Keeping track of your macros can help you make smart and healthy decisions about food, while ensuring you stay accountable when it comes to transformation-based goals. Counting and understanding macronutrients is so important as it allows you to exactly understand where your energy is coming from and how that will affect your body’s overall performance, functioning and aesthetic. Understanding the right ratio of protein, fats & carbs your body needs to either lose, maintain or gain body fat & muscle is key to achieving the results you want which might be to lose stubborn fat, maintain lean muscle mass or gain muscle mass.
Counting macros is a definitive way of ensuring you meet your nutrient needs on a daily basis, and in balanced portions too. It is a structured way of eating and living that forces you to focus on the amount of carbs, protein, and fats making their way onto your plate as the three main sources of fuel. However, just because you are sticking to your macros doesn’t mean packing on muscle will be an easy feat. If you aren’t witnessing the gains there may be a couple of reasons why…
You want to ensure your workouts are reflective of your goals. If it’s strength, size, and building muscle that you’re after, cardio sessions should not dominate your schedule. The priority here is consistently lifting weights so the body breaks down muscle fibres to then build muscle and increase muscle mass by repairing these fibers. This in turn elevates your metabolism, which also helps your body continue to burn calories long after you’ve left the gym.
While we love a leafy green salad and what it does to your insides, eating like a rabbit all day every day will not leave you with your desired results. To support muscle growth, as well as the impending wear and tear, you need to be sitting in a calorie surplus ie. eating above your expected energy expenditure. For bodybuilders or performance athletes, counting macros almost becomes second nature. You have to be nutritionally savvy when entering such an industry, and knowing exactly what goes in your mouth and how it will support your body for optimal functioning and aesthetic is a necessary skill. Counting macros is a great way to assess and improve your physique, especially over a long period of time.
If you aren’t witnessing the growth and development you had in mind while counting macros, it may be because either you're under eating or overeating your specified target macro goals (carbs, fats, protein).Make sure you are sticking as close as possible to the required intake of each macronutrient, and always turn to a qualified dietician or nutritionist for guidance when needed. A typical macros breakdown, for maximum muscle growth is 40% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbs, though note this will most likely fluctuate per each individual.
The last point to really reiterate is that counting macros is not like counting calories; the latter does not factor in nutritional value, it simply focuses on the number. While it might seem obvious for most to choose wholesome meals to meet your target, hypothetically, you could consume x7 chocolate bars and still lose weight if you’re counting correctly. The long-term health effects would obviously be more detrimental.
Stick to your clean whole foods. For carbs I’m talking breads and cereals, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and asparagus). When it comes to protein I recommend you reach for lean meats, seafood, beans and eggs. Lastly, good fats are best sourced from nuts and seeds, fish and avocado.
If you’re lacking a little inspo, or feeling time poor but need to hit those targets, I would 100% recommend subscribing to a meal delivery service that suits your goals. Companies like MACROS deliver fresh, portioned meals direct to your door, and can cater to an array of dietary needs. There is nothing more satisfying than ready-made meals that taste good and are great for you.
About Ben Putland:
Ben has a Personal Training Certification 3 & 4, Strength and Conditioning Coach Level 1. Ben Putland is a founding personal trainer at ACERO Fitness in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Putland played competitive basketball for 12 years and has competed in professional bodybuilding. He became a personal trainer over five years ago to assist people to reach their full athletic potential and live their healthiest lives. His daily passion is fuelled by seeing the physical and mental benefits of his clients and knowing he's played a role in their health and fitness journey.
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