Macros: What are they and How to Calculate Yours
Tracking macros has been gaining popularity among trainers, athletes, and social media. You may have heard of “flexible dieting,” or “If It Fits Your Macros,” which go along with tracking macros. I started doing macro counting about 3 years ago (thanks guy from Tinder for filling me in on how it’s done!)
What are Macros?
Unlike most “diets” in the fitness industry and media, tracking macros is not a fad. It doesn’t promise “get fit quick” results, and generally goes back to original nutrition rules: reading the nutrition facts label on your foods. More importantly, looking at carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that make up the foods you are eating.
This is my preferred way of eating because you do not have to restrict ANYTHING. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want and, honestly, I feel like that’s the way it should be, as long as it’s in moderation. I mean, why else would food taste so good? Am I right?!
However, tracking macros is not necessarily easy. It does take time, work, planning, and some dedication. But, it has some really great benefits, especially learning how your body works and getting in tune with your body. After all, a lot of people seem to think that meeting their body goals is impossible, but really, it’s a matter of science. Once you have the formula, you hold the key to achieving your goals.
How Do I Calculate My Macros?
So, let’s talk about that formula. My personal favorite resource for macros, is the IIFYM site. That link will take you to a page that looks like this:
This is the tool that is going to help you calculate your macros! As you can see based on the questions that the calculator asks, no ones macros are going to be the same, even if you have the same goal weight. So, that’s why you should not follow anyone else’s macros, especially famous fitness models or athletes who might post their macro counts on social media, because what works for them, may not work for you.
That’s one of the reasons why I enjoy tracking macros: it’s individualized to you and your needs.
So, first, you are going to honestly answer the questions on that first page (if you’re not honest, it’s only going to hurt yourself!) Also, make sure you choose a realistic goal weight. In my example, I said that I wanted to lose 10 pounds. This is a realistic and obtainable goal and is small enough to not get frustrated and to ease in to tracking macros. So keep that in mind. It’s going to be a frustrating process if you are trying to gain or lose too much weight at a time.
Once you answer those questions, you’ll hit “Get my macros” and enter in your email address (it’s free and they do not spam you). And then, you’ll get this:
Your personalized macro counts–WOO HOO!! So you might be thinking, “Great, what in the world do I do with all of these numbers?!”
Here’s my suggestion for starting out (and there will be more posts about this in the very near future!): write these numbers down and stick them on your fridge or somewhere where you can easily see them.
Then, download the app MyFitnessPal (completely free!)–there are a few apps for tracking foods and macros, but this is the one I use so I’m a little biased. Click on “Goals” and you can adjust your calories and macro percentages in order to get as close to your numbers that you received from IIFYM.
After that, you can begin tracking your meals and seeing how close (or far off) you have been from giving your body what it needs. Just like my post from last week’s Tip of the Day Tuesday, beginning to track your foods can be a real eye-opening experience. Try to be true to yourself in guesstimating your portion sizes and foods. You might think you can cheat the system by not logging that cookie, but you’re really only cheating yourself. You can always use a food scale if you really want to get technical. I use this one and haven’t had any problems, plus it’s inexpensive! Pinterest is also a great tool for looking up recipe and snack ideas as well as more info on macro tracking, you can reach my personal pinterest here.
As always if you have any questions about macros or food tracking, contact me or drop me a comment. I’d love to hear your successes!