As an Athlete, Do I Need to Track my Macros?

Jul 27, 2017 | Intelligence | 0 comments

In the Brotherhood Training Club, we are focussed on living an athletic lifestyle. For us, that means having the energy to engage and perform in fulfilling activities, to an intense and high level. In order to optimise our performance, we need to ensure we nourish ourselves to perform. That is our main focus.

What are Macros?

We derive energy from the food we eat. The energy is calculated in Calories. These Calories will comprise Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. These are the macronutrients, which are required in large amounts in a diet.

When are Macros typically tracked?

Typically, Macros are tracked with the goal of increasing dietary control, with a view to achieving an aesthetic outcome. This may be to lose body fat or increase muscle mass. The goal, is seldomly linked to improving athletic performance.

Crudely The process goes like this:

– Calculate Basal Metabolic Rate (energy intake needed to keep you bed bound and breathing)

– Adjust Calories needed based on Activity levels

– Set weight loss/gain targets

– Calculate defecit/surplus

– Set Macronutrient Ratios in grams (protein:fat:carbs)

– Adjust based on progress towards goals

The processed above rely on formulas and estimations, which are very educated guesses.

What do we need to be aware of when tracking Macros?

It’s not perfect

Given the reliance on formulas, and inter-individual variability, it is difficult to know whether the formulas give an accurate picture of our energy expenditure- the amount of calories we expend on a daily basis. It is equally as difficult to know whether or not the amount of calories we take in are as advertised, as this data is based on averages. Moreover, we the amount of energy we expend on breaking down calories differs and we don’t absorb all the calories we consume.

Calorie counting may not be entirely accurate. That said, it shouldn’t be dismissed. It allows for increased awareness of what we’re consuming. Provided we track performance, energy levels and fat loss/muscle gain outcomes and make alterations based on these changes, it is still a useful quantitative measure for tracking nutrition.

Focus on aesthetics and not performance

The focus of calorie tracking, shifts dramatically to body composition rather than performance. So much so, that in cases of decreased energy levels, and sacrificed performance, ‘hitting macros’ may still be the most important objective for some, as their aesthetic pursuits are still being achieved. This is the opposite of an athletic focus, who’s focus is soley on being able to perform to high levels with intensity. Their focus is always on their focus, energy levels and performance during workouts.

Typically, Macros are tracked with the goal of increasing dietary control, with a view to achieving an aesthetic outcome. This may be to lose body fat or increase muscle mass. The goal, is seldomly linked to improving athletic performance.

Do I Need to Track Macros?

If your goals are aesthetic, tracking macros may be a good way for you to proceed. Remember- it is a method of generating increased awareness for how much you are consuming in relation to your activity levels, and requires rigorous tracking of outcomes to determine if they need adjustments.

If your goals are performance based, you need to ensure that you are well nourished. Simple as that. Brotherhood Training Club nutrition guidelines ensure that you habitually nourish with the macro and micro nutrients needed to necessitate favourable increases in performance.

By and large, your body has to adapt favourably in order to perform to its optimum. Whilst this may not mean super low levels of body fat, you will undoubtedly be leaner, more muscular than someone who doesn’t aim to pursue an athletic lifestyle.

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