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Building Your Meal Plan!

Learn How To Calculate Your Daily Protein, Carb & Fat Needs To Reach Your Goals!

Posted by Scott_Herman - January 1st, 2014

The MEAL PLAN! It seems like this topic has been blown so out of proportion, with so many different “tricks” over the years, that a lot of us just say “whatever” when it comes to counting their calories and macros.


The most often words spoken are:


“I’ll just east clean.”



When it comes to reaching your goals, having a well thought out meal plan is imperative and finding the right ratios of protein, carbs, and fat is much easier than you have been lead to believe.


To begin, you will need to know the following information.

  • Weight:
  • Body Fat %:
  • Basil Metabolic Rate - BMR (Calculator Link)
    • At Rest:
    • In Motion:

For the purpose of this article, I will be using my own information as an example.


My Info:

  • Weight: 171 lbs
  • Bodyfat %: 7% (0.07)
  • BMR
    • At Rest: 1,832 calories
    • In Motion: 2,840 calories

Once you have this information it’s time to do some calculations. First, we will need to see how much of your bodyweight is FAT WEIGHT.

  • FAT WEIGHT = Weight x Bodyfat %
  • My FAT WEIGHT: 171 lbs x 0.07 = 12 lbs

Next we are going to use this number to find yourLEAN WEIGHT.

  • LEAN WEIGHT = Weight – Fat Weight
  • My LEAN WEIGHT = 171 lbs – 12lbs = 159 lbs

We will also need to find your AVERAGE BMR. This will tell us how many calories you need to burn a day in order to maintain your current bodyweight. The AVERAGE BMR is the average between your BMR In Motion and BMR At Rest. Both these numbers can be obtained on the SHF site LINK TO BMR.

  • AVERAGE BMR = (BMR In Motion + BMR At Rest ) / 2
  • My AVERAGE BMR: (2,840 calories + 1,832 calories) / 2 = 2,336 calories

Now let’s quickly recap with all the numbers we just gathered.


My Info:

  • Weight: 171 lbs
  • Bodyfat %: 7% (0.07)
  • Fat Weight: 12 lbs
  • Lean Weight: 159 lbs
  • BMR: 2,336 calories

Once you have all the information you need, we are going to calculate your PROTEIN & FAT intake for the day based on your GOAL and LEAN WEIGHT.


Protein Multiplier

This multiplier will tell you how much protein you need to ingest per day according to your goal.


Goal: Maintain / Lose Weight

  • Ingest 1 gram per pound of lean weight
    • My protein intake goal = 1 x 159 lbs = 159 grams

Goal: Gain Muscle

  • Ingest 1.5 grams per pound of lean weight
    • My protein intake goal = 1.5 x 159 lbs = 239 grams


Fat Multiplier

This multiplier will tell you how much fat you need to ingest per day according to your goal.


Goal: Maintain / Lose Weight

  • Ingest 0.35 grams per pound of lean weight
    • My fat intake goal = 0.35 x 159lbs = 56 grams

Goal: Gain Muscle

  • Ingest 0.5 grams per pound of lean weight
    • My fat intake goal = 0.5 x 159lbs = 80 grams

My goal is to gain muscle, so I will be using the GAIN MUSCLE multipliers.


My Daily Protein & Fat Intake Goals:

  • Protein: 239 grams
  • Fat: 80 grams

Now that I know how much protein and fat I need to consume per day, the next step involves converting GRAMS to CALORIES. This will help me calculate how many calories are being taken by protein and fat per day and will help me determine how many calories are left over for carbohydrate intake. Below is a chart that will explain how many calories there are per 1 gram of each macronutrient.


Converting Macros from GRAMS to CALORIES


Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories

Carbs: 1 gram = 4 calories

Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories


I will now use this chart to calculate my TOTAL CALORIES being ingested from Protein & Fat.


