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  • Writer's pictureBianca McCane

The Benefits of Pairing Macro-Tracking with Strength Training

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Authored by: Bianca McCane, Head Coach at FIT by Katy, CPT

We get it; counting macros can feel intimidating. You may think it's too complicated or too limiting, but we're here to debunk those misconceptions. In the midst of so many restrictive calorie plans and crash diets, eating based on your macros provides you with an incredibly balanced range of foods that are suited for your body and your goals. It is all about less guilt and more freedom!

Let's break down how easy it is to get started tracking macros and why pairing them with a strength training plan will help transform your body and reset your relationship with food. You'll be shocked what nutrition tracking, combined with a purposeful strength training program, can do for your mind and body.

What's the best way to reach my health and fitness goals when counting macros?

Pairing them with an intentional strength training program. This doesn't mean just going into the gym and lifting weights; this means pairing your macro targets with a plan that uses progressive overload and is specifically designed for weekly progress.

If you were to listen to women's diet culture, you'd be on the treadmill or spin bike for hours per day and eating no more than 1,200 calories and probably a lot of lettuce and celery. We're calling diet culture out on their BS. Kick that mentality to the curb right now.

At FIT by Katy, we host 8-week challenges on a regular basis and provide over 40 unique programs in the app for you to choose from. You can read more about our subscription options (starting at under $5/month!) here.

The truth is that strength training is the best way to both lose fat and build muscle, and it doesn't require eating in an unsustainable caloric deficit. Win-win! Specifically for women, here are just a few of the many benefits of strength training:

Burns more calories at rest

As you gain muscle, your body will naturally begin to burn more calories while it's at rest. This main factor, plus being able to maintain flexibility and balance, mobility, posture, and more-is why we love strength training!

Increases longevity

Physical activity guidelines state that health benefits begin when adults do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. Strength training, in particular, can add years to your life. Research even suggests that the more lean muscle mass you have, the more likely you are to increase your life expectancy.

Strengthen your bones

When you strength train, you break down your muscle tissue, and it rebuilds stronger and bigger. Resistance training works similarly on bone tissue, increasing mineral density with training. It can even help prevent and reverse osteoporosis.

Wait, what's a macro?

“Macros” is short for “macronutrients.” These three nutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) are required in large quantities to fuel your body. Each macronutrient contains an exact number of calories. So, when you're counting macros, you're counting calories but getting the appropriate “types” of calories for your specific body and goals. For example, a cheeseburger and fries may have the same amount of calories as a Mediterranean salmon dish, but the nutrients within those meals do very different things for your body.

Fats: 9 calories / gram

Contrary to what the early 2000s told us, fat should not be avoided at all costs. Fat provides your body with energy, helps control the balance and production of hormones, and plays a key part in brain function, nervous system operation, and cell formation. Fats also help your body digest fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Carbohydrates: 4 calories / gram

A well-balanced diet will always include carbohydrates, no matter what Instagram Influencer tells you. Carbs give you energy, and they can play a helpful role in exercise performance. We mainly rely on carbs to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or usable energy for our cells. Carbs are broken down into both simple and complex forms and are digested based on their glycemic index (GI).

Simple carbs like candy, juice, or rice cakes (with a high GI) are easily broken down by your digestive system and provide quickly released energy. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes and quinoa (with a low GI) are broken down by your digestive system and are delivered to your bloodstream much more slowly.

Protein: 4 calories / gram

Proteins are the building blocks of life made up of amino acids. Protein helps your body repair cells and make new ones and plays a huge role in your body's structure and strength. They make up your hair, nails, bones, muscles, and are involved in hormone production, cell signaling, and the production of enzymes in your body. As you become more active, your body will require protein to fuel recovery and grow muscle.

Protein is the secret sauce to achieving your fat loss or muscle-building goals. You should start here and hit your protein macros first before moving to anything else if you're nervous about getting started!

But why is macro counting better than calorie counting?

Macros allow for freedom and flexibility, and they aren't restrictive. You're eating a balanced amount of nutrients customized for your body and goals, and you'll also begin to better understand the food you're eating. Plus, 2,000 calories/day can be made up in various ways. Which do you think is best for your mind and body from the below options?

A. 100F / 150C / 125P = 2,000 Calories

B. 55F / 220C / 156P = 2,000 Calories

C. 80F / 140C / 180P = 2,000 Calories

Option A diet would be higher in fat and lower in protein. This person might be eating processed foods, seed oils, dressings, and more that may increase their fat, but still at 2,000 calories.

Option B is a well-rounded diet of carbs, fats, and protein. This person might be eating a diet filled with whole-grain carbs, fats from avocados, nuts, eggs, and is getting enough lean protein to stay full all day without cravings. It's also a diet that may pair optimally with strength training due to the balance of carbs and protein.

Option C is low on carbs but high on fats and proteins. This person may be following something like a “keto” diet and might not be getting enough carbs to optimize training performance. As with any diet, the best diet is one in which you can maintain long-term consistency. However, for many people, low-carb diets might not be sustainable and will deliver suboptimal training results.

OK, but how do I know what my macros should be?

Your macros will differ depending on what your overall goal is. At FIT by Katy, we work within 3 main goals:

Macros for fat loss

If your goal is fat loss, your macros will put you into a caloric deficit. Your macros should be as high as possible while still seeing progress. We know society has told you to eat less, but you actually WANT to be able to eat and still lose weight.

Macros for muscle building

If your goal is to build muscle, your macros will put you into a caloric surplus. This will allow you to build strength and muscle definition. If you're plateauing, then you may need to add more calories. Do this slowly and gradually before diving in head first.

Macros for maintenance

If you're in a maintenance phase, you'll want to find the macro amount that sustains your body in its current state within -/+ 3-5 lbs.

The easiest way to do this is to head to the FIT by Katy app, enter your information into our proprietary macro calculator, and voila! More on this below.

Got it, now how do I track my macros?

After trying dozens of apps over the years, our coaches found MacrosFirst to be the easiest and best way to track your macros throughout the day. MacrosFirst is simple to use and powerful in what it offers. One of our favorite features is the ability to auto-calculate a food's serving size based on your macro goal for that food.

Remember that hitting your protein goal should be your first priority if you're new to macro tracking? Well, MacrosFirst makes that easy, just choose your food, set a protein goal for the food, and MacrosFirst will auto-calculate the required serving size to hit your goal. No more macro math! It's the little features like these in MacrosFirst that eliminates the friction typically associated with macro tracking, which is why we recommend them to all of our clients.

Alright, I'm convinced, where do I start?

Yay! Let's do this. Start by downloading the MacrosFirst app and the FIT by Katy app. Then, the options are endless. Here's one path that will help you reach your goals fastest.

  1. Use the FBK Macro Calculator to find your macronutrient targets

  2. Use the Macros First app to track your daily adherence to your new targets

  3. Use the FBK app to join a strength training challenge, or program, that will lead to the fastest results possible

  4. Stay consistent and stick to the plan

Remember, progress is better than perfection. If you stay consistent with your macro and strength-training plan, you will see the results you're looking for.


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