One of the main attractions of counting your macros is that in comparison to calorie-counting diets, in which you count how much of something you are eating, macro counting involves measuring what you are eating – providing much greater flexibility.
Whilst there are a huge number of benefits to counting macros, if you’re someone that has never done this before, the idea of it can be pretty daunting, as the calculation side of things can sound pretty scientific and overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you and get you well on your way to counting macros and achieving your wellness and fitness goals.
What are Macros?
A macro, or macronutrient, is a measurement of three food groups: proteins, such as meats like chicken and beef, carbohydrates: such as potatoes and corn, and fats: such as saturated and unsaturated fats.
Macronutrients can also be described as the nutrients that our body requires to give us energy. The difference between macronutrients and micronutrients, if you’re wondering, is that your body requires macronutrients in large quantities, and micronutrients in smaller ones – these are normally vitamins and minerals that are taken commonly as supplements to support our energy levels and overall well-being. When counting your macros, you are counting the grams of macronutrients you are consuming: so how much protein, carbohydrates and fats are in your diet.
Benefits of Macro Counting
- Greater Understanding Of Your Body’s Needs
Counting your macros helps you understand where your calories are coming from and how they affect your body – both positively and negatively, so you can make informed changes to your diet if required. Your macronutrient profile is extremely important and reflective of your overall health, so understanding this is a great way to stay healthy.
- Not All Calories Are Created Equal
Through the counting of macronutrients, you learn that not all calories are created equal, and how to alter your diet to reflect this. What this means, is that all calories have the same amount of energy – but it isn’t really that simple. When it comes to your personal body needs, it’s important to get your calories from healthy sources to properly fuel your body. This means avoiding fatty foods where possible – such as processed carbohydrates.
- Great Flexibility
Many diets mean that you sometimes have to give up some of your favourite foods. The benefit of counting your macros means that you can eat whatever you want as macro counting is about counting what you eat not how much you are eating. This is great as with the easing of lockdown, you can go out to eat without the stress of worrying about avoiding certain food types. This also means that you’re more likely to stick to the diet – win, win!
- Improves Workout Performance
- Increase in Energy Levels
As you are listening to you are listening to your body and giving it what it needs, you’re likely to experience an increase in your overall energy levels. This will mean that you reap the benefits in all aspects of life – not just through exercise!
Should I be calculating my Macros?
Think About Your Fitness Goals
Other reasons to count your macros include fitness goals such as:
- Weight Loss
- Muscle Gain
- Energy Levels
- Overall Wellbeing
Overall, counting your macros involves reflecting on your end goal and your daily behaviours and eating habits. If your goal is to lose weight, your macro counting behaviours will be very different to someone who wants to gain muscle, for example.
If you’re looking for a way to understand where your calories are coming from in your everyday food intake, counting your macros is definitely for you. Counting macros can be especially beneficial if you have a specific health goal in mind, such as if you are a bodybuilder who is working towards a particular goal, or an athlete that needs to consume a certain number of calories to sustain their fitness regime.
How do I do this?
If you’re just starting out with counting your macronutrients, it’s probably best to have a look into an online macro counting calculator. You will need to know how many calories you consume a day on average, or by setting a daily calorie goal, and then work out your ratio (depending on your fitness goal).
Macro Ratios For Different Fitness Goals
With the above goals in mind, it’s important that you are considering your macro ratios.
If you’re aiming to lose weight, a typical macro ratio will feature limited carbs. Typically, you could try a 40% protein ratio, with 40% healthy fats and 20% carbohydrates.
If you’re aiming to gain muscle, a typical macro ratio is consumption of 40% protein, 30% fat and 30% carbohydrates. This is because protein is the main macronutrient involved in the expansion of muscle mass, so this will be the dominant macro in your diet.
If you’re looking to maintain your weight, you will want to try and achieved a balanced macro ratio. This means a moderate consumption of carbs, whilst maintaining a good level of healthy fats and protein. Try 35% healthy fats, 35% healthy proteins and 30% carbohydrates.
Counting your macros is a great way to become informed on the nutrients your body is receiving. Pair a great workout routine and healthy dieting behaviours with macro counting, and you’ll meet your fitness goals in no time.
We recommend eating a diet rich in healthy fats, a range of proteins and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Fat Loss and Muscle Gain: The Right Macros for Your Goals - BarBend. (2021). Retrieved 14 April 2021. Click here.
Macronutrients: A Simple Guide to Macros | Avita Health System. (2021). Retrieved 14 April 2021. Click here.