What is a Macro? How do I start counting Macros?
You're now starting to focus on your health and what you're eating. Undoubtedly you've heard to always look at the macros with what you're eating. But what are macros? How many do you need? What should you be focused on? Read on below for our guide to understanding macros.
What is a Macro?
Macro is short for macronutrients. Macro means large and focuses on three categories of nutrients that provide you with most of your energy. Those are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. When you're trying to count macros, you'll be measuring these in grams. There are many other nutrients your foods provide, but these three are typically the most discussed since they make the majority of the differences in the foods you eat.
100g of Strawberries include 0.7 grams of protein, 7.7 grams of carbs and 0.3 grams of fat.
Why should I count Macros?
If you're working with a personal trainer or tracking your macros in an app, you'll be asked to review your macros. Counting your macros gives you excellent insights into making healthy food choices and avoiding consuming too much.
As the saying goes; knowledge is power. Think of counting your macros like balancing a budget. There's wiggle room for things that you want, and you'll see where you have to remove things to make it work. Counting your macros can help you understand how your body reacts to higher amounts of protein, fats, and carbs.
Tracking your macros will tell you a lot about what you eat. It's easy to go for the quick snack full of carbs, and not get enough protein. Most will realize after tracking their macros that they need to make adjustments.
Balancing your food intake is an excellent benefit of counting macros. Some diets force you to eliminate entire food groups; however, counting macros gives you a budget to play with.
Most that count macros realize it helps them with fat loss, maintaining muscle mass, and keeps them feeling satisfied with their meals.
Counting Macros versus counting Calories
Measuring calories is a higher level than counting macros. Your macros affect how your body reacts in a more granular level. If you want to bulk up, you'll want to focus on higher amounts of protein. Do you want to reduce inflammation? Reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat.
Calories are part of counting your macros. For example, one gram of protein is about 4 calories. The most basic rule of thumb for an adult is 2000 calories a day, so you can see how that would influence your calorie intake.
When counting the calories in a meal and seeing the composition of the macros, you can understand what your body will do. High amounts of carbohydrates will produce a much different effect than high amounts of protein. Other diets, like Keto, focus on tailoring your macros to achieve specific outcomes.
How can I track Macros?
Starting to count your macros can feel stressful, but give yourself some time to get into a routine. There are lots of apps like MyFitnessPal that can do the heavy lifting for you and provide you with numbers to review.
You'll need to figure out the best balance of macros based on your exercise level, weight management, and body. We're all built differently, and finding the best mix for you is the desired outcome.
Depending on your level of nutritional knowledge, you should work with a dietician or nutritionist to discover the best plan. If that's not an option, apps like MyFitnessPal or others will help you work out a starting point.
Dieticians, nutritionists, and apps will ask you about your height, weight, activity levels, and more. Be honest and transparent. These are keys to getting to your goals.
Collect the data, revise and try new things.
We're all built differently. Factors like age, weight, calorie needs, activity level and genetics come into play when deciding fitness goals. There's no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to tailoring your diet. You'll need to have numbers to look at, try different things and rate how you feel. Your body will tell you what's working, and what's not. Make sure you're listening.
Like anything that's worth doing, properly discovering your macro mix will take time. Don't stress or expect instant results. This is a long game approach that will benefit you as you track.
Planning ahead helps count and track Macros
One of the reasons many choose us for their meal prep needs is that we provide accurate levels of macros. Portions are controlled, so you get the right macros and don't need to worry. This will help you gain vital data to see what's working for you as you're starting. If you're new to us, use the code FIRSTTIME for 25% off your first meal and start tracking your macros today.
As always, these are our opinions on how to be healthier. Those who make changes to health and exercise should always consult with a healthcare professional.