33-33-33 Macros: What Is It, How It Works, & Sample Meals

A 33-33-33 macro split is a way to allocate your calories so that you can optimize your body composition.

What is the 33:33:33 macro split? The 33:33:33 macronutrient split means that your calories are being divided equally into thirds between carbs, fats, and protein and is used in combination with caloric intake to produce changes in body weight and body composition.

Before you can implement the 33-33-33 macro split you’ll need to understand how to set up your calorie intake to reflect your goals, otherwise, you may not get the results you desire.

After reading this article you’ll learn:

  • What a 33-33-33 macronutrient split is
  • Who a 33:33:33 macronutrient split is appropriate for
  • How to determine your calorie intake with a 33-33-33 split
  • When it’s time to change your split from a 33:33:33 ratio

What Are 33-33-33 Macros?

What are 33-33-33 macros?

The 33-33-33 macro split means that the calories that you eat will be divided into 33% carbs, 33% protein, and 33% fats.

The 33-33-33 macro ratio is lower carb, moderate protein, and higher fat compared to an average spit, despite the nutrients being divided equally into thirds.

The 33-33-33 split will help with body composition changes, but calories will have the largest effect on body weight changes rather than changes in macronutrients. 

Therefore the calorie intake that you choose will support changes in body weight, but the 33-33-33 split will affect your body composition and energy levels at that bodyweight.

To use the 33-33-33 macro split you have to decide what your overall goal is, determine your calorie intake, and then find the number of calories that need to be dedicated to each nutrient (carbs, fats, protein) based on the 33-33-33 split.

Who Should Have 33-33-33 Macros? 

The 33-33-33 macro split could be appropriate for those who want to lose weight or those who prefer to eat a higher amount of fat compared to carbs and want to maintain weight.

The lower carb / higher fat approach is generally adopted by those who want to lose weight because fat is more important for health, and carbs are more easily manipulated.

The benefit of this macro split is that all the nutrients are divided evenly and therefore you won’t be deficient in any of the macronutrients.

However, the downside of the 33-33-33 ratio is that you may prefer more carbohydrates if you’re training hard with strength training and/or cardio.

The 33-33-33 macro split is ideal for those who aren’t looking to drastically change their body composition by adding more muscle mass, because of the lower amount of carbs that are beneficial for training.

Figuring Out Your Calories For 33-33-33 Macros

figuring out your calories for 33-33-33 macros

The 5 steps to figure out your calories for 33-33-33 macros are:

Step 1: Choose Your Bodyweight Goal

Step 2: Figure Out Your Current Caloric Intake

Step 3: Set Calorie Goal

Step 4: Allocate Calories To Macronutrients

Step 5: Convert Macronutrient Calories To Grams

Step 1: Choose Your Bodyweight Goal

First, you must decide which bodyweight goal you would like to pursue: weight gain, weight maintenance, or weight loss.

This will help you to determine what your caloric intake should be because the number of calories that you consume will determine changes in your body weight over time.

Related Article: Do Macros Matter For Weight Loss?

Step 2: Figure Out Your Current Caloric Intake

Next, you need to figure out how many calories you’ve been eating and how this has impacted your current body weight.

This is helpful information for you to determine how many calories you will need to reach your body weight goals. Adjusting your calories based on your current intake is the most accurate way to make changes toward your goal.

I recommend tracking your calories for one week (if you haven’t already been doing so) so that you can get an average calorie count for how many calories you’ve been eating. 

Then based on how your body weight has changed, we can determine whether your current intake is a caloric surplus, maintenance, or a calorie deficit.

If your body weight is increasing then that intake is a surplus, if your bodyweight stays the same then those are your maintenance calories, or if you lose weight then those calories put you in a calorie deficit.

If you don’t feel like tracking your calories, you could always use a calorie calculator to estimate how many calories you should be eating based on your goal, without having to know how many calories you’ve been consuming.

The downside to the calorie calculator is that because it’s an estimation it could be quite inaccurate. Still, as long as you’re prepared to make adjustments later on to account for its inaccuracy, then it is an option.

Step 3: Set Calorie Goal

Once you’ve determined your current caloric intake, you can set a calorie goal that reflects the goal you selected in step 1.

If the number of calories you eat on average puts you on track with your goal, then you can keep your calorie intake the same.

If the number of calories you eat on average causes you to maintain weight and your goal is to lose or gain, then you can adjust your calories up or down by 100-300 calories.

The goal here is to use the information that your current caloric intake provides to make an informed decision about how you can adjust your calories to reach your goal.

If you didn’t track your calories and instead used the calculator, then you can skip this step because the calculator should have already given you an estimate for your calorie goal.

Step 4: Allocate Calories To Macronutrients

The next step is to distribute your newfound calorie intake to each macronutrient: carbs, protein, and fats to find out how many calories to allocate to each nutrient.

With the 33-33-33 macro split, you know that each nutrient will have 33% of your calorie intake.

For example: If my calorie intake based on my goal is 2000 calories, then 33% is 660 calories. This means that 660 calories will be allocated to carbs, protein, and fat.

Related Article: Is It Better To Hit Your Macros or Calories?

Step 5: Convert Macronutrient Calories To Grams

Lastly, you need to convert the calories to grams per day so that you know how much of each nutrient to eat for your goals.

You need to know that carbs and protein have 4 calories per gram and fats have 9 calories per gram. Then you can divide the calories allocated to each nutrient by the corresponding calories per gram.

For example, if I have 660 calories to allocate to each nutrient then to find the carbs and protein I can divide 660 by 4.

  • 660 carb calories / 4 calories per gram = 165 grams of carbs per day
  • 660 protein calories / 4 calories per gram = 165 grams of protein per day
  • And for fats, I would divide 660 calories by 9.
  • 660 fat calories / 9 calories per gram = around 73 grams of fat per day.

So my calorie goal each day would be 2000 with 165 C / 165 P / 73 F

If you’re going over your macros, check out:

Food List ​For 33-33-33 Macros

food list ​for 33-33-33 macros

Carbs

Some examples of carbs are:

Protein

High-quality protein sources are:

Fat

Healthier sources of fat are:

  • Nut/Nut Butters
  • Seeds/Seed Butters
  • Avocado/Avocado Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cheese

Guidelines For 33-33-33 Macros 

​guidelines for 33-33-33 macros 

Guidelines for following the 33-33-33 macro split:

  • Focus On The Daily Macro Split
  • Track The Grams Of Each Nutrient
  • Plan Your Day Ahead

Focus On The Daily Macro Split

When implementing the 33-33-33 macronutrient split it’s important to focus on the daily split instead of the split per meal.

If at the end of the day your macronutrient ratio comes out to 33:33:33 then you will achieve the results you’re looking for, as long as your calories are also on target.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter if each meal corresponds to the 33:33:33 split. It’s normal to have some meals that are higher in carbs and lower in fats or higher protein and lower protein; as long as it all works out at the end of the day.

Track The Grams Of Each Nutrient

For the 33-33-33 macronutrient ratio, you need to remember that you’re tracking the grams of each nutrient (carbs, fats, protein) rather than the food itself.

Oftentimes people get confused with which grams they’re tracking because there are grams of each nutrient (25 grams of protein) and grams of the food that’s giving you the nutrients (100 grams of chicken).

So remember that you’re tracking the grams of each food to reach a certain amount of each nutrient.

Plan Your Day Ahead

Another guideline for 33-33-33 macros is to plan your day out ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling last minute to reach your target calories and the 33-33-33 macro split. 

It’s easier to plan ahead to know exactly what you’re eating that day than to try and play macronutrient Tetris at the end of the day.

Additionally, if your macronutrients are on point, then your calorie count will always be on point because your macronutrient amount is determined based on your target calories.

Meal Plan For 33-33-33 Macros

A meal plan using the 33-33-33 macro split could like like the following:

2000 calories / 165 C / 165 P / 73 F

Meal 1: PB & J Smoothie (344 cal/ 29 C/ 30 P/ 12 F)

Meal 2: Greek Yogurt Bowl (173 cal/ 17 C/ 24 P/ 1 F)

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Berries

Meal 3: Ground Chicken Hash (640 cal/ 47 C/ 41 P/ 32 F)

  • 5 oz Ground Chicken
  • 1 cup Kale Slaw
  • 1 cup Roasted Potatoes
  • 1 oz Cheese

Meal 4: Mid Day Snack (92 cal/ 23 C/ 0 P/ 0 F)

  • 1 small Apple

Meal 5: Salmon Salad (430 cal/ 32 C/ 35 P/ 18 F)

  • 5 oz Salmon
  • 1 oz Feta
  • 2 cup Salad Greens
  • ½ cup Cucumber
  • 1 cup Sweet Potato
  • ½ tbsp Olive Oil

Meal 6: Evening Snack (302 cal/ 18 C/ 35 P/ 10 F)

When Do You Need To Switch These Macro Ratios?

It’s time to switch macro ratios when you’re no longer seeing the results that you’re looking for, even if you saw results initially.

If you’re finding that you have a lack of energy, mental clarity, or any other lifestyle or performance factors that are affected, then it’s worth adjusting your macro ratio to include more carbs.

Some people do best with a lower-carb diet like the 33-33-33 split but others may feel like they don’t have enough energy with a low-carb split like this.

Ultimately, you should make decisions based on how you’re responding to the 33-33-33 macro ratio, if it’s not producing the results that you had hoped for then it’s worth making a change.

A FeastGood Nutrition Coach can design you a meal plan and diet that works for you & gets results faster.

Curious To Learn About Other Macronutrient splits? Check out:

Final Thoughts

If the 33-33-33 macronutrient split is producing the results you’re looking for without compromising your physical or cognitive performance, then it’s likely appropriate for you. If you’re trying to bulk, you might find that this is not the case.


About The Author

Amanda Parker
Amanda Parker

Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath.  She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.