Macros: What They Are and What You Need to Know
By: Sophia Cepero
Some of you may be thinking, what even are macros? Macros are the fitness industry’s slang term for macronutrients. For a nutrient to classify as a “macronutrient” it must be energy containing. The three types of macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates and proteins both contain 4 calories per gram, while fats contain 9 calories per gram. All the macros you consume in a day add up to equal the total amount of calories consumed.
Each macro has a different function within the body. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and are used as your body’s main source of energy. Proteins allow your body to grow, repair tissue, and build lean muscle mass. Fats give us the ability to store energy, cushion organs, produce certain hormones, and absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A,D, E & K. All of this functions come together to help us live our healthiest and most energized life.
Everyone has different individual macronutrient needs that rely on age, weight, muscle mass, activity levels, & etc. The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges are 45-65% of your daily calories from carbohydrates, 10-35% of your daily calories from proteins, and 20-35% of your daily calories from fats.
It has been shown most beneficial in muscle growth to eat .8-1g of protein/per lb of body weight. When you are trying to lose weight in a calorie deficit, then it is recommended to be on the higher end of that range. Carbohydrates are also extremely important in fueling your body and supplying your muscles with enough energy for your workouts. Especially when following a strength training programs, your body needs carbohydrates to ensure maximal performance and recovery. Post exercise, it is recommended to eat .5-.7 grams of carbohydrates in order to replenish the glycogen storage in your muscle. It is also recommended to have a ratio of 3:1 (3 grams of carbohydrates to every gram of protein) post-exercise. If your body does not receive enough carbohydrates post-exercise it will go through a process known as gluconeogenesis. Protein intended to be used in muscle repair will then be broken down and used to generate glucose for energy instead. This is why it is important to consume both carbohydrates and protein after a strength training session.
And there you have it. The most basic guide to macros a girl can give. I hope you were able to learn something new with this post and it will benefit you some way in the future. Food is fuel for your body, use this as a guide to help ensure you are meeting adequate macronutrient guidelines.