- Calculate your calories and macronutrients. This is your first step when you begin tracking your macros. You can have a coach calculate them for you or use an online calculator. This will tell you how many calories to eat and how much carbs, fat and protein you need. These will all depend on what you are looking to achieve. For instance, if you are trying to bulk, you would need higher carbs (example: 50% carbs/20% fat/30% protein) but if you are trying to cut and lose fat, you may need more protein (example: 30% carbs/25% fat/40% protein). It’s important to remember that everyone is different and what may work for one person may not work for another. You can try out different macros and see how your body responds and then adjust them to see what works for you.
2. Download MyFitnessPal. You can use the app MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros. You will need to go into settings to adjust your calories and macronutrients. The app will show you how many calories you are eating, and will break down your macronutrients by percentages in a pie chart. You can check your macronutrients daily and weekly to see your overall percentages for the day or the whole week.
3. Plan and log your meals the day before. This will help tremendously to prevent you from being off on your macros at the end of the night. Eating impulsively can mess up your whole day and make it impossible to meet your macros.
4. Meal Prep. Plan a day once a week to prepare some foods for your week. Have plenty of complex carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, muffins, whole grains etc. You will need proteins such as grilled chicken, ground turkey, hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Have nut butters, avocado, coconut and olive oil, etc. on hand to add to meals for some healthy fats. This is an example of my weekly meal prep:
5. Weigh your foods. Invest in a food scale to weigh everything you eat, that way you are getting accurate measurements for your macros. Some other tools you will need to measure your foods are a measuring cup and TSP/TBS spoons.
6. Write down a grocery list and meal plan. Plan your grocery trip every week by writing a detailed meal plan and list of everything you need to buy. This will keep you on track and help avoiding meals that don’t end up fitting your macros.
7. Trial and error. Don’t expect to get your macros correct every day in the beginning. It takes trial and error to learn what to eat everyday to get it right. Pay attention to how each food affects your macros. Add foods one at a time and then go and check how it affects your percentages. This will teach you what macronutrients each type of food has.
8. Plan ahead. Plan out meals early in the day if you have plans to go out to a restaurant. Check out their menu online and choose what you’re going to order. Track it on myfitnesspal and plan the rest of your day around it. MFP has most restaurant meals already added into their database. If not, you can estimate by adding each food that comes with your meal. It may not be 100% accurate that way, but at least you will have an estimate so you will be pretty close to your macros for the day.
9. Smoothies and protein shakes! These can be a lifesaver on days when your macros are off because you can add whatever you want to help you hit your goal. Add fruit and veggies if you need more carbs. Bananas are especially good to up your carbs and will sweeten your smoothie. Protein powder will help if you need to hit your protein macro. Greek yogurt, flax seeds, chia seeds, and raw egg white (pasteurized egg white in the carton are ok to consume raw and you cant even taste them!) are also great proteins to add. To add some healthy fats, you can add nut butters, avocados or coconut oil.
10. Remember that macros aren’t everything. You may be able to meet your macros by eating waffles, ice cream and chips BUT it doesn’t mean that you are fueling your body with the right vitamins and nutrients it needs. This does not mean that you can’t indulge once in awhile, but the beauty of counting macros is being able to create a BALANCE. Make sure the majority of your foods are healthy and nutrient dense, but try to make it fit within your macros when you do indulge occasionally!