You don’t need a personal trainer or a private chef to know that when it’s time to lose weight and tone up, your nutrition matters. But when it comes to counting calories vs. tracking macros, what’s the best way to monitor your fuel intake? Let’s take a look.
We hear about calories all the time, but what are they really? At the end of the day, a calorie is just a unit of measurement for energy, and everything you eat contains calories (including your macros).
The most universally accepted truth about weight loss is that in order to drop pounds, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. If you’re looking to gain weight or build muscle, you need to eat more calories than you burn.
However, calories only provide us with part of the picture. Not all calories are created equal – for example, 100 calories of candy is not going to provide for your body the way 100 calories of protein would. That’s where the macros come in.
THE MIGHTY MACRO
Macronutrients, often called “macros” for short, provide our bodies with most of the fuel we need throughout the day. The three macronutrient categories are carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and every macro has a purpose.
- Carbohydrates provide quick energy and are the body’s favorite source of fuel because of how easy it is to turn carbs into energy. Your brain, muscles and cells all need carbs to function.
- Fats work to slow digestion, support cell function and provide backup energy. They also provide essential fat-soluble vitamins and have protective anti-inflammatory properties.
- Proteins are the building blocks for all muscle and cell tissue while also satisfying hunger and helping you feel fuller, longer.
While calories focus on quantity – how many units of energy you’ve consumed – macros focus more on quality. By understanding and tracking your macros, you’re more likely to make nutritional choices that benefit your long-term health and wellness goals.
STRIKE A BALANCE
Macros and calories go hand-in-hand for any weight and fitness goal, and play a huge role in lifelong wellness. While it certainly matters that you don’t consume too many calories, it’s also important to consider where those calories are coming from – you need to manage the quality and the quantity of nutrients in your body in order to succeed.
Need help figuring out how many calories you need and where they should be coming from? Check out our accurate and easy-to-use macro calculator!
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