Do you know how many calories (and calories for each macro) you should take in each day? What factors should you consider when calculating calories and macros?

In Bigger Leaner Stronger, Michael Matthews recommends flexible dieting. This simply means managing your calorie intake and eating a healthy balance of macronutrients (macros). To do this, you need to know how to calculate calories and macros according to your diet goals.

## Calculate Your Daily Calorie Target

Matthews explains how to calculate calories and macros, starting with your daily calorie target and then addressing your target calories for each macronutrient.

Once you know if you want to cut, maintain, or lean bulk and whether to add or subtract calories from your diet, you must figure out the right amount of calories to eat daily. Consider three factors when calculating your target calories: your body recomposition goal, how active you are, and your weight.

Matthews suggests different ranges of calories to target when cutting, maintaining, and gaining. You should aim for the higher or lower end of this range depending on how active you are. If you’re less active, aim for the lower end. If you’re very active, aim for the higher end.

• If you’re cutting: Consume eight to 12 calories per pound of body weight daily. For most, this creates the 20 to 25% calorie deficit necessary to lose weight.
• If you’re maintaining: Consume 12 to 16 calories per pound of body weight daily.
• If you’re lean bulking: Consume 16 to 18 calories per pound of body weight daily. This typically creates the 10% calorie surplus needed for building muscle without gaining too much fat.

## Calculate Your Target Calories for Each Macronutrient

Once you know how many calories you should eat in a day, calculate how many calories you need to allot to each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat). The percentages that Matthews recommends are:

• Protein should make up around 30% to 40% of your daily calories. One gram of protein has about four calories.
• Carbs should make up around 30% to 50% of your daily calories. One gram of carbs has about four calories.
• Fats should make up around 20% to 30% of your daily calories. One gram of fat has about nine calories.

These percentages don’t need to add up to 100%—leave up to 20% free for treats (we’ll discuss how to add these to your diet later). To calculate your target calories for each macro, multiply your total daily target by the appropriate percentage in decimal form. For example, 2400 (total daily calorie target) x 0.3 (protein calorie target) is 720 calories of protein daily (or 180 grams).

How to Calculate Calories and Macros: Tips From Mike Matthews

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#### Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.