Macros? Please explain.

Macros. Please explain. 

Hey guys! So. You’ve probably seen these talked about heaps all over Instagram and might be wondering what macros are all about.  Please keep in mind, I am not a nutritionist, this is just my personal experience. However, I get so many messages asking about macros that I thought I’d share my experience with you guys. I’ve also uploaded a Youtube video if you’d prefer to watch me instead.

What are macros?

Macronutrients provide energy to the body in the form of calories and are required in large quantities. There are three broad classes of macro-nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It can sound complicated but when people say they count their macros, but they are just eating these 3 food groups in certain percentages to lose body fat.

Image c/o Caring Push 

Image c/o Caring Push 

How did you obtain your numbers?

I had a look at all the online calculators that are available, and by all means feel free to use them. I did feel though that macros are sort of an exact science, and I didn’t want to trust it to a calculator that knows nothing about my routine. I have a specific exercise routine and a lot of these online calculators simply ask how many times a week you exercise and how strenuous it is. I don’t find this to be specific enough. So I had a strength coach calculate my macros for me. I truly believe this is the better way to go because it’s so helpful to have a real life person. 

So how do macros work to help you lose body fat?

A lot of the time we eat without realising what we are actually putting in our bodies. Counting your macros is kinda like keeping a food diary, just more detailed. When I counted my macros I realised how little I was actually eating. I was only eating 800 calories a day and all the wrong proportions for my fitness goals. You’ll learn so much more about diet and nutrition by counting your macros.  

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Why do I like counting my macros?

Because they are flexible. Macros are also be referred to as flexible dieting, and there’s a reason to this. You’ve probably heard the saying, “if it fits your macros” well this means if you have “room” at the end of the day for that pizza or chocolate cake then you can eat it without the guilt.

What are your macros?

Keep in mind, I am nearly 5’3” and weigh 52 kilos so my calories may be considered low for some people.

My macros currently sit at:

Carbohydrates: 240g
Protein: 120g
Fat: 45g

Which is:
Carbohydrates: 52%
Protein: 26%
Fat: 22%

1,845 calories a day

I also like to track my fibre and sugar intake to make sure I’m eating appropriately. For example, lollies are high in carbs but also very high in sugar so unfortunately I can’t just eat 5 bags of gummy bears a day

Fiber: 25g
Sugar: 74g

Is it a pain weighing everything?

Look, it definitely is annoying at the start. I’m getting better at knowing approximations of food but I’m still not at the stage yet where I can eyeball a piece of steak and guess the macros.

What do you use to track your macros?  

I use the app My Fitness Pal and I love it. It’s really simple to input all your details, you can scan barcodes of food, enter URL’s of recipes from online, or simply search any food under the sun.

My Fitness Pal 

My Fitness Pal 

How do I hit my macros? Planning or eat foods as I go according to my needs etc

It takes maybe 1-2 weeks to figure out how many macros are in the foods that you eat on a regular basis, then when you figure that out I like to meal prep accordingly. Or I will buy Youfoodz, not sponsored, I just love their food. So simple to use because you can just scan it straight into My Fitness Pal. I generally know what I’m looking for on the label of food. I want high carb, low fat, so for example I’ll always make sure the meal I am eating is under 10g of fat as I can only have 45g a day. I’ll check MFP to see what I’m missing out on.

My fav meal from Youfoodz, the fish and chips

My fav meal from Youfoodz, the fish and chips

How do you count your macros when you go out?

This bit is tricky and I just have to guess mostly. I like to leave more fat available at the end of the day if I’m going out for dinner so I can make allowances for things like if they cook meat in olive oil or if the bread is already buttered etc. 

Do calories matter if you count your macros?  

My calories are automated once I put my macros into My Fitness Pal, so by following my macros I’m also counting my calories. It is impossible to hit your macros and not hit your calories. If you are using MFP and they are not adding up it could be that you are entering food incorrectly as people can enter food themselves and this can stuff it up for everyone else. The best way to avoid this is to use the barcode scanner on MFP to enter everything.

Barcode scanner on MFP

Barcode scanner on MFP

Should I track my macros?

Of course it’s up to you, but my advice is: don’t track them if you are just getting into fitness. You will most likely be too overwhelmed when you’re trying to stick to a new workout routine plus a specific eating plan. I think it’s best to develop a workout routine until it becomes a habit and then look into macros. This may take between 3-6 months. I started tracking my macros 8 months after starting working out, because I wanted to see more progress.

Love Maddy x