If you workout at the gym or are into fitness in general, you might have come across the term “Count your Macros”. Let’s understand what this actually means.
What are Macros?
“Macros” is short for Macronutrients. There are three macronutrients that make up every bite of the food you consume: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. So when you say counting macros, you are actually counting the grams of proteins, carbs, and fats that you consume. In order to properly count macronutrients, it’s important to know what they are.
Proteins are large, complex molecules that play critical roles within the body. They are required for the structure, function, and management of the body’s tissues and organs. Proteins provide 4 calories per gram.
It’s recommended that proteins comprise 10–35% of your total calorie intake. But consumption of protein also depends upon body composition goals, age, health, and more.
Some examples of protein-rich foods are poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, and lentils.
Carbohydrates or “carbs” comprise sugars, starch, and fibers. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the main source of energy for your body's cells, tissues, and organs. Glucose can either be used immediately or later by being stored in the liver and muscles.
Carbs normally make up the largest portion of people’s calorie intake and provide 4 calories per gram. It is suggested to consume 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs.
Some examples of carbs-rich foods are grains, starchy vegetables, beans, dairy products, and fruits.
Fats are fatty acids or lipids that your body needs for energy and critical functions, such as hormone production, nutrient absorption, and body temperature maintenance. Fats provide 9 calories per gram. There are 3 types of fats, namely, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Too much fat or an excessive amount of the incorrect sort of fat are often unhealthy.
Though recommendations for fats range from 20–35% of total calories, many people find keto diets successful which is a diet higher in fat.
Some examples of fat-rich foods are oils, butter, avocado, nuts, meat, and fatty fish.
What is counting Macros?
Counting macros is the process of tracking how much amount or the grams of each macronutrient you consume per day. And since the macros: protein, fat, and carbohydrates each provide a certain amount of calories per gram, you are also tracking how many calories you consume per day.
Is it worth it?
This aspect totally depends on you. Macro counting is a great way to keep track of what you eat and leads you to eat a healthy balanced diet. It’s commonly referred to as “flexible dieting” since you’re eating good foods without really depriving your body.
The IIFYM acronym is a common term used by the people who count their macros. This simply means that you can eat something as long as it fits in your macros. But this doesn’t mean that you can snack on chips and act like that was the portion of carbs for the day. That doesn’t work! So, basically there are no “cheat” foods when it comes to counting macros, it just means you have to move some macros around to make it fit.
Benefits of counting Macros:
- Improves your diet quality
- Promotes Weight loss
- Assists with body goals
How to count your Macros?
In order to count your macros, you first need to know how many calories your body needs. This can be calculated by the following equations:
- Men: calories per day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
- Women: calories per day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161
Then, multiply your answer by an activity factor (number that represents different levels of your activity):
- Sedentary: x 1.2
- Lightly active: x 1.375
- Moderately active: x 1.55
- Very active: x 1.725
- Extra active: x 1.9
After finding your required calorie intake, measure the macros ratio with the calories.
The ideal ratio ranging from:
- Proteins -10-35%
- Carbs - 45-65%
- Fats - 20-35%
Here’s an example of how to calculate macronutrients for a 3,000-calorie diet consisting of 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat.
Carbs: (per day)
4 calories per gram
50% of 3,000 calories = 1500 calories of carbs
Total grams of carbs allowed = 1000/4 = 375 grams
Proteins: (per day)
4 calories per gram
30% of 3,000 calories = 900 calories of protein
Total grams of protein allowed = 900/4 = 225 grams
Fats: (per day)
9 calories per gram
20% of 3,000 calories = 600 calories of protein
Total grams of fat allowed = 600/9 = 67 grams
In this example, your ideal macro count would be 375 grams of carbs, 225 grams of protein and 67 grams of fat.
With all the essential nutrients becoming a part of your diet, the focus also shifts on a great workout! Book a session with our online personal trainer to get the best of your diet.
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