I’m writing this article because I honestly believe that if you know how to track macros. You have a far better chance of reaching your fitness goals.
If you don’t know what macros are (the correct term is macronutrients) they’re protein, carbs, and fats and alcohol they will determine how many calories you need to eat to:
Maintain your weight
Tracking Protein And Calories, The Easiest Approach To Hit Your Macros For Most People Just Looking To Get Fit & Healthy
The easiest approach for most people in my opinion is just to track your protein and calories.
The reason for this is because protein is the most important macronutrient.
And when you focus on just getting your protein, I’ve noticed that the carbohydrate and fat calories tend to fall into place.
Your Macros Are Determined Upon The Diet Your Following – How To Track Macros
You probably know that there are many dieting styles out there. To name a few there is:
the ketogenic diet, the paleo diet, the carnivore diet, the calories in calories out diet (cico), the low fat diet. These are just a few of the creative diets out there.
But the macronutrient ratio differs widely from each diet. The number of macros for the ketogenic diet has you consuming very few carbs. A ketogenic diet has you eating roughly 75% of fat, 20% of protein and only 5% of carbs which is generally considered to be less than 50 grams.
The high carb, high protein, low fat diet is the best in my opinion. This is simply because a high carb, high protein diet will keep you full because you’re eating higher protein. You’ll also get to eat tons of carbs and who doesn’t like carbs. It also ticks the box for adequate fat intake. This is due to the reason that you dont actually need that much fat to stay healthy. All you need is roughly 0.3 grams of fat per pound of fat free mass. A good article on this is below.
And if you’re trying to gain weight and muscle then I’d advise you to increase your fats and carbs. Specifically your fats because if you struggle with eating enough food then they can provide lots of calories for very little volume.
The Ratio Of Your Macros Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect – How To Track Macros
But the best ratio in my experience for a high carb, high protein, low fat diet is to eat 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat. If you try your best to hit these macros then that’s great. But if you only try to hit your protein and calories that’s also great too.
You really don’t need to be perfect with your macro targets. Remember how much you eat is more important than what you eat.
The carnivore diet has you just eating meat. So the macronutrient ratio would literally just be a mixture of fat and protein.
What Are Macronutrients And How Do They Play Into Your Diet – How To Track Macros
So macronutrients are protein, carbs and fats and alcohol. Protein has 4 calories per gram, carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram, fat has 9 calories per gram and alcohol has 7 calories per gram. Below I’m going to briefly talk to you about the function of each one.
Protein, The King Of Macronutrients – How To Track Macros
Protein is the one macronutrient that you should really prioritise because it plays many important functions. Proteins are the primary building blocks of your body. Protein builds muscle, ligaments, tendons, and organs. As well as have a vital role role to play in building enzymes ,hormones and chemicals in the brain. Protein also helps you stay full. Lose more fat and build/retain more muscle in a calorie deficit.
These benefits are primarily noticeable in a high protein diet of 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. But protein isn’t all made the same check the list below to see the most complete proteins. This means the proteins with the best amino acid profile and thus best used by the body for use.
Eggs – Protein rating 100
Fish – Protein rating 70
Lean beef – Protein rating 69
Cows milk – Protein rating 60
Brown rice protein rating – 57
White rice protein rating – 56
soybeans – Protein rating – 47
Whole grain Wheat – Protein rating – 44
Peanuts – Protein rating – 43
Dry Beans – 34
White Potato – 34
So as you can see. You can utilise the proteins to a much greater degree towards the top of the list.
Practical Recommendations For Cutting (losing fat) How You Should Set Up Your Macros
If you’re going to lose fat getting 40% of your calories from protein can be beneficial and keep you full. But if you can’t get that much then aim for at least 0.8 – 1.0 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Practical Application For Maintaining (Staying The Same Weight) And Building Muscle (Gaining Weight)
A good rule of thumb for maintaining or building muscle is to eat at least 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you’re bulking the majority of your diet should come from carbs.
Carbohydrates perform a few vital functions. The primary role though is to provide your body with energy. Carbohydrates get broken down into the body and used for energy or stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles.
All carbs aren’t created the same though. Some carbs are extremely conducive to your health, such as fibrous carbs like vegetables and fruits. And others consumed in vast quantities like refined sugar can be detrimental to your health. Here are the 3 different types of carbs you can get.
Monosaccharides consist of fructose ( the sugar found in fruit) Galactose ( the carbohydrate found in dairy products) and glucose (pure glucose has a glycemic index of 100 which means that its readily used by the body whereas galactose has a glycemic index of 25 which means it takes longer to be used by the body. More on the glycemic index in a second). These are all single chain carbohydrates with different glycemic index ratings.
Oligosaccharides And Polysaccharides The Fibrous Carbohydrates
These kinds of carbohydrates are in foods such as vegetables and whole grains. And are broken down into fructooligosaccharides, and raffinose and galactooligosaccharides. These are known as fibrous carbohydrates. But they all get broken down into glucose eventually it just takes longer for these fibrous carbohydrates to do so.
