What Are Macros? (And how they are the key to FAT-LOSS!)
Today's article comes from DSC Nutrition Coach, Sydney Morgan! Enjoy!
When it comes to fat-loss and getting into the best shape of your life, nutrition is key!
Yes it is true, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet or at least take your results to the next level without dialing in your nutrition.
That's what we're going to talk about today!
We're going to talk about the foods you put into your body and how they affect your:
Have you heard of macronutrients (macros)?
Macronutrients are the 3 main fuel sources for our body and make up the foods we eat.
They are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
They are also the KEY to unlocking the body of your dreams!
They makeup the true foundation of our Nutrition Coaching Program here at DSC and mastering them is the reason why our members have had such great success.
You see, when you eat the right amount of macronutrients consistently each day, you can burn fat, build muscle, fuel your body for your day, and make some incredible changes to your body.
Before we dig into how that is done though, let's talk about what each macro is and its job!
Carbohydrates are our body's and our brain’s main fuel source!
Think of carbs as the gasoline of your car that gives it the fuel to go. Without them, it's going to be tough to move!
It is important to supply your body with enough carbohydrates for energy, so it can use other nutrients for tasks like tissue growth and repair.
They are crucial for energy during exercise and for recovery after a workout.
Carbohydrates can be stored in muscle or liver cells as glycogen.
These stores can be used during physical activity or when you are not actively supplying carbs through your diet (when fasting or asleep).
When consumed in excess, dietary carbohydrates will lead to storage of fat and water in our bodies though.
Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories.
Carbohydrates come from a variety of sources including:
Grain products like bread and oats
Fruits and vegetables
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
Proteins are made up of molecules called amino acids, also known as the building blocks of life.
You see, they make are responsible for the building of our muscle.
Proteins also help with various functions like the formation of new bone and muscle tissue and the production of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies plus many others! Think growth and repair!
Proteins are made up of essential amino acids (those that our body cannot make) that we need to consume through our diets and non-essential amino acids that our bodies can produce.
All animal sources of protein contain all of the essential amino acids. Plant sources of protein are often missing at least 1 or 2 essential amino acids. This means in order to consume all of the essential building blocks our bodies need, we need to eat a variety of protein sources!
Consuming enough protein has been shown to help with:
Helping you feel more full after meals and for longer during the day
Growth and repair of muscles
The speed of your metabolism
Like carbohydrates, proteins contain 4 calories per gram.
Protein can be found in high quantities in foods like:
Fats are important for a variety of functions in the body including absorption of fat soluble vitamins, synthesis of hormones, cholesterol and cell membranes, and they serve as an insulator/layer of protection for our bodies.
They too can provide energy!
Fats are stored in our bodies in the form of triglycerides.
During times of fasting, starvation, physical activity, and low-carb intake, we burn these triglycerides for fuel.
Fats are more calorie-dense than carbs and proteins as they contain 9 calories per gram.
Fats can be found in a variety of foods like:
Nuts and seeds
Butter and nut butters
Animal products like beef and salmon
Oils like olive oil
So, now that we understand what macros are and the importance of each, it's time to understand how they will help you shred fat when you adjust them!
What does it mean to track your macros?
All of the foods we eat are made up of macronutrients in varying combinations. In order to know which macros and how much of each one you are eating, it is best to keep track of the foods you eat in a day.
Tracking your macros means either writing down your snacks and meals in a notebook everyday and/or using one of many digital tracking tools available on our smartphones like My Fitness Pal.
My Fitness Pal has an extensive database of foods, which makes tracking the foods you eat incredibly simple.
Once you have entered a food into your My Fitness Pal food diary, the macros for that food are logged as well as total calories.
At the end of the day, you will be able to see the total number of carbs, protein, fats, and calories consumed.
Why track your macros?
A lot of people tend to think counting calories in general is all you need for weight loss. There is some truth to this, however it is only half of the equation.
The make-up of those calories determines what your body composition will be and how healthy you are overall.
As mentioned earlier, each macronutrient plays an important role in the body for general function and they each provide a given number of calories per gram.
Think about it, if you are only paying attention to calories, you could eat just about anything you wanted to meet your calorie goal!
This could include sugary foods and drinks, lots of fats and very little fruits and vegetables.
Tracking your macros will not only push you to provide your body with the proper building blocks for function, but will also give you the energy you need provided by calories from all 3 macros.
In the end, it is all about balancing all three carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and focusing on quality of your foods over quantity!
Here are some of the many benefits of tracking:
Helps you eat less
Helps you lose fat
Helps you gain muscle
Helps you make healthier food choices
Get to know your body and how it works much better
Flexible dieting style, you can still eat the foods you love while also incorporating more nutrient dense foods in order to reach your fitness goals
Keeps you accountable and consistent (imagine eating in a way that aligned with your goals 70-90% of the time vs. 20-40% of the time!)
Maintain weight loss long-term
The most important aspect of tracking your macros that helps with fat loss is CONSISTENCY!
Consistency is key!
Remember, eating fewer calories and being in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than you burn) is necessary for weight loss and the only way to truly know you are eating fewer calories everyday is to keep track of your food intake!
Keeping track of what exactly you’re eating on a daily basis will help you eat in a way that is consistent each day with your goals.
Imagine the changes you could make by eating the right amount of food to burn fat 6 or 7 days a week.
If you’re not tracking, how do you know? Maybe you actually only eat the right amount of food only 1-2 days a week.
Tracking will transform your results with consistency.
Secondly, you’ll start to notice that you’re eating less.
By tracking your food and having a goal in mind for the amount of food to take in each day, you’re going to eat less.
You will find yourself avoiding that sugary dessert you know you should skip.
You will see that massive scoop of peanut butter doesn’t need to be quite as big.
Even that mindless snacking that you’ve become accustomed to will lessen or go away entirely.
This means less overeating for you and total-calories taken in each day -- a key ingredient in fat-loss.
How does DSC Nutrition Coaching Help?
Our DSC Nutrition Coaching Program focuses on two key areas when it comes to transforming your health, fitness, and fat-loss.
First we work on the behaviors, skills, and habits that will lead to long- term changes.
These are habits that will stick with you for life, like how to meal prep, how to eat before and after your workouts, how to eat mindfully, how to include more vegetables in your diet, how to eat when you're out or traveling, etc.
Our second portion of our program is all about your tracking.
Our coaches will provide you with:
How to track
Specific tips on how to make tracking easier
Guidance on the exact amount of each food and total calories you should aim to reach each day for your goals
Feedback on your food choices to optimize your results while taking into account individual preferences and lifestyles
Accountability and support
Our coaches will check-in with you weekly to see how you are doing adhering to your macro plan.
Adjustments can be made to your macros in order to make your plan sustainable for your lifestyle and effective in helping you reach your goals!
The days of tackling nutrition on your own and not the getting results you want will be a thing of the past!