Why Macro Calculators are a Waste of Time
We hear the same question so many times, how much should I be eating every day for my goals? The answer seems simple. Trainers/coaches and now online Calculators will ask you a series of question like the following: How old are you, how tall are you, how much do you weigh, what is your current activity level and how long and hard are you exercising. From there they will run a basic algorithm to calculate how much you should be eating, or so they tell you. This is science based, so what the problem?
The body is adaptive, it will adjust to the current stimulus or situation and become efficient at doing what it does. That is why we constantly need to make small adjustments to whatever we are doing, be it progressively upping our weights, increasing the length or intensity of a workout and with calories what was a deficit for a few weeks will turn into maintenance and adapt.
Macro calculators and algorithms do not take your current eating into account and because of that could be off by hundreds of calories per day putting you into very frustrating situations.
Think about this, if you do not know how much you are currently eating every day how will you know that the number they give you will be surplus, deficit or maintenance?
Whatever you are currently doing is where you are. Let me explain. If you are currently holding and maintaining your weight then however much you are eating each day is your current maintenance. Be it 1200 calories or 2000 calories, your “supposed” BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) make no difference. This is fact, the body adapts to the current environment.
As an example say you are currently eating about 1300 calories a day and you are struggling to lose weight. You see a coach or plug your numbers into an online calculator and it tells you that you should be eating 1642 calories a day. Without knowing that you are currently only eating 1300, this is a surplus of 342 calories. Once you have this number and you set your new goals, after the first week there is an absolute probability that you are going to gain weight. Why? Because you are eating 342 calories more per day than your previous maintenance intake, leaving you with overall gain. How frustrating right? I mean you followed exactly what it said to do.
Here lies the problem, you try to make choices and decision without all the information you need. It is like trying to solve an algebra equation for X when you don’t have Y, at this point you are just giving it a good “educated” guess.
How do we know this? 100’s of clients and years of experience shows us the most efficient way to get your calories under control, understand how much food and what main macronutrients is to start tracking. Everything you put in your mouth gets logged, gain understanding of how much you are eating. Once you understand the basis of calories and the importance of understanding the values of food you will take full control of your health and fitness.