The Basics of Macro Counting
What kind of change do you want to make?
Every day, thousands of people embark on a journey toward health.
This can include any number of choices related to fitness, nutrition, general well-being, or personal development.
Every day, thousands of people also fail at these endeavors. But why is that?
Why are there so many people making huge changes just to land back in the same old spot?
Most of the time, it’s a lack of knowledge. If you don’t know HOW to do something, how then are you expected to do it successfully?
(Spoiler – this is not how to kill calories, friends)
This is a serious problem in the world of Nutrition.
There are SO many gimmicks out there;
-pills, fads, and seriously unsafe diets that limit your ability to eat like a normal human.. each with their own form of misery!
The majority of these [pretty shitty] options either don’t work in the first place or are super hard to maintain and you end up slapping back on that 20 lbs, plus some.
Not only do these plans have terrible flaws, but they also fail to give attention to the major differences in the Nutritional NEEDS of every person on this planet, which are typically generalized down to a potentially dangerous level.
It is so important to not only understand how food is used in the body but also what your specific body is saying.
It doesn’t help that most people approach this subject from the “diet” perspective..
The “I’ll eat what I want October-March but then CRASH March-June to get that *summer body*” kind of diet.
BTW *summer body* is a fun term that diet marketers like to use to really draw in their customers – what does that shit even mean???
What if I told you that <u>consistency</u> was key?
That knowledge really was power and the physique, strength, and health of your dreams was within your reach?
Ok! Drum roll, please!!
Here’s the secret:
In order to understand how to sculpt your body, the human body, you first have to understand how to properly nourish the human body.
So let’s get started!
First thing’s first…
What is a calorie?
Do you know?
A calorie is a unit of measurement:
“In referring to the energy content of foods it is customary to use the “large calorie,” which is equal to 1 kilocalorie (kcal).Every bodily process, including the building up of cells, motion of the muscles, and the maintenance of body temperature requires energy (measured in kcal), which the body derives from the food it consumes. Digestive processes reduce food to usable “fuel,” which the body “burns” in the complex chemical reactions that sustain life.” (Miller-Keane)
So when you’re “counting calories”, you are attempting to estimate the calories required by your body during normal, daily processes [digestion, temperature regulation, general movement, etc],
also known as your Basal Metabolic Rate,
with any additional exercise routine and then basically consuming less than that number in order to create a deficit.
While the concept of a deficit can be beneficial, counting calories alone is a dangerous prospect.
This is because not all calories are created equal.
The human body requires many different nutrients including macro- and micro-nutrients [see below], vitamins, minerals, and others, each in their own amount and each consumed from many different sources.
So if you’re just counting calories only, how are you supposed to know if you’re consuming the correct amount of everything else?
Here is where Macro Counting comes into play.
Out of the nutritional makeup of your food, Macronutrients are required for the most processes and in the largest daily amounts (thus, “Macro”). These include Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats.
*Micronutrients and vitamins, while key players in many bodily functions, are needed in far less quantities than their Macro counterparts.
Typically, if you consume your daily requirement of Macros in whole, complex foods [we’ll go over this one later!] then you will reach your Micro goals, as well.
OK, now to take a step back.. What exactly are Proteins, Carbs, and Fats??
1 gram = 4 Calories
1 gram = 4 Calories
1 gram = 9 Calories
*Homeostasis – when a system, like the human body, uses regulatory functions to maintain a relatively stable or constant state at which performance is at its highest and most efficient.
**Information for the graph – (Nutrition Basics, WSU) and (The Nutrition Source, Harvard)
While I don’t recommend limiting your knowledge to the graph above, it is a <u>beginners guide</u> to understanding how important these nutrients are to daily functions and the necessity of an adequate diet – without these 3 Macro components, our bodies would not survive.
Starvation and inadequate nutrition should never be the answer are just cruel and unnecessary, people.
So, how do we use this information for our personal purpose?
Whether your purpose is weight loss, weight gain, or muscle production, counting Macronutrients is a safe, effective, and immersive way to be involved in your own health.
*Please Note, every body is different and it is very important to discuss any changes in diet with your regular physician to make sure you’re on the right track and for a professional assessment of your macro-nutritional needs.
However, there are many “over-the-counter” ways to assess your macronutrient intake.
For example, the Macro Calculator here provided by Supplement Critique gives a general starting place for beginners in the macro-counting world!
Using this calculator is very simple and user-friendly, allowing for an idea of where to start on this journey.
It is important to remember that as your body changes, as your needs or goals change, and as any daily energy expenditure changes, you should always recalculate your BMR and your macro needs.
Now I definitely understand that it is always difficult to start a new program.
With any new direction; don’t rush it!
Give yourself some time!
Noone is perfect right off the bat and daily habits are some of the most difficult to alter.
Small changes, over time, create new habits.
If you try to change everything all at once, it will be so much harder to maintain.
Some good tips, from the National Personal Training Institute, are the following:
- Plan your meals!
- Seek healthy alternatives.
- Although counting macros gives you freedom – as long as it fits your daily needs – eating vitamin or micronutrient rich foods will be beneficial in additional ways, such as keeping you fuller for longer [less mindless munching]
- Invest in a kitchen scale or other forms of measurement.
- This is beneficial at any stage of your lifestyle change!
- Beginners will have a better visual understanding of their portion sizes and pros will be able to dial in their diets with surgical precision.
Additional resources to help you meet your goals are, of course, supplements. These include pre-workouts for energy, BCAA’s and Glutamine for muscle recovery, protein or meal replacements for macro-supplementation, and many others.
If you are interested in this route, Supplement Critique has taken the time to not only try many different supplement options available to you but also write out thorough reviews to make your life a little easier!
In the end, every diet choice is very personal and not every program will work for every person.
Be aware of your body, stay informed, and follow what makes you happy, healthy, and consistent!
Now it’s up to you!
Bowen, Liz. Beginner Tips for Counting Macros. 2016, August 9. National Personal Training Institute.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an Imprint of Elsevier,
Inc. All rights reserved.<a href=”https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/calorie
Nutrition Basics. MyNutrition. Washington State University. https://mynutrition.wsu.edu/nutrition-basics/