Well kind of… Actually.
In the fitness/foodie industry, macro stands for macronutrients which are made up by fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
If you’re on social media, you’ve probably heard the phrase “If It Fits Your Macros”, or you’ve seen a picture of a vessel sized bowl of ice cream with an explanation saying “to top off my macros”.
But it’s not as easy as just eating whatever you want, no matter how deceiving the internet can be… So I’m going to break it down for you real quick, DJ Meagan style.
In recent years, flexible dieting has gained massive popularity. It allows for a person to pursue their fitness goals while having the ability to indulge in some of their favorite foods and STILL see killer results.
Uhhh, yeah, sign me up for that…
To start, you need to do a calculation to determine what your personal macros are. This means how many grams of fat, carbs, and protein are needed per day to get YOUR body operating at it’s prime to meet YOUR current goals (fat loss, muscle gain, or maintain).
The easiest way to get this calculation is to use an online Macro Calculator (bodybuiling.com is my go-to, but google works fine).
With the calculation, you will be given your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) based on your age, height, weight, and activity level. This number will provide you with the amount of calories you need daily to reach your gaols.
Now is when it gets tricky: You need to decide what percentage of your calories will be given to each macro group. Keep in mind:
Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories
Carbs: 1 gram = 4 calories
Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories
Some people like to follow a 40:40:20 rule (40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat); others like more protein and less carbs, or vice versa. Or, if you’re going for Ketosis, you’ll up your fat intake.
There are no right or wrong ways to set your macros up; it completely depends on your body type, your genes, and your metabolism. So the best thing to do is practice trial and error.
Start with the 40:40:20 rules, and if you’re not seeing results in a couple of weeks, play with the equation a bit.
Here’s an example:
Say your TDEE is 1800 calories a day and you’re following the 40:40:20 rule.
40% in Protein is 720 calories, or 180 grams (720/4 calories)
40% in Carbs is 720 calories, or 180 grams (720/4)
20% in Fat is 360 calories, or 40 grams (360/9 calories)
So you have all this new information, now what?
Well theory would say you can eat whatever you want to eat as long as it “fits your macros”. Pop tarts, ice cream, tacos, pizza, you name it.
But it’s not that simple. You also need to make sure you’re getting in your Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that come from whole grains, lean meats (like chicken and fish), and healthy fats (like nuts, avocados, and oils).
Flexible dieting is not a free-for-all – you can’t eat like a garbage can and expect to get the results you’re looking for.
But it does give you the ability to change up your meal plan, which could be the difference between reaching your goals and giving up.
While you’re getting the hang of it, you can use an app like My Fitness Pal to help track your macros/calories… Soon enough, you’ll be able to keep track in your head.
Till Next Time