“Macro” is short for macronutrient. Macronutrients are the components of all food. There are three macronutrients: carbs, fat, and protein.
Yes, literally everything you eat can be categorized as one of those three macros, or a mix of two or three.
Each gram of macros represents a certain number of calories:
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
So why is macro tracking better than calorie counting? Because tracking macros takes into account the type of fuel you put in your body, as opposed to just the quantity.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say I want to eat 2,200 calories each day (that’s a deficit from the number of calories I generally eat, so I’m on track to lose weight). And I really like MnM’s. So I eat 2,200 calories worth of MnM’s each day, and that’s it.
According to the number of calories ingested, I should be good to go.
But MnM’s are predominantly carbs (and some fat). Basically, I’d be missing out on an entire macro group – protein. And protein is arguably the most important macro category, since it facilitates muscle growth and cellular repair.
So I would start to feel like sh*t really quickly if I tried to lead an active lifestyle, but only ate MnM’s and robbed my body of the nutrients it needs to grow and repair.
Macros to the rescue!
Instead of just focusing on calories, I’ll shift my focus to getting a certain number of each macro each day. Now, I’m guaranteed to eat some fat, some protein, and some carbs. And guess what? – some of those carbs can still be MnM’s! That’s the beauty of tracking macros: you can still have treats, you just eat the right amount, and balance the treats out with healthier foods. It’s like magic.
- Ready to get started? Download the MyFitnessPal app (it’s free), and for three days, track the normal food that you eat every day. For these three days, ignore the cues from the app, and ignore that fact that you’re probably eating more than it says you should eat. Just simply record your normal eating habits. It is vastly important that we know what you’re currently eating, so you can be guided gently in the right direction later on, without crashing and burning.