Have you ever heard the word “macro” before?
Is it a little monster that lives in your closet and makes your clothes tighter? No, silly! That’s a calorie. But while we’re talking about calories, it’s important to know that they’re not all created equally. That’s where macros come in.
But for real: lots of fitness peeps like to throw words like “macro” around, as if we know every abbreviation they spit out (like HIIT).
Below, I have presented you with the definition, explanation, and importance of macros. If you want to get toned and lose fat, then you definitely need to be aware of them.
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Comment below how you track your macros!
What is a Macro?
Simply put, a macro (Macronutrient) is a substance required in relatively large amounts by a living organism, in particular. For humans, there are 3.
It seems that every single person in fitness is “tracking their macros”. And there’s a reason for that, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Every food that you eat can be categorized into 1 of these 3 macro groups. Pretty interesting, right?
These are not to be confused with micronutrients. Those are chemical elements or substances required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of a living organism.
Examples of micronutrients include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc; vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K. Basically, certain vitamins and minerals.
What Are The 3 Macros?
- Protein : The building blocks of muscles. Science says: protein is any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds that consist of large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids. There are 4 calories per gram of protein.
- Fats : These serve many structural and metabolic functions in the body. Science says: fats also known as triglycerides, and they’re esters of three fatty acid chains and glycerol. There are 9 calories per gram of fat.
- Carbohydrates : Energy. Necessary, but don’t go crazy. Science says: carbs are any of a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues and including sugars, starch, and cellulose. 4 calories per gram of carb.
You can calculate how many calories will be in something if you know the macros.
So, if you eat 25 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fat, you’ll have eaten 199 calories. → (25 x 4) + (11 x 9) = 199.
Why are they important in muscle gain and fat loss?
Meathead gym rats are so protein crazy for a reason. Without protein, your body has no bricks to build up stronger muscles. You want to gain muscle, even if you’re female. Gains are impossible without enough protein!
Having more muscle means a faster metabolism. 1 lb muscle = 50 calories added to your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Fats are essential for numerous basic bodily functions. It helps you absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, and facilitates cellular growth.
Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) are what you want to focus on. MUFAs are good fats and you need them to lose body fat. Weird right?
Fat has such a bad reputation because it’s high in calorie per gram. Therefore, people think that eating fat makes you fat. With all the low fat products on the market, you’d think that this was the case.
However, this is a huge misconception because fats don’t make you fat. Carbs do.
Speaking of which…
Remember in the previous section where we stated that carbohydrates = energy? Well, if you consume too much energy, your body must store it as fat. No bueno. For this reason, you must stay conscious of your carb intake if you want to stay trim. Bummer, I know.
You’ll probably be surprised at how high the recommended protein intake is. Gotta get those building blocks!
All of that being said, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! There is no *perfect* macro ratio, because everyone is different.
You are an individual, and no one calculator can precisely tell you what you need. If you’re “supposed to” eat 100 g of carbohydrates a day, but you feel you need 150 g, EAT THEM!
Some things that macro calculators do not take into account:
- Metabolism. A variety of factors contribute to this. Activity level, how each person processes different fuel sources.
- Current and past diet history. This affects how you may respond to certain foods.
- Possible hormone conditions. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc.
- Insulin sensitivity. Someone may have a higher resistance to the hormone insulin, resulting in an increase in blood sugar. This, in turn, would affect how their body processes their macro ratio.
The calculator is great to give you a ballpark idea of what you should be eating, but it is by no means a rule book. Some peoples’ body types respond great to high carb diets, some respond great to high fat diets.
You are unique, your needs are unique, so treat your body like it’s special. Because it is :)!