Tracking macros is not essential to your success on the TNT program. In fact, we don’t encourage everyone to track macros as we’ve seen time and time again that people can achieve amazing results just by following their nutrition and training plan. With that being said, knowing how to track your macros can come in really handy in certain situations, so we’re going to talk through how to track them and the common mistakes we see people make when trying to track macros.
Macros (short for macronutrients) are protein, carbohydrate and fat. These three nutrients all have different functions in the body, but one thing they have in common is that they all provide us with energy (calories/kilojoules).
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories (17 kilojoules)
1 gram of protein = 4 calories (17 kilojoules)
1 gram of fat = 9 calories (37 kilojoules)
1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories (29 kilojoules)
When To Consider Tracking Macros?
1. You’ve hit a plateau
If you’ve hit a plateau with your training or body composition goal, then this is the perfect time to track your macros over a few days. This will allow you to see if you’re hitting your targets as well as you think you are and highlight to you which areas you’re lacking in. If you are hitting your macros spot on and still stuck on a progress plateau, check-in with us and we can adjust these to get you back achieving results.
2. You’re going away but still want to be consistent with your nutrition
It’s difficult to plan meals and stick to your plan when travelling. Often you’re eating out at restaurants or grabbing convenient food options on the run. Rather than stressing about how you’ll prep your meals and stick to your nutrition plan 100%, we recommend to simply eat healthily and track your macros to make sure you’re hitting the correct daily calories and protein.
3. You’re gearing up to compete in a body building/bikini modelling competition
Here at TNT we have lots of members who sign up for their competition prep. If this is you, tracking your macros is essential.
How to Track Macros
1.Download a macro-counting app.
MyFitnessPal is the most popular app for this, or if you’re in Australia ‘EasyDietDiary is also a great choice.
2.Enter in your personal calories and macronutrient targets (grams).
These are all listed in in your meal plan.
3. Add in all your daily foods, drinks, condiments/sauces etc. Using the search function or barcode scanner.
Where possible, put in the exact brand you are eating. E.g. rather than choosing greek yoghurt, select "chobani 0.5% fat plain greek yoghurt”.
4. Ensure you meet your overall calorie and protein intake
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle, meeting your overall calorie intake each day is the most important factor for your success. Protein intake is the next most important factor as it fuels muscle growth and repair. When it comes to carbs and fats, we need a balance of both for good health. However some people naturally thrive off a higher fat, lower carb approach, whereas others find they eat higher carb, lower fat and feel this gives them the best results. So, as long as you are meeting your protein intake and eating a reasonably balanced amount of carbs and fats, the exact grams of fats/carbs doesn’t really matter. You will quickly discover which approach works best for you and your lifestyle which is what the TNT program is all about!
The 5 Common Mistakes People Make when tracking macros
1. Focusing too much on hitting macros the exact gram!
Don’t waste your time trying to eat exactly 123.5 grams of protein! There is really no need to aim for such specific amounts of macros. There are so many errors to be made when tracking macros that your final daily macro figures could be off by at least 10grams! Round up to the nearest 10g for carbs and protein, and nearest 5g for fats. For example, if your protein target = 123g, round down to 120g. If your fats target = 63g, round up to 65g.
2. Forgetting to track alcohol
While not technically a macronutrient, pure alcohol/ethanol does provide the body with energy. Therefore it’s essential to track your alcohol intake when tracking macros, even it’s just straight spirits! Forgetting to track small amounts of added fats like the olive oil you cooked with, the butter you had on your toast and even the fish oil supplements that you took all count towards your total caloric intake, so remember to track these.
3. Forgetting to track all the 'extras'
People often forget to track things like butter on toast, sugar in coffee, juices, soft drinks, salad dressings, condiments like gravy, tomato sauce, chutneys etc. The calories from these things may seem small, but over the course of the day they add up!
4. Just "eyeballing" it
When you're new to tracking macros, it's especially important that you weigh out your quantities using kitchen scales, rather than just eyeballing things. If you want to test out your guestimating skills, measure out what you think is the correct weight and then put it on the scales to check the difference.
5. Not sticking to the suggested serve size on packaged foods
This relates back to mistake #4. Instead of putting in "1 serve" of a packaged food and hoping that the amount you ate was in fact the same as the suggested serve size, just weigh your portion out beforehand. For example, 1 serve of greek yoghurt might be 200g (10g protein). But the amount of greek yoghurt you actually ate was only 125g (6g protein).
So there you have it, everything you need to know about tracking macros and the most common mistakes we see when people are first starting out. The most important thing to take from this is that tracking macro's everyday is not essential for success. It is simply another tool we can use in specific circumstances to enhance our results.
At the end of the day, the TNT program is about providing you with as much nutrition knowledge and skills as possible. It’s your job to apply what you feel is relevant and adapt it to suit your lifestyle.