Breaking Down Macros: What Are They And What Do You Need?
In the world of fitness, there are few things as consuming as macro’s. What with all the crazy diets and meal plans out there, and the different techniques for either shedding fat, building muscle, maintaining weight etc., it’s important to have a solid understanding of the basis and foundation of what counting macros really means.
Macros (macronutrients) are essentially what make up the caloric content of your food. Separated into three major categories, macros are either carbohydrates, fats, proteins, or a combination of the three. To put it in terms of calories, however, think of it this way: Fat provides 9 calories per gram, Protein provides 4 calories per gram, and Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram. And in terms of fitness, sometimes it’s more important to focus less on how many calories, and more on where your calories are coming from. Of course, macros vary person to person, but there are a slew of online resources and calculators that can help guide you towards your ideal gram per macro ratio.
As for now, let’s take a look at what exactly each macro category does for the body…
Carbohydrates: Garbs are your body’s primary source of fuel, and are what your body generally needs in the largest amount. According to the Institute of Medicine, about 45-65% of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates.
Protein: The bodybuilder’s favorite macro, proteins are essential for tissue repair, preservation of lean body mass and creating hormones and enzymes. Your body uses protein for energy when you aren’t getting enough carbs, and the recommended daily percentage should be about 10-35% of your calories.
Fat: Though the word may be daunting, fats are actually a huge part of staying healthy. An important source of energy, fat is what helps you absorb certain vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. It also helps to protect your organs. You should generally be consuming 20-35% of your total daily calories from fat sources. And remember to do this the healthy way! Stay away from saturated fats found in meat and dairy, and try to get your fat sources from unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds and (internal cheering) avocados!
Now, it’s important to remember that different people need different macros that correspond to their overall fitness goals, and their day to day lifestyle. If you’re interested in calculating the macros you need to reach your goals, here are a few websites to help you do so: