What the heck are macros?

What Are Macros?

This is a common question with a simple answer that not everyone “gets”. IIFYM has been a phenomenon for ages however, until recently, it was typically only bodybuilders making the most of their macros. I wrote this post to help the beginner derive an understanding of what macros are, which should make choosing the right foods for your body a whole lot easier.

There are four macro nutrients.

Here they are in the same order you will find them on all packaged food nutrition labels.

  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Alcohol

These 4 macros are the sole origin of calories.

A calorie is a measurement for a unit of energy. That is the simple way to put it. Calories are not something you can touch or see or feel.  In order to measure a calorie you literally have to burn it or set it on fire in a lab. As they relate to macro nutrients, calories from the four above each have a specific value. Carbs and Protein each have 4 calories per gram, Fat has 9 calories per gram and Alcohol has 7 calories per gram. These numbers are what we pay attention to when calculating macros.

What is the argument for counting macros versus calories?

Calories dictate fat loss or gain. If you eat too many calories you store they are stored as fat at the body will use them later on to burn as fuel. Weight loss measurement = calories. Fat loss, hormone balance, muscle preservation = macros.

Focusing on macros as opposed to calories ensures that we can put a target on what the body needs to preserve muscle, burn fat, recover, maintain a healthy metabolism etc…calories can come from anything, say, bread for instance. So, 1200 calories from bread are entirely devoid of actual nutrients. This means that your body is not running optimally and you cannot manipulate it’s response to burning fat and storing muscle. This could add up to “skinny fat” syndrome aka “the kids who look thin but not so hot naked”. Conversely, a macro nutrient ratio of 150g Protein, 100g Carbs and 45g Fats will limit the speed at which we burn fat far less.

Finding out your macro target is my job, or you can choose to go it alone. You can find places online to help you out in this and they are generally free. If you’re looking for a bit more precision with items like carb cycling, refeeds, cardio & weight training etc…that will compliment your macros. Find a coach who’s good with this style of nutrition and get help.

Ideal nutrition

In the grand scheme of things, a food scale is the way to go in terms of accuracy. If you measure out a TBSP of nut butter with a regular spoon you can be far too generous with yourself. This could only be a few negligible calories however, over the span of a day, it could add up to a lot with all your other less accurate measurements. Over time, this will take away from your efforts. Accuracy is key. Intuitive eating can be great for some however, my intuition says “eat all the pizza all day”…..not what’s going to get me stage or beach ready.

There is no room for error with a digital scale and they are as cheap as $20 online. Invest in yourself and your goals and avoid “food failure”.

Staying on track

In order to maintain your goals you need to record your nutrition. Yes, it’s a lot of work at first however, once you become a pro you might actually be able to eyeball what 3 oz of tofu looks like. Programs like MyfitnessPal and Chronometer have free options and will help immensely. I recommend them to all my clients. If you’re recording 100% of the time you should have a high success rate. Less commitment, less success.

Hydration

Water is key to our survival and is key to keeping our systems running well. I cannot stress enough how important taking in the right amount of water is. Women should strive for 3 litres of water per day, Men 4. Thirst can feel like hunger and this is an area where a lot of people will choose to get snacky instead of slamming a glass of H20. Choose wisely.

Plateau

You have to know that after a period of eating a certain way you will no longer benefit from the effects of the diet that you so loved. Totally normal. If a plateau has been reached, track your macros for another week and see if you haven’t had some water retention or stress create a bump in the road. If you have in fact reached your maintenance calorie level, you will need to weigh in and readjust. Should progress still not move along, you need to consider if you’re putting in the work 100% or not or that your metabolism might need a reboot. I prefer to leave this tinkering to my coach!

Getting past the basics and moving on.

Now that you’ve got a grasp on macros you only need to remember a few things:

1 – Meal prep like a boss

2 – Eat out healthfully

3 – Move your body every day

4 – Sleep more

5 – Stress less

6 – Download my free macro cheat sheet HERE

The rest of these items will hinder your goals if you let them. If you have more questions or want your own customized plan, contact me.

To your health!

xx

S

 

Vanilla Bean Sugar

With a moment to spare in between travels I had the strangest desire to make Vanilla Bean sugar. I think my anticipation of the SWEETNESS of summer brought this craving to me…and now to you, today.
This recipe is uber simple and requires very little time. With the finished product you can: add it to baking, coffee, as a topping for freshly cut fruit or home baked desserts. You can also use this as a rimmer for sweet cocktails or as an ingredient for rubs.
Ingredients: 
2 medium vanilla beans
1 cup raw, organic sugar
Method: 
Slice open bean pods with knife and cut in 1/2.
Add sugar and beans to food processor and pulse until mixed as well as you can. Note: the sugar will “smoke” up in your processor if you leave it on low/high…less likely when you use the pulse option.
Once mixed use a sieve or pastry sifter to sift out any large pieces of vanilla bean.
Voila! Instant vanilla bean sugar. Be sure to keep the remainder of the vanilla bean chunks to add to your very own homemade vanilla extract.  
Decorate your mason/glass jars with fancy material lid covers and bows, give these away as gifts!

Chocolate & AB protein pudding – Vegan Bodybuilding Series

What real guilt should look like. Me on reload day at Millennium, Oakland. Le sigh.

I have to admit, I’ve sinned. Knowing that peak week was coming and my diet would be ultra boring, I decided to have one final “hurrah” (if you could call it that) and made up a pudding fit for a body building queen.

There is no real picture of this recipe because it’s frankly, not that appetizing to look at…I’m also not going to set up lighting and the camera for the equivalent of brown poi. Sorry babes.

You’ll be seeing this recipe just days after my show….I’ll be looking at this recipe and laughing like “ha ha GIRL, you think THAT was a sin? Watch THIS!”. Really, the day after this post I’m jetting off to Cabo where I will have my first drink in over 4 months. I’m kind of scared.

Enjoy this one, I’ve added some nutritional information as well. I really intended on doing nutritional info on a lot more of my recipes but since I’ve been really dry on the cooking front, I’ll be saving all that new info and excitement for the off season!

Enjoy these, and don’t feel too guilty – you’ll be running your ass off at some point today and it won’t matter. 🙂

Ingredients: 

1 heaping scoop Iron Vegan Chocolate

1 big tablespoon organic smooth almond butter

1 tsp chia seed

Cinnamon or my homemade pumpkin spice to taste

Hot water as desired

Method: 

While you are boiling some hot water on the stove-top put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add hot water so as not to spill out chia or powder. Mix thoroughly or until paste-like.

Next, add your almond butter and use the spoon you scooped it out with to slowly stir while adding more hot water until desired pudding consistency is found.

I usually let mine sit for about 3-5 minutes to allow the chia to puff up, then stir again and make sure I don’t need any more water.

Eat warm! Serves 1…but honestly, I could eat a quadruple batch of this without batting an eye.

Nutritional information: 

238 Calories

13.4g fat

12.2g carbs

24.5g protein