We get it, counting your macros can seem complicated and too much like hard work! However, the IIFYM lifestyle is not as bogged down with mathematic equations and calculations as you might think. Once you’ve worked out your initial macro targets, it’s simply a case of remembering which foods contain substantial amounts of each macro - try searching for the #IIFYM hashtag on Instagram for plenty of macro-friendly food inspiration!
To help you avoid all the initial maths mumbo jumbo, we’ve created a macro calculator and this handy cheat sheet to accompany it!
What Are Macros?
You’ve probably heard of the importance of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals but did you know there are three essential nutrients that our bodies need in significant amounts? These simply-named “macronutrients” are protein, carbohydrates, and fat - the big three. They each play vital roles to keep our bodies functioning healthily and form the basis of the IIFYM lifestyle.
What’s the Difference Between Counting Calories and Counting Macros?
A calorie is a unit of energy, which our bodies require to live. While calories are an important part of our diets (and a vital element of counting your macros), they only make up the bigger picture. Break down calories even further and you will see that they can come from different sources - each macro has a different amount of calories. The main difference between the IIFYM lifestyle and fad diets is that instead of focusing on calories, we also ensure that we get a healthy balance of all three macros - much more sustainable in the long run! For this reason, our macro calculator works out how many of each macronutrient you need according to your daily calorie intake.
To really achieve your fitness goals while still consuming the essential nutrients we need, then counting macros is a must! In fact, according to the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, “the notion that ‘a calorie is a calorie’ does not tell the whole story”. They go on to emphasize the importance of the quality of the food we eat.
How Many Calories Does Each Macro Contain?
Protein - 4 calories per gram
Carbohydrates - 4 calories per gram
Fat - 9 calories per gram
Our macro calculator uses these numbers to calculate how many of each macronutrient you need to hit your daily calorie intake.
What is a Macro Calculator?
A macro calculator does all of the hard work for you to determine your overall calorie and individual macronutrient targets based on your BMR and activity levels. It presents these targets in measurements of grams per day.
To work out your personalized Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), our macro calculator is based on the Mifflin-St Jeor equation, which was compared with other equations and observed as the most accurate by the American Dietetic Association. This formula requires the following variables: body weight, height, and age. In addition to your BMR, our macro calculator uses your estimated activity levels to work out the daily calories needed to maintain your weight. Furthermore, it uses the USDA/FDA recommended ratio of macronutrients to calculate your macro targets - 45% carbs, 30% protein, and 25% fat, as a percent of calories.
Simply input all the required variables into the relevant boxes and our macro calculator will do the rest!
What is the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation?
For those of you who want to know the nitty-gritty details, the Mifflin-St Jeor equation works out our BMR, which is the amount of energy (calories) expended per day at rest. Here’s the equation we use for our macro calculator:
Men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) - 5 x age (y) + 5
Women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) - 5 x age (y) - 161
Why Does the Macro Calculator Ask for Activity Levels?
If we only calculated our BMRs, then we would only know how many calories we use at rest. As the majority of people don’t sit around doing nothing all day, this wouldn’t make the calorie and macro targets very accurate. Therefore, our macro calculator uses estimated activity levels to determine how many calories we expend based on our individual circumstances. Of course, these different activity levels are only averages but they give us a pretty accurate picture of how many calories and subsequent macronutrients you need to maintain your current weight.
What are you waiting for? Let’s get you started on your IIFYM journey using our macro calculator to determine your calorie and macro targets!