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Why Count “Macros” NOT Calories

When starting a diet, it’s important to know how to read the labels and what to eat. Counting calories alone may not help you. The reason is because what matters most is what makes up those calories – not JUST the total calorie intake.
Calories are made up from Macronutrients. This is the foundation of all nutrition labels and the basis of where all the calories come from.
Protein = 4 calories per gram
Fats = 9 calories per gram
Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram

What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are:
Protein
Fats
Carbohydrates

Let’s break each of these down:

Protein; What does it do?
Protein will help build muscle and/or prevent muscle loss if you’re calorie deficient. It controls the appetite and staves off hunger better than fats and carbs. It helps make you feel full longer. It also requires more energy for your body to digest vs other macros. This is why high protein diets are great for fat loss.

Where do I get it?
Meat, Fish, eggs, dairy and protein shakes.

How much do I need?
This really depends on your weight/bodyfat % and goals. You want to be as low as .5 grams – 2 grams per pound of *Lean Body Mass.

FAT; What does it do?
Fat is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to live; it assist in Vitamin absorption, hormone regulation, brain function and more.

Where do I get it?
Meat, fatty fish, nuts, nut butters, oils and many more sources

How much do I need?
Again, it depends on your weight/bodyfat % and goals; however you want to stay near .35 per pound of Lean Body Mass.

Carbohydrates; What does it do?
Carbs are stored in the liver, brain, blood and muscles as Glycogen. Our bodies use carbohydrates for energy.

Where do I get it?
Fruit, veggies, grains, most processed foods/drinks.

How much do I need?
This one is tricky because technically you could live on 0 carbs. However, bodybuilders and endurance athletes have consumed 700+ grams per day! The range is pretty wide; but depending again on weight/bodyfat, goals and activity level .5 – 2 grams per pound of Lean Body Mass would be ideal.

*Lean Body Mass: Total body weight minus your fat. Example: if you weight 200lbs and are 20% bodyfat, your Lean Body Mass would be 160lbs*

To show where this does compare to a “counting calories” diet; I will break down a daily Macros diet for someone 135lbs LBM who is looking to lean out.

135 grams of Carbohydrates per day (1.0 of lean body mass) – 25% coming in form of Fiber
190 grams of Protein per day (1.4 of lean body mass)
55 grams of Fat per day (.4 of lean body mass)

135*4 = 540 Calories
190*4 = 900 Calories
55*9 = 495 Calories
Total = 1915 Calories

Still comparable to a standard 2000 calorie diet; but just counting calories could mean it would be ok to just eat roughly 220 grams of fat per day and nothing else!

For more information about a Macros Diet that would work for you or to find out your Lean Body Mass, contact our Personal Training Dept 239.594.5050

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