Simply put, “macros” are macronutrients – the protein, carbohydrates, and fats that we obtain calories from. Here’s some additional information that sums them up nicely.
What is tracking macros all about?
Tracking macros (and flexible dieting) really isn’t a diet. It’s more of a lifestyle that considers your caloric needs with an appropriate range of macronutrients in mind. It’s a very flexible way of eating that gives you all sorts of awesome food freedom in your diet, but it’s not eating whatever you want all the time. Rather, it’s a way to incorporate foods into your diet that will allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle without missing out on the foods you love. At the end of the day, tracking macros is all about making your aware of your food choices and helping you to make smarter ones based on what you are consuming daily.
Who are macros for?
Macros can be useful to almost anyone! They are a great educational tool to gain a better understanding of what you are consuming and how those choices make you feel, perform, and reach certain body composition goals. Macros are truly for anyone seeking to optimize their health through nutrition – simply by learning to balance their meals (and macro choices) for their individualized needs.
I don’t eat meat. Will macros work for me?
Absolutely! You don’t need to follow a specific diet to track macros. You can be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, AIP, low-carb, etc., and macros will still work for you. The thing is – if you don’t know how to hit your protein goal, for example, macros can be challenging. Working with a nutrition coach to address some of these personal challenges will teach you what you need to do, so you can go off on your own and track like a champ!
What can I expect from my coach?
Your coach is an educational resource, accountability partner, and cheerleader, who walks you through the process of learning to track your macros. Your coach will provide guidance related to tracking challenges, social events, and other situations that you may encounter. Additionally, they’ll check-in regularly with you and give you feedback on your tracking. Both you and your coach will work together to figure out what habits work best for your lifestyle while customizing your macro goals and supporting you every step of the way.
Will my coach tell me what to eat?
Through working with many clients over the years, we learned that just telling you what to eat isn’t effective or realistic in the long-term. Instead, we want to empower, educate, and guide you to make choices that work for you on your own. From a coaching standpoint, this includes sending you weekly recipes to help inspire your meal planning, making food swap suggestions, and finding macro-friendly foods to fit within your personal goals.
Do you do regular check-ins with clients?
Yes, we do weekly check-ins (sometimes more often depending on the client) via WhatsApp, a free voice messaging app for both the 4- and 8-week macro plans. It’s a great way to really get to know clients and their challenges. Plus, it’s so much easier to chat when they have questions or concerns. Clients also have the opportunity to send along screenshots of their tracking in MyFitnessPal for feedback.
What app to clients use to track their macros?
Our clients use MyFitnessPal. Once you fill out our intake questionnaire, your coach will calculate your macro goals for both workout and rest days. You will then enter them into MyFitnessPal and keep track on your own – kind of like points in Weight Watchers, but your tracking protein, carbs, and fat grams.
How do you figure out my macros?
We have a handy calculation tool that takes into account your weight, body fat percentage, activity level, exercise type, occupation, body type, and more as a starting point for working together. At the end of the day, it’s just a calculation, so there’s a lot of back-and-forth in the coaching relationship to figure out the right ratio for you. Your coach will make adjustments to your macros as needed. In addition to fat loss goals, we also consider energy levels, workouts, sleep, stress, and other related lifestyle factors when working with our clients.
Do I need to “hit my macros” everyday for them to work?
The closer the better, but no. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever “hit my macros” on the dot! 🙂 Macros are not the be-all, end-all of nutrition. Really, they’re just a framework for helping you make informed decisions about what’s right for you. The last thing I want to happen is having a client become obsessed with the numbers. Macros are simply a tool to help you be successful. I typically tell clients that coming within 10g for protein and carbs and 5g for fat is close enough!
Should I add back the calories I burn during exercise?
If your goal is to lose body fat, then no you should not add them back in – unless you’re training for an endurance event (i.e. half marathon, marathon) and then working with one of our nutrition coaches will help you determine your calorie needs. Here’s why we don’t recommend adding back exercise calories. When you get your macro goals, the calculation has already taken your exercise level into account. We figure out how many calories you’re burning while you exercise and factor that into your macros. If your goal is to lose weight, we then make sure you’re in a deficit, so when you hit your macros, you actually hit your calories with the numbers that you would be at while working out. For example, you just burned 300 calories at the gym and your calorie goal is 2,000 for the day. If you add those calories back, you’re eating 2,300 calories, so now you’re at maintenance or even above maintenance, which will not help you get to your goal.
Is there a difference between macro tracking and IIFYM (aka “If It Fits Your Macros”)?
They’re very similar, but IIFYM, at its core, basically says no foods are off limits as long as they fit into your daily macro goals. But like anything, there are people who abuse this flexibility and don’t do it properly. Sure, you can get ice cream and buffalo wings to fit your macros, but it’s not very healthy. Our coaches focus on food quality and emphasize whole, nutritious foods as much as possible. We’re actually a little crazy about veggies and fruit! 🙂 Of course, we’re never going to tell a client that they can’t have their favorite foods in their diet, but our ultimate goal is to have them fill their diet with as many healthy foods as possible first. Plus, in order to lose fat and build muscle, which is a common goal among our clients, you need a proper ratio of protein, carbs, micronutrients, and fiber in your diet. Nutrition and food quality are super important if you want to look and feel your best!
How much weight should I expect to lose per week while tracking my macros?
Everyone is different and your macro numbers are set to promote a safe, steady fat loss, but we typically aim for 0-1 pounds per week, which is safe and sustainable. I wish I could tell you that macros are some magical way of life that makes the weight fall right off, but our goal is always to help a client work towards their goals at a realistic pace while establishing consistent lifestyle habits. Plus, drastic weight loss never works – you’ll just gain it right back! You may have a week or two where you drop a small amount or stay the same – and this is TOTALLY normal. Focus more on your progress pictures and how you feel. Remember: You are making a long-term, lifestyle change. Think about the big picture, and I promise the results will pay off!
Why don’t you provide custom meal plans that tell me what to eat?
Our goal is always to TEACH clients how to eat a balanced diet with the help of macros as a guide/framework. We don’t want you to feel like you’re “on” or “off” the wagon when it comes to your diet, and this ALL or NONE mentally often leads to unhealthy habits. Balanced eating is not black and white, and we want to help you make a sustainable change by letting you take control of your food choices. Once you learn how macros can work for you, it becomes second nature and part of your lifestyle for the long-term!
Is it hard to weigh and measure your food?
Weighing and measuring food is definitely not hard! It does take a bit of learning in the beginning, but after some practice, you will have gained an understanding of how to weigh and measure efficiently. The goal is not to weigh and measure all your food forever. Instead, it’s a short-term tool to be able to better gauge what a portion looks like without having to use the scale.
I want to give this macro thing a try. What do I do now?
Awesome! Sign up for one of our macro plans. (The 4- and 8-week plans include one-on-one nutrition coaching.) Once you place your order, you’ll receive an email that includes our preliminary questionnaire. Fill this out and hit submit. Once we receive this information, your assigned coach will be in touch to get you started!