Tracking Macros vs. Calories: Which Matters More?
Calories over macros, macros over calories. Which one really matters more? Counting calories has been the “go to” for the diet world for a long time. It’s simple, calories in – calories out. But is it really the best way when trying to carve out your physique? You have heard me say this before, if you want a detailed physique, you need to get detailed in the gym and kitchen. Counting your macros will help you accomplish just that!
Calories are comprised of three macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat.
● Protein contain four calories per gram.
● Fat contains nine calories per gram.
● Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram.
Each macronutrient has a different function within our bodies. To achieve our optimal physiques and health goals, you need to find the right ratio of carbs, fats and protein according to your age, gender, weight, height and activity level. Finding the right balance is crucial to getting your body functioning to the best of its ability and will help you reach the fitness goals you’ve been striving for. To fully understand how to calculate what your body needs, check out my articles on BMR and TDEE.
WHY are macros more important?
Each macronutrient plays a vital role in your body’s function. Which is why hitting your macros is far more important than staying within your caloric budget – quantity versus quality. Not all calories are created equal. You have to fuel your body accordingly, depending on your goals. For example, building more muscle requires more carbohydrates because you’ll be burning more glycogen. Although 100 calories of candy is the same as 100 calories of rice (from an caloric energy perspective), they are broken down and used very differently in our bodies. Macro counting lends to a more mindful approach to our daily eating habits and allows you to delve deeper into your body’s needs. Correct management of your macros can help you achieve your physique goals faster than counting calories alone.
For a lot of women this concept can seem really scary. I hear women say, “I hit my macronutrients, but I’m over my calorie budget, I feel like I’m doing this wrong.” The truth is, there are a lot of reasons why our caloric and macronutrient needs can sometimes not add up.
Why calories and macros don’t always match up
If you are using any type of food tracking app, you may find from time to time the macros and calories simply don’t add up. Shouldn’t they just match? Not necessarily. First, food labels are not 100 percent accurate. The USDA allows foods to be rounded to the nearest five or 10 calories, which may not seem like it would make a huge difference. BUT, when you think about how many different foods you eat throughout the day, this could really add up. This is why your calories and macros may not be be equivalent.
Secondly, macro tracking apps aren’t always consistent either. Check for notes like verified, star or check mark for entries input by the app creators or deemed correct by x amount of users. In addition, companies are allowed to round up/down the decimal point depending on the amount.
Alcohol is another culprit for inconsistencies. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram. Macro tracking apps do not convert these calories to macros (carbs). If you have a five ounce glass of wine, it could say 100 calories and register zero for macronutrients across the board. But what about the carbohydrates in beer? How does your body metabolize the vodka in a vodka soda? Alcohol has a macronutrient value just like everything else. To get a firm grasp on how you calculate the macronutrients from alcohol, check out my article HERE.
How macros can transform our physiques:
If you are just chugging along, working out consistently, eating healthy but not really tracking what is going in to your body, you may not be giving it the fuel it needs to reach your goals. Counting macros gives you an increased awareness of the quality of food you are ingesting and it allows you to find the right balance and will feed your body EXACTLY what it needs to be the best it can be! By finding your unique macro numbers, you will dial in to your body’s requirements based on activity level, age, weight, height and gender. All these factors set out a road map to help you transform your physique. Carving out your best physique is a science!
I’ll say it again: if you want a detailed physique, you have to get detailed! Dialing in those macros can make all the difference in chiseling out your best physique. Tracking your macros forces you to take an in depth look at the food you are consuming, ensures you are getting the proper balance of protein, carbs and fat, gives you the fuel to crush your workouts and will have you on the road to reaching your goals in no time!
To get even more detailed in the kitchen, check out my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs. In each one of my training ebooks, I walk you through how to calculate your macros tailored precisely for you. For more information on how to eat to your specific needs, click on the button below!