How To Calculate Macros: Track Macros to Transform Your Body

Changing your body is hard.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Why invest hours upon hours in the gym, only to squander them in the kitchen? You can control whether you gain or lose weight, and how quickly your weight changes, by following a simple method. Here’s how…

If you are truly serious about losing fat and gaining muscle, you need to calculate macros. It may sound complicated at first, but tracking your macronutrients and calories is much easier than it sounds, especially if you use an application such as MyFitnessPal.

Go buy a food scale, weigh your meals, and track your macros.

After a month or two, you should be able to guesstimate the calories in your most frequent dishes and can eliminate weighing things unless it’s something unfamiliar.

Learn it once, apply it forever.

Food Scale

Use a food scale when you first start off. Over time, you’ll be able to estimate portion sizes simply by looking at them, and can eliminate the need for using a scale.

Macro calorie basics:

  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories.
  • 1 gram of carbs    = 4 calories.
  • 1 gram of fat         = 9 calories.

Step 1: Determine Activity Level

First, estimate your activity level. You must be training hard with weights in order for this method to work.

Pick a number from below, according to your activity level and current training goal:

  • Sedentary lifestyle, train 2-3 days per week.
    • Anyone that sits most of the day. Office workers, transportation personnel, etc.
    • Bulking = 18.
    • Cutting = 12.
  • Active lifestyle, train 2-3 days per week. Or sedentary lifestyle, train 4-6 days per week.
    • Anyone standing and moving most of the day. Restaurant staff, healthcare professionals, etc.
    • Bulking = 20.
    • Cutting = 13.
  • Very active lifestyle, train 4-7 days per week. Or sedentary lifestyle, train daily with additional conditioning sessions.
    • Athletes, construction workers, other hard laborers, etc.
    • Bulking = 22.
    • Cutting = 14.

*Women, please see bottom of article.

Step 2: Record Body Weight

Next, record your body weight in pounds by weighing yourself while undressed. If you use the metric system, multiply your body weight in kilograms by 2.2 to get your weight in pounds.

Step 4: Calculate Macros

Now it’s time for a little math. Don’t run, it’s easy.

  • Total Calories (TC) = Body Weight (BW) x Activity Level (AL)
  • Protein (P)
    • Bulking = BW * 0.8 grams
    • Cutting = BW * 1.2 grams
  • Fat (F)
    • Higher Fat Diet = BW * 0.6 grams
    • Lower Fat Diet = BW * 0.2 grams
  • Carbs (C)
    • Carbs = ( ( TC – ( (P * 4) + (F * 9) ) ) / 4 ) grams

That last bullet may seem intimidating, but the formula is simply calculating the calories for protein and fat, then subtracting them from the total daily calories and dividing by four to get the proper grams of carbs.

If you can’t plug in a few values and figure out a little math, get your life together.

Sample Macro Calculation

Profile: 175 lb male athlete trailing daily who is bulking and prefers a higher fat diet. This is elite level training here.

  • AL = 22
  • BW = 175 pounds
  • TC = 175 x 22 = 3,850 calories
  • P = 175 x 0.8 = 140 grams
  • F = 175 x 0.6 = 105 grams
  • C = ( ( 3,850 – ( (140 * 4) + (105 * 9) ) ) / 4 ) = 586 grams


The main reason to calculate macros is to determine which macronutrient profile works best for your body and style of training.

None of this is set in stone.

Everyone responds differently to various diets and training programs. The goal is to learn how YOUR body works best.

Feel free to tweak the numbers as you go along. Add or subtract from your total grams of each macronutrient, until you find a combination that works best for you. I’ve found mine.

Nick Hagood's Physique

Track your macros until you reach your ideal body weight. Once you make it under 10% body fat, it is much easier to adjust your diet on a daily basis, simply by WATCHING how your body responds to particular foods.


Although Masculinity Rising is a blog for men, women can use the same method to calculate macros as well.

This is due to women having lower testosterone levels than men.

Now, go figure out your macros and make some gains.

Nick Hagood
Masculinity Rising

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