If you are looking to transform your body or shed the fat you have been struggling to lose for a while, just eating healthy is NOT enough.
Nor is exercising more.
You need a new strategy.
That requires MORE focus.
This is where Managing Your Macronutrients comes in.
Managing your macronutrients is simply a strategy where you understand roughly what your breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and protein is for the day.
For example my macronutrient breakdown was 35/35/30 yesterday. That means 35% of my overall calories came from fat, 35% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein.
Do you know what your macronutrient breakdown was yesterday?
If you don’t, that’s ok :). It’s safe to say most people don’t. I know I didn’t know mine until I started tracking what I ate with a tool called Lose it.
Managing your daily macronutrient breakdown can give you valuable information that will make it easier for you to attain your health and fitness goals.
3 Step Guide To Understanding Macros
1) Get to know your body type. Depending on your body type, certain macronutrient breakdowns are better for certain body types. You can read more here about the 3 body types and their corresponding ideal macronutrient breakdowns. But no matter what body type you are, a good starting point for everyone when first applying this strategy is an even macronutrient breakdown of 33/33/33 (fat/carb/protein).
2) Clear understanding. In order to reach your goals, you need to know in reality what you eat. I know I talk about this a lot, but the truth of the matter is that we don’t really know what we are eating until we put it all down on paper, analyze it, and practice this process. This is the only way to really understand what you are eating.
When you use a tool such as Lose It, where you have to enter in everything you consumed in the day, the information you learn about your macro intake will blow you away. Every time Nick or I have used this tool with a client they’ve had HUGE a-ha moments. Try it out for yourself.
3) Address Imbalances. Once you have a clear understanding of what macronutrients you are eating too much of or too little of, it becomes quite easy to know what to change in your diet. No more guessing, or eating less, or trying some fad or detox. If you are eating too many carbohydrates, then you can decrease those, if you are eating too little fat you can increase that. See, it becomes very simple. Results come easily.
The #1 imbalance we see, especially with the ladies is not enough of that last number: PROTEIN. Remember my post on #PADLE, this is very important. If you are not eating at least 20 or more grams of protein with every meal your likely to have your protein breakdown in the 10-15% range, which is too low. And protein is what preserves your muscle tissue (which keeps your metabolism high) and allows you to burn fat. So you don’t want to skimp on the protein.
Putting this all together:
Know your body type + track macros = Your Goals
Before I let you go today let’s take a quick look at the macro’s of 3 examples.
- 1) Green Smoothie (actual client’s ingredients)
- Ingredients: Almond Milk, Yogurt, Chia, Strawberries, Banana, Blueberries, Kale, Apple, Peanut Butter.
Looks pretty healthy, right? Nothing in there is bad for you. But, what is the macronutrient breakdown of this smoothie?
Here it is:
So we have a macro breakdown of 33/52/15. The smoothie has 533 calories. So is that what you thought the breakdown would be? Did you expect it to contain this amount of calories?
Now, it is ok to not have every meal perfectly even at 33/33/33. In fact, we think it is better to have nearly no carbohydrates in the beginning of your day and focus on protein and fat. This is to keep you in a fat burning mode and avoid stimulating insulin. For more on that read here.
Then as the day goes on, you can decrease your fat intake and increase carbohydrate intake, allowing you to balance it out.
But again back to our example: Isn’t it interesting to see this breakdown, and that this healthy smoothie has 76 grams of carbohydrates? That’s a lot of carbs in the morning that may make you hungry 2 hours later. And if that happens and you go out and grab a bran muffin that could have 400 calories, you’ll be at almost 1000 calories before lunch. Not exactly where you want to be. So again, knowledge is power.
So what can you do about this? Nick and I talk here and here about how getting at least 20-30 grams of protein with zero or very little carbohydrates is an ideal way to start your day. It promotes fat loss and will also give you energy and keep you satiated throughout the morning.
I will give you an example of our favorite breakfast breakdown below. But before I do that, I did want to mention that if you do like to start your day with a smoothie similar to this, try and cut down on the amount of fruit you are putting in your shake. A half of banana is really all you need OR a few strawberries or blueberries to sweeten it up and make it taste good. Also add a scoop of protein powder, that will be a better way to start the morning. And an even better suggestion yet, is to have this shake later in the day or after a workout.
- 2) Scrambled Eggs with Arugula and Strawberries
- Ingredients: Eggs, Arugula, Strawberries, Olive Oil
So here the macro breakdown is 57/9/32. Now this is not exactly 33/33/33, but what’s most important is hitting the 33/33/33 overall for the day. By having a high fat and protein breakdown in the morning you’ll be sure to stay full and in a fat burning mode, and then later in the day you can add more carbs, and eat less fat to round out your overall breakdown.
Make sense? And the last example.
- 3) Low calorie, healthy full day meal log
- Breakfast: Green Smoothie (above) + 2 cups of coffee with Coffeemate Creamer
- Lunch: Green Salad with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and ranch dressing
- Snack: Peach
- Dinner: Garlic Ravioli with sauce and broccoli
- Dessert: 2 cups of popcorn
Again, everything is pretty healthy, right? What do you expect the overall macro nutrient breakdown to be for the day?
Here it is:
You have a ratio of 35/51/14 and the total calories for the day is 1150.
So at first glance you might think, hey I didn’t eat many calories and I ate pretty healthy, why am I not shedding fat? Well, here’s your answer: your macro breakdown, too many carbs and not enough protein. Now you know exactly what you need to do. So go do it:)!
Now you try. I want you to go to Lose it and track your meals for 1 day. See what your macronutrient breakdown is. Let me know in the comments below if it was what you thought it would be. Also share what insight you learned and how you will adjust in the future if need be? Good luck!
As always let me know if you have any questions.