How To Track Your Macros

What Are Macros?

Macros are short for Macronutrients, which are the nutrients that are required in large quantities for daily living and everyday bodily function. There are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins.


Why Are Macronutrients Important?

Macronutrients are the energy sources and building blocks responsible for all body function. Carbohydrates are fiber, starches, and sugar that the body turns into glucose (energy) that the body runs off of. Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body. Fat is an energy reserve, insulation and protection for the organs, and is responsible for the absorption and transportation of fat soluble nutrients. 


Importance Of Tracking Maintenance Calories First

When you know your maintenance calories, you’re able to adjust your eating habits based on your fitness goals, body composition, etc. To find your maintenance calories, track your alcohol consumption, water intake, steps, weight fluctuations, workouts, and sleep etc. Make sure you track everything for at least an entire week, even if it’s a treat day. Working with an app helps for guessing when you’re eating out as well. 


When you know your maintenance calories, you’re able to adjust your eating habits based on your fitness goals. If you find calories are too low, consider reverse dieting. You can learn more with our reverse dieting guide.


Calories per gram for each macro is:

Protein = 4 calories/gram

Carbs = 4 calories/gram

Fat = 9 calories/gram


How To Track Your Macros

Marco tracking is tracking the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Macro tracing is not tracking calories, so it looks a little different than tracking calories. Tracking your macros is an imperative addition to tracking calories and can be an alternative to tracking your calories too.


Use An App

There are many apps to choose from. MyFitnessPal is very popular, user friendly, and can track both marcos & calories. You can save recipes, foods, and meals that allow for one click tracking. A major benefit to tracking with an app is being able to track your stats: you can look back on your progress, understand what foods work best for you (most satiating while hitting your macros), and what foods you eat consistently. 


Weigh Your Food

The best way to track your macros is by weighing your food. The more you weigh your food, the better you’ll get at eyeballing amounts, so you won’t need to use the scale forever. Anything solid can be weighed on the scale. You can measure liquids with measuring cups. To accurately track your macros, you can search online to find out how many grams of whatever food equates to how many grams of protein, fat, or carbs depending on the ingredient you’re weighing. Using apps makes this process much easier. You can usually input the grams or ounces of an ingredient or food into an app.


Always Track Protein 

Protein is the most important macro to track, so if you only track your protein, it’s good enough. Usually, if you are eating enough protein, your other macros will fall into place, especially if you’re eating a whole/natural food diet. In general, 4 oz of meat, or a fist sized amount of meat, is around 25-28g of protein. The best way to track your protein is by weighing it. Weighing raw meat can be cumbersome, so cook your meat separately to weigh it before adding it to the rest of your meal. If you are eating enough protein, your other macros will usually fall into place, especially if you’re eating a whole/natural food diet.


How Much Of Each Macronutrients Do You Need?



In general, you should have a daily protein consumption goal of 0.6-1g per lb of bodyweight. That means if you’re 130 lbs, you should be eating at least 78 grams of protein a day. As long as you eat enough protein, you can fill in your other daily caloric intake with fats and carbs as you see fit. A quote from a 2016 study states: 


“Higher protein intakes may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass, and strength that predisposes older adults to frailty, disability, and loss of autonomy. Higher protein diets also improve satiety and lead to greater reductions in body weight and fat mass compared with standard protein diets, and may therefore serve as a successful strategy to help prevent and/or treat obesity.” (Phillips, 2016)


If you want to be healthy, age well, have a healthy body composition, maintain muscle mass as you age, be injury free, and not lose autonomy as you get older, you need to eat an optimal amount of protein a day. You can learn more from our blog: Protein 101: Why You Should Eat Meat 



Everyone’s body responds differently to eating carbohydrates. However, everyone’s body generally processes different types of carbs the same way. For example, poor carbohydrates (carbs that have a high glycemic index) that come in the form of crackers, cereals, white breads, etc. spike blood sugar levels, which is not good for the body, and can cause diabetes. Whole carb sources, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice help promote more stable blood sugar levels because they have a lower glycemic index and take longer for your body to process. 


The best carb sources are from whole, natural foods like sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, etc. that have a low glycemic index and high fiber content. Make sure you’re eating enough fruits and veggies, and aim for 25-45g of fiber a day. The fun carbs can be added in here and there, but that should be once in a while. If you’re worried about your health and blood sugar levels, eat these carb sources along with protein at the same time, and you won’t see the weight gain you think you will. Eating carbs gives you energy for your workouts, which is very important for intensity in strength training.



Fats are an important fuel source for your body and brain. As a macronutrient, fats can be further divided into monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, avocado, macadamia nuts, and almonds.

Polyunsaturated fats include egg yolks, salmon and other fatty fish. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are both polyunsaturated fats. Try to eat a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Several sources of information suggest that humans evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids at about 1/1. However,  the Western diet ratio is typically something 15/1 or 16/1. Saturated fats are butter, ghee, suet, lard, coconut oil and palm oil, and should be limited in consumption. Fats should be about 25–35% of your daily calorie consumption, but that percentage varies per person. 


Thoughts On How To Track Your Macros

Tracking your macros is all about optimizing your health and fitness goals, and should never be about beating yourself up. If you tend to lean that way with tracking, just track your protein intake and allow the rest of your macros to fall into place. A good standard for eating in general is to always eat single ingredient foods whenever possible, add more fruits and veggies into your diet, eat meat if you can, and eat meals when you can vs snacks.


When you focus on the quality of your plate, protein and produce should always be first. Remember, carbs, fat, and protein are all important and should be represented on your plate. Live a little bit, and enjoy treats too. And most importantly, take alcohol consumption into account. Remember, alcohol is fine in moderation but has some serious health effects. When it comes to alcohol, even the term “moderation” is debatable. Staying away from it as much as possible is best for optimizing your macros.


Want to learn more about tracking your Macros and taking control of your nutrition to optimize your health? Get three weeks worth of help here or listen to our podcast episode on Macro Tracking.



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