If you've been poking around the internet trying to find the best way to fuel your body in order to help you achieve your health and fitness goals, odds are you've come across the word, "Macros," at some point.
As someone who's been there, I also know how confusing understanding macros can be. So let me break it down for you!
Macros is a term short for macronutrients. And macronutrients are Proteins, Carbs and Fats.
That's it! So now that you know what they are, let's get into how to use them to help you hit your goals.
Understanding the amount of each macro you consume on a daily basis is going to be key for your goals-- whether it's fat loss, muscle gain, or even maintenance. Because of this, you'll hear a lot of people in the fitness industry say they, "count their macros."
Think of this as a more efficient and flexible way of counting calories. And before you cringe...just know that most people are SHOCKED at how much more food their macro plan requires them to eat than expected. When people, "count their macros," this means that while they're following a daily calorie goal, they're also keeping track of the quality of those calories, trying to hit daily goals for protein, carb and fat intake in order to help them get that lean, toned look. Tracking your macros is also a fantastic way to learn more about what nutrients make up certain foods and how to properly fuel your body to support your goals.
A quick peek at why it's important to track all 3:
PROTEIN: Protein is not only going to keep you fuller longer, but it's going to help retain and build lean muscle. No, it's not going to make you get bulky if you're a woman. What it will do is help give you that "toned" more defined look, as well as keep you fuller longer.
CARBS: Your body's main source of energy-- what makes it tick-- is carbs. High quality carbs (think sweet potatoes, whole grains, fruits & veggies) will help provide natural energy levels throughout the day, boost performance in your workouts and help you lose fat! That last bit is extremely important to remember. Carbs help you lose fat, if you're consuming the proper amount for your body. You want to eat carbs if your goal is to lose weight and keep it off!
If you try any diet that restricts carbs, beware that when that "diet" is over and you start to re-introduce carbs into your diet, you might struggle, as you won't really know how much carbs to reincorporate back into your diet without losing progress.
FATS: Fats provide your body with additional energy as well as protect your organs, support growth and help regulate hormones. Fats are NOT bad for you, as long as you're getting most of them from whole foods like nuts, olive oil and meat/fish.
Now that you have a baseline understanding of what macros are and how they work for your body, it's important to note the amount of protein, carbs and fats--and calories overall-- that you need to help achieve your goals is highly personalized and dependent on your daily activity levels, goals, current body metrics and workout habits. Meaning, it's critical not to just copy someone else's macros.
Also, be weary of free, online calculators, as many of them don't factor in certain elements of your lifestyle that influence your personal macro numbers.
At the end of the day, counting your macros isn't a fad diet. It's meant to teach you nutrition basics, how to eat to fuel your body and how much to eat to hit certain goals you have. After a while of tracking, you'll eventually be able to have a "muscle memory," if you will, built up and be able to eat without tracking and without losing progress.
The best way I've tracked macros in my 4 years of doing so-- and the way that helped me lose 20 lbs-- was by using the 1st Phorm app (and upgrading to premium). It takes into consideration your current weight/body metrics, your goal weight, your goals in general (lose, gain or maintain weight) and so much more that's going to give you the most personalized result you'll find out there.
If you're ready to give it a shot and still have questions, follow me on Instagram for more tips and shoot me a DM. I'd be happy to jump on a quick call with you to help you understand everything! :)