Over the past year or so, I've gotten a ton of questions about tracking macros, counting calories, etc. This is just a short compilation of some frequently asked questions all about macros, tracking, etc. Let's get to it!
Q: What are "macros"?
A: "Macros" or macronutrients are basically the categories of foods that are required to live. "Macros" typically consist of protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber. I wrote an entire article all about the basics of these building blocks - check it out!
Q: Do you have to track macros to lose fat/gain muscle?
A: Absolutely not. In fact, some people may do better without tracking macros or counting calories. There are multiple ways to achieve body composition goals - tracking and counting is certainly not the be all end all of dieting.
Q: How do I start?
A: The easiest way to start is to begin tracking what and how much you are currently eating. From there, you can adjust up or down based on if you'd like to lose or gain. A lot of times, it can be a little more complicated than that, so I highly recommend finding a good coach to help guide you through the process if you're extremely new.
Q: What should I use to track my macros and calories?
A: There are tons of apps available such as MyFitnessPal and MyMacros that allow you to track your macros and calories with ease. I highly recommend them!
Q: Should I prioritize calories or macros?
A: Priority number 1 is always calories. After that, focus on hitting your specific macronutrient numbers and then focus on when you eat what foods. Keep in mind, none of this matters if your consistency is lacking.
Q: Carbs. When do I eat them? What kind do I eat? WHAT ABOUT CARBS?!
A: Carbs are everyone's favorite (and probably the most widely misunderstood) macronutrient. In generally, eat carbs that make you feel good and that you enjoy eating. Don't like sweet potatoes? Don't eat them. There are many, many carbs in the world to choose from (#AllCarbsAreBeautiful). How much carbohydrate a person requires is highly individual and based on a number of factors including activity level and type of activity, lean mass, hormones, etc.
I usually recommend that people concentrate their carbohydrate intake around their workout window. This means eating most of your carbs for the day before/during/after your workout. Not working out that day? Cool, just eat a little less carbohydrate and spread it equally throughout the day.
Q: What if I go over/go under my macros or calories?
A: Consistency is THE key when making body composition and diet changes. Macro and calorie tracking, while precise, is still an exercise in estimation. As long as you are consistently around your macronutritient and calorie goals, you're good to go!
Got more questions? Send them my way!
P.S. I'm running a sweeeeet online coaching deal on both programming and nutrition coaching right now. Check out the coaching page for more info!
P.P.S. There are just a few days left to order some shirts (or long sleeves! or hoodies!) that I've got up for presale!