How To Count Your Macros.
Lil’ Intro On Macros:
So you wanna learn how to count your macros?
You’ve finally found out that dropping weight and losing body fat comes down to counting your macronutrients AKA: macros…
You’ve probably tried every diet under the sun to no avail and you’re fed up too the back teeth with it all!
Don’t worry we’ve all been there and that’s the normal course of action for everyone until you realize those fad diets ain’t working for nobody!
Maybe some measly short-term results if you’re lucky…
The best diet is the one you can stick to and get results long term. That my friend is a flexible diet and involves counting your macros:)
Well, buckle up because you’ve struck gold with this article! It’s going to be the most comprehensive guide and all in one introduction you need to learn the most unrestrictive way to lose weight, change your body and live like a normal human being!
Once you understand the basics of macros there is no going back!
I’ve had clients drop up to 20lbs, jump down dress sizes and regain their confidence back in just a month of getting their macros in check. And that’s just the start!
But this ain’t NO quick fix yo… This is the real and ONLY way to take control of your body once and for all!
Want to have your cake and eat it? Well, you’re about to find out just how to, so let’s go!
In this article, we’ll cover:
-What are Macros?
-What foods have which Macros?
-Calories Vs Macros
-Micronutrients, Sugar, Sodium & Fiber…
-How to easily track your Macros and what app to use?
What Are “Macros”?
Macros which is short for “Macronutrients” are the 3 main food groups and make up all the calories you eat.
These are Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.
You’ve heard of calories obvs…
Well, calories are units of energy measured in food and drink. All the calories you consume are made up of all 3 macros.
-1g of Protein = 4 calories
-1g of Carbs = 4 calories
-1g of Fat = 9 calories
Our bodies need all of them to function properly so if you’ve ever tried to cut one of them out shame on you and go and sit in the naughty corner!
I’m kidding because I like everyone else have been there…
But now you know NEVER entertain the thought of going no-carb, abolishing dietary fat or trying to live on diet shakes again…
Got it? Good!
Every food contains macros with some being more abundant in a certain macro than another.
So because every food contains macros, any food can help or hinder your progress depending on the amount.
Yes! Even “Clean foods” can make you fat! Nothing can be eaten at free will (Well apart from lettuce) so although we need to know the amounts we’re eating of any food, this now gives us a ton more flexibility in our food choices.
Having a burger, chocolate bar or cheeky glass of wine while still getting lean is the new reality!
Alcohol is technically a fourth macro with 7 calories per gram but with no real value to the body. But more on that in a sec!
Your body doesn’t recognise food as good or bad. In fact, there are no bad foods per se, just bad portions!
If you’re over-consuming your laying down body fat! Simple as that!
The Low down:
Hitting the right amount of protein will allow you to maintain muscle when in a calorie deficit which is paramount to losing body fat.
Don’t be scared ladies because you want muscle!
You know that toned, sexy bod you’re after?
Well, being toned is ‘muscle tone’. Don’t get it twisted ain’t nobody looking like Arnold by consuming more protein. You need it!
It’s good for controlling appetite and feeling satisfied by making you feel fuller for longer. More so than carbs and fat!
It also requires more energy to digest and therefore burns more calories than the other two macros when being broken down by the body. Yes please!!!
I’m 99.9% sure you’re under consuming this bad boy and need more in your daily diet!
Where Do You Get It From?
Meat, Fish, Eggs, Animal Products, Shakes, Beans, Lentils are all great sources to get your protein from.
How Much Do You Need?
Anywhere from 0.6-1g per pound of bodyweight is a good place to start for fat loss.
For my example, we’re going to sit in the middle with 0.8g x BW…
(150lb human example)
0.8 x 150 = 120
Daily goal: 120g
The low down:
An essential nutrient for us to survive! Fat was demonized back in the 80’s and 90’s, but then the pendulum swung too far in the last decade with people thinking they can get as loose as they like with so-called “Healthy Fats”.
Unfortunately, that ain’t true! Fat is the most energy dense macro with 9 calories per gram and is needed by the body. That being said it has to be portion controlled like anything else.
Fat aids optimal hormone regulation, vitamin absorption, brain function to name a few kinda important things 😉
Where Do You Get It From?
Meat, Diary, Fatty Fish, Oils, Nuts and many more…
How Much Do You Need?
This will depend on a number of factors including weight, lean body mass and your goal.
0.3-0.7g per pound of Lean Body Mass is a good place to start.
The low down:
Poor old carbs have had a bad rap and had the finger pointed at them as the cause of weight gain, storing body fat and even increasing taxes.
Well, obviously not the taxes! But they may as well have, as they’ve been blamed for being the bad guy for ages. This is WRONG!
Carbs are NOT inherently bad and are the bodies preferred source of energy!
They’re stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen which in English is energy for the body to be used at a later date.
Where Do You Get It From?
Veggies, fruit, grains, drinks, many processed foods and anything that you crave when going low carb 😛
How Much Do You Need?
