If you’ve heard about If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) and it’s something you want to try but don’t know where to start or how to figure out your macros, this little guide should help.
To start you need to know what your current daily caloric intake is. To figure this out, track what you are eating for a week or two using an app like My Fitness Pal. Don’t try to alter your diet. This is to determine how much food you are currently maintaining your weight on.
For background information, macros (short for macronutrients) are simply protein, carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol; although, for our purposes we won’t be looking at the last one. For reference:
- 1g Protein = 4 kcals
- 1g Carbohydrates = 4 kcals
- 1g Fat = 9 kcals
We’ll figure out protein first. Your daily protein intake is generally 1g per pound (2.1g per kg) of lean body mass. To figure out lean body mass you can use a calculator like this one.
So if your lean body mass is 110lbs, then you should be eating 110g of protein.
Fats are next. The amount of fat you should eat is dependent on your body type. There are three body types, ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph – I’ll go through each one below. Remember, a lot of this is generalized. If you are looking for macros more specific to you, I offer macronutrient coaching.
Ectomorph: Usually characterized as thin body with thin limbs and less muscle mass (usually quite lean). Often has a difficult time gaining weight. For ectomorphs, fat should be about 20% of overall caloric intake.
Mesomorph: Right in the middle, mesomorphs aren’t overweight but also aren’t super lean. Often they have an athletic appearance with some muscle mass. Mesomorphs should have 25% of there calories come from fat.
Endomorphs: Generally endomorphs have more body fat and thicker limbs but may not necessarily be overweight. Think about some powerlifters or football linemen. Endomorphs should have their fat intake around 30% of overall calories.
Carbohydrates simply fill up the remaining calories.
Here is an example for calculating macros for someone who is a mesomorph, has a lean body mass of 130lbs, and eats 2400 calories/day.
Protein: Since lean body mass is 130lbs, protein will be 130g. Remember 1g protein per lb of lean body mass. This is 520kcals (130g x 4kcal).
Fat: Since our person is a mesomorph, fat will be 25% of caloric intake
2400kcal x .25 = 600 calories from fat. Since 1g of fat is 9 calories, we can figure out the grams: 600kcal/9kcal = 67g of fat
Now that we know how many calories are coming from protein and fat, we can figure out how many calories will come from carbs.
First find the total calories filled by protein and fats:
520kcal + 600kcal = 1120
Then subtract that from the total caloric intake:
2400 – 1120 = 1280kcal from carbs. To figure out the gram amount, simply divide by 4: 1280/4 = 320g of carbs
I hope this is helpful as a place to start. Remember, this is very generalized so if you are looking for something a little more personalized, a one time macro calculation and macronutrient coaching is available! Enjoy that tracking!