Alright guys! This is the #1 thing I get asked about! Counting macros has had a HUGE impact on my nutrition, body, and life in general so there’s no way I can cover everything “macro” in one post. This is the first in a series of posts that I’m hoping will help break down macro counting to make it easy to try on! Before we dig in – please note that title says nutrition plan NOT diet. We like that.
So in this post, were going to cover:
- What the hell it means to “track macros”?
- Getting started!
Sidebar: I want to preface all of this with the fact that I am definitely not a nutritionist! What I’m talking about here is what works for me and seems to work for a LOT of people I’ve met and chatted with. I’ve definitely done my fair share of research but encourage you to do the same!
How I got started with Macro counting:
On to the good stuff – Fun fact about me – Diets are NOT my thing. I’m into trying new things, sure, but, food, diet & nutrition are probably the hardest things for me to experiment with. Until a couple of years ago, my food intake was pretty similar to that of a 4 year old at a carnival every day. I’m talking pizza, burgers, crustless sandwiches and a LOT of boxes of mac and cheese. I’ve started to expand my palate and eat a little more variety but when I went to look for a sustainable nutrition plan I was looking for flexibility to make my favorite foods work! was looking for a nutrition plan that was flexible, practical and SUSTAINABLE.
I found out about macro counting through a few bloggers I follow. After listening to probably hours of insta stories, I was pretty stuck on trying it. All of the flexibility in the world as long as you hit your numbers. A little more complicated than just counting calories but not too crazy. I knew I had to change something up with my diet but I’ve never been too excited by whole 30, or keto, and just eating “healthier” in general wasn’t working for me. I landed on getting my macros calculated and giving it a try.
This was a year ago and, except for a few weeks/days here and there, I haven’t stopped tracking since!! It has worked wonders. I’m not starved. And I can have Ice cream & donuts & whatever I want with just a little bit of planning!
What does it mean to track macros??
Macro counting isn’t so much a diet as much as a lifestyle. How freaking cheesy was that?! But, no joke. There are people counting macros to bulk, build muscle, lean out, sculpt or just maintain their current weight and composition. You can count while on Keto, Paleo, vegetarian or vegan diets. Anyone can track macros – It is not just a strategy for weight loss! To sum iit up – Counting macros allows to you zone in on each of the 3 big components (or macronutrients) of your diet.
What are Macros?
Macros is just short for macronutrients! Instead of just tracking your caloric intake as one big number, you track the macronutrients that build up to those calories. The big three are Fats, Protein & Carbs. It’s the balance of these that help sculpt or build your body. For example, a bunch of people start off with a simple ratio of 40% carbs, 40% protein & 20% fats. Your total calorie count is just distributed across those macronutrients based on the percentage breakdown you choose to go with. For those of you that hate math, it isn’t that bad I promise. Most of the time, you don’t have to do anything but enter a few numbers into a calculator or send them to someone and you get your ratio’s back like magic! Once you understand your percentage breakdown and total daily calorie intake, you can break that down into the calories from each macronutrient (or let an app do it for you). I’ll cover ALL of this math for you I promise.
The cool part about counting macros is that you can change it up. You’re not “dieting” forever, you’re just hyper-aware of what’s going into your body. Headed on vacay in a month and looking to lose a few – cut. Looking to change your body composition & build some strength – try a bulk. Content just as you are? Maintenance it is. You can adjust your counts up and down and tune them to what works for you at any moment!
Isn’t counting macros a lot of work?
NO! Don’t let the idea of having to type your food into an app scare you away from getting your diet & nutrition in check. That is an excuse that is only hurting you. There are apps set up for exactly this and they are SUPER easy to use. If you don’t think that spending 5-10 minutes a day logging your food in order to make a BIG, BIG impact on your health is worth it, then no, Macro counting is not for you. But 10 minutes, max, is all it takes. YOU HAVE THAT!
How do I get started?
You’ve got some options here. There are TONS of resources online to calculate your own macro count and that is an awesome place to start. Your other option is to get a count or work with a coach. I’ve paid for Macro counts a couple times now. It is usually in the $30-50 range for a one time count. If you’re looking for someone to walk through this with you and adjust your macros for maximum results, coaching may be the way to go! Not going to lie, though. It is pricey! I’ve never taken this approach and have found success but it is definitely an option. If you’d rather work through a count yourself, stay tuned! I will walk you through how to do just that!
Before you even have your count, this is an awesome place to start! Ignore whatever goals an app sets for you and just start recording your daily eating to get a grasp on the nutrients in your favorite meals and snacks. Tracking my food is what really made the difference for me. I didn’t have a CLUE how much fat was in something like a chick-fil-a sandwich or just how carb packed boxed dinners were.
Find an App
There are plenty of apps out there to help you track. I use Myfitnesspal and love it. You can also use mymacros which I’ve heard good things about. Or you can use the My Transphormation app which is super cool! (Im probably switching to this one!). It takes some time to get used to but you can search for just about any food you eat or even scan the barcode on packaged foods! All the math is done right there for you. There’s tons of ways to track, but find what works for you. If it means spending $2.99 a month on a premium version of an app to save you just a few minutes, it’s worth it! You’ll use this app A LOT.
Practice & Adjust –
You’re not going to hit your macros spot on day 1. If you do, you’re a damn champ! Heck, I hardly ever do – but it feels like you won some game of life when you line up those 0’s left. It takes time and practice to figure out how to load up on protein and how to spread those carbs and fats out to last you all day. The first day I tracked, I think I was in double digit negatives. That’s ok! It is a bit of a puzzle and you’ll get it figured out.
Macro Information overload??
That’s ok! I can write about this all day but I want to know more about what YOU want to know. I’ve been counting for about a year now, I’ve had tons of different counts over that time and have learned a LOT through counting myself and a whole bunch of reading. Next up, I’m going to talk through the 3 main macronutrients and explain how to determine your own macros!
What questions do you have? How do you do these calculations yourself? What are some of my favorite resources? Curious about non-tracking days? What about alcohol & coffee? What is carb cycling? Reverse diet? Would you like to see some of my favorite macro friendly snacks or recipes? Let me know in the comments and I’ll make it happen!