If you're hitting your daily/weekly calorie goals then you're already doing a fantastic job… but are you hitting your macro targets and are they that important? The short answer is yes, if you want to reap all of the benefits and maximise your training potential!
The 3 main macronutrients, or macros for short, are carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy, whether you're doing cardio to weight training to some hard sums (yes, even the brain utilises carbs!). The body stores carbs in your liver as well as your muscles – this is why it's important to fuel your body with a carbohydrate rich meal 1-2 hours before you exercise, as this will give the working muscles plenty of energy!
Fats are a secondary source of energy and nowhere near as efficient as carbohydrates. This is because their main function is insulation and also hormone balance – sounds boring, but they can help keep your heart healthy! ‘Healthy’ fats such as those found in nuts, nut butters, avocado, olive/coconut oil, and even eggs can increase levels of good cholesterol to keep you fighting fit. Just be sure not to over indulge as there are 9 calories per single gram of fat, compares to 4 calories per gram of protein or carbohydrate.
Protein is involved in the growth and repair of your body – it’s literally the building block of muscle! Adequate amounts of protein will allow your muscles to recover after a workout and allow you to increase performance next time you train. If you don't have enough protein in your diet and your goal is to build muscle or increase strength, good luck! It can also help you stay full and should be a staple in every meal to ensure that you're giving your body exactly what it needs.
So how much of each should I eat? This is often worked out with percentages. For example, if your main goal is to build muscle or increase strength your macro percentages may consist of 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat and 30% protein. On the other hand if you are trying to shed some weight, your macros may look more like this: 30% carbohydrate, 35% fat and 35% protein.
Your daily calorie target should be your main goal, but if you really want to step it up make sure you count your macros!