Making Your Macros Count

By:
Tamra L. Christiansen, Director of Fitness and Wellness

It is difficult to navigate how much and what percentage of macros to eat … and for some, what are macros anyway? I get it — we are hammered with so much conflicting information these days. Many despise counting calories, and now we are talking about macros? Believe me, it is much easier than one might think. In many foods, we get a mix of these macronutrients, but it is best to eat them in their whole form.

Let’s talk about what macros are: the building blocks to our body’s energy systems. Macronutrients are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Our bodies also utilize micronutrients, but for now, we will stick with macronutrients and how to balance them. 

Here are the general guidelines to the macro balancing act: 

• Balanced diet: 40-50% carbohydrates, 25-30% proteins, 25-30% fats

• Low-carb diet: 20-30% carbohydrates, 40-50% proteins, 30-40% fats

• High-carb diet (for athletes or those with high energy needs): 55-65% carbohydrates, 10-15% proteins, 20-25% fats

Proteins are essential amino acids that build and repair muscle, tissue, skin, hair, nails and bones. It helps with enzyme function and hormone production; transports nutrients, oxygen, hormones and waste products; and it also helps with immunity and fluid balance. 

We need about 55 grams of protein a day for a 150lb person that is sedentary. So, our goals, lifestyle and physical activity determines how much we need.

Here are some guidelines:

• For someone who is active but seeking to lose some weight:  0.8 – 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day

• For someone who is active with healthy weight and body composition: 1.6 – 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day

• For someone who is healthy and looking to change weight and body composition: 1.6 – 3.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day

With Precision Nutrition counseling, once we figure out how much protein you need per day, we measure this by the size of the palm of your hand and decide how many “palms” of protein you need per day. Each “palm” is 20-30 grams of protein. For example, I eat three to five servings of protein per day.

Fats

Dietary fats have six major roles:

• Provides us with sustaining energy — it keeps us full longer

• It helps make and balance hormones (particularly sex hormones and corticosteroid hormones)

• It forms our brain and nervous system

• It forms our cell membranes

• It helps us transport fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K

• It gives us two fatty acids that we cannot make on our own: omega-6 fatty acid and omega-3 fatty acids

We want a balanced mix of fat types and here are some whole-food, non-processed sources: nuts and seeds, avocados, dairy, eggs, fatty fish, beef, pork and lamb, poultry, wild game, olives and extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh coconut. We want to get our fish and game wild caught, because the fatty acid profiles are best this way. 

So, how much fat per day is best? Give me a thumbs up! Your thumb is the representation of a fat portion. Aim for one to two thumb-sized portions per meal. Highly active individuals need two to three “thumbs” per meal. 

Carbohydrates

We demonize carbs, but the truth is that we need them for energy. It is the amount of carbohydrates and the type of them that we can watch out for, making sure that the carbohydrates that we eat have fiber — at least two grams (or more!) of fiber per serving. Eating whole foods that are low on the GI (Glycemic Index) or low on the GL (Glycemic Load) keeps blood sugar from spiking. Fruits and veggies contain carbs, but also contain fiber, as do whole grains and legumes. With fiber intake, always ensure you are hydrating properly so it makes it through the system smoothly. Vary your carb intake with the amount of activity and exercise you do. A cupped hand will represent a portion of carbs. If you do better with the lower carb life, aim for 20 grams or less per meal. 

I will leave you with these few tidbits: 

• Eat your protein first, then the fat. This will slow down the    blood sugar spike that you would get if you ate the carbs first, which begin digestion in your mouth. 

• Have a variety of foods to bring quality nutrients into the body. Eat foods that are in season.

• If you get enough protein and fiber per day, it is very likely that you will eat less of everything else.

• You don’t have to count macros all the time once you get the hang of what those portions and portion sizes look like.

• Think of eating as a whole life pattern, rather than a diet.

• Eat slowly and mindfully. It will help your body properly digest all of the nutrients you need.

Our trainers are here for nutrition guidance, and we will make it easy and personal to navigate! 

Tamra Christiansen is the Fitness and Wellness Director at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at tchristiansen@cordilleraranch.com and 830.336.9184.

Annette Ferreri Joins The Wellness Team

With 15 years of experience as an esthetician, 20 years in massage therapy, and six years specializing in medical esthetics, Annette has gained a wealth of experience in transforming 

diverse skin types and addressing various concerns. Here certifications include Micro Needling, Chemical Peels and Lash Lifts. Stop by the Fitness Center and welcome Annette to The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch! 

To schedule an appointment, Annette can be reached at 909.816.3129.

Monday & Wednesday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday & Thursday 1:00pm – 7:00pm 
Fridays 9:00am – 3:00pm
Saturdays by appointment

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