Calorie And Macro Calculator
Calorie & Macro Calculator: How To Use It
This calorie and macro calculator allows you to estimate how much weight you’ll lose or gain each week based on how many calories you consume. Choose from a standard, keto, or leangains calculator.
You can use the macro calculator to calculate and tweak your protein, fat, and carbohydrate macronutrients.
Table of Contents
The option you select here will determine which formula and inputs are used to calculate your calories.
There are 3 different calorie calculators to choose from:
The ‘Standard’ calorie calculator uses the Mifflin St. Jeor equation to estimate your calories.
This equation is generally considered to be the most accurate calorie estimation formula (at least for beginners who don’t know their body fat percentage).
Research has found the Mifflin St. Jeor formula to be more accurate than similar calorie estimation methods such as the Harris-Benedict formula.
You should use this calorie calculator in all circumstances except when:
The ‘Leangains’ calculator uses the equation recommended in the book The Leangains Method to estimate your daily calorie and macronutrient needs.
A detailed explanation of how this calculator works can be found here.
The ‘Keto’ calculator is the best calorie calculator for those on the ketogenic diet.
The keto calculator allows you to set a limit on the amount of carbs you consume. It also allows you to input a set amount of protein per pound of your bodyweight. The remaining calories will go to your fat macros.
The keto calculator uses the Mifflin St. Jeor equation to estimate your calories.
This is because research has found the Mifflin St. Jeor formula to be more accurate than similar calorie estimation methods such as the Harris-Benedict formula.
Here you input the following basic personal information:
- Age (in years)
- Weight (in kilograms or pounds)
- Height (in centimetres or inches)
- Gender (male or female)
Your Activity Level serves as a multiplier on top of your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). The result of this calculation is called your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
Think of your BMR as the energy you would need to keep alive if you were in a coma. It’s the energy required for non-negotiable processes – like breathing, blood circulation, cell growth, and controlling your body temperature.
What you care about though, is your TDEE. This is the total amount of energy you need each day to maintain your body weight – after you factor in all of your activity.
This is not the same as your BMR, as even the least active among us aren’t lying motionless in bed all day (why do you look nervous?).
The Activity Level modifiers are:
- Sedentary: Little or no exercise, office job (1.2×)
- Lightly Active: Light daily activity & exercise 1-3 days per week (1.375×)
- Moderately Active: Moderate daily activity & exercise 3-5 days per week (1.55×)
- Very Active: Physically demanding lifestyle & exercise 6-7 days per week (1.725×)
- Extremely Active: Hard daily exercise/sports & physical job (1.9×)
Be warned: most people tend to overestimate their activity level.
This is usually due to them basing their activity level on their number of gym sessions per week. This is not the right way to go about it.
Your activity level is primarily based off of what you do outside the gym. Four 1 hour strength training sessions at the gym each week is less than 2 hours of actual activity. It does not result in a large number of calories burnt.
Conversely, a teacher on her feet for the lions share of the week is most likely “Lightly Active”. The intermittent cardio throughout the day adds up.
If your only activity outside the office is the gym, put yourself down as “Sedentary”. You might be slightly over depending on your intensity and frequency – but more likely you won’t be. You can adjust your estimate based on the first couple week’s progress.
If you think you’re on the line between levels and it could go either way – go with the lower estimate.
This dropdown provides an easy way to match your qualitative weight loss/gain goal with a quantitative value. The options are:
- Lose Weight (–20%)
- Slowly Lose Weight (–10%)
- Maintain Weight (0%)
- Slowly Gain Weight (+10%)
- Gain Weight (+20%)
The number in the proceeding brackets specifies the caloric deficit/surplus. For example, (+10%) means that your daily calorie goal will be 10% higher than your TDEE.
Alternatively, you can input a specific calorie goal in the Calorie Deficit/Surplus section.
How Much Protein?
Here there are 3 standardised options:
- 1g per pound
- 0.82g per pound
- 1.5g per pound
1g per pound is the standard and recommended option. This provides you with enough protein to facilitate muscle growth with a large margin of error.
0.82g per pound still provides enough protein to facilitate muscle growth. Think of this as a lower bar for the amount of protein you should be consuming. Although the subject of hot debate, current science points to 0.82g protein/pound being enough protein.
Although it’s unlikely additional protein will result in increased gains, you still may want to consider a higher protein intake as:
- Protein is a more satiating macronutrient 
- A higher protein intake restricts your food choices, forcing you to eat less junk
- The TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) means protein is closer to 3.2 kcal per gram, not 4 kcal per gram 
The above reasoning is why you might even want to consider 1.5g per pound.
If you’re an expert in going way too far with your cheat meals to the point of ruining your diet – 1.5g per pound is for you.
Fat/Carb Calorie Split
This is the percentage split (calorie-wise) between fat and carbs after you account for your protein intake.
You have a good amount of leeway in your distribution between carbs and fat. The split between carbs and fat is largely a matter of personal preference. So long as you’re not on the extreme of either side, there is no point stressing about the allocation.
Some of us feel better with more carbs and less fat, and some of us feel better with more fat and less carbs. In general the more active you are, the more likely you’ll suit a higher carb intake.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to consume no less than 0.25g fat per pound, or approximately 0.5g fat per kilogram.
Although this may seem like a low bar, it can be broken when you’re on a hard cut and hence don’t have that many calories to work with. Getting less than this amount of fat for an elongated period of time can easily lead to dry skin and/or hair. Would not recommend.
