You wanted to get serious with your fitness journey so you started tracking your macronutrients, but now you’re having a hard time keeping up with it and reaching your daily goal… We know that feeling very well! It's difficult to track calories, protein, fat, and carbs for every single meal, every day. In fact, you might not hit those numbers perfectly all the time, but that's okay!
Although it's ideal to hit your macros every day, it may not be possible, but we're going to help guide you in the right direction. That way you can start hitting your macros as close as possible without having to do last-minute meals or snacks to compensate.
How important is it to hit your macros?
The entire point of tracking macronutrients is to ensure that you're eating enough of the right foods for your goals, be it weight loss or muscle-building. So, you want to be close to hitting them as possible. However, neglecting to hit your macros exactly every day isn't going to affect your progress too much... as long as you're working out, and =are not eating severely under or over.
When tracking macros, going a little over and a little under is fine as long as you’re still close to the goal. You don’t have to be perfect because we all know how difficult and exhausting it can be to control every single aspect of something like eating, so just try to get as close as you can! With time, you’ll get better and better at carefully choosing what to eat, and you’ll be hitting your macros exactly as you planned for your goals!
Tips on how to hit macros exactly
Although you're not expected to nail your macros all the time, it's important that you at least get close to hitting those numbers. So, below are a few tips that will help you nail your macros as close as possible!
Familiarize yourself with single macro foods
When you’re tracking macros, it’s possible that at the end of the day you find yourself needing to fill only one macronutrient. And what better way to hit that last target than with a single-macro food that doesn’t make you go over the board with the others?
There are a lot of foods that consist mainly of protein, carbs, or fat so you can grab them as a quick meal or snack to really achieve that daily balance that you need. These are a few single-macro foods that you should have in your fridge or pantry:
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Oils such as olive, avocado, and coconut oil
- Nuts and nut butter
- Egg yolks
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Egg whites
- Cottage cheese
These are only a few single-macro foods that you can eat in order to reach your daily goal, so feel free to do your own research. If what you need to hit is your protein intake using your favorite isolate protein powder is also a great option!
Fill in the largest remaining macro first
It’s the middle of the afternoon, and you still have 40 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat to go. You’ll want to take care of the largest remaining macro first, in this case, protein, and then move on to the remaining grams of fat. The reason for this is that single-macro foods can still contain small amounts of other macros, so you can primarily reach your protein target while also simultaneously filling the remaining fats. If you choose to fill your fats first, it may be difficult to then reach your protein target without going overboard with the other two macros that already reached their goal. So always go big first!
Choose macro dense foods first
Quantity does not equal density. When creating your meals, you have to make sure that your macros are well balanced on your plate, but also that the quantity is just right for you to enjoy your meal without being left either hungry or extremely full at the end!
The macro density of a food refers to the number of macros contained in said food, and it can vary greatly. For example, a regular carrot will contain about 7 grams of carbs, while a potato will contain up to 37 grams. This knowledge comes in handy when doing meal prep, because you’ll want to choose foods with higher macro density first to really get those macros in, and then foods with less macro density for that final push towards your daily macro target. Eating more is not the same as getting more macros in, so pay attention to that!
Calorie intake is extremely important to keep your body running, and while you should also be keeping an eye on your macros and trying to hit their specific targets, it’s okay to swap carbs and fats from time to time to really get those much-needed calories in. While both carbs and fats provide you with calories, carbs contain just 4 calories per gram while fats contain 9 grams. So, imagine you still need 200 calories for the day. You could reach that target with just healthy fats, just carbs, or a mix of both. But don’t go too crazy with these swaps! Going a little over and under is okay as long as you keep it balanced and don’t make a habit out of it. Your body still needs those macros to support your fitness journey.
Indulge a little
Hitting your macros with whole foods that are high in nutrients and fiber can get exhausting sometimes. And the truth is… You don’t need to do that! At least not all of the time. Indulging yourself is the healthiest choice you can make because you’re not treating your body as a machine but as a part of yourself. While whole food choices are ideal for a good macro diet, foods that are higher in calories are perfect for times when you want to change things up a bit while still hitting your end-of-the-day macros. This flexible dieting approach is called IIFYM, short for If It Fits Your Macros, meaning that you can meet your macro targets with any food you want as long as it fits your macros. Foods like nuts, nut butters such as peanut butter, granola, protein bars, chia seeds, and dark chocolate paired with some Greek yogurt are perfect to create midday snacks that are tasty and different, but still, help you reach your macro goals.
Use a tracking app
There are various apps that help you track calories and even macros to help make it easier for you. These apps typically have a large food database so you can easily track any meals you make or buy! However, there's one tracking app that does so much more... The Fit With Iulia app!
The Fit With Iulia app is a fitness app that has new goal-focused workouts every week, but it also includes its very own built-in macro calculator and tracker known as Kitchen! The Kitchen is essentially a food journal where you’ll be able to plan your meals daily or weekly according to your macros so that you have better control over what you eat and can keep track easily.
First, use the Fit With Iulia Macro Calculator to find your macronutrient ratios and the number of calories you need to eat in a day according to your body weight and type, activity level, fitness goals, and other important factors. Alternatively, you could complete a 5-day assessment in which you add everything you eat to the app and it’ll calculate your actual macro results based on that. Then you’re free to use the Kitchen! It has an expansive food library that you can easily use to log your daily meals in order to better visualize your macro intake, as well as create new meals for your daily or weekly meal plan since you’re able to search foods by macro (carbs, fats, and protein), level of healthiness if they’re vegan or vegetarian, and even if they’re lactose or gluten-free!
Track more accurately
Follow the above tips and you'll be ready to really hit those daily macro targets and on your way to an improved fitness journey that actually supports your goals and training efforts. And don’t forget to calculate your macros every few weeks as your body changes in order to keep doing what’s best for your body!
Want to try the Fit With Iulia app at no cost?
Everyone is eligible for a 7-day free trial which will give you full access to the Fit With Iulia app. This includes our 5-day macro assessment, macro tracking, goal-focused workout plans, and so much more!
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