Calculating Your Bodybuilding Macros

Anthony Myers 116

If you don’t know what bodybuilding macros are, allow me to explain:

Macros is short for macro-nutrients. As a bodybuilder, you want to determine your macro-nutrient percentages to achieve your ideal physique.

When I say bodybuilder, I don’t mean you have to be an enormous guy like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. I consider a bodybuilder anybody that wants to build muscle and lose fat to create a visually pleasing physique. How much muscle you want to build and how much fat you want to lose is up to you.

If you’re good at math and know what you’re doing, see the short answer below. If you want an explanation and a helping hand along the way, continue reading this post.

Macros for bodybuilding short answer:

Protein – 40%

Fat – 20%

Carbs 40%


Macros for bodybuilding, detailed answer:

As for the detailed answer, we’re going to take 5 steps to create your fat burning, muscle building nutrition plan and determine your bodybuilding macros.

Before we get into that though, I have a useful chart below that will help you convert nutrients from grams into calories. I know it might sound a bit confusing, but I promise, by the end of this post it will make perfect sense. If it doesn’t, feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to help clarify things.


Macronutrient Calories Per Gram
Protein 4
Fat 9
Carbohydrates 4


1. What is your goal? – Bulking or cutting?

2. Determine your daily maintenance calories -

If you chose to bulk, you are going to need to eat above your maintenance level – > Multiple your body weight by 18. That’s how many calories you should aim to eat each day.

Example: I weigh 200lbs. If I wanted to bulk up, I would consume 3,600 calories every day

If you choose to cut, you are going to need to eat below your maintenance level – > Multiple your body weight by12. That’s how many calories you should ai to each every day.

Example: I weight 200lbs. I’m currently cutting, so I’m aiming to consume about 2,400 calories every day.

3. Determine your daily protein requirements -

The quick and easy method is to just aim to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein for every lb of body weight.

Most people think protein is most important during a bulk. Wrong. My protein intake is the highest when I am cutting. The reason for that is because when you are cutting, you are at risk of losing muscle mass if you are not careful. Keeping your protein intake high will preserve muscle.

So if you usually consume 1g of protein for each lb of body-weight, boost it to 1.5g of protein for each lb of body-weight while you are on your cut.

Example: I weight 200lbs and I am currently cutting, so my protein intake is 200-300 grams every day. For the sake of easy math, let’s say 250.

250 grams of protein is is  equal to 1,000 calories. (250 gramsx 4calories per gram)

1,000 calories is 41% of my 2,400 total daily calories…

4. Determine your daily fat intake 

Most bodybuilding macros recommend 20%-30% of your calories come from fat.

Again, for the sake of easy math, I’m going to recommend 20% fat. You can adjust this as neccesary. I wouldn’t go above 30% or below 20%, though.

Example: My current daily calorie requirements are 2,400 calories/day. 20% of that is 480 calories. 480 calories/9 calories per gram of fat = 53g of fat per day

5. Determine your daily carbohydrate intake -

Your remaining calories should come from carbohydrates. Since 1,000 of my calories is coming from protein, and 480 of my daily calories are coming from fat, I have 920 calories left to consume every day. Those calories should come from carbs. 920 calories / 4grams per calorie = 230 grams of carbohydrates everyday.

At the end of our 5 step macros formula you should have come very close to reaching the bodybuilding macros that I recommended in the first part of my post. Protein – 40% , Fat – 20% , Carbohydrates – 40% – Don’t worry if it’s off a bit, everybody is different and you are going to need to experiment a little bit. However, if you are following the recommendations outlined in this post I guarantee you will see more results than the majority of people who have no plan at all when it comes to eating. Remember – What can be measured can be managed.

Note: Any calorie calculator or nutrition formula is only going to give you a good starting point. You should track your progress, if you haven’t gained/lost weight after a week or two alter your calorie intake by 250-500 calories.




  1. Andrew June 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Hi ya I want to bulk up,I’m 6ft 4 and weight 15 I need the same amount of protein as carbs,any info would be gratefully appreciated

    • Anthony Myers July 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      I would aim for the same amount of protein as carbs, yes.

      Generally I recommend 40% of your diet is from protein, 40% is from carbs, and the remaining 20% should come from fats.

  2. Lisa June 12, 2014 at 5:10 am - Reply

    Hi! I’m calculating numbers for a friend and it’s not sounding right. He’s 145lbs. and wants to bulk. (needs 2610 cals/day)
    145g/protein = 580 cals of protein daily.
    20% fat = 522 cals/fat day
    377g/carbs = 1508 cals.

    That’s not close to 40/20/40.

    What am I messing up?

    • Anthony Myers July 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      You’re going by 1g of protein for each lb of bodyweight rather than just 40% of the diet being from protein.

      Here’s how it should be broken down.

      2,610 Calories/Day (Bulking)

      Protein = 260g
      Carbs = 260g
      Fat = 58g

      He’s bulking, so you can sacrifice a bit of the protein and increase the carbs/fat.

      So I would say as long as he’s hitting 200g of protein, the remainder of the calories can be consumed through carbs.

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