Calculating your macros is a big step toward achieving your fitness goals, but it doesn’t end there! After calculating comes actually tracking your macros, and this is where a lot of people get a little lost because there are many things to consider and to keep in mind when preparing for it. Particularly for beginners, tracking your macros can be very confusing and overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be! We’re here to help you get started with a few tips so you can make your fitness journey easier while tracking your macros, but first things first…
Why should you calculate your macros?
Macronutrients, or macros for short, are the three most important nutrients in your diet: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It doesn’t matter which kind of diet you’re following, you still need to consume all of the three macronutrients for your body to function correctly and stay healthy. Depending on your goals, you might need some macros more than others, so calculating and keeping track of your macros is a highly effective way to stay on track with your fitness goals and make sure you’re getting the nutrients that you need to achieve them. The reason why it’s important to count macros as opposed to just counting calories is that you can get calories from any food, while macros are more specific to each food. If you’re trying to bulk up, for example, you need to pick protein-rich foods that will help you repair and gain muscle after working out!
The best way to make sure that you’re eating the right amount of protein that your need, as well as carbs and fats, is by doing macronutrient calculations according to your age, weight, activity level, and other factors that directly impact your body and how you process different nutrients, and then keeping track of them. This is a flexible dieting approach that will help you make sure you’re on the right track with your fitness goals so you can achieve them in no time!
What should you do after you calculate your macros?
Now that you have your macro results, the next step is getting everything ready to start tracking your macros for a successful fitness journey. Here are some of the things that you should do after you get your macro results to help you stay on the right track and make things easier for you:
Download an app to track them
While you can track your macros manually with a pen and paper or in your notes app, it involves a lot of extra work and calculations that you probably don’t have the time for! There’s nothing more effective than using an app that’s specifically designed to help you keep track of your macros and your diet in general because this way you get that weight off your shoulders while making sure you’re still doing everything correctly. It’s also incredibly helpful for staying accountable with yourself and sticking to your healthy routine, without getting sidetracked or overwhelmed because the app is already doing most of the work for you. Tracking apps nowadays include a variety of foods that you can choose from based on your preferences, such as the Fit With Iulia app! The Kitchen feature is a great place to keep track of what you eat as well as how many calories and macros, just like a food journal, so that you can maximize your fitness efforts. The app offers an expansive food library that you can explore to build an effective meal plan according to your target macros and your food preferences, such as lactose or gluten-free foods as well as vegan and vegetarian options!
Whether you calculate your macros by answering a few questions on the Fit With Iulia Macro Calculator or choose to complete the 5-day assessment within the app for more accurate results, using a tracking app will greatly help you stay on track with your fitness goals.
Prepare your kitchen and grocery list
Now that you know your macros and have a better understanding of what you should be eating, organizing everything around you is the next step toward a more effective fitness journey. Setting up a new goal and trying to follow through can always be overwhelming, but you can make things easier for you by making small changes first, such as organizing your kitchen! While it might not sound like a big deal, taking your time to set up your kitchen can go a long way, such as moving the snacks to a place where you can’t see them all the time and bringing whole foods that are rich in macronutrients to the front for easy grabbing. If you’re tracking your macros then you’re probably going to be doing a lot of at-home cooking, so small things like keeping your kitchen tidy and having useful kitchen tools at hand will make this much easier for you.
Another small thing that can make a huge impact is keeping a grocery list! It’s the best way of staying on track at the supermarket without getting distracted by all the other foods. Before you leave your house, make sure to check what you have in your fridge and pantry and write down what you need to buy to keep your kitchen stocked and healthy, so you can go grocery shopping without the fear of coming back with a bunch of processed and empty-calorie foods and snacks!
Plan your meals
A big part of tracking your macros is creating a meal plan that you can follow so you can hit your daily macro target without struggling too much. Having everything planned beforehand will save you a lot of time since you’ll be deciding what to eat each day and you’ll have a clear vision of how to distribute your macros between your daily meals, so you won’t need to rush at the end of the day and think of what you can eat to fulfill any remaining macros.
A great approach is planning your weekly meals every Sunday, or the day that works better for you. This way you can have a whole week planned and you can relieve yourself from the stress of thinking about what to cook or eat every day. Having a meal plan that fits your macros is also helpful to account for future outings such as a friend gathering or a work lunch, so you can plan around it without compromising your macros!
