Macronutrient or macros is a type of food or nutrient which is consumed in large quantities in the diet. Overall, there are 3 core macronutrients including carbohydrates, proteins and fats and one minor macronutrient; alcohol, which is distinct and with massively variable consumption patterns. The macronutrient distribution of your diet can have dramatic effects on your ability to lose or gain weight as well as affect a wide range of health concerns including heart health, diabetes, etc. The right macro distribution for your diet will help you maintain and build lean and metabolically active muscle mass whilst helping to decrease fat mass.
Macro Calculator Guidelines for Females
In order to work out your macro requirements, the first figure you need is your TDEE or your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, which is the calories you need per day to maintain weight. If you were looking at losing or gaining weight, you could work with an adjusted TDEE before calculating your macros. All these figures can be found in the Calorie Calculator for Females article.
Macro Calculator for General Health Maintenance in Females
The general macronutrient ratios recommended by health authorities around the around tend to utilise a range approach such as Australia’s Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) derived from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which are as follows:
- 15-25% Protein
- 45-65% Carbohydrate
- 20-35% Fat with no more than 10% from Saturated Fat
Macro Calculator for Weight Loss & Toning
Women wanting to lose weight and tone up whilst maintaining their lean muscle mass should focus on getting plenty of protein, maintain moderate levels of fat intake and reduce slightly as well as alter their carbohydrate intake. A common macro distribution used for weight loss and toning for women would be something like:
- 35% Protein
- 40% Carbs
- 25% Fat
Macro Calculator for Gaining Weight
A traditional weight gain and bodybuilding style bulking macro distribution still emphasised quite a lot on protein, but also pushed for a relatively higher fat and moderate carbohydrate level. As this diet tended to have so many calories, the macro distribution was seen to be less important but were roughly as follows:
- 30% Protein
- 45% Carbohydrate
- 25% Fat
Macro Calculator for Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is a very strict very low carbohydrate and high fat diet which drives you towards ketosis; a state in which your body begins to use more and more fat as its core fuel source due to the lack of carbohydrates. Used to boost weight loss and exercise performance, the ketogenic diet suggests a macro distribution of:
- 30% Protein
- 5% Carbohydrate
- 65% Fat
Macro Calculator Recommended
Rather than using percentages, many trainers are now utilising global figures for their protein and fat requirements and then making up the rest of their calories with carbohydrates. For any woman who trains, they should be aiming for:
- 1.5-2g/kg of bodyweight for Protein
- 0.5-1g/kg of bodyweight for Fat
- The remaining calories from carbohydrates.
Macro Calculator Summary
Knowing how many calories you need is one thing, but the next logical step is to look at your macronutrient distribution to help you better reach your weight goals. It is still important that you eat the right type of protein, fats and carbohydrates to maintain optimal health, but keeping your macro requirements in mind can help you to adjust your diet plan easily to meet your changing needs.
1.5-2g/kg of bodyweight
0.5-1g/kg of bodyweight
Macro Calculator - Working out Your Figures
Now that you know what type of macro distribution you want your diet to be, it’s time to calculate that in real terms. Assuming a calorie intake of 2000 calories and a ‘Weight Loss’ macro distribution of 35% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 25% fat.
- Protein – The above distribution would mean 35% of 2000 calories should come from protein or 700 calories worth. As 1g of protein equals 4 calories, you would need 175g of protein.
- Carbohydrates – The above distribution would mean 40% of 2000 calories should come from carbohydrates or 800 calories worth. As 1g of carbohydrate equals 4 calories, you would need 200g of carbohydrates.
- Fat - The above distribution would mean 25% of 2000 calories should come from fat or 500 calories worth. As 1g of carbohydrate equals 9 calories, you would need 55.5g of fat and preferably no more than 22.2g from saturated fat.
Now all you have to do is use your actual calorie requirements and do similar calculations to obtain how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you would need to eat per day according to your macronutrient distribution.