If you’re serious about maintaining a diet that helps you achieve your fitness goals, then you’ve probably heard the term macros. Macros simply refer to the macronutrients you need to thrive and function, and they include three types of nutrients: Fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Depending on your fitness goals you need a different combination of each of these macros. Explore where to find your macros and the ratio of macros you’ll need while on keto to get the most out of your experience.
Crash Course on the 3 Macronutrients
No matter your fitness goals, knowing the ratio of macros to consume will help you get there. For example, those who want to lose weight will stick to a diet where carbohydrate requirement is much lower than the need for fats and proteins. Understanding why we need each macronutrient is an important step in reaching your goals. The three types of macronutrients include:
One of the biggest misunderstandings about fats is that they’re not actually the macro that makes you fat – carbohydrates contribute much more to weight gain. Although fats are used to store energy within the body, their role is also vital to a number of organs and functions. For example, 60% of your brain is composed of fats, making this macronutrient necessary for ensuring cognitive function as well as maintaining your energy level and the health of your cells.
- The 4 types of fats in order from worst to best are: Trans, Saturated, Monounsaturated, and Polyunsaturated
More often referred to as carbs, carbohydrates are most commonly found in foods that contain grains. The difference between complex and simple means a lot when it comes to carbohydrates – the carbs you get eating a sugary snack cake are very different than the carbs you get from consuming a bowl of stir-fried veggies. The main purpose of carbohydrates is to serve as fuel for the body, but if you follow keto, then your body can be trained to burn fat instead.
- Simple and refined carbohydrates include man-made sugary snacks and are far worse for you than complex carbs from whole-food sources.
Best known for its role in growing muscle, protein is the most coveted macronutrient by those who strive for their perfect body. Composed of amino acids, protein is crucial for repairing old cells and creating new ones. The most abundant source of protein is meat, but protein is also found in many plant-based sources as well.
- It’s important to understand that too much protein can be a bad thing. Much like excessive fats or carbs, overdoing it on protein will cause it to be stored as fat.
Figuring Out Your Macros on the Ketogenic Diet
To determine the combination of macros you’ll need while following the keto diet, it’s important to consider your goal. Only by eating minimal carbs can you enter ketosis, begin burning fat, and start reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. This means less than 25g of net carbs per day, which are your total carbs minus the fiber you consumed. The goal for macros on a keto diet is to consume low carbs, high fat, and moderate protein.
What Factors Into Your Perfect Ratio of Macros?
While general suggestions can be made for the combination of macros you want, how your perfect ratio of macros really breaks down will depend on your own unique goals, size, and other factors. Each of the following criteria plays a role in how many macros you need:
Your Fitness Goals
Knowing exactly what your goals are will help you decide on the type of macros you need. For weight loss, minimizing carbohydrates is a must, but if you’re at an ideal weight, then you may need a more balanced ratio of macros to maintain it. Additionally, if you’re an athlete who is actively trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than the average person who doesn’t need as much. Ultimately, your fitness goals play a major role in determining the macros you’ll need to achieve them.
Size and Bodyweight
Many of the calculations for the perfect amount of fats, carbs, and proteins are directly dependant on your own bodyweight. This means once you know the goals you want to achieve through dieting, you can use your bodyweight to determine exact amounts of each macro that you’ll need.
The Formula for Calculating How Much Protein You Need
One example of how bodyweight plays into calculating your macros is how you determine the optimal amount of protein you’ll need. Follow these simple steps to calculate the required amount of protein you’ll need on the ketogenic diet:
- First, find your Body Fat in lbs by multiplying your BPI as a decimal by your body weight
- Find your Lean Body Mass by subtracting your Body Fat in lbs from your total body weight
- Find your daily protein allowance by multiplying your Lean Body Mass by .08
Example for a 180 lbs man with 20% body fat
- First, calculate Body Fat in lbs: 180 x .2 = 36
- Next subtract it from total weight to find Lean Body Mass: 180 – 36 = 144
- Multiply by .08 to find daily protein allowance: 144 x .08 = 115.2
Ready to Track Your Macros? Try These Tools!
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a math whiz to keep track of your macros. Online calculators and keto apps make it a lot easier, taking nearly all of the algebra out of your fitness calculations. If math isn’t your strong suit and you want some assistance in keeping your macros on point, some of the resources you can use to manage your diet include:
Free Online Macros Calculators
- Online Macros Calculator from Bodybuilding.com
- Macros calculator from Macronutrientcalculator.com
- Keto Macro Calculator from Ketoconnect.com
Smartphone Apps that Calculate Macros
Count Your Macros and Count on Crushing Your Fitness Goals
When striving for your fitness goals, understanding the macronutrients and what they do for you can add clarity to the weight loss process. Rather than blindly avoiding certain foods, you can understand their positives and negatives, truly developing the knowledge of how these nutrients interact with your body. With the aid of macro calculators and apps that make it easier than ever to determine the nutrients you need, the power to optimize your body is truly in your own hands.