Today we dive deep into talking about Macros & Calories, and how we can manipulate them to produce a sound nutritional strategy for our goal!
This is part 5/9 in the series and if this is the first port of call for you, you may benefit about checking out the other articles in the series. They act as a funnel, allowing you to read in progression then design your own ‘diet’ with the knowledge within – to make permanent change. Check them all below!
But without any further ado let’s get into the fundamentals of calories and macros!
Macros & Calories
I want to get real quickly. Any diet an individual undertakes generally works in someway through calorie restriction, in one way or another. If you fast, generally you’re ommitting a window where you’ll be consumnig calories. If you’re ‘juicing’, you’re actually avoiding a huge chunk of calories often consumed with junk food or most meals, and the fact that these just fly through your digestive system like theres no tomorrow basically due to the lack of fibre in a ‘juice diet’.
Even if you’re tackling a ‘low-carb’ diet or a ‘low-fat’ diet you have essentially omitted a major food group from your diet which makes up the bulk of calories.
Calories are king and always will be, and – from a scientist’s point of view – you can’t ignore the first law of Physics & thermodynamics: ‘Energy can be converted from one form into another but cannot be created or destroyed.’
Simply put, weight loss occurs because your body is a isolated system. It can’t spontaneously generate extra energy without any previous energy conversion taking place. When you restrict calories to less than what you burn you will never, repeat never, gain weight as a result of the food you’re eating. The body will be having to convert current fat or energy stores into usable energy. And vice-versa, if you’re eating more calories than you burn, we can’t spontaneously destroy this excess energy, so it will either be converted to fat or exchanged for energy for ypour exercise or life endeavours.
Calories are king and still hold precedent over every diet you undertake. Whether you like it or not! 🙂
That’s the basis of all diets:
Eat less calories than you burn in a day = Fat/muscle/weight loss.
Eat more calories than you burn in a day = Fat/muscle/weight gain.
You can even still put weight on if you ‘eat healthy’. As long as you’re eating more calories than you burn in a day, it will always correspond with weight gain, be it muscle or fat.
And vice versa, if you eat 1800 calories of junk foods in a day, and you burn 2500, then you will be losing weight, every day. Sure you’ll be losing weight this way, but damn you’re not gonig to be healthy, and junk food offers barely any nutritional value, fibre or other vital micronutrients beneficial for a healthy body. The lack of fibre in junk foods will mean you’ll be hungry possibly one hour later, potentially reaching for more junk food. A slipery slope for weight loss! Again though, remember that 1st law of thermodynamics…
I digress though… 🙂
I think I have highlighted the importance of calories in diet. The minute you learn that all your diet endeavours have revolved around the restriction or addition of calories is when you realise there’s better ways of dieting. ‘Bulking’ or ‘cutting’ periods are the same. The objective is to eat a net calorie surprlus over the course of a week, but sometimes noit necessarily in a single day. Same with cutting, net calories will aim to be negative (burn more than you eat) across the period of your ‘cut’.
By now you’re probably wondering why don’t we just stick to a calorie controlled diet…
Well if you’re a beginner to nutrition or fitness I highly reccomend you do. The best change you can do is give your body a respectable calorie surplus or deficit for your goal (+/- 200 calorie deficit a day). Doing this will give your body enough fuel to continue daily activity well but also consistently sit in a deficit or surplus without being too restrictive or upsetting hormone balance.
If you’re quite experienced in training or nutrition, then I would say you probabaly could benefit from emplying a macro-based approach, so let’s look into it.
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Back to one of my fave dinners: Griddled chicken, pesto, veg and pasta. . Whack chicken on the griddle, leave to cook, boil pasta with veg, add pesto, boom! Doesn't have to be simple, and o made enough for lunch tomorrow too!! . In total tonight's bowl was 69g/26gF/67gP! Probably a lot of chicken but protein never hurts! . #chargenutrition #health #fitness #nutrition #iifym #iifymgirls #macros #macrofriendly #macrocoach #flexibledieting #fit #fitspo #fitfam #diet #fuel #training #gym #strength #cardio #workout #instafit #crossfit #nutritionist #nutritioncoach #determination #progress #instagood #cleaneating #mealprep #healthy
Simply put, macros is short for ‘macronutrients’ and the main macro’s are Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates, the building blocks of everyone’s diet. Fibre is also a macronutrient which we’ll touch on later on in this chapter.
If you’re someone who has a high training age, experience in nutrition or definitely a more-than-amateur athlete, you most likely could benefit with constructing a diet based around macro’s.
Specifically, this process involves constructing a specific prescription of macro’s in a day. Consume X grams of Protein, Yg of Fat and Zg of Carbs in a day.
