Macros & Calories In vs Calories Out: What It All Means.

It seems that the pandemic has inspired many to start buying gym equipment and focusing on nutrition more than usual. This new wave of fitness gurus has swept across America with lunges, kettle bells, and..macro counting? While there may be some confusion about the world of fitness, it’s no doubt that this new productivity is a positive effect of some negative times.

Instagram fitness models have risen in popularity the last few years and many have tried to emulate their perfectly sculpted abs by following their exercises. Not many have taken into account the years of work some of these influencers have put in prior to making their Instagram pages and that exercise isn’t actually everything. You may have heard the term “calories in vs calories out” or maybe you’ve heard of counting macros. People counting every gram of protein, fat, or carbohydrate that enters their bodies sounds insane. I mean who has time for that? Well, you do.

Calories. A scary word to describe how food makes you fat or a unit of energy? Bingo, it’s the second one. All a calorie represents is a unit of energy to be either used or stored by the body. The term “calories in vs calories out” refers to the amount of calories one consumes vs the amount they burn. For one to calculate the proper amount of calories to consume within a day, there are a few things to consider first. For starters, it’s best to go ahead and figure out what your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, is. This is the amount of calories it takes your body to just survive, even if all you did was binge-watch Netflix. There is a formula we can use to calculate this at home.

MenBMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5
WomenBMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161

Once we’ve determined the amount of calories it takes for us to survive, we can then add in how sedentary or active we are on a daily basis to adjust the number of calories we need to consume. I’m not a health professional, therefore I will not be telling you what you should or shouldn’t consume or the amount of calories your body specifically needs. There are many BMR calculators online (such as this one) that also has macro and BMI options as well. These are great guidelines to then adjust your calories higher or lower depending on what feels right mentally and physically.

Another way people have been focusing on their nutrition is through counting macros. Counting macros isn’t just another confusing thing that only body builders or Instagram models do. Regular people also track every carb they consume! No, but really. Counting macros is a great way to really customize your meal plans to your body and workouts. This method takes a lot of trial and error when doing it without a coach, but can be done. Most people struggle to consume the proper amount of protein per day, which is arguably the most important macro to meet. It is recommended that the average person consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This can be altered depending on the intensity of your gym sessions as well. Protein is the only macronutrient that builds and repairs your muscles after a really good gym session so it’s important to consume the proper amounts. There are also a wide variety of macro calculators to look into (like this one) and you may find that you still need to alter the numbers they give you.

I’ve seen an uprising in keto diet trends throughout the last few years and the fear of carbs only gets worse by the day. Carbohydrates, aka glucose, are the body’s most desired macronutrient. Carbs can pass through the blood brain barrier, whereas protein has a more difficult time with that (look up protein brain fog). This means that carbohydrates are quick fuel for the body. They’re very important to consume and shouldn’t be neglected unless you have underlying medical issues.

Keeping your fats as the lowest amount of macronutrients you consume is going to be recommended almost everywhere. Fats are very important for maintaining good cholesterol, but shouldn’t be the focal point of your diet. And that’s all I have to say on that!

Maintaining a positive workout and nutrition plan is essential to healthy muscles, bones, and cardiovascular system. Getting in touch with a certified personal trainer and/or dietitian can sometimes be a little pricey for us ordinary folks, so utilizing the tools the internet provides us with and having patience to figure out what works best for you is a wonderful option. I hope some of these tools can help you get started on a world of health and self-love.