Stands for your Basal Metabolic Rate.
This is essentially the amount of energy you would need to keep alive if you were in a coma. Energy required for processes like breathing, blood circulation, controlling body temperature, cell growth, etc.
This calculation is based on your Age, Weight, Height, and Gender. It is then multiplied by your Activity Level to give your TDEE.
Stands for your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Also known as your “maintenance calories”.
Your TDEE is the total amount of energy you need each day to maintain your body weight after you factor in all of your activity.
So in an ideal world where you eat your exact TDEE each day, you would maintain the same body weight.
In reality this never happens due to the variance in our daily activity, the exact amount of food we eat, and water weight fluctuations.
Nevertheless, getting a ballpark figure of your TDEE is all you really need to get going. You can track your progress against your estimate and readjust as required.
Daily Calories and Macros
This is final result of all of your input data. It breaks down the Calories, Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates you should eat each day to reach your physique goals.
Do not stress about small deviations from these numbers. A ±5% difference will not affect your physique.
Why? Each of these numbers have error built in. Even the lower protein intake of 0.82g per pound was based on a 95% confidence interval.
All calorie counters are approximations. Regardless of how many decimal places worth of carbs MyFitnessPal tells you are in your 160.8 g apple – it’s only an estimate.
Use the calculated values as a solid approximation. Adjust your estimate as required based off of your weight loss/gain during the first few weeks of your diet. If you need help with this, ask. I plan on making a tool to help with this in the near future.
Estimated Weight Loss per Week
This estimate is based on the
3500 calories in one pound of fat.
E.g. A 500 calorie deficit per day is around 1 pound of fat loss per week.
So what kind of weight gain/loss should you aim for? The below serves as a practical and realistic expectation for a 6 to 12 month program.
Fat Loss with Minimal Muscle Loss
- 2 pounds per week in the obese (BMI of 30 or above)
- 1 pound per week in the overweight (BMI of 25 to 30)
- ½ pound per week, or less, in guys who are lean and trying to get even leaner
Muscle Gain with Minimal Fat Gain
- 2 to 3 pounds per month in novices and advanced beginners (those with less than 2 years of consistent strength training)
- 1 to 2 pounds per month in intermediates (those with 2 to 4 years of consistent training)
- ½ pound per month in advanced lifters who are close to their genetic ceiling
It’s important to note that the first few weeks and months will bring the biggest losses/gains.
For example, it’s common to drop a full 2kg in your first week of cutting – especially if you lowered your carb intake. This is great for motivation, but it’s not a realistic representation of what you should expect long term.
This exaggerated change is primarily due to changes in water weight, as well as the initial shock your body experiences from the abrupt change in calorie intake.
What this means is that you shouldn’t fret over your weight loss/gains plateauing after the first few weeks. Rather, you should expect it. Don’t let it mess with your motivation.
The following information is specific to the Leangains calorie and macronutrient calculator (select ‘Leangains’ in the ‘Diet’ dropdown).
This calculator uses the equation recommended by Martin Berkhan in his book The Leangains Method to estimate your daily calorie and macronutrient needs.
To use this approach to calculate your TDEE, you multiply your body weight in kilograms by your calculated base value. This base value starts at 28 for men, and 26 for women.
Your base value is modified depending on your Stats – age, height, body fat, muscle mass, and steps taken each day.
Let’s use our imaginary friend Paul as an example. Paul’s stats are:
- 21 year old male (+0.5)
- 13% body fat (+0)
- 180 cm tall (+0)
- Muscular (+0.5)
- 8000 steps per day (+1.0)
So Paul’s final base value is → 28 + 0.5 + 0 + 0 + 0.5 + 1.0 = 30. Paul weighs in at 80 kg, so that puts him at:
80 kg × 30 base value = 2400 calorie TDEE
Below I explain the specifics of how each factor affects your base value. Note that the calorie calculator automatically does this math for you. This is just an explanation of the logic behind the calculator, for those interested.
Your age alters your base value in the following way:
So an 18 year old man/woman would add 0.5 to their base value.
How your height alters your base value depends on your gender:
167 cm ≈ 5 feet, 5 inches = 65 inches
185 cm ≈ 6 feet, 1 inches = 73 inches
153 cm ≈ 5 feet, 0 inches = 60 inches
170 cm ≈ 5 feet, 7 inches = 67 inches
So a 175 cm tall guy would keep his base value the same, while a 175 cm tall woman would add 1 to her base value.
How your body fat percentage alters your base value depends on your gender:
22 choose Muscular. For Very Muscular, your FFMI should be >24.
There is no FFMI recommendation for women – women can use Muscular at their own discretion.
Goal (Leangains specific)
Your goal calories deviate from your TDEE depending on your gender, and whether you’re cutting or bulking. Either way it is a constant number (as opposed to a percentage).
For men, a ±500 calorie deficit/surplus depending on whether you’re cutting or bulking.
For women, a ±350 calorie deficit/surplus depending on whether you’re cutting or bulking.
This will result in an approximate weight loss/gain of 0.5 kilograms (1.1 pounds) for men, or 0.35 kilograms (0.77 pounds) for women.
This is an approximation for the number of steps you take each day. If you want an accurate result, use a pedometer or phone application such as Health (iOS) or Google Fit (Android).
If you’re sedentary for most of your week or are unsure, assume a value of 5000 steps (note that steps less than 6000 have the same activity multiplier).