A Beginner's Guide to Keto Bodybuilding Macros (Beyond the Bro Science)

May 14, 2024
Keto Bodybuilding Macros

What are the best bodybuilding macros? What even are macros? 

Understanding the magic of macronutrients (macros) empowers you to strategically manipulate your diet to achieve your body composition and fitness goals. The right combo can unlock your body’s fat-burning potential, skyrocket energy levels, and reward you with solid muscle gains and preservation.

 So this ultimate guide to bodybuilding macros breaks down everything you need to know — from the differences between traditional vs. keto bodybuilding macros to how to find your macro sweet spots.

What are Macronutrients (Macros) Anyway?  🤔

Macronutrients are the three categories of nutrients your body needs to thrive. Each macro plays a crucial role in your health and well-being.[*]

Carbohydrates get broken down into glucose, your body's primary energy source on a standard American diet. Fiber-rich carbs may also aid digestion and gut health.

Protein provides the amino acids needed to build and maintain muscle mass.[*] Every cell in your body relies on protein for structure and function. It also makes enzymes and hormones. 

Fat. Dietary fat is a steady, sustained energy source and supports vitamin and nutrient absorption, cell growth, and hormone production. Along with protein, fat promotes feelings of fullness and reduces hunger.

Of the three macros, only protein and fat are considered essential nutrients. Our bodies can't produce essential fatty acids or essential amino acids, so we must get them from food. But carbs? Not so much. And that’s what differentiates:

Traditional vs. Keto Bodybuilding Macros  📊

Traditional bodybuilding macros rely on carbs for energy, a moderate to high protein intake for muscle building, and low-fat foods to meet those minimum fat requirements. 


Traditional Bodybuilding 

Macro Ratios

Keto Bodybuilding 

Macro Ratios


High (30-40%)

Moderate (20-25%)


Moderate/High (30-60%)

Very Low (5-10%)


Low (<20%)

High (65-85%)

Keto diets take a totally different approach. They prioritize fat for fuel, keeping carbs very low to enter ketosis, a metabolic fat-burning state.[*] Drastically limit carbs, and your body produces ketones from fat. This alternative fuel becomes your primary energy source instead of glucose. It also explains why:

Keto Bodybuilding Gets Results  🏆

Can you build muscle on keto? Science says yes! Keto diets have delivered more favorable changes in lean muscle mass and fat loss than traditional diets.[*] Your body becomes a fat-incinerating machine, utilizing your dietary fat intake and tapping into your stored fat for energy.

Studies show combining keto with a strategic training program:

  • Builds twice as much lean body mass and muscle mass [*]
  • Preserves your hard-earned muscle (even during calorie deficits!) [*][*]
  • Lowers inflammation to support muscle repair, growth, and recovery [*][*]

Traditional Bodybuilding Macros Come Up Short  😑

Traditional high-carb macros make it more challenging to achieve bodybuilding results because:

 ❌  They’re not optimized for fat loss. Ketosis literally forces your body to torch your body fat for fuel.

 📈  They cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. The resulting fatigue, irritability, and decreased focus hinder your workout performance and mental outlook. On the other hand, fat stabilizes blood sugar levels. It also supplies a steady, sustained, crash-free energy source for those grueling gym sessions.

 😩  Carbs increase hunger and reduce satiety. Carbs are not as filling or satiating as fat. They trigger hunger pangs and cravings, undermining your ability to stick to your calorie deficit during cutting. You also need to eat 5–6 meals a day. Ketosis eliminates cravings, reduces your appetite, and promotes long-lasting satiety. 

 It’s time to ditch the carbs holding you back. With the right keto macros, you can achieve your swole goals.

Here’s How To Find Your Bodybuilding Macros  🎯

Macro ratios represent how much of your daily calories should be allocated for each macro.

Your caloric intake (how many calories you consume) and activity levels determine whether you’ll maintain your body composition, lose weight, or gain muscle mass. 

Our primary goal is to lose as much body fat as possible while building and preserving as much lean muscle tissue as possible.[*]

That’s why manipulating macros is just as important as tracking your calories. Those macronutrient ratios must be leveraged in the right amounts — enough fat for energy and adequate protein to build muscle.

Use this strategy as a starting point:

1. Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your basal metabolic rate is how much energy you burn at complete rest. It’s the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform its biological processes and keep the lights on, so to speak. You cannot eat less than your BMR without compromising overall health and wellness.

Your BMR is determined by your age, gender, body weight, and body fat percentage.

2. Find Your TDEE/Maintenance Calories

Your BMR pinpoints what you need to survive. But you’re not in a coma — you go to work, walk your dog, have sex, work out, grocery shop, etc. 

