How to Count Macros: A Step-By-Step Guide


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How to Count Macros: A Step-By-Step Guide: Counting macros might assist weight loss, improve diet high quality, and enable you reach certain health-related goals. It entails figuring out your nutrient wants and using a food journal or app to monitor your intake.

If you belong to a gym or tune in to the health neighborhood, chances are high you’ve heard the time period “counting macros.”

Popularly utilized by people trying to shed weight or gain muscle mass, counting macronutrients (macros) can assist you reach various health goals.

It entails keeping monitor of the calories and types of foods you eat in order to achieve certain macronutrient and calorie goals.

Though counting macros is relatively easy, it may be complicated when you’re simply beginning out.

This article explains the benefits of counting macros and supplies a step-by-step information on how to get began.

What are macronutrients?

In order to efficiently depend macronutrients, it’s important to know what they’re and why some people want totally different macronutrient ratios than others.


Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fibers (1Trusted Source).

Most types of carbs get damaged down into glucose, or sugar, which your body both makes use of for immediate energy or stores as glycogen — the storage type of glucose — in your liver and muscles.

Carbs present 4 calories per gram (g) and usually make up the biggest portion of people’s calorie intake.

Carb intake is among the many most hotly debated of all macronutrient suggestions, but main health organizations counsel consuming 45%–65% of your each day calories from carbs (1Trusted Source).

Carbohydrates are found in foods like grains, vegetables, beans, dairy products, and fruits.


woman checking grocery list on her phone
Tom Merton/Caia Image/Adobe Stock

Fats have essentially the most calories of all macronutrients, offering 9 calories per g.

Your body wants fat for energy and vital capabilities, such as hormone production, nutrient absorption, and body temperature maintenance (2Trusted Source).

Though typical macronutrient suggestions for fat range from 20%–35% of complete calories, many people discover success following a diet increased in fat (3Trusted Source).

Fats are found in foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, meat, and fatty fish.


Like carbs, proteins present 4 calories per g.

Proteins are important for processes like cell signaling, immune operate, and the building of tissues, hormones, and enzymes (4Trusted Source).

It’s beneficial that proteins comprise 10%–35% of your complete calorie intake (5Trusted Source).

However, protein recommendations differ relying on body composition goals, age, health, and extra.

Examples of protein-rich foods include meat, eggs, poultry, fish, tofu, and lentils.


The three macronutrients to keep monitor of are carbohydrates, fat, and proteins. Macronutrient suggestions differ relying on many factors.

How to depend them

Learning how to depend macronutrients does take some effort, but it’s a method that anybody can use.

The following steps will get you began.

1. Figure out your calorie wants

In order to calculate your total calorie needs, you want to decide resting energy expenditure (REE) and non-resting energy expenditure (NREE).

REE refers to the number of calories a person burns at relaxation, while NREE indicates calories burned during activity and digestion (6Trusted Source).

Adding REE and NREE provides you the overall number of calories burned in a day, also generally known as complete each day energy expenditure (TDEE) (6Trusted Source).

In order to decide your total calorie wants, you may both use a easy on-line calculator or the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation:

  • Males: calories/day = 10 x weight (kilograms, or kg) + 6.25 x height (centimeters, or cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
  • Females: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

Then, multiply your result by an activity issue — a number that represents totally different levels of activity (7):

  • Sedentary: x 1.2 (limited exercise)
  • Lightly active: x 1.375 (mild exercise less than 3 days per week)
  • Moderately active: x 1.55 (reasonable exercise most days of the week)
  • Very active: x 1.725 (hard exercise every day)
  • Extra active: x 1.9 (strenuous exercise two or extra times per day)

The finish result provides you your TDEE.

Calories can both be added or subtracted out of your complete expenditure in order to reach totally different goals.

In different phrases, these trying to lose weight should consume fewer calories than they expend, while these trying to gain muscle mass should increase calories.

2. Decide your ideal macronutrient breakdown

After figuring out what number of calories to consume every day, the next step is to determine what macronutrient ratio works best for you.

Typical macronutrient suggestions are as follows (8Trusted Source):

  • Carbs: 45%–65% of complete calories
  • Fats: 20%–35% of complete calories
  • Proteins: 10%–35% of complete calories

Keep in thoughts that these suggestions might not suit your particular wants.

Your ratio may be fine-tuned in order to achieve particular aims.

