Learning how to track macros for the first time can feel like a lot.
Keeping track of how much you’re eating, what you’re eating, and even remembering to track can be a struggle until you get used to it. But what if we approached macro tracking like any other habit? What if instead of shooting for 100% success every single day, we set achievable goals that we could build into sustainable habits?
The best part about understanding what we are eating and why, is gaining the freedom to make informed decisions about how we are fueling our bodies. Now, if you’ve just started with Dancers Who Lift, you likely have either worked with your coach or the DWL Bible and calculated a calorie goal and macro split.
Wait a minute, go back and read those last few words again– “calorie GOAL”. This is a goal for you to hit every day.
Perfection can be paralyzing, instead, let’s shoot for consistency.
You wouldn’t learn how to pirouette without first learning how to plié and relevé. Similarly, breaking down how to track macros into baby steps can help us consistently hit our goals. So let me take you through the basics of tracking your macros and we’ll have you landing “triples” in no time.
The first thing we want to focus on is our protein intake.
The first week or two of tracking your macros, I want you to ignore everything in your tracker except your protein intake. We want to ensure you get the protein you need to fuel your brain and rebuild your muscles between workouts.
Think of your body as a high rise. Protein is the cement that forms the foundation of that 50-story complex. It’s also the floors and ceilings and maybe even part of the architectural features of the apartments. It’s not the only thing that makes up the building. But it’s one of the largest components and, without a high enough daily intake, your building can start to sway too much when the winds pick up.
Consistently hitting your protein goal is so important that we want you to focus on only that until it becomes second nature. Need top tips for getting extra protein in? Check out this list of quick and easy protein snacks!
Now, let’s talk calories.
One of the more challenging aspects of learning how to track macros is incorporating your calorie goal. Once you’re hitting your protein goals consistently, the next thing to focus on is hitting your calorie goal while maintaining your protein intake. At first, this might feel challenging. But I promise once you get the hang of it. You’re going to love how it feels to hit the gym less sore, experience less brain fog, and be satiated after your meals. You might even find that when you’re hitting your protein goal and calorie goal, your other macros start to get closer to their respective goals as well!
Next up, carbohydrates!
After you’ve been able to hit your calorie goal consistently while maintaining your protein consumption, start focusing on your carbohydrates. These little buggers are sneaky because carbs are in so much of the food we consume–and that’s good! Carbs are our body’s main source of energy.
Remember that building of our body? If protein is the cement, carbs are the metal rods that drill into the foundation, support the walls, and make up the window frames and doors. We want to ensure that we are eating plenty of carbs each day.
The important thing is ensuring each day you are getting as close to your calorie goal as possible while maintaining your protein and carbohydrate consumption.
The last piece of the puzzle is fat.
Now that you’re consistently hitting your calorie goal while maintaining your protein and carbohydrate goals, zero in on your fats. In the building of our bodies, fats are the glass. They make up the floor-to-ceiling windows, the balcony railings, and mirrors. Without them, your building won’t pass inspection as it would be deemed “unlivable.”
Fats get a bad reputation but the reality is, they are an essential part of our diets-namely, hormone regulation.
However, they are often one of the more challenging macro goals to hit when learning how to track macros. Fats are not only found in red meats, poultry skins, and fish. They are also in oils, butter, milk, and a lot of condiments.
Hot tip: if you’re struggling to hit this goal, take a closer look at your condiments and the number of cooking oils you’re using. Making even the tiniest adjustments in this area can have a massive impact on your diet.
And just like that you have constructed a healthy “bodybuilding” by gradually making changes to the way that you eat. What’s even better? You’re now functioning on a diet that is going to support everything you’re asking your body to do for you. Whether you’re lifting after your office job or in a 10/12 tech rehearsal, fueling your body well for each day is never a bad choice. So what are you waiting for? Small changes over time can have a massive impact on our future. Why not start today?
Want more tips for tracking macros? Our instagram is JAM PACKED with tips for adding more protein, packing rehearsal snacks, and more. Check it out! And don’t forget to leave us a comment telling us what you tried!