Protein in Calories

  • 239 grams X 4 calories = 956 calories

Fat in Calories

  • 80 grams X 9 calories = 720 calories

Total Calories from PROTEIN & FAT

  • 956 calories + 720 calories = 1,676 calories

We are now going to use this number to determine your carb intake based on your goal. But in order to do this we will need to adjust your AVERAGE BMR to reflect your goal.

  1. If your goal is to MAINTAIN you will use the same number, no adjustment is needed.
  2. If your goal is WEIGHT LOSS you will subtract 250 – 500 calories from your AVERAGE BMR.
    • My weight loss range = (2,336 – 500) to (2,336 – 250) = 1,836 to 2,086 calories daily.
  3. If your goal is MUSCLE GAIN you will add 250 – 500 calories to your AVERAGE BMR.
    • My muscle gain range = (2,336 + 500) to (2,336 + 250) = 2,836 to 2,586 calories daily.

As my goal is to make lean gains (muscle gains with very little fat gain) I will be using the lower end of the scale.


Let’s recap what we’ve gathered so far.

  • My Daily Calorie Goal: 2,336 + 250 = 2,586 calories
  • My Calories From Protein & Fat: 1,676 calories

We will now use this information to figure out your daily need for CARBOHYDRATES by subtracting the calories from PROTEIN & FAT from your DAILY CALORIE GOAL.


Carb Calculator

Your allotted carbohydrate intake will be the left over calories from Protein and Fat.

  • My carb intake goal = 2,586 calories – 1,676 calories = 910 calories

We will now use this number to convert the leftover calories for CARBS into GRAMS.


Carbs in Grams (Round Up)

Remember from the gram to calorie table, that 1 gram of Carbs = 4 calories.

  • 910 calories / 4 calories = 228 grams

Congratulations! The work is done! You now have a baseline of what your daily protein, carb, and fat intake should be based on you goal!


My Daily MACROS!

  • Protein: 239 grams         (956 calories)
  • Carbs: 228 grams            (912 calories)
  • Fat: 80 grams                  (720 calories)
  • Total Calories:                (2,588 calories)

Keep in mind that these numbers are your BASELINE starting point. As you continue to exercise you are going to have to manipulate these numbers to ensure that you are eating enough to reach your goal. Also, everyone reacts differently to different ratios of protein, carbs, and fats. Below I am going to list some carb intake guidelines to help you make adjustments to your meal plan if needed.


Daily Carb Intake Guidelines

  • Accelerated Fat Loss: 0g – 50grams
    • NOTE: This is not a healthy long term range for your daily carb intake. You should only be in this range short term for a specific event such as a bodybuilding show or a photoshoot. If you ever choose to utilize this range, be sure to monitor your body closely and have at least one REFEED day a week of about 250 – 300 grams of carbs to replenish glycogen stores.
  • Fat Loss: 50 grams – 100 grams

  • Maintenance: 100 grams – 150 grams

  • Weight Gain: 150 grams – 300 grams

  • Excessive Weight Gain: 300 grams

After weeks of training and manipulating my own daily macronutrient ratios, these are my final numbers.


Final Adjustments: My Daily Macros

  • Protein: 250 grams       (1000 calories)
  • Carbs: 150 grams           (600 calories)
  • Fat: 100 grams                (900 calories)

As you continue to exercise, lose weight, and gain muscle you will need to make more adjustments. I recommend revisiting your daily macros at least once a month to ensure you are eating enough food to reach your goal.


If you would like to take advantage of our 100% customized meal planner for a one month FREE TRIAL be sure to sign-up as a PLATINUM member and use the promo code: FREEFITNESS

If you need more help with building your meal plan, please feel free to join us in the “Diet & Nutrition” section of our FORUMS and our community will do our best to help you get on the right track!


If this article helped you and you'd like to learn more ways to maximize your results, SIGN-UP for the Platinum Membership today!

