Figuring out macros for my body: How to determine what macronutrients you require for your goal

Simon Long

Simon Long

Simon is a highly experienced personal trainer and behavioural psychology expert
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How many macros do you need? Well your intake of carbs, protein and fat depends on a few things. Numero uno: What’s your goal? Once you have this locked down you can follow up by determining how many of each macro you require to meet that goal.

If you really want to get your geek on then you can go nuts and learn everything there is to know about macros. I’ll assume this is probably just me though. So let’s just crack on with how you can calculate your macronutrient needs.

We’re going to focus on four possible goals: fat loss, healthy living, muscle gain and endurance training.  For each I’ll break down the range of each macro you require and why.

Working out Macros For Fat Loss

The number of carbohydrates you require to lose fat varies. Fat loss is a product of calorie deficit rather than specific macro intake. That being said it’s possible to lose fat slightly faster if you balance your carb intake for fat loss correctly. You should check it out. Its actually pretty useful to know.

For a weight loss goal you want to be setting your sights on between 0.5 and 3 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight. The higher end of this range will give your body the fuel it needs to exercise. Drop down to the 0.5 side of things and you’re going to find physical activity difficult. This all comes down to carbs being your bodies preferred energy source. Making energy out of purely fat is a much slower process. So its not that you just become lazier. Your body literally can’t make energy at a speed to satisfy the demand!

Protein for weight loss ties strongly into what you’re doing with your carbs. It can range anywhere from 1.2 to 2.5 grams per kg of body weight. Going low carb? Aim for the higher end of range. Vice versa if your carb intake is on the upper side of things. It’s essential you balance like this. Aim for the lower range of both intakes and your total calorie intake will be way too low. This is going to hurt your health and your motivation. In laymans terms you’ll flip the desk and storm out of the weight loss agenda meeting.

As for fat be aiming at around 1.5 grams per kilogram. If you decided to use the upper range of both carbs and protein then you can drop this as low as 0.5 grams per kilo. This would be determined as a low fat diet.

Determining Macronutrient Requirements For Healthy Living

If you’re looking to maintain your current weight and have a healthy body then congratulations! You must be really happy with where you are at right now! So many aspire to be in your shoes. Even I would like to try them on for size.

Determining your macros on this wonderful mountain called satisfaction becomes quite easy. A healthy diet will consist of around 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein and 1 to 1.5 grams of fat per kilogram of body weight. This will give your body the fuel it needs to run (carbs), the materials it needs to repair and maintain (protein) and the building blocks it needs for hormone creation (fats).

Where you sit in these ranges doesn’t really matter. So just focus on enjoying what you eat rather than counting macros! You lucky thing!

Figure Out The Macros For Muscle Gain

If you’re looking to gain muscle then you’re going to need to be a bit more focused. You’re looking for specific training adaptions. It isn’t a game anymore!

First, the carbs. These are essential to provide the energy you’re going to need for those heavy sessions. No carbs= no energy= no gains. Get 3 to 5 grams into your gut for every kilogram of body weight you have. Less than this and you won’t train efficiently. Go over and you’ll be making more than just muscle gains.

Next up is the protein. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to be knocking back whey shake after whey shake. Anywhere from 1.6 to 2.5 grams per kilo will be enough. More than this doesn’t give you more gains. It gives your liver more protein to convert into glucose and then store as fat.

And last but not least we have your fat intake. This sits yet again in the 1 to 1.5 gram range. I bet a pattern is emerging here. Fat intake basically never needs to change. As long as you’re getting in enough for your body to function correctly you’re on to a winner.

These ranges are fairly wide and it all comes down to how hard your training. In a couple of times a week? Lower ranges. Going hard until you can paint yourself green and refuse to answer to anything except Hulk? Hit those higher ranges. And enjoy those monster meal sizes!

Calculating Your Macros For Endurance Training

Endurance training is the toughest to advise upon. It all comes down to how crazy you are; AKA how much endurance training do you do? If you do the occasional 5k run then go for the lower ranges. If your nuts and are involved with ultramarathons then get those high range intakes down you. You’ll need them!

So for carbs your looking at anywhere from 3 to 10 grams for every kilo of body weight. This massive range shouldn’t be too surprising considering we now know carbs are body fuel. If you’re doing a quick cycle into town then you need a little energy. If your building up to an iron man then congrats!! I’m so jealous! And also you’re going to need a ton of energy. Pack in those carbs.

Protein has less of an insane range. You can go from as low as 1.2 to as high as 2.5 grams per kilogram. Personally I wouldn’t advise going lower than 1.6. Endurance training takes it out of your muscles!

Fat is basically the same as always with a very slight increase at the top of the range. This time you can go from 1 to 2 grams per kilogram. So a possible 0.5 grams extra! Wooo!

As I said what your intake needs to be very much depends on what training you’re doing. Use some trial and error. Or even better speak to an expert and get their 2 cents!

So there you go. How you can determine what your macro needs are for your goals. I hope that clears up some questions (If not then just type it below and as if by magic I shall answer). If I’ve left you burning for more knowledge then awesome! Welcome to the dark side. Like my Facebook page and feed on that sweet sweet info regularly every week. For free!


For a great visual guide to figuring out your bodies macro requirements you can use the following graphics by Joseph Agu. (You should follow him. He’s very good!)