How Counting Macros and Calories Helps in Building Muscles

How Counting Macros and Calories Helps in Building Muscles| HealthSoul

Although your caloric intake matters when you’re trying to meet body composition goals, the ratio of macronutrients you have in your daily diet is even more important for building muscle. Macros consist of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. By counting your macros and calories and doing some simple calculations, you can ensure you’re consuming the optimum amount for your specific body to help you build bigger muscles.

How Counting Macros and Calories Helps to Build Muscle

By counting macronutrients, you can easily keep track of the amount and ratio of macros in your diet. You can either count the total number of grams of each macro you consume or the percentage of your daily calorie consumption. Whether you count macros, total calories, or both, is dependent on your fitness goals. When you count macros in combination with a regular strength training routine, you ensure your body has the right balance of energy input and output and enough protein to help you build muscle. While all three macronutrients are vital for maintaining optimum health and fitness, it’s protein that is the most useful for building muscle tissue.

Guidelines for Counting and Calculating Macros and Calories

You can easily find out how to calculate macros for muscle gain by reading online articles by fitness experts, but let’s first take a look at the basic guidelines for counting and calculating macros and calories when you want to build muscle. In essence, to build muscle, you need to put on weight. But that isn’t as simple as increasing your calorie intake, because that would result in fat gain instead of muscle gain. By counting your macros, you can ensure you put on the additional weight in the form of muscle. 

Calculating Calories

To build muscle, you need to combine strength training with a calorie surplus. So, you first need to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure to determine how many more calories you should consume while working towards building muscle. You can use an online calorie calculator or fitness tracker to determine your TDEE; which refers to the number of calories you burn each day. 

Generally, a 10% increase in caloric intake is recommended, but make sure you calculate what is the ideal percentage for your own body. Too little increase of calories when you’re strength training can cause you to actually lose muscle mass, while too many calories can result in you putting on fat as well as muscle.  

Calculating Macros 

Once you have your daily calorie total, you can determine what your ideal macro ratio should be. After you have calculated your optimum daily macro intake, count your macros by percentage or grams each day to ensure you stay on target. As mentioned earlier, protein is the most important macro number to determine when it comes to building muscle. Most experts recommend you consume between 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight.

Your carb consumption is also important because carbs help to fuel the workouts that build muscle. Most experts recommend you consume between 3 and 5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of your body weight. The remainder of the calories goes to fat. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, based on the above figures, your daily macro and calorie calculation breakdown would look like this:

  • Protein would consist of 656 calories, which would be 24% of your daily calorie intake.
  • Carbohydrates would consist of 1,312 calories, which would be 48% of your daily calorie intake
  • Fat would consist of 782 calories per day, which would be 28% of your daily calorie intake.

Foods That Contain Macros

A variety of foods contain the macros your body needs for building muscle, so you don’t have to worry about meal times becoming too repetitive. Let’s take a look at each macro category.


Protein can be found in dairy products, fish, and meat. But vegans and vegetarians don’t need to worry because protein can also be found in foods like nuts, seeds, and vegetables. 


Carbs are sugars, grains, starches, and fiber. They break down into glucose, helping to provide your body with energy. Healthy carbs you could eat include fruits, vegetables, oats, pulses, and many dairy products. 


Fats are the most energy-dense macro. They can also be found in dairy products; vegetables contain small amounts of fat too. In addition to dairy, the best sources of healthy fats are in meat, fish, nuts, and seeds. Limit your saturated fat intake and focus on unsaturated fats.

Summing Up

If you want to build up your muscles, getting the right balance between your macro intake and your strength training workouts is crucial. You need to begin by knowing your own body weight. You can then use an online macro and calorie calculator or a fitness tracker to calculate your optimum macro consumption. By logging your macro intake each day, you can stay on track and start to build muscle.