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The Calorie And Macro Calculator


Make sure you read the notes on the calculator after using it!

1. To address your first likely concern right off the bat…

Yes, the calculations ‘work’ — I’ve been coaching online as a full-time job since 2011. If I didn’t get results (view over 100 client results photos here), I’d get fired.

And yes, they are very well thought out — they’re based on the recommendations in my book, The Muscle and Strength Nutrition Pyramid, which is a 290-page, fully-referenced guide for powerlifters and physique athletes.

But wondering whether they are ‘correct’ is the wrong way of thinking about things, because…


2. You will need to adjust these numbers sooner or later to achieve the desired rate of weight change.

Why sooner? Because the calculations are based on equations derived from group averages. You might be either side of this average, so consider them a start point from which to adjust.

Why later? Because energy needs change over time as we diet and bulk. Your metabolism will gradually adapt to fight a caloric deficit, and energy needs increase when we gain weight. These things happen for some people more than others and this is not something a calculator can predict for.

However, knowing how impatient people are to see results, I’ve factored this into the calculations…


But Before we get into that…

People consistently make the same simple mistakes when acting on these calculations. So I have built a free, 7-lesson email course that has helped 80,000 people so far avoid them.

May I send you that course along with my free nutrition ebook?

It’ll be in your inbox by the time you’ve finished reading these notes.

Note: Your email won’t be shared, sold, or abused – ever.


So as I was saying, I’ve factored the energy need adaptions into the calculations in the following couple of ways…


3. For those cutting, I’ve calculated energy intake at a level where bodyweight losses would be 0.75% per week, were the metabolism not to adapt.

But it will, and many people will find their resulting weight loss to be around 0.5%, which from experience, seems to be the sweet spot for busy individuals with real lives who can’t afford the brain fog that comes with higher caloric deficits.

Additionally, the total nerds among you (love you guys!) who have been getting your calculators out to check my math, may have noticed that…


4. For those bulking, I’ve upped the caloric surplus by 50% to anticipate some of the increased energy needs when bulking.

This is not an extreme change. For a 30-year-old, 6ft, 200 lb novice male, their daily intake will change from 3070 kcal to 3245 kcal because of this.

Unfortunately, there’s a tricky little bitch called NEAT which can impact energy needs way more from person to person, especially when bulking.

NEAT is the nickname for ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis’. It is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing and texting friends, shaking up a protein shake, performing yard work, and fidgeting.

Some people ramp up NEAT much more than others which explains those who claim not to be able to gain weight (a.k.a. ‘hard gainers’) when, in fact, they need to eat more.

This cannot be factored into an initial calculation either, which is why tracking average weight change and then adjusting caloric intake based on the outcome is so critical.


5. So now you’re probably wondering, “What is a desirable rate of weight loss or gain?”

Weight loss: I recommend 0.5–1% of body weight loss per week when cutting. — The leaner you get, the slower you should take it.

Weight gain: I recommend 0.5–2% of body weight gain per month when bulking. — The more experienced a trainee you are, the closer you are likely to your genetic potential, so the slower you should take things:

  • Beginner — 2%
  • Novice — 1.5%
  • Intermediate — 1%
  • Advanced — 0.5%

This is the upper end of the ranges recommended in my book, The Muscle and Strength Nutrition Pyramid, which makes changes easier to track, especially when you aren’t working with a coach and are doing things yourself.


6. Most people will have a jump in scale weight in the first week.

This will be due to the change in gut content, water, and muscle glycogen in your body. It happens whenever you change the number of carbs you eat or the total food intake in general.

So, before deciding you need to adjust, track for several weeks first, taking the average scale weight each day, and ignore the first week of data.


7. To make an adjustment to get your body weight change on track, we can use the following easy math

If you are cutting, multiply the amount you are off your weekly weight change target by 500 kcal (or 1100 kcal for those using kg). Add or subtract that from your caloric intake each day accordingly. Here are some examples:

  • If you’re losing weight 0.5 lbs slower than your target each week, reduce daily caloric intake by 250 kcal (500*0.5).
  • If you’re losing weight 0.3 lbs faster than your target each week, increase your daily caloric intake by 150 kcal daily (0.3*500).

If you are bulking, multiply the amount you are off your monthly weight change target by 150 kcal (or 330 kcal for those using kg). (These numbers are explained in my mega-guide on bulking). Here are some examples:

  • If you’re gaining weight 1.5 lb slower than your target each month, increase daily caloric intake by 225 kcal (150*1.5).
  • If you’re gaining weight 0.5 kg faster than your target each month, reduce daily caloric intake by ~165 kcal (330*0.5).

Make this caloric change via fat and carb changes per your preferences. This is as simple as follows:

Table of Macro Changes for Different Calorie Adjustments

Leave protein intake as is, unless you have a lot of body fat to lose. (More on this in a moment.)


