The macro experiment- Part III
Today we're going to cover what everyone is really interested in...how to calculate your macro targets for your goals.
How do you calculate your macro targets? Easy...you don't! I have a degree in chemistry and feel I have a decent handle on fitness and nutrition, however, calculating macro targets on my own has NEVER worked out for me. I'm not an expert and it's kind of a tricky thing. I've also had calculations from a trainer and wellness coach that didn't work for me either. While really effective, macro counting is pretty tedious and it's not worth wasting your time if your targets are not where they should be. If you want to reach your goals you need your macros to be right for your body and your life so it's worth finding a professional and doing things right.
Think of it like buying activewear, or any other luxary item. Yes, you can buy leggings at walmart and they might last a few months before the seams start coming undone, the fabric fades, and they lose their stretch and you have to replace them. However, if you spend a little more money and get some luxe leggings from a designer brand, you're paying for quality. Those leggings have compression that lasts, they'll hold their color, and you'll put in more effort to wash them as directed and keep them nice. If your health, goals, nutrition, and body are important to you you're going to need to invest a little to get quality. Find and RD/RDN or a nutrition coaching team if you wanna do things right.
Now, I'm going to tell you about my health coaching team but I want you to know that this is in no way a sponsored post. They don't know I'm writing this blog article, sharing about their service, or paying me to talk them up. I genuinely love them and I pay my monthly fee just like everyone else. I use an online nutrition coaching service through AvatarNutrition.com. I heard about Avatar last year when I was looking for a coach to help me through my first reverse diet. I was a little nervous going with an online coach but decided to give it a shot and see how it went. The service is $10/month. When you sign up you provide information regarding your current body composition through weight and measurements and provide details about your lifestyle. From there, you choose a program based on your goals. Avatar calculates your macro targets and you're good to go. Each week, you weigh in and update your measurements and Avatar adjusts your macros to keep you on track with your goals. Personally, I've used the reverse diet and moderate fat loss programs and seen great results.
When I started with Avatar my metabolism was pretty damaged. In order to lose any weight I had to cut my food intake to a level that was simply unsustainable and I just felt stuck. While my ultimate goal was to reduce my body fat percentage, I needed my body to be in a state that would allow it to actually respond to a macro cut. Most individuals going through a reverse diet have the goal of bulking, I really needed it for metabolic healing. I reversed from October to April and and was able to increase my BMR from 1350 cal/day to 2250 cal/day. The process is slow as you're teaching your body how to utilize extra calories without gaining a significant amount of fat. You have to give it time to adjust as macros are increased week by week. While slow, the process was incredibly effective for me.
In April I felt I had reached a metabolic max and decided to move into a cut. I changed my plan to moderate fat loss and was really excited to see my progress. I'm going to be real with you here...I only got through 4 weeks. After reversing for so long I think I had convinced myself that my body would respond really quickly to a cut. 2 weeks in I started to feel discouraged because nothing was changing. I have made adjustments to my nutrition and fitness in the past and I'm well aware it takes longer than 2 weeks to see results, however, I just couldn't let go of the unrealistic expectations I had for myself. Week 3 was rough, I started undercutting my macros and increasing my training thinking I could speed up the process. As week 4 rolled in I was drained. I had a little reality check as I was obsessing over my measurements and progress photos and decided I needed to take a step back. I wasn't following the plan like I was supposed to, I was stressing more than I should, and I just needed a break from the numbers. So that's what I did. I took 3 months off tracking and just ate intuitively and trained the way I wanted.
In July I decided I felt mentally recharged and ready to take another shot at this whole cutting business. I was feeling pretty soft and was ready to start pushing my body back toward a place where I was comfortable. At this point the mister decided he was in too, which was a total game changer! We logged into Avatar, got our profiles set up and started into a moderate fat loss program together. We take turns cooking dinner during the week and I've gotta say it's kind of amazing coming home to a healthy meal that has been measured, weighed, with macros calculated. Having him on board to be miserable when carbs run out and keep me accountable has been HUGE!
We're currently heading into week 7, I'm down 4% BF and he's down 5%. This is the most success I've ever had with a cut or nutrition program. My body is responding, I feel good, and it's so exciting!
If you're interested in changing up your nutrition macro counting, whether you're bulking, cutting, or maintaining, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a solid team putting together your targets. It has made all the difference in my success in reaching my goals. Your body will respond so much better if you put your nutrition in the hands of someone who actually knows what their doing. Invest in yourself on this one because it's definitely worth it.
Part IV of this series will be coming soon! I'll be sharing tips and tricks to tracking and meal prep that have made the entire process easier and faster, because let's face it, tracking is hard and freaking tedious! Let me know if you have questions on this post or things you'd like me to share about in future posts in the comments!