The latest buzzword in the world of health and fitness is ‘macros,’ which is short for ‘macronutrients.’ But what are macros and how can they help you to achieve your nutrition and exercise goals?
Macros are the basic components of nutrition – the fat, protein and carbs needed to fuel the body and keep all its systems working.
We caught up with Michael Sole, founder of the popular gym and fitness facility The Den in Dubai’s Motor City, to get the lowdown.
Where do macronutrients fit in the nutrition puzzle?
I’m not sure if it’s since the rise in the sale of meal plans or if it’s just another trend, but macros have become a big deal when it comes to losing weight, gaining muscle and burning body fat. We’re moving in the right direction, but we’re still missing the bigger picture.
Calories are the key determinant of whether you are going to lose weight. Looking at and monitoring only your macronutrient intake diverts attention away from this key factor in weight manipulation. So, are macros just another way to deter people from thinking about calories? Possibly. Or are they just another way for people to sell miraculous ‘macro splits’ and diet plans? Maybe. The fact of the matter is, we need to understand how many calories we need to be eating and then base our macronutrient intake on that.
Let’s say for example, we have a male who weighs 80 kilograms and he wants to lose some weight. He requires approximately 2,500 calories to lose weight given his current exercise schedule and lifestyle. Only once we’ve established this number can we start to break down a suitable macronutrient split for him.
Doing the sums
Typically, I recommend anywhere between 1.8 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day during a fat loss phase. This ensures sufficient repair and retention of muscle tissue, but also keeps appetite in check, as protein keeps you full. Given that protein equates to four calories per gram, we can then identify the number of calories this particular macronutrient will contribute to a person’s overall intake. What’s left? Carbohydrates and fats. Now, the battle between these two food groups has been going on for years, but to give you a brief insight, as long as the calorie intake is kept in check, it really doesn’t matter where the remaining calories come from, whether carbohydrates or fat. What you really need to know is that one gram of carbohydrate offers four calories and one gram of fat offers nine calories, so you can fit these two in as you like to make up the balance.
I use a very simple method of portion planning with my own MS Method, which teaches people about calories, how to substitute foods into your diet that you like and enjoy, all the while ensuring your overall calorie intake is kept in check. I’ve taken the hard work out of tracking calories and counting macros by creating one of the most adaptable nutrition methods on the market. It really is that simple.