If you're taking your fitness journey a bit more seriously, you've probably heard the term "macros" thrown around at thegym. But what does it mean? And why is it important to track them?
First off, what are macros?
Macros: shortened for macronutrients — the fat, protein and carbohydrates in food that provide nutrients and energy
Nutrition is key to weight loss and muscle gain. And, by tracking your macros, you can set yourself up for success to reach yourfitness goals.
As opposed to counting calories, tracking your macros allows you to have more control over yourweight loss. While a caloric deficit will definitely make you lose weight, you don't necessarily have control over *where* the weight is dropping from.
On the other hand, tracking macros allows you to control if that weight is coming from fat or muscle, aka you can lose weight without losing your hard-earned gains!
Whether you're trying to lose weight, bulk up, or target specific muscle composition, tracking your macros will definitely get you to where you want to be. By feeding your body with specific target nutrients, you can essentially hack into your body's ability to build muscle. After all, abs are made in thekitchen!
How to track macros
Tracking macros is a personalized journey that requires a learning curve. It depends on your goals, yourfitness level, and the build of your body. So, your daily macros aren't necessarily going to be the same as your gym buddies.
The cool thing about tracking macros is that it allows you to really get to know your body. You're embarking on a journey to find the exact nutrients your body needs to perform at its highest level!
Tracking macros is broken down into three parts:
How much you consume of each depends on your fitness goals and the build of your body! Let's dive in…
Don't be scared of healthy fats! We're talking avocados, olive oil, grass-fed butter, nuts, and fatty fish. However, be aware that fats are naturally calorie-dense, so don't overdo it on the avocados. Ideally, you should aim to eat .5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, start off by consuming 70 grams of fat daily.
If gains are your goal, then protein is your long lost friend! Aim to eat 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Using the same example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should consume 140 grams of protein every day. That's a little over 40 grams of protein per meal if you're eating three meals per day.
You don't have to rely solely on whole foods to meet your protein goals.Protein powder can make meeting your daily protein intake so much easier!
Carbs are a hotly debated topic with fitness buffs having varying opinions. Regardless of the debate, carbohydrates createenergy for your body and can also help tremendously with recovery. Plus, if you're not consuming enough carbs, then your body will pull energy from your muscles, which can make you lose your gains!
Start by filling your diet with 30 percent carbohydrates.
The secret to tracking macros
The above macro allowances are just a starting recommendation. Over time, you may find that you need more protein and fewer carbohydrates, or vice versa. While finding that sweet spot at first may be tricky, you'll eventually get to a place where you know the exact nutrients your body needs.
There's two secrets to tracking macros:
By physically tracking your macros and recording your progress, you'll be able to see how your nutrient intake is affecting your shape. Over time, you'll be able to play around with your macro allowances and make changes based on your fitness goals.
And, noticing these changes requires consistency. Continue to track, record your macronutrients,and meet your daily nutrition goals. You have to stay committed and show up every day.
Well,mostly every day. You can have a few cheat meals here and there, but not too many! It's important to stay true to tracking your macros in the beginning so you can notice real results. Eventually, when you get to a place where you know your body and understand your daily macro needs, you may decide to drop tracking so heavily. That decision is totally up to you.
Also, don't be afraid to lean onsupplements! Supplementing nutrients gives you more control over hitting your target macros, which can help you be more effective in reaching your fitness goals.