Again this will depend. Technically we don’t need carbs to survive unlike, protein or fat. Hence the Keto and other like-minded idiots who have demonized them!
That being said you want carbs in your life! They give you energy to get it in the gym, smash a work day and have some fun in the bedroom 😛
Do NOT, I repeat do NOT try and go no carb!
Firstly there is no point because calories in vs calories out is what matters in fat loss and secondly no one can stick to it causing the yo-yo binging and restricting cycle of self-hate. Yikes!
That’s so 2012! LOL
Eat them, enjoy them and don’t over consume them:)
0.5-2 g per pound of lean body mass is a good ball-park figure depending on your body composition and activity levels.
Calories Vs Macros:
As earlier stated calories are units of energy. Every calorie comes from protein, fat and carbs.
“So can’t I just count calories to get my dream body???”
No, not quite! If you just count calories yes you can lose weight because that is straight up physics!
Less going in than going out… duh!
But the results would be vastly different when you count your macros!
Ya see, most people will fill their calorie number full of fats and carbs which is easy to do. The scale might be going down but you’re losing muscle. AKA muscle tone and ending up skinny fat because you’re lacking in protein!
Nobody wants that! You don’t want to just drop weight but be lean, toned, sexy and looking damnnn good!
That’s why hitting a good amount of protein, fat and carbs trump just calorie counting any day!
If you hit your macros then you hit your calories automatically, but by just hitting your calorie number you don’t automatically hit your macros.
Make sense? Good!
Track macros over calories:)
These are vitamins and minerals and are essential for the proper functioning of every system in the body and are vital for good health.
Where Do You Get It From?
Micros are abundant in mainly fruits and veggies with leafy dark greens being one of the best ways to get in your daily dose.
Do You Need To Track Them?
No! Just make sure you’re getting in at least a few pieces of fresh fruit and lots of greens and you’re good!
You can even pop a multi-vitamin to be on the safe side.
“Sugar makes you fat”… “Sugar is evil”… “Sugar is the devil”
This has been banded around forever and is untrue! Sugar needs its own article which I’ll get around to at some point!
Sugar is a carb, it’s NOT intrinsically bad and you do NOT need to cut it out!
Hopefully, the majority of the sugar in your diet is coming from fruits and natural sources but you can throw in some “treat” foods as long as it hits macros.
Do You Need To Track It?
No! Just follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your food choices coming from whole foods and 20% from whatever else you want and you’re good.
A micronutrient that again has got a bad rap like sugar (sugar ain’t no micro tho).
The body needs sodium to survive and without it you would die.
Low sodium diets are part of the fads that a lot of us have been swept up in. In the long run, this will not affect weight or fat loss.
If you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure then your doc might want you to keep an eye on your sodium levels.
If on the other hand, you’re in good health don’t sweat it. Stick to the 80/20 whole foods rule and you’re golden:)
Fiber is a type of carb that slows digestion, normalizes bowel movements, lowers bad cholesterol, increases the satiety/fullness along with a few other things.
There are recommended guidelines such as…
Do You Need To Track It?
Nah! Just make sure you’re getting in those fresh fruits and veggies and you’re good:)
Plus other foods like wholegrain bread, oats, beans an lentils are all good sources!
How To Easily Count Your Macros?
Once you have your macro targets all the food that you eat must be tracked. This is the only way to know how much of each macronutrient you’re consuming and thus hit these daily targets. Macronutrients can be found on the back of packaged foods under “Nutritional Information” and can be tracked in the app Myfitnesspal in the following ways:
– Scanning the barcode directly
– Searching for the food and selecting the matching or similar option on the database such as meats, fish, fruits etc
– Manually creating a custom food entry
** You’ll need to download the app Myfitnesspal which is free and also invest in a cheap food scale. I’ll show you exactly how to use the app in my easy to follow tutorial in just a sec*
“But isn’t weighing and tracking everything a bit obsessive???”
Excuse me? Would you NEVER look at your bank account to see your in-going and outgoings? I hope not and the fact is you can always make more money if you were a little careless with your finances!
But this is your body which I hope you know is a hell of a lot more important than moo-lah. You only have one in case you forgot! You want it to look good and for it to last you a full lifetime if poss 😉
Tracking your food takes the same time it takes you to double tap whoever you’re stalking right now on the gram! Only these taps you’ll be doing to track your macros are actually going to give you a return on your investment instead of time wasted on insta!
Macros love you, the peeps on Instagram don’t know you exist and if they do they think you’re a creeper…
Pick macros over social media any day baby!
EATING AT HOME:
This is easy and once you have mastered the basics should add no more than 5 or 10 minutes maximum to your day. What a small amount of effort for such a huge return!
Tips For Weighing Food:
-Use a digital scale and weigh in grams.
-Weigh each component of meals separately.
-Set scales to zero before each time you weigh.
-Always log nutritional values for cooked meat, rice and potatoes and not uncooked as weight will vary a lot.
