Everybody in the fitness world almost knows of them but there are a lot of people who don’t really understand and comprehend what macros are or how they work. If you don’t quite get it, I’ve got you covered. Here’s the 4-1-1 on macros and whether or not they’re a proven method to healthy eating and healthy living.
Macros are short for ‘macronutrients’. Basically, macros are three categories of nutrients that you eat the most and provide you with most of your energy each day. These categories are: protein, carbohydrates and fat. When people talk about counting macros, essentially they’re talking about how many grams of each of these categories they consume for the entire day. Some people do make a habit of counting macros each day to stay within the parameters of their diet. However, whether you count them or not, we all eat macros. The difference between people who count them and those that don’t are people who meticulously count macros have a better handle and knowledge on where the calories are going to in their diet.
Before I knew what macros were and did some research, I thought counting these little guys was something that hardcore bodybuilders did or anybody who was competing in an event would do as a form of prep work. It wasn’t until I found out my great friend, Erika Reid, counted her macros and introduced me to the process. She guided me over to her Facebook group, ‘Mama Loves Macros’, which I urge everybody reading to go check out for ideas and recipes that are macro-friendly. After she explained to me a few things, I kind of got a handle on how this all works and the science behind it. On an early episode of my podcast, ‘ManAlive!’, I talked with Erika about the importance of cooking macro-friendly meals, especially during and after her pregnancy. For any woman, getting the correct nutrients is important in itself, not only for the growing baby but mom as well. Macros tend to shift when a woman becomes pregnant due to the body needing more nutrients for the growing fetus. Counting macros is a great way to make sure that you are eating a heart-healthy, balanced diet.
“John, counting macros every. single. day. It seems so time consuming. I just don’t have time.” True, it SOUNDS time-consuming but it’s really pretty simple thanks to technology. Want to count your macros? There’s apps for that! MyFitnessPal does most of the work for you, all you need to really do is to scan the food label into the app and your part is basically done. It’s that simple!
These are your muscles’ building blocks and since muscles make our bodies look strong, we want to make sure we’re getting enough of the right ones. When your body is going through muscle-building processes, there is more happening than just shedding weight and stored water. If you have any kind of strength goals, it’s difficult to build a lot of muscle without eating the correct amounts of protein daily. The usual amount for protein recommended by most macro-coaches for fat loss is around .8 to 1 g times you ideal body weight. Some people tend to base it on lean body mass instead but either or, this is a simple and easy way to create a solid protein goal.
Carbohydrates and Fats
The breakdown with carbs and fats is a lot more flexible and easier to keep a handle on. Some people do a 50/50 split, others a 60/40, etc. but they can always be adjusted accordingly to changing dieting trends and habits.
Setting Your Macros
- Determine you caloric deficit.
- the general rule of body weight times 10, 11, 12 or 13. Adjust numbers closer to 10 for more sedentary living and closer to 13 for more of an active lifestyle.
- Set a protein goal.
- To set daily protein allowances in your diet, use the formula of your bodyweight OR goal bodyweight times 1.
- Distribute remaining calories between fats and carbohydrates according to preference.
Is it worth it?
Counting macros or ‘flexible dieting’ as it’s commonly referred to due to the fact that you’re eating REAL food without depriving your body. People who are macro counters often use the acronym ‘IIFYM’ – if it fits your macros. So you can basically eat it as long as it fits into your macros for the day. Counting macros can assist you in:
- losing stubborn fat
- maintaining lean muscle mass
- keeping your body satiated
Are you ready??!
If you read this far, you now know some of the basics of what macro’s are and how they are calculated. Now, if you are considering starting to really zone in and start crunching some numbers for yourself, you can now make a more informed and intelligent choice when it comes to healthy nutrition.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ON MACROS???
Mama Loves Macros
– Erika Reid, Mama Loves Macros Creator –
– Emily Field, RD – https://emilyfieldrd.com/macros-resources/
– MyFitnessPal – https://www.myfitnesspal.com/