How to Find the Best Macronutrient Ratios for Weight Loss : Weight loss. It’s such a coveted end goal to a never-ending process. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new trending diet plan that counts calories or points.
But instead of counting calories, keeping track of your macronutrients can help with weight loss. In this article, we look at how to find the optimal macronutrient ratios.
What Are Macronutrients?
All foods are composed of three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These are nutrients that hold calories to fuel your body. Therefore, these are what your body needs the most.
Calorie content for each macro:
- One gram of protein contains four calories
- One gram of fat contains nine calories
- One gram of carbohydrates contains four calories
Why Should I Count Macronutrients?
It’s an easy way to personalize a diet for what your body needs. All the other trend diets recommend the same amount of food or the same type of food.
The problem is, a diet isn’t “one size fits all.” What works for one person may not work for the next, and vice versa. What works depends on our body types, daily activities, and personal goals.
Calories are a major part of a healthy (and unhealthy) diet.
You could eat 2,000 calories a day all in fatty foods. Or you could eat 10,000 calories a day in protein. Either way, you’ll gain weight because neither option is optimal.
To find your optimal daily calorie intake, you’ll need to follow three steps:
Step 1: Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
This is the number of calories your body burns when it’s at rest. It’s the energy you need to simply function. While the following formula can help you, a macronutrient calculator is strongly recommended.
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Step 2: Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
This accounts for your daily physical activity
- Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
- Light exercise (1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
- Moderate exercise (3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
- Hard exercise (6-7 days/week): BMR x 1.725
- Very hard exercise/ physical job: BMR x 1.9
Step 3: Decide on Your Calorie Deficit or Surplus
Now it’s time to decide on your fitness goals and target your calorie intake.
- Weight maintenance: Your ideal intake is your TDEE. You’ll burn the same amount of calories as you eat.
- Weight loss: Your ideal intake is 10-15% of your TDEE. This will help maintain muscle mass while losing weight.
- Muscle gain: Your ideal intake is more than your TDEE. This number and the types of calories depends on many personal factors.
What Is Your Ideal Macronutrient Ratios?
Now you have your target daily calorie intake, it’s time to break it down. This is where the micronutrients count.
Step 1: Calculate Your Ideal Protein Target
Protein is essential for your body. It’s used to maintain, repair, and build muscle tissues. Protein should make up between 10-35% of your daily calories.
Fitness goals: If you want to either lose weight or gain muscle, your daily protein should be on the higher end. Increasing proteins will give you an energy boost and help you feel fuller longer.
Exercise type: If you’re endurance training, you should have between 15-25% protein. If you’re strength training, your protein should be up to 35%.
Step 2: Calculate Your Ideal Fat Target
Both saturated and trans fatty acids help give your body energy. However, saturated fats are essential for healthy living and trans fats will leave you gaining weight.
Fitness goals: Regardless of your fitness goals, you’ll need 25-35% saturated fats. They’ll help keep you from getting hungry and will build muscles.
Special diet: If you decide to do a specialized diet (such as Keto), your ideal fat intake will be much higher (60-75%).
Step 3: Calculate Your Ideal Carbs Target
Carbohydrates have one role, and one role only: give your body energy. Typically, you’ll need around 45-60% carbs. However, the exact amount depends on individual aspects.
Fitness goals: If you’re a muscle builder, you’ll need to consume a higher amount of carbs than if you want to lose weight.
Activity level: As you increase the length and intensity of your workouts, your carb intake should also increase.
Not All Macronutrients Are Equal
Keep in mind that not every macronutrient is the same, even if it’s in the same category. Your body won’t process a plant protein the same as an animal protein. Also, it’s entirely different eating 10 grams of complex carbs versus 10 grams of cookies.
Your body cares about how many meals you have in a day and how much you eat during those meals. You won’t absorb macros the same if you shove them all into one large meal versus splitting them up into 4 smaller meals.
Timing is also imperative. You’ll find your body will need different types of meals before and after your workouts.
Track Your Progress
Now that you understand what your body needs, it’s time to put that knowledge to work. Try buying a food scale to keep track of how much you eat every meal.
Then, download a calorie and macro counting app. It’s the easiest way to keep a log of what you’re eating and refer back to later.
Keep track of your body, too. Take measurements, weight, and how you feel. Your body will thank you for correcting your macronutrient ratios.
When in doubt, check in with our blog to find all the tips and inspiration you need to reach your goal.
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