Should I Count Calories or Macros?

I get soooo many questions about what foods I am eating and how many calories I eat per day to prep for my shows.  My trainer, Keith plans all of my nutrition and adjusts accordingly, but I can tell you that over the past year, he has taught me one big lesson: macros > calories.

You’ve probably heard the term “macros” floating around in the fitness world because it seems as though everyone is talking about macros; from yours truly to fitness magazines to top Instagram fitness accounts.  You might be wondering, “Should I count calories or macros?”  So let me explain a little bit more about them and why I don’t give a shit that my calories are almost 2,000 a day.

**Of course, calories still matter, but how I package my meals and macros according to my goals is the key.**

“What the hell are macros and why do they matter?”

Nutrients from our food sources are used for energy, growth, and bodily functions.  There are three main nutrients that our bodies need in larger amounts: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  We refer to these as macronutrients.

In order to significantly decrease body fat and increase muscular growth, our bodies need to produce a certain hormonal response at the right times.  Quality and timing, as well as the amount or ratio of the macronutrients consumed daily will affect our levels of testosterone, growth hormone and insulin which determine the amount of success that we see with fat loss and muscular growth.

Beyond macronutrients, there are also micronutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, etc which are essential for health, too.  That is why I stick to a “bro diet” during prep.  More on that later this week!

Why Macros Matter - Fitness 4 All Toledo

“How about an example, Kayla?”

No problem.

Carbohydrates – sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread, fruits, oats, beans, etc.  We need carbohydrates in the largest amount because they provide the main source of fuel.  The carbs are easily used by the body for energy and help our nervous system, brain, muscles, etc function properly.

Why Macros Matter - Fitness 4 All Toledo

Proteins – eggs, meat, dairy, legumes, fish, etc. including small amounts in starchy foods and vegetables.  We need protein for growth, immune function, tissue repair, hormone production, energy when carbs are low and preserving lean muscle mass.  When we eat these foods, our body breaks down the protein in amino acids which are essential for our body.  It’s important to note that protein from animal sources contain all of the essential amino acids.  Plant sources, however, do not contain all of the essential amino acids, so supplements may be needed.

Fats – meat, nuts, dairy, butter, oils, avocado, etc. Although fats have a bad reputation, some fat is essential.  We need fat for normal growth and development, absorbing certain vitamins and nutrients, energy, maintaining cell membranes and providing taste and stability to our foods.  There are three main types of fats: saturated, unsaturated and trans fat.  It’s important to have a healthy amount of unsaturated fat and limit saturated fats and trans fats.

Why Macros Matter - Fitness 4 All Toledo

“Does it really matter what I eat and when I eat it?”

Yes, 100%.

When you workout regularly, the stage is set for fat gain or loss just as it’s set for muscle gain or loss.  By eating the right foods at the right times, you can intensify (rather than sabotage) your efforts.  Macronutrient timing can alter your metabolism, hormonal profile and body composition.  You can take advantage of your body’s natural ability to regulate itself and turn it into a machine.

For example, planning a higher carbohydrate intake at times when you body is ready to handle it, your insulin levels will be under control and your body will function at it’s best.  This is why some people looking to promote fat loss prefer to perform fasted cardio and immediately after eat a balanced breakfast with carbs, protein and a little fat.

“But I eat really clean and healthy foods.”  

I realize that a banana smoothie loaded with kale, berries and oats is nutrient dense and packs an antioxidant punch, but when you look at the macros of this smoothie, it’s mostly carbs, which may be why you can’t lose that stubborn fat that bothers you so much.

I’m not saying you have to cut out those foods, but when you pair them differently based on your goals, your body can burn fat instead of storing it!  Just as an example you could have 1 scoop of vanilla protein with 1/2 banana, cinnamon and 1 T peanut butter= protein, carb, fat.  Is this making sense?

Why Macros Matter - Fitness 4 All Toledo

 “How do I know what is right for ME?”

I realize that this can be a very in depth subject and if the idea of counting macros is new to you, you might not know how to calculate your macros for best results.  There are so many resources online, one of them being my friend Liz’s ebook.  Remember, as you progress and goals change, you need to re-evaluate your nutritional needs.  Mine change weekly sometimes!

Why Macros Matter - Fitness 4 All Toledo

“So what’s your point?”

Stop worrying about calories and snacking on 100 calorie snack packs (that are mostly empty carbs.)  Instead, get your macros on point so you can 1) feel full 2) chisel that body of yours 3) lose fat like it’s your job.

Now… who’s hungry?!

Have more questions about macros?  Drop me a line below.  It’s my reward to you for making it to the end of this post, like a boss.

 

 

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