What are macros?
What does macros mean?
How many macros per day?
These are questions you may be asking yourself when you first get bitten by the muscle-building bug.
Macros – or macronutrients – are the part of food that give you energy and fuel your body. When it comes to your diet, understanding macros is important because the right balance will help you lose weight and burn fat.
So, let’s take a minute to talk about how the macronutrients in your food – protein, fat, and carbs – help you build muscle, regulate your hormones, provide energy, and transform your body.
Table of Contents
Protein Is For Building Muscle
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and they play a crucial role in just about every biological process. They are essential for building muscle, but they also help with growth, immune function, tissue repair, preserving lean muscle mass, and making essential hormones and enzymes.
And, in the absence of carbs, protein can provide your body with energy.
The amount of protein that you consume on a daily basis depends on your health and fitness goals. If you’re wanting to maintain your muscle mass you should eat a different amount of protein compared to if you want to gain muscle mass.
Now, let’s talk a minute about losing weight. That is the goal for most of us, but when you are trying to lose weight you don’t want to lose muscle mass. Your goal should be to lose fat and save the muscle mass that you have. To do this, you have to be eating the right amount of protein.
This is really important to keep in mind when you’re aiming for a healthy metabolism and trying to get lean. So, don’t say you want to lose weight, your goal instead should be to lose fat.
Let’s say you’re 200 pounds with a 30% body fat percentage. That means that you’re carrying about 60 pounds of body fat.
200 pounds x .3 = 60 pounds of body fat
Now, when you subtract your body fat weight from your total weight, that’ll tell you what your lean body mass is.
200 pounds – 60 pounds = 140 pounds of lean body mass
To find the amount of protein you need to take in every day, you then want to take your lean body mass amount and multiply it by your protein requirement ratio.
- 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of muscle to PRESERVE
- 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of muscle to GAIN
So, if the person in our example wanted to maintain lean muscle mass, the math would look like this:
140 pounds of lean body mass x 1.2 grams of protein per pound = 168 grams of protein per day
And, if they wanted to gain muscle mass:
140 pounds of lean body mass x 0.8 grams of protein per pound = 112 grams of protein per day
To reach your target protein intake each day, you can eat things like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and dairy.
Doing math to reach your health and fitness goals may seem like a huge pain. But, if you want to get serious about getting in shape, knowing what to eat – and how much – is even more important than your workout.
Fats Regulate Your Hormones
For decades, we were told that fatty foods were bad for you and they were something you needed to avoid. But, that couldn’t be more wrong.
Fats are essential for regulating your hormones, absorbing certain vitamins, and maintaining cell membranes. Plus, we need them for energy, growth, and development.
The best part about dietary fats is that they help keep you feeling full, plus they add more flavor to your food. Even if your goal is to lose body fat, you need to eat fats on a daily basis otherwise you’re going to have a really bad time.
Some of the best fats to include in your diet are oils, butter, heavy cream, animal fat, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Just like protein, how much fat you eat everyday depends on your goals. If you want to maintain your current weight, then you want to eat enough fat to support how much energy you burn.
But, if you’re wanting to shed fat, you’ll need a deficit between how much fat you eat compared to how much you burn.
For a muscle-building or fat loss, you’ll want to limit your fat intake to 20-30% of your daily calories.
Carbs Provide Energy
Carbohydrates are made up of sugars and starches, and you’ll find them in every packaged food item in the grocery store. This is a very complex topic, but we’re going to try to keep it as simple as possible.
Carbs are the only macronutrient that is not essential for survival. Because of this, there are many popular diets out there like Atkins and Keto that drastically reduce or eliminate the carbs in your diet to help you lose weight.
However, in the grand scheme of things carbs are necessary for health, performance, and improved body composition especially if you get a custom workout program that demands more energy.
Again, how many carbs you eat each day depends on your health and fitness goals. But in the end, after you calculate your protein and fat requirements, just fill the rest of your calories with carbs.
Carbs are all about providing energy for your body. They’re the first thing your body burns when it needs energy. But just like any other macronutrient, too many calories and you’ll gain too much body fat in the process.
Low carb foods include meats, poultry, and veggies. Carb-heavy foods are things like bread, pasta, cereals, rice, potatoes, and fruit.
What are Macros? Now you know.
Now that you have the answer to “what are macros”, you can set yourself up for an awesome transformation.
Ideally, you want to track both your calories and macronutrients to reach your muscle-building goals. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for years because it’s insanely easy and gives you one of the largest food databases to work with any situation.
But, you need to know what your goals are, determine the right mix of carbs, protein, and fat, and create a meal plan based on this information and stick with it.
Again, if you want a very simple plan to create a defined, lean superhero physique… complete with exact macro calculations, then you should check out my review of the Kinobody Greek God Program right now.