For instance, a person who needs to get hold of better blood sugar control and lose extra body fat might excel on a meal plan consisting of 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein.

Someone pursuing a ketogenic diet would want much extra fat and fewer carbs, while an endurance athlete may have increased carb intake (9Trusted Source10Trusted Source).

As you may see, macronutrient ratios can differ relying on dietary preferences, weight loss goals, and different factors.

3. Track your macros and calorie intake

Next, it’s time to begin monitoring your macros.

The time period “tracking macros” simply means logging the foods you eat on a web site, app, or food journal.

The most handy way to monitor macros could also be through a nutrition app like MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, or My Macros +.

These apps are user-friendly and particularly designed to simplify monitoring macros.

In addition, a digital food scale might enable you monitor your macros — although it isn’t crucial. If you make investments in one, weigh every food merchandise you eat before logging it into your app of alternative.

Several apps function a barcode scanner that automatically inputs a serving of a scanned food into your macro log.

You can also hand-write macros right into a physical journal. The method is dependent upon your individual desire.

Keep in thoughts that it’s not crucial to hit your macro targets exactly. You can still meet your goals even when you go just a few grams over or under every day.

4. Counting instance

Here’s an instance of how to calculate macronutrients for a 2,000-calorie diet consisting of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat.


  • 4 calories per g
  • 40% of 2,000 calories = 800 calories of carbs per day
  • Total g of carbs allowed per day = 800/4 = 200 g


  • 4 calories per g
  • 30% of 2,000 calories = 600 calories of protein per day
  • Total grams of protein allowed per day = 600/4 = 150 g


  • 9 calories per g
  • 30% of 2,000 calories = 600 calories of protein per day
  • Total grams of fat allowed per day = 600/9 = 67 g

In this state of affairs, your ideal each day intake could be 200 g of carbs, 150 g of protein, and 67 g of fat.


To depend macros, decide your calorie and macronutrient wants, then log macros into an app or food journal.


Macronutrient counting might present a number of benefits.

May improve diet high quality

Counting macros can focus your consideration on food high quality moderately than calorie content material.

For instance, a bowl of sugary cereal might have an analogous number of calories as a bowl of oats topped with berries and pumpkin seeds, but these meals differ extensively in macronutrient content material.

Counting macros might lead you to select extra nutrient-dense foods in order to fulfill set macronutrient ranges.

However, much less nutritious foods might still match into your macros and calories — so it’s important to make nutrient-dense foods a precedence.

May promote weight loss

Counting macros could also be particularly effective for weight loss as a result of it units out particular dietary suggestions.

For instance, monitoring macros can assist these following high protein, low carb diets, that are linked to weight loss (11Trusted Source).

Plus, analysis shows that monitoring food intake might support long-term weight maintenance (12Trusted Source).

May help with particular goals

Macronutrient counting is popular amongst athletes and these with particular health goals apart from weight loss.

Anyone trying to build muscle mass might have better protein wants than people simply trying to drop extra body fat.

Counting macros is crucial for people who want to consume particular amounts of macronutrients in order to boost efficiency and gain lean body mass.

For instance, analysis shows that resistance-trained athletes may have as much as 1.4 g of protein per pound (lb) (3.1 g per kg) of body weight per day to maintain muscle mass (13Trusted Source).

Counting macros might be sure that your macronutrient wants are being met.


Macronutrient counting is an glorious tool for these trying to lose weight or construct muscle. It can promote more healthy eating and improved diet high quality.

How to meet your wants

Depending on macronutrient ranges, these counting macros may have to add or reduce foods rich in carbohydrates, fat, or proteins.

For instance, somebody transitioning to a macronutrient range of 40% carbs, 35% fat, and 25% protein may have to exchange some of their carbs with sources of healthy fat and protein.

The following are examples of healthy foods for every macronutrient.

Some foods are high in more than one macronutrient and can fulfill totally different macro wants.


  • grains, including oats, brown rice, and quinoa
  • whole-wheat pasta
  • whole-grain bread
  • starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash
  • fruits like berries, bananas, pineapple, and apples
  • beans, lentils, and peas
  • milk and yogurt


  • egg whites
  • meats
  • poultry
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • tofu
  • beans
  • lentils
  • seitan
  • tempeh
  • milk and yogurt
  • protein powders


  • egg yolks
  • olive and avocado oils
  • butter
  • nuts and nut butters
  • coconut oil and coconut flakes
  • avocado
  • full-fat milk and yogurt
  • full-fat cheese
  • flaxseeds and chia seeds
  • fatty fish like salmon and sardines


When trying to reach particular macronutrient goals, focus on foods rich in the macronutrients you want to consume essentially the most.

