Are you someone who is looking to build muscle and lose fat? Do you want to know the number of calories and macronutrients you need to eat to be able to do that?
This post will help you learn all there is about calculating your calorie and macronutrient intake to help you with your goals to get a fit and healthy body.
If you are just looking to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight without spending any efforts at the gym then this post is not for. Instead, read my post on how to easily lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight.
When you are looking to build muscle and lose fat, you need to calculate your macronutrient intake with the following steps.
Your body needs a certain amount of calories to perform its daily functions like breathing, keeping your organs functioning, etc.
This is known as the basal metabolic rate or BMR, the number of calories that your body requires for life functions.
Also, when you perform a physical activity like walking, jogging, etc, your body burns even more calories.
Your BMR plus the total calories you burn from physical activity is known as your TDEE or total daily energy expenditure.
You can calculate your own total daily energy expenditure using a calculator as shown below.
Enter your age, weight, height, gender, and activity level. And it will show you the estimated number of calories that your body needs daily for its functions.
Once you have your TDEE, you need to cacluate the number of calories that are required for you to build muscle or lose fat.
Protein is probably the most important macronutrient when it comes to building muscle and losing fat.
Protein is basically a collection of the building blocks known as amino acids. These amino acids are essential for the body to build muscle.
When you perform a workout that includes strength training, you basically will damage your muscle tissue. The idea is that when the muscle tissue repairs itself, it will grow stronger.
A protein-rich diet will make you feel more satiated than foods high in carbohydrates and fats. This will make you feel full for a longer period of time and help you avoid snacking on unwanted calories. And it can help you when your goal is fat loss.
If you are looking to build muscle then you need about 1-1.2 grams protein per pound of body weight every day.
So if you weight 160 lbs then you need to consume 160 * 1-1.2 = 160 to 192 grams of protein every day.
However, if you are obese with 25+ % fat then you can consume around 1-1-2 grams protein per pound of your target weight.
So if your target body weight is 180 lbs then you can consume 180 * 1-1.2 = 180 to 216 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day.
I am sure you may have heard some fitness gurus tell you that if you want to lose fat then you need to go on a low-fat diet. This is nothing but a myth.
The basis of fat loss is a calorie deficit where you consume fewer calories than what your body burns.
Now, this can be achieved by lowering your fat by drastic levels but will play havoc with your health.
Fat is an essential macronutrient that your body needs for hormone production, satiety, muscle growth, and nutrient absorption in the body.
So you do need a good amount of healthy fats for your body to function properly.
However, you should not overindulge on fat too much because it is easy to go above your alloted calories and overeat.
Also, if you consume more fat then it will leave less room for the other essential macronutrients like proteins and carbohydrates.
Rather, you can consume a moderate amount of fat so that it will help your body function properly while also not impacting your muscle building and fat loss goals.
The amount of fat that you need to consume is about 0.2 to 0.25 grams per pound of body weight every day.
Carbs are another macronutrient that get a bad rap when it comes to losing body fat.
Some fitness experts will tell you to go on a low-carb diet if you want to lose weight.
This is also a myth as the only way to lose weight is using a calorie deficit where your body burns more calories than what you consume.
This can be achieved regardless of how many carbs you consume.
In fact, you might need more carbs especially if you are training at the gym intensely. This is because the firt source of energy that your body uses for fuel is from carbs.
A diet moderate in carbs will help your performance in the gym and so make your body more efficient to build muscle and lose fat.
So, how much carbohydrates should you be consuming? That is easy to calculate since you already know the amount of proteins and fats that you need to eat as well as the number of calories you need to consume per day i.e. your TDEE.
Here is how to calculate your carb intake:
As we have seen, this could be 1.2 grams protein per pound of body weight. So if you weight 160 pounds, the amount of protein you need to consume is 160 * 1.2 = 192 grams.
Since each gram of protein contains 4 calories, the total calories you need from protein is 192 * 4 = 768 calories
As we have seen, this could be 0.25 grams fat per pound of body weight. So if you weight 160 pounds, the amount of fat you need to consume is 160 * 0.25 = 40 grams.
Since each gram of fat contains 9 calories, the total calories you need from fat is 40 * 9 = 360 calories
To calculate the calories from your carb intake, you just need to subtract the total calories from your protein and fat intake from your TDEE.
So if you are 160 pounds and your TDEE is around 2500 calories than the total calories you need from carbs is 2500 – 768 – 360 = 1372 calories
Each gram of carb contains 4 calories. So you can calculate the amount of carbs you need by dividing the calories you need from carbs by 4.
So for our 160 pound example, the number of calories to consume would be 1372 / 4 = 343 grams
Now that you know the number of calories and macronutrients that you need to consume to build muscle and lose fat, you need to track your calories daily.
You need to make sure you are getting only the required number of calories with sufficient macronutrients.
You can use a tool like MyFitnessPal to track this. It is completely free and contains a database of most foods that you will find in the grocery store, restaurants and those that you cook at home.
Below is a screenshot of how the tool looks like.
So keep tracking your calories for 1 week ensuring that you are eating calories as you calculated above. Also, every day after you wake up, weigh yourself at the same time and make a note of the weight in a journal.
At the end of the week, you can measure your body fat or muscle to check if you are making some progress.
If you are achieving your goal, then continue tracking your calories for the next week.
If at the end of the week, you are not achieving your goal, then it means you need to adjust the calories.
So, if your goal was fat loss and you have not lost weight, then drop another 200-300 calories and track your weight for another week.
If your goal was muscle gain and you have not gained weight, then eat an additional 100-200 calories and track your weight for another week.
If your goal was weight maintenance and you are losing or gaining weight, then increase or decrease the calories accordingly.
Continue tracking your calories every week until you have reached your goals and are happy with your body.
I hope this post helped you understand the number of calories and macronutrients you need to eat to be able to build muscle and lose fat.
If you have any questions about macronutrients or building muscle and losing fat, please leave a comment below.
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