The reason this works is because Protein, Fat and Carbs all contribute a certain number of calories per gram. Specifically:
1g of Protein = 4 Calories
1g of Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
1g of Fat = 9 Calories
Now you can see the logic behind devising a specific macro diet.
By manipulating individual amounts of macros in your daily diet, you also change the corresponding number of calories consumed, whilst also optimising the ratio of said macros based on your goals!
I’ve written a cracking summary article of how this could help you in a previous article HERE.
When I work with clients we work together closely for the first 12 weeks finding their level of consistency and aim over time to get them towards an optimal macro prescription. There’s tonnes of benefits to this too. For instance imagine a client driving performance in a sport, if we can identify an optimum level of carbohydrates for a client to eat for performance before this negatively affects performance or weight gain too much then we’re winning.
Consider weight loss too. It’s important when losing weight in a calorie deficit, if a client is trying to lose weight for instance, to give them enough protein to preserve muscle mass as much as possible and driving fat loss as much as possible. There’ll be a specific gram-age of protein that would be optimum for this based on the height and weight of an individual, it’s just a matter of trial and error in order to achieve this.
Here’s an excerpt from my previous article that fit really well:
‘Not only do specific amounts of carbohydrate influence hunger but macros also dictate your level of performance and recovery in sport and general life. Your digestion is massively influenced by the amount of protein, fat and carbs running through your body. An example being eating too much protein: Too much running through your intestines will throw it off-whack, either racing through your system and not being digested in any way, or slowing digestion down completely say if too much fibre is being consumed. Either way, your body is a very specific thing – you’re UNIQUE. It’s completely understandable how your body will respond better to certain amounts of carbohydrates, fat and protein…’
It’s definitely outside the scope of this article to discuss protein, fats and carbohydrates and the individual affects of each on the human body. Consider there’s whole textbooks dedicated to protein bio-chemistry as well as for carbs and fat.
The actual strategy however would be to construct a diet that drives your goal with relevant macros. For instance I’m currently sitting in a calorie deficit of 200 a day. I can identify this by my gradual reduction in weight and looking at my total number of calories. It’s definitely an approximation game, but trial and error is the only way to do this without expensive blood tests.
My current diet is 2850 calories a day. This is from 330g of Carbs, 90g of Fat and 180g of Protein. I find I’ve got the best satiety at this level of protein, as well this level of fats works well for continuous energy getting me through the day, I feel SO full with any more fats which I really don’t like. The high number of carbs acts as my primary fuel source for my heavy workouts and busy 9-5. All in all this proportion of macros works very well for me and I’m burning about 400-500 calories a day through exercise on top of my diet. This produces a small deficit and drives my goal of weight loss very slowly, but very permanently.
The whole aim of this article is to provide you with some fundamental knowledge of how you can use macros or calories in your performance or diet endeavors. I would never advise a starting diet because 100’s of people will read this article and that diet would only work for maybe one person successfully. It’s taken me half a year to figure out my ideal macros for my goals but truthfully this whole nutrition coaching is based on trial and error and reacting to the data we see from the previous week in a diet – it’s that simple.
Often when you get your ideal macro prescription down you can accelerate results faster than with a purely calorie-controlled approach. It merely depends on the optimal ratio for your goal and body. When you consider you can eat 2500 calories of just carbs in a day (625g to be specific) you can then see how calorie-controlled diets may not be suitable due to the lack of specificity…
If I can inspire one person to go away though and research further macros for your goal and potentially help one person, then I’ll be happy.
I’d recommend if you need assistance in creating a macro prescription for your goal of weight loss, muscle gain or performance, get in touch with me HERE! We can simply have a chat about what you could change in your nutrition or we could see about working together if we’re a good fit!
A calorie controlled diet may work for you if your new to nutrition, or rather follow a simple approach. Remember as long as calories in is less than calorie burnt then you’ll be losing weight.
If you want to potentially accelerate results or really give your body what it needs for performance or weight loss specifically then a macro approach would work for you.
Just get in touch!
Remember, I can’t give any formulas for macros as, within the scope of a nutritionist, this would be definitely unethical as zero personal circumstances would’ve been considered. Remember – you’re unique, and need a unique strategy, not some formula. Please swerve well away from macro calculators or if you touch them, PLEASE take them with a pinch of salt and listen to your hunger and body in order to give more calories/macros when necessary.
Either way, level up your nutrition 🙂
Understand how varying macros can help performance or goals and how calories is actually king.
These are fundamentals that will live with you forever. This way you can make logical and informed choices as to what may work for you.
Charge up, Team! 🙂
If you want to Charge Up your goals and really level up your progress, click the picture below and apply to join our nutrition program. I guarantee we can get you seeing better progress and deep lying education on nutrition within 12 weeks, or your money back. Just apply below!🙂