Are you trying to find a Bodybuilding Macro Calculator to find out your TDEE and get back in the gym?
Lindy Health has you covered with our cutting-edge online Bodybuilding Calculator that uses the latest in health and sports science to find your ideal Macro split.
If you have taken up the sport of bodybuilding you know that results are built in the kitchen.
Let’s find out your macros for bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding Macro Calculator Tool
Use our free Bodybuilding Macro Calculator to determine your ideal amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake.
The Bodybuilder Macro Calculator will also let you know how to adjust your Macros to help you with cutting, bulking, or maintaining as a bodybuilder.
There’s a new diet trend that’s taken the fitness world by storm: IFFYM, or “if it fits your macros”, aka “flexible dieting”.
While the trend might be new, it’s based on something that’s been on something that’s been around for a long time, and that’s the tried-and-tested method of dieting that’s centered on counting calories.
However, what makes it new is that it’s been flipped around and focuses on the number of carbs, protein, and fats that make up the calories you consume.
So long as you fall within close range of the numbers you’ve set (how close is a hotly debated topic), the IFFYM approach allows you the freedom to enjoy lots of flexibility in terms of the foods that can be used to achieve your goal.
Does the concept sound a little too progressive? Well, there’s a good reason for that, because it is quite advanced.
That said, however, if done right, the IFFYM, or counting your macros, is an excellent way to achieve your weight loss and bodybuilding goals.
How to Count Macros for Bodybuilding
If you’re looking to maximize your bodybuilding gains, macro counting might just be the solution you’re looking for.
You can always use this easy-to-use Bodybuilding Macro Calculator or you can also use a diet-specific tool like our Vertical Diet Macro Calculator. You can learn more about what the Vertical Diet is and the Vertical Diet for weight loss on our website.
Read on to learn more about macro counting, including what it’s all about, what types of macronutrients you should be counting, and how to go about counting your macros.
What does “tracking my macro” mean?
Before we jump in, let’s take a moment to clarify what it means to “track your macros” (better known as “IIFYM” or “if it fits your macros”), because after all, you kind of need to know the concept is all about to be able to actually do it.
“Tracking your macros” is actually a pretty simple concept that involves keeping tabs on the amount – in grams – of proteins, fats, and carbs you eat on a given day.
Bodybuilders, in particular, as well as anyone who focuses on building their physique, have really mastered the art of the IFFYM concept.
In fact, a lot of people in this community swear by macro counting and don’t think twice about whipping out their food scales, no matter where they are, to calculate.
Should you keep track of your macros when bodybuilding?
Macro counting isn’t for everyone.
Some people really don’t need to do it at all, while others might find that other strategies are more effective.
That said, however, there are lots of weight lifters and bodybuilders who find that once their fitness and bodybuilding goals become more and more specific, honing in on their nutrition by keeping track of their macronutrient intake can help maximize their results.
Still not sure if calculating your macronutrients is the right choice for you? Consider the following situations, as they’re all great examples of when macro calculating can be extremely beneficial.
- You want to be leaner. If you’re already lean but you want to become even leaner, even the smallest changes in your nutrition intake can influence your ability to drop those last few pounds. If you have stubborn fat that just won’t budge, keeping tabs on your macros would be helpful.
- You’re clueless about protein. When a lot of people say, “I’m getting enough protein”, that translates to “I guess my protein intake is about (fill in the blank) grams, and though I’m not really certain, I think it’s probably the right amount. I eat plenty of nuts, so…” If this sounds like you, macro counting would be beneficial.
- Your body signals are crazy. If you find that you have this insatiable need to gobble down a big old slice of chocolate cake at 2 in the morning because your body is screaming for it, if you’re always craving salty, oil-riddled chips, or you swallow a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a few swallows, something is definitely off. Calculating your macronutrient intake can help to put things back in balance and keep your diet in check.
- You have an upcoming deadline. Whether it’s bodybuilding competition, a photoshoot for a magazine spread, or a night out on the town; no matter what it is, if you need to shed some weight by a specific deadline – and that deadline is fast-approaching – macro counting could certainly be helpful.
What are the Benefits of Macro Calculating?
So, what are the benefits of counting and calculating your macronutrient intake?
Well, it turns out that a study that compared strict and flexible dieting found that those who were strict about what they ate were much more likely to have a higher BMI, that their feelings of self-control were minimized, and they experienced heightened levels of psychological stress regarding their food consumption and their weight.
In other words, taking a more flexible approach to eating by counting macronutrient intake was more effective.
Some of the most notable benefits of focusing on macronutrient intake include the following:
- Customizable to fit your fitness and athletic goals
- Provides an objective comparison of the different types of foods and meals you’re eating
- Focuses on food quality rather than calorie quantity
- Cuts back on the temptation to cut back calorie intake to super-low levels, or allow calorie intake to get too high
- Allows for flexibility for your personal preferences, as well as indulgences
How to Calculate Macronutrients in Your Diet
So, now that you know what macro calculating is, what the benefits are, and specific times when counting your macronutrient intake can be beneficial, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and take a look at how to calculate the macros in your diet.
Below, we’ll cover how to calculate the three main macronutrients for bodybuilding: proteins, carbohydrates, and fat.
