On today’s episode of Live Lean TV I’m sharing step-by-step, how to calculate your macronutrients.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients, also known as macros, are the building blocks of calories.
The 3 main macronutrients are:
By learning how to set up your macros, you will know how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need in a day.
In my last post we talked about calories and how to calculate how many calories you need to accomplish your goal.
So if you have not read or watched that yet, I highly recommend you check it out before moving on.
You’ll need to calculate your calorie requirements before you can calculate your macronutrients.
Once you do that, come back to this post and follow along, step-by-step, as I show you how to calculate your macronutrient requirements.
Ok, now I want to show you how to figure out what your daily calorie goals should be made up of.
For example, it is very important to know how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need in a day.
Even though calories are king, your macros are the queen bee.
And we all know the Queen is really the one in charge.
All calories are not created equally.
Think about it.
If your calorie requirement for your goal was 2,000 calories, do you think you would be able to build an athletic, lean, and sexy body by eating 2,000 calories of sugar?
There’s way more to it that that, including your hormones.
Your hormones would not be happy if you only fed your body sugar, since your hormone production would be all over the place.
This is important because your hormones play a huge role in creating a fat burning or fat storing body.
Remember, our goal is to build lean sexy muscle and burn the ugly stubborn fat.
This won’t happen if your hormones aren’t properly balanced.
Hence, why it is so important to set and calculate your macronutrients based on your calorie goals.
So the first step is to figure out how many calories you need in a day.
The next step is to calculate how those calories are split up between the 3 macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
By doing this, you will be well on your way to building your meal plan.
Here’s how we’re going to set up your macros.
First, I’m going to show you an example of how to calculate your macronutrients based on a daily calorie goal of 2,000 calories.
This will tell us how many of your calories should come from protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Setting up your macros is a simple process.
But first we need to decide on what your macronutrient split should be.
Some macronutrient percentages work optimally for some people, but may not work well for others.
So depending on your body, I’m going to share two common macro split recommendations.
The first macronutrient split would be for someone who has a high level of insulin sensitivity, and has a primary goal of muscle building.
If you’re unsure if you’re insulin sensitive, ask yourself this:
If you answered yes, you’re probably insulin resistant, meaning your body doesn’t process carbohydrates well.
However, if you said no, your body probably processes and uses carbohydrates effectively.
If this is the case, you can get more of your calories from carbohydrates.
Note: I’m not one of these people, which I’ll explain later in this post. That’s why I personally follow the second macro split recommendation towards the end of this post.
However, if you have a high level of insulin sensitivity and your goal is to build muscle, here is how I would have you set up your macros, based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet.
If you process carbohydrates well and want to build muscle, this can be an effective macro split:
To calculate how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need in a day, you would multiply your total daily calories by each macronutrient percentage.
Here’s an example of how this all works out.
Calorie requirement: 2,000
Note: use whatever your calorie requirement was from this post on how many calories should I eat a day.
If your calorie requirement is 2,000 calories, you would multiply that number by 40% to calculate how many calories come from protein.
We’re now going to do the same macro calculation for carbohydrates.
If your calorie requirement is 2,000 calories, you would multiply that number by 40% to calculate how many calories come from carbohydrates.
Now lets do the same macro calculation for fats.
If your calorie requirement is 2,000 calories, you would multiply that number by 20% to calculate how many calories come from fats.
We now know how many calories of each macronutrient we need.
The next step is to figure out how many grams of each macronutrient we need.
Here’s how many calories are in 1 gram of protein, carbohydrate, and fat:
Here’s how to calculate how many grams of protein you need in a day.
Based on this macronutrient split example, if your calorie requirement was 2,000 calories a day, you would want to get 200 grams of protein per day.
Here’s how to calculate how many grams of carbohydrates you need in a day.
Based on this macronutrient split example, if your calorie requirement was 2,000 calories a day, you would want to get 200 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Here’s how to calculate how many grams of fats you need in a day.
Based on this macronutrient split example, if your calorie requirement was 2,000 calories a day, you would want to get 44 grams of fats per day.
Note: this macronutrient split would be for someone who is insulin sensitive, meaning they can process and store sugar as muscle glycogen effectively, and has a goal to build muscle.
Personally, I’ve tried a 40-40-20 macro split, but since I tend to be more insulin resistant, I do not follow this approach.
However, my wife Jessica processes sugar very well, thus this higher carbohydrate macronutrient split works better for her.
This is why you have to test different macro splits to see what works best for you.
This macro split also works well for people who are insulin resistant and looking to build muscle.
Following this macronutrient split has helped me get my best physique and are what I follow to Live Lean.
So if you’re looking to get lean, you may want to follow this macronutrient split as well.
For this example, we’ll use the standard 2,000 calorie diet, however we’ll calculate the macro percentages for someone who is more insulin resistant and looking to lose weight or build muscle.
So as you can see with the macronutrient percentages, nothing has changed with protein, but we reversed the carbohydrate and fat percentages.
When you add up the calories from protein, carbohydrates, and fats, that gives us a total of 2,000 calories.
This is broken down into:
I’ve been using this 40-20-40 macronutrient split for the past 6 months.
Before this I was following the 40-40-20 macronutrient split, however I changed up my diet and macros to include less carbohydrates and more dietary fat.
I did this because I felt my energy was all over the place and I had cravings all time.
Ultimately, I just didn’t feel right.
Based on this, the higher fat and lower carbohydrate approach to my macros has worked out perfectly for me.
Especially since I love eating healthy fats and haven’t really missed the sugar much.
So if you’re not liking the results you’re getting, you’re struggling with energy crashes, and you don’t have the same energy you used to, you may want to give your diet a little bit of a switch up.
Try adding in more dietary healthy fats as they are very good for your hormonal system.
And let me be clear, consuming healthy fats, within your calorie needs, will not make you fat.
But dietary fat from natural food sources are healthy for you.
These healthy sources of fat include:
So add in more healthy fat into your diet.
However, if your body responds well to carbohydrates, and you’re looking to build muscle, you could follow the first macronutrient split recommendation:
Then stick with the macronutrient split that works for you.
So now it’s your turn to calculate your macronutrient numbers.
Feel free to share them in the comment section below.
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I’d love to share your transformation photos, testimonial videos, or anything you’d like to send us.
Here’s the next video post teaching you how to distribute these calories throughout the day.
For example, how many calories you should be having at each meal.
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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.