Macros: What are macros? Why would you want to calculate your macros? What are your individual macros? Are macros that important? How do I track my macros?

All these questions you have probably heard before. For the record, the word macro is short for macronutrient – the BIG 3 (Proteins, Carbs, Fats) those my friends are what macros are.

Macro has become a buzzword in the world of flexible dieting. Going back more years than I can remember, I first read the acronym IIFYM on a very old blog – BB.com if I am not mistaken. IIFYM pertains to the phrase, “If It Fits Your Macros”. I believe I first read it being used in a sentence, “If it fits your macros eat that shit”.

Basically what it means is if the food you are eating adds up inside your macros, eat it. If it doesn’t, don’t eat it.  Again, brining me back to the world of flexible dieting and the eating style of IIFYM.

So why do your macros matter? It’s simple really; your ability to understand, calculate, and adjust these macro numbers can help determine what your physique will look like.  By understanding or having a general idea of how much protein, carbs, and fats you should be eating daily will help you shape your body how you want.

Now knowing your macros won’t guarantee you success in being ripped, nor will it ensure you are healthy inside and out, but it is a good starting place for anyone.

Imagine you are trying to drive across country from New York to California without a road map, no GPS, or any signs pointing you where to go. Would you get there? Possibly Yes. But the answer is probably No.

Same goes for your body if you are at 25% body fat and want to get to 12% but you have no idea the macros it will take to get there. Do you think it will it happen? Possible yes, but for most people the answer again is NO.

The point of this blog is not to dig too deep into eating styles, but more to breakdown macros for you in easy to follow terms from a beginner’s standpoint.

We have established your macros are made up of 3 things: Protein, Carbs, and Fats. Lets breakdown these 3 things you intake every day – simple, stupid-science style.

Here are the calorie values for each macronutrient:

  • 1g Protein = 4 Calories
  • 1g Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
  • 1g Fat = 9 Calories

 

Now I could sit here and breakdown how important protein, carbs, and fats are in your diet but that is another blog all together.  What I can do is give you a very basic way to calculate your macros for the average person.

Take your current bodyweight multiple by 12 – this would be for you desk workers who train but really don’t “kill it” in the gym. 12 x bodyweight (for an office worker not crazy active) in my opinion makes up most average Americans.

So if you are 200lbs and we multiple your weight x 12 you would end up with a total calorie goal of 2,400 calories per day.

Based off this, if you eat 2400 calories per day you would stay about the same weight. If you eat less than this you would most likely lose weight. If you eat more, odds are you will gain weight.

This is not a 100% guarantee, as genetics, hormones, metabolism, age, and other factors also play a role in this process. But overall, the guide above is a good place to start.

Now 2,400 calories is not the end-all be-all. It’s the macros that make up these 2,400 calories that are even more crucial.

2,400 calories made up of 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein are going to make you look far different than 25% carbs, 30% fat, and 45% protein over time - trust me when I say that. You might weight about the same, but how you look in the mirror - your composition and body fat - will be drastically different.

So how do I calculate my macros then?

Protein - recommended based on your goals, activity level. Anywhere between .65g to 1g per pound you weigh. So, if you’re a guy looking to get jacked at 200lbs – about 200g of protein per day would be the goal.

Fats - I personally enjoy a higher fat diet so I will eat .5g per pound. If I was 200lbs I would eat about 100g per day of fat. Based on research, a good basic starting place would be at least 25% of your daily intake should be fats, no less.

Carbs - will make up the remainder of the calories left. In a diet that allows 2,400 calories a day, with 200g (800 calories) already allotted for protein and 100g (900 calories) of fat, your remaining available calories would amount to 175g (700 calories).

Now this is just an example for the sake of this article. I am NOT suggesting you start with the extremes or my personal preferences I listed. Find what works for you, your goals, body type, activity level, and taste buds.

Find a coach who is knowledgeable and educated, who can not only make suggestions, but can review your food, hold you accountable, and can help you make adjustments as needed. It’s a simple science and we are all unique and different in our own ways, so what works for me might not work for you. However, I do know there is a formula out there for every one of us that will work; some of us just need to look and work harder for it.

In terms of tracking, using the application MyFitnessPal can also help you stay on track and see your daily progress when starting out.

I hope this helps you understand macros in a better light and the power they have in shaping your physique if you master the numbers right.

Until next time eat well, train hard & be nice to people!