Fat Free… Sugar Free….Zero Carbs… Low Sodium. I think it’s safe to say at some point, we’ve all relied on advertising labels to help us reach our fitness goals. How did those diet choices work out for you? For me, they didn’t. However, “macro counting” did.
To understand more about what macro counting is, I reached out to the person who taught me several years ago – IFBB Pro Bodybuilder and Certified Nutritionist, Lloyd Herford.
What Is Macro Counting?
Counting macros, also known as flexible dieting, requires that you daily count the macronutrients you eat – which are carbohydrates, protein and fat.
“Those are what are commonly found in normal foods people eat,” says Lloyd. “Based on your macro intake, you can also calculate caloric intake.”
How Do You Count?
In order to count all the fats, protein and carbs you eat, you need to become best friends with nutrition facts labels and a food scale.
Sound overwhelming? Without technology, it probably would be. Fortunately, there are apps like MyFitnessPal that will do all the tallying for you.
As you add more food, it will compound on the previous food and you can find your macro count in the “nutrient” tab of the app.
So say you add 4 oz of chicken into MyFitnessPal. In order to know how much 4 oz is, you will need to weigh it. Do this for all your food and ladies and gents, you’re counting macros.
How Do I Know How Many Macros To Eat?
This is where it gets fun because everyone’s macro numbers will be different. Even your macro numbers will change as your body starts changing (or not changing).
“Basically, if they have stopped making progress at the correct rate, we will make slight adjustments to get things moving again,” says Lloyd. “That doesn’t always mean less food though.”
Those small adjustments to your macros can take several weeks – so be patient through the process!
Will Macro Counting Help Me Lose Weight?
It absolutely can!
However, if you don’t know how to manipulate macro numbers specifically for your body, you probably won’t see the results you want.
“Without manipulation of those numbers, nothing will happen,” says Lloyd.
That’s where a coach comes in.
A coach like Lloyd will look at a variety of factors like your weight, digestion, changes to your strength, energy and your progress pictures to determine your macros.
“Have a coach you can trust to adjust everything for you initially until you learn to do it yourself,” says Lloyd.
What Macro Counting Isn’t
The expression, “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM) isn’t a free for all to constantly eat garbage while being a lean, mean, fighting machine.
Can you make some indulgent foods fit into your macro numbers? Yes. However, once you’re on the macro diet, you will realize in order to hit your numbers daily, you may need to skip the cookie and go for the protein shake sometimes.
Plus, if your number one desire is to eat healthy, you are 100% in control of that with the macro diet.
For instance, if someone wanting to eat healthy needs 35 more grams of carbs and 15 more grams of fat to hit their daily macros, eating a piece of chocolate cake would be counterproductive.
Would they hit their numbers? Probably. However, they would also be adding at least 15 grams of sugar to their diet. Plus, half the fat in that piece of cake is most likely saturated fats.
Saturated fats are known to raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Why Should I Try The Macro Diet?
Unlike a lot of other diets, there are no specific food restrictions. This is a diet that gives you the flexibility to no longer be a slave to rice and chicken.
“With macros, the athlete understands we can easily replace that meal with any other food source that has the same breakdown,” says Lloyd.
It also helps you learn your body. For example, some people are more sensitive to carbs than others. This type of diet could help reveal those sensitivities.
Train Your Brain
To keep things 100 – counting macros can be extremely time consuming. However, learning it, I believe, is worth the time commitment. After I started counting macros, it never left me.
Do I count macros religiously anymore? No. However, learning to count macros has given me a broader understanding of how much macronutrients I need in order to maintain or change what I see in the mirror.
So, rather than letting a deceiving marketing tool determine what you put in your body, you will have the tools to make the best judgement for yourself.
Here are some transformation pictures from a few of Lloyd’s clients who were put on the macro counting diet.
Get To Know The Face Behind The Knowledge:
Lloyd Herford, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, AFPA Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
Lloyd Herford lives in Metro Atlanta with his wife, Annemarie. They both are coaches for RISE Athletic Performance – which Lloyd founded in 2015. He and his team of six coaches have train hundreds of people in lifestyle transformation as well those wanting to compete. RISE is an online and in-person training & nutrition company. If you’re ever in the area, stop by Rise Athletic Club in Oakwood, GA and say hello to the team!
DISCLAIMER: Lloyd Herford is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. All advice is hypothetical and for entertainment purposes only. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.