If you’re wondering how to:
- Calculate your intermittent fasting macros,
- Setup your feeding window
- Setup your fasting period
- Use our Intermittent Fasting Calculator.
Then you’re going to want to read this article.
I’ve been following intermittent fasting for the past 5 years (See my intermittent transformation video here):
First off, let’s get started right away and figure out your intermittent fasting macros.
Use this calculator below by inputting your weight, fitness goals, etc.
After, it will spew out your calories for weight loss or weight gain.
There are 2 more calculators you will use in this article so keep your result handy whether you chose the lean bulk calculator option or the weight loss option
So now that you’ve used our calculator, what does it all mean?
Step 1: Intermittent Fasting Macros
Surely, you don’t think you can lose weight through intermittent fasting alone right?
Intermittent fasting is NOT magic.
That was my first mistake when I started.
I thought, if you just start fasting, the weight will fly off.
While some have experienced this happen, it is not the majority.
You need to have your calories and macros set up CORRECTLY and track them, otherwise, intermittent fasting will not help or work for you.
That’s why I put the calories calculator at the beginning.
To emphasize the importance of calories when it comes to weight loss/gain.
A calorie deficit is what produces weight loss — a calorie surplus is what produces weight gain.
Whatever your fitness goal is, you need to make sure those are set up correctly FIRST.
It’s to not only improve body composition but make sure you hold on to your muscle mass and strength as much as possible while cutting.
NOW that you have those calories, you need to find your macros for cutting.
Before we do that, however, we need to figure out your preferences.
Let’s Talk About Protein Intake While Intermittent Fasting
Protein is very important, not only while intermittent fasting, but while losing weight in general.
It’s important for maintaining or even building, muscle, and muscle mass while cutting.
We want to keep protein high.
Your protein intake should be anywhere from 35-50% of your total calories. That’s what works best for most people. Why?
Because protein is naturally satiating.
The more protein you have, the more full you feel throughout the day, naturally.
It’s a win-win situation, especially while dieting to lose fat.
What About Carbs and Fat While Intermittent Fasting
These can fluctuate on a day-to-day basis, however, I find that having a set percentage is better for most people.
On top of that, you usually want to keep carbs higher than fat.
I like to keep a 35-50% of carbs coming from my calories and leaving the rest to fat.
A popular macro split would be:
- 40% protein/40% carbs/20% fat
- 35% protein/50% carbs/20% fat
- 50% protein/35%carbs/20% fat
These are all macro splits I have experimented with and I have seen SUCCESS with all of them.
Use this calculator below by inputting your calories from the first calculator and then pick your macro split based on the percentages we just talked about it!
Now that we have your calories and macros set up, you need to set up your eating window (or feeding window).
You probably also noticed that you found out how many meals you want to have. That’s good.
It’ll be helpful later!
Step 2: Your Intermittent Fasting Feeding Window
You have multiple options when it comes to your feeding window.
First, you have to figure out your schedule and what you do throughout the day.
You want to set up your feeding window in a way that:
- Allows for time and energy for your workout
- Gives you enough time to cook and weigh out foods
- Sets you up for success based on your schedule
I’ve found that these eating window and fasting period options work best for most people:
- 8/16 method or Leangains method = 8 hours of eating / 16 hours of “fasting”
- 6/18 method = 6 hours of eating / 18 hours of “fasting”
- This method is more aggressive but still popular
- 4/20😎 method = 4 hours of eating / 20 hours of “fasting”
- This method is VERY aggressive and is not for everyone. I only recommend it if you need to lose weight quickly.
My Intermittent Fasting Feeding Window:
Here’s what I do and what may make your life simpler:
- I fast for the first 4-6 hours after waking up
- This allows for any days that I sleep in or wake up very early
Not every day is going to be the same.
As the saying goes, SH*T happens.
I think that if your schedule is sporadic, then you should follow what I do.
That being said, here is a sort of leangains calculator for finding your specific fasting period:
The 2nd result will be the amount of time you spend eating every day.
Now whether you chose to follow what I do or one of the popular methods (16 8, for example) explained before, you will adjust it to your schedule.
Some things that will influence your fasting window:
- your eating pattern,
- your food intake,
- your macronutrient ratios,
- and your weight loss program
Again, it’s your body and schedule. Spend time on this to make it work for you.
Step 3: Find Your Preferred Intermittent Fasting Drink:
Now, during the fasting period, you are going to feel hungry.
To combat this, you want to drink something that gives you energy, reduces hunger, and that is zero calories.
You have a couple of options that do fit these requirements:
- Black Coffee
- Sparkling Water
- Decaf Coffee
I prefer black coffee because it tastes great, gives me my energy, and I don’t feel hungry for hours.
Oh yeah, and it’s zero calories.
The only problem, however, is that I also take Legion Pulse, my favorite pre-workout supplement before every workout.
It contains a lot of caffeine already, so I don’t want to get over-caffeinated.
I want to be able to SLEEP.
That is why DECAF coffee is an option.
If you fall in the same situation, you may want to consider it, although you do have other options as well.
Step 4: Your Intermittent Fasting Meal Structure
This is an important section and stumps a lot of people when first starting IF.
Don’t spend too much time and energy on this part.
Test one method and stick with it for a week.
If it doesn’t work, try something else for a week.
Keep doing this until something sticks.
