Some of you reading this may be macro enthusiasts, and some of you may be asking “what the heck is a macro?” The other people may know what macros are and are just intrigued by the thought of tracking macros since the concept has truly blown up in the fitness industry lately.
First of all, what is a macro? Macro is short for macronutrients, which in simpler terms, is what makes up the food you eat – proteins, carbs, and fats. IIFYM, or flexible dieting, is about weighing your food and accurately tracking those macro nutrients to hit a specific number each day.
For some, this has allowed freedom (like myself) in terms of being able to eat what they want while still reaching their fitness goals. Flexible dieting has truly saved me from my “omg I can only eat clean whole foods 24/7” days. For others, it leads to a different obsession, makes people crazy, and causes more stress or harm than good.
If you’re one of the second people, you are probably wondering if it’s possible to reach your goals without weighing your food and tracking your macros. In short, the answer is YES, if you are just a normal person trying to reach some fitness goals. However, if you plan to compete in a bodybuilding competition, I wouldn’t recommend it.
First, lets talk about competing. When you compete, you have to get to a level of leanness that isn’t natural and that isn’t an everyday look. Being stage-lean year round is not ideal, and if you kept up with that you would have no life, seriously. It’s no way to live. When dieting down for a show, tracking macros is the most accurate way to reach those goals. You need to be as accurate as possible in order to make necessary changes every week. You will be hungry, you will have to workout when you are tired, and it will be hard. Which is why tracking your macros for an event like this is pretty much necessary in my eyes. You have to keep reducing calories and macros as well as increasing cardio in order to attain your best physique. Even if you eat “clean” during your prep, you’re still eating a specific number of calories and macronutrients whether you realize it or not.
On the other hand, if you’re just a regular person trying to achieve some type of fitness goal whether it is leaning out or building muscle, no, you don’t have to track macros the rest of your life! I always suggest starting out by tracking macros so you can get an idea of what portion sizes look like and things like that. I use a flexible dieting approach with any clients I have because it is the most accurate way and the easiest way to eat what you want while still making adjustments towards your goals. Once you get the hang of macros, portions sizes, and how to eat and you are simply wanting to maintain the physique you have achieved, then of course you do not need to weight out your food everyday. By then, you know how and what to eat and it’ll be much easier to maintain that physique.
To sum it all up, no, it’s definitely not necessary. No one should be tracking macros the rest of their life – there is definitely a time and a place for it!