A calorie and macro calculator has become incredibly common these days, and we have numerous equations to pick from. Knowing your macros has many dietary benefits. And even if you’re not a nutrition expert, it’s good to have a working knowledge of your macronutrients.
Ever since the rise of IIFYM (“if it fits your macros”), thousands of fitness enthusiasts have jumped on the macro-tracking bandwagon, claiming that it’s the best way to get fit and enjoy dietary freedom.
But is that true? Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the topic.
What are ‘Macros?’
Macros (short for macronutrients) are the components that make up food.
There are three macronutrients:
Each of the three carries an energetic value – proteins and carbs offer four calories per gram, and fats provide nine calories per gram.
So, for example, if you consume 10 grams of carbs, you would ingest 40 calories. Ten grams of fats would net you 90 calories.
Each macronutrient plays a unique and essential role within the body.
- Carbs are the primary source of energy for the body.
- Protein helps with muscle recovery, growth, physical development, and more.
- Fats play various metabolic functions and help with cell and hormone creation.
To stay healthy and optimize our fitness, we need to have a balanced intake of all three macronutrients.
Calorie and Macro Calculator
What is IIFYM?
IIFYM stands for if it fits your macros. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a diet, but rather a philosophy toward food. Instead of demonizing food and labeling it as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ we see it for what it is:
Fuel for the body.
And, like all types of fuel, it can vary in its quality and usefulness. So, instead of seeing it as healthy or unhealthy, we see it as more and less nutritious.
The goal of IIFYM is to hit your daily macronutrient goals. For example, if you need to consume around 160 grams of protein, 60 grams of fats, and 300 grams of carbs, your primary objective is to hit all three numbers however you wish.
Carbohydrates: Important in fitness and exercise, because they provide the fuel and energy to facilitate activity and intensity.
Examples: Whole Grains, Fruits, Dairy, Healthy Vegetables
Protein: These are the muscle builders that repair and build muscle after your workouts.
Examples: Lean Meats, Chicken Breast, Fish, Beans
Fats: Fats provide essential fatty acids. There are many healthy fats too, like healthy oils and nuts.
Examples: Olive Oil, Walnuts, Almonds
Is Knowing and Tracking Your Macros Beneficial?
In short, absolutely. Tracking your macros is beneficial because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. Instead of continually having to worry about the quality of your meal plan, you have actionable data.
Take, for example, protein needs. Without an adequate protein intake, you won’t recover well from your workouts, and you won’t grow muscle optimally. By tracking your protein intake, you will eliminate this risk, and you won’t have to worry and ask questions like, “Am I eating enough protein?”
Benefits Of a Calorie and Macro Calculator
One of the most notable benefits of a calorie and macro calculator is that it keeps you in check. We often don’t realize how much food we are eating and claim things like, “I barely eat, yet I can’t lose a single pound of weight.”
When most people start tracking their intake, they realize that their estimates are way off.
Another benefit of tracking your calories and macros is that you become more aware of your nutritional choices, which often leads to healthier food choices. This is really key to your overall wellness and weight control. Knowledge is power, and as you gain that knowledge you’ll have increasing power over your wellness.
And finally, perhaps the greatest benefit of a calorie and macro calculator is the one about precision. If your goal is muscle gain, you can maintain a small calorie surplus, gain weight slowly, and mostly build muscle with little fat accumulation. On the other hand, if you want to lose fat, you can maintain a moderate deficit and mostly lose fat without risking your muscle tissue.
This precision is only possible through tracking and ensures better results in the long run.
This is a liberating, flexible, and highly effective way to approach your nutrition because you achieve great fitness results, but you don’t have to restrict foods unnecessarily.
And the truth is, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. in macronutrient tracking to reap the benefits. Having a general idea of your macros is a great way to control your weight, improve your health, and become fit.