By Ali Johnson
We’ve all heard the complaints: “I work out every day but I’m not losing weight.” “I want to be faster/stronger and I don’t know why I’m not improving.” “I lift heavy weights but I’m not building muscle.” etc. etc. Most likely, the problem isn’t what you’re doing in the gym- it’s what you’re NOT doing outside of the gym.
Losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. That means that you could wake up every morning and go to the gym 7 days a week, but if you leave the gym, go to the kitchen and start mindlessly eating without putting thought into what types of foods you’re consuming, you’re not going to see results. Period. And this isn’t just the case for losing weight; if you want to tone your body, or build muscle, the answer is still going to be in what you’re eating (or not eating).
Many people, from athletes and Crossfitters to moms and military servicemen and women, have seen results through tracking macros. “Macros” is short for macronutrients: the types of food that make up most people’s diets, and that can be broken down to produce energy. When people say they’re tracking their macros, it means they’re tracking the amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates that they consume on a daily basis.
How to calculate your macros
The number of calories you consume on a daily basis is directly related to your physical fitness goals. Someone who wants to lose weight is going to eat less calories than someone who wants to put on muscle.
- The first step in calculating your macros (after determining your goals) is to determine your basal metabolic rate. Your BMR takes into account factors like age, gender, and weight to determine how much energy your body is using during periods of rest. The formula to calculate BMR can be found here, OR you can complete an InBody Scan at CF3P for more accurate and tailored results (more info on this later).
- After you’ve determined your BMR, you need to adjust it based on your activity level. Someone who is completing 3-5 strenuous Crossfit workouts every week is going to be allotted more calories than someone whose exercise consists of walking or lighter aerobic exercises. This calculator can help you figure out the amount of daily calories that’s a good fit for your lifestyle.
- Once you know how many calories to eat, you can start dividing up your macros. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should always eat in a calorie deficit, and your diet should consist of more protein and less carbs and fats. If you’re trying to gain muscle, you want to increase your calories.
This is a rough guideline for determining macros according to Healthline: “protein intake should be between 0.7–1.0 grams per pound of body weight. Fat intake should be between 0.25–0.4 grams per pound of body weight. All remaining calories are allotted for carbs.”
While there are many online formulas and calculators to help you determine calories and macros, the most accurate way is to work with a nutrition coach to get results tailored specifically to your body and level of fitness. That’s why something like an InBody Scan can be so beneficial.
It’s also important to remember that macros are guidelines for a diet; if you calculate them and they don’t seem to fit well with your lifestyle, it’s ok to recalculate. You should always feel like you have enough energy to complete a workout, and you shouldn’t have to force yourself to eat. Determining macros is a delicate balance and it’s expected that you might have to revise your plans a few times to get to where you feel comfortable.
I’d be willing to bet that once you get your nutrition under control, you’ll start seeing the results you want in the gym. Everyone slips up now and again, and it’s even encouraged to eat some “junk” food every once in awhile (in moderation) so that you don’t binge on it to the extreme. But if you’re making the effort to eat a clean and healthy diet while putting in the work to stick to your macros and simultaneously exercising multiple times a week, you’ll reach your goals in no time.
Crossfit Pace Patriot Pride has all the tools you need to succeed; set up an appointment for an InBody Scan and you’ll get to work one on one with a trained coach to analyze your results. And if you think you might need a little (or a lot!) of help in the kitchen, consider signing up for their 6 or 12 week nutrition programs.
Did you see results after modifying your diet? What’s the hardest part about tracking macros? Do you have any advice for someone who’s trying to adjust their nutrition? Comment in the section below!
feature image credit: crossfitpacepatriotpride.com
Image 1: instagram.com
Image 2: crossfitpacepatriotpride.com
Image 3: crossfitpacepatriotpride.com
Image 4: crossfitpacepatriotpride.com