By Bryan Smith (@Catalyst_SPT)
No, I’m not naming off the Kardashian sisters’ measurements – I’m talking about your macros, brah. If you’ve been in the fitness game long enough, I’m sure you’ve heard people talking about counting macros, and you know IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a term tossed around by many fitness enthusiasts and people looking to change their body composition.
Simply put, “counting your macros” means calculating and adjusting your macronutrient intake (to be specific, your protein, carbohydrates, and fat). To do this, you first have to figure out approximately how many calories you need to consume in a day to reach your goals. There are graphs, calculators, and pie charts you can find online to help with this.
Now for the fun part: the math. In order to count your macros, you need to figure out how many calories you are eating from each macronutrient source. You know those little nutritional labels that are on the back of your food containers? You should start reading those. So let’s begin. For every gram of protein or carbs you consume, you’re getting four calories. Fats are a little different; one gram of fat is equal to nine calories. That’s right, nine. Having fun yet? Now, to determine how many grams of each you’ll need in a day, multiply your total calories by the percentage of your calories that you’d want to come from that source to get the number of calories from that macronutrient. Then you would need to divide that by the number of calories per gram you get from that source to get the total grams you will need to consume. For example, if you eat 2,000 calories a day and need 30 per cent of your calories to come from protein, multiply 2,000 (total calories) by 0.3 (percentage) to get 600 (calories from protein), and divide that by four (number of calories in one gram of protein) to get 150 grams of protein.
If that’s too much work for you, keep reading.
The great thing about technology is that this little fad called the “Internet” has made it very easy for you to count macros. There are programs that you can use to input the types of food that you eat, and they will do the work for you if you have no interest in doing all of the fancy number stuff yourself, but keep in mind not everyone is going to be the same as you are. Looking for more muscle? Opt for higher protein/higher carb ratios (30 per cent protein/50 per cent carbs/20 per cent fat). Trying to lose weight? Maybe try less carbs and more protein (35 per cent protein/25 per cent carbs/40 per cent fat). These are obviously not set in stone, so play around with your macros until you find something that fits your body type, or look online for a program that can calculate your exact percentages based on your goals.
If you are trying to lose the last five to 10 pounds and are having a hard time, this may be a great way for you to figure out exactly how much you are eating and make small adjustments when necessary. But be cautious; counting macros is a lot of work in the beginning and there is a lot of dedication involved. However, if done properly, it can propel your physique to the next level.