So how is everyone getting along with tracking their calories? So far so good? Still struggling? Well, for those of you who are getting along quite nicely I have one more thing for you to implement into your diet. For those of you that might be struggling to find your maintenance levels and still need/want help tracking your calories don’t be afraid to contact us and let us help you get going in the right direction!
PSA: If you are about to dive in and start reading and haven’t read my last post (flexible dieting part 1), you may want to go back and read that one first, or else you’ll most likely end up extremely lost by the info that I’m about to get into.
Alright, let’s get a crackin!
Quick recap: We’ve already gone over how to find your maintenance levels, how to track your calories, what to do when your progress plateaus, and the differences between cutting (losing fat) and bulking (gaining muscle). Next thing on the list to cover is how to track your macros (aka macronutrients).
A macro is what your food is made up of. There are three different kinds of macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fats. Each one of these has a certain amount of calories per gram.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carb = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
What do these “macros” have to do with you and your diet?
Well, for anyone out there who is hitting the gym and working out on a regular basis searching for a better body, macros are very important. Your body’s ability to grow/maintain muscle, sustain energy levels, perform optimally, and other factors are heavily determined through your macronutrient intake from day to day. The most important one of these macronutrients to keep track of is protein.
Your body needs a sustainable amount of protein to hold onto the muscle mass that it already has if you are cutting/maintaining, and to gain more muscle if you are bulking. An easy way to ensure you’re getting enough is to eat at least .75 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This is a plentiful amount which will ensure you are getting enough.
example: 120 lb female = 120 grams of protein
180 lb male = 180 grams of protein
Easy enough right? Good! Lets move on. The next macro to incorporate is fats. A lot of people think of fats as being the bad nutrient and that only very minimal amounts are needed in order to get into shape. This isn’t the case at all! Erase that from your minds! Your body will use these fats as an energy source and they also help to keep your brain functioning! A good guideline to go by is using anywhere between 25-40% of your total calories as fat grams. So how do we figure this out you ask?
Well, let’s use Claira Belle as another example. She is eating 1800 calories a day at the moment, and she weighs close to 120 lbs, so her proteins are at 120 grams. If we multiply her total caloric intake by let’s say 30%, that leaves her with 540 calories coming from fat grams. Remember how I said one gram of fat = nine calories?? If we divide 540 fat calories by nine that leaves her with 60 grams of fat. THAT is how many grams of fat she should be eating each day. And she does! She gets to enjoy her ranch dressing and butter everyday with those 540 calories.
So, if she is eating 120 grams of protein a day, which would be 480 calories of her total of 1800 (one gram of protein = 4 calories, remember), and another 60 grams of fat which would be 540 calories of her total of 1800. How do we figure out the carbs? Very simple math my friends. Between her proteins and fats she is eating 1020 calories. All you have to do is subtract that number by her total amount of calories, 1800, and you end up with 780 calories left over. Again, one gram of carbs also equals 4 calories. Divide that number of calories from carbs by 4, and you end up with 195 grams of carbs.
Proteins: 120 grams
Fats: 60 grams
Carbs: 195 grams
All of these macros added up match her total number of calories of 1800.
Keep in mind, Claira Belle is on her way through a bulking phase right now where she is trying to build muscle by slowly adding in calories to get her metabolism firing on all cylinders before she starts to back her calories back down to go into her summer cut. A lot of you ladies out there might not have macros this high, but for the ones that do.. Enjoy them! Claira is LOVING them. Oreo cookies everyday…
Some of you out there might be thinking why in the world would I go through all this trouble of tracking my calories and macros on a daily basis to get results. Well, here’s where things get fun. You can eat WHATEVER your heart desires to hit these numbers! The days of thinking you can only eat chicken and veggies, or oatmeal and egg whites, to lose weight or make progress are out the door! That’s the fun and freedom of Flexible Dieting. It gives you back your free agency in food choices. Who doesn’t love that? While you’re still based around a semi strict number system, there are no restrictions on your food sources!
Now, I know we talk a lot about how we eat cookies and ice cream everyday, but keep in mind the most important factor to Flexible Dieting is hitting your macros on a daily basis. In order to do that you are still going to have to incorporate a lot of “healthy” foods into your diet. You may go out to dinner at Chili’s and still need to order chicken and broccoli to hit your protein goals.. But don’t be afraid to get that delicious looking Oreo Mudslide afterwards as long as it fits into your daily numbers.
This is just an overview on how to track your calories and macros. Like I said before.. Anybody that needs help with any of this don’t be afraid to contact us with questions! We love hearing feedback from you guys and would love to help you on your journey. We are currently working on an online coaching program where we can be there to help you every step of the way!