Whether counting calories and macros, intermittent fasting, or some other diet, everyone has got a certain way they like to track their eating. The most common way of eating I’ve seen in the fitness industry involves tracking your macros. If you’re new to the fitness industry, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the fitness jargon. That’s why I want to give you a quick overview of what exactly macros are and how they can be used.
If you know how to properly manipulate your macro intake and keep track of the amount you’re taking in, then you can reach any fitness goal, whether that’s to gain, lose, or maintain your weight. Macronutrients (AKA Macros) consist of the three essential nutrients your body needs to function. These nutrients are protein, carbs, and fat.
Protein is the building block of our muscle, as well as other essential parts of the human body such as bones, cartilage, skin, and blood. Our body utilizes protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals within our body. There is a wide variety of different types of protein with each type digesting at a different rate in the body. Whey and casein, which are derived from dairy, are among the most popular types of protein used as a dietary supplement. There are also a handful of other sources such as meat, eggs, soy, and plant-based proteins.
Carbohydrates (AKA Carbs) are our body’s main source of energy. Without them, our body turns to protein and fat for energy. Without a necessary amount of carbs, our brains can’t function properly. This can also have a negative impact on your overall mood. Many people are familiar with this feeling and know it as “hangry” (hungry + angry.) It’s important to note that not all carbs are created equal, nor do they have the same effect within the body. There are two types of carbs, simple carbs like fruit and complex carbs like oatmeal. Simple carbs are absorbed by the body quicker resulting in more immediate energy that lasts for a shorter period of time. Complex carbs are absorbed slowly by the body which gives a continuous stream of energy.
Now last, but not least: fat! Many people don’t realize just how important fat is for us. The main jobs of fat are to help produce and regulate hormones, absorb nutrients, protect our organs, and keep the body warm. Just like carbs, not all fats are created equal. There are four types of fat, but I’ll keep it simple and explain two types: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are fats solid at room temperature such as certain animal products. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats are fats that stay liquid, such as olive oil, and help lower cholesterol. Our body needs both but it’s important to focus on consuming more unsaturated fat than saturated fat.
Now that you have a general understanding of what macros are, I’ll teach you the best way to make use of them. First things first is knowing exactly what your goal(s) is/are. I’ll break this down in three different scenarios as an example. Keep in mind that every body reacts differently so this varies slightly from person to person.
- Losing weight
Protein should be the biggest part of your diet and carbs and fat should be split rather evenly.
- Gaining weight
Carbs should be the biggest part of your diet and protein and fat should be split rather evenly.
- Maintaining weight
Macros should be evenly distributed between protein, carbs, and fat.
If you’re still interested in learning more on this topic, you can watch my video down below: