THUR: The Problem with Macros First

I love a nutritional focus on macros. I follow a macro prescription and track about 80% of my days. It gets results and for some, creates an easy to understand plan of exactly what they should be eating each day towards their goals.

I have two main issues with macro-based coaching, however:

  1. It fails to address quality-based habits that should precede a focus on precise quantity.
  2. It fails to consider health.

The first problem that I have with a macro-based approach is the lack of healthy habit formation that usually does not precede a flat macro prescription. It’s like telling someone how much to squat, deadlift, and bench each week for a powerlifting meet (quantity) without dialing in how to do it (quality). You must first learn food quality before you begin worry about food quantity. Addressing the root causes of how you got where you are in the first place must be at the forefront of nutritional sustainability. If you never take ownership of food preparation and constantly outsource it in the form of a prescription, then you have no habits that help make nutrition go from a “plan” to your habits. If you can first learn to eat healthy foods at home, then you will be much more successful when you ultimately get to macros.

The second problem that I have with a macros-based approach is the usual flagrant disregard for micronutrients that typically accompany it. While macros (protein, fat, carbs) contribute to physique and performance changes, so too do micros (vitamins and minerals), as well as that pesky little thing called your health. By design, macro plans indirectly tell people right off the bat that they have the green light to eat Pop Tarts and Fruity Pebbles daily so long as total macros for the day are in line with your prescription. Wonderful, I know. A glorious land where you can eat whatever you want and get “results.” While this may work for hitting a macro prescription and building strength, the problem is that the minute you fail to hit your precise macros then those foods become nothing less than terrible for you. It is only within the context of “hitting your macros” that those foods are acceptable, so if you’re not teaching people about the importance of healthy foods, and jumping straight into a prescription that tolerates unhealthy foods, then you’ve performed a great disservice.

I eat cereal. I follow macros. But that step came only after understanding food choices and habit formation that makes up 80% of my week.

Before you do anything about food quantity, address and own your food quality. There is no long-term sustainability without it.


BecomeMore Nutrition Coaching is 44% full.


First. For Strength.
Work up to a 2R or 1R Hang Snatch

Then. For Conditioning
8 Deadlifts @ 50-60%
8 DB Russian Twists
8 Ring Dips
150m Run
(x5 Rounds in an 18’ Cap)