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  1. #1
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    Calculating Calories and Macros - How To

    Estimating your TDEE

    The average number of calories you expend per day is called your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). To estimate it, it's easiest to use a TDEE calculator such as: https://www.freedieting.com/tools/ca...calculator.htm

    Keep in mind this number is only an estimate. What your real TDEE is can be found out by monitoring your weight and calorie intake over time.

    In order to maintain weight eat the amount of calories of your TDEE.

    In order to gain weight add a moderate amount of calories to your TDEE, for example 300 calories.

    In order to lose weight subtract a moderate amount of calories from your TDEE, for example 500 calories.

    Adjust your intake based on what happens on the scale over time, for example one or two weeks. Keep in mind that your weight will fluctuate daily. This fluctuation can be up to several pounds. In order to minimise fluctuations weigh yourself first thing in the morning after visiting the toilet.

    If you’d like to minimise weight fluctuations further consider tracking your weight with a moving 7 day average (a.k.a. rolling average) or a weekly average. How to calculate a weekly average or rolling average can be found on Google. There are a few smartphone apps that can do it for you, for example: Libra (Android) and Happy Scale (IOS).





    Suggested rate of weight gain and loss

    Losing weight too fast can result in muscle loss while gaining weight too fast can result in excessive fat gain. In order to avoid muscle loss and excessive fat gain, here are some suggestions.

    Suggested rate of weight gain for an average beginning 170 pound lifter: about 2 pounds per month.
    Smaller people and people who have been lifting longer tend to do better with slower rates of weight gain, say 1 to 2 pounds per month.

    Suggested rate of weight loss for an average beginning 200 pound lifter: 1 to 2 pounds per week.
    Smaller, leaner and/or more advanced lifters often do better on slower rates of weight loss, for example 1 or 1.5 pounds per week.

    Keep in mind that the above numbers are merely suggestions. What the ideal rate is depends on the individual and his/her preferences.





    Macronutrient Intake

    Make sure that your diet meets the minimum protein and fat intake.

    Protein minimum: 0.7 gram per pound of bodyweight (or target/ideal weight in the obese).
    (for optimal body building purposes and during energy deficit higher intakes may provide additional benefits.)

    Fat minimum: 0.4 gram per pound of bodyweight (or target/ideal weight in the obese).

    Remaining caloric budget: whatever mix of macronutrients you prefer and/or allows you to perform and feel well. Some people do better on a higher carb intakes while other people do better on moderate or lower carb intakes. It is not necessary to set a specific numbers for each macro, what matters is that the total calories, minimum fat and protein are achieved.





    Macro Percentages

    Do not use macro percentages (for example 40/40/20). Your body does not care about percentages, it has minimum requirements.





    Meal Frequency

    General recommendation is to eat 3 to 6 protein containing meals (or shakes/snacks) spread over the day.

    Some people get good results on lower meal frequencies but these are probably not optimal for gaining muscle.





    Food quality and health

    Your diet should contain enough macronutrients, micronutrients and fiber.

    General recommendation for fiber:
    Average male: 38 gram per day
    Average female: 25 gram per day

    As a general guideline for sugars try to keep added sugars limited to 10% of total calories or less. The sugars that are naturally present in whole fruits, vegetables and dairy do not fall under this rule, you can be much more liberal with those. Reducing added sugar intake to 5% or less may provide additional benefits.

    Eating predominantly whole and minimally processed foods is generally a good idea. This doesn't mean that processed foods always have to be avoided. Processed foods can be part of a healthy diet. Focus on getting enough macronutrients, micronutrients and fiber.

    A simple guideline for good health is to eat at least 500 grams of vegetables and fruit combined per day. Higher intakes likely provide additional benefits.

