Lean Muscle Mass Calculator
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH THESE MACROS? If you’re looking for a lean muscle mass calculator or a way to get the macros for any other body composition goal, we’ll walk you through our free tool to do just that. Try the macro calculator here!
Our calculator is SICK and you have the ability to fully customize your macros based on personal preference as well as your daily calorie targets that match your goals (YES – we help you figure that out too!). The video above will also demonstrate a walkthrough if you’re looking for tips.
What's In a Macro - Behind the Numbers
MACROS – Macronutrients. A term used to describe the categories of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Macronutrients are the nutritive components of food that the body needs for energy and to maintain its structure and systems. They are the nutrients we use the MOST OF as compared to micronutrients that we use less of in comparison.
It is important to understand that each macronutrient represents a particular amount of energy and plays a unique role in the body. So if you want lean muscle mass, it helps to understand the results a macro calculator will give. Then you can track them with MyFitnessPal or Cronometer or another tool of your choice.
Per 1 Gram of Macronutrient
- Fat – 9 calories – Fat allows you to store energy, cushion organs, make certain hormones, absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and helps with cell membrane integrity. Fat is a slower-acting energy source.
- Carb – 4 calories – All carbohydrates eventually reak down into glucose, which is the main energy source for your body. Some organs like the brain burn glucose exclusively for energy. Glucose is a fast-acting energy source.
- Protein – 4 calories – Protein allows your body to grow, build and repair tissues, and protect lean body mass (your muscle mass). Protein is composed of amino acids. This is essential for muscle repair and growth, so fitness discussions prioritize it.
Each Macro Has a Purpose
For a lean muscle mass calculator to work out to numbers that apply to your life, you’ll need to know what each macro does. They all contribute energy to the system, but some have more essential roles than others. Our bodies manufacture a glucose alternative called Ketones when we are deprived of carbohydrates for a long time. This is a protective mechanism in periods of famine. It allows us to burn stored body fat to make Ketones to fuel our brains.
This is what is happening when the body is in Ketosis. And it’s the underlying principle behind the KETO diet. It also highlights that Carbohydrates are the one macronutrient that we can live without. (Although I’m not here to argue that you do so.) You can thoughtfully build carbs into your diet and support fat loss, lean muscle mass gain, performance, and longevity. So don’t fall into the trap of believing that Carbs are the enemy.
Prioritize Protein & Total Caloric Intake
Next, it is important to clear up that we can’t assign macros to someone without first having an idea of what their energy requirements are. You want to have the calculator tell you want to do for lean muscle mass? Then you have to know your energy requirements for your goal first and foremost. Get this before you begin to break that into grams of macronutrients.
Think of a house. The square footage is like your total caloric requirements. Let’s say you have a 2000 square foot house (or 2000 calories). You decide to break that house up into 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 3 communal living spaces (kitchen, living room, dining room). Or you could also do a (4, 2, 2) breakdown. This would change the total space for bedrooms, communal spaces, and bathrooms, but the house dimensions aren’t going to change.
So if we take your daily 2000 calorie requirement and break it up into macros evenly (33/33/33%) or decide to bias one over the other (50/25/25%) you aren’t changing the total calories you eat.
I would argue, as would many of my colleagues in the fitness industry, that if you hit your caloric goals you’ll see favorable changes to your body. If you get sufficient protein in your diet, you will see even more. The rest is really just a matter of personal preference.
If you want to go high carb or low carb, it really doesn’t matter so long as you hit those other two metrics, protein and calories, consistently for a long time. So the way we must understand the other macros, fat and carbs, is in the context of what helps support the most consistency.
Lean Muscle Mass Calculator Tips
A quick review of how our Lean Muscle Mass Calculator for macros works.
Step 1 – Find your basal metabolism
- Enter your bodyweight
- Fill in your body fat percentage
- Estimate it with – height, age, biological sex (less accurate)
- Measure it and input – with a repeatable method
Step 2 – Choose your activity level multiplier to set your Maintenance Calories for each day
- Remember that this activity multiplier reflects your total energy expenditure all day, not just how hard your 60-90min workout is. (A common mistake is to overestimate daily activity.)
- Most of our Persist participants fall somewhere between Low and Moderate.
- You might be an outlier if you are particularly sedentary all day (Limited activity) or you have a very high energy output job like construction (High activity)
- Heavy activity is for folks that train double days or sport training and are exceptionally active
Step 3 – Choose your Goal to set your Target Calories for each day
- Challenge Fat Loss – 25% deficit
- Recomposition – 10% deficit
- Maintenance – No Change
- Lean Muscle Gain – 10% surplus
- Challenge Muscle Gain – 25% surplus
Challenge goals bring faster results, but are harder to sustain – so you will likely want to revisit this goal after a focused period of time.
Step 4 – Choose your Protein level to establish your protein grams per day
- Low – .65grams per pound of bodyweight – best for individuals with larger amounts of body fat to lose. Even at this multiplier you’ll get more protein than the average person and plenty to see body improvements.
- Moderate – .875grams per pound of bodyweight – good for active individuals who want recomposition or fat loss that isn’t more than 15lbs
- High – 1gram per pound of bodyweight – a solid place for most with training experience. Such as if you lift 5x per week and aren’t trying to lose a ton of weight but want to keep muscle mass and perform.
- Heavy – 1.1gram per pound of bodyweight – for highly active individuals that burn a lot of calories and/or want to muscle gain.
Step 5 – Choose your Carb approach to establish your carb grams per day
- Low – 20% of your calories will come from carbs
- Moderate – 33% of your calorie will come from carbs
- High – 50% of your calories will come from carbs
- Cycling – we even have an option for you to choose Carb Cycling. This will give you numbers for a high carb and low carb day that you can rotate on a set schedule.