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MEMBER COMMENTS

Proko

Hey Scott, thanks for all the info! I'm 6'2'' and 203 pounds and my objective is to gain lean muscle. I think that i'm near to 14% body fat. I go 4 days a week to the gym. I made the calculations and i got:


BMR at Rest2100Cal/day
BMR in Motion3250Cal/day
Average BMR2675
Cal
Gain muscle+325Cal


Final Macros

Protein261g
Carbs294g
Fat87g
Calories3003Cal


I adjusted the numbers to get:


My Daily Macros

Protein276g
Carbs250g
Fat100g
Calories3001
Cal/day


What do you think of these numbers?

In rest days, what should be my numbers?

Thanks for the help man!

Scott_Herman

Those numbers look great man! Although at your size, to be honest, I think you'll need closer to 3500 calories or more daily for muscle gain. You can try 3000 for a week or two and see what results you get though, just in case. You're already at about 1.5g protein per pound of lean bodyweight which is good, so if you decide you need to bump up the calories, increase the carbs closer to 300g and fats can go up too.


On rest days just cut the carbs back a bit to reduce the calories 😁 

Proko

Thanks for answer Scott. Yeah, I'm getting use to eat more, and keep track to my meals. I'm thinking to buy a digital kitchen scale, to keep track more accurately too. I will try first with 3000 Cal two weeks, and them bump up to 3500 Cal. 

Scott_Herman

@proko Sounds like a good plan bro! Only increase if you need to 😊 

ActiveLean

Hi there Scott, Appreciate your effort of putting this science thing in here haha!

By the way i'm 21 years old, 5`8" / 145 lbs and 11.7% body fat, also my goal is to gain lean muscle.

My Daily Macros:   Protein:193.5 

                               Fat: 65 

                               Carbs: 323

    Average BMR: 2154 + 500 calories in plus to gain muscle = 2654 calorie goal/day. 

    After few adjustments i was think to increase the protein/fat intake and cut the carbs, because seems to be too much carbs for myself i'd say; So the new Daily Macros will be:

                                                                               Protein: 250   (2 x lean weight instead of 1.5... )

                                                                               Fat: 80 (increased with 15 grams)

                                                                               Carbs: 233.5 (240 around).

What do you think about that adjustment Scott will suit better ?

Thanks for the help also your knowledge, much appreciated !!! 

Scott_Herman

Hey @activelean! You've done a good job with your macro re-calculations man! You could probably get away with between 250g-300g carbs if you're looking for lean mass, but that's OK. You can definitely try these numbers for the next week or two and see what the scale does. You can even increase fats to 90g-100g when you hit a plateau and need to add more calories too. If you're already at 2x lean bodyweight with protein you won't need to worry about increasing that too much too soon. Keep up the great work!

ActiveLean

Thanks for the reply Scott! Will keep the great work for sure!

Also by increasing the fats to 90g-100g sounds well better and definitely some calories added in plus.

I will start posting the work and the results soon!

Thanks again for the reply and everything, much appreciated !

John.

Scott_Herman

@activelean My pleasure! Look forward to seeing your results 😊 

NC_Nate

Hey Scott, thanks for all the info, I appreciate it...  I'm 6'2'' and 190 pounds and want to gain lean muscle - what do you think of these numbers?


Protein: 240g

Fat: 100g

Carbs: 285g

Total of 3,000 calories


Do you think that's enough calories to build muscle? Should I add more carbs?


Thanks for the help man!

Scott_Herman

Hey @nc_nate!  For your height I would say closer to 3500 - 4000.. but if you are just starting to increase calories I would stick with 3,000 for 2 weeks.. then go up 250calories for two weeks and keep increasing until you hit between 3500 - 4000.  then monitor your body to ensure you are not packing fat.  If you are.. then we just adjust caloires down a little.  Just keep letting us know about your progress.  Get some photos on your profile to help us too!

