‘Macros’ is actually short for ‘macronutrients.’
Macronutrients are very basic nutritional components of any diet and include fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
Eating the proper ratio of macronutrients is important for maintaining optimal health. The proper ratio is 100% dependent on body type, composition, weight, height, and goals.
There is no magic number or one size fits all when it comes to macros.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
Protein provides our bodies with energy and is the building block of the body. Protein is essential for growth, repair, and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. The proper amount of protein in your nutritional plan can help you lose body fat and gain (or maintain) lean muscle.
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for body and brain function – which is exactly why low carb diets can be detrimental to overall body function if followed for too long. Carbohydrates do a bit of everything from aiding in digestion to fueling you through an intense workout.
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
Fats provide your body with a slow and steady supply of energy and are important for proper hormone production and function. They nourish the brain and aid in muscle growth.
How Do Macros Work
There is a lot of controversy surrounding macronutrients or “counting macros.” This particular dieting theory is most commonly called “If It Fits Your Macros” or IIFYM. The basic philosophy behind IIFYM is “Eat what you want and still lose fat.” Essentially, as long as you are sticking to your personalized macros (ex: 30% carb, 40% protein, 30% fat) you will lose weight.
When it comes down to sheer math, this is absolutely correct. The science behind macros and calorie counting is concrete. You absolutely MUST burn more calories or macros than you consume in order to lose weight. Plain and simple math and science. As long as you are hitting your macros and not going over, you are going to lose weight.
When we look at this from an internal health standpoint, it couldn’t be further from the truth. While most macro-counters adhere to healthy and nutritional foods, there are a handful that eat processed frankenfoods in approved macro quantities. One giant meat lovers pizza or Poptarts because it “hits their macros” for the day.
Are they losing weight? Yes. Are they healthy? No.
A Health Coach’s Recommendation
If you choose to count macros, focus on hitting your macros with healthy foods. A clean eating lifestyle, supplemented with macro counting, is the perfect tool in weight loss and lean muscle building.
When hitting your macros with fresh, healthy, wholesome foods you will lose weight, build lean muscle mass, and keep your body healthy and happy. Splurging once in a while on a treat is absolutely built-in to any proper clean-eating nutritional plan.
Interested in learning more or working me to develop a clean-eating, macro-based meal plan that fits YOUR lifestyle? Check out my customized nutrition + fitness plans.