The Basics of Macros
What are macros?
“Macro” is short for macronutrients, or the three categories of nutrients where our daily calories come from: fat, protein, and carbohydrate.
“Dialing in your macros” generally refers to making sure that your consumed calories are coming from the correct proportional balance of those three things.
Why should you care?
If you require 2,000 calories per day, you’re going to see better results from consuming the correct balance of protein, carbs and fat for your needs, rather than eating 2,000 calories worth of, say donuts! (An all-donut diet would fill your carb and fat requirement, but leave you vastly lacking in the protein department.)
How do you figure out the correct balance?
We’ll keep it simple for the purposes of this blog, but there are a LOT of factors that go into determining the best macro balance for an individual.
A good baseline balance for maintenance is 50% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 20% fat. On a 2,000 calorie diet, here’s how the 50/30/20 numbers work out:
250 grams carbohydrate
150 grams protein
44 grams fat
Here’s another, simpler way to think about it. Divide your plate into a pie with 6 sections. 3 sections would be made up of carbohydrates (think veggies!), 2 sections protein, and 1 section fat.
As your goals or training needs change, those ratios can be tweaked. Heavy training may require more carbs. If you’re trying to lose fat, most people see success with increasing protein and decreasing carbs.
How do you apply this to your daily life?
Simplify the whole thing by using a meal tracking app! There are a number of great ones out there, such as MyFitnessPal or LoseIt!
This article provides a handy list of food diary apps to help you track macros easily.
All you do is enter your daily food consumption by searching for and selecting foods from a massive database. The app will automatically calculate your total calories and your macros for you, even giving you a handy pie chart visual. You can enter your target calorie intake and macro percentages, then it’s just up to you to tweak your diet to hit those targets.
Macros are not everything!
Figuring out your macros is all well and good, but you still ALSO need to be eating the right number of calories for what your goals are. It may seem elementary but it’s worth saying: for weight loss, you’ll need to eat LESS than what you burn in a day, and for weight gain you’ll need to consume more than you’re burning off.
Wondering how to set calorie goals? Check out this blog post for basics. And if this all sounds complicated and overwhelming, never fear - BodySpec is here to guide you on your way to nutrition success - contact us!