If you haven’t yet read our piece about how many calories you should be eating, then go here first.
Now that you’ve got an idea of how many total calories you should be eating to maintain your current bodyweight based on your current exercise schedule we can dive a bit further in with a discussion on macros…
As part of our Adapt course we go into much greater depth on the roles of protein, fats and carbohydrates in the body, but the headlines are quite simple.
There are three macros (macronutrients):
Protein – building, growth and immunity
Fat – energy, growth and hormones
Carbohydrates – energy
The questions surrounding how much of each to eat is partly answered by diving into your goals, but assuming you just want to get started with something straight away then this is possibly the easiest starting point to work from as it begins with knowing your bodyweight in kg:
2 x bodyweight (in kg) = number of grams of protein to eat per day
1 x bodyweight (in kg) = number of grams of fat to eat per day
Whatever is left over from your headline target of calories / 4 = number of grams of carbohydrate to eat per day
So, some working examples:
A female who weighs 65kg who exercises at a moderate intensity 5 times a week needs to eat around 2300 calories per day to maintain her bodyweight.
If she eats 130g of protein (~520 calories) and 65g of fat (~585 calories) she has 1195 calories leftover to come from carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates provide 4 calories/gram then this leaves just under 300g of carbohydrates per day.
A male who weighs 85kg who exercises at a low intensity 4 times a week needs to eat around 2500 calories per day to maintain his bodyweight.
If he eats 170g of protein (~680 calories) and 85g of fat (~765 calories) he has 1055 calories left over for carbohydrates. As we know that carbohydrates are 4 calories/gram that leaves him with about 260g of carbohydrates per day.
We know that a lot of people who come to us for nutrition coaching are initially scared when data is assessed as targets can seem high, but we have the media to thank for that. Time and again, as trust levels build up clients who work with us move towards their goals much faster than those who hang onto their previous beliefs.