Macro Problems


by Cade Thomas

It is becoming very common in todays world for people to talk about just hitting daily macronutrient goals. Doesn’t necessarily matter when, or how, as long as the end of the day the numbers add up to the imaginary guideline you set for yourself at the beginning of the day. While this is going to result in a dramatic improvement in body composition (assuming the totals are set to a somewhat reasonable ratio) for the average person who has never put any thought into diet and is overweight, ultimately most people will not get the best results they could. I REALLY do not want to go into an IIFYM (If it fits your macros) debate, honestly that’s the last thing I want to do. But I do feel there is an area or two of the concept that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so I am going to touch on them.

Let’s assume you are one of those blessed fellas or gals who can get away with choosing sugary processed sources for your carbs and fats. Maybe you get into great shape and grow like a weed relying on whey isolate and lucky charms, we are all proud of you. People debate back and forth all day all over the internet whether it makes a difference or not. I am going to give the supporters the benefit of the doubt here and say for the most part, carb sources are not going to make a huge difference in your results (possibly excluding the last stages of prep when your body is fighting to hold on to any fat it has). If you are rather muscular, your body will likely burn them off regardless where they come from……but what about your insides? No one really discusses the effects including junk food into your daily diet can have on your blood work and health. Steroids are always a hot topic when it comes to the health issues but why do people think just because you can get lean eating a poptart that your body is saying that it is acceptable? Call me crazy but I think most people would live a longer healthier life taking some testosterone but keeping a tight watch on their diet and choosing whole foods with no preservatives and chemicals than the other way around. I took a look at the ingredient list on a package of Pillsbury Toaster Strudels the other day…I stopped counting at 23 different ingredients. That is disgusting. I am all for a cheat meal here and there, but I think consuming pre-packaged dog shit daily is asking for health issues, whether you “fit it in your macros” or not.

Another argument I have heard is that it is a more balanced approach and lifestyle, as opposed to eating “clean” (won’t even get into that word) and then having one big feast once a week. This makes no sense to me. I am going to give you two examples of people and you tell me which one sounds healthier mentally;

A) Knows what his foods add up to, measures 7oz meat per meal and 1.5 cups rice, or equivalent in egg whites and oats, etc. Eats like this week round like a machine then friday night puts the food scale away and orders a pizza with his or her family. No counting, no measuring, just eating and being a normal human for a night and not making his/her spouse regret their choice of life partner. Can go to a family function without having to be “that bodybuilding guy”.

B) Has to measure every single meal and count macronutrients due to variety and “freedom”. This freedom means having to read labels and perform math every meal. If they screw up and eat a cupcake, they now have to punish themselves and take the carbs and fats out of other daily meals. Since they don’t believe in the binging of a cheat meal (as that is sooooo an eating disorder), they have to calculate the macros of the two slices of pizza they ate at their parents memorial day party and subtract it from other meals. Delicious freedom, at last!

Now that might be slightly one sided, but I think you get my point. If you know what foods are good for you and in what quantities, eating the same foods is actually much simpler and in my opinion enforces a much less obsessive-compulsive mind set. If you are out running errands and are going to miss a meal, there is definitely no harm in grabbing some sushi or subway and achieving the same result…I just don’t personally feel it’s a healthy way to live on a meal by meal basis. It devotes too much brain activity to food. At the end of the day, I love bodybuilding because it’s about being the absolute best you can be – Not about only doing what is required to get results.

Finally, the timing aspect of the “Daily macros” concept is a mess. While some people have meal totals that they hit with precision, some people simply care what the totals add up to at the end of the day. This is such a ridiculous concept. This methodology implies that the food we eat does absolutely nothing to our bodies when we eat it. It simply hangs out and waits for closing time, and then like a nutritional cash register it gets counted at the end of the night and deposited. “Well guys, we hit our targets for protein and carbs but went a little high on fats, act accordingly and place .005 grams of fat to the left butt cheek”. As I previously said, this might be good enough for an obese person who has never put any effort into their diet previously, but for any trained person with some level of experience this is an embarrassment. Our bodies are extremely complex living organisms that react to every single thing put into it. If you take a few shots of tequila, you get drunk. Not tomorrow after your body has finally looked at the alcohol content at the stroke of midnight, but now. The hormonal reaction to food is very complex and the environment can either be very productive for your goals or detrimental. What separates the ones who leapfrog their peers is that they make the right choices the most often, putting their body in the most beneficial state for the most amount of time possible.