What are Macros and How to Count Them
After years of counting calories and fat, macros have taken center stage for athletes and the fit-conscious. So what are macros and why are they important?
Macros (short for macronutrients) are protein, fats, carbs and alcohol. Calories are made up of macronutrients containing a certain number per gram:
- 1g protein = 4 calories
- 1g carbohydrates – 4 calories
- 1g fat = 9 calories
Calories are important as they provide the body with energy, therefore counting your calories daily is an effective way to lose, gain or maintain your weight. However, for individuals whose goals are to build a lean, muscular physique, counting macros is far more efficient and intuitive. Each type of macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat) plays a different and important role within your body helping you reach you goals faster than counting calories alone.
High protein diets are highly effective for weight loss, building muscle, preserving lean muscle tissue and, (for bodybuilders), bulking up. Why:
- Protein also helps control your appetite keeping you satisfied for longer periods of time.
- Protein requires more calories to digest than any other macro, the more protein you eat > the more calories your body burns.
It’s important to consume the proper amount of protein daily – a good range is .8 – 1.2 grams per pound of lean body mass. (Visit Thrive Fitness to learn more about the latest body scan technology in order to uncover your true lean body mass).
Don’t fear healthy fats, they play a vital role in the body. Here’s how:
- Fat is essential for proper hormonal function.
- For men, fat is vital in testosterone production, which plays a key role in fat loss, muscle gain and a healthy libido.
- Fat assists with vitamin absorption.
- Fat supports healthy brain function.
- Fat helps maintain healthy skin and hair.
Fat is the most energy dense macronutrient and is often overconsumed. Proper fat consumption should be .3 – .7 grams per pound of lean mass. Some sources of healthy fats include avocado, salmon, peanut butter, flaxseed, walnuts, tuna, dark chocolate, tofu, lean grass-fed beef, and eggs.
Never fear, carbs are here. Often feared, they are the only macronutrient you cannot live without. For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, carbohydrates provide fuel for effective workouts and endurance sports.
Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as glycogen and used as energy during or after exercise to help the body recover. The level of exercise, sports and activity you partake in, directly correlates to the amount of carbohydrates that are right for you. During sports and workouts, your body needs energy to lift weights and increase muscle mass, therefore naturally athletes need to consume far more carbohydrates than sedentary individuals. High cardio sports and exercise require the highest amount of carb intake, (i.e. marathon runners, basketball to soccer athletes and HIIT workouts).
When it comes to counting macros, different people are going to have different needs. Calculate your daily protein and healthy fat intake first and fill in the rest with carbohydrates.
Thrive Fitness Center offers the most comprehensive team of certified personal trainers, nutritionists and Thrive Fit Meals. Inquire about InBody 370 and 3D body scan technology to best understand your body inside and out and establish an effective custom program for your personal diet, exercise and nutritional needs.