Basics of "If It Fits Your Macros"
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I'm sure you've heard the term "macros" a lot in today's world and a lot of people have no clue what this means. The saying that abs are made in the kitchen is true... But the kitchen can be a VERY confusing place when you’re looking to make a positive change to your life when it comes to "macros". The most important thing to understand is Macronutrients, or "macros" as most health pros refer to them. Macros are the categories we use for the composition of your food; Carbohydrates (carbs), Proteins, and Fats. This is a great article that explains all about macronutrients. http://www.innerbody.com/nutrition/macronutrients
Right now a lot of people are working the If If Fits Your Macros nutrition plan in to their lifestyle and I even follow this plan! However there is a lot more that goes into it than just numbers. It's about choosing the macros (carbs, proteins and fats) you eat as well.
Carbs are mostly simple carbs, or complex carbs. Simple carbs come from fruits and veggies and SUGAR. Its also easy for the body to break down and use, so your body will use it first. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes or quinoa take longer for your body to break down and will help you feel full longer - these are two of my favorite foods! When choosing carbs the best choice is to choose complex carbs. Fiber is also a carb, but talking about Fiber is a whole other blog all together. Having fiber in your diet is very important and we’ll talk about it another time.
Fats are also very important in your diet. But again it’s about choosing good fats for your diet. Coconut oil, nuts, avocado, olive oil are all ‘good’ fats. Good fats do not contribute to higher cholesterol and are a great source of Vitamin E and Omega Fatty Acids. Bad fats can contribute to higher cholesterol and are prevalent in fast foods or processed foods. We need fat in our diet for so many reasons, but we must make good choices about what kind of fats we’re eating.
And the last main macro is Protein. Protein is what helps build and protect your muscles. BCAAs come mainly from protein in our diet. We do need to supplement to get some of them, but most of our amino acids come from the protein we eat. Protein also helps our body make enzymes and hormones. One main thing to understand about protein is that your body does not store protein, so you need to keep giving it to your body - daily. Lean proteins are the best choices you can make, or proteins that are accompanied by good fats. Fish, poultry, nuts and whole grains that have protein are all good choices.
So why do you need to count your macros? Because it is SOOOOO important when it comes to reaching your goals. Getting the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your diet is essential with whatever your goals are - whether you want to build muscle or lose weight - or both! Getting too much or too little of anything it can mess with your metabolism, energy levels, muscle gains/losses, fat gains/losses, or hormone levels. Tracking your macro-nutrients is essentially tracking WHERE your calories are coming from.
1 gram of carb = 4 calories 1 gram of fat = 9 calories 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
If you are hitting your macros (amount of grams of each) each day, your calories will be where they need to be! And they will be coming from the right places. So don't stress too much about counting those calories... focus on the macronutrients!
Although tracking your macros is essential in hitting your goals, nutrition choices need to go beyond the basic IIFYM (If it fits your macros), and the numbers you need depend on what your goals are. Everyone has different goals and different body types and activity levels... all these things affect what your macros should be on a day to day basis. It also depends on how you are working out - for example, if you lifting heavy weights, your carbohydrate grams should be a bit higher than days you don't lift weights. I know this seems very confusing at first but if you’re trying to wrap your head around how to implement this, or what your numbers should be, or even where to start, please send me a message. I would love to chat with you about how to reach your goals starting with your macro-nutrients! Or you can also find a manual calculation of how to find what your macros should be in my brand new 6 Week Bikini Body Workout Plan - get your copy here!