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UNDERSTANDING MACROS

08th May 2018

Macros is short for macronutrients- a term used to describe the 3 main food groups that our bodies need to function properly: carbohydrates to fuel energy, fats to keep you saturated and protein to help build and repair muscle.

Getting the right balance of these will allow you to not only lose weight, but your body will be more effective at burning fat and building lean muscle.

It’s important to understand that not all calories are equal. For example, 10 calories of fat will be used differently than 10 calories of carbohydrates. Therefore getting the right amount of each is essential fo gaining needed nutrients.

Whilst carbohydrates sometimes get a bad name, if you’re exercising regularly they are essential for energy levels. During our rest period, our body prefers to utilise fats for fuel. However, during high intensity exercise, this switches to carbohydrates.

Therefore, rest days can be better fuelled with a higher fat and protein to carb ratio. Whereas active days would be better fuelled by more carbohydrates and protein.

How to calculate your ratios

If you're looking to lose weight, it is recommended that you should start with a 4-4-2 approach. That is 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat.

First of all you need to determine the number of calories your body needs to intake daily. There are a number of ways you can do this. A simple way is to multipy your weight in kilograms by 29 (for fat loss) or by 40 (for muscle gain).

For our example we will use the total number of 2000 calories per day. Using this 4-4-2 appraoch, this would allow:

800 calories worth of protein

800 calories worth of carbs

400 calories worth of fat

You will then need to convert these calories into grams so you know exactly how many grams of each macro your need into your daily diet. You can calculate this by remembering that:

A gram of protein contains 4 calories

A gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories

A gram of fat contains 9 calories

It is worth using the 4-4-2 approach as a starting point, and if you’re still hungry a lot of the time, increase your protein levels.

Remember, these ratios are just guidelines rather than rules, so don’t get too hung up on the differences. So long as you know what you’re eating and can adjust your diet accordingly, you’ll begin to see the benefits.