Does the word “macros” mean very little to you? Like you know what they are, but not really what all the fuss is about. Macros are protein, carbohydrates and fats -- the building blocks of food to fuel your body. They are the foundation for all your calories and are incredibly important to your health. Not all calories are created equally and simply counting calories will only get you so far in your fitness and weight-loss journey. So let me teach you about macros, or what’s commonly known as the IIFYM movement (If It Fits Your Macros), and how to track your macros.
Protein: first let’s talk about protein! This is the most important macro when it comes to building and repairing your muscles. If you don’t get adequate amounts of protein, your muscles will take longer to heal, may not heal completely, and it will be a lot harder to build upon your existing muscles. However, just like any other macro, protein has to be consumed in the appropriate amounts to avoid excessive weight gain. For example: if you aren’t going to the gym and are sedentary most of the day, you won’t need as many grams of protein as your bodybuilder co-worker. Protein is 4 calories per gram. For example, if 40% of your calories are from protein and you take in 2,000 calories each day 40% of 2,000 is 800 calories, divide that by 4 and you get 200 grams of protein.
Carbs: ah, the dreaded carbohydrate… It seems like everyone has an opinion about whether carbs are good or bad for you. Regardless of how you feel about them, they are ESSENTIAL to your health! You need carbohydrates to survive. This is a fact and eliminating carbs from your diet is incredibly dangerous. Carbs are used for energy, which includes everything from cell creation, metabolism, and all your basic body functions. That means you need some form of carbohydrates to help facilitate muscle repair and growth, along with energy just to have a good workout. Carbs, like protein, are 4 calories per gram. Depending upon your goals, striving for 40% carbohydrate can enable fat loss or muscle building. This ration of 40% protein and 40% carbs is what I use with my clients. Similar to the protein example, you will need 200 grams of carbs.
Fats: recently fats have been in the limelight. With Keto being such a huge fad, everyone seems to be taking in huge amounts of fats all in the name of “ketosis.” This is a discussion for another day! Fats are used to help many bodily functions, help absorb certain vitamins and minerals and are the last source of energy when you’re body is burning calories.Fats can be used as an energy source, but are a bit harder for the body to break down and therefore the energy is not quick and readily available. If you need energy quickly, you are better off eating an apple rather than nuts. However, not just any fats will do! It’s important to limit fats from butter, heavy cream, and baked goods because this type of fats is not as healthy for you as say, an avocado. All fats should be consumed in moderation regardless of healthy status, just like everything else you consume. The remainder of your calories -- the last 20% or 400 calories -- will be reserved for fat. Fats are 9 calories per gram, so the goal is 66 grams.
Using the If It Fits Your Macros method allows you to eat the foods you love as long as the macros from the food item fit into your daily allowed macro intake. If you want to get a jump start on your IIFYM journey I have a FREE meal plan with 5 days worth of macro-friendly meals! If you need more help be sure to check out my website to schedule a coaching call with me!