The term “Macros” is simply shorthand for macronutrients. Macronutrients are composed of proteins, carbs, and fat. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommends adults should get around 10-35% of their calories from protein, 45-65% from carbs, and 20-35% from fats.
Counting your Macros helps you to understand the important relationship between the calories you’re ingesting and how they’re affecting your body. It will also help you to meet your goals because you’ll be focusing on getting enough protein and paying more attention to what kind of carbohydrates and fats you’re consuming as opposed to just calories alone.
However, depending on your fitness and body goals, there’s going to be a lot of variance around what percentage of each macro you’re going to need to consume.
The best thing about counting macros though is that you can be more flexible in your dieting. Knowing how much carbs you should be eating in a day allows you to indulge in the occasional “cheat meal” if you’re going out with friends. If you know the macro breakdown of that burger you’ve been dying to chow down on, you can simply adjust your diet for the rest of the day without feeling guilty or losing some of the fitness gains you worked so hard to achieve the rest of the week.
As you get used to counting your macros on a daily basis and making it part of your eating routine, you may also want to invest in a digital food scale. It’s probably also helpful to download an app on your phone that will tell you the macronutrient breakdown of whatever food you happen to be eating at mealtime. Some can even scan the barcode of the food packaging and give you instant access to its total calories and macronutrients.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to hit your macros exactly every day, every meal. You can be a few percentage points off and still reach your body goals as long as you simply stay consistent over time.
So what type of eating plan is right for you? This will of course vary considerably depending on whether you’re a fashion model or a competitive bodybuilder- or just a normal person whose paycheck isn’t dependent on their physical appearance. Decide whether you want to gain muscle, lose weight, or simply just maintain what you have. What type of diet plan you're focusing on will determine how you measure your macros and caloric intake.
That’s where our calculator below comes into play. First enter your physical stats in the calculator below (height, weight, age, etc.) Then enter in your estimated activity level per week. Next up, enter your weight loss or weight gain goals. Then enter what kind of diet you prefer to be eating and hit “Calculate Macros”. Your daily caloric intake will be calculated as well as a complete per day and per meal macronutrient breakdown for your meal planning.
It’s important to note though that you still have to eat healthily. Even a donut contains carbs, fats, and proteins! A Macro Calculator only shows the breakdown of a food’s composition, but not other important aspects of a balanced diet. You should still always be trying to get the majority of your calories from vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats and oils.