Have you been hearing the word ‘Macro’ thrown around a lot more in the past year or so, and wonder to yourself what all the hype is about or even what the word stands for? I know myself before I got into health and wellness I had not nearly heard the word as much as I have in the past few years. Let me start by saying Macro is short for Macronutrients. I will share why Macronutrients are important and how they play a key role in eating and living a healthy lifestyle.
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide us calories or energy. The three macronutrients are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat which all play a key role in the body’s ability to function. All macro’s are essential, even if some fad diets say otherwise. Carbohydrates and fats are both great sources of energy and protein that nourish and protect our muscles. Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.
Now that you understand what Macros are, you’re probably wondering what this means to you? Each of us are individuals with uniquely different bodies; some of us sit more for work, some of us are more physically active, our age is different, our height, gender and some of us workout, while some of us simply live life. All of this is perfectly ok. However, these variables play a key role in understanding how many macros we as individuals should be eating to fuel our individual lifestyle and goals.
So now you’re probably wondering, how do I figure out what I should be eating? Let me take a moment to explain. There are many macro calculators to be found online which make this part easy; however, my favorite can be found here: www.iifym.com. Essentially the calculator takes into consideration your current age, height, weight and activity level then depending on your individual goal is: do you want to put on muscle, loose body fat or maybe just maintain your current staus, the calculator will take this information and recommend your calorie needs
So now you want to start tracking your macros? The first thing you’re going to want to do is to invest in a food scale and pick out a macro-tracking app. This is going to make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to keeping track of your daily macros. My favorite app is either MyFitnessPal or MyMacros+ but of course there are loads more options. The main point of a tracking app is just that, to track your daily macronutrient intake in order to really know what you’re putting into your body. Many of the apps include large food nutrition databases, some have barcode scanning features, and others include progress and goal features.
Tracking your macros everyday isn’t something that must be done; however, if you’re just getting started I always suggest tracking for a few weeks or months to get an idea of what the amount of food looks like for you; once you have an idea, eye-balling is good enough. On the other hand, if you’re anything like me, you find it very interesting and fun to track daily – this of course is personal preference. Its all about finding the balance that fits you!