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 phrases many of you have probably heard before, and 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 term IIFYM on a very old blog –if I remember right it was on BB.com. This IIFYM pertains to the phrase If It Fits Your Macros…I believe I first read it being used in a sentence like this “If it fits your macros eat that shit.”
Basically what it means is if you the food you are eating adds up inside your macros eat it, if it doesn’t don’t eat. Again bringing me back to the world of flexible dieting and eating style IIFYM.
The reason 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 roadmap, 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% body fat but you have no idea of 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.
I digress the point of this blog is not to dig too deep into eating styles but more to just breakdown macros for you in easy to follow terms from a beginners standpoint.
So, now we have established your macros are made up of 3 things Protein-Carbs-Fats lets break down these 3 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 break down how important protein, carbs, and fats are in your diet but that is another blog altogether. 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 your bodyweight (for an office worker not crazy active) in my opinion this is most average Americans
So if you are 200lbs and we multiply your weight x 12 you would end up with a total calorie goal for the day 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.
Now let me say this; it’s not a 100% guarantee here, genetics, hormones, metabolism, age, and other factors play a role in this process but overall the guide above is a good place to start.
Now 2400 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 of 50% carbs 30% fat 20% protein are going to make you look far different than 45% protein %30% fat 25% carbs over time trust me when I say that. You might weigh about the same but how you look in the mirror, your composition, and body fat will be drastically different if I had to make an educated guess.
So how do I calculate my macros then?
Protein we recommended based on your goals, activity level, anywhere between .65g per lbs of your bodyweight to 1g per lbs of your body weight so if you’re a guy looking to get jacked at 200 lbs – about 200g of protein per day would be the goal.
Fats, I personally enjoy a higher fat diet so I like to eat .5g per lbs of bodyweight so if I was let’s say 200lbs to make this easy 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 in my personal opinion.
Carbs – will make up the remainder of the calories left. So once you have your protein lets say of your 2,400 calories protein is 200g or 800 calories and Fats are 100g or 900 calories you would have 700 calories left for carbs which would be 175g per day if the math is correct here.
Now, this is just an example for the sake of this article, I am NOT suggesting you start with the extremes I listed or my personal preference. You find what works for you, your goals, body type, activity level, and taste buds as well because that matters.
My advice, 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 last 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 guys 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!
Jeremy Scott is the creator of Jeremy Scott Fitness in North Scottsdale. He is an Olympia Labs Health Advisor, Reebok Athlete, Fitfluential Ambassador and the Co-Creator of Get Lean Gluten Free.
He was voted one of the Top 20 Fitness Blogs in America. He is a nationally published and contributing author for numerous fitness publications and has helped thousands of people across America get into and stay in the best shape of their lives.