And if you have some extra time, you can also try meal prepping by cooking a few meals and chopping your fruits and vegetables ahead of time. This way, you can save yourself a lot of time during the week, especially on those days when you’re super busy and need to put together something quick that’s still healthy and filled with the right macros.
Log your food the night before
If you go the meal planning route and you already know what you’re going to eat each day, then it’s easier for you to track your weekly macros because you know the ingredients you’re going to be using as well as the portions. But still, if you don’t, it’s completely possible to keep track of your macros daily by planning your meals every night for the next day so you can still have control over what you eat instead of winging it when the time comes.
Each night, you can check what you have in the kitchen and plan your next day’s meals accordingly so you don’t get sidetracked. And don’t forget to log your macros after each day! Make sure to log everything that you ate that day, no matter how small, because it will give you a clear picture of how much you’re eating and if you need to make any modifications for future meals. If you know exactly what you’re going to eat, then you can log it before, but you might end up grabbing an extra snack for the day or grabbing an extra portion of food, so it’s always better to set aside a few minutes at the end of the day to log everything and make sure you didn’t miss anything. Some people even log their meals throughout the day instead of doing it all at once at night, so just pick whatever works better for you!
Invest in a food scale
Since you’re tracking your macros, you need to be precise in your food quantities and portions. While you don’t necessarily need to hit your daily macros exactly and going a little over or under is completely fine, it’s better to make sure you’re getting close to your goal instead of too far off, and the best way to do this is by using a food scale! While you might be able to just grab a handful of almonds or blueberries, when you need to add powders or liquids such as olive oil and wheat flour to your recipes then you’re going to need a little bit of help, which is exactly what the food scale is for.
You want your macro tracking to be as effective as possible, and you can’t do this if you don’t measure your ingredients! Food scales are inexpensive and very easy to use, so you could definitely consider them a smart addition to your kitchen. After a while of measuring your foods with a food scale, you’ll become familiar with portion sizes and might even be able to tell approximately how many macros are in each food portion, which can be incredibly helpful when logging your food in the tracking app. So, if you’re able to, start your journey with a food scale by your side to avoid possibly overestimating portion sizes!
Have your most needed macro on hand
Depending on your current fitness goal, you might need to eat one macro more than the other two, such a protein for those looking to build muscle mass or carbs if your goal is weight loss. By keeping your most needed macro on hand, it’ll be easier for you to build your meals accordingly and stay on track with your fitness goals. To do this, it’s helpful to become familiar with single-macro foods, which are foods that have primarily one of the three macros. Some good examples of single-macro foods are potatoes (high in carbs, very low in protein and fats), olive oil (high in fats, no protein or carbs), and chicken breast (high in protein, very low in fats, and no carbs).
Another crucial thing to keep in mind is the macro density of foods, which is the number of macros that a specific food contains. Quantity does not equal density, so try to go for high macro density foods when you need to fill your macros and then low macro density foods at the end of the day when you just need to reach your goal without going too far. For example, beef and tofu are both good sources of protein, but while 100 g of tofu contains 8 g of protein, the same amount of beef contains 26 g. This means that they can’t be used interchangeably when you’re trying to hit your macro target, so be careful!
Give yourself a break
If you decide to calculate your macros in order to track them and get closer to your goals, then you’re definitely taking things seriously, but don’t pressure yourself too much!
Tracking your macros can be overwhelming and even time-consuming in some cases, but remember that you don’t need to do everything perfectly and that you’re allowed to be flexible with yourself from time to time. As we previously mentioned, not hitting your end-of-the-day macros isn’t the end of the world, and there might even be some days where you go too far over your target or completely under. Don’t be too hard on yourself these days, and just focus on getting back on track, because obsessing over each little detail will leave you stressed out and even cause you to derail from your goal. Remember that you’re tracking your macros to support your health and fitness efforts, so it’s supposed to be a helpful tool instead of the thing that brings you down. Yes, be conscious about what you eat and try to plan ahead, but also remember that you should ultimately focus on wellness instead of numbers!
By following these tips, you’ll have an easier time with your macro tracking and you’ll be well on your way to a successful fitness journey. But remember to take it easy and introduce these changes little by little, so you can get familiar with your new routine while avoiding getting overwhelmed in the process.
And remember, you can follow your progress and keep track of your macro intake with the Fit With Iulia app! Not only that, but Iulia also plans goal-focused workouts each week that will help you get far in your journey. So if you’re looking for an app where you can have everything in the same place, both your gym efforts and your food tracking, make sure to try the Fit With Iulia app!