First things first, I am assuming you are aware of what macronutrients, or “Macros”, are. The three Macronutrients are; Protein, Fats & Carbs (now I am sure you have all heard of carbs, after all eat them after 6pm and they turn straight to fat*)
So, do you need to track them? That ultimately depends on your goal, so I am going to attempt three brief made up case studies, names have no relation to anyone I know!
Case study #1
Kylie, unfortunately Kylie’s relationship with food hasn’t been what it should have been and she is now in the obese category. Now, the course of action for Kylie would be to improve her “relationship” with food as the main priority. We need to find out why she has reached the stage that she is before addressing Macros’ Kylie’s goal is simple, she wants to lose WEIGHT. She wants to feel healthier, not get out of breath and generally have some more self confidence that can come from looking healthier.
So, does Kylie need to worry about tracking her Protein, Fats & Carbs? No. The priority for Kylie would be to work on a Calories In vs Calories Out basis. Trying to get Kylie tracking her Macros’ is, at this moment in time, not necessary.
Case study #2
Joe, now Joe has been training regularly for a while and was seeing some progress both in the weights room and in the mirror, however over the last two weeks his progress has begun to stall. Up until this point Joe has been conscious of his food choices but has not really taken much notice of his Calories In vs Calories Out – he hasn’t needed too. Joe is still looking for that illusive six pack and wants to find out what he needs to do to achieve this. Up until now Joe has been making sure he eats a serving of protein with the majority of his meals, but not all. As he has been gradually losing some weight, both scale weight and visible, mirror, weight. But now Joe wants more results.
So does Joe need to track Macros? I would say Joe should look at partial tracking…..now partial tracking would involve Jo tracking his Calories In vs Calories Out & his protein intake. By doing this Joe will know he is in a caloric deficit and he is consuming enough protein to spare his muscles from the intense resistance training he is undertaking.
Case study #3
Beth, Ok, so Beth has been training hard now for 18 months, she’s seen significant changes to her mood, confidence and more importantly for her, her physique. She’s decided that she wants to enter a Bikini Competition and really take her results and physique to the next level. Up until this point she has been conscious of her Calorie & Protein intake, but has not looked at anything else, i.e. Carbohydrates or Fats. Beth is now looking at making some dramatic reductions to her body fat whilst maintaining as much of her muscle mass as she can, she wants a nice lean look for her stage debut.
So, does Beth need to track her macros? Yes, she does. As Beth is looking to change her body composition she will need to track her macro intake. She’ll need to ensure she is taking in enough protein to store as much muscle tissue as possible as she is going to be in a calorie deficit for, potentially, prolonged period upward of 12/14 weeks. She will need to ensure she is taking on sufficient carbs to fuel her work outs whilst taking on sufficient healthy fats for the body’s essential functions.
*A tongue in cheek remark that is not supported by ANY scientific research!