That being said, let’s go over it a bit more in detail.
How many meals do you want to eat per day?
The calculator should’ve already given you your macros and calories per meal and per day.
If you haven’t done that yet, go ahead and do that now.
That being said, the calculator doesn’t give you EVERY option that is possible.
You could have 2 big meals and 2 smaller snacks if you wanted.
Here’s what I like to do:
- 1 small snack before my workout that is anywhere from 200-400 calories
- This is usually a cliff bar for me.
- Then, I take my remaining calories and divide that up into 3-4 meals.
A cliff bar is 260 calories.
My calories are around 2250 per day based on my body weight and that I’m trying to lose body fat. Basically I’m improving my body composition 😀
So, 2250 – cliff bar (260 calorie) = 1990 calories left.
I divide the 1990 calories into 3 meals.
I hope that makes sense!
However, let’s go over some general meal plans:
My Favorite Meals for Intermittent Fasting
Meal 1: Protein Kodiak Cake Pancakes
These are one of my GO-To meals to break a fast.
It’s not too big, but it’s also not too small.
It’s a great, carb, and a protein-packed meal that gives a lot of energy right before your workout!
I usually eat 3 servings in one sitting (160g).
The macros for this are:
- 600 calories
- 42g of protein
- 90g of carbs
- 9g of fat
This meal is delicious and perfect for breaking your fast.
After about an hour, I go workout.
Meal 2 (post-workout): Chicken, Sweet Potato, Veggies
This is my “healthy” meal that I always have no matter what meal plan I follow.
I find this meal AMAZING and it’s so good if you know how to cook chicken right.
If you overcook chicken, this will suck.
However, just look for tutorials on YouTube (that’s what I did, and chicken will be 10x tastier).
Ingredients for this meal are:
- 12 oz of Chicken Breast (seasoned with KIND Chipotle seasoning)
- 250g of Sweet Potatoes
- 50g of Bell Peppers, Onions, and Tomatoes
- 100g of Mushrooms
I sautee the veggies in the same pan as the chicken for extra flavor 😀
The macros for this meal are:
- 674 Calories
- 88g of protein
- 76g of carbs
- 4g of fat
Meal 3: Peanut Butter Cereal Protein Yogurt Goodness
(My meal doesn’t actually contain oats – I couldn’t find/take a good picture…)
This might be my favorite meal out of them all.
The ingredients are:
- 50g of Legion WHEY+ Cinnamon Cereal Protein (my god, this is good. I have a review of Legion WHEY+ here)
- 115g of Bananas
- 255g of Chobani Greek Yogurt (Vanilla)
- 32g of Peanut Butter (any brand)
The result is incredible.
First, mix the yogurt and peanut butter together. Then put the protein powder on top and mix.
Then add the bananas.
You won’t regret it.
The macros for this meal are:
- 688 calories
- 66g of protein
- 56g of carbs
- 19g of fat
Meal 4: Unknown…
I have 2300 calories at my disposal every day, for now, while cutting.
The 3 meals above total to 1960 calories.
2300 – 1960 = 340 calories left.
This can usually be anything I want.
However, I usually opt for a protein shake or add more ingredients to my 3 meals above.
It honestly depends on how I am feeling throughout the day, that day.
You may find yourself in this similar situation.
I hope this section helped!
Now let’s go over some FAQ’s.
Frequently Asked Questions About Intermittent Fasting Macros
What should macros be for fat loss?
I have an entire “macros for cutting” article on my page that goes over this.
However, if for fat loss, I’d recommend eating a lot of carbs (for energy) and protein for maintaining muscle.
A 40/40/20 split covers these bases and take into account a balanced meal plan while intermittent fasting.
Do you have to count calories on intermittent fasting?
Yes, you do.
Intermittent fasting is not a magic pill for weight loss or dropping body fat.
It’s not a one-stop-shop. You MUST take into account your energy balance.
This means you must be expending more energy than you are consuming. That means tracking macros intermittent fasting is necessary.
If you haven’t used our calculator yet, do that first. Take your body weight and input it in the calculator above.
What foods can you eat with intermittent fasting?
If you follow something like IIFYM (if it fits your macros), as I recommend to everyone, then no foods are off-limits.
What most people utilize Intermittent Fasting for is bigger meals.
If you eat 2-4 meals during your eating window, then these meals will be big and allow a lot of calories.
This means a wider variety of foods can fit into those meals, just remember to track your calories and macros 😀
Can we eat rice during intermittent fasting?
Yes, of course.
Remember, for weight loss, it’s not about giving up carbs or fats to lose weight, but rather, ensuring you’re in a calorie deficit based on your body and energy requirements.
No need to give up rice, bread, pasta, pizza, or ice cream.
So long as you track your macros and calories, you can make it fit.
Can you drink water while intermittent fasting?
Yes, in fact, I encourage more water while fasting.
I drink black coffee and water while fasting.
You don’t have to drink black coffee, however.
I just do it so I feel the energy, and caffeine, floating through my veins 😀
Ha, in all seriousness though, you can drink:
- Black Coffee
- Sparkling Water
- Or Decaf Coffee
Anyways, I hope this guide helps you out on your fitness journey.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you haven’t yet, check out my book on IIFYM: If It Fits Your Macros.
It’s my flagship book that has helped thousands of people!
Check it out below!