Experience tells me that most people don’t know how to use a calorie and macro calculator.
People get in their heads that they can calculate their macros, and if they adhere for long enough, they’ll get shredded (or jacked, if you’re bulking).
But unfortunately, macro calculators don’t work like that.
You WILL have to adjust your macros sooner or later to keep progressing.
Calorie and Macro Calculators Use Estimations
This is because your initial calorie calculations are just an estimation, and your calorie needs will change over time as your metabolism adapts.
So if you’ve been going from calculator to calculator, wondering why none of them have been working for you, it’s because you didn’t know you had to adjust things after you calculated.
These macro calculators estimate your resting metabolic rate and then adjust for your activity levels during the week.
Metabolic Rate Adapts As We Cut and Bulk
Every calculator uses an equation that estimates your metabolic rate. All of these equations are derived from group averages. You might be either side of this average.
Additionally, the multiplier for your activity levels is just an estimation as well. You have to choose between several options: Are you sedentary? Sedentary aside from your lifting like most office workers? Lightly active? Very active?
These are hard to define, the difference between levels is typically a 20% bump, and it’s impossible to know if you have chosen the “right” one.
So, there is no point in worrying whether your calculations are “correct” — you just have to try them, see how you get on over several weeks, and then adjust based on the outcome.
Here’s how you do that:
- Weigh yourself every morning for four weeks. Note the average at the end of each week.
- You can expect some large weight fluctuations to happen in the first week due to water, glycogen, and gut content changes from changing your diet, so ignore that data.
- Average the rate of change from weeks 1-2, 2-3, and 3-4.
- If you’re cutting, for every pound per week (0.5 kg), you’re off your weight change target, add or subtract 500 kcal each day.
- So, if you’re losing 0.5 lbs (0.25 kg) slower than your target, subtract 250 kcal each day. I recommend you keep protein the same and make this change via primarily carbs and fats.
I’ve got more examples covered in the notes of the macro calculator. Please share this with a friend who needs to read it.
Questions are welcomed in the comments, as always. 😊🙏🏻
👉🏻 To get my free Nutrition Setup Guide and get my 7-day email course, enter your email address in the box below. 📖