8. Before making any adjustments, make sure your adherence is on point.

If it’s not, fix that. Solid adherence in the week only to throw it away on the weekends is the most common screw-up pattern people follow.


9. Double-check that you are tracking things accurately.

Here’s my guide to counting macros and making meals out of them. (It’s the simplified counting rules in this guide which gave the food value estimations at the end of the calculator.)

But despite guides like that trying to simplify, studies consistently show that people are terrible at tracking things. So, if you’re not losing weight at the rate desired and you’re concerned that your macros look low, swallow your ego and consider the possibility that you’ve screwed something up.

Log everything that passes your lips into a nutritional calculator for 2 weeks. This will tell you if you have an issue.


10. Protein intake is calculated based on body weight rather than lean body mass.

This is much easier than requiring people to estimate their body-fat percentage first, and the results are roughly the same anyway. Plus, all the methods we have available for estimating body-fat percentage are prone to chuckle-worthy levels of error. I recommend you do not attempt it.

(Calculating protein intake based on body weight is a departure from how I’ve suggested people do it on the site up until now, which is why I feel it’s worth mentioning. I will edit every other guide on the site in the coming weeks for congruency.)


11. Importantly, those with a lot of body fat to lose will, therefore, find their protein intake skewed too high. You’ll need to adjust for that.

This is an easy fix — change your daily protein intake to be your height in centimeters:

  • 6’2 = ~188 cm
  • 6’ = ~183 cm
  • 5’10 = ~178 cm
  • 5’8 = ~173 cm
  • 5’6 = ~168 cm

So, if you’re 260 lbs and 5’11, instead of consuming ~260 g of protein as I have in the calculator, consume 180 g and swap the 80 g remaining for carbs to maintain the calorie balance. This will be better for satiety, diet variety, and training quality.

Some people may argue that this protein figure is a little too low to be protective of muscle mass when dieting.

I disagree.

Having a lot of fat mass is protective of muscle mass. This makes sense when you think about it from a survival perspective. When the body comes to choose between releasing fatty acids or breaking down muscle into amino acids for fuel, the smarter decision for survival is to burn off fat when there is an abundance of it. Therefore, protein needs are likely a bit lower for the 260 lb guy with 160 lbs of muscle mass vs. the 200 lb guy with the same muscle mass.


12. Too many people make calorie and macro calculations, wait two weeks, then decide that they “don’t work” if they don’t see the calculated for scale weight change.

They then move to another calculator (or diet method entirely).

This is sadly common. Don’t be this person.

A simple adjustment of your caloric intake up or downwards is all that will be needed. (Reasons 2-4, at rates described in 5, in the manner described in 6.) Don’t make this mistake.


13. If you have already calculated your macros elsewhere and they aren’t radically different, I don’t suggest you change them.

The key, as I’ve covered, is that you track your progress and adjust based on the outcome.

Ready to learn how to do that? Enter your email below:

Note: Your email won’t be shared, sold, or abused – ever.

52
Comments

Please keep questions on topic, write clearly, concisely, and don't post diet calculations.

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Steve
Steve

Hey Andy! Longtime reader here. Just curious as to why you moved away from fat loss/weight gain in terms of pounds or kilograms to percentage change in overall bodyweight. Do you find it simpler for people to understand/implement or is there another advantage? Thanks in advance!

Steve
Steve

Hey Andy, thanks for the response! How about as it relates to losing body fat and cutting? Any more accurate there or just another way to get to the same place?

Oliver
Oliver

The macro calculator is activity level is based on traditional bodybuilding training? I sit in the office all day but do CrossFit 5 days a week which always includes a not to easy cardio part. So I’m not sure wether to choose mostly sedentary or lightly active. What do you think?

Oliver
Oliver

Hi Andy, thanks for the quick and informative reply.

Rui
Rui

Hello Andy!
I’m glad I found you and filtered every other bs on the internet…

I’m 26 years old, 1,80cm and weighing 108kg and with over 30% body fat. What do you think my macros and daily kcal should be (taking into the account the protein adjustemnt mentioned above) to shred all this fat asap?

Thanks
Regards

Daniel Mahony
Daniel Mahony

Hi Andy. Great artical and calculator.

When working out the weight gain on a bulk, do you recomend taking a 4 week weight average of month 1 and compare it to the 4 week average of month 2 so as to capture any fluctuations. Or take the weight on the first day of month 1 vs the last day of month 1?

Many thanks
Daniel

Daniel Mahony
Daniel Mahony

Thank you Andy.

Chris Whitehead
Chris Whitehead

Hi Andy

I have been doing an online cutting phase through a friend of a friend, I am currently 79 kg, weight is down from 98kg, but he now as us down at body weight x 8 for our daily calorie requirements mine are at 1390 there abouts , this feels extreme to me, can’t even think straight, will following your calculations still produce cutting results.

Best wishes

Chris

PS LOVE YOUR WEBSITE

Justin
Justin

Hey Andy,

Awesome calculator!

