If you’ve been keeping up with my blog and latest posts, you’ve probably heard me use the term “macro” on several occasions. If you aren’t sure exactly what I’m referring to, OR if you just want to learn more, keep reading.
The word macro is short for macronutrients, where each provide energy and recovery for your body on a daily basis. There are 3 macronutrients.
So, for example, when I say “the macros for this recipe are 25p/20c/8f”, I’m saying that 1 serving has 25g of protein, 20g of carbs, and 8g of fat.
What’s also very important to understand is how macros are connected to calories.
- 1g of protein has 4 calories
- 1g of carb has 4 calories
- 1g of fat has 9 calories
If your macros are where they need to be, than your calories will be where they need to be.
So why count macros instead of calories you ask?
Let me give you an example. Picture two women who are very similar in age, body fat, height, weight etc. Both of them go on a 1,500 calorie diet per day. Women #1 is only counting calories, but woman #2 is getting a balanced amount of her calories from proteins, carbs and fats (aiming for a certain total number for each by the end of the day). Woman #2 is going to make far more progress towards her fitness goals than woman #1.
Why is that?
First of all, your body needs a substantial amount of protein. Probably a lot more than what you’re currently eating or what you think you need. Reason being is protein is a building block for the body that is used for tissue repair/growth, immune system function, formation of hormones & enzymes (healthy hair, skin and nails) and preservation of muscle mass (ladies if you’ve ever been on a low-cal diet and experienced unusual hair-loss, eat more protein!).
And NO, you’re not going to “get big” by eating protein. That takes testosterone…which you don’t have enough of (I’ll elaborate on that topic later).
So, how much protein should you have? Well technically it should be found through a formula based off of ones muscle mass, but if you aren’t sure what that is, a good estimate is about 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight (that’s total grams for the day). If you weigh 140lbs, you should consume somewhere around 140g of protein per day. If you’re having 5 meals a day, that’s about 28g per meal. If 1 oz chicken has about 6 grams or protein in it (check the nutrition label to see this) than you need about 4.5 oz of chicken in 1 meal (that’s assuming you have no other source of protein on your plate). Yes, it requires some math, but it’s worth it.
More reasons to make sure you’re getting enough protein in is because it helps fill you up, and it helps slow down the digestion process of the meal you just had. Ever been starving, ate a candy bar and not felt full at all or you were hungry again before even an hour had gone by? That’s because all the sugar went straight through your body and had no good source of protein paired with it to slow it down. By adding something with a main source of protein to a meal, you’ll feel more satisfied for a much longer period of time.
Carbohydrates are the main fuel sources for the body and are used for short-term energy sources. They also control your metabolism so they are essential in the process of increasing your metabolic rate, restoring lost glycogen, and increasing your overall strength. Carbohydrates are important to maintain proper function of the central nervous system, kidneys, the brain, and muscles.
There are two different types of carbohydrates:
- Fiber (you’ll see me include it in the macros for recipes which will read “fi”)
- Sugar (will also be included in macro counts as “s”)
“Other Carbs” – when you see this written on a label, it’s referring to all carbs that do not include Fiber or Sugar.
Fats are a concentrated energy source that is essential for survival as they allow the body to grow and develop, maintain cell membranes and provide cushioning for organs. Fats are used for long-term energy sources and are made up of three types: saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat.
All three of the macronutrients are very important to the function of the body, which is why it’s important to include all in your daily diet in balanced amounts (and not just count calories). If you’re trying to lose body fat and you attempt to go the fad diet route of completely cutting out carbs and/or fats out of your diet, there are a lot of negative consequences that can come with that such as:
- Rapid weight gain as soon as you go back to a regular diet (which has to happen eventually because the body can not survive on just solely one macronutrient or the other)
- Hair loss
- Mental & physical weakness
- Amenorrhea (loss of a female’s period)
- Eventually slowing down your metabolism and causing long-term damage
If you’re interested in learning more about macros and how many YOUR body needs of each of the three, check out my online program. By doing my program, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how much your body needs based of your current lifestyle and fitness goals. You would check-in with me weekly through email where I would make adjustments to your program if needed. Options are available for either solely nutrition, OR nutrition + a weekly workout routine.