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Macro Calculations, Meal Planning & Online Training
Enjoy the food you like to eat without falling off your diet plan by following your macros. Limiting your food options will set you up for failure. If you’ve ever read a fitness blog, forum, or even Instagram, you’ve probably heard the term macros thrown around. Short for “macronutrients,” it refers to carbs, fats, and proteins—the three basic components of every diet. The right proportions makes dieting a lot more effective when simple calorie restriction fails. Tracking calories alone doesn’t take into account what you are eating, just how much you are eating in total. Eating the right foods and combination of foods will leave you feeling satiated (fuller) and stuff while you are creating a caloric deficit.
The three main macronutrients are: protein, carbohydrates and fat. Something you may not have know, alcohol is a macronurient too, which we will go into detail later so you know how to account for that wine, beer or other adult beverage properly.
Protein (4 calories per gram)
Associated with building muscle and primarily found in meat and dairy. Protein is the core component for your bones, organs, hair, tissue in your body and enzymes. Made up of amino acids which most of them your body can make by itself. The other (nine) essential aminos you need to get from meat sources, or for vegetarians and vegans, eating a ‘wide’ variety of legumes and grains can provide you with proper nutrients.
Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram)
Carbs are your bodies most accessible source of energy and is broken down into glycogen (for muscles and liver) and glucose (for the brain). You can survive without them, but, it may not be fun! They are divided into complex and simple carbohydrates (determined by length of the molecule chain). The shorter the chain, the easier it is for your body to break down (basically they are sugars). The larger chains, like starches, are more complex and require a longer process to break down into a usable form.
My belief is a carb is a carb. That doesn’t mean you get your carbs daily from bread, cookies, donuts and pop tarts. Seek out more complex sources that will keep you satiated during the day, helping to avoid cravings that may deter your success. This belief may provide the freedom to choose so you can develop a healthy relationship with what goes on your plate.
Fats (9 calories per gram)
Fat is always getting a bad rap, because its so calorie dense. They are very important for normal body functions, hormones, nerves, skin and hair health. There are a bunch of different types of fats, from saturdated to polyunsaturated to monounsaturated. The three main ones you should be concerned with are omega 3-6’s and trans fats.
Trans fats increase the risk of heart disease and are usually found in packaged foods and margarine. The omegas are ‘essential’ and your body can’t produce them by iteself, so your diet needs to provide these. Omega -3’s are found in fatty fish, flax and walnuts, and -6’s from all kinds of vegetable oil.
Figuring Out Your Macros
Figuring out which macros to target can be done in a few simple steps.
What are you my calorie requirements?
This is determined by your age, gender, weight, muscle mass and activity level. Eating more will lead you to gain weight, while eating less will make you lose weight. The exact number can be obtained by various online calculators, but this comes with a warning. Most of these don’t take into consideration your body fat percentage or specific daily activity that may affect your daily energy expenditure. The best method is to track what you eat for a week, and you are not gaining or losing weight, this would be a good marker for maintenance level.
Moderate weight loss (one pound per week) would require a deficit of 500 calories a day.
So how do I know which macros get what?
There are a couple of ways to determine this. The easiest is to allocate calories to each nutrient based on percentage splits. The most common is a 40:40;20 (40% of your calories to protein and carbohydrates and 20% to fats). You can use simple math from here. Lets say your calories are 1800:
Protein & Carbs (40%)
1800 * .4 = 720
720 / 4 = 180 grams of protein & carbs
1800 * .2 = 360
360 / 9 = 40 grams of fat
Other popular percentages are 33:33:33 and 40:30:30. I always start with my protein needs (typically a constant number), then the required carbohydrates for my specific day (weightlifting, cardio, or rest day) and the remaining calories go to fats. So lets say you are a 150 lb woman that wants to weigh 120 lbs, you may determine that you need 1,500 calories and 120g of protein. Subtracting calories from protein you are left with 1,020 for carbs and fat. You decide that you want an even split between both (1,020 / 2 = 510) and end up with about 57g of fat (510 / 9 = 56.7 ) and about 128g of carbs (510 / 4 = 127.5).
What Do You Do When It Stops Working Or Doesn’t Work At All?
Everyone’s requirements are unique, based on their background, preferences and daily activities. Picking a cookie-cutter diet plan or using a calculator that doesn’t incorporate all of the factors needed for the calculation may be a waste of your time, leave you frustrated, cheating on your plan and even falling off the wagon completely.
If the scale isn’t moving, and you honestly stuck to the macros, measuring your food, etc.. Then you may not be tracking them correctly, or you are over estimating your caloric requirements. Try weighing your food for more accuracy. A tablespoon or serving of peanut butter weighs 16g, but if you just measure a heaping Tbsp you may be adding an extra serving or 100 calories every time. If all of this is on point and you still aren’t changing, try adjusting your calories by about 5-10%, and see how it goes from there. Also, like me, if you are insulin resistant, try decreasing your carb intake and allocate those calories to fats.
Does All of This Confuse You?
Do you want these calculations done for you so all you have to do is enter them into an app like My Fitness Pal?
Maybe you need all of the guesswork taken out and have your meal plans right in front of you to prepare and return to your busy life.
If you fall into one of these three categories then we can help you take the pain out of planning and start you on the path to success today!
Bryan & Suzie are ready to help you on this journey… You are just one click away from your goals!
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