Step 6 – The calculator will automatically establish your fat grams
The lean muscle mass calculator bases this on what is left from the other macros. There is an embedded safety net in our calculator to ensure you don’t drop below a threshold of Fat grams we deem important for health functioning.
Step 7 – Input your contact information
We’ll send you a great PDF of your numbers as well as some free workouts for you that align with your goal.
Paleo? Keto? Carb Cycling? How Trends Affect the Numbers
Now we have that out of the way and you know what is going on with Macronutrients generally. Let’s take a closer look at common nutrition trends and benefits. We’ll show how this translates into different macronutrient breakdowns when you want to calculate for lean muscle mass.
All the below breakdowns use the following format – Carbs/Protein/Fat.
Paleo Diet – 25/40/35
The paleo diet is NOT a macro prescription. Instead, this diet focuses on whole food sources of energy. It includes minimally processed foods. And it avoids categories of foods that came after the agricultural revolution. It is essentially a diet made up of meat, veggies, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and tubers (ie potatoes). It doesn’t have dairy, legumes, and grains.
By changing up the sources of where you get your food from, most people start to indirectly impact the macronutrient profile. The DO NOT eat foods in this diet are high carbohydrate sources. By removing them you will see carbs go down and in their place there is an increase in protein and fat. So indirectly you are impacting your macronutrient profile. But more importantly, by getting away from processed foods, this diet helps manage calories by eating fewer foods that are packed with empty calories.
I love that this diet places importance on minimally processed foods. And it also helps people prioritize protein. It indirectly helps accomplish the goal of hitting your calorie and protein requirements more closely. It can, however, also be done poorly and there are plenty of ways to overeat calories even on this diet.
Post-Workout Anabolic Window = Post-workout meal 60/30/10 or 65/35/0
For decades, athletes and fitness enthusiasts have been told about the importance of getting in nutrition right after they train. This period is referred to as the Anabolic Window. It means that in the period of 30-60mins after you train your body vigorously, you need to prioritize getting in some fuel to nourish the muscles. This starts the anabolic process of building tissues back up, and takes advantage of a short window to optimize your gainz.
The anabolic window has some validity. But it isn’t the magical solution to all nutrition/training related diet concerns that we were made to believe. Suffice it to say that within an hour to two hours after being active and training you should eat a balanced meal that aligns with your goals.
If you are trying to take advantage of this unique window, you can do so by following a few unique macronutrient guidelines. After you train intensely, you prime your muscle tissue to absorb glucose and amino acids. Both of these building blocks will kick start an anabolic (building) process in the muscles. They probably won’t be stored as fat anywhere in the body, so long as your training was sufficiently challenging.
The carbs are stored as glycogen and also help spike your insulin, a powerful anabolic hormone. The protein you eat will break down to amino acids. These facilitate muscle repair that was damaged during training.
Fat isn’t vital during this window and slows down the digestion process. Since we want digestion to happen fast and to get the nutrients to your muscle tissues quickly, keeping fat low or leaving it out is ideal. This is a time frame where many opt for a liquid meal like a carb and protein shake to increase the speed of uptake.
High Fat + Moderate Protein = Keto 5/25/75
Ketogenic diets have very strict macro prescriptions that you have to follow if you want to actually achieve KETOSIS. To turn on this metabolic process in the body, you need to keep your total carbohydrate consumption below 5% roughly of your total caloric intake. Overeating protein can also kick you out of ketosis, so these diets are by design very high fat. Upwards of 75% of your calories must come from fat for most people.
If you teach your body to burn fat as the primary fuel source, then you will start to eat up stored body fat. But remember that you will not start to burn your stored body fat unless you are in a calorie deficit.
Indirectly, many KETO dieters get in a calorie deficit just by eating foods that are more satiating. Or by avoiding highly processed and refined sugars. Keto isn’t something you can do 1 day a week, since you won’t likely get your body into ketosis in that short of time span. If you think you want to do keto 1-2 days a week, you are actually just going VERY LOW CARB those days. Your body isn’t producing ketones.
Carb Cycling – Low Carb Day 20/30/50, High Carb Day 50/30/20
A sample carb cycling schedule could look like eating high carbs on days 4 and 7, and low carb on the rest.
Low carb days can be beneficial, since during lower-carb eating days you deplete your muscle glycogen and therefore lose water weight with it. When you see your body shrink and tighten up this can motivate you over a couple of days.
Then on the high carb days, you will fill that glycogen back up, You’ll get a little hit of carbs to help with cravings, and also help fuel harder workouts and intensity in the gym. Carbs can be a trigger food for many people, so the dominance of low carb days helps avoid cravings and the slippery slope of overeating carbs.
Lower carb days can also help with mental focus and energy balance. With fewer carbs there will be fewer highs and lows of energy. And fewer crashes that come 60mins after high carb meal once your blood sugar comes back down. If you do want to try carb cycling, our macro calculator will give you low and high days for your numbers.
Zone Diet – 40/30/30
A zone diet is an approach to macronutrient counting that breaks carbs, fats, and protein into BLOCKS. Blocks are simply pre-measured allotments of macronutrients. They are a simplified way to calculate macros daily without having to use a scale to weigh every item of food.
For example, 3 almonds would represent 1 block of fat. Your zone diet maybe consists of 15 blocks, and therefore over the course of the day you can have 15 blocks of each macro. You get them from whatever foods you want.
This approach was very successful as an early diet approach that focused on quantity for individuals. But it doesn’t prioritize food quality food wasn’t prioritized, and there are no directives as to what you can and cannot eat.
Over time, people were supposed to start to manipulate their ratios and blocks to optimally suit their personal preferences and their bodies. The 40/30/30 initial approach was meant to be manipulated over time to better suit your needs, and most people just didn’t seem to do this.