If goal weight loss is reached at the end of 12 weeks, would you simply redo the calculator with new/current weight and use the new calculated TDEE as maintenance?

Thanks!

Chris
Chris

Hi Andy , if adding more training sessions during week do you keep same amount of calories and spread out .
Or do I try to use activity multiplier .
I’m adding sports sessions ( Muay Thai) to strength training sessions .
Which will mean 6 days a week of activity . I had previously calculated calories for 4 days a week of activity .
Thanks

Oliviero
Oliviero

Hi Andy,
isn’t the surplus in a bulking phase too low? In your article “How to bulk without getting fat” for a slow bulk you recommend for example this:
novice, 78 kg, 1,5% muscle gain + 100% fat gain
-> 78kg*1,5% = 1,17kg muscle gain
-> 1,17 * 5500 + 1,17*7700 = about 15444 kcal surplus per month that means about 514 kcal surplus per day.

If i use the calculator for a novice, 78 kg, 20 years old with mostly sedentary activity level i get a daily calorie intake of 2568. On the next step i chose bulking phase with novice experience level. Then i get a daily caloric intake of 2843. So the caloric surplus is only 275 (2843 – 2568 = 275).

Why are there so big differences?

Vince
Vince

Hello Andy,

I was wondering about a few things:

1. What calculation you use to determine protein intake. Are you using 1 g per pound of bodyweight?

2. What guidelines do you use to determine the difference between active, lightly active, very, etc.?

Thank you very much. I appreciate the site and I have been coming back to it for the last few years.

Vince
Vince

I realized wasn’t clear on the guidelines questions. What I meant was, how do you determine what level you are? Sedentary explains itself, but if you sit at work most of the time, but you go lift weights and do cardio every weekend (for example purposes), how would that factor?

I couldn’t find the protein guide you use to have that explains why you prefer to use 1g/BW. Do you have a range or is it just easier to use the 1 gram? Personally, I would like to go a bit lower, but still want to stay in a decent range.

Evan
Evan

Hey Andy,

I am a 6’2 195 lb make, I work from home but I make sure to get 10-15k steps all 7 days a week and I resistance train for an hour 5x per week. What activity level would you say i should use ?

Thanks!

Timo
Timo

Hey Andy,

I am a 6’2 160 lb male.

Sometimes I do light cycling for 30 min. on a stationary bike, sometimes on an elliptical about 5-6 times a week.

From my experience this is a big difference, since I am also using my arms on the elliptical.
So how can I factor in this activity?

What about the thermic affect of food?

Best regards,
Timo

Timo
Timo

Thanks Andy,

I was just wondering if we can factor all the different cardio activities in just one position,
because I feel that riding a stationary bike seems to be much easier than doing training
on an elliptical etc..

To make the calculation even more precise I would be interested in the different numbers
(calories burned) for the activities of walking, rinding the stationary bike, elliptical and running (everything preformed lightly) if there is a difference.

Daniel
Daniel

Great Job Andy, it’s getting better every year!

Mark
Mark

I dont see a calculator on this page. Only how to make adjustments/interpretations of said calculator’s results

Tim
Tim

This can’t be right. I’m supposed to start a cut with a deficit of 800 calories?

Office job, 4 times a week lifting and cardio on one of my off-days. 31/179cm/97kg.

I remember bf% to be a factor in the calculations you described before. Why did you decide to stop considering bf%? Wouldn’t this make things more accurate?

Sebs
Sebs

Hey there, if you dont mind me asking, what is the protein / carb / fat ratios that the calculator spits out? Like you know, 50/30/20 split or? Excuse the bad english. Thank you for your site!

Mike
Mike

Regarding protein intake, how much of my protein should come from animal sources and plant sources. I have heard from research that suggest animal protein is better than plant protein because it has higher protein quality.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart

You’ve really outdone yourself with this new calculator. It’s straightforward, super-easy to make the calculations (all the hard math work is taken care of), and the details are still there but suitably left until the end.

Zane
Zane

I’ve been eating consistently at a number below what my estimated TDEE based off the calculator shows. I lift 5x/week and do 20-30 mins of cardio 2-3x/week. I have a desk job but stand 5 hours/day and average 8-10k steps. My weight has not changed up or down, even though I have ate well below the estimated TDEE for years now. Typically, I am 400-700 calories below. Has my body just adjusted to what I have been eating? Thanks for your work with the site!

Larry Shipe
Larry Shipe

Freakin excellent content!!

Danny Collins
Danny Collins

I work out 3-4 days a week and have a physical job. To estimate my TDEE should I choose Moderate? I have noticed this is a significant difference in total weekly calories between Light and Moderate.

Log
Log

Hi Andy.
I have a question.
“Having a lot of fat mass is protective of muscle mass”
What if I want to cut but I’m quite lean. Is this statement still right? Eventually when BF% is low enough to raise protein level?
Thanks in advance.

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