Macro Tracking: The Beginner’s Guide
Macronutrients are the basic foundation of all food that humans consume. All foods are made up of Protein, Carbs, and Fat. Tracking your macros can help you tailor your diet specifically to your desired goals. Think of tracking your macros as a way to set a daily budget for the foods you are consuming. You want to know where and what is being spent. It allows you to create a deeper understanding of what your body needs. Tracking your macros allows building consistency in your food consumption, and in order to achieve any kind of fitness goal, you have to know exactly what you are consuming. Your custom macro ratios will be based on your daily calorie needs, desired fitness goals, and caloric expenditure through exercise.
When consumed, carbs are turned into glucose, which your body then uses as its primary source of energy. Some examples of carbs are fibers, sugars, and starches. Other food items that are high in carbohydrates are beans, fruits, whole-grain products, vegetables, sugars, nuts, and seeds.
1g of Carbs = 4 calories
35%-55% of your total calories
Protein is the muscle-building macro and the building block of all muscle in your body. Ever wonder how soreness happens? You damage the muscular connective tissue when working out, causing your muscle to grow and rebuild. Eating protein plays a vital role in reducing that soreness and causing your muscle to build back stronger. To effectively build muscle, you should be consuming around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
1g of Protein = 4 calories
35% -55% of your total calories
Fats aid in every cellular activity. It is the most efficient form of energy our body provides. Fat can help regulate your hormone levels, regulate your hunger, and absorb vitamins. Fat is our primary source of stored energy, which is why we store body fat.
1g of Fat = 9 calories
20% – 35% of your total calories
Determining Your Caloric Needs and Macro Ratios:
When it comes to determining how many calories you should be consuming, it really depends on your fitness goals. There are plenty of resources you can use that will help give you a general idea. Here are some linked resources to use:
The manual calculation can also be done. This formula is:
Men: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
Women: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161
You will then multiply your answer by your activity level.
Sedentary: x 1.2 (limited exercise)
Lightly active: x 1.375 (light exercise less than three days per week)
Moderately active: x 1.55 (moderate exercise most days of the week)
Very active: x 1.725 (hard exercise every day)
Extra active: x 1.9 (strenuous exercise two or more times per day)
Once you have determined how many calories you want to consume, you will then take that number and apply the percentages of your macronutrients. For our example, we will be using a Carbs 40%, Protein 40%, Fats 20% split, and a caloric budget of 1,500. The equation for each macro would be:
((1,500 x the percentage of the macro you are calculating)/amount of calories in that macronutrient)
(1,500 x 40%)/4 = 150 g
(1,500 x 40%)/4 = 150 g
(1,500 x 20%)/9 = 33 g
There will be different variations of macro tracking depending on what your goals are. Here is a resource to determine your best macro ratio.