July 17, 2022
Macro-based dieting is extremely popular these days, and with good reason. Tracking macros is an easy way to focus on the high-level nutrition profile of the foods that you eat. Depending on the fitness results that you are looking for, you might be looking for a different macro split, whether that is low carb, high protein, low fat, or so on. However, if you are new to the concept and looking to get started, then this is the article for you.
The word macronutrient literally means “big nutrient” and, put simply, macronutrients are the nutrients that you need a lot of. This generally refers to protein, fat, and carbohydrates (water is also sometimes included - read more on that here). These three nutrients all provide your body with energy, better known as calories. Because of this, macros diets are often defined in terms of percentages of each macro, which is the percentage of your total calories that come from each. For instance, the Zone Diet advocates 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein. Other times, the diets will be described just in terms of the number of grams of each macro eaten in a day, such as 150g protein, 250g carbs, and 50g fat. Both methods work and you can use whichever makes more sense to you.
Side note: Before we move on, we should mention that there is one other nutrient that provides calories, and that is alcohol - however, on a healthy diet, you should be drinking as little alcohol as possible.
Determining what macro split is best for you will depend on several factors, including your fitness goals, your activity level and metabolism, and more. Ideally, you would have someone experienced with nutrition to assist you with this, such as a nutritionist or a fitness trainer. However, if you can’t afford that, don’t worry - there are plenty of macro calculators available online you can use as a starting point. However, if you have special medical requirements, remember that you should consult a qualified medical professional, and not follow dietary advice that you find on the internet.
The easiest way to count macros is by using a macro tracking app such as Prospre, MyFitnessPal, or LifeSum. Each of these apps will let you effortlessly enter the foods that you eat and they will keep track of your daily nutrition info for you. Which to use is up to you, and you should try them all and use the one which you find the best.
To get the most out of macro tracking apps, you will need to be accurate with the foods you enter into your log. First, you need the amounts to be accurate, and the best way to do this for items such as meat is to use a kitchen scale. They are easy to use, and can be purchased fairly cheap. It will also help you a lot if you are into baking, as you can start following recipes by weight. A second important point to keeping your food log accurate is to log everything you eat. No, you can’t skip entering the late night snack you had, or the cookies that you ate at a business conference - at least, not if you want your log to be a true account of your daily nutrition.
So, now that you’ve got your macro targets, and you know how to keep track of them, how do you make sure you actually hit your targets? Meal planning and meal prep are the most reliable way to do that. Instead of being reactive, and trying to find foods to hit your macros at the end of the day, it is much easier to be proactive and plan meals in advance that you know will hit your targets. Making meal plans that fit your macros can be a challenge, and this is where the Prospre app really shines, as it will create a meal plan for your specific macros, along with a grocery list for the week, and a macro tracker. When we made Prospre, the macro tracking beginner like you is exactly who we had in mind when designing the app.