If you’ve spent any time in the gym community, you’ve likely heard the word “macro” thrown around a time or two. Macro is short for macronutrient, and it encompasses the three main categories of nutrients people eat most to provide energy—protein, carbohydrates and fats.
“Counting macros” simply means measuring out these three macronutrients on a somewhat regular basis (most of the time using grams as your unit of measurement).
Many members start counting macros as a way to lose fat, maintain lean muscle and, well, to simply feel better. When we’re eating a nutritious diet that hits all three macro categories in a balanced fashion, we’re likely to feel better, perform better and think better.
If you’re wondering what foods typically make up “good choice” macros, here’s a quick list:
- Lean meats
- Egg whites
- Greek yogurt
- Whey protein supplements
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grain breads
- Nut butters
- Fatty fish
- Whole eggs
This list simply scratches the surface. Do a quick Google search or browse any macro cookbook and you’ll be flooded with options and recipes.
When counting macros to achieve a specific fitness goal, you’ll likely want to meet a certain “ratio.” For most people this looks like first determining your total caloric need for a typical day, determining how many of those calories will come from proteins, carbs and fats and then tracking your nutrition.
This could look like having a diet that consists of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fats. Now, making sure the food that make up those percentages are whole and nutrient-dense will be your key to seeing results in the gym and on the scale.
If all the above still sounds confusing (and it can be!) make time to meet with a coach, do some further research on your own or possibly download a mobile app that helps you track your nutrition goals (we love MyFitnessPal). After a while, counting macros will become second nature!