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What are Macros and Why are They Important?

by | Jun 10, 2019 | Nutrition

Hands holding bowl of healthy food

If you’ve started on your journey to a fitter lifestyle and are wondering how to properly fuel your body, macro-based nutrition should be at the top of your list. Macros, or macronutrients, are in each bite of food that you eat. They are the molecules that our body uses to create energy and function. Macros are broken down into three groups: protein, fats, and carbs. Each of these is important to the proper function and output of your body’s systems. When you begin a training program, like super-slow strength training at Loyalty Fitness, you want to maximize your success through how you fuel your body. One easy way to do that is through balancing and monitoring the macros that you consume.

Types of Calories You Consume Matter

While the old adage that you need to burn more calories than you consume is still true, the types of calories that you consume are even more important. For example, if there are 100 calories in a cookie versus 100 calories in half an avocado, which do you think will serve your body better? For years the diet industry has claimed that consuming too much fat is the reason people become overweight. However, new research shows that’s simply not true. Eating the 100 calories worth of cookie instead of the avocado can actually cause weight gain because of how your body uses each of these foods. Cookies are typically comprised of carbs which your body breaks down into simple sugars and sends straight to your bloodstream for a quick boost of energy. If you don’t use that energy straight away, it gets stored as fat. Avocados contain good fats that your body can use for fuel over a longer period providing better nutritional value and sustained energy. However, your body still needs carbs. But picking the right kinds of carbs to fuel your body is key – just as picking the right kinds of fats and proteins to consume is, too!

A simple way to think of macronutrients is the function of each component. Protein builds muscle which means that all the work you put in at the gym may be useless without the appropriate amount of protein intake. Building muscle is important to strengthening your body and allowing it to burn more calories even while at rest. Getting enough protein is usually the first order of business in any macronutrient-based nutrition program because it complements the training that you’re doing. Fats are useful for providing more than half the body’s energy needs. They take longer for your body to process, so they’re an excellent form of sustained energy. That doesn’t mean that chowing down on bad fats will get you to where you want to be. Good fats are what your body needs, and these can be found in things like nuts, fish, and healthy oils. Finally, your body needs carbs but again choosing the right kinds of carbs is crucial. Allowing your carb intake to be solely comprised of refined products like white bread, pastas, and pastries isn’t going to work. Your diet should include whole carbs which are found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and more.


Achieving Balance is Key

Determining the right balance of each type of macronutrient for your specific goals is crucial to curating an overall wellness plan and functional macro-based nutrition plan. Typically, you’ll want to focus on consuming enough protein first, followed by good fats, then carbs to supplement your diet. To determine how many grams of each component you should be consuming in a day, you’ll need to take into consideration your activity level, your current muscle mass, and your overall goals. If you’re working out at Loyalty Fitness building muscle with super-slow strength training, you’ll need to consume the right balance of macros to fuel that exercise. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or simply maintain the status quo, there’s a specific macro breakdown that you need to adhere to. One thing is for certain, tracking your macronutrients isn’t a “diet.” It’s a lifestyle change that you make to support becoming the healthiest version of yourself!

There are several tools out there to help you set goals, log your food, and track your macros (Protein, Fats, Carbs), one popular app is MyFitnessPal. Several of the clients and personal trainers and nutrition coaches at Loyalty Fitness use this app to stay on track. Using a food  tracker like this can also teach you what foods are high in proteins, fats, and carbs/sugar and help you eat more of the healthy foods that are good for your body and eliminate those that are hurting your body and keeping you from reaching your fitness goals.

To learn more about how macro-based nutrition can impact your training, or learn more about starting a super-slow strength training program with Loyalty Fitness, contact us today! Our certified personal trainers are committed to helping you on every step of your fitness and nutrition journey.

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