What’s the skinny on Macros?
Over the next few weeks, we will be covering Macros. We will cover the ins-and-outs of Macros and how implementing this concept may aid you in your training and body composition. We will provide guidance on whether this is a program that you might want to start. We will lay out the fundamentals of determining your proper Macro counts. We will introduce you to some tools that will help you achieve your goal. Lastly and as you progress, you can decide when you can go on autopilot with Macros.
“Macros” refers to Macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats) and to track Macros means tracking the number of grams of Carbs, Fats, and Proteins that you ingest in a day. By no means is the term Macros an innovative approach, as bodybuilders and dietitians have used this methodology for years. As you can find with a good google search, many companies (Eat To Perform, Working Against Gravity, IIFYM) are rebranding these traditional concepts for the fitness community. So with all the attention directed towards Macros, it is worth exploring this simple concept further.
What about Paleo?
As you may have noticed, the CrossFit community has differing and passionate opinions on the topic of nutrition. Coach Glassman offers simple nutrition guidance in his definition of fitness. “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” Of course, this simple answer might be right for some, but those looking for more clarity and guidance tend to keep searching for other solutions.
Others in the CrossFit community swear by a Paleo diet which is similar to Coach Glassman’s definition but further defines allowances and exclusions. Don’t hold me to this definition (as there are many variants and thoughts on this), but the Paleo diet permits lean meats, fish, veggies, some fruit, tree nuts (not peanuts) and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. It excludes white potatoes, beans, grains, and dairy. (If you want more information, the Paleo Diet website is a good place to start (http://thepaleodiet.com/). For those wanting so other options, a Primal plan is similar to a Paleo solution but allows some dairy products. (Find more info at, http://www.marksdailyapple.com )
As a method to address the quantity of food you eat, CrossFit offers the Zone diet as a solution. A Zone plan is broader in food choices as it allows some grains but requires strictly measuring your food in a concept they call blocks. The Zone does provide a methodology to track the quantities of food you eat, but I find it a bit cumbersome in practice. As such, I will drop my discussion of it here. If you would like to know more about the Zone diet, here is a great resource to get you started, http://www.zonediet.com.
Frankly, none of these solutions are wrong. The best nutrition plan is the one that you follow, promotes your overall health, and allows you to perform.
So why are we talking about Macros?
Here’s the reason we are talking about Macros. It is the best way for you to know what Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats you are eating. As you may have noticed in your nutritional journey, following a Paleo or Primal plan doesn’t require that you track what you are eating. Neither model tracks the quantities of the macro nutrients that you are consuming. You may be eating all good stuff, but the amount is unknown. Tracking your Macros provides you a methodology to still receive the benefits of a paleo or primal philosophy but with greater precision. And with that increased focus on your diet, comes better results in the gym and body composition.
Coming Soon–Part 2– Is this for you?
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