Heard about macros but have no idea what they are or why you need to know about them? PT Carly Yue shares her views on why they’re so crucial to your success, no matter what level of fitness you’re at...

The term ‘macros’ is shorthand for ‘macronutrients’, a word which is used to describe the three key food groups we all require for our bodies to function: carbohydrates (to fuel energy), fats (to keep you satiated) and proteins (to build and repair muscle).

Get the right balance of these and you’ll not only lose weight, you’ll be more effective at burning fat and building lean muscle. Many people in the fitness industry have been eating this way for years, recognising that not all calories are created equally. For example, 100 calories of fat will be used entirely differently than say 100 calories from carbohydrates.

Calorie counting has been a weight loss technique for years, though it can actually have a negative impact on our diet. If you're too busy counting calories, you're not thinking about what it is that you're eating. Remember that term 'empty calories'? It's important to ensure that you are eating the right kinds of food at all times.

If you aren't aware of your macros, chances are you have no idea where your calories are coming from. For example, it's a complete myth that carbs are the enemy. If you exercise regularly, they're necessary to fuel your training and build muscle. It's only when you lead a sedentary lifestyle and eat lots of sugar, such as white bread, pasta and other ‘simple carbs’, that they can become problematic.

When I create nutrition plans for people I work out their basal metabolic rate and use their activity level, body composition and body type (apple, pear, etc.) to advise on the ratios of fats, proteins and carbs that are required for maximum results and health. For example, an apple-shaped body generally works best with less carbs and more fat, an athletic person wanting to build muscle will need far more protein than the average gym goer, and a runner will need tonnes of carbs to fuel their training.

To give you an idea, here is an example of a nutritional profile. The following calories and macro recommendations are based on an individual with these statistics:

  • Age: Early twenties
  • Height: 5ft 3in
  • Weight: 120lbs
  • Activity level: 4 workouts per week combining HIIT and weight training
Fat loss Macros Maintenance Macros Muscle Building Macros
Carbohydrates: 124g Carbohydrates: 155g Carbohydrates: 211g
Protein: 124g Protein: 103g Protein: 141g
Fat: 28g Fat: 38g Fat: 52g

As you can see, the macros vary hugely depending on what your goal is. You must remember that what is right for one person won't be right for another, so its paramount that you make sure you're eating what is right for you and your body.

*Please note, these figures are dependent on a vast number of factors. We recommend contacting Carly regarding her personal training and nutritional services to ensure you are eating correctly for your body.

So, what about my nutritional profile?

At present I eat around 2,500 – 3,000 calories per day. I am extremely active and have a lot of muscle mass, therefore my body type is ‘Mesomorph’. This means that I have an athletic build and can gain muscle whilst keeping my body fat relatively low. This body type is ideal for bodybuilding.

Body types like mine work best with middle range carbs, between 20-50%of my total calorie intake. If I am looking to gain muscle I work within the 40-50% carb range, maintenance would be 30-40%, and fat loss would be around 20%. As I am a woman I have a greater reliance on fats for energy than a man, and so I adjust my fat ratio in line with the carbs I take in. Protein then makes up the last part of the macros puzzle.

Each macronutrient is used and broken down by the body differently, and so it takes a bit of trial and error before you reach the levels that are optimum for you. In addition to that, your calories and macros are constantly evolving with your training, so it's good to try new things to make sure that you are progressing. I am no exception to this!

[caption id="attachment_641" align="aligncenter" width="150"]Carly Tierney Personal Trainer Guest post by PT & Media Fitness Expert Carly Yue.[/caption]