If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last year, you may have heard the buzz surrounding a thing called “Macros.” By now, many know what they are (and if you don’t, click here to introduce yourself to this fantastic way of tracking food intake) but not everyone knows how to calculate them. Here I’ll show you a few simple steps to get you on your way to IIFYM.
First things first, you’ll need to know how many Calories you should be consuming in a day. According to the Estimated Energy Requirement (EER), a woman 19 years and older should follow the following equation to configure Calorie intake:
Physical Activity (PA) represents a person’s PA level on a daily basis–I know, shocking. Choose your level below and plug it into the equation:
1.0 = Sedentary (no exercise); 1.16 = Low Activity; 1.31 = Active; 1.56 = Very Active
Now… calculate your EER! After configuring your Calorie intake using the equation above, you’re ready to figure out your macros. BEWARE: It’s very important to understand that this equation represents an estimated or recommended value and to get an exact intake requirement, you would want to see a professional nutritionist. However, it might be worth a go to see how closely you can come to a professional figure.
NOTE: It’s vital to the success of macro counting that you understand your goal. Are you looking to gain muscle or lose weight? Perhaps you want to maintain your rocking figure? From these very simple yet specific understandings, your macro numbers will fluctuate (Hint: plug your desired weight into the EER equation for a more accurate macro conversion). This of course is easier to understand with the help of a professional. So while it’s quite convenient to be able to calculate on your own, it’s always worth a few bucks to get an accurate and professional setting.
Next, let’s attempt to configure your macros. According to research, the daily recommended intake for Carbohydrates is roughly 45% of Calories consumed in a day. The recommended intake for Protein is about 35% in a day, and the recommended intake for Fats (or lipids) is 20% in a day. Note again that everyone responds differently to different macro levels, so what works for you may not work for a friend of similar height and weight. For example, women usually respond better to diets higher in fats than men, or one woman may respond better to more carbohydrates than one of her girl friends. So while the above mentioned percentage ratio of C/P/F is a recommended amount, your ratio may actually look a bit different.
Here comes some more math! To convert Calories to grams, take your Calorie intake level from the EER equation and break down 45%, 35%, and 20% of this number and you will have your Carbs, Proteins, and Fats in Calories. Take a look at the following information:
4 Cal/g for Carbs, 4 Cal/g for Protein, and 9 Cal/g
With this information, you can now divide the allotted Calories for each macronutrient configured from your EER.
Ex. 1500 Calories Total = 675 C of Carbs, 525 C of Proteins, and 300 C of Fats
675/4 = 169 grams of Carbs; 525/4 = 131 grams of Protein; 300/9 = 33 grams of Fats
Voilà! Macro Configuration 101. Remember, always check with a health professional before making any sort of dramatic change in your diet. Safety and health are above anything else! For another fun check, compare your results with the online calculator provided by BodyBuilding.com. This spiffy app will assist you with specific goals regarding weight loss and muscle gain, so give it a try!