Friday, August 14, 2015

IIFYM Part 1: What is a macro? And why are they important?


So the big meet is over and I still can't believe how awesome it went! I have a post started about it and I'm adding thoughts and memories constantly to it, but I'm not really ready to let go of the magic so that post will stay offline a while longer. 

I have decided I like this format of blogging that I used the last few weeks, so I'm going to pull it out quite often. I'm personally really enjoying the "Best Things". I hope you are as well. 


I opened the mail at the gym yesterday and got this.

My curiosity was piqued and then I knew who it was from!

"L" was a wonderful young lady that came to our Special Olympics night and she completely stole my heart that night and then again as I read her letter. 

The best things in life are when you can help others better theirs!


Someone near and dear to my heart messaged me yesterday and asked, "What is a macro?" I realized that I talk a lot about macros and 'If It Fits Your Macros' (IIFYM), but some people may have no idea idea what I'm talking about. I'll talk over the next few blog posts about macros, what they are, counting them and setting yours.

There are (basically) three macronutrients that we all need to survive and thrive. Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. Alcohols are treated like carbs in IIFYM plans, but they are really a fourth, separate, non-essential macro.

Here is what the McKinley Health Center says about each.

Proteins- We need protein for:
  • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
  • Tissue repair
  • Immune function
  • Making essential hormones and enzymes
  • Energy when carbohydrate is not available
  • Preserving lean muscle mass
Protein is found in meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and in smaller quantities in starchy foods and vegetables.

When we eat these types of foods, our body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are nonessential which means that our body can make them. Protein that comes from animal sources contains all of the essential amino acids that we need. Plant sources of protein, on the other hand, do not contain all of the essential amino acids. 

Carbs- Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. 
  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
  • Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
  • Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.
Fiber refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. These carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract intact and help to move waste out of the body. Diets that are low in fiber have been shown to cause problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids and to increase the risk for certain types of cancers such as colon cancer. Diets high in fiber; however, have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity, and they help lower cholesterol. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.

Fats- Although fats have received a bad reputation for causing weight gain, some fat is essential for survival.  We need fat for:
  • Normal growth and development
  • Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
  • Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
  • Providing cushioning for the organs
  • Maintaining cell membranes
  • Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods
Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarines, oils, lard, fish, grain products and salad dressings. There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. 

Click here to read IIFYM Part 2!


Today begins cardio hell! I've reached most of my weightlifting goals and am now returning my focus to CrossFit. I have already done one  baby WOD this morning and see a few more in my future this afternoon. Time to overhaul this little 4-banger into a V8! We have a HUGE team competition coming up at the end of September and I have to earn my spot on the team!

Best Thing I Came Across Lately

While sitting in the hall waiting to weigh in Wednesday morning, all of us ladies were chatting. One lady had a fork prominently tattooed on her foot and someone asked her about it. She said she got the tattoo because her grandmother told her to never send the fork back, because the best things were yet to come. 

I love this! Especially on that day, the pinnacle of my training. The "now whats?" could creep up once it was over. It would be easy to "send the fork back" because I was done. But instead, I'm going to keep the fork, because even better things are coming! 

Stay strong y'all!

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  1. What a sweet letter! That makes the things we do so worth it, right? Thanks for the informative post!

    1. Yes, it made my week even better! I'm going to a short series on tracking macros and iifym. Hopefully I can dispel some of the myths that all iifym people eat is junk. :)

  2. Such a sweet letter! I hope you hold onto that one. I haven't paid much attention to macros but interesting thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you! In my experience, when active people (especially women) track their macros they find they do not eat near enough protein to support their active lifestyle and way too much fat. Recovery and energy is so much better when the macros are balanced and consistent!

  3. What a cute letter! Such a nice thing to get into the mail! I count macros, but I don't do IIFYM. I'm focusing on a real, whole foods based diet right now :)

    1. If you are counting macros, you are doing iifym, right? :) Lol, I know people think iifym = junk diet, but that's not really true. I set my fiber goal at 25-35 grams each day so I eat copious amounts of veggies to get there. I'm pretty much 85% paleo, 10% oatmeal and 5% junk. Haha, I do really enjoy sugar post workout, but the majority of my diet is lean meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. I can't imagine who asked you about "macros"?

    1. Beware, your plan is coming...... :) :) :)