Macronutrient tracking or IIFYM (IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS) has become extremely popular in the fitness industry with the rise of IF (intermittent fasting), intuitive eating, Keto, and more. Heck, I've used it for years!
REMINDER: Nutrition is key when it comes to making progress. No matter how hard you train in the gym, you can’t out-train a bad diet. That is why your nutrition must be in line with your fitness goals.
Why is tracking macros so popular over other diet options? Many people choose to partake in the IIFYM fitness lifestyle because it gives them the ability to fit a healthy balanced lifestyle into their diet. Macro tracking forces you to keep track of what you eat daily and gives you stats regarding which macro; Protein, Carbohydrate, or Fat you may be overeating on or malnourished in.
Let's go back to the basics.
What is a Macronutrient?
Macronutrients, also known as macros for short, are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Basically, everything you eat can be broken down into these three macronutrient categories. Micronutrients are the subset that includes the various vitamins and minerals we consume.
What is a Micronutrient?
Micronutrients are essential elements needed by life in small quantities. They include microminerals and Vitamins. Microminerals or trace elements include iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc, and molybdenum.
What is Protein?
Protein is a substance with amino acids, compounds, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sometimes sulfur and is found in many foods. A great example of a protein is the type of nutrient found in meats.
Why do you need protein? Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates can also be defined chemically as neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates come in simple forms such as sugars and in complex forms such as starches and fiber. The body breaks down most sugars and starches into glucose, a simple sugar that the body can use to feed its cells.
Why are carbs so important? Your body uses these foods to make glucose, which is your body's main energy source. Glucose is a type of sugar that can be used right away for energy or stored away to be used later. Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it needs and are a good source of many vitamins and minerals.
What is Fat?
Fat is a term used to describe a class of macronutrients used in metabolism called triglycerides. These make up one of three classes of macronutrients, including proteins and carbohydrates. Fats provide a means of storing energy and act as a food source.
Why do we need fat? The body uses fat as a fuel source, and fat is the major storage form of energy in the body. Fat also has many other important functions in the body, and a moderate amount is needed in the diet for good health. Fats in food come in several forms, including saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.
How do we keep track of the macro and micronutrients we consume?
Each macronutrient has a calorie associated with each gram consumed. Protein is 4 calories a gram; Carbs are 6 calories a gram, and Fat is 6 calories a gram. This will come in handy to memorize for tracking your macros.
The best way for me is by tracking my macros through an app such as MyFitnessPal or Lifesum. These apps let you scan the barcodes on food items or add the label and nutrients yourself. You can adjust your macros to fit your dietary needs.
Let me know any more IIFYM questions you may have. I'm happy to help answer! :)