I recently posted an article titled “How to Calculate Macros for Lean Bulking” where I explained a very simple calorie formula for bulking up without getting fat. Considering the fact that most of my readers are typically on a muscle building journey, the post went over really well. And although today’s subject matter may not become as popular, I felt the need to cover all bases. With that said, today I will be sharing my simple formula for calculating macronutrients for fat loss.
What are macronutrients: Nutrients that the body uses in relatively large amounts – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This is as opposed to micronutrients, which the body requires in smaller amounts, such as vitamins and minerals. Macronutrients provide calories to the body as well as performing other functions.
As I mentioned in the article “How to Calculate Macros for Lean Bulking”, In order to calculate your EXACT maintenance level and establish a “perfect” macronutrient split for yourself can be time consuming, expensive, and simply not worth the efforts. This is why I have chosen to give you a simple and very basic starting point that will do the trick.
Calculating Maintenance Calories
For healthy males who exercise regularly, the number 16 is a safe place to start.
Simple multiply your bodyweight (x) 16.
180 lbs x 16 = 2,880 <== Calorie Maintenance
Where did I get the number 16?
Resting Metabolic Rate: Your resting metabolic rate is approximately 10-11 calories per pound of bodyweight.
Thermic Effect of Activity: This is roughly 10-20% for someone who lifts weights regularly.
Thermic Effect of Food: Food has to be digested thus requires calories to do so. This is approximately another 10%.
Creating a slight caloric deficit
The greater the caloric deficit, the more weight you will typically lose. However, the goal here is not to lose all your hard earned muscle and strength just to cut some inches off the waist. With that being said, a 100-250 calorie deficit daily should be more than enough to get you on your way to ripped abs without sacrificing your muscle and your sanity.
For your first calorie cut, I recommend starting at a 250 calorie deficit and then 100-150 each time you cut calories after.
2,880 – 250 = 2,630 <== Daily Caloric Intake
Calculating Protein Intake
The rule of thumb for adequate daily protein intake is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. Some may require a little less, some could benefit from a little more. Anything from 0.8-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight is typical.
To be safe, I recommend being right in the middle.
Note: Protein intake will remain the same for the entire duration of your cut.
Example: (We are using someone who weighs 180 lbs as an example)
180 lbs x 1.2 = 216 grams of protein per day
Calculating Fat Intake
The formula for fat consumption is (like the one for protein) very basic. The rule of thumb for fats is 0.25-0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Remember, fats will be cut slowly as you get further into your fat loss phase. This is why I recommend starting at the higher end of the spectrum (0.5) so that we can maintain a healthy fat intake throughout the cut.
180 lbs x 0.5 = 90 grams of fat per day
Calculating Carbohydrate Intake
The calories that are left over will make up your carbohydrate intake.
Step #1: Convert your daily protein into calories. There are 4 calories per gram of protein.
216 x 4 = 864 calories from protein
Step #2: Convert your daily fats into calories. There are 9 calories per gram of fat.
90x 9 = 810 calories from fats
Step #3: Calculate left over calories
2,880 – 864– 810 = 1,206 Calories left over
Step #4: Convert left over calories into grams of carbohydrates. There are 4 calories in each gram of carbohydrates.
1,206 / 4 = 301.5 grams of carbohydrates.
Macro Nutrient Split Example
Carbs – 301 grams per day
Fats – 90 grams per day
Protein – 216 grams per day
Other guidelines you MUST follow
1. Make sure to get at least 2 servings of fruits and 2 servings of vegetables minimum, daily.
2. Consume 30-50 grams of fiber per day.
Cutting your calories
Weight yourself weekly to ensure that you are continuing to lose fat. When you reach a point that you are maintaining the weight, decrease your daily calories by 100 and continue.
If you don’t want to live in the gym or give up all of the foods that you love, then I recommend increasing your caloric deficit, slowly, using calories and physical activity.
Weight loss plateau 1: Decrease calories by 100
Weight loss plateau 2: Add one day of interval training
Weight loss plateau 3: Decrease calories by 100
Weight loss plateau 4: Add an additional day of cardio
And so on and so forth…
If you are currently looking to achieve ripped abs without sacrificing your health, muscle mass, and sanity, I recommend using this formula alongside my free six pack guide 21 Day Fast Abs.
If you have any questions concerning this article, please feel free to leave it in the comment section below.