Updated: Jun 30, 2019
All too often i read articles or watch videos online from Instagram 'influencers' explaining how they get their six pack abs, how they build an amazing physique and how 'clean' they eat. They will also touch upon their macro split, and that's great, but very seldom do they actually explain what and why! Confused? You're not alone...
Macros, or macronutrients, are basically the breakdown of the 3 major nutrients that go into your body from food. These are Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates. Now, carbs have been demonised in the media, thanks mostly to z list celebrities trying to cash in on a fad diet, but trust me when i say that carbs are not the enemy.
Carbs are your primary energy source, the energy currency of your body if you like.If you want to lose a few pounds or want to get into serious shape, then managing your macros is important...understanding how to manipulate them is crucial. But worry not, it's all a lot more simple than you would imagine.
If you want to lose weight then you need some idea of how many calories you need per day to be in a calorie deficit. This basically means that you need a certain amount of calories per day just to go about your business walking to the local shops or climbing stairs. Your heart pumps 24/7 and needs calories (energy) to do so, your brain needs energy to function, lungs, digestive system...they all need calories to do their jobs.
So let's say that you calculated how many calories a day you needed (this is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR for short) with an online calculator like THIS ONE, you would then have to decide how to divide those calories between your macros. For bodybuilders who want to build or maintain a lot of muscle they typically have between 30% protein, maybe 40% carbs and the rest would be allocated to fats. A long distance runner requires a lot of energy so would have a high percentage of carbs in their macro split.
But what if you're just an average, run of the mill person that has maybe tried a few diets or slimming clubs and have become disillusioned with the entire process? There is the soup diet, keto, going vegan, low carb, high fat, intermittent fasting to name a few...so it's easy for somebody to get 'diet overload'. What can you do?
In my opinion...pick one! If your soul purpose is to lose fat then most (not all) have a basis of fat loss. Research it first to make sure that it's safe (no cabbage soup diet please) and if you're happy then pick it, do it and most importantly STICK TO IT! understand that it takes time and consistency to lose fat. 1lb of fat is equal to 3,500 calories...just let that sink in. Thats roughly 350 slices of bread!
N.E.A.T (non exercise activated thermogenesis)
This is just a fancy way of describing what happens when you get up off the couch, go upstairs,hang the washing on the line...they are all activities that require your body to move and use up energy, but not to the extent that you would call it exercise (though i'm sure that parents everywhere that clean up after the kids all the time would disagree) The more of this type of activity you can do, the better!
E.A.T (exercise activated thermogenesis)
Yes, you guessed it, this is exercise based calorie burning, so that is running, weight training, spin class, walking, swimming ...anything that elevates your heart rate significantly enough to make you breathe a little harder up to feeling like your lungs are on fire. The more you do (within reason) the better. Not only will you burn calories but you will also improve blood pressure, cardiovascular response, mental well being and more!
A little knowledge goes a long way! Nutrition and weight loss is made out to be so difficult and hard to understand, mainly by the people who profit the most from it, but for a large part of the population that just want to lose fat and get in better shape it all boils down to calories in vs calories out. If you can understand that and also understand that weight loss takes time, then you can achieve any goal you set yourself.
Are you struggling getingt to grips with macros and weight loss?
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