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How To Calculate Calories and Macros

Depending on your personality type and lifestyle, trying to follow a behavior based approach to nutrition can be hard. For some people, adopting a Paleo, low carb, Whole30, Slow Carb, or Intermittent Fasting diet works really well.

But it doesn't work for everyone.

If you're like me, you want details to help meet your goals. This article is for those that haven't had success with those kind of diets. I want to give you the tools to figure out exactly what calorie and macronutrient requirements you need to lose fat or gain mass, depending on your goals.

Before we get into specific calculations, here are a few general rules.

#1 Create A Calorie Deficit

At the end of the day, we need to be burning more calories than we consume on average. I've come to realize there is is no way around this. I wish you could just eat as much paleo or organic food as you want and still look lean but the bottom line is it simply isn't true. You can get fat eating paleo (or any other diet for that manner). When it comes to fat loss, we have to prioritize calories.

#2 Meet Your Protein Needs

After calories are set, the next focus is on getting adequate protein. This is especially true for those that do frequent resistance training (and if you are reading this that's probably the case). So get your protein dialed in before worrying about fats or carbs.

#3 After Calorie and Protein Needs Are Met, Fill In The Rest

What I mean by this is that after you do #1 and #2, feel free to eat low carb, or high fat, or paleo, or whatever else you'd like to meet the remaining calories needed for the day.

Now on to some specific numbers.

Fat Loss

The following infographic is from Sohee Lee (of SoheeFit).

Sohee offers further advice here:

"You must be consuming fewer calories than you burn in order to shed body fat. Most people will do well setting calories at bodyweight (lbs) x 10-13. Keep in mind that your age, activity level (including non-exercise activity thermogenesis - things like fidgeting and cleaning the house), gender, and genetics will all influence your calorie needs, and some of you may be able to diet on even higher calories than this. If you know your maintenance intake, set THAT as your baseline instead and subtract 300-500 Calories. Starting calories should be set as HIGH as possible while still seeing results."

Sohee is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), a Certified Sports Nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (CISSN).

Mass Gain

For this topic I want to defer to someone I have followed for quite a while, Jordan Syatt. This is what he has to say:

"Mass gain is frequently used as an excuse to let the diet go to shit and gain unnecessary amounts of weight. A well executed mass gain phase, however, will minimize fat gain while maximizing muscle growth and strength gains.

To gain mass it is necessary to create and maintain an adequate caloric surplus. To help you accomplish this, below I’ve provided the general calorie and macronutrient recommendations that I use for myself, as well as my clients, during a mass gain phase."

Jordan Syatt is a strength training and nutritional consultant (and Gary Vaynerchuk's full-time trainer!). He is a World Record Powerlifter, featured in publications such as T-Nation, Muscle & Fitness, and Men’s Fitness Magazine. He is also Precision Nutrition Certified, Westside-Barbell Certified and owner of

This is just one approach to nutrition. Feel free to do whatever works for you. BUT... if you have been struggling to gain or lose weight, the most important piece of advice I have is to start tracking your calories. What gets measured gets managed. Download MyFitnessPal (on IOS or Android) for free. It's a great tool and can be very eye-opening.

If you need more information or want help working out the math, please feel free to contact me ( or your Coach For Life. We are here to help!

Group Class Programming for Monday, August 8th, 2017:

1. Skill Based Warm-up: The Muscle-up

2. Squat Snatch
3x55%, 3x60%, 3x65%
3x70%, 2x75%, 1x80%, 
3x70%, 2x75%, 1x80%
*pause for 3 seconds at SN8 on every rep
*perform sets every 90 seconds

3. "Amanda"

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