How to track your macros – Part 2

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This is Part 2 of ‘How to track your macros’. If you haven’t read Part 1 and aren’t familiar with macronutrients and the concept of flexible dieting, I would suggest you go back and read that first. This post gives some general recommendations for setting a calorie goal and macro breakdown for weight loss, as well as some of my experiences with flexible dieting and whether or not it might work for you. 

What numbers should I use?

If you’re new to tracking your macros and have no idea how much you *should* be eating, you can use an online calculator to determine your maintenance calories and then increase or decrease from there, based your goals. The first step is to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you expend at rest to maintain your current body weight. I’ve included the Harris Benedict Equation below which calculates your BMR and factors in your activity level to determine your maintenance calories. You can also go here http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ to use the online calculator.

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age)

Yes, it should say ‘66’ for men and ‘655’ for women. Once you’ve determined your BMR number, using the chart below, multiply your BMR by the number that most closely corresponds to your current activity level. Be honest.

Sedentary – little to no exercise: BMR x 1.2
Lightly Active – light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week: BMR x 1.375
Moderately Active – moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week: BMR x 1.55
Very Active – hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week: BMR x 1.725
Extra Active – very hard exercise/sports + physical job or 2x/day training: BMR x 1.9

We’ll use Lisa as an example and input her information into the above equation. Lisa is a 32 year old female who weighs 165 lbs and is 5 ft. 6 inches tall.  

Lisa’s BMR (rounded): 655 + (718) + (316) – (150) = 1,539 calories

Lisa goes to the gym a few times per week and does low-intensity exercise classes so she would probably best fit in the ‘lightly active’ category. Based on this information, we are able to calculate her maintenance calories.

Lisa’s maintenance calories: 1539 x 1.375 = 2,116 calories
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How to track your macros – Part 1

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Note: I have divided this topic into 2 posts in an effort to make it more digestible, especially if you’re unfamiliar with flexible dieting. This first section discusses the principles behind dieting and weight loss, introduces macronutrients and macro tracking, and discusses some of its benefits. The second section addresses how to determine your calories and macro breakdown and my own personal experiences with flexible dieting. 

Increasing public interest in health and wellness has resulted in an explosion of readily accessible information on how to ‘get healthy’ and ‘achieve your ideal body’. Despite having so much free information just a click away, it can be very overwhelming trying to wade through the sea of often conflicting advice and determine what is factual from the latest attention-grabbing gimmick. This creates an ideal environment for companies to claim that there is some magical weight-loss secret only they have the answer to. Weight loss supplements, extracts from ‘exotic’ fruits that melt fat away, wraps that magically make you skinny, diet teas, the list goes on. If we’ve discovered the secret to easily losing weight and keeping it off, why do new products keep coming out? There are big bucks at stake. Knowledge is power and the diet industry thrives on misinformation.

Enter: flexible dieting or ‘if it fits your macros’ (iifym). This evidence-based style of eating emerged in response to the extremes of the dieting industry, showing that the main determining factor for weight loss is ‘calories in vs calories out’ and you can still achieve your goal physique while eating foods generally off limits to dieters, provided you hit your macronutrient targets. But this ‘diet’ isn’t all about eating poptarts at every opportunity. Allow me to clear up some of the confusion and give you a brief introduction into the principles of flexible dieting and how you can get started.
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Tips to help get your butt to the gym

 

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So you went out and bought a gym membership, resolving that this time you would make exercising a priority. Fast forward a few months and your gym bag is collecting dust in your closet. You know that you should go and you keep telling yourself you’ll get there this week but before you know it, it’s the weekend again and you’re picking up a different kind of six pack on your way home from work. You’re not alone; even seasoned gym-goers find their motivation waning at times and need a kick in the butt to get their workouts in and stay motivated. The truth is, you’re not going to build your dream body, get super strong, or improve your athletic performance without putting in consistent work over time. As with most things in life, consist hard work yields results. Here are some tips to keep you moving towards your goals (and kicking ass and taking names). 

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