What the Heck are Macros?
If you’ve been confused by the terms macros or IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), this post is for you! I’m going to lay it out for you.
Macros is simply short for macronutrients – the nutrients your body REQUIRES. You can think of macronutrients as a category and in that category, we have protein, carbohydrates (carbs) and fat. That’s it! It’s a simple as that…well, almost. Let me tell you a bit more about each of those macronutrients I listed.
Protein – Dietary protein is CRUCIAL! Protein contains amino acids that are responsible for a butt load of functions in the body from our structure (muscles) to our hormones and more! We are able to create some amino acids in our body (12 non-essential) but there are some that we can ONLY (8 essential amino acids) get from eating protein rich foods.
Get Protein in Yo’ Body – Good sources of protein include animal proteins such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish, etc. For those of you on a plant-based diet, some sources are beans, lentils and quinoa, it’s important to eat a varied diet to get all of the essential amino acids your body needs.
Carbohydrates – Carbs are life! Well, sometimes it may feel that way but seriously, glucose (what carbs get broken down into) is ESSENTIAL for life. Your brain and central nervous system prefer a consistent supply of glucose for fuel.
Give me the Carbs – Good sources of carbohydrates are ones that are slower digesting, unprocessed and high in fiber. Such as oats, sweet potato, rice, squash, quinoa, fruits and vegetables.
Fat – Dietary fats have some very important roles in the body such as providing energy, manufacturing and balancing hormones, helping transport fat-soluble vitamins and more.
Where the Fat at? – You can find your fats in things such as nuts, avocados, olive oil and flax seeds
How much? I’ll start by saying that not everyone necessarily needs to track their macros, nor should someone track their macros forever. But if you are looking for some general guidelines, I’ll talk about that below. My second disclaimer is that everyone’s needs will differ based on goals and lifestyle factors.
A good place to start with protein is with about 0.8g per pound of body weight. Some people will require more, some will require less. Carbs and fats are really dependant on your goals, body and lifestyle. For example, an endurance athlete will require much more carbohydrates than a sedentary individual. Carbs and fats should have an inverse relationship. When fat intake is high, carbohydrates intake should be lower and vice versa. A place to start is 30% of your diet from fat (however, it could range between 20-40%). Then the remainder of your macronutrients will come from carbs.