In the 7th installment of “Indomitable Fitness, Athletics and Heroics” with guest contributor Bill Walker, he gives his views on Macros, what they are and how they can fix your dieting.
“You can’t eat that!” said the bro, as he talked about a life of doughnuts, burritos and ice cream.
“Why not bro?”
“Because bro. The sugars bro. The sugars!”
“Bro, but I can.”
“It’s not healthy” said the bro, “too many carbs make you fat.”
“Why?” said the other bro.
“Because bro, carbs and clean eating.”
“What makes it clean?” He asked the bro.
The bro now befuddled possessed a look of amazement, confusion and disbelief on his face and uttered only two words…
If you have ever seen my social media, or know me in person, you know I now talk about macros. You may see me post a burrito or a doughnut and facetiously troll you with the term “dieting.” You may scroll through social media or the internet in general and stumble upon the term “IIFYM.” Is that a syntax code or a type of gang? No, IIFYM is an acronym for “If It Fits Your Macros.” A cheat meal you say, I don’t believe in cheat meals. What if I told you I have budgeted said burrito in my diet for that day? What if I told you I sometimes eat a Klondike bar (fun fact- you can often catch them on sale at Giant. Please do not tag me with a picture of a plain flavored Klondike bar) at night just because I want one? No, this is no wizardry, this is known as flexible dieting.
How does this work? Well I do count calories in a sense, except they’re more detailed. Many of us happy individuals in the realm of fitness count macros. Macros are short for Macronutrients…proteins, carbs and fats. Basically they are a subset of calories. Counting calories specifically can seem overwhelming. Who has the patience to count 450 calories here, 800 here and 572 here and how do know you’re getting the right calories, how would you know much protein you should eat in a day?
In a nutshell it works as follows. Your calories are like money and you get a certain amount each day. Go over and you gain weight. Stay under or hit the numbers and you’ll hit your goal whether it’s maintenance or fat loss.
1 gram of protein…4 calories
1 gram of carbs…..4 calories
1 gram of fat….9 calories
My current macro split…190 grams of protein, 210 carbs and 56 fats. 35% protein, 40% carbs and 25% fats. Currently I plan on upping the carbs by 20 grams but that below leads to 2,104 calories.
190 x 4 = 760
210 x 4 = 840
56 x 9 = 504
Add these three numbers up…2104
Do you have to use these numbers or this percentage split? No. This is what I use and what has worked for me. Bonus fact, I think this number is low enough so that if I go over (and you will as a rookie) then you still have wiggle room for dietary error…eating more than you should lol.
There are apps that count this for you. The best IMO being “MyFitnessPal.” If you get the premium membership, you can do more. It’s currently fifty bucks a year. It’s beyond worth it. Funny story I got the app last year and had a tough time calculating stuff, I literally felt like Steve Rogers just waking up and seeing a whole new world. I was terrible. I still used pen and paper. Can you use that? You can but why? One day in the gym I spoke to Juan and asked “What is this premium membership?” He said that’s what he uses. Instantly everything clicked. Don’t skimp out on yourself. Pay that fifty lol. It has literally been THE best nutritional investment I ever made.
So you just eat whatever and lose weight?
Well not in totality. I don’t eat Klondikes all day. One being that when you eat “fun food” often you’re still hungry as it has no fiber or anything other than a small portion with a sizable quotient of carbs and fats. It’s not the fun food that makes you fat but an excess of calories. Say you eat 3 Klondikes…well you have to multiple 13 or so grams of fat times three and 29-33 grams of carbs (yes I know what they are) times three and boom…yeah that’s a lot of calories to yield nothing energy wise other than pleasure. So I do eat whole foods…whole foods meaning minimally processed or not at all. Things like fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean animal flesh. I personally believe in eating mostly whole unprocessed foods for about 80% of your calories and the other 20 % (or whatever number you decide) is an all out free for all. You may even choose not to indulge in pleasure foods and just keep on rocking. That’s cool too. The point is that you consistently track your macros.
“Bill I don’t need to count, I just eat clean…”
Good luck, but why would you leave your diet to chance like that?
Whether you “eat clean” or utilize “flexible dieting” numbers are numbers. No matter what you can’t escape science just like you can’t outdo the law of gravity.
However I can personally tell you that utilizing macros is one of the greatest things I have done on my fitness quest. If I have a day or two where I can go over, I just stay the course and I’m back on my square after a while. Please note that your body counts macros whether you choose to or not lol. And yes you can “clean eat” and still count your macros.
And yes I have posted detailed videos that you can view.
There are many great nutrition groups that you can find online but THE final nail in the coffin was my bro Juan Gonzalez…. @fitnessflourishpres on Instagram a great resource, trainer, and fellow Flexible Dieter. It’s one thing to see people talk about it from internet land but it’s more potent when you know the person and know that when he post that doughnut or awesome food, he really lives it and gets results.
Once I got aggressive with macro counting in February I cut 20 lbs from my frame without any low carb diet, strictly high reps in the gym (some people prefer high reps in the gym to get cut. I personally think this is not needed but if you like it, then have at it), and was still able to keep and gain my strength. This was from February to probably around May or at the latest early June.
So I just enter the food in my app and that’s it?
What about sugars?
What about them?
How much sugar should I have?
That really depends on you….but note that carbs are sugars…it’s less about “cutting sugar” but more so cutting calories.
Can I eat carbs at night?
I won’t get fat from eating and laying down?
Getting fat is a matter of overeating combined with low energy expenditure (no activity). After a long day at work, I’ve walked in the house at close to 11 or whatever time and eaten a klondike bar and a piece of chicken for my dinner.
Fun fact – when you look at a nutrition label… and you look at carbs…and then see sugars. It’s not separate…sugars are carbs…you’re body processes it as…carbs.
1 gram of sugar…1 carb…4 calories.
When you see something that says no sugar, it means no additional sugars were added. You’re eating sugars whether they come from candy, rice or fruit…yes fruit.
It’s not that sugar is the devil. Overeating is the devil. One bowl of ice cream won’t make you fat just like one workout won’t make you Black Panther or Thor. What matters is that magic word known as “consistency.” Are you consistently staying within your macro range or are you consistently overeating?
And note that when I took the personal trainer exam from the National Academy of Sports Medicine…big time cert, one of the things it tells you is that you can eat carbs at night.
When you “cut carbs,” all you’re doing is cutting calories.
So Bill…all you’re saying is keep track of your numbers and that’s it?
What about vitamins and minerals?
Micro nutrients. Different animal here but the main thing is hit your macros.
What about sugars and diseases?
If you rock a suitable body fat level then why would you worry about that as much? Can a case be made for all of that? Maybe but this discussion is strictly for body composition…muscle to fat ratio.
I asked Juan for a solid list of videos he thought were good on this topic…as you can imagine there are many. Here are three. The last one is extra solid. Penultimately, (I really wanted to use that word today) I will add that make sure you are also equipped with a digital food scale and an arsenal of measuring kitchen tools.
Again shout out to my homeboy Juan Gonzalez. You can reach him via Instagram at @Fitnessflourishpres
Well that’s it for now. If you have a question or comment, feel free to holla at me. Nutrition as it is stands in the fitness industry is ninety percent nonsense. Often times you may feel like Odysseus caught between the dreaded dual conundrum of Scylla and Charybdis, navigating yourself through perils of contradictory information onslaught. It really is simple my friends. Now get out there and don’t be afraid to enjoy some food. Like my homeboy Shad Mitchell once told me after a workout eating an earned ice cream bar, “Splurge but don’t binge.”