If you aren’t sure what macros are, how are you going to count macros? The term macros is an abbreviated way of saying macronutrients. It’s a way of categorizing protein, fat and carbohydrates. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. While there’s still debate whether counting macros and focusing on how much you eat of each is the best way to lose weight, it does work and helps you lose fat and build muscles in the process.
First, learn why counting macros can help.
It’s important to get the right balance of macronutrients, since all three are important for your health. How much of each that you eat also determines your body composition, energy level, appetite and mood. Carbs give energy to move about and a source of fuel for the brain. Fat is a longer lasting fuel source, but also helps build hormones and plays a role in storing nutrients. Protein is part of every part of your body and almost every cell. It’s a building block that’s necessary for muscle tissue. If you count calories, you may lose weight, but the right balance of macronutrients can help you lose fat and build muscle tissue.
Counting macros actually counts calories automatically.
If you’ve spent most of your life counting calories, you might think counting macros is completely foreign. However, when you count macros, you’re actually counting calories at the same time. All macronutrients contain calories. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram of carbs, protein contains 4 calories per gram of protein. Fat contains 9 calories of fat. No matter how nutrient rich they are, the calorie value is the same, since micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, don’t have any calories.
Determine the amount of each macro you need based on your personal goal.
While each person is different with different needs and goals, a very generalized rule notes you should get 45-60% of your calories from carbs, 20-35% from fats and 30-45% from protein. Multiply calories necessary of each by the percentage. If you’re on a 2000 calorie diet with 40% of calories from protein, that means 800 calories from protein. Divide that by 4 (4 calories per gram) and you need 200 grams of protein in your diet. If you’re using food that comes with a label, you’ll find how many grams of each macro per serving on the label. Just multiply that times the calories per gram. Have a scale to measure food that’s not labeled.
- Some people consider alcohol as the fourth macronutrient. With 7 calories in each gram, it has higher calories per gram than both protein and carbohydrates, but less than fat. Most people class it with fat or carbs.
- If you want to lose weight, opt for a lower carb ratio. A macro diet that focuses on fat loss and/or weight loss would contain 40-50% of calories from protein, 10-30% from carbs and 30-40% from fat.
- There are macros calculators available online that can determine the number of macronutrients quickly if you want to do it on your own. All you have to do is enter the food and the amount you’re consuming. It makes it easier to track.
- At Next Level Fitness we make it easier with nutrition experts that can plan your menus for you. They do consulting and meal planning to ensure you have a personalize program.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness