What are macros?
Macros is short for ‘macronutrients’, a term used to describe the three key food groups you require for your body to function:
- carbohydrates (to give you energy, improve mode, fibre is a carb and helps to flush out excess oestrogen from the body helping to prevent oestrogen dominance),
- fats (balance blood sugar, absorption of nutrients, keep you fuller for longer, back up fuel or energy, essential for good health) and,
- proteins (to build and repair muscle, help reduce your hunger hormone, requires more energy to digest, fuels fat burning)
Striking the right balance of these macros and being aware of your overall calorie consumption can be the game-changing hack to effectively build muscle, maintain weight or lose fat.
Why do I need protein?
Protein is crucial if you want to maintain or build muscle. An important factor of healthy nutrition, adequate protein helps to increase lean body mass by building muscle – the most sustainable path to long-term weight loss especially due to the fact that we naturally lose muscle mass as we age. It also requires your body to burn more calories when digesting protein and keeps you fuller for longer.
Why do I need carbohydrates?
Carbs are an essential part of your diet and will play a big part I balancing hormones, our body digests them quickly and turns them into sugar, or blood glucose, which you then store in your liver and muscles as glycogen. Together, blood glucose and glycogen fuel high-intensity exercise, the kind you need to burn fat and build metabolism-boosting muscle.
Why do I need fat?
Fat makes up cell membranes, promotes nerve and brain health, and increases the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also helps protect your bones and organs, as well as being a back-up fuel store for energy. Much like protein it’ll also keep you feeling satiated which cuts back on snacking.
The best macros for fat loss
You will see a lot of differing macro splits suggestions so it can be rather confusing. It really does come down to a little trial and error to see what works best for you. Remember you want this to be sustainable for long term results – not a quick fix so you want to be on a macro split that not only benefits fat loss but is something you can stick to. If I look back on my calorie and macro split on weeks where I have felt the best (high energy, good mood, sleep well and maintain or lose weight) I have been on a split of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat, so it is fair to say this works best for me. Now this may change over time and I may need to tweak things, perhaps increase my carbs and decrease my fat.
Once you have your protein target (my calorie calculator) simply split your carbs and fats in the following ranges. Don’t worry if you are a little over on your protein, you have to have a lot of protein to have too much, make sure you split it equally between meals so your body can benefit from it the most and is able to digest it.
- Carbohydrates: 45–65% of calories
- Fat: 15–30% of calories
- Protein: 10–30% of calories
How to track macros for fat loss
The easiest way to keep on top of all those numbers is with an app like MyFitnessPal.
Tracking your calories and macros this way will help you to understand the nutrients in common foods that you eat and will be the game changer in balancing hormones and losing fat.