You've likely heard that counting calories is the way to lose weight, but recently there's been a new trend on the scene - counting macros. They both have validity in creating results and helping you to attain ideal body composition, but are two very different commitment levels for a beginner.
- CALORIES - to keep it simple, the unit of measurement for energy in food. >Everything is measured in calories. - MACROS - short for macronutrients: carbs, proteins, and fat. >Not alternative to calories, just a more detailed way of accounting where your calories come from >Macronutrients are the building blocks of food. >Every food contains some combination of these three building blocks.
Counting macros is simply a more detailed way of accounting for where your calories come from.
Let's do a quick example to show you how a calorie counter and a macro counter would look at the same meal:
- CALORIES ONLY - 2 eggs | 140 cal 1 piece bacon | 40 cal 1/2 avocado | 117 cal TOTAL CALS: 297
- MACROS - 2 eggs | 10g Fat | 0g Carbs | 12g Protein | 140 cal 1 piece bacon | 3g Fat | 0g Carbs | 3g Protein | 40 cal 1/2 avocado | 10.5g Fat | 6g Carbs | 1.5g Protein | 117 cal TOTALS: 23.5g Fat | 6g Carbs | 16.5g Protein | 297 cal How to count macros: Here is an EXAMPLE of what macros could look like (using my current macros in a moderate fat loss phase):
Each food you eat has a combination of macronutrients. The purpose is to make them fit into the parameters given to you. My goal each day is to hit my macros as closely as possible, +/- 10g for carbs and protein, +/- 5g for fat. By hitting my macros, my calories are automatically hit. **You cannot track macros in hindsight or it will not work. It's like a puzzle and planning ahead is CRUCIAL.
Total Calories: ~1300 Fat: 38g Carbs: 121g Protein: 119g Should I count macros? If you are trying to lose more than 50 pounds, you could probably stick with counting calories only. Portion control and taking into account the calories in the food you're eating are going to have a profound impact. If you wanted to, you could still count macros at this level. There is no limit to when you can count macros, but calorie counting only will likely be beneficial here too so it's a matter of personal opinion. If you are trying to lean out, gain muscle mass or do body recomposition (no weight change but body fat % and muscle change), or lose less than 50 pounds, I encourage tracking your macros! Where do I start? I encourage you to start tracking your food on MyFitnessPal. Start there for a week and make no changes. MFP will automatically track the macros associated with what you eat just as it does for calories. To access the breakdown for the day on how your macros fell, scroll down to the end of the page on your MFP tracked day and click the button "Nutrition". The "Macros" tab doesn't matter once you actually start tracking macros, as we track by grams and not by percentages, but can be a really helpful initial breakdown to see where all your calories are coming from. The "Nutrients" tab is where you really want to go for specific grams eaten that day. If you decide you want to continue, I encourage (and use myself) Avatarnutrition.com. It's a $10/mo service that will automatically adjust your macros based on weekly weigh ins and if you stick to them, is guaranteed progress. They've got many different goals to choose from including fat loss, muscle gain, maintenance and reverse dieting. More questions? Pop em below, babe! I know this can all be so confusing, so I'm here to help! xo, corin groustra