Counting Calories? Think Macros Instead

When you are losing weight, counting calories helps but when you have to plan your workouts and align them with your diet, you have to know exactly what you are consuming and through which source. According to research, counting calories work when you’re trying to lose weight but while you are working out to tone your body and get to a specific weight goal, counting macros is what you should be doing. They can be adjusted according to your dietary needs and in coherence with your body weight.

What Are Macros?

Counting macros is the new ‘IT’ when it comes to diet plans. While calorie counting is difficult, counting macros is way easier. The three macronutrients or Macros are:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Since 65% of your body training depends on what you eat, your training style adjusts the plan according to your body volume. This is why these macros are very important.

Why Count Macros?

Wouldn’t you want to know how well your body responds to a nutrient?

You can see how they do and know if you need more or fewer fats, more or fewer proteins, and more or fewer carbs. This way, you’ll get to your goals quickly and you will perform your best. It also helps in making you more aware of your diet. You know what helps and what doesn’t, you know what to eat and when so you are full and at the same time, get the right amount of nutrients. For example, if you know the macros breakdown of popcorn and almonds, you would know that nuts are better because they are filled with healthy fats and an equal amount of protein and carbs.

How to Measure the Macro Breakdown?

The usual recommendation for diet and nutrition package is to have a daily diet which comprises of:

  • 50% Carbs
  • 30% Fats
  • 20% Protein

But, if you are talking about muscle or bodybuilding, the breakdown changes a bit making it:

  • 30-40% Carbs
  • 30-40% Fats
  • 30-40% Protein

For muscle builders, it is recommended to check the body fat into consideration. Protein manages hunger that is why it is the first thing recommended by the nutritionists. If you take 40% protein in a day, you are less likely to deal with untimely hunger. It also makes you consume fewer carbs, hence improving whatever diet plan you choose.

Now, calculating macro would be to consume 40% carbs, 20% fat, and 40% protein and see how you perform in a day. Then the next day, you change the proportions to 20% carbs, 40% fat and 40% protein. Hence, whichever leaves you more active and less hungry is the right formula for you.

How to Calculate Macro?

Below is an example of how to calculate macro nutrients for a 2,000-calorie diet consisting of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat.

Each macro nutrient produces a certain number of calories.

  • One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories.
  • One gram of protein yields 4 calories.
  • One gram of fat yields 9 calories.

Carbs:

  • 40% of 2,000 calories = 2,000 calories/day x .40 (or 40%) = 800 calories of carbs per day
  • Total grams of carbs allowed = 800/4 = 200 grams daily

Proteins:

  • 30% of 2,000 calories = 2,000 calories/day x .30 (or 30%) 600 calories of protein per day
  • Total grams of protein = 600/4 = 150 grams daily

Fats:

  • 30% of 2,000 calories = 2,000 calories/day x .30 (or 30%) 600 calories of protein per day
  • Total grams of fat allowed per day = 600/9 = 67 grams

In this scenario, your ideal daily intake would be 200 grams of carbs, 150 grams of protein and 67 grams of fat.

Tools to Track the Macros

Now that you know how to divide the calories according to the macro division method, the main question arises is how would you know what you’re eating and of how much macro value?

There are several tools that make the counting process easier. The Macro Solution ebook helps you through the macro diet process step-by-step and teaches you to be an expert macro counter.

There are also calorie counting apps that measure your daily macros intake and tell you what you need to change in which nutrient to get the maximum out of your diet. The famous apps are My Fitness Pal and Fitocracy Macros. You can also log your macros on a Fitbit or Apple Watch with My Macros+.

Not For Everyone

While this is a great way to count the fats, proteins, and carbs, this method overlooks the micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Marc Perry, the founder, and CEO of a weight-loss program called ‘Built Lean’ said: “Focus on counting macros, but also on eating produce, particularly vegetables. As long as at least 75% of your diet is from whole, unprocessed foods in their natural states, you’re going to have a high-quality diet”.