Setting up your macros as a plant-based professional isn’t as hard as you think.
Yet it can be frustrating when you want to improve your gains and clean up your nutrition but aren’t sure how.
However, mastering this concept can elevate your physique to the next level.
While portion control, intuitive eating, and eye measuring have their time and place, there’s nothing as effective as precise measurements of your food.
There’s no reason to make this difficult though.
Let’s look at how you can calculate your macros as a busy plant-based professional without feeling overwhelmed.
(first three steps are taken from our Plant-Based Fat-Loss Guide).
Calculate your BMR
First, calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of how many calories your body burns on average each day maintaining bodily functions before you start adding in training or movement.
Here’s a simple tool you can use.
Calculate your TDEE
The next step in your fat shred journey is to calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This part of the formula adds in your BMR from above and your daily movements like training and activity levels.
Again you can use the same tool above here.
Now you have accurate look at your body’s base needs and how much you’re burning.
You’re 95% more accurate than most people in the world who train and eat well.
Now it’s time to take it to the next level.
Calculate your goal
The next step is to calculate your deficit.
Based on the discussion above, choosing the right deficit comes down to your training goal. Remember the more aggressive the deficit, the higher chance you have of losing your LM (lean muscle) and strength gains.
After you’ve gone through each step above, setting up your macros should be a breeze. Armed with this knowledge you can now safely make a precise calculation for your fitness goals.
Protein: 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories per gram
Carbohydrates: 1 gram of carbs contains 4 calories per gram
Lipids (fat): 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories per gram
Being precise leads to precise results. Knowing this, you can begin to formulate the right numbers.
If your goal is muscle gain aim for at least 1 gram of protein per body weight. Ideally, this would be between 20-30% of your caloric intake.
Contrary to popular belief you don’t need more than 1 gram of protein per body weight to grow new muscle tissue.
That being said there may be times when it can be useful to maintain higher protein intake. A good example would be when you are cutting and need to preserve as much lean muscle mass as possible.
Using a higher percentage of calories between 25-35% would be ideal.
Aim to calculate the protein goal because this will ensure that you maintain your lean muscle mass, ensure satiety (fullness) and improve fat loss.
So if you’re 160 pounds, this will give you 160 grams of protein at 640 calories.
The next macronutrient to calculate is your carbohydrates.
Since carbs are the main fuel source for your body, calculating the right amount can be the difference between powering through your workout or feeling exhausted every time you lift a weight.
Carbs should form 40-60% of your calories depending on your training goal.
Remember carbs are similar to protein in regards to the number of calories per gram. So continuing with the example above we can look at the number of carbs we’re eating by multiplying the grams by calories.
So let’s say your carbs are set at 50% of total calories, you could use the same method used to calculate protein by multiplying your carbs grams by calories.
For this example, let’s set the carbs at 300 grams per body weight.
Multiple 300 x 4 and this will give you a total of 1200 calories of carbs. For an average height, average weight male at 160 pounds this is perfectly reasonable.
The last macro to calculate is your fats.
Often overlooked due to the stigmas that arose in the 90’s when fat was demonized as the reason why people were getting more overweight, fat or lipids, are essential to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance.
Again using the example above, we can see that we’ve used 50% of calories from carbs, 30% protein, which leaves us with a healthy range of 20% for fat.
Fat ranges can vary but it’s necessary to leave a good range of fats unless you’re keen on experiencing hormonal disruptions.
A good example would be using a range of 15-25% for fats. Again you can always go higher or lower but that subject is outside the scope of this article.
Remember fat calories are higher than carbs and fat so when you make your calculations remember to take into account the differences.
20% of fat at 9 grams per calorie would leave you at 520 calories based on the example above for a 160-pound male using a maintenance plan on 2600 calories.
58 grams of fat would be your total amount of daily fat as we wrap up the numbers.
Now wrapping up everything together, putting together your vegan macros isn’t as hard as you thought.
That being said using the calculations based on your body is crucial in order to make the right changes for your goals.
There are also a few tools you can use to help simplify the process as you become more proficient and want to save more time.
The main goal is to maintain consistency, stay focused on your goal, and make the necessary adjustments in order to keep progressing.
Here’s a quick list of resources you can use today to start helping you track more effectively:
The main thing to remember is to pick a tool and get started.
Wasting time on trying to find the perfect option will only hinder your progress. Keep your focus on continual growth and your plant gains will keep coming.
Interested in more science-based articles that help you finally MASTER your fitness? Head over here.
Comments or questions? Let us know below.
References and Further Reading