How to Count Macros For Your Weight Loss Goals

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If you want to get into better shape, different kinds of exercises will be recommended. However, relying on exercises alone will not help you get the body you’ve always wanted. You need to understand how to count macros and understand how they work in your body before you can build the body of your dreams.

If you really want to know how important macros are to achieving your fitness goals, I recommend that you spare a few minutes to read the content of this article.

Chances are you’ve been trying to achieve your fitness goals without success. I’m sure someone has told you how macro counting can help you reach your fitness goals, but you’re confused and do not understand the process. Truth be told, understanding the logic behind macro counting is one of the best strategies to achieving your fitness goals.

If the articles you’ve read about this approach have always left you more confused, I want to assure you that reading this article will help clear the air about how to count macros. Now, let’s get started from the basics so you can understand the nitty-gritty of this fantastic approach to getting fit and staying healthy.

What Are Macros? Why Should I Learn How to Count Marcos?

Macronutrients (macros) form the building blocks of your diet. They are the three main essential components of every diet. The three main macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These three macros are highly important because they are the source of the energy you use in your day to day activities, including exercising and work.

They help in fueling your body so it keeps moving and functioning in the right ways. The macros play tripartite roles of keeping your system in order: carbohydrates provide instant energy, while fats help in slowing down carb absorption as well as keep blood sugar in check, and lastly, protein help to sustain your energy level. Let’s take a closer look at each macronutrient and how they function to help you achieve your fitness goals and learn how to count macros.

If you’re pursuing a specific fitness goal, it is important to understand how to count your macros. Because counting macros will give you better results than just focusing on the calories. The secret here is…

Since we have different fitness goals, the ratio of protein to fat to carbs in our diets will also differ. The combination of these three macros in your diet will be dependent on whether you’re striving to lose weight or you’re aiming to build muscle. The bottom line is that your fitness goal will determine how you track your macros.

The common goals people often pursue are weight loss and bodybuilding. They want to lose weight or they want to gain muscle. Each of these fitness goals will require different macro counting to get the desired results. In order not to leave you confused like most articles on this subject matter,  I’ll discuss each of these fitness goals and how you can track your macros for each.

Before I break down how to achieve these goals, let’s give you a brief description of each of the three macros so you can have a better understanding of the subject matter.

The Big Three

Carbohydrates

The primary function of carbohydrates is the production of energy for high-intensity activities and the fueling of the nervous system. Thus, carbohydrates provide the energy required for sustainable workouts, especially when resistance training is involved. The carbs you consumed are stored in the muscles as glycogen and are expended as energy during or after a workout session.

how to count macros

When counting macros, the amount of carbohydrates a fitness enthusiast would need will be different from people who are not very active. So, you must tailor your carbs needs according to your activities. There are three types of carbohydrates: simple carbs, complex starchy carbs, and complex fibrous carbs.

  • Simple Carbs: Simple carbs are those with simple molecular structure and are often referred to as “bad carbs.” Glucose is the most simple form of carbohydrates, and it usually takes the form of sucrose (regular table sugar), fructose (sugars found in fruits), and lactose (sugars found in milk). While it is recommended that you stay away from table sugar (sucrose), naturally-occurring sugars found in fruits and milk should also be taken in moderation.
  • Complex Starchy Carbs: Complex starchy carbs are those carbohydrates with long, complex chains of molecular structure. They include foods such as rice, wheat, grains, potatoes, and yam, among others. This category of foods is what people often referred to as carbohydrates. It is recommended that you take complex starchy carbs in moderation and try to avoid the processed ones.
  • Complex fibrous carbs: These are regarded as the “best” types of carbs. This is because they are loaded with fibers that cannot be digested by your body. These fibers are important in helping your digestive system stay healthy. The complex fibrous carbs are found in vegetables.

The take away is that you should always avoid simple carbs, moderate the consumption of complex starchy carbs, and embrace the complex fibrous carbs most. Although the amount of carbs you would need depend on the fitness goals you set out to achieve, either to gain or to lose weight, it is recommended that you take between 40% and 50% of calories daily when counting your macros.

