Why I Count Macros Instead of Calories
I’ve already shared a ton of information about intermittent fasting and carb cycling, which together are the foundation of the FASTer Way to Fat Loss Program. However, another key component to this unbelievably effective program is macronutrient tracking and timing. During our eating window, my clients and I follow an If It Fits Your Macros approach to nutrition. While this program is a gluten free, dairy free program, there is a ton of flexibility otherwise, within the eating window. The reason I believe in this approach so whole-heartedly is because it allows for variety, an individualized approach and some fun through discretionary calories. Those are things that lead to sustainability, which will ultimately get my clients off of the diet rollercoaster and closer to the long term results they want.
There are three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each gram of protein and carbohydrate is equivalent to 4 calories. Each gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories. While it is important to consider calorie intake, namely that we are eating enough, it is incredibly important that we move past counting calories alone, because not all calories are created equally. A diet that is high in simple sugars (carbs) may help you lose weight if you are living in a calorie deficit, however, it will not help you build lean, calorie burning muscle, nor will it help you become a pro-fat burner.
Traditional diets that have you focus on a significantly restricted caloric intake often do not account for the quality of the calories you consume. This leads to lots of “skinny-fat” people who may not look terribly unhealthy, but who are lacking the nutrients their bodies need. This is why all of my clients focus on feeding their bodies with the right macronutrient amounts to fuel their workouts and their days. A simple calorie goal can help you lose weight, but will not necessarily help you lose fat, nor does it necessarily contribute to better overall health.
For a long time, fat has been demonized in the health and fitness industry. However, fat itself will not make you fat. In fact, healthy fats, as part of a clean diet, will support your metabolism, cell signaling, immunity, hormone production, and can improve your mood, body composition and cardiovascular health (Andrews). Fats are necessary for your body to function well. However, it is important to note, that because fats are high in caloric value, you need to pay attention to how much fat you are consuming even if the fats you are eating are, in fact, healthy fats.
Protein is absolutely critical to changing your body composition. Most women do not consume enough protein and find upping their protein intake to be a challenge. However, protein consumption aids your body in replacing worn out cells and muscle repair. In addition, protein helps your body produce more glucagon, which aids your body in burning fat (Andrews). Proteins also have a significant effect on your hormone levels, immune system and your overall brain function. Without sufficient protein you aren’t giving your body what it needs to repair and build your muscles, both of which improve your metabolism and aid in fat burning.
Carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, are incredibly important to fueling your workouts, increasing your energy levels and triggering the release of insulin. This is why I have implemented a carb cycle into the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program. Consuming carbs at the right time will teach your body to reach into your fat stores for energy during and after a workout. However, there are other times when consuming carbs will spike insulin levels in a way that is detrimental to fat burning. Understanding when to consume carbs is a critical piece of becoming a fat burner vs. a sugar burner. (Andrews)
So, do you count calories?
Kind of. We do have a calorie goal each day and that changes based on our workouts for the week. However, it is not okay to just meet your calorie goal without meeting your macronutrient goals. Meeting a calorie goal by consuming the right ratio of each macronutrient will help you do more than just lose weight; it will help you burn fat, increase energy and boost your overall mood.
Is there any room for fun foods?
Absolutely! After we meet our macronutrient goals, there are days when we have some discretionary calories to spend…can you say, “hello donut shop?” If we are eating clean most of the time, timing our macros to correspond to our workouts, and doing well-planned, intentional resistance training and speed burst training workouts, we will have some room for fun, too.
Counting macros is truly a key part of the FASTer Way to Fat Loss Program. My clients and I focus on eating enough of the right things, at the right times, for the right reasons so that we become fat burners. This leads to a flexible lifestyle, improved moods, increased energy, and better overall health.
Want to join my next round? We will be starting soon. This program has been my most successful program to date, and combines the cutting edge nutritional strategies I’ve been sharing about on the blog, with intentional, focused workouts to help you shed the fat you’ve been trying to get rid of for the last few years. I promise you will see results, or your money back. It’s time to find those abs, your energy, and your confidence.
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Andrews, Ryan. “All About Carbohydrates: How Carbs Affect Your Health and Performance. | Precision Nutrition.” Precision Nutrition. N.p., 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.
Andrews, Ryan. “All about Protein: What Is It and How Much Do You Need?” Precision Nutrition. N.p., 09 Apr. 2015. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.
Andrews, Ryan. “Healthy Fats.” Precision Nutrition. N.p., 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Dec. 2016