If you’re wondering how “perfect” you need to be with your macros to see progress, you’re asking a question as old as macro tracking. So, not that old (for reference, WAG was founded in 2014, and we were one of the first in the macro-tracking and coaching game!)… but it’s definitely still a common question.
Let’s start here…
Consistency creates progress.
If you are working with a WAG coach, we encourage you to end each day within five grams of your protein and carb targets and within two grams of your fat target. Why? This allows your coach to get the best look at how a set of macros works for your body.
It is like a science experiment—for the output (changes in weight and body composition) to be reliable, the input (macros) needs to be consistent.
What Should Your Macros Be?
Before digging into how often you need to hit your macros to see progress, we have to answer two questions:
- What are your goals (aka: what does “progress” actually look like?)
- What are the best macros to help you get there?
What Are Your Goals?
Define “progress” by getting clear on what you want.
Weight loss? Muscle gain? General health and healthy habit building? All the above? Our Goal Setting Guide can help you nail down specific goals, timelines, and what it takes to get there.
What Are the Best Macros For You?
The million-dollar question, right?
Just like the answer to “How often should I hit my macros to see progress?”, the best macros for you depend on your goals, body, lifestyle, training frequency and intensity, past dieting experience, genetics, food preferences, and more.
To learn how to calculate your macros, download our Free Macro Calculator.
So, How Often Should You Hit Your Macros?
Once you’ve nailed down your goals and the starting targets to help you get there, you can dig into the big question of how precise you need to be with your macros to see progress. Here are a few quick considerations:
When To Be More Precise With Macros
- You’re a weight-specific athlete (like a weightlifter) and have a competition coming up.
- You have a time-bound goal—like a wedding, birthday, or another milestone—and time is ticking.
- You’ve been macro-tracking for a while, are already relatively lean, and have goals of getting leaner.
- You have a smaller macro deficit and have less wiggle room to be “off” your macros.
- You want to see the fastest progress possible.
The takeaway: If you want to see fast progress, hit your macros 90-100% of the time.
When You Can Have More Flexibility With Macros
- You’re on vacation and want to prioritize special foods and time with loved ones.
- You’re newer to macro tracking, and smaller changes in your diet produce larger results.
- You have a larger macro deficit and have more wiggle room to be “off” your macros.
- Stress is high, and you have intentionally decided to focus on other goals like protein intake, building a healthy plate, sleep, or hydration.
- You’re okay with slightly slower progress (that is likely more sustainable long term).
The takeaway: If you’re okay with slightly slower progress, hit your macros 80-90% of the time.
Which camp do you fall in?
A WAG Coach can help you nail down your macros, make adjustments based on your body’s feedback, and provide guidance and accountability along the way. They’ll also help you decide when to be more precise, when to cut yourself some slack, and how to tackle anything life throws your way while working towards your goals.