Counting macros, also known as macronutrient tracking, is a popular method for achieving specific dietary goals.
Most fitness enthusiasts use macro counting to achieve their desired weight, boost athletic performance, improve body composition, and more.
Let’s take a look over the definition of macros, how to count them, and what are their benefits.
What Are Macros?
Macros are the three primary nutrients that provide energy to the body: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Each macro plays a unique role in the body and has a specific effect on weight loss, muscle gain, and overall health.
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. They are found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. When consumed in excess, however, carbohydrates can lead to weight gain.
Proteins play a crucial role in muscle growth and repair as well as in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. They are essential for proper bodily function and development. The best sources of protein are eggs, lean meats, fish, and dairy products.
Fats, although often demonized, play a vital role in the body. They provide energy, help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and support brain health. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon.
The Benefits Of Counting Macros
Counting macros, or tracking macronutrient intake, can offer a variety of benefits for those looking to achieve specific dietary goals. Some of the main benefits include:
- Greater control over food choices – By tracking the grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat consumed on a daily basis, individuals can gain a better understanding of their food choices and make more informed decisions about what to eat.
- Weight loss – By manipulating the ratio of macros in the diet, individuals can create a calorie deficit and lose weight. For example, increasing protein and decreasing carbohydrate intake can help promote weight loss.
- Muscle gain – Consuming an adequate amount of protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Counting macros can help ensure that an individual is consuming enough protein to support muscle growth.
- Improved performance – For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, manipulating macro ratios can help improve performance. For example, consuming more carbohydrates before a workout can provide energy while increasing protein intake can help build muscle.
- Increased awareness of nutrient balance – Counting macros can help individuals understand the balance of nutrients they are consuming and how it affects their health. It can also be helpful for individuals who are following a certain diet that requires certain macro ratios or restrictions.
- Flexibility – Tracking macros can provide flexibility in food choices, not requiring to be as restrictive as some other dieting techniques. As long as you meet your macro requirements you can choose your food source.
How To Count Macros?
Counting macros involves tracking the number of grams of each macronutrient that is consumed on a daily basis. This is typically done using a food scale, an app, or a website that tracks macronutrient intake.
The goal is to reach a specific ratio of macros that is tailored to the individual’s dietary goals, such as weight loss or muscle gain.
For example, someone who is trying to lose weight may aim for a higher protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, while someone trying to build muscle may aim for a higher protein-to-fat ratio.
The key is to find the right balance of macros that supports the individual’s goals while also providing all the necessary nutrients for good health.
The process of counting macros can be broken down into a few simple steps:
- Determine your macro goals – The first step in counting macros is to determine your specific goals, such as weight loss or muscle gain. Once you have determined your goals, you can calculate the appropriate ratio of macros that you should be consuming.
- Learn macronutrient values – You will need to know the macronutrient content of the foods that you are eating, this can be found on the nutritional label or using macronutrient tracking apps or websites.
- Measure and track your food intake – Use a food scale and measuring cups to accurately measure your food intake, and use an app or a website to track your macronutrient intake. You can also track the foods you eat with a food diary to help you see how your choices fit with your goals.
- Adjust your diet as necessary – Based on the data you collect, you can make adjustments to your diet to ensure that you are meeting your macro goals. If you find that you are not consuming enough protein, for example, you can make adjustments to your diet to ensure that you are eating more protein-rich foods.
- Repeat – Track your macros for several days or weeks to see how your diet is impacting your progress toward your goals. Make adjustments as necessary and repeat the process.
Here is a great video that shows you how to count your macros practically:
However, it’s important to note that counting macros should not be your only approach to maintaining a healthy diet.
It’s also important to focus on getting enough vitamins and minerals from a variety of nutrient-dense foods and to pay attention to overall calorie intake.
It’s also very important to consult with a professional and registered dietitian/nutritionist before starting to track your macronutrient intake. This will ensure that you’re consuming enough of the essential vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients that your body needs to function optimally.
Some restrictive diets or high macronutrient intake may lead to nutrient deficiencies.
In conclusion, counting macros can be an effective tool for achieving specific dietary goals, but it should be used in conjunction with other healthy eating habits and with the guidance of a professional.
By understanding the role that each macronutrient plays in the body, individuals can make informed decisions about their food choices and develop a balanced diet that supports their fitness goals.