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WHAT is a Macro and HOW do I Track Them?

It’s all the rage. “Counting Macros”- It’s not just a “fad diet.” This lifestyle can last for a lifetime and be effective- long term. Say good bye to the rollercoaster and let’s learn about “Counting Macros”. But what does that even mean? Keep reading and I’ll break it down for you in the simplest way I can.


What does “Macro” mean?


Macro is short for “macronutrients”. There are three main nutrients that your body needs for fuel- Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. When we track the amount of macronutrients our body is getting, it helps us to get the proper balance/fuel our bodies need.


Why should I care about tracking them?


BALANCE is so important in every area of life. When we have the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, it can help us to meet our goals and to feel good. Whether your goal is to gain muscle mass, to lean out, to enhance performance, to have more energy or to just maintain a healthy weight, tracking the amounts of nutrients you take in can help with it all.


How do I know how much I should eat?


General rule of thumb is that men should eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Women should eat about .7 grams per pound of body weight. (That number can raise depending on your specific goals)

Other things to know-


· There are 4 calories in every gram of protein

· There are 4 calories in every gram of carbohydrate

· There are 9 calories in every gram of fat


You can think about dividing your plates up something like this:


Image from 'Scientific Psychic'

How do I know my special formula?


There are several macro calculators out there. The calculator will consider your age, height, current weight, activity level and goal weight (to lose, gain or maintain) From there, you can get a formula to start with. *The larger the person you are and the more active, obviously the more fuel you will need to keep you going and feeling strong.





I have my special formula set… Now what?


Start with just becoming “aware”. Just spend a few days tracking what you usually eat, not changing anything about it. Once you see where you are, you can make small changes little by little. My suggestion is to start with protein (and water!) Get in the habit of hitting that first. It may take lots of trial and error. I recommend the my fitness pal app to get you started.


FACT- Most clients I have worked with are actually WAY underfed. The beauty of tracking our macronutrients is that we are allowed to eat! It is amazing the results you can have just by giving your body the fuel it needs. Your body will thank you by changing its composition for the better and by giving you the extra energy you’ve probably been lacking all along.


Take Natalie for instance. She came to me not knowing she was way underfed until we started tracking her food and we quickly came to that realization. After a few months of just EATING MORE and keeping her regular workout routine, she lost inches, improved energy levels, and began to feel recovered after her workouts- just by giving her body enough (proper) fuel.

Photo of Natalie taken just three months apart!

Notes-


The wonderful thing about macros is that you can ‘technically’ hit them eating whatever foods you want. If you can hit your numbers by eating Lucky Charms, pizza, and the occasional donut, go for it. Keep in mind though, that quality is always important when working toward larger goals. The more veggies and nutrient dense foods, the better. Remember, if we fuel well, we FEEL WELL.


Need extra help?


Look at the images below to see what qualifies as a protein, carb or fat. It can be tricky! For example- peanut butter isn’t a main protein source. Yes, nuts and nut butters have protein, but there is also a substantial amount of fat, so we put them into that category mainly. Also, you can head to our resources page to find helpful links to a few of our favorite protein sources and more!


Photo from avidahealth.org

A Final Note...


Don’t Forget Your Water!

Hydration Tip- Take half your bodyweight (in oz.) and that is the minimum amount of water you should get each day. Add about 8 oz. per hour of sweating and activity.

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