has always helped me to achieve weight loss: 25% carbohydrates, 35% protein, and 40% fats. This ratio can be adjusted based on your own personal needs. But for now, this is the ratio we will be using in our calculations.
First, calculate your BMR/and TDEE (in our example, a 160 lb. woman is allocated 1300 calories a day)
- Carbs: 25% x 1300 calories = 325 calories from carbs
- Protein: 35% x 1300 calories = 455 calories from protein
- Fat: 40% x 1300 calories = 520 calories from fat
So the calculation above divided the 1300 calories into three categories: carbs, protein, and fat. Once we know how many calories per macro we should consume, we need to figure out how many grams of each macro to consume. The following formula helps us to figure that out:
- Carbs: 325 calories ÷ 4 calories/gram = 81g carbs
- Protein: 455 calories ÷ 4 calories/gram = 114g protein
- Fat: 520 calories ÷ 9 calories/gram = 58g fat
Now that we know how many grams of each macro we need, we can plan out our meals with an app like FitnessPal. You can even adjust your macro goals in the free version of the app. Just follow along with the pics below:
If the above formula leaves your head spinning, don’t worry, there’s an easier way to calculate your macros. Just plug in your information below. But first, please read the pointers below before proceeding, so that it works as intended.
- Make sure that you adjust the “Centimeter vs. Feet & Inches,” and the “Kilograms vs. Pounds” options before you enter your information.
- The “Meals Per Day” option allows you to choose up to 5 meals a day, which will give you the total amount of calories and macros divided by 5 meals. If you choose “All,” you will be given the total calories and macros you will be consuming for the entire day. You can toggle back and forth between the two options.
- Adjusting the activity level will show you how many calories extra you can earn if you are more active. Look at this as a great incentive to get off the couch!
You may also like my Keto Diet Pros and Cons post!
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