The phrase “If It Fits Your Macros” has taken the fitness world by storm. What you absolutely need to know about macros before you binge.
Macros is a term for “macronutrients” and describes your daily nutrient intake for the three major macornutrients:
The “If It Fits Your Macros” mentality is one that people serious about their performance and their physique really need to be careful of. It’s quite misleading. Many people view a fat as a fat or a carb as a carb. Does your body really assimilate them the same way whether you’re eating brownies or if you’re eating avocados? Perhaps the question is best answered when you look at my physique compared to other peoples that shoot for similar macro intakes.
Why am I so lean and shredded EVEN when I’m bulking and not doing cardio? Simple. I watch my micros along with my macros. In laymen’s terms,
I don’t eat crap
And neither should you, if you’re chasing your fitness goal. Now, crap can be defined as many things and I have a nice, long list of foods I avoid. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First let’s discuss the reasons for tracking your macros in the first place.
Why track your macros?
Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand and are basically a science. The process of working out, lifting weights, and doing your cardio is only half of the formula. The other half is properly fueling your body so that it has enough of the nutrients it needs to repair and create new, lean muscle mass – as well as lower your overall body fat percentage. If you have a goal that includes being below 15% body fat and see those abs poke through, then it’s essential that you track the nutrients going into your body. Guessing how much of your macros you are getting at each meal is a recipe for failure. After all, if you are putting all of the effort and time into calculating your macros, your weightlifting session and workout, and your cardio, why would you sell yourself short?
If you are looking for a lean, shredding diet that will allow you enough macros to maintain and even build muscle mass, then you will want to have a look at my eBook and 12-week body transformation program. It’s a full 12-week program that completely takes the guesswork out of getting lean and shredded. It even includes recipes, full workout program, supplement guide, motivational section, dynamic links, and a bonus motivational video. It’s the best bang for your buck you’ll ever get when it comes to a fitness program. Trust me, I wrote it.
More on Macros VS Micros below but first, here’s why you need to try our 12-week program:
- GUYS – build muscle and get shredded*
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Watch the short, 60 second video and see what the Genesis program is all about
Actual clients shown below*
*Disclaimer: Results may vary. We offer a 100% full, money back guarantee if you are not fully satisfied with our program.
If you are looking for something a little less rigid and don’t need a workout plan, you can always try the If It Fits Your Macros site at www.iifym.com. They have a macro calculator there that is fairly easy to use.
Spacing and timing your macros
One of the main ideas behind tracking your macros is to evenly space out the nutrient intake throughout the day. Remember, your body can only assimilate a certain amount of protein, carbs, and fats in one sitting before it is wasted and turned into body fat (or simply expelled by your body). The goal is to space out your meals into six or more meals a day. Personally, I shoot for seven meals a day, starting at 7am. I eat approximately every 2.5 to 3 hours and NEVER go past the 3 hour mark. I’ve trained my body to use the macros I’ve ingested in that 2.5 to 3 hour period and be hungry for more at the end of that time frame.
The even spacing of the macro intake allows your body to intake almost equivalent portions of each macronutrient at the given time interval. This in turn trains your body to basically be a machine that process the proper nutrient and uses it for several things such as protein synthesis (basis for muscle building), glycogen stores for muscle strength and energy, joint and tendon support, cardiovascular health, and much more.
Timing of the macro intake is really only critical at two times, in my opinion (aside from the 2.5 to 3 hour spacing). These are pre-workout and post-workout, and you should plan your workout AROUND your meal schedule. Pre-workout meals ensure that you have enough glycogen store in your muscle cells as well as protein and fats to continue the ongoing process of building muscle and keeping your body functioning at a proper rate.
Here’s my personal timing for macro intake pre and post workout:
- Pre-workout: Solid food meal approximately 30 minutes before my workout.
- Includes simple carbs such as white rice, potatoes, or even something like a healthy burrito made with wheat tortillas, pinto beans, meat, and avocado.
- Post-workout: Within 40 minutes of workout – protein shake with Carbo Gain carb powder, almond butter, almond milk, and a few frozen strawberries.
I’ve included links below to the supplements I use for my protein shakes. I’ve also includes a link for BCAA powder, which I find to be essential during a workout to prevent from going catabolic. I’m a big fan of Amazon due to their super low pricing and free shipping if you’re a Prime member.
The post-workout simple carb intake will help spike your body’s insulin for an increased nutrient uptake, especially protein. Keep in mind that you will want to stick to my approved list of simple carbs, which I’ve included below. DO NOT go ham on simple carbs and eat a bunch of sweets or something loaded with processed sugars. This defeats the entire purpose of what we are trying to accomplish with the combination of macro and PROPER micro nutrient intake.
Good/Healthy Micronutrient Foods and Foods to Avoid
Let’s start with the basics.
