Macronutrients: Fully understanding the basics

Plate with various fruits, veggies, and grains.
IIFYM. If it fits your macros. Whether you’ve heard this or not, it’s one of the most important aspects of leading a healthy lifestyle. Macronutrients are inside what we eat, with the most common ones being protein, carbohydrates and fat. Everybody has different macros that they should be consuming each day that’re tailored to their goals. Whether you want to lose fat, gain more muscle, or even add on a few pounds, knowing your macro ratio is essential. Each macro is important in its own way and not one should be neglected. In fact, it’s just as important to keep track of your macros as it is your calories.  Many people’s mistake is that they are eating an excess amount of calories or macronutrients versus having a balance.


Protein is a known staple in any diet. Most people don’t realize this, but in order to build muscle, we must first break it down. Only then can the body properly rebuild and grow muscle. Protein assists with the rebuilding process by providing necessary amino acids. It’s also a key nutrient that aids in maintaining healthy bone density, tissues, and organ function. To build muscle, it’s recommended to consume about 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you are 180 lbs., you should be aiming for about 144-180g of protein each day. Here is a list of clean sources of protein:
  • Fish/seafood (salmon, tuna, white fishes, shrimp, scallops, etc.)
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Eggs
  • Dairy


Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. One of the most commonly accepted myths regarding nutrition is that carbs are bad, but that’s simply not true. As with any type of nutrient, carbs will only cause you to gain weight when consumed in excessive amounts. Many people mistakenly believe they have to sacrifice eating carbohydrates, when in fact, they’re actually hurting their progress. Without the proper fuel, your body may struggle to function at full capacity. To gain lean body mass, the recommended amount of carbs is about 1.8-2 grams per pound of body weight. Yes, you read that correctly—it’s more than protein! Here are some of the best sources of carbohydrates:
  • Potatoes (white, sweet, red, Idaho, IT DOES NOT MATTER IIFYM)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • White or brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta


Fat is another word that generally has a negative connotation. However, just like the other macros, it has many necessary benefits such as maintaining your core body temperature, protecting vital organs, absorbing essential vitamins, and synthesizing hormones. The formula for this macro is about .2-.4 grams of fat per pound of body weight. It is the lowest among the three because it is the most calorie dense, which is why things like hamburgers and fried foods are frowned upon. Here are some of the best sources of fat:
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Avocados
  • Almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews
  • Salmon

Why are Macronutrients Important? 

If it fits your macros. What does this phrase mean? If you have seen or heard of it, then you know that by calculating and following your macronutrients ratio, it gives you more flexibility to eat the kinds of foods you like or want. For example, many professional bodybuilders eat ice cream or pancakes because even after they’ve eaten their meals, they still have calories, proteins, carbs, and fats available to them to consume. We’ve provided the formulas for each macronutrient, but the basic ratio that most people follow to build muscle without gaining fat is a diet that consists of 30% fat, 30% protein and 40% carbs. Again, food itself is not necessarily going to make you gain weight. Any type of food that exceeds your daily macros is what will hold you back from achieving your goals. Even fruit, organic foods, and those labeled non-GMO can still lead to weight gain. On the flip side, it’s imperative that you’re eating enough. Many people put themselves into an extreme calorie deficit because they think they will lose weight faster. However, when you do this, you’re actually decreasing your metabolism. A decreased metabolism means that your body will not be able to burn calories as efficiently. Remember, every calorie and macronutrient matters. Your body keeps track, and your body knows everything its taking in. There is no room for cheating.

How Leo’s Fitness Lab Can Help

A big problem is that many people believe that they are already living a “healthy” lifestyle, but then wonder why they’re not getting the results they want. We know it’s difficult to change old habits, but we can offer you the help and guidance to do it correctly. At Leo’s Fitness Lab, our medical grade BodPod can determine your body composition and total daily energy expenditure. With this information, we can calculate the right macro ratio tailored to your unique goals. Whether you want to lose weight or gain more muscle mass, we want to help you! Our other two state-of-the-art technologies offer a safe and effective workout in half the time of traditional exercises. So what are you waiting for? Schedule your free appointment today!