Tracking macros, also known as flexible dieting, is a simple way of eating that is hugely loved here at THE BOD. Now, if you’re new to this way of eating, it can be a little scary figuring out what it is, how it works, what exactly you need to do, etc. But that’s why we’re here, sis! We’ve answered all your burning questions below.
So, what exactly are macros?
Macros, or macronutrients, consist of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. These are the essential macronutrients required to control your body composition, body fat and ultimately, your results. More importantly, these macronutrients ensure optimal nutrition for yourself.
Knowing the macro breakdown of your food and daily calorie intake equips you with the tools to make informed choices. Two men or women of the same weight and height, may require very different macro ratios simply due to differing goals in mind.
Check out our macro cheat sheet to develop an understanding of what makes up food so you can eat accordingly.
Why should I track macros?
Essentially, tracking macros allows you the freedom to eat the foods you enjoy, while still maintaining your health and fitness goals.
You can follow a meal plan, change up your diet from day-to-day, or do a combination of both, while ensuring your caloric and macronutrient needs are met. And if you’re craving a treat throughout the day - go for it!
Tracking macros doesn’t mean eating junk food day in, day out, however, it does mean that by focusing on your macronutrient intake rather than eating certain foods or sticking to a strict regime you can stay on track and be able to live your life with balance.
Health is your number one priority. You still need to ensure that the majority of your intake is made up of minimally processed and wholefood options, and you adhere to your micronutrient needs (minerals, fibre and vitamin intake) too.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build lean muscle, or maintain your weight, tracking macros is a sustainable, simple and effective way of eating that you can do for life.
Here are some of the pro’s of tracking macros:
- It’s a long-term and maintainable approach to eating
- Allows you to include a variety of foods and source nutrients from an array of produce
- Allows for more flexibility in your day-to-day eating
- Eat the foods you love
- Convenient when travelling, socialising or at work functions
How are my macros calculated?
Your macros are calculated based on your measurements, but also your physical activity and amount of lean muscle mass you hold.
The good news is, you don’t have to whip out your calculator and get your mathematical hat on yourself - we’ve made it super easy to work out your macros with our handy (and free!) Macro Calculator.
With THE BOD Macro Calculator you can easily calculate your daily nutrition goals and whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or maintain your weight, we’ll work out the macros to get you there!
Get access to our free Macro Calculator here.
What’s the difference between tracking macros and set meal plans?
A set meal plan consists of fixed meals you follow and consume day-to-day. Having the same meals provides ease of use, but has its negatives too. Some people find it mentally challenging to eat the same thing every day, while others love the convenience of it. One advantage and reason we believe in set meal plans is that it shows an example of how you can set out your food and how much food an individual can consume on a specific amount of calories. It can be hard to envision the total daily amount that can be consumed if you’re not familiar with the breakdown and caloric values of food.
If a set meal plan is the lifestyle choice for you, we recommend varying your vegetable intake and fruit selections. This will help to limit any potential nutrient deficiencies that could arise from limiting variety.
Tracking macros, on the other hand, allows you the freedom to be able to eat different foods that you may crave throughout the day while adapting to different lifestyle circumstances. However, this does not mean eating junk food all day, every day. It’s about allowing you the flexibility to be able to live your life with balance and enjoy treats in moderation. The secret is doing this without going over your required macros and calories, allowing you to still achieve your goals and get that butt you deserve.
Is it hard tracking macros?
Don't be consumed by numbers. Tracking your own macros is effective, but can easily turn into a daily counting game. There are several ways to make tracking your macros fit easily into your lifestyle including:
- Use an app to scan any packaged foods and obtain accurate nutritional info on ingredients.
- Setting out meal plans in advance. Choose your meals and snacks from THE BOD app or THE BOD Fuel recipe book, where you can easily find the macros for each recipe.
- Use a macro-focused app, such as THE BOD app. We’ve made it simple to determine your macros, find macro-friendly recipes, and easily log/keep track of your daily macros - all at your fingertips.
- Eyeball food when you have to. Over time, you'll be able to tell apart a small apple (approx. 150g) from a large apple (220g) and won't feel the need to whip out a scale every time you grab for a Red Delicious.
What happens if I don’t hit my macros target every day? Will I lose all my progress?
Don’t expect every single day to be a success, sis. Sometimes you’ll go over, sometimes you’ll go under. Sometimes your tracking has to be less precise than you’d like. It doesn’t matter, just try to get as close as you can!
With time, you’ll get better at carefully choosing what to eat, and you’ll be hitting your macros exactly as you planned for your goals! Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint! Just like you didn’t make all your progress in one day, you won’t lose it in one either.
I’m ready to start tracking macros, how do I begin?
- Write down your goals
Take some time to note down your nutrition-specific goals and keep them somewhere where you can easily refer back to them. Make sure you set S.M.A.R.T goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. For example, “I want to drop 5kg in body weight through adhering to my macros consistently over the next 12 weeks and weighing myself daily.”
- Determine your starting point
Track your current eating habits in an app such as THE BOD App and do this for at least a week. By consistently noting down your eating habits, you have a benchmark of where to go from here. If you have been accurately adding your entries, this calorie and macronutrient breakdown will reflect your current ‘maintenance calories’ - the calories that have been maintaining your current body weight.
- Determine your macros
Use THE BOD App or THE BOD Macro Calculator to calculate your personal macronutrients based on your goals. Look at this macronutrient breakdown and calorie intake in conjunction with your current ‘maintenance calories’ and compare them. The goal is to transition to these new calories and macronutrients, and hit these targets consistently.
- Begin tracking
We recommend tracking in advance. For example, enter all the food you plan to eat the next day to avoid any ‘accidents’. Quite often, if you eat and return to tracking later, you’ll find that you may have gone over or left only a small allowance of food for the remainder of the day. You may even find that at the end of the day you are nowhere near your protein goal! We recommend entering in your main meals first (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and from there, take a look at your remaining macros to see which snacks you can fill the rest of your day with.
Tracking macros has to work for you. So it’s important to find consistency and develop your own take on flexible dieting. Be as consistent as you can, and be patient. Once you’ve got the hand of tracking, you can start to get creative. Some people prefer to pick high volume food so they can fill their day up with plenty of snacks and meals, whereas others prefer calorie-dense meals and less snacking. Find what works for you, your lifestyle and preferences.
Where can I find macro-friendly recipes?
We have a BUNCH of macro-friendly recipes over on THE BOD app (160+ recipes, in fact). You can also grab THE BOD Nutrition recipe book, or, if you prefer instant downloads, check out our digital recipe books:
- High-Protein Weeknight Meals
- Snack Attack
- Desserts After Dark
- THE BOD Fuel
- THE BOD Bites
- Macros by Sophie Guidolin
Don’t be put off by the measuring and weighing of it all! When done right, tracking your own macros is a healthy and maintainable way of life that allows you to change your body composition at the same time. After learning how to track and weigh your food correctly, it becomes as natural as riding a bike!
Remember, we’re here for you, GF! Get in touch with our Customer Support if you have questions and you'd like more help with your flexible dieting journey. We'd love to help you!
Ready to start tracking macros? Get your FREE 7-day trial of THE BOD app today!