Macros, short for macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), form the basis of what we call Flexible Dieting/If it fits your Macros (or IIFYM). These macros are the basis of all calories you consume.
Before you read this make sure you’ve read the article What is Carb Cycling, to understand more about the approach we recommend.
Calculating and adjusting your daily macro goals is both the bread and butter basics and something you never really graduate from as a Carb Cycler and in my opinion the definition of success when it comes to fatloss and building lean muscle to deliver your Warrior Goddess Body.
Starting out with Carb Cycling, it may seems a lot more complicated than it really is.
Your ability to calculate and adjust your macros correctly will largely determine whether or not you reach your body goals.
Every woman is different (yes, you are a unique snowflake…) so calculating your macros is just the beginning. And even the most experienced coaches working with clients may get it wrong to start with.
Each woman’s metabolism, overall health, and lifestyle all play a vital role in how much energy we actually burn and how much of each macronutrient we should be eating.
But starting with some solid guidelines, even if it isn’t quite right, can be a good start on your journey to dominate your goals, and getting the body you want.
So Where Do You Start…
Calculate your TDEE
When getting started with Carb Cycling the most important thing to calculate is your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
Have you completed this step yet? If not, click here.
I’ve found losing weight and losing fat can be two different things (you can lose muscle too), hence the importance of measuring each macronutrient. It guarantees you lose the fat whilst building lean muscle.
Be sure to note this amount of Calories in your 7 Day Cycle Worksheet. This is your maintenance calories and normally somewhere between your Reg Calorie Day and Feast Day.
Now Understand each of your Macros: Protein, Fat, & Carbs
So you’ve got your TDEE sorted. Hi Five! Now let’s figure out the macronutrient ratios that will make up your diet.
Here are the calorie values for each macronutrient:
1g Protein = 4 Calories
1g Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
1g Fat = 9 Calories
First, let’s start with protein. Protein is essential for the growth of new tissue as well as fixing broken tissue – like what happens when you work out. Protein should be your new best friend if you want to gain or maintain muscle.
When lifting heavy and building essential muscle curves, some use a measure of 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. However, for most people a more balanced approach is to start with .825 g protein per pound.
So if our individual weighs 195lbs (88 kg), and they are doing a moderate weight training program, then their protein intake will be 161 grams.
Next, let’s calculate fat. Fat has been demonized as the reason most of us are, well, fat. But that’s simply not true.
Fats can be incredibly beneficial for hitting your body composition goals, but they also affect our hormones – too little fat in our diet can be very harmful.
After a bit of research (and again, there are a lot of opinions out there) I designate 25% of overall TDEE calories to fat. This may be adjusted, but this is the starting point.
To figure out 25% of Overall TDEE:
3,250 Calories x 0.25 ( = 812.5 Calories) divided by 9 (9 calories per gram of fat) = 90.27g Fat (which I’d round down to 90 g).
If there’s one thing that both Flexible Dieting and Carb Cycling community of the world agrees on it’s this: We love Carbs!
Think of all your favorite foods and chances are they are high in Carbohydrates. Your body uses carbohydrates to make glucose which is the preferred fuel or energy that our bodies run off of. They’re what keeps us going.
Fiber, which is important to track if you want to be healthy, is also a carbohydrate but doesn’t deliver calories.
We’ve now sorted protein and fats, but how many carbs do we eat? We allocate the rest of our calories (originally calculated from our TDEE) to Carbohydrates.
We started with 3,250 Calories. We allocated 644 calories (161 g) to Protein, 813 calories (90 g) to Fat and we now allocate the rest, 1793 calories, to Carbohydrates.
Since 1g of Carb equals 4 calories we divide 1793 by 4 and get 448 g Carbohydrates.
Final Macros: 161 g Protein, Fat 90 g and 448 g Carbohydrates for this goddess to maintain her current weight.
Want an easy to use tool to take away all that MATH!!??
Use the Macro Calculator to determine your Macros
Just go and use our Macro Calculator. The calculator allows these variables to be tweaked. We are all individual goddesses and one formula does not suit all.
Once you get these numbers, they may change when you put them in your My Fitness Pal entry. This Calculator doesn’t favour our usual 30/40/40 split for Carbs/Protein/Fats so be prepared to tweek them later based on the guidance in this worksheet.
So How Do I Track My Macros?
1. Use an app
For beginners we recommend My Fitness Pal– it has one of the clearest and easiest food searches around. You can usually get MFP for FREE for first 30 days as you will need the Premium Version to customise each day of the cycle.
You can use it on your computer Desktop or download the app MyFitnessPal (iOS / Android) – see our full Setting Up My Fitness Pal tutorial here.
2. Buy a Food Scale
A lot of nutritional information is available on food packaging, however, a scale will ensure you accurately track what you eat.
You will not need to measure your food FOREVER. You will find that you tend to eat the same 10-14 meals over and over again and you will learn to be able to use the ‘eyeball’ or rule of thumb method you discovered in your 28 Day Programme once you have completed about 7 days of strict measuring. I do recommend that you measure in this way for at least 7 days as you may just surprise yourself with the quantities of what you are eating (both too much or too little!).
And that’s it. Do the above and you will be well on your way to getting started with Flexible Dieting & Carb Cycling to achieve your Warrior Goddess Body.
So get started and adjust as needed!
2. You need to match your exercise to each day of the carb cycle to maximize your building of lean muscle and boosting your metabolism.
3. Once you have committed this to paper you can then use My Fitness Pal to track your daily intake according to these macros.
4. You can return to the Custom Cycle Step here too.