What the heck is a macro? You’ve seen #IIFYM, #macros, and #FlexibleDieting posted all over social media by now yet some of you are probably totally clueless (just like I was) about what the heck these people are talking about. Well today is your lucky day because we are not only going to break down this new lingo for you but we are going to share with you how to track these “macro” things.
To make it simple, a macro is short for macronutrient. What is a macronutrient? Well there are 3 of them that make up all foods and are substances that you need to live! Macro means “big” so it should be pretty easy to remember that you need these 3 specifically in large amounts. The 3 macros are protein, carbohydrates and fat. These are absolutely essential for you to live your life (duh) and if you check out your nutrition labels they will inform you what foods consist of what macronutrients.
Each individual requires different amounts of macronutrients because everyone is built differently! Not only that but someone who is more active requires more calories than someone who is generally sedentary. This is why that diet that your BFF did last year worked amazingly for her yet the scale didn’t budge when you tried it. The principle of specificity in relation to training states that the training should be relevant and appropriate for the sport in which the person is training for. In my opinion, your diet should follow those same guidelines. There is not one magic set of numbers that is going to work for everyone just like there is not one type of exercise that is going to benefit everyone. Being individualized for your training AND diet is the key to success.
We calculate our client’s macros based on their current weight and activity level through a chart that we send them. They pick a level at which they think best describes their daily life and depending on their goals (fat loss, muscle gain or maintenance) we pick a starting set of numbers for them to follow. It is important to know that your macros may change quite often over time especially if your activity level changes. So say you get a new job that requires you sitting at a desk all day when you used to be on the move for most of you day- your macros will need to be adjusted. We also adjust clients’ macros based on how their body responds to the starting numbers. If the client is achieving their fat loss goals or wants to increase their metabolic capacity we may reverse diet them or slowly increase their calories (and carbs and fats) over time to minimize weight gain, yet allow them to eat more food. To see what we offer as far as macro-based nutrition plans visit our website SD Evolution -we would love to help you get started!
Now for the point of this blog post- how do you track your macros??
There are two apps that we recommend to our clients:
My Fitness Pal (the more well-known app)
MyMacros+ (a newer app)
Both are great sources to keep track of your daily food intake! We find that My Fitness Pal has a greater food database so this app may be a little easier to use if you are just starting out however setting your macros to exact numbers may be a little challenging. Here is a website that explains how to set your exact numbers since My Fitness Pal only allows increments of 5g.
Once your numbers are set-up, it’s now time to get to tracking! However many people refer to the percentages chart instead of where it shows you your total grams per macro. Here is the screen that you should be referring to to see your daily totals of protein, carbs & fat in grams:
*Note: Many clients get confused and refer to their percentages. Make sure you are viewing the “Nutrients” tab and checking grams! (The macros tab just gives you your percentages).
What we like about the MyMacros+ App is that it allows you to name your meals (ex. breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, etc) and it shows the macro breakdown PER meal as well as your totals for the day, along with what you have left!
Tracking you macros is seriously made easy with apps like these, allowing you to reach those fitness goals faster than ever before. As always, if you have questions regarding this topic or Flexible Dieting please email us at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. We would LOVE to help!
-Alessandra & Josh