The Macro Split and You
How to work out your macros, and why
Macros is short for macronutrients, the nutrients the body needs in high quantity. These are also the nutrients that provide calories. Foods also contain micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc) and other bulk such as fibre, and water. Consuming macronutrients in different percentages can provide different benefits. Let’s look at each in turn.
Protein in the body is turned over each and every day- this means the body breaks it down and rebuilds it. When you work out micro tears in the muscle are rebuilt stronger to be able to withstand the stress from working out. Protein is important for:
- The immune system
- Healthy bones
- Stabilise blood sugar levels
- Boost metabolism
PROTEIN PROVIDES 4 CALORIES PER GRAM
Recommendation: studies show 1.8-2.9g of protein per kg of body weight, or around 30% of total calories produces optimal results.
In fact, fat is an integral part of each cell membrane. The body requires a sufficient intake of fat to keep up hormone levels- the body’s signalling system. Hormones are fundamental to virtually every bodily process, so their significance can’t be underestimated!
FAT PROVIDES 9 CALORIES PER GRAM
Recommendation: a minimum of 20% of your calorie target should come from fats.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are your body’s preferred source of energy. These bad boys are stored in muscle as glycogen (check out chem books if you’re interested!) and used up first when circulating in the blood. Carbs provide easy energy, as they’re quicker to break down compared to fat or protein. The brain and red blood cells require carb sources exclusively, and carbs are necessary in using fat for energy.
CARBS PROVIDE 4 CALORIES PER GRAM
Recommendation: once you’ve worked out your protein and fat intake, whatever is left is your carb target. Roughly 40-50% of calories.
Whilst generally not considered to provide calories (again, check your chem books!) fibre helps with satiety levels and keeps you, ahem, regular. In combination with water fibre helps push everything through the digestive system and out the other end. It’s gotta happen! It’s recommended to consume at least 25g fibre per day.
So, if you’ve worked out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and adjusted for your goals, let’s give you an example of your macro goals. We always work our protein goals first. If your calorie target is 1900 and your body weight is 70kg, aiming for 2g of protein per body weight means your goal is around 140g. If we work 30% of your total intake 1900 X 0.3= 570 calories then work out how many grams that is (570/ 4= 142.5), we’ll round it up to 143.
We’ll give ourselves 25% of calories for fat, to make sure we get enough of those healthy fats! (1900 x 0.25= 475) then divide that by the grams (475/9= 52.7g), so again we’ll round up to 53g
Finally, for carbs the remainder of 100% is 45% so 1900 x 0.45 = 855. Then 855/4= 213.47, or 214 to make things easier. See the table below:
EXAMPLE SELF-TRACKING TARGETS
Daily Calorie target: 1900
Protein goal 30% – 143g
Fat goal 25% – 53g
Carbohydrate goal 45% – 214g
Fibre Minimum – 25g
Of course you can also enter your goals into a tracking app such as My Fitness Pal, and it works it all out for you! And now you can get down to working out your food for the week. Try Our Top 5 Family Favourites and Our Favourite Desserts Under 200 cals for inspo!