Macro Counting Diets – The Evolution Of Counting Calories
Each year, a new macro diet fad takes the world by storm and we spend months hearing it discussed at the local gym. These diets sometimes survive the year and go on to become proven and effective weight loss strategies. Others are forgotten by the time Thanksgiving and its many temptations arrive.
Counting Macros Or Counting Calories
If you’ve recently spent time at the gym, then you may have heard people talking about “counting macros” or using “macro calculators”. These terms relate to macronutrients and diet plans that focus on carefully managing these macronutrients. In many ways, this is a step up from simply counting calories. Learn how to calculate my macros here.
By managing all macronutrients in the same way that you might manage calories you can meet very specific fitness goals and build specific body types.
Counting calories is an extremely effective way to lose weight because it fully embraces how the body works and how it stores fat. However, a person is severely limiting themselves by focusing entirely on calories. Their only options are to increase or decrease calorie intake, which in turn creates an increase or decrease in weight.
But what if you want to focus on bulking up and building new muscle? There’s no specific way to improve muscle gain without fat gain if you’re only considering how calories affect the body. In comparison, there are four types of macronutrients and by increasing one specific macro, protein, you can improve muscle gain.
A macro-based diet can lead to other more specific health goals as well. For example, it can be used as the foundation to build a ketogenic diet. A keto diet requires that you greatly increase fat intake while decreasing carbohydrate intake; both of which are macronutrients.
If It Fits Your Macro
The IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macro) diet is a great example of a simple, flexible, and effective diet built around the concept of macro counting. Diet plans tend to deliver better results when they are flexible enough to help a lot of people. A diet that eliminates specific foods or only allows certain foods tends to be less effective over time. The IIFYM diet has absolutely no serious restrictions regarding what you can or cannot eat. It’s all about the macros.
Step One: Calculating Your Macros
Getting on board with the IIFYM diet can be done in two steps. The first step is using one of the many online macro calculators. The macro calculator found on the IIFYM website is very popular, but there are plenty of others out there. You can also take the long route and calculate your macros for weight loss manually. It’s entirely up to you.
First, you need to determine your basal metabolic rate(BMR). If you’re using an online macro calculator, then you’ll just need to fill in some information like your sex, height, and weight.
You then multiply this BMR by a factor that is determined by your activity level. This is where it’s easier to work with an online macro calculator.
The number you get back is known as your TDEE(Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and it’s a rough estimate of how many calories you burn every day.
Next, you need to target specific calorie targets based on weight goals. This diet may be about counting macros, but it’s always important to keep up with your calories when pushing for weight goals.
If you’re interested in losing weight, then you want your daily calorie intake to be between 10 and 25 percent lower than your TDEE.
If you want to gain weight, then your daily calorie intake should be between 5 and 15 percent higher than your TDEE. Now that calories goals are clear it’s time to separate those calories into macro groups.
The four macronutrients are fat, protein, carbohydrates, and alcohol, but you’ll only need to worry about the first three. The exact portions that are best for are determined by your specific health and fitness goals. For the average person, keeping protein between 10 and 30 percent, fats between 20 and 35 percent, and carbs between 45 and 65 percent is a great goal.
Again, those numbers can change depending on your specific needs. A macro diet can be used to target specific health problems like high blood sugar.
They would do this by calculating their macros around 35 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein, and 30 percent fats. Meanwhile, a keto diet would have significantly more fat and far fewer carbs.
Step Two: Meeting Macro Goals
Once you’ve determined your daily macro goals it’s a matter of creating meal plans that help you accomplish those goals. If you stick with your macro diet on a daily basis and continue to meet your goals, then you should see noticeable results. Though, keep in mind, that you need to remain as physically active as you claimed when calculating the macros or you may not see the expected results.
Another great advantage of IIFYM and other macro-based diets is their ability to be adjusted with time. For example, maybe you met your short-term weight loss goals but now you bulk up before beach season. Or maybe you’ve recently been diagnosed with an illness that is going to have a significant impact on your nutritional needs.
All that you need to do is sit down, find an online macro calculator, and calculate a new set of macros. It’s that simple.
Is A Macro Diet Right For You?
Macro diets cover such a broad category of possibilities that they can help almost anyone. The biggest problems that people have with the diet are not being honest when using the calculator and not sticking to their macro goals on a daily basis. We all love the idea of a “cheat day” when we’re on a diet, but don’t be surprised if it slows down the progress.
It’s clear that this isn’t one of those fad diets we’ll forget about by the end of the year. It’s built on a solid foundation of science and is already responsible for weight loss around the world. If you’ve struggled with other diet plans in the past, then you should consider trying a macro plan like IIFYM.