Understanding Macros As a Vegan

There is a lot of information out there for people who are calculating their macros in order to achieve their dream body. The thing is that most of these guides are built around the idea of consuming meat. If you’re a vegan, you may find it a bit tricky to understand how to get your macros with a vegan diet.

While many vegans may strive to eat right, just not eating meat may not actually be doing much for your body. A healthy, fit body is one that is built around a solid diet, and knowing your macros and how much you should be eating according to your lifestyle is very important.

What Are Macros?

Many people diet thinking that if they simply cut out all the goodies that they normally eat, they’ll be just fine. While this may work in some cases or for a few weeks, for long-lasting and very obvious results, understanding why macros matter is very important.

Calculating macros is about understanding the principles behind how many macros are ideal for your body and your goals. Simply put, macros is about knowing how much protein you need every day, how much fat, carbs, and so on. While it may seem like a lot of mathematics at work, it’s actually easier than you think to calculate how much you should be eating on a daily basis.

Macros are about having complete control of the results from your exercise routine and diet so that you can achieve that body you’ve been hoping to have for years. Focusing on macros is eating what your body needs for the goals you have in mind, whether it’s bodybuilding or weight loss.

Knowing Your Calories

Portion Control

You may know some fitness people who seem to eat whatever they want and maintain a slim body. How in the world do they do this? While it may seem like a bit shifty, it’s actually due to something along the lines of the calories you put in and the calories you put out.

They aren’t just mindlessly eating whatever suits their fancy, but rather knowing exactly how many calories they are consuming. If you eat more calories than what you’re burning, you know what happens. What about eating fewer calories than what you burn from your exercise? That’s when the magic happens. You will burn the fat stored up as an energy source instead of your body, keeping it for “the winter.”

So, this is why some people can what appears to be “terrible food for a diet” as they are not overdoing it in their other meals and only eating the calories that their macros allow.

How do you calculate how many calories you can consume? Understanding your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is key to knowing how many calories you will need to burn or how many to consume.

There are many online calculators to use to understand what your TDEE is, based on your energy expenditure in a day–which by the way isn’t only how long you exercise or how you work out, but also simple things like your lifestyle, if you walk a lot, etc.

When you want to bulk up, you will want to consider increasing your TDEE at around 10%, and when you want to cut, reduction of your TDEE by 20% is ideal. So, say that you are a vegan and you’re in your mid-20s and weigh about 180lbs. Your daily maintenance caloric intake should be around 2570. Want to cut down and lose weight? Work it out with 2570 x 0.80. Understanding what your maintenance level is will go far in how much weight you can lose.

An online guide isn’t always going to be accurate, so do try to play around with the effects the macros are having on your body.

What About Protein?

As a vegan, you may already find challenges on getting the right amount of protein from a plant-based diet. If you already have a good idea on where to get your protein from, you’re on the right track. Protein is extremely important in a macro-based diet, so knowing how much protein and where to get it from is very important.

If you’re hoping to build muscle or even just lose weight, protein is a must for you. Protein gives your body the fuel it needs to burn calories and fat, and even just provide you with the energy you need to keep up with your exercise.

You don’t need to eat your “bodyweight” when it comes to protein, but you do want to make sure that you get a good amount from your plant-based diet. Bananas are a great go-to snack, but they are not going to cut it for you.

Here is a good tip for calculating: Eat 1.6-2.2 grams of your protein per kilogram per day. This will result in 0.73-1 grams of protein per pounds. Most people will improve when following this type of rule for their protein intake.

As a vegan, it’s important to consider a high amount of protein, as you are getting less BCAA than you would if you were eating a plant-based diet. If you’re about maintaining our muscle mass while also losing weight, plenty of protein can go far in helping you to do this.

An example to follow could be e a person who doesn’t eat meat or animal-based protein weighing 180lbs needs about 0.73-1 x 180 equaling 131-180g of protein if you want to maximize your gains.

And if you’re struggling to get enough protein after you go to the gym, then consider taking some pea protein for vegans.

And Fats?

Everyone thinks fats are so bad, but when done right, they are definitely your friend. Fat is necessary for our diet and even our brain health. It can be used to fuel your workouts and burn your calories. It’s good for your hormones and cell membranes, and so much more, so before you say no fats in your diet, think again.

How much fat should be allowed in your diet? This is where you do need to be careful. What may work for one person’s lifestyle and body may not work for you. It depends on your routines, lifestyles, goals, and current weight, but for example, if you are an athlete who needs to enhance your performance, you will definitely want to make sure that you’re getting the amount you need to support your body without overdoing it.  As a vegan, you need around 15-30% of calories from fat while leaving room for carbs.

How About Carbs?

Yes, carbs are your friends. But, don’t just eat that white bread you love so much. Instead, reach for the sweet potato which will provide you with healthy carbs that are your friend, especially while you’re following a macro-based diet. Carbs turn into glucose, which is actually very important for your brain and health, so don’t just ignore them. In fact, they can help you to improve your overall performance.

If you’re bodybuilding, your carb intake should be around 4-7g/kg. It’s pretty easy to understand your TDEE by getting the right percentage of protein and fat according to your macros and then just fill the rest with your carbohydrates.

Tracking And Adjusting Macros

It can be difficult to get the hang of tracking your macros, but it is possible. To do so effectively, you’ll want to measure and weigh your foods. Getting a good digital scale is the first step in being able to do this effectively. An app on your phone to save all the information and figure it all out is also a good way to keep track.

As you follow your macro-based diet, keep an eye on things that may or may not be happening. For example, if your goal is to lose weight and you’re not losing any, or you want to bulk up, but you’re not bulking up at all. Macros, along with a solid workout routine will bring you results that you’re looking for, so if they aren’t, something is amiss.

Give yourself time though, as if you’re just starting out, you may have some water weight or may not be working out as hard as you will need to just yet to see results. It takes time to build up the cardio and weight lifting you need to do, so take your time before adjusting.

If after the first few weeks, you see no improvement at all, you should consider adjusting amounts and re-calculate, especially if you’re giving it your best at the gym and in your exercise routine.

Conclusion

Calculating macros as a vegan means understanding what your body needs within a very structured method. While it may seem time-consuming at first, it’s actually one of the best methods out there for being able to lose the weight that you want to lose.

Are you a vegan? Are you looking to get fit and have the body that you want? Macros could be the ideal method for you. Exercise, use a scale, measure food, and calculate, and you’re good to go.

Kate Young

Hi there, I’m Kate Young and I’m a fitness coach from California, but I now live in Austin. I have been involved in so many different sports over the years, including swimming, running, athletics, gymnastics, rugby (yeas, you read that right), baseball, tennis, and so many more that I have lost count.

I just love competing in sports, but struggled to find the one that I would stick with. So, instead I decided to become a fitness coach as it allows me to work with so many different types of athletes.

I’ve also become heavily involved it diet. The reason for this is that I’ve seen too many athletes fail in their fitness goals because their diet didn’t support it. And I’ve seen just as many people fail in their diets, because their fitness activities weren’t effective.

A lot of my work has involved working up with college tennis teams where I have tailored some endurance type fitness programs. Tennis coaches are great at teaching techniques, but a lot of them struggle with general fitness levels.

And that’s where I come in. On this site I contribute to anything tennis, fitness and diet related, which will help you get to your goals quicker and with more ease. And if you have some very specific questions then why not reach out on one of the social media channels where all of us are very active.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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