What are macros? Macros, short for macronutrients, are what make up the caloric content of food. There are three macros: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Protein: Protein is essential for repairing and building muscle. It also helps maintain a healthy weight because it digests slowly, keeping you full longer. If you are looking to increase your intake, aim for around 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, legumes, and nuts.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. They come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple carbs are digested quickly and can cause blood sugar spikes. Complex carbs are digested slowly and provide sustained energy throughout the day. Good sources of complex carbs include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Fat: Fat is essential for hormone production, brain function, and cell growth. However, not all fats are created equal! There are good fats and bad fats. The good fats are called unsaturated fats and can be found in nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil. The bad fats are called saturated fats and can be found in animal products and processed foods.
An individual's macros are calculated as a percentage of total calories consumed. For example, if you ate 2000 calories in a day and your protein macro was 30%, then you would eat 600 of those 2000 as protein. This is where people often go wrong with macros: they think that they only need to track their protein intake. While it's important to make sure you're hitting your protein goals, tracking all three macros is essential for optimal health.
Each macro has different benefits that are important to your body. Protein is necessary for muscle growth and repair; carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body, and fat helps you absorb vitamins and minerals from food. Additionally, each person's body responds differently to macros. This means that you may need more or less of one macro than another to achieve your goals.
The best way to figure out your macros is through trial and error. Start by tracking your food intake for a few days and calculating your macros based on that information. If you're not seeing the results you want, then make adjustments until you find what works best for you. Macros can be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, they're easy to manage!
How do I track macros? There are a few different ways to track macros:
- Macros tracking apps like MyFitnessPal or Lose It!
- Food labels
- A food scale
Which macros do I need to worry about?
Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are all essential macros. However, you only need to worry about tracking your intake of protein and carbs. Fat can be eaten in moderation because it is calorie-dense.
How much protein and carbs should I eat?
This is a question that can only be answered individually. However, a good starting point is to aim for around 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight for protein and 30-50% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates.
The benefits of counting macros:
- Increased muscle mass
- Reduced body fat percentage
- Improved blood sugar control
- Better moods and cognitive function
- Sustained energy throughout the day
If you are looking to improve your health, lose weight, or build muscle, counting macros may be a good option for you. Give it a try and see how you feel!l
Now that you know what they are and why they're important, it's time to start tracking them! Remember, everyone is different so don't be afraid to experiment until you find what works best for you. Good luck!
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