Okay, so firstly if you don’t know what a macronutrient is head to the link below.
Once you have an understanding of Macros, this blog will make much more sense.
Macro tracking is calculating your required protein, fat, and carb targets, which is dependent on your required energy balance, and your goals. Macros all contain calories. So, for protein and carbs you’ve got four calories per gram, and for fats it’s nine calories per gram.
Calories are king, your overall caloric intake for the day and week is what is going to be the most important. If you’re slightly low on one day you can make it up on the other day, but then as long as your overall weekly calories are matching what your targets are, then fantastic.
Protein is the runner up, so make sure you’re hitting your protein intake for the day and for the week. Carbs and fats can be interchangeable and won’t have a huge impact on your body recomposition as long as your overall calories are okay and you’re getting enough protein.
There is an app called MyFitnessPal that has made the whole if it fits your macros, macro counting process very easy. It’s simply scanning a barcode and being able to log your food and track your macros individually. It’s easy to monitor, and it’s also quite easy to change your macros accordingly.
It also makes it easier to make a plan your food. You know what macros you need for the day so you can be prepared and ensure your meals meet your macro requirements.
All the guesswork is taken out of the process as you can calculate then measure all of your foods according to your targets.
There is a little bit of room for error while using the MyFitnessPal program, but you can make changes and it gives you a solid starting point.
One of the biggest benefits for people that track macros is the opportunity to be able to eat foods that they wouldn’t normally eat. When calculating your meals you can add in foods such as chocolate, ice cream and other goodies. Generally you want 90% whole foods that are nutritious and satiating and 10% processed foods.
It does involve some maths, so if you’re not mathematically minded, or hate doing calculations then it may be a bit of a pain to begin with. But once you have established some core meals and calculated everything it becomes quite easy.
If you’re having a different meal every single meal, then it’s gonna require a lot more calculation so it’s best to keep it simple in the beginning.
Another con is that some people feel like they’re just constantly living day to day by numbers, they’re always having to look at what they eat and figure out the calories and if it matches. For some people it can cause a bit of a mental battle because they constantly have to go back and forth with what they’re eating and if it fits their macros.
One of the biggest issues we see is people stressing over the numbers.
Food is more than just energy and you may start looking at everything as protein, carbs, and fats. When in reality, it’s a social thing, a comfort thing and brings lots of enjoyment. If you have really specific goals that you need to meet in the short term such as a physique competition, then yeah, you can look at food as energy and you can be a bit more restrictive, but generally you want to look at it as more than just numbers.
It can also be a bit of an excuse to eat less nutritious foods. Yes, you could live on pizza, burgers, and ice cream if you really wanted to, but there’s no nutrition in that. You aren’t getting your micro nutrients, you’re not getting any vitamins or minerals. Your body composition may not suffer but you may feel tired and can’t concentrate. So, it’s not just an excuse to eat poorly. You still want to be eating your fruits and vegetables.
With our clients, we like to gauge where they are at in their journey, so if you have more of a physique or performance type goal, then counting calories and macros may be fantastic.
If you’re doing it more for health, lifestyle or just some general fat loss then we look at the habits behind your nutrition and don’t even worry about counting calories.
We use both methods. Sometimes we’ll track, sometimes we won’t. We are both at that stage where tracking macros has actually helped us get to where we are now. We understand what we’re putting in our body, most of the time, and we’re able to feel confident on eating and knowing that we’re not going to put on lots of fat. It’s worked for us but it doesn’t work for everyone.
As coaches it’s our job to understand if it will be right for you or not.