Macro Tracking Vs. Calorie Counting – What’s the Difference?
We are often getting asked what the difference is between counting calories and tracking macros? For a long time, the general consensus has been that if you want to lose weight, you need consume fewer calories than you are burning, creating a caloric deficit. Easy! Calories in, calories out. Just do more and have less.
While this is true for the most part, but not all calories are created equally and counting calories alone can be too vague and broad. If we were to look at a 1,500 calorie diet, you could make that up by eating four slices of chocolate cake or 375 strawberries, neither of which would be a great idea!
This is why we look beyond calories, and have another measurement: macros – because in order to be the healthiest version of ourselves, not only do we need to know how much we are eating (enter calories) but it’s also important to ensure that we are getting enough of each of the vital macro-nutrients: Protein, Carbs and Fats.
The above macros make up most of the calories we consume, and rather than focusing just on calories, it’s important to make sure they are coming from each source, at the correct ratio for us and our goals.
Each macro plays a different yet vital role in our bodies.
Protein is essential to build lean muscle mass while in a caloric deficit and also for muscle growth and repair. If our goals are to lose weight, the last thing we want is to sacrifice muscle tone. Likewise, if we are wanting to gain, we want it to be in muscle NOT fat.
Carbs are our bodies go to source for energy in training, and are also vital for the recovery process as they help restore glycogen stores. Carbs are great for pre and post workout to help us fuel and recover our energy sources.
Fats are needed to support the body’s digestion and cardiovascular health, not to mention keeping that hair shiny!! We also need to keep fats at a healthy level for general health and hormone regulation.
Make you macros work for your goals.
If you are someone that just wants to maintain a healthy balanced diet having the right amount of calories is important and will allow to you control your body’s ability to lose or gain weight. However, counting your macros will ensure that you maintain muscle mass, and minimise body fat – allowing your body to transform in the most ideal way.
Additionally, if you have a very specific goal, or are an athlete in a specific sport, counting your macros will allow you to specifically fuel your training & recovery, allowing you to go harder in each session – giving you the edge above your competitors. Remember, the macro split of a triathlete is going to look very different to that of a ballet dancer or CrossFitter!
Having the right caloric intake is still important but by looking beyond this and counting macros means you are able to tailor your nutrition to your goals and ensure you eating a balanced healthy diet.