Polysaccharides comprise your starchy carbohydrates like bread, rice, potatoes, pasta e
The Glycemic Index
You should know that it isn’t just carbohydrates that are in the glycemic index. Proteins and fats also get broken down and metabolised to be used as energy by the body.
Protein and fats also elicit a glucose response. The reason for this is due to a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis basically means that your body uses protein and fats to turn them into glucose. And that’s why they elict a glycemic response.
Here is a table that shows a variety of foods and there glycemic index which is the rate in which they breakdown into glucose.
Fats play vital functions in your body such as. They help your body absorb vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with the help of fats. Fats are also used to create various hormones and help to keep your hair and skin healthy.
Fats are broken down into, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and trans fats,
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
Coconut oil / palm oil / coconut butter
High fat dairy foods ( e.g. full fat greek yoghurt)
It’s Best To Limit Your Saturated Fat
Saturated fat isn’t inherently bad for you. You just need to be aware of how much you are consuming. And the research is pretty unclear on if diets with high saturated fats are bad for you.
A good reccomendation is 10% of your daily calorie intake from saturated fat.
If you consume 2000 calories per day this will equate to 200 calories coming from saturated fat.
Polyunsatured and monounsatured fats are what are called the “healthy” fats and you don’t need to cap them as low as saturated fats. For instance if you were consuming 30% of your diet from fats. It would make sense to have 10% of your fat intake from saturated and 20% from healthy unsaturated fats.
Regarding the foods these fats are found in. Look below:
Salmon, mackerel , albacore tuna , herring and trout. ( salmon, mackerel, and herring coating omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for your health)
Soybean oil, safflower oil, and corn oil
Now monounsaturated fats:
Peanut oil and butter
Just so you know some fats contain a mixture of fats. For instance butter contains all 3 of these fats but mostly saturated fat then, monounsaturated fat then polyunsaturated fat.
Trans fats are a man made fat that is prevalent in industrialised foods. Its primary role is to increase the shelf life of products. Trans fats can be found in:
Margarines and spreads
These are just a few sources of trans fats. Trans fats are incredibly bad for your health. Try to limit them to 0% of your diet. Tons of studies show that trans fats have some detrimental effects to your health. For instance:
Increase in LDL ( bad) cholesterol while reducing HDL (good cholesterol)
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Hampers immune system function
They can increase your chance of getting type 2 diabities
Make sure that you stay on the look out for trans fats and hydrogenated oils on food labels. And if you see trans fats on the label. Don’t consume it.
Practical Applications For Losing Weight And Building Muscle
If your wanting to lose fat. In my opinion the best macronutrient ratio that helps the most is having 20% fats and when bulking/ maintaining consuming 30% or slightly more fat.
The reason for such a low percentage of fat while losing weight is simply because you don’t actually need that much for general health 0.3 grams per pound of fat free mass at the absolute most. And like I mentioned before fat is the most calorie dense macronutrient. So if you have lots of fat while being in a calorie deficit this will result in less volume of food. This is because fats are more than twice as calorie dense as carbohydrates and protein.
And when maintaining and bulking it can be hard to consume so many carbs. For instance at the latter end of my bulk I was consuming 4000 calories per day so fat can help you massively reach your calorie surplus while bulking. If you’re not a big eater. (I’m a big eater but eventually that amount of food can be hard to consume).
An Example Meal Plan To Help You Build Muscle
This is a sample meal plan for gaining weight and muscle for a male of 180 pounds with a total daily energy expenditure of 2500 calories eating in a 10% calorie surplus .
The macros used for this meal plan are based on getting roughly 50% carbohydrates and roughly 30% fat and roughly 25% protein.
I find the easiest way to workout your meal plan for building muscle is to simply aim to eat at least get 0.8 (or slightly more like in the meal plan) grams of protein per pound of bodyweight and then the fats and carbs seem to fall into place.
And then once you work out your calories for building muscle all you need to do next is to get stronger on a handful of movements like these 2 articles below suggest.
An Example Meal Plan To Help You With Your Fat Loss Macros – How To Track Macros
So to lose fat you want to work out your total daily energy energy expenditure. Reduce it by 25% and then follow a meal plan like this.
You can either do the 40/40/20 diet or you can just aim for 0.8 – 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and your macros and carbs will most likely fall into the place.
The second approach is very easily done.
Conclusion – On How To Track Macros
- Firstly Macros are the term for carbohydrates, fats, protein and alcohol. Protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram and alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
- Your macro ratio is determined by the diet you intend to choose.
- In my opinion the easiest way to track your macros to gain muscle, maintain your body composition, and lose fat is to simply focus on getting enough protein. Which at the least is 0.8 – 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. And then control your calories depending on your goals. For instance you’ll be in a calorie surplus to gain muscle. And a calorie deficit to lose weight.
- Finally use the meal plans to help you towards creating your own meal plans.
If you want to lose fat. Download my free ebook below so that you can lose fat forever, gain more confidence, feel in control of your body and life, and have more energy.
I hope I’ve answered your question on how to track macros? If you need any further help or just want to ask me a question send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org