When you’re looking into starting a new fitness or nutrition plan, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start with so many different options. The main goal to consider when choosing a nutrition plan is to create a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain AND enjoy that helps you feel your best. If you’re trying to lose weight or get a better handle on your nutrition, tracking your macros is VITAL to your success. Here’s why:
Calories vs Macros: What are They?
Calories are made up of three macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fat which each have a specific function to provide energy for your body. Without all three of these nutrients, your body will not function at it’s optimal level. Tracking macronutrients help find the right balance of the food you eat in alignment with your health and fitness goals. The values of each macro are:
1g of protein = 4 calories
1g of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1g of fat = 9 calories
Calories vs Macros: What’s Better?
You may be thinking….so what’s the difference between tracking calories versus macros? If you are tracking macros, you are essentially also tracking calories. Since each macro has a caloric value–if you hit your macros, you are also hitting your calories.
If you want to lose weight, you need your body to be in a calorie deficit which means consuming less calories than your body burns per day. Calories ultimately determine weight gain, weight loss, or weight maintenence.
However, tracking macros will make sure you are consuming the right type of calories. While keeping tracking of calories is essential, counting macros takes into account what those calories consist of to influence your body composition. Counting macros is the difference between losing fat and increasing lean muscle vs. losing muscle while decreasing weight.
You don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.
Without counting macros, you don’t see the nutrient breakdown within your amount of daily calories. Think about it this way: 1 slice of cake has the same amount of calories as two bananas or 1 cup of granola has the same amount of calories as two eggs, two slices of turkey bacon, and an english muffin. Both have the same caloric intake, but your body processes them differently!
Choosing a majority of whole, less processed foods will help you see long term success both in health & fitness because these foods will keep you feeling full and properly fueld your body. BUT it’s also important to enjoy life and be able to flexibility to eat all different foods in moderation.
Think of your macros like a budget and “spend” your macros wisely on what matters to you. When you have a plan in place, it’s okay to splurge on foods that you really like. It’s helpful to have a plan in place to help you hit your macros if you are new to tracking to see where you are. Track for a few days and adjust accordingly!
What are the benefits of counting macros?
The If It Fits In Your Maros (IIFYM) is a flexible diet that allows you to eat a certain amount of each macronutrient in whatever way you would like. Counting macros is much more sustainable to achieve long term and your physical goals, because it allows flexibility and is tailored to your history, fitness goals, workout routine, etc. It changes the way you look at food so you can see what nutrients fuel your body to function at it’s best. When you know what your daily calorie and macronutrients are, you can make adjustments when you need to!
By understanding macros, you will learn how to eat for your goals. There are no membership fees, no restrictive meal plans, no magical pill. When you know what your fat, carbohydrate, and protein intake should be–you can navigate your own food choices and decide what foods you want and what is worth it to you.
Tracking macros gives you proper knowledge of serving sizes and macronutrient ratios to help you make the best decisions to fuel your body so that you don’t need to track macros in the future.
Now that you have an understanding of macros, where do you go from here?
Your macro numbers represent the amount (in grams) of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you should be consuming on a daily basis. These numbers take into consideration your individual goals, body composition, and daily activity.
Here’s where I come in and take the guesswork out for you- I offer a custom macro count with an explanation of how they will help you fulfill your health goals. We will set you up for success!