So your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) refers to your BMR plus all the calories you expend via physical activity during the day.

To find your TDEE, you’ll use your activity level to determine an activity multiplier — a number between 1 (basically sedentary) and 2 (someone who trains like an animal 5-6 days a week but also has a highly physically demanding job).

Multiply your BMR times your TDEE to get your Maintenance Calories. This is how many daily calories you’ll need to eat to maintain your current weight and body type.

3. Calibrate for Weight Loss or Muscle Gains

In a competition prep, you’ll likely need to adjust your daily calorie intake for both weight loss and muscle-building. So, start with your maintenance calories and then:

Create a calorie deficit for weight loss. Eat slightly fewer calories than your maintenance intake but not less than your BMR. To get this new calorie goal, multiply your maintenance calories by 1 minus your target reduction percentage (between 1–20%).

Example: If your maintenance calories are 2,000 and you want to decrease your calorie intake by 10%, you’d take 2,000 x (1 - .10) and get 1,800 calories.

Create a calorie surplus for muscle growth. Eat slightly more calories than your maintenance intake to give your body the raw materials it needs for bulking.

Using our same example, if you want to increase your calorie intake by 10%, you’ll take 2,000 x (1 + .10) and get 2,200 calories.

4. Determine Your Macro Ratios

Once you have your calorie target, you must allocate those calories to each macro. Counting macros ensures your meal plan contains the perfect balance of macronutrients to prevent muscle loss, gain weight in the form of lean body mass, and drive results.

To keep the math simple, let’s say you have a daily 2,000-calorie target and want to follow standard keto macro ratios. 

  • Fat will equal 70% of your total calories. Multiply 2,000 x .70 to get 1,400 calories. Each gram of fat provides 9 calories. So divide 1,400 by 9 to get about 156 grams of fat.
  • Total carbs will be capped at 20 grams to reach ketosis. This time, we’ll work backward. Each gram of carbs contains 4 calories. So, if you want to stay at 20 grams per day, multiply that by 4 calories to get 80 calories from carbs.
  • Protein makes up the remainder. Your starting calorie intake was 2,000. Subtracting 1,400 from fat and 80 calories from carbs leaves you with 520 calories. Each gram of protein costs 4 calories. So divide 520 by 4 to get 130 grams of protein.


To sum it up, someone on a 2,000-calorie diet will eat 156 grams of fat, 130 grams of protein, and 20 grams of carbs daily. If you’re going Carnivore or don’t eat those carbs, divide them equally between fat and protein.


🧮  Hate math? My Ultimate Keto Macro Tracking Spreadsheet does all these calculations for you! With a built-in macro calculator to determine your starting macros for fat loss and lean mass gains, you’ll score the perfect blueprint for nutritional victory.

Macros Should Be Dynamic, Not Static  🏋️

Many bodybuilders follow static macros all the way through their journey. But this oversimplification wastes time and effort. Your macros must constantly evolve as your body adapts, or you risk plateauing and stalling your progress.

Metabolic adaptation occurs when your caloric intake shifts and your body is forced to compensate. Metabolisms are incredibly adaptable systems — as we eat more, our metabolism up-regulates; as we eat less, our metabolism down-regulates. 

Tracking macros along with your weight loss/muscle gains provides the data you need to dial in and optimize your nutrition during each of the 7 Phases of Keto Bodybuilding. This data-driven approach empowers you to intelligently manipulate calorie intake and pull different levers as needed.


🌟  Outsmart plateaus with the macronutrient calculator and tracker in my Ultimate Keto Macro Tracking Spreadsheet! Just plug in your data to get visual macro pie charts, weight tracking graphs, and more in one centralized progress-charting dashboard.

Get Your Keto Bodybuilding Roadmap, Champ  🗺️

This guide just scratched the surface of keto bodybuilding macros; it doesn’t cover all the nuances involved in conquering the nutrition piece of the puzzle. So, if you’re serious about achieving your dream physique, enroll in my Keto Bodybuilding Premium Course today.

This comprehensive roadmap outlines everything you need to make your contest prep or body composition goals successful! 

You’ll secure LIFETIME access to our ENTIRE COURSE LIBRARY (200+ videos), PLUS exclusive downloads, discounts, and perks. You’ll even gain access to my COMPANION COURSES and personal prep documentation so you can see exactly what manipulations I made through every week of my contest prep and reverse diet.

It’s time to unlock your full bodybuilding potential. Sign up for my results-driven course, and let’s turn those macros into muscle!  💪

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