How To Calculate Your Macro's For Fat Loss
I would say that this is one of the key questions I get asked as a personal trainer. It's not as a direct question like the title suggests but it's phrased "How can I lose weight?"
A couple weeks ago I posted up a Fat loss calculator on my blog. This was a very basic and easy way for the readers to calculate their fat loss quickly. However, I felt it was not very personal and it only gave you a vary rough idea. It is my job as a personal trainer to provide you with as much information as possible to help you on your quest to be the best version of your self in terms of your fitness and lifestyle. So with out further adieu here's what you have been waiting for.
Now, Firstly I'm going to start by saying I am not a nutritionist or dietician. However, I do hold a fairly solid level of nutritional knowledge. If you would like to go into further detail regarding your nutrition for meal plans please search for a nutritionist. I am more than happy to recommend a few. With that little disclaimer out the way lets get started.
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients can be broken down into three main areas, Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein. Your body requires a certain amount of each which provides you with energy, recovery and day to day bodily functions. Each of these macronutrients has a calorific value and eating to many of one or more and make you can weight and therefor fat.
So how does all this work when you want to lose weight? You need to figure out how much protein, fat and carbohydrates your body needs to lose fat without comprising your life. There are plenty tools/apps out there that can help you with your process and one I can highly recommend is an app called MyFitnessPal. (I am not associated to them in anyway) I use this to app to help my clients to track their food and so far I haven't had any issues with the app or their results.
How To Calculate Your Calories.
Firstly, we need to calculate your target calories. This is the foundation of "flexible dieting" for fat loss and needs to be calculated before we even look at the macronutrients targets. An important note to remember is that your calorie target is not set in stone and is an estimation, not an exact number. Some tweaking may be needed so keep an eye on your progress and note how you feel at the end of the day, week or month.
There are many different equations and formulas you can use to work out how many calories your body needs to from fat. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that people get put off by complicated processes so I aim to make this as straight forward as possible. With that said you will still need a calculator. If your mental arithmetic is on point or you are part of Mensa this should be a doddle for you.
Meet Bob, Bob meet the world. Now Bob would like to lose fat and he is going to be our guinea pig. He is a 30 year old male, weighing 90kg and is 190cm. Bob works-out a couple time per week and has a desk job.
Firstly lets calculate Bob's body weight in pounds. Most scales have a function where you can change from stone > Kilograms > Pounds. If your scales don't take the number you are presented with and plug it into Google for the conversion. (where would we be with Google these days?)
Multiply by 11 if you have a sedentary job and do little to no exercise
Multiply by 12 if you have a relatively active job or you have a sedentary job but train 2 to 3 times per week
Multiply by 13 if you have an active job and train 2 to 3 times per week, or have a sedentary job and train at an intense level (ie. weight training, or high level aerobics) 4 to 6 times per week.
Multiply by 14 if you have an active job and train at an intense level (ie. weight training, or high level aerobics) 4 to 6 times per week, or you’re an athlete training every day or multiple times per day.
* Note – Be honest with your number here. Don’t think that by picking multiplying by 11 when you’re really a 14 will lead to you losing fat sooner. Yes it will happen but you will also lose muscle mass and you don't want that.
Calculating your Protein Target.
Let's start with the most popular macronutrient protein. A high protein diet works well for fat loss as it help preserve muscle and helps keep you feeling full for longer.
This is relatively straight forward lets take Bob's body weight in pounds and multiply it by 1.
Struggling to hit your protein target? have you seen this article on 17 high protein foods.
Calculating your Fat Target.
Now don't be scared with what you are about to read, the amount of fat you should eat depends largely on your dietary preference. You do require a certain amount of fat in your diet to stay healthy. It plays an important roll in body and is essential for cell growth, cell repair, brain function and many more functions.
A good starting point is between 0.3 - 0.6 grams per pound of body weight. As long as you are hitting a minimum of 0.3 and not exceeding 0.6 you will be ok.
So how do you choose what number in that range you should go for. Well this goes with what I said in the first paragraph of this section, it all depends on your diet. If you prefer fattier foods and have a bit of a sweet tooth then 0.5, 0.6 grams of fat per pound would be a good place to start. If like me you like your carbs and enjoy toast, pastas etc then aim for 0.3 to 0.4 grams per pound. This means you can keep the carbs high and your fat will be low. Remember, it's flexible dieting not strict ass dieting,.
Calculating Your Carbohydrates.
So far we have worked out the total calories, Protein and fat intakes. Now we need to workout how many carbohydrates you require for your fat loss journey. This is the part where you may need a calculator. Let me rephrase that, this is the part you will need a calculator.
4 calories per gram of protein
9 calories per gram of fat
4 calories per gram of carbohydrates
Bob is a 198 pound male who works a sedentary job and trains twice per week and prefers higher-fat foods –
Calories needed = (198×12) = 2376
Protein = 198 x 1 = 198g
Fat = 198 x 0.5 = 99g
Protein and fat calories = (198 x 4) + (99 x 9) = 1683
Carbs = (2376 – 1683) ÷ 4 = 173g
Daily Macros = 198g Protein, 99g Fat, 173g Carbohydrates
Bring It All Together
Bob and I have shown you how to calculate your macro's to allow you to start flexible dieting. I can hear you saying now I have the numbers how do I start tracking them. Well a good tool to help you with this is to download the app My Fitness Pal.
You are 100% in control with what you eat. Rather than looking for food quantity start looking at food quality first, this will make sure you are getting in the essential micronutrients.
Nutrient dense, fresh and tasty food that are packed to the brim with vitamins and minerals are the way to go. Don't try and fit junk food in just so it ticks the boxes above.
Follow the guides above to estimate your macros, adjust as needed and start to make some fantastic fat loss progress.
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My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.