Counting Macros can feel like a daunting task; especially if you have no idea how to do it. “Fake it to you make it” doesn’t work in this scenario. Most people have NO idea how to count macros, this leaves the non-counters feeling like one of those hamsters on a wheel.
The goal of this article will be to simplify your nutrition, so you can learn how to bulk, cut, or maintain with clarity.
Why should you learn how to count your macros?
- Accurately learn about food, so your clothes can fit better
- Learn portion sizes, so you can lose extra body fat (around midsection, arms, and legs)
- Learn what foods to eat, so you can look and feel stronger.
- Get the results as fast as you possibly can, and avoid “yo-yo” dieting.
- Have more energy for your kids, dogs, or spouse.
Most general nutrition advice sounds like: “Eat more greens, proteins, and juice everything, bro.” While some of this is true, it’s not specific for you and general advice yields general results.
Once you learn how to count macros, you can use it for any diet out there.
Yes, even Keto.
Agenda for this article:
- What is a macro
- The Common Mistakes of Counting Macros
- Why you should listen to me
- How to count your macros
- How to make up macros for fat loss
- Tips for counting macros when you’re dining out
(LOOKING FOR HOW TO COUNT MACROS, SKIP DOWN TO HOW TO COUNT MACROS)
What’s a Macro?
Macros are a short for macronutrients, and these macronutrients are the building blocks of your diet. Made up of 3 major nutrients (fats, proteins, and carbs).
Unsaturated Fats are responsible for lining vital organs, body warmth, cell communications, keeping your hair smooth, and heart healthly. So, They’re kind of a big deal.
Proteins are responsible for rebuilding muscles and retaining muscle mass. Leaner muscle mass means less “jiggle” on your body. These macronutrient also make you feel “fuller” for longer, which avoids overeating.
Carbohydrates are not only the best tasting macro, but feeds your brain , stabilizes your moods and are your body’s main source of fuel during exercise.
Finding a well-balanced diet will take about 1-3 weeks, but it’s worth the wait. Dieting is simple, the problem is lack of patience. The media shows fat-loss being fast and easy for all people; and if you’re not seeing life-changing results in 21 days, something is wrong.
The fundamentals still work when getting fit: counting macros, eating whole foods, avoiding junk foods, and consuming less sugar.
Here are the most common macro-counting mistakes:
- Not counting at all. The stress of making of decision all day at work, home, and at the dinner table, will leave you drained . Avoiding the whole counting thing is just an easier option. This mistake can lead to eating or drinking extra calories (leading to fat gain). Some instances, under-eating happens as well, which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish all day. Creating the time to meal prep, read food labels, and avoid the cookies during the week will radically change your body. All starts with counting calories.
- Under-eating. Example: If your daily calories count is 1,400 and you’re eating 900 calories for the day. As a busy person, forgetting to eat happens. The whirlwind at work (email, meetings, etc) will put your lunch break on hold.
When your body adjusts to under-eating, it enters starvation mode. At this point, your fat mass is stored as energy and muscle mass is used as fuel. To avoid feeling low energy and looking flabby, eat your maintenance calories. (more on that later)
Overeating: This is the MOST COMMON MISTAKE clients make in their fitness journeys. A client’s 1 serving of rice, chicken or cereal, usually is 3-4 servings (according to the food labels) recommended. For example: ¼ cup of rice is 40 grams of carbs and 300 calories. A 8 fl oz cup of Orange juice is 210 calories. The key is to raise awareness so you can keep your calorie count in check and make better decisions at the table.
Here’s where to start with counting your macros
Identify your goals. Ask yourself exactly what you’re looking to achieve?
Generally speaking, if you’re a dude over 15% body fat, and a lady over 25% body fat, leaning out is a great starting point. On average, people drop 1% body fat a week.
The first few steps you have to take to seeing change:
- Download my Fitness Pal. Logging meals if you’re within the calorie limit or not. Log for 7 days and see what changes you can make, without any drastic changes.
