CW // eating disorders. Please note, this blog contains information you may find triggering.
If like us, you’re all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, chances are you’ve heard of the macro diet. But while many of us are familiar with the term ‘tracking macros’, knowing how to get started is a different matter altogether.
As we all know, dieting is tough. After all, nobody likes being told what you can and can’t eat, especially when so many diets restrict you from eating the food you love. However, this is where the macro diet differs.
To help us understand more about what macros are and the benefits of tracking macros, we spoke to macro coach, Dani. So, if you’re looking to switch up your eating habits or gain more muscle mass, this blog is for you.
WHAT IS THE MACRO DIET, WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
A macro diet, also known as macro-tracking, is a way of eating in which one is aware of the macronutrients (macros) they are consuming. Macronutrients include carbs, fat and protein. When we eat in a macro-focused way, we are able to achieve different goals more sustainably. This could include fat loss, body recomposition and muscle gain.
WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY EAT IN A DAY?
I always focus my meals around a source of protein and build around that. My typical day currently looks something like protein oats or an egg white breakfast sandwich with turkey bacon for breakfast. I seem to always alternate between sweet and savoury.
Lunch tends to consist of a deli turkey wrap or a whole grain lavash filled with LOTS of veggies.
Dinner is always something different. I typically choose a lean protein source, such as ground turkey, chicken, shrimp or chicken sausage, and base it around that. A few of my favourite meals right now are chickpea pasta with ground turkey bolognese, veggie-stuffed chicken breast or a turkey burger with sweet potato fries.
If you’re seeking a plant-based alternative, we recommend a soy-glazed tofu stir-fry or vegan mac ‘n’ cheese.
WHAT DOES YOUR WEEKLY WORKOUT SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
My workouts focus around strength training and daily movement. I practise area-specific strength training five days a week: two lower body days, two upper body days and one full body/core workout. I aim to work on progressive overload (lifting heavier where possible each week) to build muscle mass - that’s been my ultimate goal over the past year.
Outside of my strength training, I like to do two days of Low Impact Steady State Cardio (LISS), which either consists of an incline walk, peloton ride or an occasional easy run. I also aim for 10,000 steps a day, as this helps to increase our metabolic rates.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE HOMEMADE RECIPES, WE’D LOVE TO TRY SOME?
All of my recipes are simple, quick and require minimal ingredients. I focus most of my recipes around protein and whole foods.
My all-time favourite recipes are my protein crepes (really great macros and so delicious) and my low-carb pickle juice chicken tenders.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RECIPES OR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEALTH FOOD SWAPS TO MAKE MEALS MORE ‘MACRO-FRIENDLY’?
Yes, I’m well known for my healthy food swaps! A few great ways to cut back fat intake include using cooking sprays rather than pouring oil, substituting powdered peanut butter (½ the fat of regular nut butters) in replace of fattier nut butters that use oils, and using low-fat greek yoghurt based dressings instead of oil-based dressings.
One of my favourite swaps is chickpea pasta for regular pasta. I am a huge pasta fan and always opt for chickpea pasta because it packs up to 20g of protein per serving, whereas regular pasta typically contains less than 10g of protein.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR STAYING ON TRACK?
Save and screenshot the image below to help keep on top form.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE BALANCE?
The greatest thing about tracking macros is that you don’t have to eliminate any food from your diet. No food is ‘bad’, it’s just about how you balance and position your day.
Through working with so many women who have had a restrictive mindset around food, including myself, restriction has often led to binge eating. When we restrict food or label certain foods as ‘bad’ and avoid them, we often find ourselves over-eating or experiencing cycles of binge eating. When we don’t restrict foods or put labels on it, and instead, eat them in moderation and integrate them into our days in a balanced way, we can achieve our goals whilst feeling satisfied.
IF YOU’RE BULKING OR CUTTING IN THE GYM, WHAT IS A FOOD YOU SHOULDN’T GO WITHOUT?
There isn’t a food you should or shouldn’t go without, as long as it fits within your macros for the day. However, protein is of utmost importance, regardless of what phase you’re in.
Protein comes in many different forms, including lean meats, powders, beans and more. There’s no ‘magic food’ to get you to your goal. I always recommend to my clients building their meals around a protein source and ensuring they’re hitting their protein goal above anything else.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS TO HELP INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE OUR AYBL COMMUNITY TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS?
Consistency is key. Whether that’s showing up to the gym or focusing on your nutrition, it’s all about being consistent long-term. Quick fixes aren’t sustainable and although they can yield quick results, they often lead us right back to where we started.
When we make long-term changes, even if it’s just 1% every day, those changes will add up to reveal life-long results - and the best part about it? You don’t need to go from zero to 100, start small. Choose one thing each day to focus on, make that your goal and build on that each week until it starts to become a habit. Overtime, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve accomplished and how important consistency is!
The bottom line is, ladies, everyone’s fitness journey is different and the best way to stay consistent and achieve your goals sustainably is to go at a pace that is manageable for you.
There’s no point comparing yourself to the next person, everybody has their own story. So, maybe the macro diet will work for you, maybe it won’t. However, it’s safe to say that Dani has all the tips and tricks when it comes to tracking macros.