How Macros Can Get You The Body You’ve Always Wanted
Along your fitness quest, you have probably stumbled across the term macros, which is short for “macronutrients”; it refers to the three basic components of your diet – carbs, fats, and proteins. Researchers and fitness gurus have been tinkering with the proportions of these macros for years in order to discover the specific ratios necessary to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass. However, if look anywhere online, you will see how confusing this whole macro ratio stuff is to follow. However, there is one blog that makes it clear, simple and sustainable – and you have just stumbled upon it.
But first, lets go over the basics…
The three main macronutrients
Protein is known as the king in the world of fitness nutrition since it is often associated with building lean muscle. However, its uses extend beyond building muscle – protein is the core component of all types of tissue within your body. There are nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce, all of which can be found in animal sources of protein. However, vegetarian sources of protein typically lack one or two of these amino acids and thus should be consumed in combination with complementary proteins.
Best animal sources: grass-fed meat and dairy, free-range eggs, wild fish and seafood
Best vegetarian sources: quinoa, hempseeds, nuts, organic fermented soy, and legumes.
The most demonised of all the macros, carbohydrates are your body’s most easily accessible source of energy. There are three kinds of carbs: simple (i.e. sugar), complex (i.e. starches) and fibre (which you do not have to be concerned with when counting macros). Simple carbs are easily digested and provide quick energy while complex carbs take longer to digest and provide sustainable energy.
Best sources: Potatoes, grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes
The most misunderstood of all of the macros; fat often gets a bad rap because it is the densest macronutrient (9 calories per gram as oppose to 4 calories/gram for protein and carbs). But fat is extremely important for normal body functions, including insulation of nerves, skin, hormonal activity, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Best sources: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring), nuts, avocados, extra virgin coconut oil and olive oil
And now for the juicy part…
Steps to easily and effectively track your macros
Step 1. Download a macro-counting app
Step 2: Determine your macronutrient ratios based on your goals
A common technique used by most fitness gurus is starting with a “building phase” to build muscle (which lasts a couple weeks to a month), and then progress to a “cutting phase” to lose fat (which lasts until you reach your dream bod). However, if you are looking to simply lose fat, skip the building phase and go straight for the cutting phase.
20% fat, 20% protein, 60% carbs
40% fat, 40% protein, 20% carbs
Fat Loss Tip: Hold out on consuming carbohydrates until after your workouts and/or until your last meal of the day. This will ensure that your body burns fat as fuel during the day while giving you the carbohydrates needed to recover and sleep well.
Step 3: Eat
Using the app’s food library, nutritiondata.com and the nutrition labels in your cupboard, simply input the amount of each food that you eat into your app to determine your macro ratios for the day.
Throughout it all, remember…
Consistency, tracking and relative adjustments are key to success. After about a month, you will have a good grasp on the foods that you should be eating in order to meet your goals. Soon enough, you will not need an app or any tracking device as the diet will become part of your lifestyle.
With patience and consistency, you will get the body you have always wanted.