WHAT ARE MACROS AND WHY IS EVERYONE OBSESSING OVER THEM?
Macro nutrients are simply the carbohydrates, dietary fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. They are large molecules and our bodies need in large amounts, hence, MACRO nutrient. All foods contain these macronutrients or even a combination of the three. All food is also comprised of MICROnutrients which are smaller nutrients that our body needs in smaller amounts. These nutrients are the key to providing our bodies with what it needs to lose body fat, gain muscle, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and feel good when we eat the amount we should.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF TRACKING THEM?
Many many people all over the world have been showing, especially on social media, that they “count their macros” and these people usually look GREAT, they have the body we want and we see them and think, huh, how can I look like that? We notice that while we have been eating very very little, working out a ton, doing extra cardio, not eating the sugar and sweets, and missing out on the fun we aren’t really losing the weight we want or we aren’t looking the way we want, but then theres these people out there eating 2000 calories a day, eating the cake or the cookies, and looking 10,000 times better than we do! HOW?! Sign me up! I want that! It’s important to realize that although they are eating more and exercising and staying dedicated and seeing results while also having fun, enjoying that cookie or piece of cake, they are putting on social media what they want you to see. These people don’t sit around and eat sweets all day, they maybe have one a week, but when you track and calculate your macros, you are determining YOUR bodies nutrient needs to either lose, maintain, or gain weight. You are in control of what your body does, essentially, but it does take practice, it takes testing and trying out different things, and there is no one set guideline to what your personal body needs are for gaining or losing weight. Each person reacts to macronutrient intakes differently, through your lifestyle and experimenting different intakes and foods over time, you will be able to determine what your body needs in order to accomplish what you want.
HOW DO I DETERMINE WHAT MY MACROS ARE?
There are many online calculators out there that may be able to help you calculate your macronutrients that work best for your body, but the problem is, those may not always be the MOST accurate. There is a better way to figure out the nutrients you need by learning what macronutrients are, what foods are high in what nutrient, how your body reacts to different intakes, and learning why each nutrient is so important for your body! The more you know about your body, the easier it will be to manipulate your food to reach your goals.
Each macronutrient contains a different amount of calories. Protein= 4 kcal/gram, Carbohydrate= 4 kcal/gram, Fat= 9kcal/gram. SO for example, 25g of protein is (25×4=100) 100 calories. get it? So once you know how to calculate the amount of calories in each macronutrient, we need to determine the amount of calories your body requires to maintain its current body composition.
What About Calories?
Calories in need to be less tan calories out. If you’re eating too much and are having trouble understanding why you aren’t losing the weight knowing your macros, tracking them, and lowering them a little bit will help you to know EXACTLY what results you are going to get and that you WILL get them, rather than just going day to day and hoping to get results but not really understanding how.
In order to figure our your average caloric intake, you might want to try tracking your calories for 1-3 weeks before trying to determine you macronutrients. I personally love and use MyMacros+ but there is also MyFitnessPal and other applications that are trustworthy and people recommend as well.
Once you have tracked your average caloric intake and have an idea of what you feel your body needs to maintain your current weight on a daily basis, you can determine your macros!
PROTEIN: Research shows that your body needs about .7-1.5g per pound of body weight. How much you decide to consume is determined by how much muscle you have, if you’re in a cut you may want to consume a little more, or what your personal preference is. So, for example, lets say you are wanting to eat 1.0g/pound and you weigh 130 pounds! That is 130g protein/day, which means 130 x 4 = 520 calories from protein/ day
FATS: Our bodies require .35-.45g/ pound of body weight. As you become more familiar with you body and more experienced in reading your body you can figure out the amount of fats your body needs more accurately. There are a variety of different factors that can play into how much fat your body needs like your gender, body composition, how your body reacts to dietary fat, ect. Lets just say you are going to intake .35g/pound so that is .35 x 130 lbs = 45.5g fat/day which is 45.5 x 9 = 409.5 calories from fat/ day that you will consume
CARBS: carbohydrates are usually determined AFTER you have figured out the protein and the fat your body needs because there is no set number or magical number for the amount of carbohydrates your body needs. Lets assume you are basing all of this on a 2000 calorie diet. So you have 2000/day – 520 calories from protein – 409.5 calories from fat = 1070.5 calories from carbohydrates
1070.5 divided by 4 is 267.6g carbs/ day
YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE YOUR MACROS TO FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
if you prefer carbs higher in carbs than fats, then lower you fat intake and raise your carbs to still hit your calorie goal. If you prefer more fatty foods over carbs then you can lower your carbs in order to fit more fats in, just remember fats are 9 calories/gram and carbs are only 4.
now, there is no perfect way to doing this and by no means will you 100% understand or get it on your first try. It comes with picking something, sticking with it for a few weeks, seeing how your body reacts, and making the changes where necessary!