Note: My fitness pal will give you a general number, it’s a rough estimate, not to be taken literal. You need your own specific number based off your goals, but it certainly gives a cool ballpark number for you to start.
- Determine how many calories you burn at rest. This is known as your basal metabolic rate. Check out the video below and I’ll walk you through the process of getting your number.
Macros For Permanent Fat loss
Best diet for fat loss: the diet you can sustain. It should be flexible, rewarding, and allow you to feel good. As you get older or things change in life, aspects of your diet will change. When you find a diet that compliments your lifestyle, you will end the “yo-yo” dieting and always look awesome.
Low-carb diets are proven to be the best “jump starters” for fat loss. This means 20% of your diet will be carbohydrates, 35% will be protein, and 25% will be fats. Mostly your diet will consist of high proteins and veggies.
For a starting point, a moderate amount of carbs (35%) is way more manageable for people. Your moods will stabilize, you can enjoy a cheat meal every other week and not feel like this diet is torture.
Low- carb diets take most of the water weight out of your body, you will appear lighter on the scale (it’s mostly water weight).
Here’s How to Count Your Macros:
Counting macros allows you to get precise results, lose fat, and enjoy regular food throughout the process.
Example 1: A dude looking to lose fat (drop 20-40 lbs), build solid arms, big chest, and see some abs; while he’s on a 2,000 calorie diet. Here is a scenario that will People Elbow his fat loss.
Here’s the counting part:
Protein: You would take 35 percent of 2,000 and divide the answer by 4. The answer is 175 grams; this is your new protein requirement.
Fats: You would take 25 percent of 2,000 and divide this answer by 9. The answer would be 55 grams; this is your new fat requirement.
Carbohydrates: You would take 40% of 2,000 and divide the answer by 4. The answer is 200 grams; this is your new carbohydrate requirement.
Example #2: A woman looking to lose body fat around her midsection, tone arms, feel healthier, and improve her self confidence; while she’s on a 1,400 calorie diet. Here is one scenario that will evaporate body fat.
Here’s the counting:
Protein: You would take 30 % of 1,500 and divide that by 4. The answer is 112; this is your new protein requirements.
Fats: You would take 30% of 1,500 and divide that by 9. The answer is 50 grams; this is your new fat requirement.
Carbohydrates: You would take 40% of 1,500 and divide that by 4. The answer is 153 grams; this your new carbohydrate requirement.
As a reminder, these are general numbers and you want to get something customized to your lifestyle for best results.
This is the basic of counting macros for your results.
How to calculate cheat meals and other meals
The general rule for counting for counting cheat meals: yea, don’t. It’s best to enjoy the 1 serving of your cheat meal (remember to keep the meal high carbohydrate and protein, low in fat. Since you’re not directly cooking the food you’re eating, the BEST you can do is estimate, but even that wouldn’t be accurate.
The traps you should avoid: eating more than 1 serving of a cheat meal and succumbing to peer pressure at the table or bar.
One cheat meal will not make you fat and one workout one get you jacked or skinny.
Saving your calories for this one meal works best. Eating lightly with greens and water is a great strategy to prepare your body for the rush of calories.
Just avoid the trap of “working it off the next day in the gym” mentality. Once you rev up your metabolism with habits of eating better and putting on lean muscle, you won’t have to feel guilty during your cheat meals.
Quick Counting tips for Happy Hour, Girl’s Nights Out, and Fight Night Parties.
- Drink Miller Light or lighter beer options (usually those have calorie counts). Limit the alcohol to 2-3 cups.
- Try clear shots. The calories come with mixed drinks, other mixtures. Stick to 2-4 shots. Sadly, you may have to retire, “FRANK THE TANK.”
Counting Calories can be annoying as hell, but if you take the time to learn the process, you can design your body to look and feel the way you want it to.
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