Calculating Macros – How do I do that?

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to anyone who’s reading for the first time – Welcome Back to my returning readers. As always, thank you for reading my blog.

When I think back to my early 20’s, I remember eating a lot of pasta and running everyday. I mean, I did sprint intervals, HIIT workouts, calisthenics, and I even got up to 3-4 mile runs (which is long distance for me since I’ve always been a sprinter). When I started hitting the weights, I used to wonder why I was getting stronger, more defined, but not bigger. I could never figure out why I wasn’t gaining size. It was SO frustrating!

It wasn’t until I learned about nutrition, macros to be specific, that I realized, yes I was eating, but I wasn’t eating the right ratio of macros for muscle building. I was only feeding my physical activity for someone who needed the fuel to keep going. I experimented with supplements like whey protein and casein protein, even beef protein, because I thought those would magically turn me into the hulk.the hulk

What I still wasn’t doing was calculating adequate percentages of my macros to match my muscle gaining goals. This was frustrating for me as it is for many men and women today.

“So, what are macros?” You hear a lot about it in the fitness industry and you read about them in articles. But what ARE they? Well, that answer is simple. Macros are the major nutritional categories that make up the total amount of calories you take in from food and drink. These include your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. If you drink alcohol, you’ll want to take note of all four.

Here’s the breakdown:

Proteins have 4 kcals (calories) per gram.
Carbohydrates have 4 kcals per gram.
Fats/Lipids have 9 kcals per gram.
Alcohol has 7 kcals per gram.

Proteins are chains of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks for tissue, including muscle fibers.
Carbohydrates are chains of glucose and are the main source of energy for cellular function, including muscular contractions.
Fats/Lipids are dense, fatty acids that are yet another source of energy for the body’s cellular functions.

The details and science of nutrition go way deeper than my explanation above, but let’s just keep it simple for the purpose of this blog post. Module 1: Nutrition of A Living System ™ is all about nutrition, so check out the rest of my site and use my contact form if you want to ask for more information (FREE).

“So, how do I figure out how many calories I’m eating, and how do I figure out the percentage of each macro from my total calories?” Well, you can take the easy route and download an app like MyFitnessPal and just log in/scan in what you eat and it does it for you. Or, you can write down everything you’re eating and do the math. If the package has the nutritional facts, take note. If not, either look it up online (  or look it up in a nutrition book (Example: ISBN-13: 978-1133610113 on Amazon).

Here’s an example:

If you took in 120 grams of carbohydrates, 120 grams of protein, and 70 grams of fat, your total caloric intake adds up to 1,590.

120g of carbs x 4 kcals per gram = 480
480 / 1,590 = 30% (30.19)
120g of protein x 4 kcals per gram = 480
480 / 1,590 = 30% (30.19)
70g of fat x 9 kcals per gram = 630
630 / 1,590 = 40% (39.6)
Total kcals = 1,590

If your goal is to take in more or less calories, you can add or subtract to or from the macro(s) of your choice (depending on your goal) to hit that sweet spot that works for you. If you’re looking to change the ratio of macros, then you’ll need to calculate the percentages.

If you play with the numbers you can create a nutritional plan in numbers, then follow you plan and eat the foods that match your numbers. This usually comes down to discipline and your mind set, which goes into Module 5: Habitual Thinking of A Living System ™.

So to recap: Macros are carbs, proteins, and fats. Macros can be calculated and distributed however you please in order to meet your goals. Nutrition 101 – BOOM!?!

Hope this helps!


Stay Strong,

ClintFit Consulting ™

© 2017 Clinton N. Downs

Published by A Living System

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