What are "Macros"? What is "Flexible Dieting"?

What are Macros?

The term "macros" is short for macronutrients. Our foods are made up of 3 macronutrients - protein, carbohydrate, and dietary fat. Macros are where calories come from. One gram of protein has 4 calories, one gram of carbohydrate also has 4 calories, and one gram of fat has 9 calories. Macros are the energy in our foods, but they also serve other functions. There is a lesson about each macro in this course.

Contrast macros with the micronutrients which are the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, etc. that are in whole foods that contribute to our general health.

What is "Flexible Dieting"?

Flexible dieting is a way to organize your food intake that uses macros, not food lists. As a flexible dieting coach, I set the amounts of protein grams, carb grams, and fat grams for my clients, but they have the flexibility to choose the foods they eat. The amounts of each macro vary from person to person. To use macros properly, it must be customized.

In this course, I'll take you through the process of getting started with macros, step-by-step.

Flexible dieting has been popular in the bodybuilding community for years - these physique athletes are literally pros at changing their body composition. To compete, they need to have low levels of body fat while maintaining their lean mass.

In recent years, the flexible dieting concept has crossed over to the general fitness population. However, there are misconceptions about how to implement it. Some people think it refers to eating junk food all day. That's just not logical. The body still needs all those micronutrients to be healthy.

People who have been successful using a flexible approach will tell you that MOST of their food choices are whole foods - vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, lean meats - but treats are allowed "if it fits your macros". (That's where #IIFYM comes from.)

Every body is different. Some of us have a food intolerance or allergies. And ALL of us have food preferences. Flexible dieting, because it uses the macros to provide a structure to follow, not a strict food list, has become the sustainable nutritional approach for millions of people who have reached and maintained their fitness goals.

Once you have your true maintenance calories as discussed in a previous lesson, you'll be able to set your macros. Go ahead and work through the rest of the lessons now, but you won't finalize your customized macros until after you have found your true maintenance calorie amount.