The words macros, deficits and surpluses are thrown around a lot not only in the gym environment but in day-to-day life too! But what exactly does it all mean? Do we really understand what we are talking about when we say a ‘calorie deficit’ or ‘macros’? Well, we are here to break it down for you!
The 3 macros
Fats, carbohydrates and protein are the 3 macronutrients or ‘macros’ and form the majority of our energy output. Essentially they are the energy sources that give us fuel to move our bodies and ensure our bodies function! These 3 macros make up our total energy intake for the day and are measured by the term calories. Each macronutrient has an associated calorie load per gram which then makes up our total calories for the day. Every one of us will have a different calorie amount per day that our body needs dependent on our age, gender, activity levels, genetics and our goals!
Fats – coming in at 9 calories per gram this macro is the most energy dense macronutrient and is vital for cell growth and provides insulation for our vital organs. There are different types of fat – some healthier than others meaning the sources of where your fat come from are important – think avocados or fish compared to butter. Keep in mind that all fat contains the same amount of calories regardless of the type you consume
Carbohydrates – contain 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of fuel for the body as they are easily digested by the body. There are different forms of carbohydrates such as sugars, fibre and starches and are found in an abundance of foods
Protein- contain 4 calories per gram, protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle in our body. Protein is made up of amino acids which is needed to assist in muscle building and repair as well as assisting in hormone and enzyme production. Protein also assists in satiety or feeling full thus helping to prevent overeating.
Fact: Alcohol can also be counted as a macronutrient with 6 calories per gram of alcohol! Just because it comes in a liquid form doesn't mean our body doesn't absorb it!
Calorie deficit – this means a decrease in the amount of overall calories you need. This is usually undertaken when people are trying to lose weight
Calorie surplus – this is an increase in the amount of calories that your boy needs usually to assist in creating muscle and/or fat
Also known as vitamins and minerals, micronutrients don’t tend to receive the same amount of focus that the macronutrients do but they are just as important! Micronutrients are split into vitamins and minerals and some examples can be seen in the table below with the food group they are found in:
Each vitamin and mineral play a specific role in an area of your health ranging from bone health to energy production. These micronutrients can be found in an abundance of foods from vegetables and fruit, to milk and yoghurt which is is why it is encouraged to eat a variety of foods every day! By ensuring this we can ensure we are getting the micronutrients needed to help our bodies be the best they can be! By omitting some food groups such as dairy (unless you actually need to) then we are likely creating deficiencies in our bodes meaning they can’t function to the best of their abilities.
In other areas too much of a certain mineral or vitamin can also be detrimental. For example, sodium or salt has an upper limit of 2300mg a day meaning that is the maximum amount an adult can consume without it putting strain on the body. The average Australian has nearly triple this amount raising their risk of hypertension and other associated issues as well as contributing to bloating and skin problems.
If your not sure how much of a certain nutrient you should be getting check out this website!
Every food has a vast range of calories, macronutrients and micronutrients which can at times be overwhelming when deciding how to ensure we have a well-balanced diet. Put this with confusing terms and acronyms and it can be very hard to try and stay on top of it all! Don't try and learn everything at once but rather increase your knowledge every week and build on what you already know!
Still unsure about how to navigate your nutrition? Then don’t hesitate to reach out to the Fitmiss team to book in for a nutrition consult or our next supermarket tour!