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How to determine what my Macronutrient Intake should be?

Dear Dr. Bell, how do I determine what my Macro intake needs to be? Thanks for the help!

There are many opinions on how best to calculate your total caloric intake and how to distribute those calories among your macronutrient Intake: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. One of the most popular formulas is the Mifflin, M.D. St. Jeor Formula. The formula is used to calculate Resting Energy Expenditure (REE). Which is the energy it takes for your body to function at rest.

The Formula for Males:

{10 x Weight (kg)} + {6.25 x height (cm)} - {5 x Age (yrs.)} + 5 = REE

The Formula for Females:

{10 x Weight (kg)} + {6.25 x height (cm)} - {5 x Age (yrs.)} - 161 = REE

Once you calculate your REE you need an estimation for your activity level throughout your day:

(1) Highly Active: Activity/Activities that burn more than approximately 650 Calories for a female or more than approximately 800 Calories for a male. Calculate: REE x 1.725 = Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

(2) Moderately Active: Activity/Activities that burn more than 400-650 Calories (female); 500-800 Calories (male). Calculate: REE x 1.55 = TDEE

(3) Lightly Active: Actively/Activities that burn 200-400 Calories (female); 250-500 Calories (males). Calculate: REE x 1.375 = TDEE

(4) Sedentary: Conduct only Activity of Daily Living (ADLs), i.e.: eating, walking, standing, a few flights of stairs, etc. Calculate: REE x 1.2 = TDEE

The General IFPA Macro Recommendation is: 

Carbohydrate: 65%

Proteins: 20%

Fats: 15%

This is for Highly Active Clients, who are looking for positive Body Composition (Increase muscle, decrease fat mass) and physical performance increases. Strength & Power Athletes sometimes prefer to increase their protein intake and some Elite Level Endurance Athletes find it necessary to increase their fat content.

Bodybuilders typically have protein intakes of 0.825g to 1.0g of protein per pound of Body Weight. Above this level is neither safe nor effective for any athlete not using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED). Keep in mind that any use of PEDs is not safe, ethical, moral, or legal. You also risk being barred from competition if caught using PEDs.

This is a very simple answer to a far more complex problem of using nutrition to optimize body composition, health, fitness, and athletic performance. To maximize your potential, it is highly recommended you take the time to learn and master nutrition science.

The IFPA Sports Nutrition Specialist Course was developed to teach you how to use nutrition to optimize your performance during exercise activities and our Advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist Course provides you with very specific strategies and tactics to compete at your best. This includes critically important tactics such as Energy Balance, which is essential to maximize your goals.

Good Luck,

Dr. Jim Bell

CEO of the IFPA