Calculating Caloric & Macronutrient Needs
** I am no way a nutritionist or a professional advice giver. Everything written is found through hours and hours of research and reading articles online. As always, don’t hesitate to message me!**
There are so many different methods to calculating calories and macronutrients, such as the 40/30/30 protein/carb/fat split, but it all just seems so complicated to me. So, below is the method I use to make sure I’m eating enough, because I don’t want my hard earned muscles to be broken down and used for fuel rather than fat. For the sake of writing, what we normally refer to as calories, should are really kilocalories. But, I’ll stick with the former.
Calculating Your Calories
Take your bodyweight (bw) in pounds and multiply it by anywhere between 12-14 (kilo!calories per pound). To determine where you think you fall:
- If you live a sedentary lifestyles and don’t do much activity, multiply your bw by 12-14 kcal/lb
- If you do light to moderate activity (3-5 times a week)/live an moderately active lifestyle, multiply your bw by 14-16
- If you work out 6-7 times per week, or is an athlete training vigorously, or perform manual labor daily, multiply your bw by 16-18
For me, I’m currently a full-time college student who spends a majority of my time sitting down studying, listening to lecture, or goofing off on the internet. Therefore, I’ve ditched my bike and walk everywhere. I also consider myself as lightly to moderately active depending on the day. So, I’ll take my body weight and multiply it by 12: 154x14 = 2150 calories. Just go with your gut feeling of what to multiply your bodyweight by.Calculating Your Macronutrients
First note the important caloric content of macronutrients:
- Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 calories
- Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories
First off, protein
is your most important macronutrient. A minimum of 1.0 gram/lb bw is good place to start. This is crucial when you want to keep your muscle mass that you’ve gained through training. Some people push this number up to 1.8 g/lb bw depending on their needs.
At my current bodyweight, I’ve decided to multiply it by 1.2: 154x1.2 = 185 grams.
numbers will vary depending on what the person is trying to achieve. Some people carb-cycle, which I don’t do yet, and barely eat any carbs on the days they do. At the absolute minimum, one should be eating at least 100 grams of carbs on training days. Except, that number should be higher, because carbs are good for you! They supply you with fuel much quicker than protein. Proteins are slow releasing. Aim to eat as much complex carbs as you can. A good recommendation 1.0-1.5 grams carbs/lb bw. Carb cyclers can eat as high as 2g/lb bw or close to none depending on what day.
For me, I’m going to give myself 1.23 grams of carbs/lb bw. That yields: 154x1.3 = 200 grams.
Last, but definitely not least, is fats
. Make sure that your sources of fat are coming from as natural sources as possible: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), avocados, nuts, nut butters, etc. To calculate your fat intake, whatever remaining calories you have, you’ll divide that number by 9. I’d recommend eating more fats on your off days.
For me: (2150 - (185g protein x 4 cals/g) - (200g carbs x 4 cals/g))/9 = 68 grams of fat.
All together, my daily intake should be around here:
- Calories: 2150
- Proteins: 185 grams
- Carbs: 200 grams
- Fats: 68 grams
Of course, these numbers are not set in stone. You should tweak them to cater to your needs, such as upping fats and decreasing carbs on off days if needed.
Another method of counting calories is using the Harris Benedict Equation. Trust me, it works out to be about the same except for a difference of 100 calories.
Find your BMR: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
— for me, it would be 1520.
Multiply your BMR by an activity factor:
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
For me, it would be 1520 x 1.55 = 2356.
The difference between these two methods is about 200 calories.
As always, don’t hesitate to message me if you ever have questions!