Protein

Protein performs a lot of functions in the body. It helps repair and maintenance the body, regulates hormones, enhances immune system health, builds and sustains energy, and promotes the transportation or storage of molecules. Protein plays huge roles in helping you to keep fit. It helps preserve lean muscle tissue for those in caloric deficit as well as promotes muscle building for people aiming to bulk up.

how to count macros

Protein is made up of complex molecules of strings of amino acids, which play vital roles in the body’s structural and metabolic processes. There are about 23 types of amino acids, 9 of which are “essential” since the body cannot produce them naturally. The 9 essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, and histidine. The following foods are some of the sources of protein: meats, beans, nuts, and seeds. It is advised that about 25% – 35% of protein should be taken daily for those counting macros.

Fats

It is often erroneously claimed that fats make you fat and put you at the risk of heart diseases. This belief is fallacious and does not hold ground. The truth be told, fats play huge roles in your body and are imperative for proper hormonal function and cells regeneration. More also, food containing fats help improve brain development and vitamin absorption. And for men, sufficient fats intake play important roles in the production of testosterone, which are essential for muscle gain and sex drive.

how to count macros

Fats have the highest energy density at 9 calories per gram. Hence, when learning how to count macros, you should try to keep your fat intake to between 0.3 and 0.7 grams per pound of lean mass. The recommended count for fats daily consumption should be around 15%-25% so you will not over-consuming it.

Basically, there are three types of fats, the unsaturated (commonly referred to as “good fats”), the saturated fats, and the trans fats (commonly referred to as “bad fats”). As expected, you should limit your fats intake to the healthy fats. The unsaturated fats are found in foods like avocados, fish, nuts, olive/peanut/canola oil, and seeds.

While, the saturated fats are found in animal foods such as cheese, meat, and milk or in tropical oils such as coconut oil or palm oil. And lastly, the trans fats are found in fried foods, baked goods, and processed snack foods. While the unsaturated fats are considered healthy and help improve cholesterol levels, eating the trans fats are highly discouraged since they have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

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How to Count Macros

how to count macros

Rather than just sticking on the surface with calories tracking, counting macros allow for more in-depth tracking of your calories in-take. This simple conversion from grams to calories for carbs, fat and protein will give you a better insight.

Carbs: 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories

Fats: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories

Protein: 1 gram of protein = 4 calories

Base on this conversion template, if a particular food has 15g of carbs, 1g of fat, and 20 grams of protein, the overall will be 149 calories.

See the simple calculation below.

15g x 4 = 60 calories

1g x 9 = 9 calories

20g x 4 = 80 calories

So, when counting macros, you don’t have to place much emphasis hitting an exact calorie goal. You will still be able to maintain the needed calories once you are hitting your macro counts.

How to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

There is no golden rule to achieving your fitness goals. All you need is a little bit of trials and errors with your macros counting so you can discover what macro ratio work for your specific body, lifestyle and desired goals. Below are examples for the two common fitness goals, which are: Weight loss and muscle building.

Fitness Goal for Weight Loss

If your fitness goal is to lose weight, then learn how to count macros in such a way that you will be cutting down on calories. There is no general rule. Individuals will have to come up with what works best for him or her. However, you can start with this range of macros count for weight loss and then adjust as you measure results. Start macros count for weight loss with: 10-30% carbs, 40-50% protein, 30-40% fat. The subsequent adjustment would depend on how active you are.

Fitness Goal for Muscle Building

If your fitness goal is to build muscle, you will need to increase your overall calorie intake so you can build your body by learning how to count macros for muscle building. The following range of macro ratio might be a good place to start. For your bodybuilding goal, try: 40-60% carbs, 25-35% protein, 15-25% fat. You can then make necessary adjustments to suit your specific body.

As earlier emphasized, when it comes to counting macros, there is no general formula or macro ratio that works for all. Your body, lifestyle, and set objective will be the determining factors to getting your desired results.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, you must have enjoyed and learned something from this article about the importance of how to count macros and how they work to help you achieve your fitness goals. If you want to achieve sustainable results, it’s imperative you put some of the things you have learned about how to count macros to work for you.

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