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How to Count Macros Information Article

How to Count Macros

An old method, but a new trend taking the fitness and dieting world by storm, is counting macros or macronutrients. Counting macros is similar to counting calories, which involves tracking the foods you’re consuming to achieve your weight loss goals.

Salmon, bean, and leaf meal on plate on cutting board next to cook book

Instead of focusing on calories, counting macros focuses on diversifying the macronutrients of the calories you’re consuming. So where the calories you’re counting could come from candy, counting macros makes you focus on hitting protein and carb goals, which makes you diversify the foods you eat.

While counting macros is a great way to bring awareness to the nutritional profile of the food you eat, and a great starting point, you still need to focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods instead of processed foods.  The first step to tracking macros is to calculate your calories so you can determine your macro breakdown.

How to Calculate Your Calorie Needs

Before you can track macros, you need to know what your macro breakdown is.

The macronutrients you will be tracking are: 

  • Carbohydrates, which have four calories per gram
  • Proteins, which have four calories per gram
  • Fats, which have nine calories per gram 

First, determine your calorie needs. You can do this by using this formula:

  • Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 = calories/day
  • Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161 = calories/day

Then multiply your results by a number representative of your activity level:

Person holding squash while on phone calculator
  • Sedentary: 1.2
  • Low activity: 1.375
  • Moderate activity: 1.55
  • Very active: 1.725
  • Extremely active: 1.9

So, for example, take a 28-year-old woman who weighs 68 kg and is 167 cm tall, and is moderately active:

  • 10 x 68 kg + 6.25 x 167 cm - 5 x 28 y - 161 = 1422.75
  • 75 x 1.55 = 2205.26 calories

Depending on individual goals, add or subtract 500 calories to gain or lose weight, respectively. For our purposes, we will subtract 500. So 1705 is the calorie goal for this woman. Now, we need to determine the macro breakdown to begin tracking macros.

How to Break Down Macros

Typical recommended macro breakdowns are as follows:

  • Fats: 20-35% of calories
  • Carbs: 45-65% of calories
  • Protein: 10-35% of calories

You can start with a split within this range and adjust to your needs as you track macros and become more comfortable.

Plate full of avocado, chicken, ship, and hard boiled egg

In our example, our woman might start with:

  • Fats: 30%
  • Carbs: 50%
  • Protein: 20%

This means she would begin to track macros to consume:

  • 511 calories from fat, or 57 grams of fat
  • 852 calories from carbs, or 213 grams of carbs
  • 341 calories from protein, or 85 grams of protein

How to Track Macros

Person scrolling through app on phone

Once you’ve got your numbers, all you have to do is log the foods you eat. You can do this with a pen and paper or an app like My Fitness Pal. Every time you eat, log the grams of carbs, proteins, and fats. Stay within your macros, and you’re sure to reach your goals.

If you find it’s a bit overwhelming to track macros, try to focus on understanding the nutrient breakdowns of foods so that when you stop counting your macros, you can eat more intuitively, roughly knowing what you’re consuming.

Supplement Superstore has supplements that can help you hit your macro goals if you typically fall short on protein or anything else. Remember, macro counting is a tool to assist you on your fitness journey, not something that should control you. Happy counting!

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