Is it worth it to learn to count your macros?
There are three distinct methods we use at Elevate to guide our group fitness and personal training clients' nutrition: A habit-based approach, food templates and counting macronutrients. Elevate St. Pete one of the very few gyms in St. Pete that provides nutrition coaching to our clients.
There are pros and cons to all three methods. Only you (potentially with the guidance of a coach) can decide which is right for you at this point in your journey. Yes, the method can change based on your lifestyle, goals, time of year, etc.
Remember, the perfect nutrition approach is the one you can consistently apply during this season of your life.
Today we'll specifically talk about counting your macros. We'll cover a habit-based approach and food templates in blogs later this week.
Counting Your Macros
Macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) are present in all foods.
Your unique macronutrient needs are based on a number of factors like your current body composition, your activity level and your goals.
This approach goes into very specific do’s and dont’s, rules and guidelines. It's highly structured.
The macro approach gives you clearly defined calories and amounts of macronutrients to consume each day.
Think of macronutrient approach as a food budget; you have a certain amount of protein, carbs and fats to eat each day. You have the freedom to “spend” those macronutrients on foods that you enjoy, you just have to stick to the clearly defined budget.
For example, an individual may have a daily goal of 2000 calories. Those 2000 calories are made up of 150 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs and 66 grams of fat.
Establishes very clear rules. No room for interpretation or gray area. Type A personalities tend to love this method due to it's structure.
Precise, specific and measurable.
Provides people with a systematic approach to developing their meals and shopping list.
Faster results achieved since macronutrients are calculated based on the individual’s body composition, activity level and goal.
The greatest amount of flexibility in food choices - all foods can fit into your macro targets.
Great for individuals who have specific deadlines or weight requirements for a sport.
Great for people who are already lean and want to take their physique or performance to the highest levels.
The macro approach is very accurate and effective but is an advanced approach to eating. It can be overwhelming for beginners.
Requires an understanding of food types and macronutrient sources (which foods to eat for protein).
Requires food preparation and cooking skills (you should know your way around the kitchen and already be in the habit of cooking your own food).
Food scales, measuring cups and a digital tracking app is usually required to ensure accuracy of intake.
Difficult to follow a macro approach if you don’t have control of your food (going out to eat often, travels or doesn’t prepare their own food).
Requires quite a bit of self discipline, time to plan meals, shop and prepare food.
We believe learning to count your macros is the most accurate and therefor the most efficient way to achieve your body composition goals but there is a learning curve to mastering this skill.
Your nutrition should be progressive just like your exercise or physical activity. If you're just starting to pay attention to what you eat, then you should consider taking the habit-based approach or following a template at first and master the basics. We'll learn more about those later this week.
If you have a fundamental understanding AND consistent application of those basic concepts, then you can take your eating approach to the next level (only if you're wanting to take your body to the next level) by learning to count your macros.
It's your body, you decide. If you're looking for personalized coaching, accountability and support, that's what we do best. Not only do we dish out the best workouts that any St. Pete gym has ever seen, but we're a full-service lifestyle program.
You cannot expect to get the body of your dreams with exercise alone - you must ensure your nutrition is aligned with your goals.
Contact us today to get started!
- Nicole Race, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Sports Performance Coach