What are Macros?
A lot of bodybuilders and trainers are telling their clients to pay attention to their macro nutrients or their macro ratios without explaining what that is. Most trainers over explain this concept and assume that all that information was necessary for the client to truly grasp it. What most fitness professionals don’t understand is that even though it makes sense to them, it doesn’t make sense to the general population. In short, the Macro system is what I call conscious eating. All you’re keeping track of is fat, protein, carbs, and calorie content of everything you eat.
How do I incorporate this into my lifestyle?
There are a lot of ways to approach this habit but one way that I found most successful is just using your smartphone, food scale, and measuring cups. You’ll also need some way to log all this information. I created a cheat sheet to help me keep track of all this information (I created a cheat sheet using excel that you can download). This type of concept requires a lot of planning which in the long run is a great idea no matter how you look at it. The benefits of planning out your meals will be touched upon on another post. Another thing about this is that you’ll have to learn how to cook. Yes there are ready-made meals out there that you can count towards your Macro but it’s easier to keep track if you actually cook all the ingredients yourself. Even though the seasoning doesn’t really count towards your Macros if you’re using powdered seasoning such as salt or garlic powder but you should definitely be conscious of the amount of seasoning you put on anything. Another thing you really want to consider when preparing your food is how are you supposed to get in 4-7 meals a day. Just think of it as grazing all day because that’s what you’re essentially doing.
What kind of Macro ratio should I be on?
There are a lot of opinions on what ratio works best for your goals. There are some general ideas but it all comes down to trial and error. It took me awhile to find what worked best when I wanted to achieve specific results. You’re probably feeling down after reading that but you would know within 2-3 days if that specific ratio is working for you. The general idea is you should consume more protein than carbs and fat if you’re trying to tone up. If you’re trying to bulk up then you should increase your carbs and your fat content while lowering down the percentage of protein that you eat. So for the general population you should consume a little bit more protein than carbs and fat. Of course the only way for this to work is to be on a regular exercise program. Just remember that this is just a general guideline and the only way to really find out that this program works with your body is to just test it out yourself and wait at least 3 days to see if it works.
When should I eat?
One thing I noticed was I would be hungrier than normal. This is good because this program is designed to help eat you based on your activity. What I mean by that is I would eat if I was hungry but I knew that each meal met the macro-nutrient requirements that I set myself for that day. I would just take out a tupperware that was labeled and full of food from my backpack and just start eating without worrying about whether I had to count the calories at all.
You can go further by planning when to eat meals for example eating a high carb meal 2 hours before your workout. Most people don’t even get past the second week on this program so my suggestion is just concentrate on making this a habit. You can do this by putting it into your schedule. Write down when you’re going to start planning your meals, when you’re going to cook it all, and plan what you’ll be freezing. Most foods that you cook will be able to freeze for a few days. Any longer then it would start to taste funny.
I hope this gives you a little insight into what macros are. To get more information regarding this just as the trainer at your local gym. They can not only put you on the right macro ratio but also recommend the right workout plan to get you on the right track.