Macros – should you count them? We all face this question as you get more into fitness as a lifestyle and want to make sure our nutrition becomes part of that lifestyle too.
As a basic introduction to macronutrients, you should understand that your macros are made up of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. There are plenty of free macro estimators you can find online. I’m going to assume you have already calculated your ideal macronutrient needs and talk about whether or not you should track your macros.
Some reasons to track your macros:
- You realized that you’re putting in hard work at the gym, but aren’t seeing the results you want. Have you ever considered that you aren’t taking in enough calories to adequately repair your muscles and help them grow? This could be a sign that you need to get your nutrition in gear and start tracking.
- If someone asked you how many grams of protein you get in a day, you actually have no idea. If you’re lifting weights, but don’t keep track of your protein intake, you gotta step it up. Protein is absolutely essential, especially for people who want to see results! At least understand that you should be getting roughly 30 grams of protein per meal as a starting point. There really is no better way to keep track of it than actually inputting your macros into an app, though. At least throw a shake in there!
- You have trouble with portion control and eat because of stress, you feel like you should or you give into cravings. Tracking your macros is a great way to understand that your body needs only a certain amount of energy, depending on your goals, and tracking will make sure you are reaching your goal. Remember, trust the process. You might not see the results right away, but you will in time.
So, why wouldn’t you track?
- You obsess over the numbers. Yes, some people get obsessed with getting their ratio exactly perfect or hitting their macros right on the head, which is okay, but it’s not ideal. Of course, there are people who will need to hit their macros perfectly (i.e., competitors), but for a recreational lifter, there is no reason to whip out a scale in the middle of a fancy restaurant because macros. There’s a fine line between discipline and deprivation. Make sure you fall in the disciplined category. Trust me, one big meal isn’t going to make you gain fat, just like one salad isn’t going to make you lose weight.
- You are just starting out and don’t even know what any of this means.
Congrats! I am stoked that you are looking into macro-tracking. I highly recommend that you download an app you are comfortable with. Once tracking your food becomes a habit, you should take the steps necessary to get your macro goals in check, but for now, take it one step at a time.