I am sure everyone has heard of/knows what calories are. If you have not heard of macros or “counting your macros” before though, then I am here to tell you a bit about it. Personally, for my fitness goals, I choose to do more of a flexible dieting strategy through just tracking my calories. There are plenty of people in the fitness world that prefer to count macros though opposed to calories (which can also be used in a flexible way). By flexible, I mean allowing into your daily diet the foods that you enjoy without feeling guilty about eating them (because you factor them into your daily intake).
Why do I mean by macros? I am talking about macronutrients. These are the molecules that the human body uses in order to sustain energy levels. Fats, proteins, and carbs are the three main components of “macro counting.” Sorry, but there is a little bit of math involved here. For every 1 gram of protein, you are consuming 4 calories. The same applies for carbs. So, if you are eating a food that just has 10 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbs in it, it would have about 100 calories in it total. To get than number, I multiplied 10 by 4 and 15 by 4, and then added up the numbers. Fats contain 9 calories per every gram though. A bit higher…which is why high fat foods tend to be higher in calories. What people do in opposition to just counting calories is they set macro numbers for themselves to hit every day. An example plan might be 120 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 50 grams of fat per day. This would get that person to a total of 1730 calories per day. Below, i just wrote out the grams:protein ratio in a more condensed manner.
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
Everyone’s body is different, and so the grams of each macro category that someone eats per day is going to differ from someone else based on height, weight, gender, daily activity, and overall fitness goals. If someone is trying to put on muscle mass, they might raise their protein intake, and if someone is trying to lose weight, they might drop their carb intake. It all depends on the individual. I have given both methods mentioned a try, and I think that counting calories is just easier, and involves less numbers to work with. Like I have mentioned in other posts, I do use the app called Lose It, and this app allows you to see both the calories you have eaten, and how many grams of carbs, fats, and proteins you have eaten in a day. In way, I guess I do a little bit of both calorie and macro tracking.
On a daily basis, I usually get about 125-130 grams of protein, anywhere from 140-200 grams of carbs, and 45-60 grams of fat. I like to eat anywhere from 1500-2000 calories a day, but it really depends on what my goals are at the time. I tend to focus more on the total calorie number, but it is good to see the balance of foods I am eating. Approximately 40% of my daily intake is carbs, and 30% is allotted to both fats, and proteins. For anyone who is planning on starting to track what you are eating, or maybe just wants to try for a day to, those percentages are good places to start. They give you a nice balance of the three main macronutrient groups.
^ That is a link to the bodybuilding.com macro intake calculator. I have shared their site before, and I think it is a very helpful site filled with lots of reliable information. If you are interested in giving macro counting a shot, that link is a great place to start! Hope this was helpful to those interested.