NC_Nate

Hey Scott, thanks for the reply - I thought 3,000 calories might be on the low side. I'll follow your advice and slowly increase my daily intake. I appreciate all the videos and workout tips - you rock!

Scott_Herman

Yeah man gotta get that food in to grow!! Train hard!! 😎 

SeepraHerra

Hi Scott. I'm 16 years old, 68 kg, 168 cm and my bodyfat% is about 16%. I'm planning to clean bulk and i need your opinion, these are the results i came up with:



On rest-days:

Protein: 233g    920 kcal
Fats: 100g        900 kcal
Carbs:175g      700kcal 

total calories: 2520 kcal



On workout-days:

Protein: 230g  920 kcal
Fats: 100g      900 kcal
Carbs: 300g  1200 kcal

total calories: 3020 kcal


I added 350 surplus calories.


What do you think? 


I hope that you reply on this :)

Scott_Herman

Hey @seepraherra, this looks like it could be a great starting point.   We wont know for sure until about 2 - 3 weeks of doing this.  So make sure you take some photos and track your weight / bodyfat % now and again in three weeks!  Great job my bro!

SeepraHerra

Okey great, thank you for the reply bro!

MikeyH1

Hey Scott. I have no clue if you will see this, but i need an opinion on what to do next. I'm 18 years old, 5 feet 10 inchs, ive been counting calories for about 3 months now, and have been going to the gym and working out for about two months. I have went from 192 pounds down to 166, so i have lost a good bit of weight, but not all of course, still have little belly fat, and love handle fat aswell. I have been trying to figure out if i should continue to cut, or if i should try to bulk (lean bulk). I want to figure out before i do the calculations for everything what is the better choice to do. At the moment i workout four days a week (five with cardio) (Upper,Lower,Cardio,Upper,Lower) and just want to figure out what is the smartest thing to do. Thanks (if you see this) ha 


(ive attached two pictures, i dont know if they can be seen, but thats my transformation so far.) 


 

Scott_Herman

hey man, sorry took so long to get back here!  How are things going since the tattoo?  Give me a full current update so my advice can be more accurate! 😁 

MikeyH1

Its all good man! Things have been good, haven't been able to lift and even sweat for a week or two (just got back to the gym a few days ago) but ive cut calories a little trying not to over eat calories while not being able to use them. Im down to 159 pounds and just doing cardio at the gym. wanna get back into lifting but i will soon be doing the second session of the tat, sooo its a struggle, ha. should i change my results above to lose weight for the time being?

Scott_Herman

If I were you I would start hitting the dumbbell circuits in my home program.  You can do them twice in a row for a 30 - 40 minute workout and honestly you will burn WAY MORE calories this way.  Just download the program calendar here: http://muscularstrength.com/12-Week-Home-Program

Also, this way you wont have to worry about interfering with that tattoo!!

Ubiscus

hi Scot! am 6.6 and am 210 lbs and i have fat about 12% am am basketball player but i want to get more lean muscle ,about 5 - 7 lbs

i count a cal and my middle is 2700 cal

so about 270g protein

90g fat

200g carbs

please help me and tell me to change something or to carry on like this?

thanks a lot

Scott_Herman

My friend.. at your height you need to be closer to 3500 to 4,000 a day.  Boost carbs to over 350 and fat over 100... have you been eating that low the last couple of weeks or did you increase on your own?

MattLipp18

Scott Herman I need your help! I'm 6'3 and 197lbs. I've been lifting consistently for a year. Visabley I can see I have gained some muscle. I've been eating clean protein carbs and fats, I just can't figure out my macros tho. This is telling me 171 g of protein and 505 g of carbs. Just doesn't seem right. Any advice would help! Thanks!

Scott_Herman

no worries @mattlipp18, did you do the carb adjustments at the bottom of the article?  What is your fat?

