Learn how to count macros is one of the most important steps you can take to get and stay in shape.
This way, you can build muscle and lose fat while eating whatever you want without obsessing over "clean eating," exact meal times, or other dietary buzzwords.
In other words, once you've learned to diet “if it fits your macros”, the nutritional side of fitness becomes a game with points.
You eat the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat (macronutrients or "macros") every day, follow a sensible exercise routine, and build the body you want.
Your macros only take a moment to calculate if you a. use Macro formula (also known as a Macro equation), like in this article. However, if you want to do it the old fashioned way, you can also follow this five step process:
- Calculate your calories.
- Calculate your protein intake.
- Calculate your fat intake.
- Calculate your carbohydrate intake.
- Adjust everything to suit your body's response.
That's all, and by the end of this article, you will know how to do each of these steps with ease.
The best macro formula for everyone
The quickest and easiest way to calculate your macros is to use a macro formula that takes your body weight, age, activity level (and some other data, depending on the equation) and from that calculates how many grams of protein and carbohydrates , and fat you should be eating to achieve your goal.
The two best ways to use a macro formula are:
- Open that Legion Macronutrient Calculator and put in your stats and your current goal and it will tell you what your macros should look like.
- Calculate your macros using the simple math formulas listed below.
While the Legion Macronutrient Calculator is the fastest way to calculate your macros, some people like to do the calculations themselves. Here's how:
If your goal is to build lean muscle ("mass"), eat 16 to 18 calories for every pound of body weight each day. Then you get 25% from protein, 20% from fat and 55% from carbohydrates.
If your goal is to lose (“cut”) body fat, eat 10 to 12 calories per pound of body weight per day. Then you get 40% from protein, 20% from fat and 40% from carbohydrates.
If your goal is to maintain your current fat percentage, eat 14 to 16 calories per pound of body weight per day. Then you get 30% from protein, 25% from fat and 45% from carbohydrates.
Once you have your results, you can create a nutrition plan and make progress towards your goals. However, if you want to learn more about where these numbers come from and how to customize your macros to suit your circumstances, then read on.
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Step 1: calculate your calories.
You have probably seen fit people eat things that you thought you had to avoid if you wanted to have great physiques.
You know … pasta, ice cream, cereal, candy and the like.
Are these Instagram show-offs just genetically blessed? Lying? On steroids?
Well, some have great genetics, others only occasionally share cheat meal, and some are quite safe on drugs.
But none of this affects their "ability" to eat like a hedonist and stay lean and muscular.
You can do it too, and here's why:
When we talk Body composition, the type of food you eat is far less important than the amount.
In other words, the total number of calories you eat, and how those calories are broken down into protein, carbohydrates, and fat, controls your body weight and composition, not the individual foods themselves.
That was why Professor Mark Haub was able to lose 27 pounds in 10 weeks on a diet of Protein Shakes and Doritos, Little Debbie Snacks, Oreos and Twinkies. Therefore high school teacher John Cisna lost 56 pounds Eating nothing but carefully controlled servings of McDonald's for six months. Most importantly, that is why it is almost a century metabolic research has conclusively proven that the only way to reliably lose weight is to consume less energy (calories) than you burn.
The bottom line is that calorie restriction works, both of which in the laboratory and in The Field. For each. Every time.
If you consistently eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight, even if those calories come from junk food.
Calories go the other way too, because the only reliable way to get around increase is consuming more calories than you burn.
Don't get me wrong now.
All of this does not mean that you have to count calories and macros to lose or gain weight, or that they are all that really matter in the field of dieting (Food grade also important).
However, it does mean that if you want to know how to change and control your body weight and composition with ease, you have a thorough understanding of these basics.
So, with all of that behind us, let's get to the point:
How Many Calories Should You Eat?
There are a lot of different ways you can find out, but as I mentioned earlier, the easiest way is to put your stats and goal in this Legion Macronutrient Calculator.
When you open the calculator, you will find that there are a few different equations to choose from to work out your calorie needs. I recommend the Mifflin-St Jeor equation because you don't need to estimate your body fat percentage and get results on par with other formulas. However, when you have a good handle on your body fat percentage, the Katch-McArdle equation tends to be a bit more accurate.
Either way, all you have to do is enter your gender, weight, height, age and activity level and the calculator will estimate yours Basal metabolic rate (BMR) and Total daily energy consumption (TDEE).
Once you have your TDEE, you can determine how many calories to eat by doing the following:
- If you want to lose weight, you should be consuming 75 to 80% of your TDEE or 20 to 25% less energy than you burn on a daily basis.
- If you want to gain weight, you should be consuming 110 to 115% of your TDEE, or 10 to 15% more energy, than you are burning.
- And if you want to keep your weight off, you should be eating 100% of your TDEE, or more or less exactly what you burn on a daily basis.
(As you can see, the calculator also lets you set and customize your macros, and you'll understand how these work by the end of the article.)
Finally, I want to share with you an equation that is handy because of its simplicity: the Lyle McDonald's calorie equation. Here it is:
- 10 to 12 calories per pound of body weight to lose fat.
- 16 to 18 calories per pound of body weight to build muscle.
- 14 to 16 calories per pound of body weight to maintain your weight.
Although this method is a little less accurate for outliers (e.g., very active people, severely overweight, etc.), it works well as a quick and dirty solution that, for most people, is almost as accurate as more complicated equations.