Eating out and getting lean muscle just got a whole easier. Almost all snack foods e.g. pre-packed sandwiches, salads, crisps etc, provide nutritional information on the packet as well as a barcode, which can be easily scanned.
In addition most fast food places such as Subway, Chipotle and McDonalds etc, have the nutritional information for their entire menu on their website.
Now some places don’t display their nutritional info but you can still get around this by guesstimating or even fasting through out the day and saving your macros for your meal. I’ll show you how to do this more in my video tutorial.
Q: Are you sure I just can’t count calories?
A: Positive! Counting Macros is healthier!
Calories just don’t cut it (excuse the pun). Yes you can lose weight but that’s not the only goal. We want to lose body fat and retain muscle to actually look good! If you really want to find out the hard way then just track calories but don’t say you weren’t warned.
If you’ve wasted enough time on fad diets, quick fixes and crappy supplements then do it the proper way and count your macros. You want a lean, sexy athletic body and for that you’ll need to be hitting those macros. You can thank me later 🙂
Q: So this is the “Macro Diet” then?
A: NO!!! Don’t come at me with that “Macro Diet” rubbish. haha Just kidding! But this term has been bouncing around for a few years now and is flawed from the get go! Why? Because all foods contain macros so by default every human is on the “Macro Diet” regardless of what you’re eating. So let’s get rid of the term “Macro Diet” and replace it with flexible diet. Nothing is off the table given it fits your macros.
Easy as pie, which you can eat btw 😛
Q: So some foods are just purely one Macro. Like chicken is purely protein right?
A: WRONG! Nearly all foods contain all 3 macros or at least trace amounts with one being more abundant.
For example 100g of chicken breast is around 30g protein, 3g of fat and 0g of carbs. Yes it’s mainly protein but there is fat in there too!
Another example would be a generic 80g white bread roll. It has around 6g of protein, 3g of fat and 31g of carbs. Obviously more carb abundant but still has it’s share of protein an fat.
There are exceptions to the rule like oils which are purely fat. This is rare and most foods contain all 3 macros to some degree. After a short while you’ll get the hang of what’s in what and be a macro master. Chill chill young Jedi, all in good time 😉
Q: I’ve seen you talk about NOT having to track certain vegetables and heard you even call them FREE VEGGIES???
A: Yup! Most non-starchy veggies are insanely low in calories but high in micros and fibre that will help you feel fuller for longer. This means eating lots of them comes with a ton of upside and pretty much no downside.
Get loose, go troffing and enjoy that goodness.
Free veggies are stuff like..
Cauliflower, Celery, Cabbage, Peppers, Cucumber, Radish, Onion, Broccoli, Tomato, Spinach, Mushrooms, Carrots, Lettuce, Leek, Kale
Q: Are protein powders or shakes ok to help get in more protein?
A: Yes they’re a viable option but NO magic bullet. Try and hit your macros through whole foods but if you need the odd shake or powder in a smoothie or bowl of oats to help hit that target be my guest!
Q: I thought you were gonna give us the low down on alcohol?
A: Oh yea.. Soz!
Technically not a macronutrient as it provides no nutrients, alcohol does however carry 7 calories per gram. Alcohol is a toxin to the body, so it will burn it off first before anything else to eliminate it as quickly as possible. Bad news for fat burning!
Other downsides include messing with are hormones and increasing appetite. My recommendation would be limiting consumption to a couple of drinks a week. Wine or straight spirits would be the best options with no calorie mixers e.g. diet cola. However, you’ll achieve the best results from if you eliminate it completely.
If you’re gonna have a few drinks keep the carbs low on that day to balance out the extra calorie intake. Whose gotcha back!!??
Q: Do I have to do this forever?
A: No not if you don’t want too. But that being said for something that takes a few extra minutes per day and gives you a massive return on a small investment I can’t see why you wouldn’t…
If you are happy with where you are or where you have got too and can eat intuitively around that then good for you. I’d say track for a few months to find out food portions and then do yo thang!
Q: Are the macros that are shown on the nutritional label for the whole pack or jar?
A: Probably not! It will either say per 100g or serving size for X amount in grams.
That’s why you need to weigh your food to know how much is each serving size.
For example a jar of jam might say X amount of P,C and F per 30g serving. If you thought this was for the whole jar which net weighs at 400g you’d be well over consuming what you thought you had if you destroyed that jar in one sitting.
Use ya grey matter…
Rule of thumb is check the label for the serving sizes and just input the amount of serving sizes you have. Simple:)
Let’s wrap this up:
I hope this article has somewhat enlightened you and made macros easier to understand and stressed the importance of tracking them. It’s a tool you NEED to know if you want to lose weight, look secks-y and not be restricted. Who wants zero social life?
This ain’t the 80’s anymore! Eating the foods you enjoy and getting results is more than possible. Just learn how to play the game instead of being played by the game!
Your Coach Matty 😛