When I start to talk to members and clients about macronutrients, it’s a topic that often appears very confusing, when in reality, tracking macros can be extremely simple and the key to success without missing out on all of your favourite foods. The reality for the majority of us is that we are going to have our favourite meals and we aren’t going to stray too far from that a) Because we like the taste and b) Because we have found a way to make or buy the food that is quick, so we don’t spend hours and hours preparing/cooking it. The reason this is important, is that the more you start to track what you eat, the more you become aware of the macronutrient value of the food you eat. It’s easier to remember the macronutrient value of 10 foods rather than 40. For instance, if you eat chicken breast at least once per day, it won’t take you long to learn/remember that the macronutrient breakdown for 4 oz. of chicken breast is approximately (depending on where you get the chicken) 25g of protein and 6g of fat.
In order to work out what 4 oz. of chicken breast is, obviously you’re going to need a food scale. Humans adapt and learn very quickly, as I previously said it wont take you long to remember the macronutrients of your favourite foods, and it also wont take you long to remember roughly what 4 oz. of chicken breast looks like, so even when you go out to eat, you can have an intelligent guess at how much chicken you have on your plate. For some foods you are going to need measuring cups.
A few years ago, people had to write down everything they ate and keep track of nutrition labels to know exactly what was in what and add it all up at the end of the day. We now have numerous apps that allow us to track everything we eat and we can even scan barcodes to get the exact information for that type of food (different brands of the same food will differ in macronutrient value). The only excuse for not tracking calories and macronutrients in this day and age is that we are lazy and it’s an excuse to remain off track ‘because we don’t know any better’. My preferred choice of app is the Under Armor app, MyFitnessPal. I like this app because it’s extremely simple to use, you can adjust your goals, adjust your macro percentages and daily calorie intake. When you type in the food you have consumed, it will add up the amount of calories, the amount of each macro/micronutrient etc. YES, it really is that simple, you type in the food and it adds it all up for you. The other great part of this app is that it has just about every item off every menu of every fast food/restaurant chain not only in the US but also worldwide. What I’m telling you is that even if you are someone that travels constantly with work, you have the ability to track what you eat!
Now the question you’re going to be asking in your head is this, ‘Now I know how to track my macros, how do I know what my macros should be?’ That’s a great question. In order to work out the number of calories a person burns per day, I personally use this website, www.thecalculatorsite.com from there I click the link to work out BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate; The number of calories your body burns at a resting state). At this point you will type in your Gender, age, height, weight and activity level. The calculator will then determine what your BMR is and then how many extra calories your body burns from exercise. From this point, you have to determine what your goal is. Do you want to lose, maintain or gain weight?
To lose weight – burn more calories than you consume
To maintain weight – consume the same amount of calories as you burn
To gain weight – Consume more calories than you burn
If you have worked out that your daily calorie requirement is 2500 calories and your goal is to lose weight, then your daily calorie intake would need to be below 2500 calories in order to create a calorie deficit. I normally suggest a 10% deficit to begin with so that you have something to build on. I personally believe that the goal with weight loss is to lose weight eating as many calories as possible A) because you need energy B) you don’t want to feel like you’re starving to death c) your body needs to be nourished. If you create a massive deficit right off the bat, where do you go once you plateau? You can only drop your calories so much before it starts to become dangerous.
A 10% deficit of 2500 calories is going to put you right at 2250 calories per day. Now you know how many calories to consume, your next question is, ‘what should my macronutrient breakdown be?’
We determined what your calorie intake should be by what your goal is, likewise, we’re also going to determine your macronutrient breakdown by what your goal is.
To lose weight – 20-30% carbs, 40-50% protein, 20-30% fats
To maintain weight – 30-40% carbs, 40% protein, 20-30% fats
To gain weight – 40-50% carbs, 25-30% protein, 20-25% fats
Keep in mind, these ratios are purely guidelines and it’s important to adjust depending on how your body reacts.
We are going to continue with our example. We determined that the goal was to lose weight and the daily calorie intake was 2250 calories.
Carbohydrates – There are 4 kcals per gram!
Protein – There are 4 kcals per gram!
Fats – There are 9 kcals per gram!
30% carbs = 2250 x 0.3 = 675 calories come from carbs. 675/4 = 168.75 (round up to 169) 169g of carbs per day
40% protein = 2250 x 0.4 = 900 calories come from protein. 900/4 = 225. 225g of protein per day
30% fats = 2250 x 0.3 = 675 calories come from fats. 675/9 = 75.
75g of fats per day.
Now that you have figured out how many grams of each macronutrient you will consume, you can adjust your intake on the app, MyFitnessPal. From now on, every time you type in a food, it will tell you how many grams you have left until you hit your goal for each macronutrient.
In order to adjust your goals, go to more on the homepage, then click on goals and then finally, click on calorie and macronutrient goals!
One of the best ways to stay ahead of the game when you’re tracking your macronutrients is to type everything you know you’re going to eat in to MyFitnessPal the day before. If you type everything you know you’re going to eat in, and your fats are low by 20g, then you know you will have to source some fats elsewhere, so when you stop at a gas station the next day you can pick up a pack of almonds confident in the knowledge that they’re getting you on target. On the contrary, if you type everything In and you’re going to be over on your fats by 20g, then you know you will have to remove the avocado from one of your meals. It’s that simple, if you eat something that wasn’t planned or in your meal prep for that day, account for it by changing your other meals.
For me, tracking macros is the most effective way of changing your body composition. It completely removes guesswork, once you start tracking macros daily, there are no excuses for not achieving your goal. With that being said, you have to be 100% honest with yourself. If you don’t type in certain foods because you know it takes you over your daily calorie intake, it doesn’t mean that the calories don’t count, the only person you’re cheating is yourself. You also have to be honest with your serving sizes, one large pizza is one large pizza, it doesn’t matter if you sliced it into 6 slices or 12, it’s still the same amount of pizza.
Now, just because I have explained how to track your macros, it doesn’t mean you’re going to see overnight success. Results in the fitness industry come down to the ability of the individual to consistently follow the game plan for a long period of time. If you have one bad day, it’s not going to make a massive difference in the long run, if you have a bad week, then it’s going to have an impact. Results come to those that deserve it, if you aren’t getting the results, the chances are you don’t deserve them.
How to track your macros
When I start to talk to members and clients about macronutrients, it’s a topic that often appears very confusing, when in rea...
How to track your macros!
August 22, 2016
Smoking...Burning a hole in your pocket and your HEALTH!
November 3, 2015
Today i’m going to show you how easy it is to turn a ‘well balanced’ relatively macro friendly meal into a massive overconsumption of calories. We c...