The online world is responsible for a great many fitness misconceptions and this next topic is one that nearly always brings about conversation that simply baffles me.

Myth 8 – Count your macros if you want to achieve fat loss

The macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates and fat – all chemicals your body needs and gets from the environment, in the form of food you consume. Hopefully, you’re at least familiar enough with these three macros to have a general idea of what they do in your body.

Counting calories can be very beneficial. It helps an individual realize how much food is being consumed and that’s the most important factor in losing weight.

The last decade has seen the prominence of macronutrient partitioning arise like never before. Not getting the results you want in your fat loss? You need to get exactly 5% more fats and 5% less carbohydrate in your diet or some other random combination that promises a different outcome – so say the “experts” in the diet and fitness forums.

The fact remains that if you’re getting the necessary protein your body needs to maintain or gain muscle, the percentage of carbs and fat, within your daily caloric goal, matter little. The one exception to this is when the body is already at an extremely low body fat percentage and a person is trying to get rid of the last bit of noticeable fat.

I’m not talking about going from a body fat percentage of 10% to 9% but more realistically when going from 7% to 6%. It’s a useful technique that a professional body builder might employ in the final weeks before hitting the stage.

The whole delusion of macro partitioning has come about as a consequence of trying to copy the success of professional body builders. It’s not that manipulating percentages doesn’t work the same for everyone – it’s just that with any noticeable fat at all, the effect can’t be seen. For those stage-ready competitors, the slightest differences can be seen in everything consumed – even water or salt. Body fat is so extremely low that any substance consumed can make a noticeable difference – at least to a professional judge trained to see these variations.

For everyone else trying to lose fat, focus on the amount of overall calories you’re getting and if you’re gaining weight, simply reduce that number. You’ll see the scale drop just as quickly as when focusing on specific macronutrient percentages, only you won’t be wasting all that extra time.