If you aren’t familiar with what “macros” are, it is an abbreviation of the word “macronutrients”. Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Your body needs a combination of macronutrients and micronutrients (fiber, sugar, vitamins, minerals, etc.) in order to properly function. At ADO Fitness we teach our clients to track their macro and micronutrients to help them reach their fitness goals, but tracking macros isn’t the only way to lose weight. The simple fact is that if your output is more then your input, then you will lose weight. This means if you are burning more calories than you are taking in, you will lose weight. However, just tracking calories will give you very different results then tracking macros. So, which is better… tracking macros or tracking calories? Only you and your coach can decide what method works best for you, but here is a brief breakdown of each to help you make that decision.
Tracking calories – When you track calories you are following a simple way to track the amount of food you are putting into your body. It is true that if you track calories and are expending more energy then you are eating, you will lose weight, but you may still not get the results you want or think you will get. When you track calories, you can eat whatever you want as long as you are staying in your calorie limit. This means you can eat the majority of your calories in carbs and fats and hardly eat any protein and still be “meeting your goal”. But, if you are only eating carbs and fats, you will not have the protein needed to grow or maintain muscle. So, if growing and maintaining muscle is your goal, you will not get there if you are just tracking calories in general. You could also eat all your calories in protein and carbs and hardly eat any fats. While this is still technically “meeting your goal”, not eating enough fat in your diet can be very detrimental. Fat is crucial for hormone balance, brain function, satiety, and many more things. As you can see from only these two examples, tracking only calories may not be the best option for you.
Tracking macros – When you track macronutrients you are aiming to meet a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats per day. It doesn’t necessarily matter what you are eating, as long as you are hitting all your macronutrient goals. This method ensures you are giving your body enough protein to build and maintain muscle, enough carbohydrates to give you energy to get through your day and power through your workouts, and enough fats to keep your hormones and bodily functions balanced and working properly. If you have specific fitness goals that you are trying to achieve, tracking macros is going to be the best and most efficient way to do this. It also ensures you are giving your body everything it needs to help you achieve overall health and not just a certain appearance.
Remember that even though with both methods you can “eat whatever you want”, it is also important to track your micronutrients to make sure you are staying healthy. If all you are eating is processed foods, you will not be able to get enough fiber in your body to help with digestion. You will also likely be eating a large amount of sodium and sugar, which can affect how you function and how you feel. This is why we recommend tracking macro AND micronutrients to best achieve your fitness goals.
Have questions about tracking macros and micros? Reach out to us to see how we can help you meet your goals!