FUELIXIR’S FAST GUIDE TO MACROS
WHAT ARE MACROS?
Macros is short for MACRONUTRIENTS. Essentially these are found in your diet, in the food you eat at each meal, providing you with energy and essential nutrients. The three main macros are CARBOHYDRATES, PROTEIN, and FAT.
Lots of the diets out there will prescribe a macronutrient ratio or percentage you should target for each day and/or meal. For example the recently popular ketogenic diets prescribe getting around 75% of your calories from fat, 20% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. It’s not just diets that use these ratios and percentages, you’ve also likely heard of the magic 4:1 carb to protein ratio for recovery. What’s dangerous about simply focusing on these ratios and percentages is that one can lose site of other very important factors in nutrition.
YOU DON’T EAT MACROS, YOU EAT FOOD!
A McDonald’s Big Mac with fries and a coke has 122g of carbs and 28g of protein, that’s a protein to carb ratio of about 4:1. Perfect recovery meal right? Would this meal be just as good as a protein shake with the same 4:1 ratio made with fresh organic berries, unsweetened almond milk, raw nuts, and a high quality whey protein powder as a post workout recovery meal? You see if you just select foods based on percentages and ratios you may be missing out on important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that you need from the diet. We’re not saying that these ratios aren’t useful, we just want to make you aware of the not so optimal habits one can fall into with unclear messaging and information.
SO HOW DO I CALCULATE MY MACROS?
Well, as with most things in sports nutrition this is not so easy. Individuals have different goals for starters. And to make things a little more complicated one’s macronutrient requirements are not static, it’s a moving target. As your training changes, as your body changes, and as different external factors and variables come into play throughout the course of, not just your season, but your life your dietary needs and requirements will change. We’re big proponents of experimentation, so try different things our for yourself and find what works for you. But a good place to start that doesn’t require you to weigh your food at each meal or look up macronutrient composition of your food on the Internet is our “handy” method for portion sizes.
DROP THE MIC
This just scratches the surface, but next time someone starts talking about macros we hope you have a bit more context to hold your own. As you’ve seen its not just about assigning percentages and ratios. You need to think about food choices, what your goals are, where you are at in your training plan, and even what tomorrow’s training looks like.
Sports nutrition professionals adopt strategies that manipulate the macronutrient composition of the diet not just on a seasonal or daily basis, but on a meal by meal basis, adjusting carbs, protein, and fat for the needs and the goals of each and every specific training session. And even they admit they are still trying to figure it out!
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