Skip to main content

Building Your Meal Plan!

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

By Scott Herman Published 

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)
    • 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 your LEAN 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.

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!

join as platinum

Related Articles

About the Author

Member Comments

Please JOIN As A Platinum Member or Log In To See The Comment Section