What they are, what they do, and how to count them.
Class is in session, ladies!
Today we are going to be talking about macros—otherwise known as macronutrients. Simply put, macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
We’ve all heard things like “you need more protein,” “don’t eat too much fat,” and possibly the best one, “carbs are bad.” Myths and fad diets have swarmed our world since Richard Simmons put on a unitard and everyone wanted to drink slimming drinks.
But the reality is, your body needs all of those things (proteins, carbs, and fat) in order to function.
Let’s take a closer look…
For a long time, carbs were the enemy of the state. Everyone was trying low-carb or no carb diets and then they were at a loss as to why they were so crabby and tired all the time. Things like cutting out all bread, potatoes, grains, fruits, etc. left them feeling exhausted.
Let’s clear two things up right now. One, you need carbs. Two, not all carbs are created equally.
Without getting too Bill Nye on you, carbs are absolutely essential for our red blood cells, nerve cells, and brain function. They also provide nearly all of the energy for your body when are are working out super hard (B-day, anyone?). When your body does not get enough carbs, it starts looking to protein for energy. Your body basically has to rewire protein in order to fit its energy needs. The problem is now your body isn’t using those protein for things like muscle and cell repair.
Carbs get a bad reputation because people automatically associate carbs with things like pizza, burgers, white bread, candy, and desserts. These “carbs” are packed with simple sugars and are the culprit of things like weight gain and diabetes.
Good carbs, complex carbs are things like sweet potatoes, broccoli, legumes, brown rice, and whole grain bread. Traditionally, these types of carbs are also higher in fiber, which is like carb’s sidekick to assist with nutrient function and absorption.
One of the main functions of protein is muscle growth and cell and tissue repair. Amazingly, our bodies are constantly in a state of repair by replacing red blood cells every few months, intestine lining every few days, and repairing tissue after hard days at the gym. Growth, repair, maintenance.
Protein is also responsible for assisting in hormone and fluid balance, antibody production for a healthy immune system, and, in situations of depletion, energy.
Protein can be a tricky one. Mainly because most people associated proteins with chalky shakes or lean meats. But there are a variety of ways to get your protein intake with things such as dairy products, seafood, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vegetables. No need to eat steak and eggs everyday for breakfast.
Low-fat, no fat, high-fat, fat, fat, fat! This poor macronutrient just wants to be loved and understood. But of all the macros, fat has received the poorest treatment from the media. Just like it’s sister, carbs, fat is an essential part of our diets. And just like carbs, there are good and bad fats.
Saturated and trans fats = BAD
Essential fatty acids (like omega 3 and 6)= GOOD
Again, without getting too technical, fats are essential for cell function, vitamin (A,D,E,K) transportation, energy, and…well, padding–which is a good thing. Without fat, our blood cells and organs are unprotected. So when your little one is playing and accidentally hits their hard little head on your stomach, you can thank fat for protecting you against serious damage.
At rest, your body uses a significant percentage of fat for its energy. While performing exercise, your body uses the energy provided by fat to assist your muscles. See? Fat is just there to help you live your best life.
At the core, the key to achieving maximum results and health benefits with macros is to balance them. Proteins, carbs, and fats function best together. They lift each other up and pick up the slack for one another. Just like that High School Musical song—you know the one…
“We’re all in this togetherrrr!”
So, now that we understand that teamwork makes the dream work, let’s see how we can make macros work best for our goals.
We are going to sorta-kinda cheat on this one. Because who wants to sit down with a pad of paper, a calculator, and a pencil and do math? The easiest way to count your Macros is to use an app. We live in an amazing age where technology can do all the calculations for us—work smarter not harder.
We recommend using MyFitnessPal — They do all the heavy lifting so you can, well, do your own heavy lifting!
Remember to be mindful about your macros. We fully believe that eating clean is the best way to maintain or lose weight, but we also believe in birthday cake and a glass of wine. Just enter everything so you can keep track. Yes, everything. That includes the leftover chicken nuggets from your little ones plate. A general rule of thumb is 80/20. Good 80% of the time, 20% for when your kids used your walls as their canvas.
If you are looking to have a deeper-dive and a specialized plan for you, please schedule an appointment with us. Not only will we talk about your goals in the gym, we will help you get your nutrition on track so you can fuel, recover, and see the best results!
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