Okay, so January is nearly over, but you may still (just) be sticking to that New Year’s resolution of losing weight and getting fit!
If you are trying to shed weight or gain muscle, you may have heard of macronutrients – or macros for short.
However, calculating how much of your calorie intake should come from each food group can be confusing for those starting out.
The following five steps can make this easier to follow:
1. Work out your Basal Metabolic Rate
- This is the number of calories required daily to keep your body functioning at rest.
- To do this multiply your body weight in kilograms by 24 (or 22 if you are female).
- For example, a 60-kilogram woman needs 1,320 calories.
2. Figure out your Physical Activity Level
This will be somewhere on a scale of:
- 1.1: This is someone who is very inactive:
- They drive to the office;
- Sit at a desk all day; and
- Do little after work.
- 1.5: This would be someone who:
- Trains around three times a week; and
- Goes for one or two walks.
- 1.8: This could be someone who:
- Is training heavily for a specific sporting event, for example, an Ironman; or
- A military fitness instructor who walks to work, leads additional fitness sessions per week and also does four to five workouts in their own time.
Carefully work out where you sit on the scale to get an accurate calorie requirement.
3. Workout out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
In step three, you combine the two figures from steps 1 and 2 to work out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
For example, a 60-kilogram woman, who is moderately active (1.5) would use 1,980 (1,20 x 1.5) calories per day.
4. Adjust Intake, Meet Goals!
With your TDEE in hand you can now adjust your intake to meet your current goals.
- To lose weight you need your intake to be in deficit, so you may decide to consume 500 fewer calories per day, for example.
- To gain weight or muscle you could increase your intake by 500 calories.
- To maintain your current weight stick to your TDEE.
5. Work Out your Macro Intake
Now you can work out your macro intake. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different in what their body requires to function or perform, but if you follow this formula you should see results.
- Two (2) grams per kilogram of body weight should be consumed.
- Each gram of protein contains four calories.
- Around 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight.
- Each gram of fat contains nine calories.
- All of your remaining calories are allotted to carbs.
- Each gram of carbs contains four calories.
If our 60-kilogram, moderately active woman, who currently consumes 1,980 calories, is looking to maintain her condition she would need around:
- 120 grams of protein;
- 54 grams of fat; and
- 253 grams of carbs.
Points to Note
You need to constantly monitor your work commitments, daily
tasks and activity level if you want to stay on the right track.
Over a period of six to eight weeks you will find what works with your body.
If you have been consistent but are not seeing results in this time, try cutting your fat intake or increasing the amount of protein you eat.
Track your daily calorie intake by, for example, keeping a food diary or download an app to help you.