You’ve heard of counting calories, and you’re probably already doing it. But something may be hindering your weight loss or muscle gain goals, and these are macronutrients a.k.a macros. If you’ve never heard of these terms before, or you have a slight idea on the concept, in this article i’m going to explain how to use macros or macronutrients to lose weight.
How to use Macros or Macronutrients to lose weight
Before we get into the nitty gritty of counting macros, it’s going to help talking about calories.
I’ve mentioned the importance of calorie counting in another post, specifically: Have you had your Nutrifix yet? The new nutrition app to try an app that helps you do just that. Simply put, if weight loss is your goal you need to remember the equation calories in vs calories out. A calorie is a unit of energy found in every piece of food you eat – that’s why on a nutritional label you’ll see both kcal and kJ/g – and sadly, every piece of food we eat we turn into energy so that we can function, this process is known as metabolism.
Everyone metabolises just by being alive, such as breathing, eating, sleeping, walking, thinking, this measurement of metabolism is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is why the government usually recommends you consume 2000 kcals for women and 2500 kcals per day for men. When you begin to add exercise to your daily routine, this is where your energy needs increase, consequently requiring more kcals to supply this energy exertion, and if weight loss is your goal, the calories expelled need to be more than consumed “caloric deficit”.
Now we’ve understood the importance of calorie counting, albeit briefly, we can now start on macros. All foods contain nutrients, those that are in high abundance are known as macronutrients: Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein, there are also micronutrients (found in lesser quantities) such as Fibre, Salt, etc.
The reason why macros are so important is because each gram of macronutrient has different levels of calories associated to them. For example, there are 4 calories in each gram of protein, 9 calories in gram of fat and 4 calories in each gram of carbohydrates. Noticeably, you’re probably thinking to stay away from the fat, but lets explain how to use macros or macronutrients to lose weight.
Calorie counting can only get you so far on your diet goals, yes it’s part of the equation and a very important piece of the puzzle, but when people carry out fad diets with restricted calories this is often why we see so many side effects such as feeling hungry, lacking energy, headaches, grouchiness and so forth. This is where macros can help put a stop to these effects.
In combination of counting calories, counting your macros can allow you to stay feeling full, bouncing with energy, less moody and a happy bunny, and even allow you to gain lean muscle mass whilst losing weight.
How do I calculate my macros then?
There are many ways to calculate your macros, and it’s based on several factors based on your lifestyle, goals, age weight and height. I’m lazy and don’t like to work this out myself, but thankfully, there are websites out there that have gone to the effort to make a calculator that does it for you. For example, try out this calculator from BodyBuilding.com.
Let’s look at my profile:
Goal Muscle Gain
Activity Level Very Active
CARBS: 344 G PER DAY.
PROTEIN: 229 G PER DAY.
FATS: 85 G PER DAY.
If you’re using a calorie counting app, try reverse engineering their formula (most have the option in the app) e.g. set your goals based on macros, if I were to enter my macros as above it would then tell me how many calories i’m allow per day.
Give it a try, and let me know how you get on in the comments below.