    In order to get an idea of your micronutrient intake you can occasionally use the website www.cronometer.com. Keep in mind that it's not absolutely necessary to reach 100% of each micronutrient every day. I do not recommend checking your micronutrient intake daily, it’s not necessary.
    Last edited by ironwill2008; 07-28-2017 at 05:39 AM.
    Science based fitness & nutrition information:
    Alan Aragon http://alanaragon.com/
    Brad Schoenfeld http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/
    Jorn Trommelen: http://www.nutritiontactics.com/
    Lyle McDonald http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/
    Eric Helms & Team3DMJ http://www.youtube.com/user/Team3DMJ
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  2. #2
    Common sense/moderation. gbullock32's Avatar
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    Nice and simple explanation... so pretty much a guarantee that no one who needs this info will use it. Great contribution once again though.
    Short cuts to success are often paved with lies.
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  3. #3
    Registered User HainesGT's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gbullock32 View Post
    Nice and simple explanation... so pretty much a guarantee that no one who needs this info will use it. Great contribution once again though.
    Well now you have 1. I am currently looking into this to try to learn of it and see if it can help me.
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  4. #4
    Common sense/moderation. gbullock32's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HainesGT View Post
    Well now you have 1. I am currently looking into this to try to learn of it and see if it can help me.
    Off to a stronger start than 90% of those who come here!
    Short cuts to success are often paved with lies.
    1/13/16: Massive hernia.
    5/10/16: Finally back to lifting, light but improving.

    Why Teens shouldn't cut/Lack of progress thread- http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=169272763&p=1397509823#post1397509823
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by gbullock32 View Post
    Off to a stronger start than 90% of those who come here!
    Haha. Well i was around probably 10 years ago for about half a year so maybe i dont count.
    Back than i couldnt eat enough to gain weight and i was always full, so i never bothered.

    But 10 years changes things lol
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  6. #6
    Average gym-goer desslok's Avatar
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    Great job as usual Mrbp! Very clear, concise and easy to follow.
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  7. #7
    Registered User rpedrosb's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by desslok View Post
    Great job as usual Mrbp! Very clear, concise and easy to follow.
    Very straightforward for newbies like me. Reaching a midpoint between the battle of eating "clean" vs eat whatever you want
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  8. #8
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    Thanks for the compliments guys. I remember when I first came to the forums I found the sticky on calculating macros quite complicated so I tried to make it much simpler.
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  9. #9
    Registered User rpedrosb's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Thanks for the compliments guys. I remember when I first came to the forums I found the sticky on calculating macros quite complicated so I tried to make it much simpler.
    Where has that sticky gone btw?
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  10. #10
    Registered User Nappyjake's Avatar
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    Well explained!
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  11. #11
    Registered User 3maj's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rpedrosb View Post
    Where has that sticky gone btw?
    Yeah, what happened to emma-leigh's thread?
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    Registered User Skibbs's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this. I am 35 and just started lifting 3 months ago and put on too much weight too fast I think (already +20lbs) because I wasn't tracking what I was eating. Looking forward to leveraging this to get a better plan going.

    So what is the easiest way to track food, just create a list of everything you would like to eat and their macros and then just try to create some combinations that get you to your daily goal?
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    Registered User diegohmac's Avatar
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    Metric Measurement

    How much protein and fat intake should I have in grams per kg?

    Thank you so much, awesome text!
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    Registered User Skibbs's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 3maj View Post
    Yeah, what happened to emma-leigh's thread?
    forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=156380533
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  15. #15
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by diegohmac View Post
    How much protein and fat intake should I have in grams per kg?

    Thank you so much, awesome text!
    Fat minimum: 0.88 gram per kg

    Protein minimum: 1.76 gram per kg

    More is fine.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks Mrpb. I haven't been back here in a long time ... was a daily contributor to the nut. forum but have only got myself back into gear as of about 2 months ago. I'd say IIFYM was getting it's "Flexible dieting" label as I moved away from lifting.

    Last time I was here, the research and consensus of protein intake was leaning towards the minimum of ~0.8g per lb of lean bodyweight i.e. it looked as though we were always overestimating the protein needed if muscle mass is the aim, and the research would eventually show us lower and lower needed intake as time went on.

    Mrpb, I know you've outlined 0.8g per lb or bodyweight, but can you give some insight to that number for me? So I can catch up on what I've missed over the last 2 years. It looks like maybe we weren't overestimating the need for protein as much as once thought.
    "Never attempt to train yourself into a caloric deficit. Don't spend hours on the treadmill. Diet comes first, cardio second. The dumbest fat loss strategy ever devised is used by people that wake up early in the morning before going to work to do cardio and follow that up with "recovery shake." Congratulations, you just wasted two hours of your life." Martin Berkhan
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    Registered User JJsevens's Avatar
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    Wow, much better, thanks Mrpb! So much better than the last sticky, it was like I was reading a calculus formula lol
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  18. #18
    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by layarph View Post
    Last time I was here, the research and consensus of protein intake was leaning towards the minimum of ~0.8g per lb of lean bodyweight i.e. it looked as though we were always overestimating the protein needed if muscle mass is the aim, and the research would eventually show us lower and lower needed intake as time went on.

    Mrpb, I know you've outlined 0.8g per lb or bodyweight, but can you give some insight to that number for me? So I can catch up on what I've missed over the last 2 years. It looks like maybe we weren't overestimating the need for protein as much as once thought.
    Well a protein recommendation is always going to be arbitrary. I wanted to keep it simple and recommend one number that catches all situations: bulking, maintenance and cutting.

    Why 0.8 gram per lb? It's probably a good number with a good safety margin for cutting. The science is explained here: http://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-...-bodybuilders/

    Keep in mind that Menno (the writer of the article) makes some good claims but also false claims. There are studies showing benefits for higher intakes than 0.8 gram per lb.

    With all that being said:

    1. 0.8 gram per lb is quite a high recommendation for the general public that likes to lift. During maintenance and surplus 0.6 gram per lb will likely do fine. I'm considering updating the recommendation to reflect this.

    2. It is questionable if we should still recommend a protein intake per day based on body weight or LBM. Recent science is making a good case for recommending protein intake per meal, perhaps even independent of body weight. We need more science before we go this route though.
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    This is great thank you for this. I've been doing my best to understand the macros.
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  20. #20
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    I use my fitness pal as they have almost every food. been doing so for about 7 weeks and i love the results i am seeing

    (currently in a caloric surplus)
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    Can I be that annoying guy and post an example to make sure I'm doing this right?

    I'm 175cm, weigh 80 kilos. So should I roughly aim for 80g of fats, 160g of protein and fill the rest of my macros with carbs/fats/protein? I'm cutting, aiming for around 2000 cals a day.
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    gj and good luck to everyone itt
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    Very simple. Perfect for someone like me. The calorie deficiency is so easily stated. Thank you sir.
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    Would you recommend a higher protein intake if trying to drop weight vs the 0.8 recommendation?

    I find myself in a state of "what the f do I do" with my weight goal(s). I have some body fat I want to drop but when I do drop weight I tend to just look skinnier and lankier. I'm 6'2" and currently fluctuate between 218-220lbs. My training is focused on strength/powerlifting so maintaining that is of importance but as I've gotten older getting into better shape and a better body fat range is becoming a bigger goal.

    How would you recommend approaching this in regards to maybe hitting a goal weight then working back up to "bulk"?
    My powerlifting log: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=162316631

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  25. #25
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    Great informative post.

    No fluff & straight to the point!
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    Registered User Nearbuds's Avatar
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    Wow interesting its really helpful
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    Registered User radfordkyle's Avatar
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    I'm 15 and just started lifting.according to your calculations I should have 108 grams protein minumum, and 54 grams of fats. What do I do with carbs?
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    Originally Posted by radfordkyle View Post
    I'm 15 and just started lifting.according to your calculations I should have 108 grams protein minumum, and 54 grams of fats. What do I do with carbs?
    Counting calories isn't necessary for minors, nor is it recommended.

    Just eat plenty and lift on a good program. At your age you'll grow easily without counting macros.
    Science based fitness & nutrition information:
    Alan Aragon http://alanaragon.com/
    Brad Schoenfeld http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/
    Jorn Trommelen: http://www.nutritiontactics.com/
    Lyle McDonald http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/
    Eric Helms & Team3DMJ http://www.youtube.com/user/Team3DMJ
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    Registered User JJsevens's Avatar
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    If i'm on a deficit and the pounds start dropping do i need to keep recalculating my macros?
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    Im not sure if im posting this in the right area, i just joined rather recently. I am 5' 8" 170 pounds. I have been managing a caloric defecit of -748 kal for 2 weeks. Meaning i consume maybe 1300 kal daily. I work out 6 times a week. Only one session of Cardio per week. My end goal is to be 158 pounds with lean muscle mass.

    My macros are as follows:

    Carbs: 150g

    Fat: 35g

    protein: 75-90 (fluctuates often)

    I am worried that this may be too extreme. I do not feel any adverse effects from this nutrition plan, but i am worried that the hard work i put in at the gym wont matter if im losing the lean muscle mass because of a large caloric deficit. Can anyone give me their two cents on this? thanks.
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