The foods that I avoid, EVEN if it fits my macros are:
- ANY fast food
- ALL soda
- ALL fruit juices (I drink only water)
- Junk food
- Ice cream
- General desserts
- Any packaged pastries
- Protein bars
- White bread
- Most wheat breads (and bread in general)
- Trans fats
- Saturated fats
- Hydrogenated oils
- Tofu (contains soy, see below)
- All soy (contains estrogen mimicking compounds called “phytoestrogens”)
I could go into detail on each one of these but the amount of time it would take would be astronomical. All I’m going to say at this point is that if you truly want to have that pool-side body, avoid the foods listed above at ALL COSTS. Here’s an excerpt from my 12-week body transformation program and eBook, Body Spartan: Genesis, that will give a quick explanation:
Think of your body as an exotic car that’s been running on Rotten Robbie crap gasoline and dirty oil for the last 10 years all while idling in the garage for hours on end. You need a full tune-up that’s complete with fuel injector cleaner and high-octane fuel and you need to drive on the freakin’ Autobahn. The analogy here is that you’ve been eating crap food for years while not pushing your body to meet its potential. Start eating right (see Chapter 6 for nutrition), add some supplements (high-octane fuel), and hit the gym religiously (the Autobahn).
As a rule of thumb I do not count proteins unless they come from whey protein powder, eggs, or animal proteins. I’ve found that the body does not assimilate other proteins in the same manner as those mentioned here. They are basically the highest quality proteins available and are the only ones truly worth counting if you are serious about gaining quality muscle mass and staying lean at the same time.
Allowable protein sources for the Body Spartan macro guide
- Lean ground beef
- Pork (high in fat, watch your macros)
- Turkey (includes turkey bacon)
- Eggs and egg whites
- Whey protein
Carbs are one of the biggest deal breakers in why I don’t subscribe to the IIFYM mentality. “A carb is a carb” or so they say. I don’t agree one bit. In fact, carbs at the micronutrient level will make all the difference on your path to success. Sure, you’ll get stronger if you stick to your macros and not worry about the micros. However, you’ll have more body fat than you want and you won’t be getting as strong as you possibly could. Seriously, look around. I’m living, breathing proof of this theory.
Allowable carbohydrate sources for the Body Spartan macro guide
- Brown rice
- Brown rice noodles
- Wheat noodles
- Old fashioned oats
- Oat flour
- Ezekiel bread (on occasion)
- Wheat tortillas
- Sweet potatoes
- Black beans
- Bulgur wheat
- Carb powder such as NOW Foods Carbo Gain, 8 Pounds Carbo Gain for post workout shakes
- White rice (depending on timing – usually pre-workout)
- Frozen berries (post workout shakes)
- All natural, local honey (as a sweetener in moderation – very little use as it is loaded with sugars)
Just like carbs, fats are a deal breaker for the IIFYM mentality. Saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, fast food, and the like are a formula for body fat retention/creation and for females – cellulite increase or creation. Your body has an extremely difficult time processing these terrible fat sources. In fact, many of them do more damage than just simply adding body fat. Some of these fat sources listed on my “no way in hell” list line your GI tract and prevent the intestinal villus – Wikipedia from absorbing the nutrients being passed through the tract. This slick lining of hydrogenated oil will remain for years and years unless a change in diet occurs. Many times a colon cleanse that includes psyllium husk is necessary to help expel this harmful buildup.
All this to say that frozen yogurt, brownies, cake, anything else that seems tempting as a fat macro, is not on the Body Spartan approved list.
Allowable fat sources for the Body Spartan macro guide
- Almond butter
- Animal fats naturally occurring in meat
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil
- Egg yolks (whole eggs vs egg whites)
- Flax seeds and flax seed oil
- Nuts not listed above. Note: peanuts are not recommended.
- Natural sunflower oils
- Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT oils)
- Olive oil
- Omega 3 fish oils
No Dairy in the approved macro list?
You’ll notice that in our macro lists there isn’t any dairy sources, with the exception of eggs. This is due to the fact that dairy has so many added hormones from raising the cattle that we really can’t, in good faith, recommend it. Most of our team doesn’t consume much, if any dairy products. The occasional sprinkle of cheese on eggs or other foods for some flavor does happen though. Also, we have substituted Almond Milk for regular bovine milk. By cutting out dairy, it has a noticeable affect on the amount of body fat you store as we have personally tested this. Yes, this is anecdotal evidence right now, however, there are plenty of studies that will support this. Here’s just three of many articles that cite studies on the negative effects of dairy from it’s hormones:
Summing up macros and micros
As a final thought on macros and micros, if you are getting started on your fitness journey or even if you’re a seasoned veteran, get your macros dialed in using either my eBook or the IIFYM site linked in the article. Then, take an extra few seconds when choosing your foods to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. It only takes a minute to choose avocado instead of dessert and FroYo.
Trust me, in the short run AND the long run, you’ll be thanking me when you’re sitting poolside looking at your washboard abs.