Not for everybody

People who thrive on structure might discover that counting macros is ideal for his or her health goals.

Counting macros can increase your consciousness of the standard and amount of food you’re consuming.

Plus, it could be a good tool for these following ketogenic or high protein diets.

That said, counting macros isn’t for everybody.

Because macro counting places so much emphasis on monitoring calories and logging intake, anybody with a historical past of eating disorders should steer clear of counting macros (14Trusted Source).

Focusing on food intake this intently might even lead to disordered eating patterns in these with no historical past of these behaviors (15Trusted Source).

Keep in thoughts that it’s also possible to eat poorly while partaking in macro counting as a result of it permits all foods as long because the merchandise suits into set macronutrient ranges.

Those using macro counting should goal — relying on their goals — to comply with a nutritious, well-rounded diet rich in fresh produce, healthy fat, complex carbs, and protein sources.


Counting macros might assist people lose weight and reach health goals. However, it’s not appropriate for these with a historical past of eating disorders.


  1. Customizable Calories: Counting macros allows for flexibility in your diet – it’s like having a magic wand that lets you customize your calorie intake to fit your goals, whether you’re looking to bulk up like a bodybuilder or slim down like a supermodel.
  2. Balanced Nutrition: Macros provide a balanced approach to eating – it’s like having a well-rounded meal that hits all the right notes, with proteins, fats, and carbs harmonizing together like a symphony orchestra.
  3. Muscle Management: Counting macros helps preserve muscle mass – it’s like having a personal bodyguard for your gains, ensuring that your hard-earned muscles stay intact even during periods of calorie restriction.
  4. Energy Efficiency: Macros fuel your body for optimal performance – it’s like filling up your car’s gas tank with premium fuel, giving you the energy you need to tackle your day with gusto.
  5. Portion Control: Counting macros promotes mindful eating – it’s like having a built-in portion control system that keeps you from overindulging on that extra slice of cake or handful of chips.
  6. Progress Tracking: Macros provide measurable results – it’s like having a progress report for your diet, allowing you to track your macros and adjust your intake as needed to stay on track with your goals.
  7. Food Freedom: Counting macros allows for food flexibility – it’s like having a passport to culinary adventures, where no food is off-limits as long as it fits into your macro goals.


  1. Math Madness: Counting macros requires some number crunching – it’s like trying to solve a complicated equation with variables like grams of protein, fat, and carbs, leaving you feeling more like a mathematician than a chef.
  2. Label Labyrinth: Navigating food labels can be tricky – it’s like trying to decipher a foreign language with terms like “net carbs” and “sugar alcohols” throwing you for a loop.
  3. Tracking Temptation: Keeping track of macros can be time-consuming – it’s like herding cats trying to log every morsel of food that passes your lips, especially when you’re on the go or dining out.
  4. Micronutrient Mayhem: Focusing solely on macros can lead to neglecting micronutrients – it’s like putting all your eggs in one basket and forgetting about the fruits and veggies that provide essential vitamins and minerals.
  5. Obsessive Overload: Counting macros can become obsessive – it’s like falling down the rabbit hole of calorie counting and macro tracking, where every meal becomes a mathematical puzzle to be solved.
  6. Social Sacrifice: Counting macros can make social situations challenging – it’s like being the odd one out at a dinner party, meticulously weighing and measuring your food while everyone else digs in without a care in the world.
  7. Mindset Misstep: Counting macros can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food – it’s like walking a tightrope between discipline and obsession, where one wrong step can send you spiraling into guilt and shame.

In the macro-counting maze, the pros and cons are as intertwined as spaghetti on a fork. So, next time you’re tempted to embark on a macro-counting journey, weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully – for every step forward, there may be a stumble or two along the way!

The bottom line (How to Count Macros: A Step-By-Step Guide)

When first counting macros, it’s easy to really feel overwhelmed.

However, following the steps above can streamline the method and set you up for fulfillment.

The most important steps in counting macros are setting a calorie aim and macronutrient range for carbs, protein, and fat that works best for you.

Then, log your food intake and goal to keep inside your macros by eating a diet rich in fresh produce, healthy fat, advanced carbs, and protein sources.

Before you recognize it, counting macros will really feel pure.


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