How NOT Counting Macros Cost Me Over $10,000
Bro science on bro science. Some consider counting macros to be bro-y, even though it’s real science. Blaming my failure to count macros as the primary cause of my multiple injuries is beyond bro-ing out. But hear me through. After a little research, I found out I’ve spent over $10,000 USD due to injuries stemming from protein deficiency. That’s a whole lot of dough.
A whole lot of cash I could have saved if I was counting macros properly. Now, no one knows for sure if I would have had injuries if I had been getting the right amount of protein in my diet. However, with my continual commitment to overtraining and a lack of adequate protein to aid recovery, it’s a pretty simple deduction to me. Overtraining combined with a lack of protein leads to injuries? Maybe. Let’s look into it…
What Are Macros?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s dive into the basics of counting macros. I’m new to this, but I’ll try to break it down in a simple manner. Macros is short for macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that make of the caloric content of the food you consume. You have your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
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While calories and activity level will ultimately determine fat loss, your macros go a long way in determining your body’s composition and if you’re putting on muscle efficiently. For most of us, our macros should be determined by our fitness goals and lifestyle.
By counting macros and getting the right amounts of proteins, carbs, and fats – you’ll have a better shot at reaching the level of fitness you desire. Plus, you could avoid costly injuries that put a dent in your pocketbook and your progress at the gym. Just trust me on that one!
Are You Protein Deficient?
I never imagined I was protein deficient. Meat has always been in my diet. Burgers for days! And I was no stranger to a protein shake. Hell, I even mess with greek yogurt on occasion. Eating protein was a normal part of my lifestyle. Plus, I was always trying out new supplements. There was no way I was protein deficient. Not getting enough protein was never a concern. It didn’t even cross my mind.
I figured eating three meals with some protein in it every day and taking a protein shake on days I lifted was enough. Then I decided to work with a fitness coach. I wanted to get back into great shape. Surgery had set me back further than I had expected. I wanted to be ripped, again. I wasn’t fat, but I didn’t feel like myself.
So I hired a professional bodybuilder, fitness coach, and friend to help me get back into tip-top shape once I was back in the States. We met up, talked about goals, how to achieve them, his philosophies, and did all the fitness-y stuff one does when starting to work with a coach. The next day I sent him my weight, and I promptly had a meal plan and macros to hit every single day.
My Calories & Macros:
2,400 overall calories
200-210 grams of protein
255-270 grams of carbohydrates
58-62 grams of fat
I was off to the races. I started typing my Macros into Fat Secret every single day. I was using a flexible dieting-style of eating that allowed me to eat what I want – as long as I was hitting my macros. Getting the right amount of calories was simple. Carbs and fats weren’t too tough, either. It seemed my diet had enough of all those things. I was only missing one…
After day three of flexible dieting and counting macros, I realized something: I never get enough protein in my diet. Hell, I wasn’t even coming close. My macros were set to 200-210 grams of protein every single day. I weigh nearly 200 pounds. One pound of protein per pound of body weight is fairly normal in fitness circles.
I assumed I was getting 170-180 grams of protein every single day through my normal diet. Good lord! I was wrong. Eating how I normally eat, even with protein shakes and greek yogurt, only had me eating 110-120 grams of protein on a good day. One day I didn’t even hit 90 grams of protein! To put that in perspective:
Guys 110 grams of protein is what I recommend petite women to eat
That’s 440 calories
“That’s so much protein”
No, it’s really not
Alexander J.A Cortes (@AJA_Cortes) January 7, 2017
I was barely getting as much protein as a petite woman should eat. And I’m a 200-pound male who works out with “heavy” weights at least five times a week. Not only that, but I’d been doing this my whole life. I’ve been in the weight room for nearly ten years and played collegiate basketball on a similar diet. I’ve probably been protein deficient my whole adult life.
Looking at Injuries
So after playing self-doctor (always fun), I came to the conclusion that I’ve never gotten enough protein in my diet when my weight and activity levels are taken into consideration. Yeah, so what? I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal. Maybe my body composition could be better, but I’ve always felt pretty healthy.
Then I looked at all my major injuries over the year:
- MRSA in left toe
- Torn tendon in the right ankle
- Patella tendinopathy in the left knee
- Full cartilage defect in the left knee
- Small rotator cuff tear in the left shoulder
I’ve always overdone it with sports and the gym, but no healthy male in his twenties should continually by tearing cartilage and tendons. Something didn’t add up. But you know what did add up? My medical bills stemming from those injuries. Between deductibles, doctor visits, MRIs, surgeries, PRP injections, and follow-ups – I’ve spent over $10,000 out of pocket to get back to “normal” health.
That’s a whole lot of cash. Once I thought things through, I had a sneaking suspicion my protein intake compared with my activity levels had always been a primary culprit to my injury-prone nature. So I went back to self-doctoring and opened up a few tabs in Google.
Signs of Protein Deficiency
I dug into to the information. Counting macros brought me to protein deficiency, but I wasn’t sure my lack of protein was the primary cause of my injuries. Turns out – the lack of protein in my diet may be a cause of my many injuries. Protein deficiency can lead to a number of issues in the body, including:
I’m a gym addict – some would say a gym rat. But my progress has continually been hampered by my health. Muscles need protein to recover, especially after a tough workout in the gym. Without proper protein, the recovery process will take significantly longer. Over time, slow recovery can lead to nagging injuries and ultimately, more injuries. While it’s all speculation, I believe this is what happened to me.
Along with frequent injuries, I also had some other symptoms commonly associated with protein deficiency. These included:
- Joint pain
- Thinning hair
- Brain fog
- Low energy levels
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood swings
While I’m no doctor, the stats and symptoms lined up. Once I started counting macros, I quickly noticed I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet. And after looking at the symptoms of protein deficiency, it’s safe to say I’ve been dealing with similar issues. Bro science be damned!
How NOT Counting Macros Cost Me Over $10,000
I’ll be getting blood work done soon to determine if I’m deficient in any other nutrients. Yearly blood work should be routine for any man or woman over the age of 25. I’ve already begun counting macros and I’ve upped my protein intake by nearly 100 grams per day over the last week. I’ve noticed a notable difference in how I’ve felt after the first few days consuming more protein. It could be the placebo effect, but I’m optimistic the improvements in my overall health will continue as I eat enough protein every single day.
So could I have saved over $10,000 by simply counting my macros? Well, I think that’s pushing it. Injuries are a part of life when you’ve played as much basketball and spent as much time in the weight room as I have. However, I do believe I could have eliminated a number of the nagging injuries and tendonitis by simply getting enough protein in my diet.
If you’ve been struggling to stay injury-free like me or haven’t been able to hit your health goals lately, then there’s only one place to start. Begin by tracking your calories and counting your macros. If you’ve never done it before, I have a feeling you’ll be surprised by what you find.
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