Forget calories, if you want to buff up, you need to start counting your macros. Macronutrients refer to your daily protein, carbohydrate (including sugars) and fat intake. They are basically a solid way of eating healthily and ensuring your body gets all the energy and power it needs to function within your daily calorie intake.
Macros are especially important if you’re trying to change your body. When I first joined the gym, one of my primary reasons was so I could look good but still eat what I liked. When my results quickly hit a plateau and I sought help from a PT and the internet (of course, who wouldn’t?!) I discovered that unfortunately, you can work out every day of your life, but if your diet sucks, your body will too.
I felt incredibly tired after workouts, when what I was actually hoping for was a new lease of energy and life. Why was I spending £50 a month and lifting all these weights if I was sabotaging myself in the kitchen as soon as I got home?
I committed to change my diet in January and since amping up my strength training (more on this coming soon) I’ve been really into counting macros. Knowing I am getting the right amount of protein for toned, lean muscle, enough carbs for energy and the right amount of healthy fat to keep me feeling full makes me feel like I’m making the most out of my workout. I feel healthier and full of energy, no matter how late I have to stay at work, or how early I have to get up. They say abs are built in the kitchen and since counting macro’s my tummy is flat every day!
The key to tracking macros is simple now that there are so many great nutrition apps. How far you get into it depends on your lifestyle and goals. You can track macros simply, or you can work out your split per meal and get really rigid with it. Generally though, unless you’re training 5+ times a week, keeping it simple will help you maintain it as part of your lifestyle.
So if you want more energy, better results from your workout and increased strength and fitness, start in your kitchen.
1. Find your body type
Everyone’s body is different and will require a different calorie intake. Find out whether your body shape is Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph. Superskinnyme is helpful if these words look like Spanish to you, they even have a calculator.
2. Know what you need for your body type:
The values below are based on a sustainable body fat loss of 1/2 a kilogram a week. If you want to maintain your current body fat (this is not weight, but the percentage of your body which is just fat) then you can increase your calorie intake slightly, by up to 500 Kcal per day.
An Ectomorph female of 50kg will need around 2050 calories a day and the macro breakdown will be as follows:
Protein – 150g Carbs – 227g Fat – 60g
For every 10kg of weight, add 300 calories, 30g protein, 8g fat and 27g of carbs.
A Mesomorph female of 50kg will need around 1780 calories a day, with macro breakdown of:
Protein – 150g Carbs – 201g Fat – 42g
For every 10kg of weight, add 30g protein, 6g fat and 21g carbs.
An Endomorph female of 50kg will need around 1540 calories a day and the macro breakdown will be as follows:
Protein – 150g Carbs – 132g Fat – 46hg
For every 10kg of weight, add 30g protein, 8g fat and 11g carbs.
3. Track your macro intake!
Download the My Fitness Pal App, a kind of high-tech food diary. You just type in what you’re eating, or even better, scan the barcode using your phone camera and it automatically registers all of the macro nutrients and also the micro nutrients too (vitamins and minerals). You can click on the pie chart button and basically ensure you’re meeting your daily intake.
If I’m planning dinner out and know what I’m having (ie. a massive, greasy burger…) I try to log ahead of time, so I can still have a treat and ensure the rest of my food that day fits into my macros…guilt free!
If you’re not used to training or working out regularly, 150g protein will seem like a lot. I sometimes need 2 protein shakes to meet that if I’m not having a lot of meat or fish that day. If getting a lean, toned look is your primary goal, protein is your most important macro to meet and you may want to consider shakes for convenience. Otherwise, get used to carrying turkey breasts around in your pocket for an opportune snack.
I hope this guide has made macros friendly and simple. If you use it or want any advice, comment, contact or tweet me!