MattLipp18

I just tried the calculator again the results have changed lol 

Calories 3437

Protein 253

Carbs 435

Fats 76

This sounds like a good plan for my macros to me. What's your opinion Scott? Eating that many carbs is gonna be rough but we gotta make those gains right? Thanks for replying 

Scott_Herman

if anything keep the calories the same.. but boost fat close to 100g and lower carbs to compensate.  how has it been going so far @mattlipp18?

fenrispack

glad I had this bookmarked, just using the calculator gave me mostly the same answers except with the carbs, which was off for some reason


Scott_Herman

yeah you will have to adjust the carbs based on goal.  I give examples at the bottom of the article :-D

Scott_Herman

yeah you will have to adjust the carbs based on goal.  I give examples at the bottom of the article :-D

fenrispack

I have read this article, which is super helpful (with the video clarifying too), and this is the first time I noticed the carb mods at the bottom.... duh wake up Dave

thedumninja

Hi, I am just now getting into working out, finally got my gym membership!! My problem is I'm a really skinny guy. I weigh 136 right now at 6'0 and I'm 22 years old. My BMR average is 2123 calories and I'm looking to put on muscle so I should put on at least 300 calories, my only problem is I don't know my body fat percentage. But if I had to guess it would be like 10% so if I put my caloric intake to 2500 calories or so then it would look something like this?


Protein 185

Fats 62

Carbs 300


Looking at some of the other comments I should probably lower my carbs and increase the other 2 but I was wondering if you could help me with that since you know a lot about this stuff. My goal is to just put on a lot of muscle and I'm gonna start by doing full body routines 3 times a week. I also want to keep the body fat down so how should i go about doing that while trying to gain as much muscle as possible?

 Thank you for the videos!


Scott_Herman

yes exactly, I would boost them like this


Protein: 200 (800)

Fat: 77

Carbs: 250  (1,000)


Train hard!

thedumninja

@scott_herman Sweet, thank you for the reply!! Is that full body routine good for beginners, i heard for the first year full body is the best way to put on mass?

Scott_Herman

@thedumninja, you shoul do my Push, Pull, Legs... it will take you from beginner to advanced!  You ill love it!

cjesseg

Thank you, Scott! I've gotten all written down and am going to get this nutrition thing down! 


I'm 23, 6'2'' at 195 lbs

For Hard Muscle Gain, the calculator gave me 3700 calories/day


(From using a machine that you stand on barefoot. Supposedly gives you everything. BMR, Bodyfat, weight etc.)

Depending on the machines accuracy, I'm roughly at 17% body fat.

I put the protein at 1.5 and the fat at 0.45. So the middle option for each.


Protein 243

Fat 73 

Carbs 518


To me, it seems that carbs are a little high. What do you think?


My goal is to bulk up until May, then cut till August, for a competition that I'm entering. 

Of course I don't expect to win, but I don't care anyway. I just want to do it lol 


I need all the help I can get. I'm not in power lifting. I'm in bodybuilding, just so you know. 


Thank you so much!

Scott_Herman

awesome bro!!  at the end of the article I discuss how to adjust carbs.  did you take a look?  Personally I think you should try to boost your fat to 100-110 andd protein as high as 280 to help get carbs under 350.

Are you doing my 12 week push pull legs program?

cjesseg

Oh boy! You replied! I'm famous too! Lol just messing :p

That sounds good to me! 500 grams of carbs is high! I did read it, I just wanted your opinion before I made adjustments. To me it seemed high, but to you, it might be normal or spot on. I'm glad we both agree it's high lol


Nah I'm kind of winging it :p doing everything to cover everything. I'd love to do your program! I've been watching your videos for a good while and take everything you share to heart. 

Do you mind sending me the link?

Next week I work 5, or maybe (hopefully not) 6 12's. So I was going to take the week off of lifting since I live about 45 minutes away from work and won't get home till 730 and get up at 430. Sucks lol normally it's 4 10s. I also live like 20 minutes from the gym.. i Might do bodyweight just to get something in. 

Anyway, thank you for the reply!  

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