Should I Be Counting Macros?
What are macros and should I be counting them?
Two very solid questions. Let's get the science out of the way and then we'll figure out if you should hop aboard the macro train.
Question #1: What are macros?
Macros, or macronutrients, are a term for the nutrients our bodies require to function optimally. The three macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fats, are the body's primary sources of calories. Aka they fuel our bodies with the energy they need to not only survive, but to thrive.
You can track your "macros" by looking at your food label and finding the number of grams for protein, carbohydrates, and total fat and multiplying those numbers by their caloric values. Protein and carbohydrates each have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram, making it the most calorically-dense macronutrient. Each of these nutrients serves a unique and critical purpose in the body, so it is very important to eat a diet that is well-balanced in all three.
Question #2: Should I be counting them?
Rather than give you a generic, "Yes, absolutely! Macros are for everyone!" there's a question I need to ask you first.
Are you committed to doing what it takes to better your health?
If the answer is no, then I would say that macros are not for you...yet. When you are ready to see real results and put in the work to get there, then you should ABSOLUTELY count macros. Here are just a few of the reasons why counting your macros makes all the difference in your health journey:
1. Macros are 100% customizable to fit your. specific. goals. A proper macronutrient calculation takes into account your body type, BMR (basal metabolic rate), activity level, and goals. Macros aren't a fad diet. They are uniquely tailored to you and you alone.
2. In tracking macros, you learn what portion sizes look like. We're all guilty of it. Whether it's a handful of pretzels or chocolates or a heaping spoonful of peanut butter, our eyes misjudge portion sizes all the time. When you start tracking your macros, you will learn what 100g of chicken breast, 1 tbsp peanut butter, or 4oz of ground turkey looks like. (This becomes especially helpful when going out to eat!)
3. You start to see your physique change. I never saw drastic physique changes until I began counting macros. I could notice when I had lost a few pounds here and there, but I always maintained the same general shape. Once I started seriously tracking my macros and hitting my numbers daily, my body shape changed tremendously. My core (always my trouble spot) became more defined and my legs and arms appeared more balanced and muscular. When I began eating to reach my goals and not simply to fill my belly, I finally started seeing the results I wanted.
4. You stay full throughout the day. 11am vending machine run? 2pm crash? What are those? When you start eating macronutrient-balanced meals and snacks, you stop feeling hungry during the in-between time. Most people, when they eat intuitively, tend to eat a very carbohydrate-heavy diet (usually simple, sugary carbs) that lacks complete proteins and nourishing fats. This eating pattern leads to energy spikes and crashes throughout the day, which can result in bingeing on unhealthy snacks in between meals.
5. Your performance in the gym improves. The first time I tried to do a "bulk" to put on muscle and gain strength, I wasn't eating nearly enough. I was terrified that increasing my calories and carbs would make me gain weight* (by weight, I mean fat). And because I wasn't hitting the right numbers, I didn't get very good results. Two years later, I decided to do it for real. I jacked my calories up and adjusted my ratios appropriately and holy. cow. I was able to improve my lifts each and every session. My endurance improved, as did my times on my sprint intervals. And I didn't gain fat. Instead I put on muscle, gained strength, and felt more confident than ever before.
These are only a few of the ways that counting macros can help you reach your health goals. Whether you are looking to lose weight, tone and shape your body, put on muscle, maintain where you are, or simply improve your nutrition, macros give you structure and freedom to do exactly that. Whatever your goal is, there is a specific macronutrient plan to fit your needs.
So now that you're all stoked about counting macros and are ready to finally get results, it's time to figure out your custom plan.
That's where I come in. Figuring out the perfect macro plan can be daunting if you try to do it on your own. Click here to learn more about my personalized nutrition services, which include custom macro planning, weekly meal plans and grocery lists, and daily diet tips. If you are ready to become a nutrition client today, click here and receive your initial consult and personal macro plan for only $25.
Don't let that little voice inside you saying, "it's going to be hard," or "it's going to take a lot of effort," keep you from doing what it takes to reach your goals. I promise you that the little sacrifices you make will be totally and completely worth it. You have the power to make a change and I am here to help, support, and motivate you along the way!
Until next week, y'all!