Last month, I held my first 30 day "intro to macros" challenge. It was geared towards members of my gym, but I opened it up to anyone who was interested in having someone guide them through 30 days of learning how to track their macros (carbs, fats & proteins). I added a new service to complement the challenge, which was a one-time macros calculation, that many individuals opted to use to pair with the 30 day challenge. In my opinion, this was the best way to tackle tracking macros for the first time as you could be sure the macros you were working with were best suited to you as they came from an experienced coach. Feedback from the 30 day challenge, and especially from those who had their macros calculated for them was extremely positive.
The more people I work with, the better I become as a nutrition coach. Everyone is unique in their background, their goals, their body type and how they approach their nutrition. Each time my nutrition questionnaire is filled out, it's more information for me to work with. Over the past year, I have noticed a trend when people fill out the specific questions I ask. The first thing I noticed was in response to this question:
What is your current caloric intake (estimate if you do not know):
The majority of people, and women especially, respond with crazy-low number that they have been trying to hit daily, but have had limited success.
These individuals often struggle to make a meaningful change to their body composition, their lifestyle and their nutrition because the target calories and macros they set for themselves are far too low. They have set themselves up for failure the minute they punch in these "too-low" numbers into their my fitness pal.
Their selection typically will stem from the misguided thought that the more aggressive the diet, the better and faster the results. This lack of patience becomes a quick issue for many, as adherence to this type of program is often difficult. The more deprived you are, the more likely you will abandon your diet completely, and typically when you do, your calories and macros are blown out of control. Even if it's just one day or one meal, the caloric deficit you had previously suffered to create. are completely erased in this one moment of weakness. You arrived back at square one - upset, frustrated and tempted to make an even bigger cut to your macros to "undo the damage."
Another question I ask in my initial nutrition questionnaire is
Be as specific as possible about your current exercise regimen:
Another interesting trend here - people seeking my guidance are an extremely active bunch, and they've been active for years! Getting themselves to the gym proves to be no issue, and in fact many people are putting 10+hours a week into their fitness. With this amount of dedication to your training, why are you so loose with your nutrition and leaving the food you put in your body up to chance?
Your best bet when beginning to count our macros is to make it work for your lifestyle, don't change your life for your diet! Food is meant to be enjoyable, and the moment you restrict yourself, you give food power over you. Gain control back by empowering yourself to learn how to eat what you want, and still have it work towards giving you the results you want. Macros works - it's proven week after week with every check in that shows my clients getting leaner, while subsequently gaining strength all the while enjoying their foods and their life! Don't spend another summer avoiding social gatherings because you're scared it will "blow your diet." Counting your macros will make food work for your lifestyle.
Working with a trained professional who can set you up for success from the beginning, use your weekly data and check-ins to make any necessary updates, provide accountability for you and support your goals.You're not in this alone!
- Coach Alli
Dr. Alli Cain is a doctor of chiropractic, nutrition coach & CrossFit coach.
She is co-owner of CrossFit Groundworx in Newmarket, ON.
She has a passion for helping people to love their body through a healthy dose of exercise and teaching proper nutrition.