Every bodybuilder knows that proteins are vital for their overall health, nutrition, and their physique. They’re essential for a variety of processes, such as immune function, cell signaling, and tissue building. Proteins are also important for enzymes and hormones.
Proteins provide 4 calories per gram, and the recommended amount of protein intake should be between 10 percent and 35 percent of your total calorie intake. That said, however, protein recommendations vary widely and depend on a variety of factors, such as:
- Your body composition objectives
- Your overall health
- Your age
- And more
Providing 9 calories per gram, of all three macronutrients, fats have the highest calorie content. Fats are essential for energy, as well as for a variety of other crucial functions, such as the absorption of nutrients, the production of hormones, and core body temperature maintenance.
While the typical macronutrient recommendations for fats range from 20 percent to 35 percent of your total calorie intake, a lot of individuals find that they follow a diet that contains a higher fat content.
Examples of foods that are great sources of quality fats include nuts, butter, avocado, fatty fish, and meats.
Finally, there are carbohydrates, another invaluable macronutrient; however, carbs have gotten a bad reputation, as a lot of people assume that they pack on the pound, and as a result, they end up really doing themselves a disservice.
In reality, carbs, like proteins and fats, play a vital role in your overall health and well-being.
Your body breaks carbs down into glucose, or blood sugar, which is then used for immediate energy or is stored as glycogen (the storage form of glucose) in your muscles and liver.
Carbs contain 4 calories per gram, and for most people, they comprise the largest portion of most people’s caloric intake.
Carb intake is one of the most contested of all macronutrient recommendations because, as mentioned, while they play a vital role in your overall health and well-being and can provide you with the fuel you need to power through your workouts, they can also pack on excess pounds.
That said, however, most nutrition experts recommend consuming between 45 percent and 65 percent of your daily caloric intake.
There are so many different types of foods that contain carbs, and there are both good carbs and bad carbs. It’s important to stick to good carbs, like beans, grains, starchy veggies, fruits, and dairy products.
How to Count Your Macros by Hand and Online
Figuring out how to calculate your macros does require effort on your part; however, with that said, you don’t need an advanced degree in nutrition to figure out how to do it, and once you get the hang of it, calculating your macronutrient intake will become second nature.
Would you rather manually calculate your macros for bodybuilding? Use the following tips to start.
Determine how many calories you need.
To calculate your overall calorie intake requirements, you first need to figure out your resting energy expenditure (REE), as well as your non-resting energy expenditure (NREE).
- REE = the amount of calories you burn when you’re at rest
- NREE = the amount of calories you burn when you’re digesting and when you’re active
Adding your REE and NREE together will tell you the total number of calories you burn in a day, which is referred to as your “total daily energy expenditure” or “TDEE”.
To determine your overall calorie needs, you can use a simple online calculator (there are tons available), or you can use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, which is as follows:
- For men: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.35 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
- For women: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161
You’ll multiply your result by an activity factor, which is a number that represents different levels/stages of activity, including:
- Sedentary: x 1.2 (minimal exercise)
- Light activity: x 1.375 (minimal exercise less than three days a week)
- Moderate activity: x 1.55 (moderate exercise almost every day of the week)
- High activity: x 1.725 (hard exercise every day of the week)
- Super-high activity: x 1.9 (strenuous exercise two or more times a day)
The final result will tell you TDEE> You can then add or subtract calories from your total expenditure to achieve your goals.
Determine an ideal macronutrient breakdown
Once you’ve determined how many calories you’ll need to consume each day, the next step to calculating your macros involves deciding what macro ratio will work the best for your needs. The standard recommendation intake is as follows:
- Proteins: 10 to 35 percent of total calorie intake
- Fats: 20 to 35 percent of total calorie intake
- Carbs: 45 to 65 percent of total calorie intake
Note that these are just suggestions and that you can fine-tune the ratio to reach specific goals.
Track macros and calories
Now you can start tracking your macronutrients or logging the food that you eat in a journal, on a website, or on an app.
You should also consider investing in a digital food scale, as it will help you keep better tabs on your macros. Use it to weigh each item of food you eat before you log it into an app, website, or food journal.
Bodybuilding Macro Calculator FAQ
We used the latest formulas to determine your perfect bodybuilding macros using Lindy Health’s Bodybuilding Macro Calculator.
See the above sections, which highlight how to calculate your macronutrient intake.
Protein: 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of body weight
Fat: 20 to 30 percent of total calories
Carbs: the remaining calories you need
The answer varies and depends on your body type, metabolism, and activity levels; however, the following is a sample recommendation:
15 percent fat
50 percent protein
35 percent carbs
See the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation above, or use an online or app-based macro calculator.
It depends on several factors, including your health, your activity level, and your goals; however, for many people, 40 may be too high.
Again, it depends on several factors, such as your weight, your health, your activity levels, and your goals.
That said, the recommended protein intake to build muscle is 2 to 2.5g/kg of body weight and for carbs, the recommended intake amount is 4g/kg of body weight.
Lifting weights is only half the battle to becoming a world-class competitive bodybuilder.
You can either take what you have learned in this article, do the math, and determine your protein, fat, and carb macros, or simply use our Bodybuilding Macro Calculator.
Do you like to adjust these macros to help with your bodybuilding career in a way we may have missed?
Let us know in the comments below.
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