Most people come to Beyond Macros to learn how to calculate macros for fat loss.

The vast majority of people who start counting macros are doing it to lose fat. Before you go find an online macro calculator make sure you watch this video to learn how to calculate your macros for fat loss. Most people get it wrong and end up yo-yo dieting. I’ll teach you how to do it right the first time.


How to Calculate Macros for Fat Loss Using the C-P-M Model?

At Beyond Macros, our coaches are taught to calculate macros using the C-P-M model.

  • C stands for calories.
  • P stands for protein.
  • M Stands for macros.

And you will calculate each in that order.

Calculate Your Calorie Deficit for Fat Loss

When it comes to calculating macros losing fat, you need to calculate a calorie deficit. That is the only way which you will manage to lose weight.

We have found that a 20% calorie deficit is the sweet spot where you are less likely to lose lean mass, but can still experience a rate of fat loss in the healthy half to one pound per week range.

To calculate your deficit, you must first estimate the calories it would take you to maintain your weight based on your activity level.

This chart shows you how to calculate your maintenance calories. But it also requires you to understand what your activity level is.

Activity Level Multiplier Chart
Activity Multiplier Chart used to calculate your maintenance calories.

What’s My Activity Level?

  • You are sedentary if you are not currently exercising regularly, and your job is mostly desk based.
  • If you go to the gym about 3 times per week for about an hour, you are lightly active.
  • You are moderately active if you are going to the gym about 5 times per week, or if you aren’t going to the gym but have an active job.
  • If you are exercising for more than an hour 5 or more days per week, or if you exercise 3-5 times per week and are also active at work, then you are considered as being very active.

Each of these activity levels has a range of numbers that you will multiply your body weight in pounds by. For a metric conversion, multiply this number by 2.2. You can also download our free calculator worksheet.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Coefficient

Either way, here’s what to consider when choosing the best activity coefficient for your situation, but don’t overthink it. You can always adjust when you see how your body reacts.

First off, if you know you are overweight, pick either the bottom or middle coefficient in the range depending on your activity level.

If you’re pretty lean already, and calculating fat loss macros to get leaner, you can multiply by the middle or top of the range of numbers.

Next, consider your activity level.

How active are you compared to what I described earlier? For example, if you go to the gym 3 times per week, work at a desk, but you also walk your dog daily, you might be towards the top end of the light active definition.

Now multiply your body weight in pounds (if measuring by kilos, multiply your weight by 2.2, first) by the number you’ve chosen from the chart. This is the total calories you would need to consume to maintain your body weight.

Next, multiply your maintenance calorie number we just calculated by 0.8 which will give you a 20% calorie deficit. This number is your daily calorie target for fat loss.

Want to learn what other factors to consider when calculating your macros for fat loss? Check out our previous post: Fat Loss Secrets Without The Gimmicks

Calculating Your Daily Protein Goal

With your goal for daily calories, it’s time to move on to the “P” in the C-P-M model.

The reason we calculate protein next is that when it comes to fat loss, if you are on a calorie deficit there is a good chance you will lose muscle as well as fat if you don’t consume enough protein.

Another way to maintain your muscle during fat loss is to follow a muscle building program that includes resistance exercise with weights or body weight. We give you a 3 day lifting program to follow in our Fat Loss Macros & Meal Planning program for this very reason.

Foods that are high in protein also reduce appetite more than other foods, so it will help you eat less without feeling hungry all the time.

Protein is your ally with a fat loss goal.

After calculating your calories for weight loss, your protein is the top priority for fat loss.

There are a few ways to approach protein calculations, and lots to take into consideration which I will discuss in another video, but we will keep it simple and you can adjust as necessary in the future because it is more important to get you a solid starting point that you can adjust from as necessary.

Macros aren’t a static set of numbers you can follow for the rest of your life- they will change with your body, goals, and activity level. Usually, about every 12-weeks.

To keep things simple and effective just multiply your body weight in pounds by 1, or body weight in kilos by 2.2 and that is your daily protein target in GRAMS. Multiply your grams of protein by 4 to get the total calories you will consume from protein. We will need that in the next step.

Calories..Proteins… Now Macros!

Now that we have calories and protein, you could just focus on those two numbers and see fat loss. However, we will finish off the “M” for macros in the C-P-M calculation model.

The remaining macros are fat and carbohydrate.

In our calculating macros for women video I will talk about some important macro considerations for women, and in our calculating macros for men video I will talk about some important calculations for men.

When we calculate macros for clients, we go into a little bit more detail with the macros calculations, but if you’re doing things on your own it’s important to keep things simple and effective.

Macro Percentages vs. Macros in Grams

To get you the best possible starting point my recommendation is to use macro percentages instead of grams to come up with your macro targets.

MyFitnessPal is the most popular macro counting app. It’s free version only lets you input percentages! (See our video on MyFitnessPal)

So first, we need to determine what percentage of calories are coming from your protein target. To do this take your protein target in calories, and divide that by your total calories.

For example, if your protein target is 150g, which is 600 calories, and your calorie target is 1800 calories, then 30% of your calories are from protein because 600/1800 is 0.3.

Calculate Your Fat Intake for Fat Loss

Fats are critical to the health of your nervous system, for hormone health, and more. They are the least satisfying macro-nutrient to eat as they are energy dense. This is why during fat loss, it helps to create your calorie deficit from fats. Fats just don’t fill your stomach the way carbs and protein do, which can leave you feeling hungry more often.

Depending on how much you love fatty foods, I recommend setting your fat intake in the 20-30% of calories range.

Pick your number based on your dietary preferences because your rate of fat loss will not be affected by a 10% difference in fat intake.

Most people tend to find 30% of calories from fat easier to do in a real-world situation because most whole food protein sources have fats in them.

Calculate Your Daily Carb Intake for Fat Loss

Once you’ve picked your fat intake, you can easily set your carb intake by adding your percentage of calories from protein and fat. Subtract that number from 100. What is left is the percentage of calories you will eat from carbohydrates.

To carry on with the previous example of the person who will eat 1800 calories with 30% of calories from protein…if they choose to eat 30% of their calories from fat then they are getting 60% of their calories from protein and fat.

100%-60% is 40% so this person will be eating 40% of their calories from carbohydrate.

And it’s really as simple as that.

Time to Start Counting Macros

And If you calculate your macros for fat loss, you might as well count them, too!

We have videos on how to count macros using MyFitnessPal which we recommend using. That video will teach you how to input your calorie and macro nutrient targets from this video.  You can easily keep track of your food and use the macros you calculated for fat loss!

Ready to Calculate Macros for Crossfit?

Ready to try Macro Counting for Cross Fit? Yeah, we can help with that, too! Macronutrients for CrossFit- Everything You Need to Know