Any fitness enthusiast who is looking to gain muscle or lose body weight have probably heard about the tracking macros.
Gone those days when meal plans were suggested to reach certain body goals, those meal plans were boring and usually made the transformation journey difficult.
Within the past few years, a lot has been talked about the flexible dieting and following a macro approach instead of following a strict meal plan. Macro dieting or a flexible meal plan allows you to stay flexible with the food we eat but you need to eat them in the right proportion.
Let’s get into more details about macro diet pattern and crucial tips to successfully implement it into your lifestyle.
What Is A Macro Diet?
Macro dieting has revolutionized the whole whole process of body transformation, it has made the whole process a lot easier and sustainable.
Macro diet is all about a diet pattern that focus on the three fundamentals:
- Establishing the daily caloric needs
- Journaling & Tracking the calorie intake
- Consuming the macros in the right proportion.
Establishing the daily calorie need has always been the primary step towards achieving definite body goals. Why do you need to establish daily calorie needs? The amount of calorie you intake is going to decide whether you are going to gain weight or lose weight. If you want to gain muscle mass then you need to consume more calories than your daily requirements and if you want to lose weight then you have to eat in a calorie deficit.
Once you know your body’s daily calorie requirement you can adjust the calories to reduce or gain weight.
Now once you understand your daily calorie requirement it’s time to split the calories between three macronutrients.
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide energy in the form of calories. Macro means large and macronutrients are the nutrients that are needed in large amounts.
There are three type of macronutrients you need to focus on:
- Protein: Contains 4 Calories per gram
- Carbohydrates: Contains 4 Calories per gram
- Fat: Contains 8-9 Calories per gram
Proteins serve as a building block of skeletal muscle system and help in preserving lean muscle mass. Proteins also play a crucial role in promoting the immune system, cell signaling, etc.
It’s found in meats, poultry, fish, milk, beans and vegetables. When we eat these food items, our body breaks the protein into amino acids which later helps in many crucial functions.
Amino acids are further classified into two categories:
- Essential amino acids: these are the amino acids that can not be produced by the body and we need to consume it through diet.
- Non essential amino acids: these are aminos that can be produced within the body as per the body’s needs.
Daily protein recommendations usually depend on the age, body composition, desired body goals, etc. Your body might require 0.5 grams to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Fats are not as bad as you might be thinking, fats are very essential to maintain good cognitive functioning, cushioning organs, maintaining cell membrane, hormonal balance and many other functions.
Fats are actually the most concentrated form of energy, vitamins, and minerals.
Fun fact** Your brain is the fattiest organ of the human body and it’s made up of more than 60% fat. Eating some good fat can help in fueling the brain for better cognitive functioning. That’s the mantra behind the success of Bulletproof Coffee.
These are the quickest and easiest source of fuel to the body. They are found in fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, beans, etc.
All carbs are not created equal, they can be broadly categorized into two categories:
- Simple carbs: These are the carbs that you should be staying away from. As the name suggests, simple carbs can be easily broken down by body to meet the energy requirements but they are the ones that give a sudden spike in insulin levels and do not provide sustained energy. Example: energy drinks, sugar, honey, candy, etc.
- Complex carbs: These carbs are a little complex to digest thus provide sustained energy for a longer period. Complex carbs not only prevent the sudden spike in insulin levels but also make you feel satiated for a longer period of time. Example: Oats, sweet potato, whole grain, etc.
How To Track Macros
It’s always better to take help of a certified dietician to help you decide your daily calorie requirements.
Once you know your daily caloric requirements and established your ideal macronutrients breakdown it’s time to track them.
Technology has made macro tracking a lot easier, you can journal your daily calories by installing mobile apps (like MyFitnessPal, Lose It!). Macro tracking apps act like a food journal that will keep you notified about calories you have consumed on a daily basis.
Benefits Of A Macro Diet
There are multiple benefits of a macro diet over the conventional diet charts. Let’s have a look at a few of the benefits.
1. Easy to follow:
You don’t need to eat the same food week after week, you don’t need to eat the food item that you hate.
Macro-based diets are easy to follow because of their flexible approach towards food selection. You don’t need to stay strict with the food you eat.
The right ratio of macros in the plate is all you care about.
2. Suits Everyone
Unlike strict diet patterns, a macro diet promotes the right eating habits with the optimum portion size of all three macronutrients.
Flexibility in the selection of food makes it a perfect choice for anyone, no matter whether you are a bodybuilder, elite athlete, housewife, or senior.
3. Prevents Eating Disorder
Conventional diet charts were effective for short-term benefits but they were not sustainable for the long term. That’s the reason most of the contestants of “The Biggest Loser” regained weight after the completion of the show.
A macro diet allows the body transformation in a healthier way.
4. No need to completely cutdown sweets
Sugar craving is real and many people find it really hard to cut down sugar completely.
Yes, you don’t need to completely cut down sweets from your diet, you just need to make sure that you don’t mess up your macro requirements.
For years people have followed a meal plan approach to reach their desired body goals, but the problem with meal plans is they are boring and those meal plans force us to eat that same food again and again for weeks which actually leads to eating disorder behavior. It’s time to switch over to a macro diet for sustainable long-term results.
Hey guys thanks for reading, let us know your thoughts on the article. Questions are welcomed in the comments as always.