The term Macronutrients (macros) is bandied about regularly and can be confusing, but really, it’s just the collective term for the three major nutrients your body needs to function. All macronutrients are essential for the healthy functioning of your body.

 

The 3 Macronutrients are:

Proteins                     – 4 calories per gram

 

 

 

 

Carbohydrates          – 4 calories per gram

 

 

 

 

Fats                           – 9 calories per gram

 

 

 

 

How do I apply macros to my diet?

First, you need to decide on your Macronutrient split, you know your body best so if you know you need more carbs to function, choose the “Higher Carbs” option.

 

The below table is based on Mary’s caloric needs of 1507.73:

Protein Fat Carbs
Moderate Carbs 30% 35% 35%
Calories 452 kCal 527.7 kCal 527.7 kCal
Grams 113g 58.6g 131.93g
Lower Carbs 40% 40% 20%
Calories 603 kCal 603 kCal 301.6 kCal
Grams 150.75g 67g 75.5g
Higher Carbs 30% 20% 50%
Calories 452 kCal 301.6 kCal 753.9 kCal
Grams 113g 33.5g 188.25g

Once you have determined your Macronutrient split, you will determine how much of each macronutrient is in a food item by reading the label or weighing the item and adding it in MyFitnessPal. Note: If you do use MyFitnessPal do not let it adjust your daily calories to track exercise, it will mess up your intake and make you overeat. Also, it always defaults to 1200 calories, this is never recommended, unless you are a 2-year-old.

 

What can I eat?

The best part about Macros is, you can literally eat anything you want, you just adjust your intake for the rest of the day. Just be warned, it would suck if you had all your calories for breakfast and left yourself nothing for the rest of the day. Remember however that this balances out over the course of a week, so if you mess up one day, do not despair just start again at the next meal.

Food Labels

Food labels have all the information you need. The label will tell you the portion size, always check this as I used to buy a tiny pine nut salad from Tesco for lunch when I read the label, to my horror, it contained 4 (tiny, tiny( servings. It will also tell you the value of the proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibre of each portion.

This item is chicken breast, so it contains no fibre. Try to aim for 20-25g of fibre per day (this will form part of your carbohydrate total), fibre will keep your digestion on track. Eating high protein meals can cause constipation. This won’t help the “poo face”.

High fibre foods are: fruit and vegetables, legumes, all bran cereals, wholemeal breads and pastas, nuts and seeds.

Ignore the percentages, these are generic numbers based on government guidance, not your personalised totals.

What about alcohol?

I guarantee you will freak out when you see how much food you can eat, the cleaner it is the more you can have, but where’s the fun in eating chicken, brown rice and broccoli every day. You can fit alcohol in too, just plan for it. One glass of prosecco (125ml) is 80 calories, a Gin (25ml measure) is 50 calories, a slimline tonic (150ml) 3 calories, a beer (pint) is 236 calories and a bottle (330ml) is 139 calories. Sugar contains 16 calories per teaspoon.

Conclusion

Tracking your macronutrients will help you to stay on top of your calorie intake and ensure you are meeting your energetic and nutritional requirements. However, to start with, it may just be easier for you to track your calories and add in a protein shake post-workout on weightlifting days until you start to feel more comfortable.