What Are Macros?

Macronutrients, or macros, are the nutrients we need in larger quantities: Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein.

Micronutrients are mostly vitamins and minerals, and not often talked about because we get most of our daily requirements from the macronutrients we eat. Iron and calcium are examples of micronutrients, good sources of which are meat and milk, and widely consumed as sources of protein.

Back to macros.

Counting macros is a popular method, along with counting calories, to change or control body weight, and to maximise performance. Many people report higher energy levels, less bloating, and better sleep patterns.

Something that I always struggled with was getting the right balance of food, not just having what I wanted every meal. Particularly when it came to ordering in. Prepping meals for 2 or 3 days at a time helped, as did counting calories and macros.

TOP TIP: Speak to a nutritionist. Many of us will have used a personal trainer, very few of us will have worked with a nutritionist. Not only are they experts, they can also be an element of accountability. Of course you need to make the decision to stick to the plan, but having a regular conversation with them may make you more likely to stick to it. It does for me anyway.

Just want to get stuck in? Here’s a calculation to estimate the macros you need based on your goals and activity:


Step 1 - Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)

REE is how many calories you burn each day without doing any physical activity.

  • Age x 5
  • Height x 6.25
  • Weight x 10
  • Add the three together
  • If you are male, add 5
  • If you are female, subtract 161


  • Age 38 x 5 = 190
  • Height 172cm x 6.25 = 1075
  • Weight 88kg x 10 = 880
  • Male = 5
  • Total REE = 2150 kcal


Step 2 - Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

TDEE is how many calories you burn in total each day. To calculate this, pick the daily activity level below that best fits your lifestyle.

  • No exercise = 1.2
  • 30 to 60 minutes light exercise = 1.375
  • 30 to 60 minutes heavy exercise = 1.55
  • 60+ minutes heavy exercise = 1.725

Multiply your REE by this number.


From step 1 the REE is 2150, if the daily activity level is 30-60 minutes light exercise, your TDEE is 2150 x 1.375 = 2956 kcal.

If you are wondering why no exercise still increases your kcal burned, it assumes that you aren't sitting in a chair for the entire day. You will walk around the house, up/down stairs etc.


Step 3 - Weight Goal

You have now estimated how many calories you are burning each day, now we look at how many you should consume based on your weight goal.

  • Lose weight quickly = 0.8
  • Lose weight gradually = 0.9
  • Maintain weight = 1
  • Gain weight gradually = 1.05
  • Gain weight quickly = 1.1

If your TDEE is 2956 and your goal is to lose weight gradually:

Kcal to consume each day is 2956 x 0.9 = 2660

Your Kcal deficit each day is 2956 - 2660 = 296.


Step 4 - Your Target Macros

Now that you know how many calories to consume each day, how should you split them across Carbohydrate, Fat, and Protein?

Choose your weight goal in the table below, and split your calories using the percentages shown.

Carbohydrate Fat Protein 
Lose Weight 35% 15% 50%
Maintain Weight 40% 30% 30%
Gain Weight 45% 20% 35%

If your target calories each day is 2660, and your goal is to lose weight:

  • Carbohydrate: 35% of 2660 = 931 Kcal
  • Fat: 15% of 2660 = 399 Kcal
  • Protein: 50% of 2660 = 1330 Kcal

The final step is to convert calories to grams. For carbohydrate and protein, 4 Kcal is 1 gram. For fat, 9 Kcal is 1g.

  • Carbohydrate: 931 Kcal divided by 4 = 233 grams
  • Fat: 399 Kcal divided by 9 = 44 grams
  • Protein: 1330 Kcal divided by 4 = 333 grams


Little Gym Book are not nutritionists, always seek the advice of a physician, nutritionist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding diet and/or medical conditions.

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