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Making Sense of Macros

Posted on April 18 2018

 

Last week, we went over why fitness trackers can be inaccurate when it comes to telling you how many calories you should be eating to achieve your goals.  

We also talked about how to quickly and easily calculate the amount of calories you should be eating in order to accomplish your goals of either lean mass gain or fat loss. 

While calories in vs calories out is the most important part of the equation, making sure your macros are properly calculated runs a close second. 

What are macros? "Macros" is short for macronutrients - it simply means the ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fats in your diet.

The primary factor that separates different diet types is the macro distribution of each diet.

It is beyond the scope of this blog post to help identify what the best diet type for you may be, however, you can check out our previous posts on intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet to see if one of those diet types sounds right for you. 

Regardless of what type of diet type you chose to follow, you’ll need to know how to distribute your macros. Below, I'm going to give you the macro ratio breakdown for a few popular diet types: 

  Protein Carbs Fats
Ketogenic diet 25% 5% 70%
Zone diet 40% 30% 30%
Mass gain 40% 40% 20%
Endurance sports 35% 45% 15%

 

Macros can be adjusted any number of ways to suit your needs, but they should give you a starting place. 

Once you have chosen a diet type/macro ratio breakdown, you'll need to calculate your total daily calorie requirement. We went through exactly how to do this in the last blog post, so if you haven’t done this yet go ahead and do that now.

Once you have calculated your daily caloric needs, you'll simply multiply that number of calories by the percentage for each macro from the list above. 

For example, if you need 2,000 calories per day to support a weight loss goal and you want to do a ketogenic diet, then you would simply multiply 2000 calories by 25 percent. The result would be 400, which is the number of calories that you need to eat per day in protein. 

Then, you'd take the same 2,000 calories and multiply by 5 percent. The resulting 100 calories would be how many calories worth of carbs you would need to eat per day.

Lastly, you'd take 2,000 calories and multiply by 70 percent and the resulting 1,400 calories would be the amount of calories in fat that you would need to eat per day.

Since you don’t weigh food in calories, you'll need to convert those calories into grams. This may sound difficult, but it's super easy! 

Each gram of protein contains 4 calories.
Each gram of carbs also contains 4 calories.
Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.

So in the example above, 100 calories worth of carbs would equal 25 g or carbs (100 divided by  4 = 25).

400 calories worth of protein equals 100g of protein (400 divided by 4 = 100).

If you're serious about accomplishing your fitness related goals, then following the correct diet type is critical. And understanding how to calculate your caloric needs, as well as macro distribution for that diet type, is where you have to start.

Now that you know how to do both, you're ready to eat your way to achieving your goals!

Make sure to follow along in this series as we will devote a full post to each macronutrient. You'll learn the important benefits to each type of macro, as well as how to know if you are getting enough of that macro in your current diet.

As an example, here's a piece from the next post where we will discuss protein. 

Protein is an incredibly important macronutrient for athletes, however it is also incredibly important in relation to fat loss, even for sedentary individuals.

If you're eating for fat loss, and you aren’t hitting your daily macro requirement for protein, then you're sabotaging your own progress. Make sure you start hitting your daily protein goals starting today! This will ensure that you keep the fat loss going, and you can do that easily and deliciously by supplementing with ISO-PF.

-Jerry Teixeira

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