To enjoy your diet, still indulge in some of your most loved foods, keep balance... You may like to try the diet approach 'If It Fits Your Macros' (IIFYM). How this works it means your daily food will be broken into macronutrients. Macronutrients are a type of food required in large amounts. For this diet your macros will be broke in to 3 components...
It is often a frequent question 'how do I calculate my macros?'. So here it is, we have throughly explained, and provided the formulas for you with a personalised example in hope you are able to understand and give it a go yourself!
The following calculations are rough estimations of your daily macros needed to work towards your goals. We advise to get correct calculations you may like to seek expert advice or see a nutritionist. Trail and error will play a big role in these calculations. We ask you to be smart and listen to your body. For example, if you are hungry, EAT and don't STARVE yourself. We also ask you do not drop calories too suddenly to begin. Take gradual steps and adjust according to your progress. The more trail and error you perform, the more you will begin to learn and the knowledge you will learn on nutrition and what works and may not work for you.
Firstly, to make your calculations accurate as possible, we suggest you know or find out your body fat percentage. This could be done by a DEXA scan or skin fold test. Just ask your local gym or sports club and they will most likely have the tests, equipment or advice on how too available.
Calculate Your Macros
To get a better understanding of the formulas we have provided an a real life example of our team member Jasmine.
Weight: 59kgs or 130lbs
Goal: To lean out
Body Fat %: 20% body fat
Calculate your 'Lean Body Mass'.
You will need to take your body weight (in pounds) from your bodyweight again multiplied by your body fat percentage.
If you use the metric system, you will need to convert your kilogram weight to pounds. There are plenty of online calculators that will simply do this for... like google...
Body Weight (lbs) - [Body Weight (lbs) x Body Fat (%)]
Jasmine's Lean Body Mass
= 130 lbs - (130 lbs x 0.20)
= 130 lbs - (26)
= 104 lbs
To figure out your protein intake, you must know your goals and activity level.
We will use the number range and focus on between 1-2. If you are wanting to build muscle and are extremely active aim towards the high spectrum 2. If you are simply just trying to just lose weight and semi active aim for the lower spectrum, 1.
Lean Body Mass (lbs) x 1.5 g protein per lb lean body mass
Jasmine's Protein Intake
For Jasmine she is active, trains hard and wanting to maintain her lean muscle mass, so she chooses a 1.5 for her figure.
= 104lbs x 1.5g
= 156g of protein needed daily
Just like your protein intake, your carbohydrate intake will depend on your goals and activity level. However for carbs you may want to consider further factors such as how well you body works from carbs, current carbohydrate consumption, daily lifestyle - activity level outside gym or exercise etc. Some people like and work best from a high Protein + Fat diet and stick to low carbs. Some people find carbs make them lethargic or too full. If you are wanting to lose weight, you may aim for a lower carb intake. However, if you find yourself starving and really low energy levels, losing weight or muscle mass too quickly, increase your intake.
Just be safe and smart. By trying to low carb too suddenly and depriving yourself, it will be just as easy to put the weight on after you have achieved your goal as it was to initially lose it. Listen to your body! Who doesn't want extra carbs in their diet anyway :P
Like protein, we will use the number range and focus on between 1-2. 1, being the lower spectrum and wanting to lose weight and have a low carb diet, 2, being the higher spectrum wanting to build size and have high energy expenditure.
Lean Body Mass (lbs) x 1.25 g carbohydrate per lb lean body mass
Jasmine's Carbohydrate Intake
Jasmine like to keep a high Fat + Protein diet but her body does works well off carbs. She is wanting to lean out so doesn't want her carbs too high. She will use a 1.25 and increase depending on progress, how her body looks and energy levels.
= 104 x 1.25g
= 130g of carbohydrates needed daily
Like protein and carbohydrate, calorie intake also has a number range to look into based on activity level and goals, however, this number is 10-16.
If you are involved in vigorous activity you are looking to put on size you are up the higher spectrum 16. If your goals are to lean down and lower activity levels, aim down the lower spectrum, 10.
We beg you, please do not go to low, to suddenly. This can cause heath issues, not feeling well, lethargic... just no good! Take baby steps and do gradual decreasing of calories according to progress. Remember, the whole process is trail and error. The slower and gradual steps you have, the more likely you will maintain results and not relapse binge eating and putting on the initial weight loss.
Always try aim for the highest amount of calories and macronutrients you can, why deprive yourself? Unless training for a competition, there is no need to be so serious. Live a healthy, balanced lifestyle all while feeling and looking good.
And please don't be pedantic... don't include calories from a few spinach leaves, a sprinkle of sauce or cooking oils. Be smart.
Total Body Weight (lbs) x 10 calories per pound body weight
Jasmine's Calorie Intake
Jasmine knows her body. She knows she can run off higher calories and not put on weight. She is not in training for a competition so can be a little more lenient. However, she does want to lean out, so she will start at reasonable calories for weight, heights, sex, activity and goal level and will adjust according to progress.
= 130 lbs x 13
= 1693 calories
For the final step you will need to use your daily caloric, daily protein and carbohydrates to calculate your fat intake.
Part 1 - Calculate calories that have not been accounted for by your protein/carb intake
Daily Caloric Intake – [(Daily Protein Intake (g) + Daily Carbohydrate Intake (g)) x 4 calories per gram]
Jasmine's Remaining Calories
= 1693 - [(156g + 130g x 4)]
= 1693 - (286 x 4)
=1693 - 1144
= 549 calories remaining
Part 2 - Final step, divide your remaining calories by 9, as there are 9 calories per gram of fat
Remaining calories / 9 calories per gram
Jasmine's Fat Intake
= 549 / 9
= 61g of fat needed daily
So.... Now you know how to calculate your own macros! Have a go and test it out.
We ask you to keep in mind, a lot of these calculations will require trail and error. You may also like to seek professional advice to get accurate and healthy calculations.
It is all practice, being sensible and understanding how to listen to your body. What works for you may not work for others. Know your limits and personalise your diets to know and soon begin to learn what works for you!
Small, gradual, baby steps are recommended for health reasons. Slow progress is better than no progress!
Lastly, unless you are in a competition or full time athlete, there is no need to follow your program to a tee and every gram. Do not panic if you go over or a hungrier another day... Just listen to your body and play it safe.
Good luck and don't quit!