If you’ve read my introduction to macro tracking, you’ll already know that macronutrients are the critical nutrients we need to consume in larger quantities to ensure our bodies function.
Protein, carbs and fats are all macronutrients, as is alcohol(!). Familiarising yourself with macro tracking can help if you’re looking to improve your diet, boost your energy or drop a few pounds.
Vitamins and minerals are commonly known as micronutrients because we tend to need a relatively small number of them to operate optimally. When it comes to protein, fats and carbs, we need a significantly larger amount to keep us healthy.
Why do Macronutrients Matter?
Without enough macronutrients, our bodies simply won’t function well. In fact, a complete absence of macronutrients would cause severe health problems, so it’s vital we consume them in order to survive.
However, this doesn’t mean that all macronutrients are created equal. While alcohol might be a macronutrient, claiming you need a bottle of chilled sauvignon for survival isn’t going to pass muster! Alcohol aside, a healthy diet consists of a range of the three main macros: protein, carbs and fats. If you do enjoy a tipple, you’ll be pleased to know that a healthy diet can also include a responsible amount of alcohol too.
When people attempt to lose weight, they often focus on a specific macro. Who’s tried the no-carb diet, the low-fat diet or attempted to get through ‘Dry January’? You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Despite your best efforts, these extreme regimes rarely provide long-lasting results. While you might be successful initially, you could simply gain weight when your diet ends, and you return to ‘eating normally’.
It’s about a lifestyle change
Alternatively, you may attempt to make a lifestyle change by cutting out carbs for good or committing to a low-fat eating plan for life. Not only is this likely to be making you feel a bit miserable, it could actually end up having a harmful impact on your health.
We need a variety of macronutrients to function properly, so cutting out one of the three essential macros (not including alcohol) for a long period of time won’t allow your body to produce the energy it needs. What’s more, completely cutting out protein, fats or carbs means it’s highly likely you’ll be missing out on key micronutrients too.
When we consume macronutrients, we tend to miss out on micronutrients from the same food source. Carbohydrates often provide us with our daily recommended intake of fibre, magnesium and B vitamins, for example. Similarly, fats typically provide us with a range of vitamins, including vitamin A, E and K. By following a macro-deficient diet, you’re also cutting out the essential micronutrients your body needs to function, and it won’t take long for you to feel the difference.
What is Macro Tracking?
Now you know what macronutrients are and why they’re so important, it’s time to get to grips with macro tracking. In its simplest form, macro tracking simply refers to being aware of the macronutrients you consume on a daily basis. If you want to enhance your health, increase fat loss or gain energy, macro tracking becomes a little more useful.
Rather than simply passively making a mental note of the food you’re consuming; macro tracking is designed to help you consume a variety of food and achieve your goals. By balancing your need for protein, carbs and fats (and your desire for alcohol!), you can ensure that your body gets everything it needs. When consumed in an appropriate combination, protein, carbs and fats will also satiate you. You’ll experience fewer cravings and won’t be as tempted to raid the fridge.
Following a fad diet inevitably leaves people feeling frustrated, deprived and hungry but macro tracking has the opposite effect. With professionally-led tracking, you won’t be denying yourself any of the food you want. Instead, you’ll be making informed choices about what you consume and the impact. If lunch has given you plenty of carb, make a protein-fuelled dinner to even out your day.
Macro Tracking 101
Before you can begin macro tracking, you need to know how much of each macronutrient your body really needs. Although this can vary depending on your age, gender and lifestyle, there are some broad guidelines you can follow.
For protein, the daily recommended intake is around 0.75g for every kilo of bodyweight. You simply need to weigh yourself in kilos, times by 0.75 to get the right figure. But 0.75g is only the MINIMUM recommended amount. When the goal is fat loss or muscle gain, 1.5g per kg+ is needed. This can be challenging to achieve until you know what swaps to make.
Once you know your protein and calorie requirements, that’s really it. Fat and carbs don’t really matter as long as you’re hitting your calories – for most of us at least. If you’re an athlete, then things need to be a bit more specific.
Weighing your food?
If you’re new to macro tracking, it can be helpful to weigh food to get a better idea. As you become more familiar with weights, you’ll find it easier to gauge your consumption.
Although macro tracking can seem complicated at first, it’s effective way to achieve your fitness goals and boost your wellbeing. Whether you’re aiming for fat loss or maintaining a healthy weight, macro tracking can help you to achieve your goals. What’s more, macro tracking can be used long-term. Find the freedom to eat whatever you choose, providing you take accountability for it.
To continue the journey, subscribe now and get notified when part three of our macro tracking series drops. Alternatively, to find out more, contact me today and find out how Next Level Nutrition can help you.
To find out what macro ratio will work for you, try this site: Macro Calculator
Need some recipes to try? Here are some of my favourites Click here
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