How To Hit Your Macros


Written by: Heather Gerrish, RD

With every new routine, trial and error are an integral part in finding what works best. Sometimes, finding out what doesn’t work is just as useful and valuable as finding out what does.

Continuing from the brief introduction of Macronutrients and Micronutrients shared in a prior blog, this overview will further dive in to this area of nutrition in the real application of how to hit your macros!

As a review, macronutrients consist of three major groups:

  • Carbohydrates (4 calories/gram)

  • Fat (9 calories/gram)

  • Protein (4 calories/gram)


These macronutrients help to sustain, energize and build our bodies every day and are important to consume in a balanced diet. Everyone is different, leading us to focus more on creating this “balance” by observing our entire day and breaking this up to focus on each macronutrient. At first this can be a challenge, and if you have never tracked your intake or looked at your diet in this way before, can be a little overwhelming. That is where making small, sustainable changes can make a huge difference in not only the initial phase of adapting this change, but the long-term adherence to this type of diet modification.

This is a hypothetical breakdown of what a day might look like for someone with a macro breakdown of 40% carbohydrate, 35% protein and 20% fat (this can be adjusted according to your individual needs and is not a sure fit for all dietary observances/allergies/etc. – that’s were the customized TLAG nutrition guidelines come in!). What is shown here is how to calculate the total grams of each of these macronutrients and divide them throughout the day to create balance. Below is how to determine the grams of carbohydrates, fat and protein recommended following the % guidelines of this hypothetical breakdown. For those who enjoy math - this is for you!

Calorie (Energy) Needs: 1500 calories/day

  • Carbohydrate:

    • 1500 calories x 40% = 600 calories from carbohydrates /4 calories per gram = 150 grams of carbohydrates a day

  • Fat:

    • 1500 x 25% = 375 calories from fat /9 calories per gram = 42 grams of fat a day

  • Protein

    • 1500 x 35% = 525 calories from protein /4 calories per gram = 131 grams of protein a day

So, now that we know the numbers how does this apply to a daily total, or daily intake for someone who is trying to hit their macros? Here is an example:

Protein First:

By doing this you can prioritize your meals and snacks to include a source of protein is sometimes this is the hardest to incorporate without doing some planning ahead of time.

  • 131/4 (3 meals, 2 snacks) = ~33 grams per meal (for 3 meals)

  • 33 grams remaining/2 = 16-17 grams of protein for 2 snacks


By spreading your protein intake in to portions throughout the day, you are allowing your body time to digest and absorb adequately the protein you consumed. If you instead consumed all 131 grams of protein in one sitting, your body might have a harder time digesting and absorbing this among of protein efficiently.


These can be tricky and are sometimes deemed as negative in diet culture but fear not! Carbohydrates are important for bodily function and provide an excellent source of energy!

Taking it from the top:

  • 150 grams of carbohydrates/4 (3 meals/2 snacks) = ~38 grams (3 meals)

  • 38 grams remaining/2 = 19 grams of carbohydrates for 2 snacks


Focusing on having a source of carbohydrates before and after a workout will 1.) provide you with quick energy to make it through your workout and 2.) being the repair and rebuild process, optimally within 30 minutes after a workout.

Carbohydrates are not too shabby if you ask me! They do a lot for our bodies and can be a big help when it comes to having readily available energy source!


We need fat for multiple metabolic functions and to transport nutrients throughout our bodies. Vitamins A,D,E and K are all fat soluble vitamins – meaning that without fat molecules to help transport them, they are unable to fully do their job and help the body function at it’s best!

  • 42/3 = 14 grams of fat for 3 meals (you can also apply the 2 snacks here, but more often sources of fat are easier to incorporate in a meal – this is completely up to you!)


Sources of healthy fats can be found in nuts and seeds, plant oils and in legumes! Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids are needed from our diet (our bodies do not manufacture these, and we need them from external sources). Animal products also contain fat and can be part of a healthy diet. Just like all macronutrients, finding your balance in whichever sources you choose is a trial and error process!

This is just a snapshot of what a customized dietary plan could look like (again, each person is so different and will have different needs!). But this provides a good overview of how to balance your day and ensure that you have a plan moving forward in hitting your macros!

In summary, for this imaginary person their day would look like this on a 1500 calorie diet comprised of 40% carbohydrate/35% protein and 25% fat:

  • Breakfast:

    • 33 grams protein/38 grams carb/14 grams fat

  • Snack 1:

    • 16 grams protein/19 grams carb

  • Lunch:

    • 33 grams protein/38 grams carb/14 grams fat

  • Snack 2:

    • 17 grams protein/19 grams carb

  • Dinner:

    • 33 grams protein/38 grams carb/14 grams fat

Totals (estimates): ~152 grams carbohydrate/132 grams protein/42 grams fat MACROS HIT!!

This might seem like a lot of calculations, but once you do this once or have an idea of how you would like to split up your day, you can ensure that by following this pattern you will end your day close or matching your macro ratio goals. Starting small can also be very helpful. Maybe you start with focusing on only protein (dividing your day out from your total goal by 3 meals and 2 snacks) and finding this routine first, then adding in carbohydrates and fat. Nothing needs be perfect overnight and likely this will change over time as your goals change and you adapt and your body changes with you! Keeping in mind what you put under these categories matters too – focusing on fruits and vegetables, varied sources of protein and ensuring that you are maximizing what the food you eat can do for your body are all goals to keep in mind as you move along!

Danielle Gray