Macros, short for Macronutrients, are the parts that make up the calories that you eat. There are 3 macronutrients that go into your total calorie count. They are Fats, Carbohydrates, and Proteins. The combination of these macros give you your daily calorie totals.
Breaking it down:
- 1g Carbs = 4 calories
- 1g Fat = 9 calories
- 1g Protein = 4 calories
Each one of those macros plays a big part in your health and fitness journey and it is important that you get the right amount of each one. You can find many free macro calculators online, like the one at Bodybuilding.com, that will give you daily macro goals based on your age, height/weight, and activity level as well as your fitness goals.
When you have your daily macro grams you can figure out your daily calorie goals. You can also use websites like My Fitness Pal to track your food and keep count of your macros and calories. When you log into MFP, you can go to Goals from the home page, then edit your Daily Nutrition Goals. Move the percentages around until you come close to your Macro gram goals. For me that comes to 40% Carbs and Protein, and 20% Fat. Plugging in those numbers gives me a general calorie goal to aim for. From there I can track my food and see where I’m at as far as meeting those goals.
Tip: If using a website like MFP, add all of your meals for the day in the night before. That way you can see it all laid out and know that your macros are spread and you’re not struggling at the end of the day when you realize you’ve been binging on carbs and need to get in more protein.
Tracking and following your macros has become a big deal in the diet/fitness world. It’s more than just counting calories. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a popular website that can also give you macro goals and help you learn more about flexible dieting. The idea with this way of eating is that you are allowed to treat yourself and not cut out ALL the things you love…as long as eating them fits into your daily macros. Want a cupcake? Go for it. But remember that will cut into your macros and you will need to adjust for it in other meals during the day.
Examples of Macros:
What are they really?
- Fats – Egg yolks, nut butters, avocados, nuts, oils, dressings
- Protein – Eggs, turkey, chicken, lean beef, fish, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder
- Carbs – Breads, rice, quinoa, potatoes, oats, beans, pasta, corn, fruits, sugars, grains
No matter what you choose to follow remember that to lost weight you need to be burning more calories than you consume so make sure you’re crushing your workouts! Also, I definitely recommend tracking your food for a few days, eating the way you normally would, and see what you learn about your calorie and macro intake. From there you can see where to modify (less carbs, more protein, less fat?) to reach your goals.