Calculating Macros

Curious about how to calculate macros for yourself?‍Generally, we start with a (maintenance) calorie target.
By SOAR Health & Performance
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May 2, 2023
Calculating Macros

Curious about how to calculate macros for yourself?

Generally, we start with a (maintenance) calorie target. There are multiple ways to estimate this, but unfortunately they’re usually wrong, so my favorite is to simply track food passively for a couple of weeks and then look at a baseline: what is someone’s intake naturally averaging? That’s the easiest way to figure out where we truly ARE, even if it isn’t where we want to stay.

Next, we figure out the protein. Generally, 0.7-1.2g/lb of bodyweight is the acceptable range — higher being better if you are older, vegetarian/vegan, or trying to gain lean mass. Protein has 4 calories/gram, and 1g/lb is easy math, so for a hypothetical 150-lb person, 600 calories of our “budget” is now devoted to protein.

The next step is to calculate fats (which are denser — 9 cal/gram). The generally accepted ratio for hormonal health is ~30% of overall intake, but we can go lower than this on a temporary basis (if someone is in a cut phase); it’s also perfectly acceptable to go higher (I commonly use 35% for those in (peri-)menopause or with insulin resistance, so that we can keep the carb number lower). For a hypothetical 2000-calorie intake, 30% would be 66-67 grams of fat per day.

Carbohydrates (4 cal/gram) are the third and final puzzle piece. In general, we want enough carbs to support brain function (~100-150g/day) and athletic activity, as well as to keep someone happy (literally and figuratively — carbs are delicious, AND help us make serotonin!). Most active people feel best on a minimum of 180-200g/day, but in those with PCOS, (pre-)diabetes, (peri-)menopause, or low activity levels, it’s common to “redistribute” some of that energy to fat or protein instead (because we don’t want SO many excess carbohydrates that we potentially cause issues with insulin and glucose).

The thing is, everybody is VERY DIFFERENT in terms of their genetics, activity level, gut health/absorptive capacity, dieting history, food preferences, etc. Two people with exactly the same body size might require completely different amounts of food, and might thrive on completely different macro splits.

…Which is why we ultimately need COACHES and not just algorithms. If you’d like some guidance on figuring out how to eat according to your goals, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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