Updated: May 26, 2020
Weeks 1-4 |CARBS + PROTEIN and FAT. Learn how to ratio and calculate food labels.
Ever wondered how to count macros or what should my macros be? It can be a tad confusing but no worries, I will explain everything in the next few minutes.
First things first: what are macros? "Macro" is short for macronutrients. There are three, which are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. They are what determine the calorie content in the foods you eat.
Calculating your personal macro goals can be done in a variety of ways and everyone does it differently. This first calculation should be a starting point for you in your journey to figure out what ratio is best for you.
In the coming weeks, take note of how you FEEL with regard to energy levels, workouts, sleep, etc. Even just a couple of weeks can provide you insight into whats working and what is not.
Begin with correct tracking RATIOS:
If you care tracking your food in an app, Ashley will usually start most people on 40/40/20. Thos ratio may change quickly over the program.
Carbs = 40%
Protein = 40%
Fats = 20%
Here is a breakdown of how to calculate your own macro numbers:
1. Determine your maintenance calories (number of calories you need to maintain your bodyweight) by multiplying body weight (in pounds) by 14 (or 15 if you are active and/or have a low body fat percentage).
2. Set deficit (or surplus) calories. If your goal is fat loss, a good place to start is by subtracting 200-500 calories from step 1 above. Now if you are looking to gain weight, add calories to the number you received from step 1 above. This number is mainly determined by your goals / how much weight you want to lose as well as your current body fat percentage.
3. Set your protein goal. Multiply your bodyweight (pounds) by 0.8. This will give you your protein goal in grams per day.
4. Set your fat goal. Multiply your bodyweight (pounds) by 0.4. This will give you your fat goal for the day.
5. Set your carb goal. Divide your remaining calories by 4. This will give your carb goal.
Don't worry, I will show you an example, so don't freak out on me.
Body weight: 140 lbs
140 x 14 = 1960 calories to maintain.
Fat loss = 1960 - 200 = 1760 calories
140 x 0.8 = 112 g protein
140 x 0.4 = 56 g fat
1760 - (112 x 4) - (56 x 9) = 808 (carb calories)
808/4 = 202 g carbs
MACROS. protein 112. fat 56. carbs 202.
Intro to FOOD LABELS:
Food labels are not easy to read and this will take practice. More on this in the next few weeks...
Calories per Gram: *Remember "449"
Protein and Carbs carry the same caloric load = 4 calories per gram
Fat carries 9 calories per gram.
*Note, Alcohol s not a macro but should be calculated as one. It carries 7 calories per gram.
Of the total calories on a food label, notice the serving portion first. (Whole bar vs half bar)
There will be total amount of calories listed per macro. If you divide that calorie count by the macros caloric load you can determine how many of your total calories are coming from each macro.
Good luck on the start of your macro tracking journey. Enjoy!
Ashley Lambeth, ACE-CPT, OES, FNS, SCS | 919-614-2286 | Founder
Anna S. Semon, BA Exercise and Sports Science, SCS | Assistant Training Coach