Step 2: calculate your protein intake.
This is step number two because of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) it is the most important.
Get your protein intake right, and studies show that you can. . .
The bottom line is a high protein diet suggests low protein in almost every way, and especially for us fitness folks.
How Much Protein Should You Eat Then?
research shows that between 0.8 and 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day is optimal.
If you are severely overweight (25% +.) body fat in men and 30% + in women) then this can be reduced to around 30% of your daily calories.
Step 3: calculate your fat intake.
It wasn't that long ago health gurus chatted all over the place about how eating fat makes you fat.
People listened and low fat diets became a trend.
While getting as close to zero fat intake as possible can help you lose weight (it's a great way to drastically cut caloric intake), it's also quite unhealthy (and unnecessary).
Dietary fat is an essential nutrient and part of many physiological processes that range from hormone production to insulin sensitivity, cell turnover, satiety, Muscle growthand nutrient uptake.
That said, eating too much fat isn't doing your body any favors either (and especially with saturated fatty acids).
So the idea is to eat a moderate amount of fat that will allow you to control your calories and optimize your health and macros.
In other words, you want to eat enough fat to support overall health and wellbeing, but not so much that you need to cut down on protein and carbohydrates unnecessarily to stay within your calorie limits.
For most people, that's around 0.3 grams of fat per pound of body weight per day, which is typically around 20 to 30% of total calories.
Some people prefer a little more and some a little less, but that is the sweet spot for most of us.
Step 4: calculate your carbohydrate intake.
Now the final step: calculate your carbohydrates.
There is little argument about the benefits of adequate protein and fat intake, but carbohydrates are a different story.
While the diet crusade against the poor carbohydrate molecule is still raging in some circles, the scientific consensus is clear: as long as you regulate your calorie intake properly, you can be as lean as you want and eat all the carbohydrates you like.
If you exercise (and especially lift weights) regularly and are otherwise healthy, you will get along better with more, not less, carbohydrates in your diet. These even true for people who are overweight as long as they have a calorie deficit.
That's true. I say you shouldn't eat low-carbohydrate diet, and for a couple of good reasons:
carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for intense exercise and can help you gain muscle and Strength hold out faster Glycogen Levels increased. they also Don't stand in the way of fat loss, and serve as a great source for various Micronutrients and Fiber.
Now that I've (hopefully) calmed your thoughts about eating carbohydrates, let's talk about how to calculate your carbohydrate intake.
It's simple: just assign them your remaining calories.
By now you have calculated how many calories you should be consuming each day and how much protein and fat.
A gram of protein and carbohydrates both contain around 4 calories, and a gram of fat contains around 9, so to find out your carbohydrates you need to. . .
- Multiply your protein goal by 4.
- Multiply your fat goal by 9.
- Add these together and subtract the sum from your total calories, which gives you the number of calories left for carbohydrates.
- Divide that remaining number by 4 to get the number of grams of carbohydrates you should be consuming each day.
Let's look at an example of how this happens.
I weigh around 190 pounds and my TDEE is around 2,700 calories, which is what I want to eat every day to maintain my weight and body composition.
I need to eat 190 grams of protein and 60 grams of fat a day, and this is how I calculate my carbohydrates:
190 x 4 = 760
60 x 9 = 540
760 + 540 = 1,300 and 2,700 – 1,300 = 1,400 remaining calories for carbohydrates.
1,400 / 4 = 350 grams of carbohydrates per day.
So my macros are:
- 190 grams of protein
- 60 grams of fat
- 350 grams of carbohydrates
As I explained at the beginning of this article, you can also simply set your macros as a percentage of your daily caloric intake, but this more detailed method is usually a little better at dialing in your macros for your unique circumstances.
Step 5: adjust everything to suit your body's response.
You have just learned the greatest "secrets" to building your best body ever.
- Calories always count.
- A diet high in protein always helps build muscle and lose fat.
- Everyone needs to consume a healthy amount of fats, but nothing more.
- And most people who exercise are more likely to benefit from more carbohydrates than less.
That said, the formula I gave above may not work perfectly for you. You may need to adjust it to suit your body and circumstances.
There are a number of reasons why a uniform approach to calculating macros does not always work.
You may have more or less muscle mass than average, which can move your calorie needs up or down.
You can get involved in many spontaneous activity all day without realizing it, like walking around talking on the phone, jumping into the bathroom, drumming your fingers while reading or wiggling your legs while thinking. That can add to hundreds of calories a day.
Your job and / or hobbies can burn more energy than you think (causing you to underestimate actual energy use), and you can burn more (or less) energy than average during exercise.
The good news is that you don't have to try and consider all of these when figuring out your macros. Instead, you can just start and just adjust your numbers up or down depending on how your body is actually reacting.
Here are the basic rules of thumb:
- If you are trying to gain weight but don't do so, all you need to do is eat more.
Most "Hardgainer“Just not eating enough. End of the story. If your weight doesn't gain despite quality work in the gym, increase your daily caloric intake by 5%, give it a couple of weeks and see what happens.
- If you're trying to lose weight but don't do it, you will need to eat less or exercise more. If you're not losing weight, you are likely overeating.
However, the solution is not to cut down on food consumption right away. There's a little bit more that you should know, and this article everything collapses for you.
+ Scientific references
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