In a recent article where we looked at building body muscle, we touched on macronutrients and how using the macro system when eating can be really effective for your overall fitness. Today, we’re going to be looking at what macronutrients are, why you should choose to follow the diet, and how you can easily calculate your daily allowances without all the fuss of calories.
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients, macros for short, are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. To keep your body healthy and energised, you need to eat the right amount of each of these macro groups every day. Carbohydrates are a staple in anyone’s diet, especially in the fitness world. They are a great energy source and can keep you full and ready to go for long amounts of time, which makes them great to have before a marathon or workout, as the energy is slow release. Protein also provides you with energy, but this macronutrient is needed mainly to help your immune system function properly, and power your nervous system. When exercising, caring for the different parts of your body is so important, and protein is great for helping with that. Finally, fats are brilliant for recovering after a workout, and building muscle in your body. Fats can build up if you eat them and don’t do something to turn them into muscle however, so make sure you eat these in moderation and that you consume less on days you choose to rest.
Why Should You Use the Macro Diet?
Diets can feel restrictive, and let’s face it, they aren’t fun at all. You feel like you’re missing out, especially if everyone around you is indulging in food. This diet is easier than counting calories, and as you can eat whatever you want, it’s less restrictive. Simply, if what you’re eating isn’t going over your set macronutrient amount, you can have it. No food group is off limits, only if it takes you past your daily allowance.
How to Calculate Macronutrients
There are a few ways to determine your daily macro allowances, but we will just show you just two here. The first simply splits your daily calorie intake into sections for each macro group. The most common split is to allocate 40% of your daily calories to carbohydrates, 40% to protein, and 20% to fats. From here you can work out how many calories you would normally consume depending on your day (if you choose to workout or not) and then you can work out the amount grams per group. For example, if you aim to have around 2000 calories per day (again, this can change if you are training that day or having a rest day), and choose to split it using the 40:40:20 ratio suggestion above, these would be the calculations you use to work out your carbohydrate allowance:
- 40% of your calories will be taken up by carbs.
- 2000 (daily calories) x 0.4 (calorie percentage) = 800 calories.
- Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, so 800 ÷ 4 = 200.
- This means your daily carb allowance is 200 grams in total.
- You can then repeat this process to workout your protein and fats targets.
An alternative to this method is to use a macronutrient calculator to find accurate daily intakes of each macro dependent on your daily exercise and current body weight. Our calculator of choice is the My Fitness Pal app.
We touched on this app in the muscle gain article. You simply type in your details, and it gives you percentages based on you and your lifestyle, rather than calories. This is an easier option, and great for tracking your food, if you don’t want to do the maths yourself.
Hopefully this article lets you see an alternative to counting calories each day. We hope you’re able to understand macronutrients and how following this method allows you to be freer in how you eat, and still see results.
Have macros worked for you?